Vicky Foxcroft Portrait

Vicky Foxcroft

Labour - Lewisham, Deptford

First elected: 7th May 2015

Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

(since April 2020)

1 APPG membership (as of 24 Jan 2024)
Domestic Violence and Abuse
4 Former APPG memberships
Domestic Violence, Knife Crime and Violence Reduction, Votes at 16, Youth Affairs
British Sign Language Bill
9th Feb 2022 - 23rd Feb 2022
Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Civil Society)
24th Jun 2019 - 10th Apr 2020
Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee)
30th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Statutory Instruments (Select Committee)
30th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Opposition Whip (Commons)
18th Sep 2015 - 24th Jun 2019
Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee)
22nd Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Statutory Instruments (Select Committee)
22nd Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017


Oral Question
Monday 26th February 2024
14:30
Home Office
Topical Question No. 3
If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
Save to Calendar
Department Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
27 Feb 2024, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Occupational Pension Schemes (Collective Money Purchase Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations 2023
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
27 Feb 2024, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Occupational Pension Schemes (Collective Money Purchase Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations 2023
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Monday 18th March 2024
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral questions - Main Chamber
18 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Work and Pensions (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (Reform)
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 77 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 63 Noes - 81
Written Answers
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Access to Work Programme
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people were awaiting a decision on their Access …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 24th June 2015
Representation of the People (Young Persons’ Enfranchisement and Education) Bill 2015-16
A Bill to reduce the voting age to 16 in general elections, elections to the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 20th March 2023
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Google UK Ltd
Address of donor: Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9QT
Amount of …
EDM signed
Monday 29th January 2024
Government Property Agency, ISS and outsourced workers
That this House is extremely concerned about the Government Property Agency’s handling of the transfer of facilities management services from …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 16th November 2022
Teenagers (Safety and Wellbeing) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to place a duty on the Secretary of State to promote the safety and wellbeing of teenagers; to …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Vicky Foxcroft has voted in 750 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Vicky Foxcroft 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)
(23 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Independent)
(23 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(21 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Work and Pensions
(60 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(33 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(31 debate contributions)
Home Office
(20 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Vicky Foxcroft's debates

Lewisham, Deptford Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

People with a lifelong illness should not be subject to regular reviews for eligibility for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). People suffering lifelong conditions should not have to prove they are still ill every couple of years.

The Government should remove the requirement for people claiming disability benefits, such as the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), to have to go through an assessment process. Claims should be based solely on evidence from medical professionals, such as a letter from a GP or consultant.

We want the Government to conduct a full review of the PIP process. This should look at DWP policy and the performance of ATOS and Capita, which conduct the health assessments for applicants. We believe the current process is inherently unethical and biased, and needs a complete overhaul.

Millions of UK citizens have a disability or serious medical condition that means they use more energy. Many people need to use a ventilator 24/7. People use electric pumps to feed through a tubes. People need to charge their mobility equipment, such as electric wheelchairs, stair lifts, bath seats.

Disabled people should be included alongside carers in the £650 one off payment as part of the Cost of Living support package. We have larger utilities bills and food costs when compared to non-disabled people. We rely on these utilities and food to stay alive.

Reverse the plan to withdraw funding for most applied general qualifications such as BTECs and guarantee they will continue to play a major role in the qualifications landscape. Students should not be forced to choose between studying A levels or T levels from the age of 16.


Latest EDMs signed by Vicky Foxcroft

6th December 2023
Vicky Foxcroft signed this EDM on Monday 29th January 2024

Government Property Agency, ISS and outsourced workers

Tabled by: John McDonnell (Labour - Hayes and Harlington)
That this House is extremely concerned about the Government Property Agency’s handling of the transfer of facilities management services from Mitie to ISS with respect to the implications for workers whose employment has transferred; notes that the pay arrangements for cleaners and caterers are being shifted from a monthly to …
46 signatures
(Most recent: 19 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 23
Scottish National Party: 18
Independent: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
Green Party: 1
20th July 2022
Vicky Foxcroft signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 20th July 2022

Social Security

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Amendment Regulations 2022 (S.I., 2022, No. 752), dated 4 July 2022, a copy of which was laid before this House on 4 July 2022, be annulled.
15 signatures
(Most recent: 13 Oct 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 10
Scottish National Party: 3
Green Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
View All Vicky Foxcroft's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Vicky Foxcroft, 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.


Vicky Foxcroft has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Vicky Foxcroft has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Vicky Foxcroft


A Bill to reduce the voting age to 16 in general elections, elections to the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the European Parliament, local government elections and referendums; to make provision about young people’s education in citizenship and the constitution; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 11th September 2015

1398 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
15 Other Department Questions
10th Jul 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 7 July 2023 to Question 191621 on Disability: Housing Improvement, what steps the Government is taking to implement the requirement that landlords make reasonable adjustments to the common parts of leasehold and commonhold homes.

Following the Government’s 2022 consultation, the Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub is working towards implementation with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 23 June to Question 189783 on Cabinet: Disability, what discussions she has had with Cabinet Office colleagues on the decision to not implement work to require landlords to make reasonable adjustments to the common parts of leasehold and commonhold homes.

There has been no decision not to implement these Equality Act 2010 provisions. We continue to work towards implementation.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 17 March to Question 161350 on Disability Unit: Staff, what proportion of staff (a) did not declare their disability status and (b) declared that they would prefer not to say in each year for which data is available.

9% of staff in the Disability Unit did not declare their disability status (as at 31st March 2023).

We are unable to provide details of the proportion of staff who declared they would prefer not to disclose their disability status, because the small numbers involved could permit the identification of individuals.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
8th Mar 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 07 March to Question 153886 on Disability Unit: Staff, what proportion of staff (a) did not declare their disability status and (b) declared that they would prefer not to say.

12% of staff in the Disability Unit did not declare their disability status (as at 28th February 2023).

We are unable to provide details of the proportion of staff who declared they would prefer not to disclose their disability status, because the small numbers involved could permit the identification of individuals.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has had discussions with the BBC on how much that corporation has spent on the provision British Sign Language interpretation in each of the last 5 years.

The BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the Government and spending decisions of the BBC are a matter for them.

As part of a digitally inclusive society, the Government believes that television content should be accessible for all UK audiences. As the independent broadcast regulator, Ofcom is responsible for holding broadcasters to account for the delivery of television access services which includes the provision of signing. Statutory targets are set by Ofcom which include five and ten year targets for licensed television services. Ofcom’s Code on Television Access Services sets out these obligations and also provides further guidance that broadcasters should regularly monitor the quality of their access services, and ensure that scheduled access services are being provided correctly. This guidance must be observed by the BBC.

The BBC has reported on its Access Services in its 2021/22 Annual Report.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has a Ministerial disability champion.

Minister Andrew is the Ministerial Disability Champion at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with her counterparts and legislators in (a) Malta, (b) France, (c) Canada, (d) New Zealand, (e) Greece and the relevant regional or state governments of the (i) US, (ii) Spain and (iii) Australia on their legislation on banning conversion practices and their protection of transgender people.

The Government has engaged with a wide range of international counterparts including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, and Malta, to understand the approaches they have taken to ban conversion therapy. We will continue to engage with counterparts around the world that are committed to protecting everyone from conversion practices to share insight and develop our approach.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what work has been undertaken by her Department on transgender conversion practices since the Government set out its plans on this topic in its background briefing to the Queen’s Speech in May 2022.

Since May 2022, the Government has launched a support service open to all victims or those at risk of conversion practices regardless of their background or circumstances. The Government has committed up to £360,000 over three years to this service. The service includes a helpline, instant messaging service, and website to enable people to get the support they need.

More widely, the Government remains committed to protecting everyone from these practices. We are carefully considering the responses to the public consultation which closed earlier this year and will respond in due course.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent assessment has been made of the effectiveness of current legislation with respect to people with assistance dogs being able to access businesses and services.

We are clear that no one should be refused access to businesses or services because they have an assistance dog.

The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on businesses and service providers to make reasonable adjustments to improve disabled people’s access to goods and services so they are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people. This reasonable adjustment duty is an anticipatory duty therefore those who provide goods, facilities and services to members of the public are expected to anticipate the reasonable adjustments that disabled customers may require, including auxiliary aids.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is the public body responsible for enforcing the Equality Act. In 2017, the EHRC published two pieces of guidance - a guide to help businesses understand what they can do to meet their legal duties to assistance dog owners, and a guide to help tourism businesses welcome people with access requirements. The EHRC supports disabled individuals who have experienced discrimination to take their cases to court.

In recent years, case law has strengthened the equalities law for people with assistance dogs. There have been a number of significant cases brought under the Equality Act involving assistance dogs, which have been successfully litigated, for example, Bloch v Kassim (assistance dogs in taxis); Clutton and Williams v Pen-y-Bryn Group (assistance dogs in restaurants); and McCafferty v Miah (assistance dogs in shops). The Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS), the equalities and human rights helpline, receives about 35,000 customer contacts a year, more than 60% of which concern disability issues. The EASS can intervene directly with or assist the complainant to take the problem up with the relevant service provider in many cases, including those involving assistance dogs.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published 28 July 2021, when her Department plans to open its consultation on the requirement for landlords to make reasonable adjustments to the common parts of leasehold and commonhold homes.

The Government intends to publish this consultation as soon as possible.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
8th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he has taken to help prevent a recurrence of the accessibility challenges encountered by Israel’s energy minister when attempting to access the Scottish Event Campus on 1 November 2021.

Inclusivity and accessibility were key priorities for COP26 and the venue was designed to facilitate that. When officials were made aware of the issue in question, which was a genuine mistake, they worked urgently with the Israeli delegation to resolve this and the UK Government apologised to Minister Elharrar. The permanent structures were fully wheelchair accessible and the venue holds gold level accessibility status. For the temporary structures a complete accessibility audit was completed and they were fully compliant. There were blue badge spaces for the conference, along with two fully accessible shuttle routes.

An accessibility support desk was on hand to help with any requests for assistance, and there were hearing loops available in conference and plenary rooms. During the second week, BSL was provided at the COP26 Presidency and UK Prime Minister press conferences, and key presidency events including the closing plenaries. Officials regularly met with the UNFCCC Disability lead to address any accessibility concerns.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, for what reason sign language and subtitles have only been available for the opening ceremony of COP26 and not for every session.

Inclusivity and accessibility were key priorities for COP26 and the venue was designed to facilitate that. When officials were made aware of the issue in question, which was a genuine mistake, they worked urgently with the Israeli delegation to resolve this and the UK Government apologised to Minister Elharrar. The permanent structures were fully wheelchair accessible and the venue holds gold level accessibility status. For the temporary structures a complete accessibility audit was completed and they were fully compliant. There were blue badge spaces for the conference, along with two fully accessible shuttle routes.

An accessibility support desk was on hand to help with any requests for assistance, and there were hearing loops available in conference and plenary rooms. During the second week, BSL was provided at the COP26 Presidency and UK Prime Minister press conferences, and key presidency events including the closing plenaries. Officials regularly met with the UNFCCC Disability lead to address any accessibility concerns.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of access to all areas of the Scottish Event Campus.

Inclusivity and accessibility were key priorities for COP26 and the venue was designed to facilitate that. When officials were made aware of the issue in question, which was a genuine mistake, they worked urgently with the Israeli delegation to resolve this and the UK Government apologised to Minister Elharrar. The permanent structures were fully wheelchair accessible and the venue holds gold level accessibility status. For the temporary structures a complete accessibility audit was completed and they were fully compliant. There were blue badge spaces for the conference, along with two fully accessible shuttle routes.

An accessibility support desk was on hand to help with any requests for assistance, and there were hearing loops available in conference and plenary rooms. During the second week, BSL was provided at the COP26 Presidency and UK Prime Minister press conferences, and key presidency events including the closing plenaries. Officials regularly met with the UNFCCC Disability lead to address any accessibility concerns.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what progress her Department has made on enacting Section 106 of the Equality Act 2010.

The Government continues to keep section 106 of the Equality Act 2010 under review but is of the view that political parties should lead the way in improving diverse electoral representation through their selection of candidates.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
27th Apr 2023
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2023 to Question 177871 on Attorney General: Disability, whether she plans to take steps to increase the proportion of her Department's employees who identify as having a disability.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) is an inclusive employer which promotes equality and aims to reflect the diversity of the society in which we live. The AGO is committed to maximising the skills and potential of all employees. All recruitment campaigns welcome applications from suitably qualified persons irrespective of disability, race, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital status or religion/belief.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Attorney General, what proportion of their Department's employees are recorded as having a disability.

As of 31st March 2023, the proportion of employees in the Attorney General’s Office recorded as having a disability was 5%.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 1 February 2022 to Question 110472 on National Scrutiny Panel on Disability Hate Crime, if she will respond to the the request to publish further details of the membership of the National Scrutiny Panel on Disability Hate Crime.

National Scrutiny Panels (NSPs) are one-off, non-recurring meetings designed to focus on a specific topic relating to Hate Crime. The format and membership of each NSP is adapted to the context of the specific topic under consideration. The overarching approach is to seek representation from: community perspectives; relevant Government departments; the police and academic or other specialist interests.

For the National Scrutiny Panel on Disability Hate Crime, the following were invited to participate: Dimensions; Inclusion London; the Disability Network; Disability Rights UK; Members of CPS Area Local Involvement and Scrutiny Panels; the National Autistic Society; MIND; Home Office; Ministry of Justice; HMCTS; National Police Chiefs Council and two specialists with a focus on Disability Hate Crime.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published July 2021, what recent steps her Department has taken on (a) encouraging and supporting workplace disability networks, (b) achieving and maintaining the highest level of Disability Confident accreditation, (c) ensuring responsive and timely support to meet workplace adjustment needs and (d) developing and embedding flexible working.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) is supported by the Government Legal Department’s (GLD) Human Resource (HR) function and policies though a shared services agreement. GLD’s current D&I Strategy (2019-2022) and yearly D&I Delivery Plan has been the foundation for many supportive disability policies throughout the department. All of GLD’s Diversity Networks, including GLD's Disability and Wellness Network (DAWN), contribute to annual reviews of the strategy and delivery plan and have been active in supporting improvements in workplace adjustments and career development for all staff. An HR D&I lead also participates in DAWN’s regular committee meetings, and HR meets with all of the Diversity Network Champions and Chairs on a six-monthly basis.

GLD currently holds the Disability Confident Leader (Level 3) status, accredited in January 2018, and was upheld in January 2021 for three years, with a working group supporting the actions going forward.

GLD provides a range of guidance and tools on workplace adjustments accessible by all staff, including advice on how to determine when a workplace adjustment might be appropriate, steps to make a workplace adjustment, a workplace adjustment passport, best practice guidance, and manager awareness sessions. GLD also offer Occupational Health referrals, to offer advice in relation to workplace adjustments.

GLD, with support from the Flexible Working Network and Senior Champions, developed a flexible working policy which allows employees to consider flexible working arrangements, including annualised hours, compressed hours, flexi-time, home-working, job-sharing, part-time working, phased retirement, staggered hours and term-time working.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2022 to Question 102715 on Disability: Crimes of Violence, if she will publish further details of the membership of the National Scrutiny Panel on Disability Hate Crime.

A National Scrutiny Panel on Disability Hate Crime was convened by the CPS in March 2021, consisting of community stakeholders, academics and police. The Panel focused on in-depth scrutiny of the handling of disability hate crime cases. As a result, the CPS will this month circulate a bulletin to all prosecutors. This will highlight key findings, lessons and top tips arising from the review. In addition, operational guidance has been refreshed and will be launched this month. It will provide prosecutors with an updated appreciation of how disability hate crime occurs, based on the lived experience of disabled people.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he expects the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work to be appointed.

My Hon. Friend, the Member for Mid Sussex (Mims Davies MP) has been appointed as the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, and will build on the Government’s strong track record of supporting disabled people, having delivered millions of cost of living payments and helping over one million more disabled people into work five years earlier than planned. The Minister will help ensure there is always a strong safety net for the most vulnerable in our society, while tearing down barriers so that every disabled person can realise their potential and thrive.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if the Prime Minister will make an assessment of the potential merits of making Downing Street subject to the reporting requirements of Section 2 of the British Sign Language Act 2022 on a voluntary basis.

We are committed to ensuring that government communications are available and accessible across multiple channels and in a number of alternative formats in order to meet a range of needs.

British Sign Language interpretation is provided for the vast majority of No.10 press conferences via the BBC News channel (available on Freeview) and iPlayer through the BBC. For No.10 press conferences that do not carry British Sign Language interpretation via the BBC, a British Sign Language interpretation is uploaded on YouTube as soon as possible after the event.

The first Government BSL report was published in July 2023, and is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-british-sign-language-bsl-report-2022/the-british-sign-language-bsl-report-2022

The Government will be publishing a second report on the use of BSL in government communications by 31 July 2024.

No. 10 is an operational part of the Cabinet Office, which is a relevant government department under Section 2 of the Act.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many of the Prime Minister’s office's (a) press conferences, (b) social media posts and (c) webpages have been accessible to British Sign Language users since 25 October 2022.

We are committed to ensuring that government communications are available and accessible across multiple channels and in a number of alternative formats in order to meet a range of needs.

British Sign Language interpretation is provided for the vast majority of No.10 press conferences via the BBC News channel (available on Freeview) and iPlayer through the BBC. For No.10 press conferences that do not carry British Sign Language interpretation via the BBC, a British Sign Language interpretation is uploaded on YouTube as soon as possible after the event.

The first Government BSL report was published in July 2023, and is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-british-sign-language-bsl-report-2022/the-british-sign-language-bsl-report-2022

The Government will be publishing a second report on the use of BSL in government communications by 31 July 2024.

No. 10 is an operational part of the Cabinet Office, which is a relevant government department under Section 2 of the Act.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many disabled (a) women and (b) men have been victims of domestic abuse in each of the last five years for which data are available.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the Hon lady’s Parliamentary Question of 1 September is attached.

28th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer 23 June 2023 to Question 189783 on Cabinet: Disability, if he will provide further information on the status of commitments that have been (a) paused, (b) partially implemented and (c) not implemented.

In my previous answer on 23 June 2023 to Question 189783, I indicated which of the 19 Cabinet Office commitments set out in Part 3 of the National Disability Strategy were paused, partially implemented or not implemented.

We are fully committed to supporting disabled people in the UK through creating more opportunities, protecting their rights and ensuring they fully benefit from, and can contribute to, every aspect of our society. To support this we will be providing details of the Government’s recent achievements to improve disabled people’s lives in the forthcoming Disability Action Plan consultation due for publication in the summer.

Ahead of this the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work has placed a list of these achievements in the House Library.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of people employed by the Disability Unit have recorded that they have a disability.

The Disability Unit was established in November 2019, when a Machinery of Government Change transferred officials from the former Office for Disability Issues (ODI) to the Cabinet Office from the Department for Work and Pensions to form the Disability Unit.

31/01/2020*

31/12/2020

31/12/2021

31/12/2022

Total

16

18

28

25

*Data was not held on our systems in December 2019

Of those that declared their disability status:

31/01/2020

31/12/2020

31/12/2021

31/12/2022

Percentage yes

50%

38%

44%

50%

Percentages exclude those who did not declare their disability status or who declared that they would prefer not to say.

27th Feb 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have been employed in the Disability Unit in each year since its creation.

The Disability Unit was established in November 2019, when a Machinery of Government Change transferred officials from the former Office for Disability Issues (ODI) to the Cabinet Office from the Department for Work and Pensions to form the Disability Unit.

31/01/2020*

31/12/2020

31/12/2021

31/12/2022

Total

16

18

28

25

*Data was not held on our systems in December 2019

Of those that declared their disability status:

31/01/2020

31/12/2020

31/12/2021

31/12/2022

Percentage yes

50%

38%

44%

50%

Percentages exclude those who did not declare their disability status or who declared that they would prefer not to say.

22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department has a Ministerial disability champion.

I (The Rt Hon. Johnny Mercer MP) was appointed as the Ministerial Disability Champion for the Cabinet Office.

I look forward to working with the other Ministerial Disability Champions appointed in each Government Department to represent the interests of disabled people and drive forward progress on disability policy across government.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department plans to review the COVID-19 Response: Living with COVID-19 plan.

The Cabinet Office “COVID-19 Response; Living with COVID-19” publication in February 2022 set out how England would move into a new phase of managing COVID-19. The Cabinet Office has no plans at present to review the strategy.

The UK Health Security Agency publishes a number of guidance documents in relation to living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19. All guidance is kept under review to ensure our response remains effective.

23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many and what percentage of disabled people are on the electoral register.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the Hon. Member's Parliamentary Question of 23 November is attached.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, whether she plans to appoint a Minister for Disabled People.

My hon. Friend, the Member for East Surrey (Claire Coutinho), has been appointed Minister for Disabled People. A summary of her responsibilities can be found on gov.uk here:

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to ensure all Government communication is in an accessible format.

We are committed to ensuring that government communications are available and accessible across multiple channels and in a number of alternative formats in order to meet a range of needs. The Government’s most crucial content is available in alternative accessibility formats including Easy Read, large text formats, videos with British Sign Language interpretation and audio. Speeches from the Prime Minister are also made available in transcript form on GOV.UK, aligning with accessibility standards.

Following Royal Assent of the British Sign Language (BSL) Act (2022) and the legal recognition of British Sign Language as a language of England, Wales and Scotland, the Government Communication Service will promote and facilitate the use of British Sign Language in communications with the public, where appropriate. We are currently developing our plans to do this and will be reporting on our progress via the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the balance of trade for Standard Industrial Classification groups (a) J.58.1, (b) J.58.2, (c) J.60, (d) J.62, (e) M.72 and (f) R.90 in each of the last five years.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the hon. Member’s Parliamentary Question of 2nd September is attached.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
15th Jul 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, what discussions he or his Office have had with representatives of companies with powers under the Electronic Communications Code since March 2021.

Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on gov.uk as part of the government’s transparency agenda.

22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many deaths due to covid-19 of immunocompromised people there were (a) in the last week, (b) in the last month and (c) since January 2022.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the hon. Member’s Parliamentary Question of 22 April is attached.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published July 2021, what recent steps his Department has taken on (a) encouraging and supporting workplace disability networks, (b) achieving and maintaining the highest level of Disability Confident accreditation, (c) ensuring responsive and timely support to meet workplace adjustment needs and (d) developing and embedding flexible working.

For management and staffing purposes Downing Street is an integral part of the Cabinet Office.

  1. The Cabinet Office has a disability network, known as the ABLE network. The ABLE network is supported through a number of wider disability specific communities. At the Civil Service level, the ABLE Chair meets with other Disability chairs at the Civil Service Diversity Network where best practice is shared at the CS level. In addition, the Cabinet Office supports ABLE’s membership of Purple Space where all disabled network colleagues have the choice to link up with disability networks across the Purple Space community which has cross sector membership where disability inclusion knowledge is shared across different organisations.

  2. Cabinet Office was reaccredited as a Disability Confident Leader in January 2021. This is the highest level of accreditation that can be achieved for the scheme.

  3. The Cabinet Office Adjustments team is a dedicated resource within the Department that provides advice to employees and managers. The team aims to respond to all requests for assistance within three working days. For employees requiring workplace adjustments, the team provides end-to-end support to managers to implement physical adjustments. Managers are also supported by a Casework Service provided by MoJ (the Cabinet Office third party supplier) on the implementation of non-physical adjustments.

  4. The Cabinet Office embraces flexible working and this is often used as workplace adjustment to enable colleagues to work to their full potential.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published July 2021, what recent steps No. 10 Downing Street has taken on (a) encouraging and supporting workplace disability networks, (b) achieving and maintaining the highest level of Disability Confident accreditation, (c) ensuring responsive and timely support to meet workplace adjustment needs and (d) developing and embedding flexible working.

For management and staffing purposes Downing Street is an integral part of the Cabinet Office.

  1. The Cabinet Office has a disability network, known as the ABLE network. The ABLE network is supported through a number of wider disability specific communities. At the Civil Service level, the ABLE Chair meets with other Disability chairs at the Civil Service Diversity Network where best practice is shared at the CS level. In addition, the Cabinet Office supports ABLE’s membership of Purple Space where all disabled network colleagues have the choice to link up with disability networks across the Purple Space community which has cross sector membership where disability inclusion knowledge is shared across different organisations.

  2. Cabinet Office was reaccredited as a Disability Confident Leader in January 2021. This is the highest level of accreditation that can be achieved for the scheme.

  3. The Cabinet Office Adjustments team is a dedicated resource within the Department that provides advice to employees and managers. The team aims to respond to all requests for assistance within three working days. For employees requiring workplace adjustments, the team provides end-to-end support to managers to implement physical adjustments. Managers are also supported by a Casework Service provided by MoJ (the Cabinet Office third party supplier) on the implementation of non-physical adjustments.

  4. The Cabinet Office embraces flexible working and this is often used as workplace adjustment to enable colleagues to work to their full potential.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published 28 July 2021, what recent steps his Department has taken to identify and seek collaborative ways to co-create communications and continue sharing accessible formats.

Following the publication of the National Disability Strategy, the Cabinet Office has continued to issue internal guidance on accessibility to government departments reiterating their duties under the Equality Act 2010. This is to ensure that communications are accessible using appropriate and inclusive formats.

The Cabinet Office has continued to liaise with departments to encourage and support the development of accessible content - most recently to mark the International Day of People with Disabilities.

The Cabinet Office also created a disability communications stakeholder working group in 2020 and regularly engages with that group to improve new messages.

GOV.UK ran an audit in 2020 to identify and improve content and navigational issues. Following the audit, GOV.UK has updated publishing tools and guidance, and worked with departments to ensure their content adheres to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published 28 July 2021, whether his Department has nominated a senior civil servant to champion accessible communications across government.

Claire Pimm, Director of Communications, National Resilience Hub is the nominated senior civil servant to champion accessible communications across government.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published 28 July 2021, what steps his Department has taken to date towards considering how it can best support those standing for public office and those who hold public office.

It is the Government’s ambition to see more disabled people in public office.

Officials in the Cabinet Office Disability Unit continue to work with colleagues at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DHLUC) on this issue. DHLUC is developing a new scheme to support those seeking to become candidates and to support those who have been elected to public office. That work is a part of the 2022/23 local government improvement work which will be launched from April this year.

Officials are also speaking to the National Association of Local Councils and the Local Government Association about enhancing support and guidance for disabled councillors.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published 28 July 2021, what recent steps his Department has taken on seeking regular feedback from different groups of stakeholders to ensure the Government is able to communicate effectively with people with different disabilities.

Government Communications teams regularly engage with disability charities as well as a wide range of stakeholder groups in order to better understand and manage those varying audiences' needs and preferences.


The Government’s response to COVID-19 significantly improved our overall communications approach in providing important public information to a wide range of audiences, including those with disabilities. As an example, key government publications on COVID have been published and made available in accessible formats, and communications materials have been made available in formats such as large print, BSL, audio and video.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published on 28 July 2021, what steps the Central Digital and Data Office took towards the continuation of its programme to make online public services accessible.

Since the publication of the National Disability Strategy last July, the Government’s Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) has also published the outcome of its monitoring of the UK’s public sector websites and mobile applications. This can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/accessibility-monitoring-of-public-sector-websites-and-mobile-apps-2020-2021/accessibility-monitoring-of-public-sector-websites-and-mobile-apps-2020-2021.

The report also explains CDDO’s ongoing work to implement the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (“accessibility regulations''). This includes publication of guidance on how users can report accessibility issues with a public sector website or mobile app and guidance on how to make mobile apps accessible. CDDO will continue to monitor public sector websites and mobile applications throughout 2022.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of challenging the Katherine Rowley vs the Cabinet Office judicial review, Claim No: CO/_4740/2020.

We are unable to comment on ongoing legal proceedings.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
25th May 2021
To ask the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will ensure that the proposed public inquiry into the covid-19 outbreak includes an assessment of the effect of the outbreak on disabled people.

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

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

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

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

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

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what data his Department holds on voter turnout levels among disabled people.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and is actively working to improve the electoral process for voters with disabilities.

The Government intends to introduce legislation to improve the support provided to disabled voters at polling stations, and to allow a wider range of people to act as a companion to support disabled voters at the polling station.

The Cabinet Office has led work to make electoral registration more accessible to people with disabilities. This work, coordinated through the Cabinet Office’s Accessibility of Elections Working Group, includes providing accessible information on registering to vote and voting; including easy read guides which sit on the Register to Vote Website, and provides support on the online application process.

There will be an estimated £92 million of government funding that will be provided to Returning Officers and local authorities for the elections; of this, £31 million is an uplift to directly address costs associated with making the elections COVID-secure. This funding will support Returning Officers to deliver the polls and ensure that all eligible electors are able to vote in a way of their choosing, either in person, by proxy or by post. We encourage those wishing to use a postal vote to apply early.

The Government does not collect data on the protected characteristics of voters.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much funding his Department has provided to local authorities specifically to ensure upcoming elections are accessible in the context of covid-19 restrictions.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and is actively working to improve the electoral process for voters with disabilities.

The Government intends to introduce legislation to improve the support provided to disabled voters at polling stations, and to allow a wider range of people to act as a companion to support disabled voters at the polling station.

The Cabinet Office has led work to make electoral registration more accessible to people with disabilities. This work, coordinated through the Cabinet Office’s Accessibility of Elections Working Group, includes providing accessible information on registering to vote and voting; including easy read guides which sit on the Register to Vote Website, and provides support on the online application process.

There will be an estimated £92 million of government funding that will be provided to Returning Officers and local authorities for the elections; of this, £31 million is an uplift to directly address costs associated with making the elections COVID-secure. This funding will support Returning Officers to deliver the polls and ensure that all eligible electors are able to vote in a way of their choosing, either in person, by proxy or by post. We encourage those wishing to use a postal vote to apply early.

The Government does not collect data on the protected characteristics of voters.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to improve electoral registration levels among disabled people.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and is actively working to improve the electoral process for voters with disabilities.

The Government intends to introduce legislation to improve the support provided to disabled voters at polling stations, and to allow a wider range of people to act as a companion to support disabled voters at the polling station.

The Cabinet Office has led work to make electoral registration more accessible to people with disabilities. This work, coordinated through the Cabinet Office’s Accessibility of Elections Working Group, includes providing accessible information on registering to vote and voting; including easy read guides which sit on the Register to Vote Website, and provides support on the online application process.

There will be an estimated £92 million of government funding that will be provided to Returning Officers and local authorities for the elections; of this, £31 million is an uplift to directly address costs associated with making the elections COVID-secure. This funding will support Returning Officers to deliver the polls and ensure that all eligible electors are able to vote in a way of their choosing, either in person, by proxy or by post. We encourage those wishing to use a postal vote to apply early.

The Government does not collect data on the protected characteristics of voters.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department has taken to ensure voting is accessible for disabled people, including the accessibility of (a) polling stations and (b) forms.

The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and is actively working to improve the electoral process for voters with disabilities.

The Government intends to introduce legislation to improve the support provided to disabled voters at polling stations, and to allow a wider range of people to act as a companion to support disabled voters at the polling station.

The Cabinet Office has led work to make electoral registration more accessible to people with disabilities. This work, coordinated through the Cabinet Office’s Accessibility of Elections Working Group, includes providing accessible information on registering to vote and voting; including easy read guides which sit on the Register to Vote Website, and provides support on the online application process.

There will be an estimated £92 million of government funding that will be provided to Returning Officers and local authorities for the elections; of this, £31 million is an uplift to directly address costs associated with making the elections COVID-secure. This funding will support Returning Officers to deliver the polls and ensure that all eligible electors are able to vote in a way of their choosing, either in person, by proxy or by post. We encourage those wishing to use a postal vote to apply early.

The Government does not collect data on the protected characteristics of voters.

18th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department holds data on the number of disabled people who are registered to vote.

The information requested is not held.

18th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what information his Department holds on the number of disabled people that have been elected to public office in the UK in each of the last five years.

The information requested is not held.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of inequality in political participation.

The Government is working to identify and resolve challenges involved in delivering the local and mayoral elections in England and the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales in May 2021. Voters will be able participate in the May 2021 elections safely, and in a way of their choice, whether in-person, by proxy or by post.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the number of disabled people working from home as a result of the covid-19 outbreak or in response to the Government's covid-19 guidance on shielding during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the needs of people with disabilities and long-term health conditions to inform the strategy to end the covid-19 lockdown.

The Government's strategy "Our Plan to Rebuild" has been informed by a wide range of analysis and scientific advice. This has included consideration of how measures have impacted groups across the population, including people with disabilities and long-term health conditions. We will continue to ensure that these groups have the support they need.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to the National Disability Strategy, published on 28 July 2021, which of her Department’s commitments in that strategy that have not been paused as a result of legal action have (a) been fully, (b) been partially and (c) not been implemented.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave to my Rt Hon. Friend Caroline Nokes, the Member for Romsey and Southampton North, today [3rd July 2023], UIN 189785.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what proportion of their Department's employees are recorded as having a disability.

The Department for Business and Trade employees remain employed by their previous departments until the new Department is established by a Transfer of Functions order. Data recorded for BEIS and DIT can be found below.

For BEIS, the proportion of people employed by the Department who have recorded that they have a disability was 11% as of 28 February 2023.

For DIT, the proportion of people employed by DIT who have reported having a disability was 12% as of 28 February 2023.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to the policy paper entitled Transforming Support: The Health and Disability White Paper, published on 15 March 2023, what steps his Department has taken to consult with disabled people and disabled people's organisations on flexible working since the 2019 general election.

Since December 2019, the Government has run a 12-week consultation on flexible working. As part of this exercise, we held individual and roundtable discussions with disabled people’s organisations, before publishing our response in December 2022. The response committed to legislative changes, several of which are being taken forward through the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill.

Furthermore, in April 2021, to ensure the effective representation of the views of disabled people, Scope became a member of the Flexible Working Taskforce, a partnership between Government Departments, business groups and third sector organisations set up to consider barriers to flexible working.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to the policy paper entitled Transforming Support: The Health and Disability White Paper, published on 15 March 2023, what requirements his Department will place on employers to consult with employees before accepting or rejecting a flexible working request; and in what way the Government will ensure that those requirements are enforced.

The Government is pleased to support the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill which will introduce a requirement for employers to consult with an employee before rejecting their statutory flexible working request. The Bill does not specify what form the consultation should take.

The Government will work with both the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service and the Flexible Working Taskforce to develop appropriate guidance on each of the measures that the Bill will introduce.

If an employer does not handle a request as required by Part 8A of the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employee may be able to bring a claim to an Employment Tribunal.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to the policy paper entitled Transforming Support: The Health and Disability White Paper, published on 15 March 2023, when and in what way the Government plans to introduce the right to request flexible working from the first day of employment.

The Government response to the “making flexible working the default” consultation was published on 5 December 2022. It sets out that the Government will make the right to request flexible working a ‘day one’ entitlement, by removing the existing 26-week qualifying period. This change will be delivered through secondary legislation, using existing powers in the Employment Rights Act 1996.

We are committed to introducing this change alongside the measures included in the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill, which is currently progressing through Parliament.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work of 20 June 2023 on Cost of Living Support, what discussions he has had with disabled (a) people and (b) organisations on the potential merits of social tariffs on energy.

As set out in the autumn statement, the Government is exploring the best approach to consumer protection from April 2024, as part of wider retail market reforms.

As part of this work, officials have had discussions with disability organisations, including Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Carer’s Trust, Centre for Sustainable Energy, Citizen’s Advice, Fair by Design, Leonard Cheshire, Leukaemia Care, Parkinson’s UK and SCOPE. Minister Solloway has also met with disability organisations.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work of 20 June 2023 on Cost of Living Support, whether he plans to publish details of his Department's consultations on the potential merits of social tariffs on energy.

As set out in the autumn statement, we are exploring the best approach to consumer protection from April 2024, as part of wider retail market reforms.

Up to then, in response to higher prices, we have put in place the Energy Price Guarantee and provided significant additional support to help those who need it most through this winter and into 2023-24.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work of 20 June 2023 on Cost of Living Support, when his Department plans to complete its analysis of the potential merits of social tariffs on energy.

As set out in the autumn statement, we are exploring the best approach to consumer protection from April 2024, as part of wider retail market reforms.

As part of this work, officials are discussing options with and assessing evidence from stakeholders, including disability organisations.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department is taking steps to support people in local authority funded nursing homes who lack mental capacity and do not have anyone with power of attorney to access energy support schemes.

Partially or wholly self-funded care home residents are eligible to apply for support under the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding. Family members, friends, and carers of eligible care home residents can apply on their behalf if they do not have the mental capacity to do so, as long as the residents’ details are provided. If applying through the contact centre, eligible residents can also provide verbal consent for trusted individuals to apply on their behalf.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what proportion of people employed within his Department have recorded that they have a disability.

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero employees remain employed by their previous departments until the new department is established by a Transfer of Functions order. Data for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) employees can be found below.

For BEIS, the proportion of people employed by the Department who recorded that they had a disability was 11% as of 28 February 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will take steps to announce details of the energy support for heat network customers which will replace existing schemes at the end of March 2023.

Domestic heat network customers currently receive support on their heating and hot water bills via the Energy Bill Relief Scheme. The Government is developing options to ensure these domestic consumers benefit from support in line with other domestic users after April 2023. Further information on a successor scheme will be available soon.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what energy support will be available for heat network customers when the existing schemes come to an end in March 2023.

Domestic heat network customers currently receive support on their heating and hot water bills via the Energy Bill Relief Scheme. The Government is developing options to ensure these domestic consumers benefit from support in line with other domestic users after April 2023. Further information on a successor scheme will be available soon.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2023 to Question 121001 on Energy: Disability, if he will assess the need for specific support for disabled people using medical equipment in the home before April 2024.

The Autumn Statement set out a commitment to work with consumer groups and industry to consider the best approach to consumer protection from April 2024, including options such as social tariffs, as part of wider retail market reforms.

The Government is assessing evidence and options and proactively discussing this with stakeholders. As part of this work, the Government is working with disability organisations, considering the costs for disabled people with medical equipment and assessing the need for specific support for disabled people using medical equipment in the home.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2023 to Question 121001 on Energy: Disability, whether the Government’s new approach to consumer protection will specifically consider the costs faced by disabled people who use medical equipment in the home.

The Autumn Statement set out a commitment to work with consumer groups and industry to consider the best approach to consumer protection from April 2024, including options such as social tariffs, as part of wider retail market reforms.

The Government is assessing evidence and options and proactively discussing this with stakeholders. As part of this work, the Government is working with disability organisations, considering the costs for disabled people with medical equipment and assessing the need for specific support for disabled people using medical equipment in the home.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2023 to Question 121001 on Energy: Disability, if he will work with disability organisations on developing the Government’s new approach to consumer protection.

The Autumn Statement set out a commitment to work with consumer groups and industry to consider the best approach to consumer protection from April 2024, including options such as social tariffs, as part of wider retail market reforms.

The Government is assessing evidence and options and proactively discussing this with stakeholders. As part of this work, the Government is working with disability organisations, considering the costs for disabled people with medical equipment and assessing the need for specific support for disabled people using medical equipment in the home.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she plans to extend the Horizon Europe guarantee beyond the end of June 2023.

On the 8 June 2023, the Government announced an extension to the Horizon Europe Guarantee, it will cover all Horizon Europe grant calls that close on or before 30 September 2023.

Our priority remains to support the UK R&D sector by providing the funding for existing applicants and as the end of May 2023, UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) has issued over 2,000 Grant Offer Letters for grant awards of £1.10 billion.

24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the alignment between the Government’s Major Conditions Strategy and the Life Sciences Vision.

Both the Major Conditions Strategy and the Life Sciences Vision look to support the health system in preserving good health and the early detection and treatment of diseases. As part of the Life Sciences Vision, we have already made progress on dementia, mental health and cancer, announcing £157.7M of funding and appointing expert Mission chairs. The Major Conditions Strategy will provide further focus on the need to shift the health system’s model towards preserving good health, and the early detection and treatment of diseases, harnessing innovation and technology to reduce demand downstream on health and care services.

24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what progress she has made on the ratification of the UK’s association with the EU’s Horizon Europe programme.

The Government welcomes the EU’s recent openness to discussions on UK association to EU Programmes following two years of delays. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State travelled to Brussels ahead of publication of the Pioneer prospectus, for an introductory meeting with R&I Commissioner Mariya Gabriel to discuss research collaboration including the UK’s expectations around association to Horizon Europe.

Association to Horizon Europe is our preference. But association would need to be on the basis of a good deal for the UK’s researchers, businesses and taxpayers. If the UK is not able associate on fair and appropriate terms, Pioneer will be implemented – our bold, ambitious alternative.

24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of establishing a UK vaccinology network to research immunogenicity, mucosal immunity, and vaccines for people with compromised immune systems.

The Life Sciences Vision committed the Government to delivering a Vaccines Healthcare Mission which will build on the UK’s deep expertise in vaccines to strengthen the UK life sciences ecosystem, with a particular focus on new and novel technologies. This will include maximising the opportunities to continue to improve core immunology, vaccinology and clinical trial design and infrastructure as well as deepening expertise in vaccine formulation and delivery.

30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what proportion of people employed within her Department have recorded that they have a disability.

DSIT employees remain employed by their previous departments until the new department is established by a Transfer of Functions order. Data for BEIS and DCMS employees can be found below.

For BEIS, the proportion of people employed by the Department who have recorded that they have a disability was 11% as of 28 February 2023.

As of 28th February, 9.1% of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport declared a disability.

11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of disabled people who cannot heat their homes to a safe temperature.

BEIS does not hold this data.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he will take to ensure that disabled people and their families are able to heat their homes to a safe temperature.

The Government is committed to protecting vulnerable customers, particularly those with disabilities. The Government’s Energy Price Guarantee will save a typical British household around £900 this winter. In addition, the Energy Bill Support Scheme gives households £400 off their energy bills, meaning a typical household will save around £1300. Around six million people across the UK who receive a Disability Living Allowance also received a one-off payment of £150 in September.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will meet with (a) energy companies and (b) disability charities to discuss support for the costs faced by people using medical equipment at home.

As set out in the Autumn Statement, the Government is developing a new approach to consumer protection in energy markets, which will apply from April 2024 onwards.

The Government has committed to work with consumer groups and industry to consider the best approach, including options such as social tariffs, as part of wider retail market reforms.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many SMEs in Lewisham, Deptford constituency have received Government funding to support them during the cost of living crisis.

The Government recognises the impact rising prices are having on businesses, including those in Lewisham, Deptford.

Businesses in Lewisham, Deptford will have benefitted from the Government’s reversal of the National Insurance rise, saving SMEs on average £4,200, cut fuel duty for 12 months and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, to protect SMEs from high energy costs over the winter. The Employment Allowance was increased to £5,000 from April and we have continued to provide business rate relief worth over £7bn, freezing the business rates multiplier for a further year.

The Government is providing financial support - 501 SMEs in Lewisham, Deptford have received Start Up Loans to the value of £3,595,932 as of November 2022.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with businesses in Lewisham, Deptford constituency on the potential impact of the cost of living crisis on those businesses.

The Government recognises the impact rising prices are having on businesses, including those in Lewisham, Deptford.

The Government has reversed the National Insurance rise, saving SMEs £4,200 on average, cut fuel duty for 12 months and brought in the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which is shielding businesses across the country from soaring energy prices, saving some around half of their wholesale energy costs. The Employment Allowance was increased to £5,000 from April and we have continued to provide business rate relief worth over £7bn, freezing the business rates multiplier for a further year.

We have also announced £13.6 billion of support for businesses over the next five years, reducing the burden of business rates for SMEs.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had recent discussions with the Minister for Women and Equalities on potential steps to help improve accessibility to (a) entrepreneurship and (b) business ownership for people with protected characteristics in Lewisham, Deptford constituency.

The Government is fully committed to supporting businesses and creating the best conditions for enterprise so that everyone, whatever their background, has the means and know how to start and grow a business.

We are supporting early-stage entrepreneurs from all backgrounds through the Start-Up Loans Company which provides funding and intensive support to new entrepreneurs.

Since 2012, 40% of Start Up Loans have gone to women, worth over £344m and 20% of loans worth 187m have gone to Black, Asian, and Ethnic-minority businesses. 501 SMEs in Lewisham, Deptford have received Start Up Loans to the value of £3,595,932 as of November 2022.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to increase funding for renewable energy sources in Lewisham, Deptford constituency.

Grant funding for renewable innovation or community-based renewable schemes is open for both local authorities and private investors to bid. The Contract for Difference scheme, the Government’s main mechanism for supporting low carbon generation, is awarded through a competitive process, ensuring that the most cost-effective projects are supported regardless of their location.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help increase the rate of energy efficiency measure installations in homes in Lewisham, Deptford constituency.

The Government is committed to improving the energy performance of homes across the country, including in Lewisham, Deptford.

The Government is already investing £6.6 billion over this parliament on decarbonising heat and energy efficiency measures.

An additional £6 billion of new Government funding, announced in the Autumn Statement, will be made available from 2025 to 2028. This provides long-term funding certainty, supporting the growth of supply chains and ensuring delivery can scale up over time.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effects of fracking on meeting global climate targets.

The Government issued a Written Ministerial Statement on 27 October confirming that it will adopt a presumption against issuing further hydraulic fracturing consents. This effective moratorium will be maintained until compelling new evidence is provided addressing concerns around the prediction and management of induced seismicity. As such, shale gas extraction will not impact the UK meeting global climate targets.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which Minister in in his Department is responsible for ensuring the safety of people with long-term health conditions who use lifesaving equipment, including ventilators and dialysis machines, in their own homes in the event of power blackouts this winter; and if his Department will publish its plans for protecting these individuals.

The Department of Health and Social Care is responsible for working with the nation’s health and social care sectors to support individuals with electricity dependent medical equipment at home. This includes those who need to use medical equipment that requires a power supply.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help ensure that care (a) providers and (b) recipients will be protected from energy blackouts in winter 2022; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of including care providers in the list of protected sites in the (i) Electricity Supply Emergency Code and (ii) other relevant Government documents.

Power cuts are highly unlikely. The Government has developed plans to protect households and businesses in a full range of scenarios this winter, despite the impact of Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine.

Sites that meet the criteria set out in the Electricity Supply Emergency Code https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electricity-supply-emergency-code can apply directly through their Distribution Network Operator (or Transmission Network Operator if they connect to that directly) to be on the Protected Sites List.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the recommendations of the National Audit Office report entitled Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme published on 8 September 2021, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of replacing the Green Homes Grant with another long-term retrofit scheme.

In order to ensure the Government continues to deliver its net zero ambitions and support a thriving building retrofit industry, the Government will be expanding its funding commitment for both the Homes Upgrade Grant scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund with up to £950 million and £800 million in additional funding respectively over 2022/23 to 2024/25. This takes total funding to over £6.4billion across the lifetime of this Parliament. The Government has also introduced a new Boiler Upgrade Scheme worth £450 million, which will provide capital grants towards the cost of a heat pump.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will make funding available for a public energy advice service in England which is equivalent to the funding provided by the Scottish Government to Home Energy Scotland.

By this summer, the Government will launch a comprehensive energy advice service on GOV.UK which will provide advice and information to consumers on improving the energy performance of their homes. The Government will also launch additional support for homeowners through telephone support and specific local area advice for energy consumers with further details, including on any funding, to be announced in due course.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many grants have been awarded via Energy Company Obligation Schemes to households in (a) the UK, (b) London and c) Lewisham Deptford constituency as of 8 June 2022.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme is not a grant scheme but an obligation that the Government has placed on larger energy suppliers to install energy efficiency and heating measures in people’s homes across Great Britain.

ECO has been in place since January 2013 and has delivered around 3.5 million measures in 2.4 million homes, of which around 172,000 are in London and 1,200 are in the Lewisham Deptford constituency. Statistics available at: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/household-energy-efficiency-statistics-headline-release-may-2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to help enable local authorities to install renewable power in existing social housing stock.

The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) will upgrade a significant amount of the social housing stock currently below EPC C up to that standard, delivering warm, energy-efficient homes, reducing carbon emissions and fuel bills, tackling fuel poverty, and supporting green jobs.

Over £1bn of funding has already been committed to the SHDF and associated Demonstrator, including £800m for the second Wave of funding from FY 22/23 to FY 24/25.

Renewable and low carbon technologies such as solar panels and heat pumps are included as eligible measures for SHDF funding. Solar is a key part of the Government’s strategy for increasing the energy performance of buildings and contributes to meeting the Government’s fuel poverty targets.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to introduce a minimum energy efficiency standard for all homes in the England.

The Government committed in the Clean Growth Strategy to improve as many homes as possible to EPC Band C by 2035 and as many private rental homes as possible to EPC band C by 2030 where practical, affordable and cost effective. In England, 46% of homes are now at EPC C or better, up from 14% in 2010.

In the Net Zero Strategy, the Government committed to consult on phasing in higher minimum standards across all sectors to meet this ambition. The Government has already consulted on higher standards in the private rented sector and will publish a Government Response in due course.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 3 February 2022 to Question 112643 on Disability Aids, what progress his Department has made towards setting research and development budgets through to 2024-25.

We have set out how BEIS’ record £39.8 billion R&D budget will be allocated across our partner organisations over the next three years in our ‘BEIS R&D: partner organisation allocation 2022/2023 to 2024/2025’ report published on 14 March.

BEIS will now be working with all partner organisations to determine detailed allocations within their envelopes, including at council level for UK Research and Innovation. Details of funding for specific programmes will be agreed by BEIS and partner organisations and set out in due course.

19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what targets have been set for energy suppliers to meet in terms of identifying and supporting disabled customers.

The Priority Services Register is a free support service to help people in vulnerable situations offered by energy suppliers. Each supplier keeps its own register and disabled, and other vulnerable, customers may contact their supplier and apply to be added.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the level of support provided by energy suppliers to disabled customers through programmes such as benefit entitlement checks and debt write-off.

Ofgem requires energy suppliers to support disabled customers, including protection from disconnection during the winter, and the provision of additional services through a Priority Services Register. Ofgem monitors compliance with their rules protecting vulnerable consumers and its most recent report is available at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2021-10/Ofgem%20Consumer%20Protection%20Report%20Autumn%202021_Final.pdf.

.

Under the Warm Home Discount scheme, Ofgem provides a breakdown in its annual report of the Industry Initiatives that support fuel poor and vulnerable households, including through benefit entitlement checks and debt write-off. The 2020-2021 report is available at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/warm-home-discount-annual-report-scheme-year-10.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he will make an assessment of the potential merits of revising the planned reforms to the Warm Home Discount eligibility criteria so all those in receipt of Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance are eligible for the support.

Introducing non-means-tested benefits, such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA), into the eligibility criteria would mean that many households on lower incomes and in deeper fuel poverty would be disadvantaged.

Around 62% of PIP and DLA recipients also receive one of the qualifying means-tested benefits and so would be considered low-income under the Core Group 2 criteria. Those households with high energy costs would be eligible for a rebate. Recipients of AA, a pension-age benefit, who claim Pension Credit Guarantee Credit will, in most cases, qualify for a rebate through Core Group 1.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who will qualify for the Warm Home Discount under the new Core Group 2.

The full eligibility criteria, including a list of the qualifying benefits, can be found in the recently published Government response on the scheme.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment he has made of the impact of disability and health status on energy costs; and if he will take steps to ensure that the eligibility criteria for the Warm Home Discount reflects the outcome of that assessment.

Some evidence suggests that households with a disabled person have higher heating costs than average. No household-level data is available that could be factored into specifically targeting those with the highest heating costs through the Warm Home Discount.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether higher energy costs and usage experienced by disabled people are accounted for in his Department's 2030 fuel poverty target.

The fuel poverty target is to ensure that as many fuel poor homes, as is reasonably practicable, achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C, by 2030.

The 2030 target does not include estimates of energy costs, including estimates for any specific groups.

Improving the energy efficiency of homes is the best way to tackle fuel poverty in the long term, contributing to energy bill reductions. Disabled people living in low-income households may be eligible for support through energy efficiency schemes such as the Local Authority Delivery Scheme, the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and the Energy Company Obligation.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the changes in support for disabled people through the Energy Company Obligation scheme, whether an assessment has been made of the impact on the finances of disabled people affected by this change.

ECO4 has been designed to focus support on households with the lowest incomes and alleviate fuel poverty. This will include households with disabled people on the lowest incomes. The scheme is designed to improve the energy efficiency of homes, through the installation of insulation or heating measures. Households benefitting from improvements could save an average of £300 per annum.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason, the Government did not take forward proposals for £5 million of Industry Initiatives to support disabled people who are struggling with energy costs but may not be eligible for a rebate; and if he will make a statement.

Respondents to last year’s consultation raised concerns that the proposal, especially if contributions from energy suppliers were made mandatory, risks overlapping with the support that suppliers can already provide to people with disabilities and health conditions.

The Government will continue to work with interested industry partners and third-party organisations to explore options based on voluntary contributions from energy suppliers, similar to other measures currently delivered through Industry Initiatives.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 1 April to Question 145949 on Fuels: Prices, whether his Department has carried out a full equality impact assessment of the rising fuel costs on disabled people.

BEIS does not determine the price of gas or electricity as these are set by global market conditions.

However, Ofgem’s price cap ensures that the price of tariffs is fair and that customers do not experience a loyalty penalty. As referred to in the previous answer, the Government is aware of the impact that high global wholesale energy prices are having on consumers and has put in place additional support worth £9.1bn on top of existing measures to support vulnerable households.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the impact of rising fuel costs on disabled people.

The Government is committed to protecting customers from price spikes, particularly vulnerable customers. This support includes:

  • A £200 rebate for households delivered via their energy bill this autumn, paid back automatically over the next 5 years, spreading the increased costs of global prices over time in a way that is more manageable for households.
  • A £150 non-repayable reduction in Council Tax bills for all households in Bands A-D in England.
  • £144 million of discretionary funding for Local Authorities to support households who need support but are not eligible for the Council Tax reduction.

This is in addition to the range of support for low-income, fuel poor and vulnerable households including:

  • Warm Home Discount, providing eligible households with a one-off £140 discount on their energy bill for winter 2021 to 2022.
  • The Winter Fuel Payments, worth between £100 and £300 are paid automatically to those in receipt of State Pension or other social security benefit.
  • The Cold Weather Payments, which is a £25 payment for vulnerable households on qualifying benefits when the weather is or expected to be unusually cold.

As announced in the Spring Statement, the Government has also provided an extra £500 million for local authorities through the new Household Support Fund to provide help to millions of the most in need.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of changes to the Warm Home Discount scheme on people claiming (a) disability living allowance, (b) personal independence payments and (c) attendance allowance, who will no longer be eligible to apply for that scheme.

The Warm Home Discount is a key part of the Government’s strategy to tackle fuel poverty. The Government consulted on reforming the Warm Home Discount scheme to better target fuel poverty and to provide the rebates automatically to households, as announced in the Energy White Paper. The Government’s response to the consultation will be published in the coming weeks.

The reforms include focusing support on households on the lowest incomes who are struggling to heat their homes. Eligibility would therefore be linked to receipt of a qualifying means-tested benefit and having high energy costs. Households in receipt of a disability benefit, as well as one of the qualifying means-tested benefits and with high energy costs, would be eligible for a rebate.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to publish the outcome of its Making flexible working the default consultation.

The Government consultation on making flexible working the default closed on 1 December 2021, with over 1,600 responses received. We are currently analysing these responses and look forward to publishing the outcome in due course.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published July 2021, what recent steps his Department has taken on (a) encouraging and supporting workplace disability networks, (b) achieving and maintaining the highest level of Disability Confident accreditation, (c) ensuring responsive and timely support to meet workplace adjustment needs and (d) developing and embedding flexible working.

The Department has taken the following steps:

a) BEIS has an existing disability network which brings together colleagues with disabilities and long-term health conditions. The network is supported by a champion from the Senior Civil Service and has access to Purple Space, which is a professional development hub for disability network leaders.

b) BEIS was accredited as a Disability Confident Leader in 2017 and was successfully reaccredited in 2020. This was validated by Business Disability Forum (BDF) and the Department continues to work closely with BDF as well as the disability network to ensure that BEIS maintains the standards of a Disability Confident Leader.

c) Support is given at recruitment stage for reasonable adjustments or in the event of ill health during employment. We have specialist software readily available to support several different disabilities, policies that allow flexible working patterns, and access to specialist equipment.

d) BEIS has developed a wide range of flexible working practices that have been operating since our creation in 2016. A recent addition is the opportunity for staff to work in a hybrid way (a blend of office and home working).

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published on 28 July 2021, what steps his Department has taken to date to challenge UKRI and other research stakeholders to use future innovation challenges to accelerate innovation in assistive technologies.

The future of any UKRI innovation challenge-funding is subject to an ongoing SR allocations process which BEIS is currently working through to set R&D budgets through to 2024/25.

The work that UK Research and Innovation have undertaken to accelerate innovation in assistive technologies is set out in the National Institute of Health Research’s report on Research and Development Work Relating to Assistive Technology: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/research-and-development-work-relating-to-assistive-technology-2018-to-2019

26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the National Disability Strategy, published on 28 July 2021, when his Department plans to publish proposals to ensure that every disabled person who wants to start a business has the opportunity to do so.

The Secretary of State has committed to publishing an Enterprise Strategy. This includes a focus on giving every disabled person that wants to start a business the opportunity to do so, including entrepreneurs with disabilities. The strategy is under development and will be published this year. Engagement has already taken place with disabled entrepreneurs and representative organisations, as well as with the relevant government departments.

26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published on 28 July 2021, what progress his Department has made on the setting up of an Extra Costs Taskforce, in conjunction with the Cabinet Office.

To inform the scope and focus of the Extra Costs Taskforce, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, alongside the Cabinet Office, will identify the key areas where disabled people experience extra costs. We will be informed by the insights and experiences of disabled people, businesses, and other relevant organisations, to ensure the Taskforce delivers the greatest impact for those it is seeking to help. We will set out in due course our plans for establishing the Taskforce by summer 2022, as committed in the National Disability Strategy.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of hospitality businesses that applied for a loan under the Recovery Loan Scheme were successful in their application in (a) Lewisham Deptford constituency, (b) London and (c) the UK.

The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) is delivered by the British Business Bank (BBB) through commercial lenders. The BBB does not capture application data on the RLS; lenders are required to notify the BBB of RLS facilities that have been offered and drawn.

8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will include in the forthcoming Employment Bill an extension of maternity allowance for fathers who are ineligible for paternity leave and pay or other statutory support.

There are a number of entitlements that support partners in caring for their new baby and support the mother following birth. Employed partners who meet the qualifying criteria can take up to two weeks of paid leave between the birth of their child and the first 56 days following birth. In addition, partners who meet the eligibility criteria have access to paid annual leave, the Right to Request Flexible Working and Shared Parental Leave.

Maternity Allowance provides an element of earnings replacement for pregnant women and new mothers who are not eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay. This is because Maternity Allowance is intended to help a woman to stop working in the later stages of her pregnancy, and in the months after childbirth, in the interests of her own and her baby's health and wellbeing. There is no equivalent paternity allowance, as there are no equivalent health and safety considerations for fathers.

The detailed content for the Employment Bill will be published in due course. In the meantime, we continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that the measures for the bill deliver on our plan to build a high skilled, high productivity, high wage economy as we build back better.

25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure all claimants of the Warm Home Discount who have been forced to reapply as a result of their energy provider ceasing trading in recent months are not excluded from that support by their new provider.

When an energy supplier leaves the market, Ofgem appoints a Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) to take over its customers. SoLRs are not obliged to provide the Warm Home Discount to transferred customers; however, all SoLRs have honoured this obligation in the past and we would expect that SoLRs continue to honour these obligations.

The Government recently concluded a consultation on the future scheme, which included a proposal to reform the scheme. Under the proposals, the vast majority of households would receive their rebates automatically, without having to apply. This would make it easier for SoLRs to make the Warm Home Discount rebate payments to newly transferred customers. BEIS will be publishing the Government’s response to the consultation in the coming months, with the reforms coming into force from the 2022/23 scheme year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that retailers are using payment card reader technology that is accessible to people who are blind or partially-sighted.

The disability provisions in the Equality Act 2010 require providers of services and facilities to the public to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ so that disabled people are not placed at a “substantial disadvantage” compared to non-disabled people.

The reasonable adjustment duty is an anticipatory duty because it is owed to disabled people in general. This means that people who provide goods, services and facilities to members of the public are expected to anticipate the requirements of disabled customers and the adjustments that may have to be made for them.

The Act has reinforced the legal responsibility for all businesses to cater for disabled customers—and this includes accepting a chip and signature card. Retailers who take card payments are obliged to accept chip and signature cards.

Anyone who feels that they may have suffered unlawful discrimination may wish to contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service, which offers free advice to people across, England, Scotland and Wales. The service can be contact by Freephone on 0808 800 0082 or via its website at https://www.equalityadvisoryservice.com/.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the the Independent Experts Committee on Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and its meeting of September 2020, for what reasons that Committee's membership did not comprise existing stakeholders who had worked on the review for more than 10 years; and if he will publish details of the research that the Independent Experts Committee decided necessary for a review of (a) the overall regulations and (b) children's products.

In July 2019, the Government announced it would develop a new approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.

The Government does not have an ‘Independent Experts Committee’ advising on the review of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. The Government seeks independent expert input and advice from a range of individuals and organisations.

As part of the formulation of Government policy, it is essential that officials are able to seek advice from external parties with relevant knowledge and experience. Third parties must feel that they can provide Government with candid views without fear that that information will be made public, particularly when those views relate to sensitive and ongoing issues. As such, the Government does not intend to publish the individual pieces of advice received from independent experts on this topic. All completed research relating to product safety is published on gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/product-safety-research). This is updated periodically with details of further commissioned research.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Independent Experts Committee on the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, established in September 2020, whether that committee has published (a) details of its 13 members and organisations and (b) meeting notes; what process was used for selecting that Committee's membership; and what feedback was received from other Government departments on that selection process.

In July 2019, the Government announced it would develop a new approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.

The Government does not have an ‘Independent Experts Committee’ advising on the review of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. The Government seeks independent expert input and advice from a range of individuals and organisations.

As part of the formulation of Government policy, it is essential that officials are able to seek advice from external parties with relevant knowledge and experience. Third parties must feel that they can provide Government with candid views without fear that that information will be made public, particularly when those views relate to sensitive and ongoing issues. As such, the Government does not intend to publish the individual pieces of advice received from independent experts on this topic. All completed research relating to product safety is published on gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/product-safety-research). This is updated periodically with details of further commissioned research.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the presentation by the Office for Product Safety and Standards on The New Approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations at the Chemical Stakeholder Forum on 10 February 2021, whether the new regulations to be made at the end of 2022 are to include new British Standards for product fire safety.

In July 2019, the Government announced it would develop a new approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and develop Regulations based on safety outcomes. In support of these Regulations, standards are being developed independently by the British Standards Institution.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to recommendation 8 of the Environmental Audit Committee's Twentieth Report of Session 2017-19 on Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life published on 16 July 2019, for what reason children's products have not yet been removed from the scope of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988; and what his timetable is for reviewing the scope of those regulations.

The Government has committed to review the status of baby products in the scope of the new regulations. To help inform this, the Government has recently commissioned research to understand the fire risk that certain products, including baby products, pose. Formal consultation on the new approach is currently planned for early 2022.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government has taken to reduce flame retardants in UK furniture; and what reductions have been achieved since 2014.

To support the development of its new approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, the Government has undertaken two consultations on proposals to update the prescribed tests as set out in the schedules of the 1988 Regulations. Revision of the Regulations is complex, and a broad spectrum of views were expressed through these consultations.

In July 2019, the Government announced it would develop a new approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and develop Regulations based on safety outcomes. In support of these Regulations, standards are being developed independently by the British Standards Institution.

The 1988 Regulations already allow for the use of materials and products that deliver consumer safety from fires, without using chemical flame retardants and the Government continues to welcome innovative approaches that deliver safe outcomes for consumers.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of revoking that legislation.

The Government recognises that the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 need to be updated to respond to developments in furniture design, innovation, manufacturing processes and environmental and health concerns whilst maintaining product safety protections.

In July 2019, the Government announced it would develop a new approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 based on outcomes with standards developed independently by the British Standards Institution.

The new approach was recommended following consultation with fire chiefs, the public, manufacturers, suppliers and advice from Chief Scientific Advisors from across Government.

Formal consultation on the new approach is currently planned for Spring 2022.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the presentation by the Office for Product Safety and Standards on The New Approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations at the Chemical Stakeholder Forum on 10 February 2021, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the evidence that those regulations provide fire safety with the Department's earlier conclusions on those regulations in 2014.

The Government recognises that the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 need to be updated to respond to developments in furniture design, innovation, manufacturing processes and environmental and health concerns whilst maintaining product safety protections.

In July 2019, the Government announced it would develop a new approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 based on outcomes with standards developed independently by the British Standards Institution.

The new approach was recommended following consultation with fire chiefs, the public, manufacturers, suppliers and advice from Chief Scientific Advisors from across Government.

Formal consultation on the new approach is currently planned for Spring 2022.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has taken steps to make the general public aware that furniture may contain the flame retardant DecaBDE which was banned under UK REACH in March 2019.

With effect from 2 March 2019, the use of Deca-BDE was restricted through REACH – this prevents the manufacture and supply on the market of Deca-BDE, including in articles such as furniture. The restriction does not apply to articles placed on the market before 2 March 2019.

A list of restricted substances is available on the Health and Safety Executive website: https://www.hse.gov.uk/reach/restrictions.htm.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to help reduce the number of sofas and mattresses in UK homes that contain the flame retardant chemical DecaBDE, which was banned under UK REACH in March 2019.

With effect from 2 March 2019, the use of Deca-BDE was restricted through REACH – this prevents the manufacture and supply on the market of Deca-BDE, including in articles such as furniture. The restriction does not apply to articles placed on the market before 2 March 2019.

A list of restricted substances is available on the Health and Safety Executive website: https://www.hse.gov.uk/reach/restrictions.htm.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to publish guidance on the rights of disabled workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has published extensive guidance on employment and safer working throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. This can be found on GOV.UK and through the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Further guidance on employment rights and aspects of good practice has been published by other bodies such as ACAS and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Government has also produced guidance around some new situations which have arisen from the Covid-19 outbreak, for example for those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and on self-isolation. This suite of guidance covers the employment rights of disabled people alongside other groups in the workforce.

The Government continues to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work, including during the Covid-19 outbreak. Through the Disability Confident scheme, we are engaging employers and providing them with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace.? Our new Employer Help site provides advice on recruitment and employment of disabled people, explaining how Disability Confident and Access to Work can help businesses to ensure their practices are fair and inclusive.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will meet with (a) disabled people and (b) disability organisations to co-produce guidance for employers on the rights of disabled employees during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has published extensive guidance on employment and safer working throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. This can be found on GOV.UK and through the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Further guidance on employment rights and aspects of good practice has been published by other bodies such as ACAS and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Government has also produced guidance around some new situations which have arisen from the Covid-19 outbreak, for example for those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and on self-isolation. This suite of guidance covers the employment rights of disabled people alongside other groups in the workforce.

The Government continues to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work, including during the Covid-19 outbreak. Through the Disability Confident scheme, we are engaging employers and providing them with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace.? Our new Employer Help site provides advice on recruitment and employment of disabled people, explaining how Disability Confident and Access to Work can help businesses to ensure their practices are fair and inclusive.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance and support he has provided to businesses to ensure that (a) they are covid-safe and (b) staff who are shielding can return to work safely on 1 August 2020.

We have set out COVID-secure guidance to help businesses take the measures that are right for them. The weblink for the new guidance is www.gov.uk/workingsafely. The Government has also developed a tool to help businesses in England to reopen safely during coronavirus. The tool encourages businesses to carry out a risk assessment and helps to identify the workplace adjustments that they should make. Employees can also the tool use it to check what their workplace needs to do to keep people safe: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening.

The latest Department for Health and Social Care guidance should be followed, which is being incorporated effectively into the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s working safely COVID-secure guidance for 1 August 2020: 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.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance he has provided to (a) businesses and (b) service providers on making social distancing measures in place during the covid-19 outbreak accessible for blind and partially sighted people.

It is critical that employers offer safe workplaces. The Government has published guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These guides cover a range of working environments and are available at www.gov.uk/workingsafely.

This guidance does not replace health and safety or equalities legislation, it provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

Employees have a legal duty to make sure the workplace is safe for their employees; this includes reasonable adjustments for employees with disabilities and those who are clinically vulnerable.

The safer workplaces guidance provides some suggestions to help employers make their workplaces COVID-19 secure for their employees, visitors and customers.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps the Government has taken to ensure that banks provide loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is part of a comprehensive package of measures designed to support businesses facing difficulties in this period.

Accredited lenders are responsible for providing loans under the CBILS. Decision-making on whether a business is eligible to access the CBILS is fully delegated to the accredited lenders, and individual lending decisions remain at the discretion of these lenders.

Since the CBILS launched, Government has listened to feedback from stakeholders and made changes to ensure that loans are processed as quickly as possible. These changes include:

  • Extending the scheme so that all viable small businesses affected by Covid-19 are eligible;
  • Removing previous restrictions on the following groups to enable them to access the CBILS, subject to other eligibility criteria being met: Employer, professional, religious or political membership organisations and trade unions;
  • Removing the ability for lenders to ask for personal guarantees for loans under £250,000, and reducing the personal guarantee for loans over £250,000 to 20% of the outstanding balance after recoveries;
  • Introducing technical changes to ensure that applications will be processed faster;
  • Removing the forward-looking viability test; and
  • Removing the per lender portfolio cap.

The Government continues to work with banks and other finance providers to help SMEs access the finance they need.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 30 October 2019 to Question 3780 on Loneliness, whether her Department has published examples of good employer practice in tackling loneliness.

Government continues to work with the Campaign to End Loneliness to gather examples of employer good practice in tackling loneliness. As reported in the Loneliness Annual Report published in January, we intend to publish a good practice guide in Spring 2020.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 30 October 2019 to Question 3777 on loneliness, how many employers have signed the Campaign to End Loneliness Pledge to date.

Since October 2019, we have continued to engage with a range of organisations through the Employers Leadership Group and others including the Federation of Small Businesses, Contact the Elderly and TalkTalk, to draw together examples of good practice in tackling loneliness. Thirty employers have so far signed the Campaign to End Loneliness Pledge. BEIS and Campaign to End Loneliness are in contact with a number of others who are considering signing up.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to support women with endometriosis in the workplace.

It is our priority to make the UK the best place in the world to work. The Government is determined to ensure employers are fully equipped to support those who are experiencing long term health conditions. We consulted for employees with long term health conditions last year on a range of measures to encourage early and supportive action by employers and on how to boost the support that Government provides. We will publish our response to that consultation in due course.

Flexible working can be key in helping people to manage long term health conditions and work. Subject to consultation, the Government will be bringing forward measures in an Employment Bill to make flexible working the default.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to page 53 of the consultation document entitled Disability Action Plan: Consultation, published in July 2023, what steps her Department is taking to encourage autism-friendly programmes in the cultural and heritage sectors; and whether she (a) has made and (b) plans to make an assessment of the effectiveness of those programmes.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport works closely with its arm’s-length bodies, such as Arts Council England (ACE), the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and Historic England (HE), to ensure that the cultural and heritage sectors are accessible to everyone, including those who are autistic.

ACE provides regular funding to disability-led organisations across the country through its National Portfolio Organisation investment programme. This programme includes organisations that support neurodivergent creatives and autism-friendly programming – for example, Unanima Theatre: a new joiner to the 2023–26 investment programme, which has an exclusively learning disabled and autistic cast who draw on their lives and experiences when creating work.

More broadly, ACE has worked to increase the investment in disability-led organisations across the National Portfolio; within the current portfolio there are now 32 such organisations. ACE monitors each organisation throughout the funding period, in this case 2023–26, to ensure they deliver the plans and activity agreed with ACE.

NLHF regularly funds projects that focus on autism. In 2022, it awarded £245,104 to The National Autistic Society which celebrated and preserved the stories, voices and memories of autistic people. In the same year, VocalEyes was awarded £99,814 to launch a digital heritage volunteering initiative providing neurodiverse people with valuable heritage volunteering experience and contributing to vital access and inclusion work in the sector. As a funding body, NLHF expects funding recipients to report back on expected outcomes and the intended effectiveness/impact of the programme.

Finally, HE has recently launched a new funding round for its Everyday Heritage Grants programme, with neurodiversity and disability identified as groups of people HE is particularly keen to engage and fund. HE will be measuring funded projects looking at the impact on wellbeing outcomes.

21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the National Disability Strategy published on 28 July 2021, which of her Department’s commitments in that strategy that have not been paused as a result of legal action have (a) been fully, (b) been partially and (c) not been implemented.

In January 2022, the High Court declared the National Disability Strategy (NDS) was unlawful because the UK Disability Survey, which informed it, was held to be a voluntary consultation that failed to comply with the legal requirements on public consultations.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport had four policies included in the National Disability Strategy. These were to: introduce a new free arts access card to make it easier for disabled people to enjoy the arts and cultural venues across the UK; make the UK the most accessible tourism destination in Europe; work with Sport England to address the inequalities faced by disabled people in sport and physical activity; and explore how to improve the accessibility of private sector websites.

Firstly, we are continuing to develop the Arts Access Card Scheme, which will make it easier for disabled people to enjoy arts and cultural venues across the UK. The pilot of the scheme is scheduled to launch in spring 2024.

Secondly, we are progressing our ambition for the UK to be the most accessible tourism destination in Europe by engaging with stakeholders, including VisitEngland, VisitBritain and the Tourism Industry Council Working Group, and we are also aiming to host a series of ministerial roundtables to discuss the barriers disabled people face as tourists.

Thirdly, we are continuing to address the inequalities faced by disabled people in sport and physical activity. As such, Sport England has provided £1 million of specialist disability investment as part of its ongoing ‘recover and reinvent’ work, 47 grants through the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Activity Fund to projects benefiting autistic people and £40 million in the 2 financial years to March 2023 through the Tackling Inequalities Fund and Together Fund (reaching 1,900 projects directly supporting disabled people).

The action in the NDS for DCMS to explore how to improve the accessibility of private sector websites now falls under the auspices of the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

We remain fully committed to supporting disabled people in the UK through creating more opportunities, protecting their rights and ensuring they fully benefit from, and can contribute to, every aspect of our society. To support this, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will be providing further details of our recent achievements to improve disabled people’s lives in the forthcoming Disability Action Plan consultation due for publication in the summer.

Ahead of this, the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work will write providing a list of these achievements and will place a copy in the House Library.

30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of people employed within her Department have recorded that they have a disability.

As at 1 April 2023, 10.1% of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) employees have declared a disability. This answer does not include staff from DCMS who have moved to the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and does not include any Executive Agencies or Arms Length Bodies.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials in her Department have had with representatives of companies with powers under the Electronic Communications Code since March 2021.

The full list of Ministerial meetings is published on GOV.UK on a quarterly basis.

Ministers and officials meet with representatives of companies with powers under the Electronic Communications Code (the Code), on a regular basis to discuss a wide range of policy and delivery matters, including those related to the Electronic Communications Code.

15th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an estimate of the number of local authorities that have had reduced rental income from telecommunications apparatus following renegotiations with (a) network and (b) infrastructure providers after the Electronic Communications Code was reformed in 2017; and if she will make a statement.

The reforms made to the Code in 2017 were intended to make it cheaper and easier for digital infrastructure to be deployed, maintained and upgraded. These reforms recognised the increasing importance of digital communications services to UK consumers and businesses, and to the wider economy.

The Government recognised that the reforms would mean landowners receiving lower payments for allowing their land or buildings to be used than had previously been the case. However, these changes were only introduced following an extensive period of consultation and research, and were considered necessary to reduce operator costs and encourage the industry investment required for the UK to get the digital communications infrastructure it needs.

The 2017 reforms did not retrospectively alter the terms of agreements that had been completed before the 2017 reforms came into force. However, once a Code agreement expires, it is open to either the operator or the site provider to seek a renewal of that agreement and negotiate new terms.

Most Code agreements are agreed on a consensual basis and often include a confidentiality clause, which means that information about its financial terms agreed cannot be shared with others or made publicly available, except in limited circumstances or with the other party’s permission. It is therefore not possible to estimate the number of local authorities which may have seen a reduction in rent following the expiry and renegotiation of Code agreements on their property since 2017.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published July 2021, what recent steps her Department has taken to (a) encourage and support workplace disability networks, (b) achieve and maintain the highest level of Disability Confident accreditation, (c) ensure responsive and timely support to meet workplace adjustment needs and (d) develop and embed flexible working.

My Department has a very active and engaged ‘Ability Network’ which champions the needs and abilities of people with disabilities in DCMS. The Network is sponsored by three Senior Civil Servant Champions at Deputy Director, Director and Director General level who help to promote awareness and remove barriers to inclusion. The Chairs benefit from a ‘business deal for networks’ which enables them to dedicate up to 10% of their time to network activity. Senior sponsors meet with the Permanent Secretary (who is the Civil Service Inclusion Champion for Disability) on a quarterly basis and the Network is represented in our Governance structures with a role on the People and Operations Committee which meets monthly. Visibility of the network is supported by our Internal Communications team with regular awareness raising activity including, most recently, a series of events and blog posts for Disability History month which took place in December.

I am proud that DCMS has achieved the highest level of Disability Confident accreditation which we will maintain through continuous improvement of our guidance and toolkits for disabled colleagues and their managers; and by taking forward an evidence based disability action plan which reflects best practice. As part of our commitment to be the most inclusive government department by 2025 we are undertaking a full review of the workplace adjustments process to ensure that adjustments are provided promptly and meet the required need.

DCMS has achieved the PAS 3000 British Standard for Smarter Working which is a key part of our inclusive culture. All staff have the right to request flexible working after 26 weeks’ of continuous service and we look forward to the outcome of the BEIS consultation to see if this can be reduced to a day 1 right. We also encourage staff to consider flexible working through our HR policies and we promote flexible working through internal communications and blogs. In addition, as part of our move to a hybrid working model, staff can request workplace adjustments, with one option to permanently work from home in certain limited circumstances.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published 28 July 2021, what recent steps her Department has taken to (a) build the evidence base on the nature and scale of the inaccessibility of private sector websites and (b) explore how the Government can effectively intervene.

We are aware that for people who have a disability, inadequate design of apps or websites - which does not take disabled users into account - is a significant issue. As part of the commitment made in the government’s National Disability Strategy 2021, DCMS commissioned an internal study into the nature and scale of the inaccessibility of private sector websites; the first stage of which was completed in late 2021.

The conclusions of this study are currently being considered by policy teams in collaboration with the government’s disability unit. DCMS is using this evidence to explore how the government can make effective interventions in this space. We aim to conclude our findings and options in spring 2022.

This work will complement the government’s 2018 publication of the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations. Led and monitored by the Government Digital Services (GDS), these regulations require UK public sector websites and apps to be made accessible, unless it would be disproportionate to do so.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published 28 July 2021, what progress her Department has made on developing a new training programme to better enable social workers to promote physical activity to disabled people.

As part of the National Disability Strategy, Sport England, DCMS's arm’s length body for grassroots sport in England, made a commitment to develop and pilot a new training programme to better enable social workers to promote physical activity to disabled people in 2022. To deliver on this commitment, the Moving Social Work programme has been established to create resources and co-design strategies for the education of social workers. It has four phases; scoping, content production, effectiveness testing and final production.

The programme is currently on track against its delivery plan. The next steps include running a number of ‘knowledge cafes’ as part of the co-production element of the programme.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published 28 July 2021, what progress she has made on the launching of a free, UK-wide arts access card by March 2022.

The Government is committed to the development of an arts and cultural sector that is representative of modern society and in which there are no barriers to participation.

As announced in the new Government Disability Strategy, Arts Councils across the UK are working together with the British Film Institute to launch a free, UK-wide arts access card by March 2023. March 2022 will see these organisations start work on their soft launch and pilot. This access card will be usable across all arts and cultural venues, for seamless, barrier-free booking that is responsive to individual circumstances and needs.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published 28 July 2021, how many roundtables the Minister for Sport and Tourism has held to date with stakeholders across the tourism industry to improve understanding of the barriers disabled people face as tourists.

My department undertakes multiple discussions with stakeholders on an ongoing basis through forums such as the Tourism Industry Council. My department is currently in the process of establishing a Working Group of the Tourism Industry Council to support the government objectives on Accessibility, and is selecting stakeholders who will participate in that Working Group.

In addition, I am hosting a meeting with Cross-Government Accessibility Ambassadors next week, where the Tourism Accessibility Ambassador will also be in attendance, to gather further insight on how we can improve accessibility across the sector.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published 28 July 2021, what recent steps her Department has taken to work with the Inclusive Tourism Action Group to promote the National Accessible Scheme.

We have continued to engage with stakeholders to assess how we can support inclusive and accessible tourism as the sector recovers from Covid-19. This includes England’s Inclusive Tourism Action Group, organised by VisitEngland and comprising a range of leading accessible tourism stakeholders.

The Inclusive Tourism Action Group runs the National Accessible Scheme which rates tourist accommodation based on their suitability for guests with accessibility requirements. VisitEngland will shortly undertake a full strategic review of the National Accessible Scheme, which will be informed by new consumer research. Members of England’s Inclusive Tourism Action Group will be key consultees for the review.

The Government is committed to improving the lives of disabled people. In July 2021 the government announced the National Strategy for Disabled People, which includes our ambition to make the UK the most accessible tourism destination in Europe by 2025. The strategy takes into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people and focuses on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects and phases of life.

I am hosting a meeting with Cross-Government Accessibility Ambassadors next week, including the Accessibility Ambassador for the Tourism sector, as we look to further progress the ambitions set out in the National Strategy for Disabled People.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published 28 July 2021, what recent steps her Department has taken to work with VisitBritain, VisitEngland and other stakeholders in the tourism sector to promote the importance of accessible tourism in the media and to businesses.

The Tourism Recovery Plan, published in June 2021, included the government’s commitment to recruit a new Disability and Access Ambassador for Tourism. Following an open recruitment process in 2021, Ross Calladine (Head of Business Support for VisitEngland), was appointed as the Tourism Ambassador in January 2022. The Ambassador role will drive improvement in tourism accessibility and quality of services in facilities for disabled people in the tourism Industry, and help to ensure businesses are doing all they can to support disabled customers.

The Government introduced new building regulations in January 2021, which made ‘Changing Places’ toilets a requirement in all new hotels as well as other public buildings, such as zoos and theme parks with a capacity of over 2000 people and museums. This is a positive step to promote the importance of accessibility in businesses that serve tourists. The Government invited unitary and district local authorities to opt-in to its £30 million Changing Places Fund to increase the provision of Changing Places toilets in toilet buildings.

VisitEngland has developed a dedicated web portal providing tailored business advice to tourism businesses, including guidance on how to welcome guests with different access needs. It has also ensured that its promotional and marketing activities are inclusive. For example, its Escape the Everyday campaign worked in partnership with Channel 4 to launch the Mission: Accessible series, which showcases accessible places to visit across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Prime Minister's speech at the National Lottery Paralympics GB Homecoming event on 12 September 2021, how the additional funding for disability sports will be allocated.

On 15th August, the Government publicly committed to providing £232 million to support Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The £232 million Grant In Aid funding will be invested into aspiring Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes as well as their coaches and support staff, in addition to funding from the National Lottery.

UK Sport, the strategic lead body for high performance sport in the UK, will be responsible for allocating the funding to athletes for the Paris cycle. Athletes will benefit through their World Class Programme and Progression Funding, which will provide vital support towards reaching the pinnacle of their sports as preparations begin for Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Prime Minister's speech at the National Lottery Paralympics GB Homecoming event on 12 September 2021, what the source is of the extra funding for disability sports.

On 15th August, the Government publicly committed to providing £232 million to support Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The £232 million Grant In Aid funding will be invested into aspiring Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes as well as their coaches and support staff, in addition to funding from the National Lottery.

UK Sport, the strategic lead body for high performance sport in the UK, will be responsible for allocating the funding to athletes for the Paris cycle. Athletes will benefit through their World Class Programme and Progression Funding, which will provide vital support towards reaching the pinnacle of their sports as preparations begin for Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on how many occasions officials in his Department met with David Cameron since July 2016; and what the (a) subject, (b) dates, (c) times and (d) durations of those meetings were.

Our records show officials from my Department have not had any meetings with the Rt. Hon David Cameron within this period.

Oliver Dowden
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2021 to Question 166491 on Digital Technology: Disability, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure that disabled people have access to the internet.

To tackle the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on disabled people DCMS launched the £2.5m digital inclusion Digital Lifeline fund on 25 February. The fund will provide 5000 devices, data and support for disabled people to use the devices safely and confidently.

The government is working on the project with leading digital inclusion charities Good Things Foundation and AbilityNet, both highly experienced in helping disabled people boost their mental health and achieve their goals through digital technology.

The Government has worked closely with industry throughout the pandemic and has agreed a set of commitments with the UK’s major broadband and mobile operators to support vulnerable consumers during the Covid-19 period. Providers committed to working with customers who are finding it difficult to pay their bill as a result of Covid-19 to ensure that they are treated fairly and appropriately supported. Supplementary to this work, Ofcom published a Vulnerability Guide for providers, setting out its expectations and good practice on how vulnerable telecoms consumers should be supported.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of the prevalence of digital exclusion among disabled people.

There are several sources that the government uses to understand the prevalence of digital exclusion among disabled people. Ofcom survey data from 2020 suggests that 23% of those with any limitations/impairments don’t use the internet or have home internet access. The ONS publication ‘Exploring the UK’s Digital Divide’ 2019 states that in 2017, 56% of adult internet non-users were disabled. The 2020 Lloyds Consumer Digital Index tells us that people with an impairment are 25% less likely to have the skills to access devices and get online by themselves.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much of the Government's £16.5 million youth covid-19 support fund has been allocated to youth services to date.

Government recognises the important role that youth services play in communities, which is why we recently announced the £16.5 million Youth Covid-19 Support Fund (YCSF) that will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country.

£1.7m of the YCSF has already been allocated to vital youth work qualifications and training.

The competition for the remainder of the funding opened on Friday 15 January 2021 and will remain open until 19 February. It will help to mitigate the impact of lost income during the winter period due to the coronavirus pandemic, and ensure services providing vital support can remain viable.

To distribute funding as soon as possible, we will make initial awards on a rolling basis, prioritising those deemed to have the greatest need against the stated criteria. The first tranche of applications will be assessed in the coming fortnight.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many youth services organisations have accessed the Government's £16.5 million youth covid-19 support fund to date.

Government recognises the important role that youth services play in communities, which is why we recently announced the £16.5 million Youth Covid-19 Support Fund (YCSF) that will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country.

£1.7m of the YCSF has already been allocated to vital youth work qualifications and training.

The competition for the remainder of the funding opened on Friday 15 January 2021 and will remain open until 19 February. It will help to mitigate the impact of lost income during the winter period due to the coronavirus pandemic, and ensure services providing vital support can remain viable.

To distribute funding as soon as possible, we will make initial awards on a rolling basis, prioritising those deemed to have the greatest need against the stated criteria. The first tranche of applications will be assessed in the coming fortnight.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that BT Openreach can gain access to buildings and install infrastructure for fibre optic connectivity.

The Electronic Communications Code (the Code) is the legal framework underpinning rights to install and maintain digital communications infrastructure on public and private land. We are working closely with stakeholders to understand whether the current legislative framework supports the delivery of the gigabit-capable infrastructure, and intend to consult on whether further reforms to the Code are necessary to support the delivery of gigabit-capable connectivity.

We have also introduced the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill, which will make it easier for operators to install gigabit-capable broadband in blocks of flats and apartments in cases when the landowner does not respond to repeated requests for access.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department in taking to prevent developers entering into exclusivity arrangements with internet providers and locking residents in to a limited range of broadband services.

Ofcom has powers to impose network access requirements on providers it deems to hold significant market power, requiring these providers to allow other operators to access their network. Ofcom regularly reviews market definitions and remedies, and is currently consulting on regulations to apply from April 2021.

Additionally, the Communications (Access to Infrastructure) Regulations 2016 enable telecoms operators to request information about the physical infrastructure of other utilities, transport and communications providers, and provide the right to access that infrastructure on fair and reasonable terms and conditions. We are currently reviewing whether these Regulations can be improved to encourage more use of infrastructure sharing to deploy telecoms networks.

Taken together, these measures help increase the numbers of different services consumers can choose from.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help ensure the economic viability of theatres that are unable to operate under social distancing measures.

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

In order to support the Arts sector through the pandemic, DCMS has worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to provide a tailored package of financial support. In March, ACE announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

This package includes £140 million of support for artistic organisations including theatres, and £20 million for individuals, including self-employed theatre practitioners, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. More than 9000 individuals and organisations have been successful in applying for this emergency funding.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult the arts sectors extensively to ensure we fully understand the impacts of Covid-19 and remain well placed to respond as the landscape develops. On the basis of that engagement, DCMS and ACE are continuing to work closely to consider the additional measures that are needed to ensure the long-term recovery and growth of the cultural sector, including theatres.

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure the financial resilience of service delivery charities in the (a) delay and (b) mitigate phases of the response to covid-19.

Ministers and officials are in constant dialogue with partners in these sectors to build and maintain a complete and up to date understanding of the challenges. We are working urgently with colleagues across government to shape support available to mitigate risks in the coming weeks and months.

Oliver Dowden
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) EU and (b) non-EU nationals employed in the creative arts industries.

The department produces annual employment statistics for the creative industries, published as part of DCMS’s economic estimates. The numbers of EU and non-EU nationals employed in the creative industries in 2018 are given in the table below. Overall, employees in the creative industries are 85.8% UK, 7.4% EU and 6.8% non-EU nationals.

Creative Industries employment by subsector in 2018, 000s [1]

Sub-sector

UK

EU [2]

Non-EU

1. Advertising and marketing

168

15

12

2. Architecture

96

-

-

3. Crafts

9

-

-

4. Design and designer fashion

143

11

-

5. Film, TV, video, radio and photography

219

19

8

6. IT, software and computer services

604

50

78

7. Publishing

164

24

11

8. Museums, Galleries and Libraries

80

-

-

9. Music, performing and visual arts

268

17

12

Creative Industries

1,750

150

139

Source: DCMS Economic Estimates, Employment 2018 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/dcms-sectors-economic-estimates-2018-employment

Notes

1. Estimates rounded to the nearest 1,000.

2. Does not include UK nationals

Notation

"-" Figure has been suppressed due to disclosiveness

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate her Department has made of the number of youth centres that have closed in (a) Lewisham Deptford, (b) Lewisham borough, (c) London and (d) the UK in each year since 2010.

The data concerning the number of youth service centres that have closed in (a) Lewisham Deptford, (b) Lewisham borough, (c) London and (d) the UK in each year since 2010 is not held by my Department.

It is the responsibility of local authorities to allocate funding for local services, in line with local need. Individual local authorities would be best placed to advise on any changes there have been to the number of youth centres in their local area.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 22 October 2019 to Question 311, what progress her Department has made on the design of the Youth Investment Fund; and when the final details of that fund will be published.

The new £500m Youth Investment Fund will start in 2020/21 and run over five years. This investment will be a balance of capital and revenue funding. The capital funding will build 60 more youth centres, refurbish 360 existing centres, and 100 mobile centres for harder to reach areas across the country, which will deliver high quality services to young people.

The revenue funding will support the provision and coordination of high-quality youth services and positive activities for young people, building on the investment provided by the £7m Youth Accelerator Fund which launched on 30th January 2020.

The Youth Investment Fund is being designed in close consultation with young people, the organisations that work with them, and other departments. We will publish further details on the design of the Youth Investment Fund in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2019 to Question 676, on Third Sector, what progress his Department has made on extending the use of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 through the joint programme between his Department and the Cabinet Office.

Government remains committed to ensuring social outcomes can be delivered through the government's commercial activities. The roll-out of a comprehensive training and implementation plan for central government commercial staff is now underway. The Office for Civil Society in DCMS is also supporting Claire Dove, the Crown Representative for the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sectors on engaging civil society sector bodies on supplier readiness plans.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2019 to Question 672, on Third Sector, when his Department plans to publish its response to the public consultation on the future definition of public service mutuals, which closed on 18 October 2019.

The response to the public consultation on the future definition of public service mutuals will be published in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2019 to Question 670, on Third Sector, what recent progress his Department has made on establishing the responsible business leadership group.

The Department, together with BEIS, has continued with the work outlined in the response provided to Question 670. We are consulting with stakeholders from business and civil society, and are conducting research and engaging with academic institutions to gather information on specifically what questions the Group should seek to answer. The Department is also giving further consideration to the relationship of the Group to other business councils, particularly in light of the Government’s new priorities, to ensure that the Group is complementary to these. The Secretary of State will make an announcement about the formation of the Group in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2019 to Question 665, on Third Sector, what further progress his Department has made on establishing a cross-government group.

Government recognises the need to work with the civil society sector to establish principles of effective civil society involvement in the policy-making process. My officials have started to scope a programme of work and the details of this will be set out in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2019 to Question 663, on Third Sector, what recent progress his Department has made on renewing the Government's commitment to the principles of the Compact.

Government recognises the importance of working together with the civil society organisations to support them, maintain their independence and involve them in policy making. My officials have started to scope a programme of work and the details of this will be set out in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2019 to Question 662 on Third Sector, whether the first round of Local Access programme funding has been released; and what five places will receive that funding.

Big Society Capital and The Access Foundation announced the six places will receive funding: Bradford; Bristol; Gainsborough; Greater Manchester (Bolton, Oldham, Stockport and Wigan); Hartlepool, Redcar & Cleveland; and Southwark in London. The six partnerships will now begin a co-design process with Access and Big Society Capital to refine the detail of their enterprise development and investment plans with an expectation that the first place based programmes will launch in the second part of 2020. A small amount of grant funding will be released to assist with the co-design phase.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 23 October 2019 to Question 666, on Third Sector, what recent progress his Department has made on establishing a regular forum for social enterprises to coordinate relations with the Government.

The Civil Society Strategy sets out our vision for government’s work with and for civil society over the next 10 years and beyond. The Strategy recognised the demand from the social enterprise sector for a simpler relationship with the government and committed to establishing a regular forum for social enterprises to coordinate relations with the government. The forum will be launched later this year.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the pay differential is between the highest and lowest paid employees of the National Citizen Service Trust.

As of 31 January 2020, the upper band of NCS Trust salaries was between £140-145k and lower band is £15-20k.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of recent trends in the level of young people participating in the National Citizen Service.

NCS has been the fastest growing youth organisation since its inception 10 years ago. In recent years, participation in the NCS programme has increased to around 100,000 per year. This equates to approximately 1 in 6 eligible young people participating in the programme. In 2014, 58,283 young people participated in comparison to 99,179 in 2017 (according to the latest published figures). The newly commissioned network, brand refresh and targeted recruitment marketing campaign are all expected to ensure that more young people benefit from the programme, following a year of change and transition.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the (a) adequacy and (b) reasons for the underspend of the funding allocated to the National Citizen Service.

The NCS’ budget is set based on the participation numbers. Stretching participation targets are set by DCMS year on year to help drive the NCS Trust to reach as many young people as possible.The underspend is as a result of the programme participation numbers falling below the target. DCMS works closely with NCS throughout the year providing a strong challenge against NCS’s full year financial forecasts.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has had discussions with (a) newspapers and (b) other media organisations on the potential impact of shorthand proficiency requirements for journalism-related jobs on (a) disabled people and (b) people with (i) cerebral palsy and (ii) disabilities related to fine motor function.

The department has not discussed the impact of the requirements needed for the National Qualification in journalism with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), newspapers or other media organisations. Higher education (HE) courses are designed and delivered by individual institutions, such as universities and colleges, according to their own academic standards and quality assurance processes. The government does not have a direct role in the development of the HE curriculum or the content of the courses. The government's role is to provide a regulatory framework for HE in England, which aims to protect the interests of students.

The government recognises that shorthand is a valuable skill for journalists, and that the NCJT sets the industry standard for journalism training and qualifications. The department acknowledges that some disabled people may face difficulties or barriers in acquiring or demonstrating shorthand proficiency, and that this may affect their access to and progression in the journalism profession.

The department wants to ensure people of all ages and backgrounds can study at universities.

Under the Equality Act 2010 and Disability Discrimination Act, universities have the same responsibilities as all other service providers. Universities must make reasonable adjustments to make sure students with disabilities, or physical or mental health conditions, are not substantially disadvantaged.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has had discussions with the National Council for the Training of Journalists on the potential impact of the requirement for a shorthand proficiency of 100 words per minute to achieve the National Qualification in Journalism on (a) disabled people and (b) people with cerebral palsy.

The department has not discussed the impact of the requirements needed for the National Qualification in journalism with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), newspapers or other media organisations. Higher education (HE) courses are designed and delivered by individual institutions, such as universities and colleges, according to their own academic standards and quality assurance processes. The government does not have a direct role in the development of the HE curriculum or the content of the courses. The government's role is to provide a regulatory framework for HE in England, which aims to protect the interests of students.

The government recognises that shorthand is a valuable skill for journalists, and that the NCJT sets the industry standard for journalism training and qualifications. The department acknowledges that some disabled people may face difficulties or barriers in acquiring or demonstrating shorthand proficiency, and that this may affect their access to and progression in the journalism profession.

The department wants to ensure people of all ages and backgrounds can study at universities.

Under the Equality Act 2010 and Disability Discrimination Act, universities have the same responsibilities as all other service providers. Universities must make reasonable adjustments to make sure students with disabilities, or physical or mental health conditions, are not substantially disadvantaged.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many Education Health and Care Plans include (a) courses and (b) other forms of training in British Sign Language for (i) children and (ii) family members.

The department does not hold the data requested.

The department collects data from local authorities on the number of children and young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan, but this does not include information on the contents of the plan.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has issued guidance to schools on making adjustments to support pupils who are on the waiting list for an autism assessment.

All those working with, or commissioning services for children and young people, must have regard to the statutory Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice: 0-25 years. This sets out clearly that early years settings, schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to make sure that a child or young person with Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the support they need. This includes autistic children and young people. This support should be put in place at the earliest opportunity when a child or young person with SEN has been identified. There is no need to wait for a medical assessment or diagnosis.

The Code states that, where it has been identified that a child or young person needs SEN support, the early years setting, school or college should work with the child or young person and the family to agree the adjustments, interventions and support to be put in place.

Where an assessment of needs indicates that support from specialist services is required, it is important that children and young people receive it as quickly as possible. Agencies across education, health and care should work together to support children and young people.

In the SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan, the department set out its vision to improve mainstream education through setting standards for early and accurate identification of need, including timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings, who is responsible for securing the support and from what budgets.

The department will also develop new practice guides to support frontline professionals. The first three practice guides will be published by the end of 2025, focusing on advice for mainstream settings, and will include a practice guide on autism.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the National Disability Strategy published on 28 July 2021, which of her Department’s commitments in that strategy that have not been paused as a result of legal action have (a) been fully, (b) been partially and (c) not been implemented.

I refer the hon. Member for Lewisham, Deptford to the answer of 21 June 2023 to Question 189780.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
5th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she plans to support transition out of education for young college leavers with complex special educational needs or disabilities; and what steps she plans to take to help improve collaboration between education, adult social care and health for those young people.

Well-planned transitions are key to setting children and young people up for success. On 2 March 2023, the department published the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan, in response to the SEND and AP Green Paper published in March last year. The Plan outlines the government’s mission for the SEND and AP system to fulfil children and young people’s potential, build parent’s trust, and provide financial sustainability.

The department has committed to developing good practice guidance to support consistent, timely and high-quality transitions for children and young people with SEND and in AP. This will ultimately look at transitions between all stages of education from early years and will focus initially on transitions into and out of post-16 settings, including transitions into employment and adult services.

We are working closely with colleagues from the Department of Health and Social Care as we develop this guidance, in order to improve collaboration between services and smooth transitions. This is also in line with the commitments set out in the Building the Right Support action plan.

The SEND Code of Practice is clear that all children and young people with SEND should be prepared for adulthood and supported with that transition. Further education providers must use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision called for by the student’s special educational needs.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
5th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the commitments in the SEND and alternative provision improvement plan to review her Department's (a) definitions and (b) management of specialist further education and integrate specialist colleges within the wider further education sector, what steps she plans to take to deliver this commitment.

The further education (FE) sector plays a crucial role in delivering special educational needs provision through a range of courses.

On 2 March 2023, the department published the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan in response to the SEND and AP Green Paper.

As set out in the Improvement Plan, we propose to work with the sector to review the way the department defines and manages specialist FE and consider what changes, if any, are needed. The department aims to involve the FE sector in this process, ensuring any changes needed are carefully considered.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
5th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she plans to include specialist post-16 colleges in future FE capital funding schemes.

The further education (FE) Condition Data Collection and Condition Data Collection covers the statutory FE sector, namely FE corporations and sixth form college corporations. Specialist post-16 institutions (SPIs) are not part of the statutory FE sector and therefore are not covered by Condition Data Collection surveys.

The department allocates condition funding to SPIs with ESFA-funded students to support them in keeping their buildings safe and well-maintained. In 2023/24, eligible SPIs were allocated £4,685,201 in school condition allocations (SCA) to invest in the condition of their buildings, and £831,874 in devolved formula capital for smaller capital projects.

To receive SCA, an SPI must be in receipt of revenue funding from ESFA for the relevant financial year. SPIs can choose how they spend their school condition allocations on improving and maintaining the condition of their buildings.

In 2022 to 2023, eligible schools and sixth-form colleges received an allocation from an additional £447 million of capital funding to improve buildings and facilities, prioritising energy efficiency. This was part of an additional £500 million of capital funding for schools and further education institutions in England. This funding was for institutions, including SPIs, that were eligible for devolved formula capital in 2022 to 2023.

The Spending Review 2021 announced a £2.8 billion capital investment in skills to improve the condition of post-16 estate, provide new places in post-16 education, provide specialist equipment and facilities for T Levels and deliver the commitment to 21 Institutes of Technology across England. Future FE capital funding is subject to the next Spending Review. The department keeps the capital needs of all post-16 education providers under review.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
5th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she plans to conduct a full survey of the condition of specialist post-16 college buildings; and what support is available to redress potential deficiencies in those buildings.

The further education (FE) Condition Data Collection and Condition Data Collection covers the statutory FE sector, namely FE corporations and sixth form college corporations. Specialist post-16 institutions (SPIs) are not part of the statutory FE sector and therefore are not covered by Condition Data Collection surveys.

The department allocates condition funding to SPIs with ESFA-funded students to support them in keeping their buildings safe and well-maintained. In 2023/24, eligible SPIs were allocated £4,685,201 in school condition allocations (SCA) to invest in the condition of their buildings, and £831,874 in devolved formula capital for smaller capital projects.

To receive SCA, an SPI must be in receipt of revenue funding from ESFA for the relevant financial year. SPIs can choose how they spend their school condition allocations on improving and maintaining the condition of their buildings.

In 2022 to 2023, eligible schools and sixth-form colleges received an allocation from an additional £447 million of capital funding to improve buildings and facilities, prioritising energy efficiency. This was part of an additional £500 million of capital funding for schools and further education institutions in England. This funding was for institutions, including SPIs, that were eligible for devolved formula capital in 2022 to 2023.

The Spending Review 2021 announced a £2.8 billion capital investment in skills to improve the condition of post-16 estate, provide new places in post-16 education, provide specialist equipment and facilities for T Levels and deliver the commitment to 21 Institutes of Technology across England. Future FE capital funding is subject to the next Spending Review. The department keeps the capital needs of all post-16 education providers under review.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has had discussions with Cabinet colleagues on extending the free 30 hours of childcare offer to include parents who are postgraduate students receiving PhD stipends.

In the Spring Budget 2023, the government announced a number of transformative reforms to childcare. This includes the expansion of the 30 hours free childcare offer, through which eligible, working parents in England will be able to access 30 hours of free childcare per week for 38 weeks per year from when their child is 9 months old to when they start school. This will be rolled out in phases:

  • From April 2024, eligible working parents of 2-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours of free childcare per week (over 38 weeks a year).
  • From September 2024, this will be extended to parents of 9 month to 3-year-olds (over 38 weeks a year).
  • From September 2025, working parents of 9 month to 3-year-olds will be able to access 30 free hours per week (over 38 weeks a year).

To be eligible for this offer, as with the current 30 hours offer, parents will need to earn the equivalent of 16 hours a week of pay at national minimum or living wage and less than £100,000 adjusted net income per year.

The key objective of this measure is to support parental participation in the labour market, which is why this offer is conditional on work. Students who participate in paid work in addition to their studies and meet the income requirements will still be eligible.

There are no plans to extend the eligibility criteria at present. The department recognises the value of parents continuing in education and provides a range of support other than 30 hours for those in further or higher education.

The reforms announced build on the government’s current early education entitlements, which includes the universal 15 hour offer for all parents of 3 and 4-year-olds.

Students starting a postgraduate doctoral degree in 2022/23 are eligible to receive a postgraduate doctoral loan of up to £27,892. The loan is intended as a contribution to the cost of study, rather than to specifically cover tuition fees or livings costs.

Further information on the childcare offers available to parents can be found at: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of people employed within her Department have recorded that they have a disability.

Data compiled of all paid employees (headcount of 8,160) as at March 2023 shows 75.9% of staff have completed their disability declaration. Of those who have declared, 12.9% are disabled, 80.8% non-disabled, and 6.3% have selected the ‘Prefer not to say’ option.

22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an estimate of the number of young carers there were in (a) Lewisham Deptford constituency, (b) London and (c) England and Wales in each of the last five years.

Information on the number of young carers is not currently held by the department. Data is now being collected via the Spring school census for the first time from all state-funded schools in England to identify whether a student undertakes caring responsibilities at home. This will increase young carers visibility in the school system and provide an annual data collection to help identify long-term trends.

Data is also collected relating to young carers via the Children in Need census. When a child is assessed as being in need of children’s social care services, social workers will record factors that are relevant to that episode of need, with ‘young carer’ as one of those possible factors. The recorded factors are published annually in the statistics release ‘Characteristics of children in need’ which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/characteristics-of-children-in-need.

The following link contains data for 2017/18 to 2021/22 for Lewisham, Inner London, London and England (figures at parliamentary constituency level are not available) where ‘young carer’ was identified in episodes of need: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/d0e547fd-650c-4144-947e-08db08498a11. It should be noted that not all episodes have factors recorded, but this has improved over time. Nonetheless, there can be differences in the recording practices between local authorities, therefore this data should be treated with a degree of caution. In addition, not all young carers will be children in need so these figures represent an undercount on the true number of young carers.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 4 July 2022 to Question 26814 on Qualifications, how many of the independent assessors that were commissioned to evaluate qualifications that overlap with T-Levels are (a) employed and (b) formerly employed by (i) his Department or (ii) its agencies.

The department appointed six independent experts, through a competitive procurement, to evaluate qualifications against the three overlap tests. The experts were selected based on relevant experience and expertise, such as qualification design, development, delivery, and assessment approaches.

We are unable to release any personal information on their prior employment history.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the guidance by his Department entitled Qualifications that overlap with T Levels, published on 11 May 2022, what the evidential basis is for his Department's assessment that 160 qualifications overlap with T-levels in waves one and two.

There are over 2,000 qualifications available at level 3, and as part of first overlap process T Levels we asked independent assessors to look at over 700 of these as they are in similar subject areas to wave 1 and 2 T Levels.

Assessors were asked to assess qualifications against three tests:

  • is it a technical qualification, in that it primarily aims to support entry to employment in a specific occupational area(s)?
  • are the outcomes that must be attained by a person taking the qualification similar to those set out in a standard covered by a T Level?
  • does the qualification aim to support entry to the same occupation(s) as a T Level?

Only qualifications which met all three tests in relation to a wave 1 and 2 T Level were included on the provisional list. Assessors considered evidence such as qualification specifications to determine whether these tests were met.

To ensure the rigour of this process recommendations were moderated internally and we published a provisional list of 160 qualification on 11 May. We have put in place an appeals process if awarding organisations do not feel we have applied the criteria correctly, and awarding organisations have until 8 July 2022 to submit appeals.

The assessors commenced work in summer 2021 and their involvement in the wave 1 and 2 overlap process will conclude once the appeals process has been completed in September 2022.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the independent assessors that were commissioned by his Department to evaluate qualifications that overlap with T-Levels in waves one and two (a) started and (b) concluded their work; and how many qualifications those assessors evaluated.

There are over 2,000 qualifications available at level 3, and as part of first overlap process T Levels we asked independent assessors to look at over 700 of these as they are in similar subject areas to wave 1 and 2 T Levels.

Assessors were asked to assess qualifications against three tests:

  • is it a technical qualification, in that it primarily aims to support entry to employment in a specific occupational area(s)?
  • are the outcomes that must be attained by a person taking the qualification similar to those set out in a standard covered by a T Level?
  • does the qualification aim to support entry to the same occupation(s) as a T Level?

Only qualifications which met all three tests in relation to a wave 1 and 2 T Level were included on the provisional list. Assessors considered evidence such as qualification specifications to determine whether these tests were met.

To ensure the rigour of this process recommendations were moderated internally and we published a provisional list of 160 qualification on 11 May. We have put in place an appeals process if awarding organisations do not feel we have applied the criteria correctly, and awarding organisations have until 8 July 2022 to submit appeals.

The assessors commenced work in summer 2021 and their involvement in the wave 1 and 2 overlap process will conclude once the appeals process has been completed in September 2022.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the finding in the report by the Disabled Children’s Partnership entitled Left Behind: 6 Months On, which found nearly 70 per cent of parent carers of disabled children have seen their physical health deteriorate as a result of lack of the right support, what steps he is taking to improve support for parent carers.

On 1 February 2022, the government launched its plan to level up the country so that every person can make the most of their abilities and succeed in life. For those children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), levelling up must be even more ambitious, which is why the department has recently announced an additional £45 million of investment over the next three years to support education settings, children and young people with SEND, and their families.

The department is also improving access to short breaks and respite care for those who care for children with SEND, with funding of £30 million being made available over the next three years to set up more than 10,000 additional respite and short breaks placements for disabled children.

We will also invest £82 million in a network of family hubs so more children, young people and their families can access wraparound support. These new projects will help to provide positive opportunities for disabled children and young people, whilst also supporting parents and carers with their caring responsibilities.

In addition to statutory services, the department is providing £27.3 million to the Family Fund in the 2021/22 financial year to support over 60,000 families on low incomes raising children and young people with disabilities or serious illnesses. Grants can be used for a range of purposes, including family breaks.

The department will continue to work to ensure the right support is in place for the parents and carers of disabled children.

21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking with the Secretary of State for Education to address the high level of staff vacancy in residential specialist colleges that are also registered care homes.

It is essential that all learners in the further education (FE) sector, including those with complex special needs, experience the highest quality teaching. We recognise that teacher recruitment and retention can be challenging for providers which is why, in the current financial year, the government is investing £50 million in programmes designed to improve the supply and quality of FE teachers. For those specialising in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) teaching in the FE sector, we recently announced that we will offer training bursaries worth £15,000 each, tax-free, for a further academic year (2022/23). This should help to boost the supply of teachers with specialist training to support learners with SEND in FE including the specialist college sector.

We also recognise the challenges the adult social care sector is currently experiencing in recruiting staff. The Department for Health and Social Care have put in place a range of measures to address this, including £462.5 million in funding to boost recruitment and support existing care work through winter, expansion of the Health and Care Visa to make care worker roles eligible for overseas recruitment, and the Made with Care National Recruitment Campaign which will run until March 2022.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment has he made of the capacity of the further education sector to meet the needs of the young people with more complex special education needs and disability who will be entering further education over the next five years.

It is essential that all learners in the further education (FE) sector, including those with complex special needs, experience the highest quality teaching. We recognise that teacher recruitment and retention can be challenging for providers which is why, in the current financial year, the government is investing £50 million in programmes designed to improve the supply and quality of FE teachers. In January 2022 we launched a recruitment campaign to raise awareness of the opportunities to teach in FE with a wider audience. For those choosing to specialise in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) teaching in the FE sector, we have also announced that we will offer training bursaries worth £15,000 each, tax-free, for a further academic year (2022/23). This will help to boost the supply of teachers with specialist training to support learners with SEND in the FE sector.

We are also investing £2.6 billion between 2022 and 2025 to deliver new places and improve existing provision for children and young people with SEND or who require alternative provision. This funding represents a transformational investment in new high needs provision and will help deliver tens of thousands of new high needs places, including in post-16 and FE settings.

Local authorities are best placed to understand the capacity of their local FE provision to accommodate additional children and young people with SEND. The department does not currently collect data centrally on available capacity in high needs provision but is continuing to work with local authorities to better understand future demand for SEND provision, including in FE settings, as it considers how it can best support the sector going forwards.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure high levels of staff vacancy in specialist further education colleges do not jeopardise the quality and availability of provision for young people with the most complex special educational needs and disability.

It is essential that all learners in the further education (FE) sector, including those with complex special needs, experience the highest quality teaching. We recognise that teacher recruitment and retention can be challenging for providers which is why, in the current financial year, the government is investing £50 million in programmes designed to improve the supply and quality of FE teachers. In January 2022 we launched a recruitment campaign to raise awareness of the opportunities to teach in FE with a wider audience. For those choosing to specialise in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) teaching in the FE sector, we have also announced that we will offer training bursaries worth £15,000 each, tax-free, for a further academic year (2022/23). This will help to boost the supply of teachers with specialist training to support learners with SEND in the FE sector.

We are also investing £2.6 billion between 2022 and 2025 to deliver new places and improve existing provision for children and young people with SEND or who require alternative provision. This funding represents a transformational investment in new high needs provision and will help deliver tens of thousands of new high needs places, including in post-16 and FE settings.

Local authorities are best placed to understand the capacity of their local FE provision to accommodate additional children and young people with SEND. The department does not currently collect data centrally on available capacity in high needs provision but is continuing to work with local authorities to better understand future demand for SEND provision, including in FE settings, as it considers how it can best support the sector going forwards.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the funding allocated from the high needs budget to young people aged 16-25 years when compared with the proportion of Education Health and Care Plans that are held by people in that age bracket.

When the high needs funding block of the dedicated schools grant (DSG) was created in 2013/14, it incorporated funding to reflect the costs of support to young people up to age 25. The expected additional cost to local authorities was directly taken into account by:

  • moving all funds previously allocated to supporting young people aged 16-25 with high needs through the previous funding system, into the high needs block of the DSG and;
  • increasing the high needs block further to reflect the likely increase in numbers of young people requiring high needs funding.

An additional £272 million was allocated to the DSG in the financial year 2013/14, and £390 million in the financial year 2014/15. The difference between the two years lies in the fact that some of the changes relating to funding provision for young people aged over 16 years old with high needs started in August 2013, rather than at the start of the financial year in April 2013.

These increases in the 2013/14 and 2014/15 financial years were consolidated into the funding baseline. This informed the 2015 spending review settlement reached between the department and Her Majesty’s Treasury. Local authorities’ increased spending, including on 16-25-year-olds, was also considered in subsequent decisions on the appropriate level of high needs funding through the DSG, and for informing overall Spending Review settlements.

As a result of the Autumn 2021 Spending Review, the core schools budget will have increased by more than £7 billion by the financial year 2024/25, compared to 2021/22. High needs funding for children and young people with complex needs is increasing in the next financial year 2022/23 by £1 billion to over £9.1 billion. This unprecedented increase in high needs funding of 13% in the financial year 2022/23, compared to 2021/22, comes in addition to the £1.5 billion increase over the last two years. It will continue to support local authorities and schools with the increasing costs they are facing.

In 2017, the department produced guidance for local authorities about education, health and care (EHC) plans for 19 to 25-year-olds with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This non-statutory guidance is primarily for local authorities. It aims to support them in making fair and consistent decisions about when they should maintain an EHC plan beyond the age of 19 or issue an EHC plan to a young person aged 19 or over. The guidance facilitates the decisions in remaining in line with local authorities’ duties under the Children and Families Act 2014, and as described in the SEND code of practice.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published July 2021, what recent steps his Department has taken to (a) encourage and support workplace disability networks, (b) achieve and maintain the highest level of Disability Confident accreditation, (c) ensure responsive and timely support to meet workplace adjustment needs and (d) develop and embed flexible working.

In the July 2021 National Disability Strategy, we set out our vision of how to improve the everyday lives of disabled people. One element of this was a series of commitments to support disabled civil servants to thrive at work.

The department previously launched a disability and neurodivergence action plan in July 2020. This action plan included a focus on supporting staff networks, ensuring equal access to the workplace through workplace adjustments and reviewing the flexible working policy.

With regard to the steps taken on the National Disability Strategy commitments:

  • The department has a number of staff networks relating to disability, these include the department’s Disability Group, Neurodivergence Network and the Working through Cancer Network. These networks are run by volunteers with support from HR. Additionally, to encourage inclusive behaviour and change perceptions on disability, volunteers have delivered a department-wide disability and neurodivergence confidence upskilling offer in 2021.
  • The department was awarded Disability Confident Level 3 Accreditation status in June 2021 with positive feedback. The department achieved this by reaching the criteria on challenge, leadership and reporting, and we will maintain it through our work in the disability and neurodivergence action plan and commitments in the National Disability Strategy.
  • HR guidance is available to managers with advice on the responsibility of the line manager and step by step processes for implementing a workplace adjustment. In addition, HR provides access to a specialist team to support line managers and staff in need of more complex adjustments. To ensure we carry on offering responsive and timely support, we are engaging with stakeholders on how to improve the service.
  • The department has consulted on, developed and embedded flexible working options as reasonable adjustments for disabled staff and remains committed to reviewing its practices and offerings on an on-going basis.
Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published 28 July 2021, what recent steps his Department has to improve supported internships in England.

In the National Disability Strategy, we committed to supporting pathways to employment for learners with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including strengthening the Supported Internship Programme. We have recently announced investment of up to £18 million, aiming to double the capacity of this programme to help more young people with an education, health and care plan gain the skills they need to secure and sustain paid employment. We have also updated the Supported Internship Programme guidance, and through our contract/grant delivery partners in financial year 2020-21 we are developing a self-assessment quality framework for providers and helping local authorities to develop local supported employment forums. In addition, the Careers and Enterprise Company continues to encourage employers to provide work experience and supported internships for young people with SEND.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for SEN support in schools for the purposes of ensuring that autistic children who do not have an education health and care plan are supported.

The majority of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) do not have an education, health and care plan and are supported by their schools from the allocations of funding they receive for all their pupils. We have announced that significant additional funding is being made available for schools.

In financial year 2022-23 alone, core schools funding will increase by £4 billion compared to financial year 2021-22, a 5% real terms per pupil boost. This total includes a £2.5 billion increase in mainstream school funding for 5 to 16 year olds in financial year 2022-23, compared to this financial year 2021-22. This is equivalent to an average 5.8% cash increase, or £300, per pupil – with each local authority forecast to see at least a 4.7% increase per pupil for the mainstream schools in their area.

The national funding formula continues to distribute this funding fairly, based on the needs of schools and their pupil cohorts. It is provided to cover mainstream schools’ core spending, including support for pupils with low to mid-level SEND. Regulations require local authorities to identify such an amount within each school’s budget, and to calculate that amount using a sum of £6,000 (per pupil) as the threshold below which the school will be expected to meet the additional costs of pupils with special educational needs from its core budget, before accessing further high needs top-up funding from the local authority. It remains for individual schools to determine the best use of the funds available to them, to support all their pupils, including those with SEND.

Alongside additional funding, we have made significant progress with the SEND Review and my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, committed, at the 3 November 2021 Education Select Committee, that in the first three months of this year we would publish proposals for full public consultation.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an estimate of the number of (a) autistic children and young people and (b) other pupils in Lewisham Deptford that have yet to return to full-time education as a result of covid-19.

We do not collect data on the attendance of children and young people broken down by specific conditions. Statistics on attendance during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The department collects data on the total number of children that are absent each day from school due to any reason relating to COVID-19. As we collect the total number of students absent from school, we are unable to determine if the same pupil is absent on consecutive days, so are unable to provide a total for the number of pupils that are yet to return to full-time education because of COVID-19.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have published and updated guidance for special schools, special post-16 providers and alternative provision to provide additional information and support for delivering education in these settings. This is clear that regular attendance at school, both special and mainstream, is vital for children’s education, wellbeing and long-term development and school attendance has been mandatory since the end of the last national lockdown. Our guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

To support this, we recommend that leaders in education work collaboratively with families to reassure them and to help their child engage with their everyday activities. Discussions should have a collaborative approach, focusing on the welfare of the child or young person and responding to the concerns of the parent, carer, or young person.

Any families with concerns about their child’s health should speak with their child’s GP or health care team for advice and guidance.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to reincorporate (a) autism and (b) special educational needs and disability into the Initial Teacher Training Framework.

All teachers are teachers of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and the department is committed to ensuring that all children and young people, particularly those with SEND receive high quality teaching that will enable them to reach their full potential at school.

That is why the revised Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework (CCF), that all new entrants to the profession benefit from, has been designed around how to support all pupils to succeed, including those pupils identified within the four areas of need set out in the SEND code of practice.

When developing the framework, there were a range of views from stakeholders and SEND experts about things that could or should be included in the framework. However, there was consensus that our approach of ‘quality-first teaching’, would be the best way to improve outcomes for all children, particularly those with special educational needs. The framework, therefore, deliberately does not detail approaches specific to particular additional needs, such as autism, but what makes the most effective teaching.

In addition to the mandated minimum set out in the ITT CCF, we expect ITT providers and their partners to continue to tailor their curricula to the needs of their trainees and the children in the schools where they train and will work. However, ITT courses must be designed so that trainee teachers can demonstrate that they meet the Teachers’ Standards at the appropriate level. This includes the requirement in Standard 5, that all teachers must have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs.

Within the new autism strategy, published in July 2021 and extended to children and young people for the first time, we set out how we will continue our programme of developing training and resources for education staff. We also committed to working in collaboration across government, with autistic people and their families, the NHS, local government, and the voluntary sector, to implement the strategy, and we are continuing to do so.

£600,000 of the strategy’s first year of funding has gone towards the department’s contract with the Autism Education Trust (AET) for the 2021/22 academic year. The department has funded the AET since 2011 to deliver autism awareness training to education staff in early years, schools, and further education settings. It has so far reached more than 305,000 people across the country. This includes not only teachers and teaching assistants, but also support staff such as receptionists, dining hall staff and caretakers, encouraging a 'whole school' approach to supporting autistic pupils.

The department has also provided £2 million of funding for the Whole School SEND consortium in 2021/22, through our contract with nasen. This will continue their wider programme of work to equip the workforce to deliver high quality teaching for all children and young people with SEND, including autism, this year.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on working strategically across schools and local authorities to help ensure that all staff receive autism training.

All teachers are teachers of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and the department is committed to ensuring that all children and young people, particularly those with SEND receive high quality teaching that will enable them to reach their full potential at school.

That is why the revised Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework (CCF), that all new entrants to the profession benefit from, has been designed around how to support all pupils to succeed, including those pupils identified within the four areas of need set out in the SEND code of practice.

When developing the framework, there were a range of views from stakeholders and SEND experts about things that could or should be included in the framework. However, there was consensus that our approach of ‘quality-first teaching’, would be the best way to improve outcomes for all children, particularly those with special educational needs. The framework, therefore, deliberately does not detail approaches specific to particular additional needs, such as autism, but what makes the most effective teaching.

In addition to the mandated minimum set out in the ITT CCF, we expect ITT providers and their partners to continue to tailor their curricula to the needs of their trainees and the children in the schools where they train and will work. However, ITT courses must be designed so that trainee teachers can demonstrate that they meet the Teachers’ Standards at the appropriate level. This includes the requirement in Standard 5, that all teachers must have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs.

Within the new autism strategy, published in July 2021 and extended to children and young people for the first time, we set out how we will continue our programme of developing training and resources for education staff. We also committed to working in collaboration across government, with autistic people and their families, the NHS, local government, and the voluntary sector, to implement the strategy, and we are continuing to do so.

£600,000 of the strategy’s first year of funding has gone towards the department’s contract with the Autism Education Trust (AET) for the 2021/22 academic year. The department has funded the AET since 2011 to deliver autism awareness training to education staff in early years, schools, and further education settings. It has so far reached more than 305,000 people across the country. This includes not only teachers and teaching assistants, but also support staff such as receptionists, dining hall staff and caretakers, encouraging a 'whole school' approach to supporting autistic pupils.

The department has also provided £2 million of funding for the Whole School SEND consortium in 2021/22, through our contract with nasen. This will continue their wider programme of work to equip the workforce to deliver high quality teaching for all children and young people with SEND, including autism, this year.

14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps he has taken to progress implementation of the Government's national strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021 to 2026; and what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding available specifically for girls and women diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in (a) educational settings and (b) care homes.

The government is committed to addressing the inequalities experienced by autistic people of all ages. Within the new autism strategy, published in July 2021 and extended to children and young people for the first time, we set out how we will continue our programme of developing training and resources for education staff and will consider the issue of identification and support for autistic girls within this. We know that more needs to be done to improve autism identification for girls. That is why, as part of the wider work on improving diagnostic pathways, NHS England/Improvement is looking at ways to improve the quality of diagnosis for girls.

We also want the public to understand how autism can affect people differently, including the difference in how autistic women and girls present, and to help change people’s behaviour towards autistic people and their families.

In the strategy’s first year alone, we are investing £74 million to promote a straightforward route to diagnosis, the correct support, increasing understanding and improving access to a quality education and social care. Work is currently underway to deliver on the actions for the first year, set out in our implementation plan (2021- 2022). We are also in the process of putting in place a new governance structure to ensure there is accountability for delivery of the actions in the autism strategy, which we are aiming to establish in the new year.

£600,000 of this funding has gone towards the department’s contract with the Autism Education Trust (AET) for 2021/22, to deliver autism awareness training to education staff in early years, schools and further education settings. This contract has been provided annually since 2011, and has so far reached more than 305,000 people across the country.

Through this contract with the AET, the department has funded the development of Good Autism Practice Guidance for education settings. This includes a focus on attending to the strengths, needs and challenges of autistic girls.

The department has also provided £2 million of funding for the Whole School SEND consortium in 2021/22, through our contract with Nasen. This will continue their wider programme of work to equip the workforce to deliver high quality teaching for all children and young people with SEND, including autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, this year.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure there are sufficient places to meet the needs of children in their care, including autistic children who need to be cared for in a children’s home. Local authorities set their own children’s services budget from their core spending power, based on local need and priorities. This year, 2021-22, councils have access to £51.3 billion core spending power for their services, including a £1.7 billion grant for social care.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced at Spending Review 2021 that the government will provide local authorities with £4.8 billion of new grant funding over the next Spending Review period, which is intended to help meet the costs of delivering care for our most vulnerable children.

14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the level of demand for (a) specialised training for professionals and education providers working in the autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder sector and (b) support for females diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

The government is committed to addressing the inequalities experienced by autistic people of all ages. Within the new autism strategy, published in July 2021 and extended to children and young people for the first time, we set out how we will continue our programme of developing training and resources for education staff and will consider the issue of identification and support for autistic girls within this. We know that more needs to be done to improve autism identification for girls. That is why, as part of the wider work on improving diagnostic pathways, NHS England/Improvement is looking at ways to improve the quality of diagnosis for girls.

We also want the public to understand how autism can affect people differently, including the difference in how autistic women and girls present, and to help change people’s behaviour towards autistic people and their families.

In the strategy’s first year alone, we are investing £74 million to promote a straightforward route to diagnosis, the correct support, increasing understanding and improving access to a quality education and social care. Work is currently underway to deliver on the actions for the first year, set out in our implementation plan (2021- 2022). We are also in the process of putting in place a new governance structure to ensure there is accountability for delivery of the actions in the autism strategy, which we are aiming to establish in the new year.

£600,000 of this funding has gone towards the department’s contract with the Autism Education Trust (AET) for 2021/22, to deliver autism awareness training to education staff in early years, schools and further education settings. This contract has been provided annually since 2011, and has so far reached more than 305,000 people across the country.

Through this contract with the AET, the department has funded the development of Good Autism Practice Guidance for education settings. This includes a focus on attending to the strengths, needs and challenges of autistic girls.

The department has also provided £2 million of funding for the Whole School SEND consortium in 2021/22, through our contract with Nasen. This will continue their wider programme of work to equip the workforce to deliver high quality teaching for all children and young people with SEND, including autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, this year.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure there are sufficient places to meet the needs of children in their care, including autistic children who need to be cared for in a children’s home. Local authorities set their own children’s services budget from their core spending power, based on local need and priorities. This year, 2021-22, councils have access to £51.3 billion core spending power for their services, including a £1.7 billion grant for social care.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced at Spending Review 2021 that the government will provide local authorities with £4.8 billion of new grant funding over the next Spending Review period, which is intended to help meet the costs of delivering care for our most vulnerable children.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure it meets the additional covid-19-related needs of disabled teachers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has published guidance to support schools to understand how the Equality Act affects them and to fulfil their duties under the Equality Act 2010, available to view here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/315587/Equality_Act_Advice_Final.pdf. The Department expects all schools to adhere to all aspects of employment and disability legislation.

The guidance sets out that schools as employers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments in relation to disability for their employees or potential employees. They must make reasonable adjustments to arrangements or practices to alleviate disadvantage. They must also take reasonable steps to provide any necessary auxiliary aids and services.

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 provided regularly updated guidance to support schools, colleges, and nurseries, with input from education leaders, unions, and sector bodies and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive. As the published guidance sets out, employers have a legal obligation to protect their employees from harm. The guidance is available is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance.

Schools, colleges, and nurseries should continue to follow the measures set out in the guidance. By assessing risk and implementing all measures, including ventilating occupied spaces and cleaning, schools will effectively manage risks and create an inherently safer environment.

All elements of the system of controls are essential in effectively minimising risks. The way different schools, colleges, and nurseries implement some of the requirements will differ based on their individual circumstances. PHE advises that the implementation of the system of controls based on a thorough risk assessment is a sufficient and appropriate way to reduce risk in schools, colleges, and nurseries.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the additional discretion available to schools by academisation, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that school funds are directed at teaching staff and the pupils in their care.

The Department’s priority is the delivery of world class education for all children from all backgrounds. The greater freedom and flexibility that academy trusts enjoy enables the strongest leaders to take responsibility for supporting more schools, developing great teachers and allowing schools to focus on what really matters – the high quality teaching of a broad and ambitious curriculum.

The 2020 Academies Financial Handbook states that the central responsibility for academy trusts is that they “must take full responsibility for their financial affairs, stewardship of assets and use resources efficiently to maximise outcomes for pupils”. Academy trusts work with parents and their local community to deliver on this responsibility. The new 2021 Academies Trust Handbook, also known as the Academies Financial Handbook, effective from 1 September 2021, reiterates the importance of involving parents in trust governance, helping to ensure that boards stay accessible and connected to the community they serve and support robust decision making. The 2021 Academies Trust Handbook is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/academies-financial-handbook/academy-trust-handbook-2021.

Academy trusts lead the way on accountability and transparency. They provide a significant amount of information to the public, setting out the trust and academy level expenditure. The Department also publishes individual academy allocation and expenditure data. This is easily accessible at individual academy level on the schools financial benchmarking website, which allows expenditure to be broken down by theme, including per pupil spend and proportion of expenditure on staff pay and resources. The schools financial benchmarking website is available here: https://schools-financial-benchmarking.service.gov.uk.

The Department operates an effective oversight programme that provides assurance to Parliament and the public. This is delivered through a range of assurance activity and wider intelligence gathering, including from independently audited financial information and educational performance data. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and Regional Schools Commissioners work together to build a joined-up picture of each school and academy trust. They take a risk-based approach to intervene proportionately on the rare occasions when needed.

The ESFA works with academy trusts to share good practice and provide support to help them build capacity and strengthen their financial and governance position. They also offer a school resource management adviser service. This is a free service providing hands-on support from experienced school professionals who work with schools to identify opportunities for improved spending decisions which will allow money to be reinvested back into critical areas of school activity.

Academy trusts are delivering very high standard of governance, educational and financial performance. The latest published data shows that 99.3% of academy trust accounts received unqualified opinions.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will commission research on employers’ behaviour with regards to providing reasonable adjustments for disabled teachers.

The Department has produced guidance for schools, entitled “The Equality Act 2010 and schools”, to help them understand how the Equality Act 2010 affects them and how to fulfil their duties. The guidance is available to view here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/315587/Equality_Act_Advice_Final.pdf.

The guidance sets out that, as employers, schools are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments in relation to disability for their employees or potential employees. They must make reasonable adjustments to arrangements or practices to alleviate disadvantage. They must also take reasonable steps to provide any necessary auxiliary aids and services.

The Department continues to look closely at teaching workforce data, such as through the school workforce census, to engage the sector and explore opportunities for further work in this area.


12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, from what date university students will be able to return to campus and resume in-person teaching.

Following the review into when the remaining higher education students can return to in-person teaching and learning, the government has announced that the remaining students should return to in-person teaching no earlier than 17 May 2021, alongside Step 3 of the roadmap. Students and institutions will be given at least a week’s notice of any further return in accordance with the timing of Step 3 of the roadmap.

The government roadmap is designed to maintain a cautious approach to the easing of restrictions to reduce public health risks and ensure that we can maintain progress towards full reopening. However, the government recognises the difficulties and disruption that this may cause for many students and their families and that is why the government is making a further £15 million of additional student hardship funding available for this academic year 2020/21. In total we have made an additional £85 million of funding available for student hardship.

We are supporting universities to provide regular twice weekly asymptomatic testing for all students and staff on-site and, from May, at home. This will help break chains of transmission of the virus.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending pupil premium funding to all children from families with no recourse to public funds.

Pupil premium eligibility is based on Ever6 free school meals (FSM), whereby pupils eligible for FSM at the time of the October census, or at any point in the previous 6 years, attract pupil premium funding in the following financial year.

The Department is working with other Government Departments to evaluate access to FSM for families with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) and are also considering pupil premium eligibility in that context.

FSM was extended to include certain NRPF groups on a temporary basis during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department will also extend pupil premium eligibility to these same groups for the 2021-22 financial year, with schools able to claim pupil premium funding for eligible pupils. We will provide further details on the claims process in due course.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people who have successfully completed the BTEC Performing Arts course in each of the last 10 years.

The attached file contains further education learning aim enrolments and learning aim achievements, split by learners aged 16 to 18, and 19 and over, along with the total, on BTEC courses in the performing arts from the 2010/11 to 2019/20 academic year.

The department publishes destinations of adult (19+) further education learners in the further education outcome-based success measures publication which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/further-education-outcome-based-success-measures.

The latest data covers adult learners achieving their course in the 2017/18 academic year with destinations in 2018/19 academic year reported, whilst the earliest data represents learners achieving in 2013/14 academic year. Specifically, destination rates of adult learners on BTEC performing arts courses can be found here:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/25a2cc84-5b83-433c-9f01-f516093af57a.

Data on the destinations of learners reaching the end of 16-18 study based upon the learning aim taken is not held.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people who have enrolled on a BTEC Performing Arts course in each of the last 10 years.

The attached file contains further education learning aim enrolments and learning aim achievements, split by learners aged 16 to 18, and 19 and over, along with the total, on BTEC courses in the performing arts from the 2010/11 to 2019/20 academic year.

The department publishes destinations of adult (19+) further education learners in the further education outcome-based success measures publication which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/further-education-outcome-based-success-measures.

The latest data covers adult learners achieving their course in the 2017/18 academic year with destinations in 2018/19 academic year reported, whilst the earliest data represents learners achieving in 2013/14 academic year. Specifically, destination rates of adult learners on BTEC performing arts courses can be found here:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/25a2cc84-5b83-433c-9f01-f516093af57a.

Data on the destinations of learners reaching the end of 16-18 study based upon the learning aim taken is not held.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on the destinations of people who have successfully completed a BTEC Performing Arts course in each of the last 10 years.

The attached file contains further education learning aim enrolments and learning aim achievements, split by learners aged 16 to 18, and 19 and over, along with the total, on BTEC courses in the performing arts from the 2010/11 to 2019/20 academic year.

The department publishes destinations of adult (19+) further education learners in the further education outcome-based success measures publication which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/further-education-outcome-based-success-measures.

The latest data covers adult learners achieving their course in the 2017/18 academic year with destinations in 2018/19 academic year reported, whilst the earliest data represents learners achieving in 2013/14 academic year. Specifically, destination rates of adult learners on BTEC performing arts courses can be found here:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/25a2cc84-5b83-433c-9f01-f516093af57a.

Data on the destinations of learners reaching the end of 16-18 study based upon the learning aim taken is not held.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many disabled pupils are being educated in mainstream schools in England; and whether his Department holds data on the (a) impairment, (b) age, (c) sex and (d) ethnic background of those pupils.

The information requested is not held centrally.

The department collects and publishes information on the numbers of children with special educational needs (SEN), which covers all types of SEN. Data can be broken down by type of school (including special), type of primary need, age, sex and ethnicity. The information is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england.

We do not collect data on which pupils have a disability. SEN is the main focus of our data collection and dissemination in relation to children and young people, as our policy is to focus efforts on the impact of conditions (some of which are disabilities) on the educational experience of the individual and how barriers to their learning and participation in education can be removed.

18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many disabled pupils are being educated in non-mainstream schools in England; and whether his Department holds data on the (a) impairment, (b) age, (c) sex and (d) ethnic background of those pupils.

The information requested is not held centrally.

The department collects and publishes information on the numbers of children with special educational needs (SEN), which covers all types of SEN. Data can be broken down by type of school (including special), type of primary need, age, sex and ethnicity. The information is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england.

We do not collect data on which pupils have a disability. SEN is the main focus of our data collection and dissemination in relation to children and young people, as our policy is to focus efforts on the impact of conditions (some of which are disabilities) on the educational experience of the individual and how barriers to their learning and participation in education can be removed.

18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data his Department holds on the educational outcomes of disabled pupils leaving mainstream schools in England.

We do not collect data on which pupils have a disability. Special Educational Needs (SEN) is the main focus of our data collection and dissemination in relation to children and young people, as our policy is to focus efforts on the impact of conditions (some of which are disabilities) on the educational experience of the individual and how barriers to their learning and participation in education can be removed.

The department publishes data on attainment outcomes of pupils at the end of key stage 4 in state-funded schools. The national characteristics tables contain breakdowns by type of SEN which includes breakdowns for pupils with certain types of disability. This information is in the summary tables in the national characteristics tables: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/key-stage-4-performance-2019-revised.

The department publishes data on post key stage 4 destination outcomes of pupils leaving state-funded special schools and state-funded mainstream schools. The data contains additional breakdowns by type of SEN.

The latest statistical release can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/key-stage-4-destination-measures.

18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data his Department holds on the educational outcomes of disabled pupils leaving non-mainstream schools in England.

We do not collect data on which pupils have a disability. Special Educational Needs (SEN) is the main focus of our data collection and dissemination in relation to children and young people, as our policy is to focus efforts on the impact of conditions (some of which are disabilities) on the educational experience of the individual and how barriers to their learning and participation in education can be removed.

The department publishes data on attainment outcomes of pupils at the end of key stage 4 in state-funded schools. The national characteristics tables contain breakdowns by type of SEN which includes breakdowns for pupils with certain types of disability. This information is in the summary tables in the national characteristics tables: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/key-stage-4-performance-2019-revised.

The department publishes data on post key stage 4 destination outcomes of pupils leaving state-funded special schools and state-funded mainstream schools. The data contains additional breakdowns by type of SEN.

The latest statistical release can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/key-stage-4-destination-measures.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what step his Department is taking to encourage the return of international students to UK universities.

The government has been clear that our world-leading universities, which thrive on being global institutions, will always be open to international students. Engaging closely with other government departments and the higher education sector, the department is working to reassure current and prospective international students that UK higher education is ‘open for business’, remains world-class and is a safe and tolerant place to study. This includes continued work with Study UK (the government’s international student recruitment campaign led by the British Council), support for the sector-led #WeAreTogether campaign and a package of bespoke communications that will directly target international students, making clear our world-leading UK offer.

I wrote an open letter to current international students in April, setting out a number of flexibilities, such as with visas, both the UK government as well as higher education providers were introducing to ensure international students could continue and/or resume their studies, as needed. Furthermore, on 22 June, with my counterparts in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, I wrote to prospective international students to outline the support and guidance that is available to those who are considering studying in the UK from this autumn. This letter reiterates a number of flexibilities that the government has already announced for international students including allowing the switching of visa categories within the UK; confirmation that distance/blended learning will be permitted for the 2020/21 academic year (provided that international students’ sponsors intend to transition to face-to-face learning as soon as circumstances allow); and, steps to further promote the new graduate route, which will be introduced from Summer 2021.

The graduate route will be simple and light-touch and it will permit graduates at undergraduate and masters level to remain in the UK for two years and PhD graduates to remain in the UK for three years after they have finished their studies in order to work, or look for work, at any skill level. On 16 June government confirmed that international students present in the UK before 6 April 2021 will be eligible for the graduate route if they meet the other requirements of the route when it is introduced. This represents a significant improvement in our offer to international students and will help ensure the UK higher education sector remains competitive internationally.

In addition, on Friday 5 June, the government announced Sir Steve Smith as the UK’s new International Education Champion. Sir Steve will assist with opening up export growth opportunities for the whole UK education sector, which will include attracting international students to UK Universities. Alongside Sir Steve’s appointment, our review of the International Education Strategy this autumn will respond to the new context and the challenges that are posed by COVID-19 across all education settings to ensure we can continue to welcome international students in the future.


Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether attendance will be compulsory for pupils who are eligible to return to school from 1 June 2020.

From the week commencing 1 June 2020, at the earliest, we will be asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by government justify the changes at the time.

Eligible children – including priority groups - are strongly encouraged to attend their education setting, unless they are self-isolating or they are clinically vulnerable. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time and schools and colleges will not be held to account for attendance levels.

5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that disabled pupils in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools are able to access (i) home learning and (ii) educational support during the covid-19 outbreak.

The department is committed to ensuring that all pupils and students, including those who are disabled, are able to learn and access educational support during the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why we have asked educational settings to remain open for pupils and students with an education, health and care (EHC) plan where a risk assessment has determined that their individual needs can be better supported at their educational setting than at home.

For pupils and students who remain at home, while educational settings remain responsible for education provision, we have worked to help provide additional support to disabled pupils and students of all ages and needs.

We have published a list of high quality online educational resources to support home learning, including materials for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND). This includes resources that are suitable for pupils and students with SEND of all ages, from early years to those in further and higher education settings. We will be publishing a second wave of home learning resources within the next few weeks. The initial list of resources can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education#special-educational-needs-and-disabilities-send.

In addition, to support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education for disabled pupils, the Oak National Academy launched its SEND Specialist Curriculum on 4 May. This is providing educational support to disabled children and young people with more profound needs who would normally receive their education in specialist settings. More details are available here:
https://www.thenational.academy/online-classroom/specialist/#subjects.

Furthermore, we have published detailed guidance for parents, teachers and schools on how to best provide educational support at home. This includes specific guidance for parents and carers of children and young people with SEND, which provides links to further specialist home learning resources for disabled pupils and students. Designed to cater to all needs and ages, these links include resources from the Early Years Alliance and TechAbility, a specialist organisation for students in mainstream and specialist further education colleges. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-children-with-send-continue-their-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Office for Students has committed to protecting university students by working with providers to develop practical ways to maintain teaching quality and standards, and enable adequate exams and assessment, including for students who are disabled.

5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that disabled students in (a) further and (b) higher education are able to access (i) home learning and (ii) educational support during the covid-19 outbreak.

The department is committed to ensuring that all pupils and students, including those who are disabled, are able to learn and access educational support during the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why we have asked educational settings to remain open for pupils and students with an education, health and care (EHC) plan where a risk assessment has determined that their individual needs can be better supported at their educational setting than at home.

For pupils and students who remain at home, while educational settings remain responsible for education provision, we have worked to help provide additional support to disabled pupils and students of all ages and needs.

We have published a list of high quality online educational resources to support home learning, including materials for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND). This includes resources that are suitable for pupils and students with SEND of all ages, from early years to those in further and higher education settings. We will be publishing a second wave of home learning resources within the next few weeks. The initial list of resources can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education#special-educational-needs-and-disabilities-send.

In addition, to support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education for disabled pupils, the Oak National Academy launched its SEND Specialist Curriculum on 4 May. This is providing educational support to disabled children and young people with more profound needs who would normally receive their education in specialist settings. More details are available here:
https://www.thenational.academy/online-classroom/specialist/#subjects.

Furthermore, we have published detailed guidance for parents, teachers and schools on how to best provide educational support at home. This includes specific guidance for parents and carers of children and young people with SEND, which provides links to further specialist home learning resources for disabled pupils and students. Designed to cater to all needs and ages, these links include resources from the Early Years Alliance and TechAbility, a specialist organisation for students in mainstream and specialist further education colleges. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-children-with-send-continue-their-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Office for Students has committed to protecting university students by working with providers to develop practical ways to maintain teaching quality and standards, and enable adequate exams and assessment, including for students who are disabled.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the efficiency of companies issuing free school meals vouchers to families during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children eligible for free school meals by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

We are monitoring the use of the national voucher scheme on a daily basis. As of 28 April, Edenred has indicated that over 16,500 schools have placed orders for codes under this scheme. Edenred has reported that over £65 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Monday 11 May.

We are working tirelessly with Edenred to resolve any outstanding technical problems. We are very grateful to families and schools for their understanding and patience while we upgrade this service to meet increased demand.

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

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the contract for provision of free school meal vouchers to EdTech companies.

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

We are encouraging schools to use existing catering arrangements to provide meals or food parcels to pupils who are eligible for free school meals while they are staying at home. Where this is not possible, the Department for Education has developed a centrally funded national voucher scheme as an alternative to support schools with this process.

Schools are best placed to determine what is most appropriate locally and are free to make their own arrangements outside the national voucher scheme. We understand that some approaches, such as providing food parcels or purchasing vouchers for shops currently not included in the national scheme, may mean that schools incur additional expenses. Guidance is available setting out how we will compensate schools who incur these additional costs in providing free school meals or vouchers to pupils affected by coronavirus:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

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

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government plans to take steps to ensure that parents whose children are not able to attend nurseries during the covid-19 outbreak are not required to pay fees to maintain those nurseries in business.

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.

Guidance for early years settings, including the support available to them, can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Further guidance on funding and financial support available for education, childcare and children’s social care organisations can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 30 October 2019 to Question 3668 on Schools: Buildings, when his Department plans to issue guidance to schools on the use of their premises for community use.

The Department intends to publish guidance on income generation later this year.

The Department is developing this resource, which will include advice on how schools can use their premises for the community and set out other types of income generation such as letting out premises, working with local businesses, selling goods and services, and applying for grants.

The Department’s aim is to inform schools in their ability to generate income and help them build strong community links at the same time.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of pupils eligible to receive pupil premium funding in (a) Lewisham Deptford, (b) London Borough of Lewisham, (c) London and (d) England.

The pupil premium is additional funding that state-funded schools in England receive to help improve the attainment and wider outcomes of pupils from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds; and also of looked after and previously looked after children.

Schools are allocated deprivation pupil premium funding based on the number of pupils on roll at the time of the January school census who have been registered for benefits-based free school meals (FSM) at any point in the last six years (known as Ever6 FSM). Schools also receive pupil premium funding at a higher rate (known as pupil premium plus) for pupils who have left local authority care in England and Wales through adoption, a special guardianship order, a child arrangements order or a residence order. Pupils who are in local authority care for one day or more also attract pupil premium plus funding; this is paid to the local authority and managed by the Virtual School Head.

The Department publishes information annually showing the number of pupils at school, local authority, Parliamentary constituency and national levels who attract the pupil premium to the schools they attend – this is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2019-to-2020.

The Department does not routinely monitor or publish statistics on the number of pupils who would be eligible for the deprivation pupil premium through having a parent in receipt of benefits that meet the qualifying criteria for FSM, but who do not attract this funding to the schools they attend because they are not registered for FSM.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of pupils claiming pupil premium funding in (a) Lewisham Deptford, (b) London Borough of Lewisham, (c) London and (d) England.

The pupil premium is additional funding that state-funded schools in England receive to help improve the attainment and wider outcomes of pupils from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds; and also of looked after and previously looked after children.

Schools are allocated deprivation pupil premium funding based on the number of pupils on roll at the time of the January school census who have been registered for benefits-based free school meals (FSM) at any point in the last six years (known as Ever6 FSM). Schools also receive pupil premium funding at a higher rate (known as pupil premium plus) for pupils who have left local authority care in England and Wales through adoption, a special guardianship order, a child arrangements order or a residence order. Pupils who are in local authority care for one day or more also attract pupil premium plus funding; this is paid to the local authority and managed by the Virtual School Head.

The Department publishes information annually showing the number of pupils at school, local authority, Parliamentary constituency and national levels who attract the pupil premium to the schools they attend – this is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2019-to-2020.

The Department does not routinely monitor or publish statistics on the number of pupils who would be eligible for the deprivation pupil premium through having a parent in receipt of benefits that meet the qualifying criteria for FSM, but who do not attract this funding to the schools they attend because they are not registered for FSM.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support pupils with endometriosis.

The Department wants to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe. We want to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. From September, we are making relationships education compulsory for all primary pupils, relationships and sex education compulsory for all secondary pupils and health education compulsory for all pupils in state-funded schools.

The statutory guidance sets out that as part of health education, primary and secondary pupils should be taught about menstrual wellbeing including key facts about the menstrual cycle. Schools have the flexibility to design the content of their curriculum in an age appropriate way to support their cohort of pupils. To help schools design their curriculum, we have signposted them to expert advice from Public Health England on reproductive health. This advice covers data, key facts and women’s experiences from menstruation to menopause. The statutory guidance can be accessed via the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/805781/Relationships_Education__Relationships_and_Sex_Education__RSE__and_Health_Education.pdf.

The Government is also fully funding access to free period products in schools and colleges across England, for pupils who need them. The new scheme gives young people easy access to period products at school or college, breaking down stigma and ensuring that no young person’s education is disrupted by their period.

This scheme is part of a wider programme of work, led by the cross-sector Period Poverty taskforce, with the vision to eliminate period poverty and shame around menstruation in the UK by 2025.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the national funding formula for schools on levels of socio-economic inequality in (a) Lewisham, Deptford constituency, (b) London and (c) England.

The National Funding Formula (NFF) commits extra funding for pupils with additional needs, based on levels of deprivation, low prior attainment, English as an additional language and mobility. Evidence shows that pupils with these characteristics are more likely to fall behind, and need extra support to reach their full potential. In 2020-21, £6.3 billion will be allocated in the NFF for 5-16 year olds with additional needs in England. Areas with high levels of additional needs will attract more funding, and as a result, both the Lewisham, Deptford constituency and the wider region of London will receive higher than average per pupil funding. Next year, primary and secondary schools in Lewisham, Deptford will attract, on average, £5,381 and £7,086 per pupil respectively. Across all of London, primary and secondary schools will attract, on average, £4,827 and £6,370 per pupil respectively. In both cases, this is above the national average of £4,352 for primary schools and of £5,578 for secondary schools.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on implementing the steps outlined in the Government's response to the Timpson Review of School Exclusion, published in May 2019.

The Government is taking forward an ambitious programme of action on behaviour, exclusion and alternative provision (AP). This will respect head teachers’ powers to use exclusion, enable schools to support children at risk of exclusion, and ensure that excluded children continue to receive a good education. The Department will expand AP and improve the quality of the sector so that pupils in AP receive the support and education they need to help them overcome the challenges they are facing, and to prepare them for the next stage of their lives.

Further information on the timeframes for this work will be provided in due course.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many convictions there have been for in-person voter fraud in (a) the London Borough of Lewisham, (b) London and (c) the UK in each of the last five years.

The Commission has collected and published information about allegations of electoral fraud from the police since 2008.

The Commission’s data shows that between 2014 and 2018 there were no convictions of in-person voter fraud in the London Borough of Lewisham. There was one conviction in the Waltham Forest constituency at the 2017 UK Parliamentary General Election. In total there have been two convictions in the UK for in-person voter fraud during the period specified; these occurred in Waltham Forest (as noted above) and in East Ayrshire at the 2016 EU Referendum.

The Commission will publish information about allegations of electoral fraud during 2019 in spring 2020.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the average per-hour cost of childcare (a) in a nursery and (b) with a childminder in (i) Lewisham, Deptford constituency, (ii) London and (iii) the UK in each of the last five years.

The Government published data on the cost of delivering childcare in England for 2015 and 2018. The average hourly costs of delivery are shown in the attached table (with the respective publications from which the data is sourced).

The Government also published data on the cost of delivery childcare in London, by all provider types, for 2015 and 2018. The average hourly costs of delivery are shown in the attached table (with the respective publications from which the data is sourced).

Average hourly costs in both tables are based on different collection methodologies and from different sources, so comparability is limited.

The Government does not hold such data relating specifically to the Lewisham Deptford constituency or the UK, nor does it hold this data relating to 2016 and 2017.

20th Jan 2020
What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of local authority funding for children’s services.

The Government is providing councils with an additional £1 billion for adults’ and children’s social care in every year of this Parliament. This is on top of the continuation of the £410 million social care grant in 2020-21. This will support local authorities to meet rising demand.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the National Disability Strategy published on 28 July 2021, which of her Department’s commitments in that strategy that have not been paused as a result of legal action have (a) been fully, (b) been partially and (c) not been implemented.

In January 2022, the High Court declared the National Disability Strategy (NDS) was unlawful because the UK Disability Survey, which informed it, was held to be a voluntary consultation that failed to comply with the legal requirements on public consultations.

The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs had the following commitments included in the National Disability Strategy:

  • make the England Coast Path as easy to use as possible for disabled people – all stretches of the England Coast Path will be open or with establishment works underway by the end of 2021, unless there are ongoing planning or legal issues
  • create a new north coast to coast National Trail from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire by 2025
  • improve access, signage and information on existing national paths and trails
  • deliver a £5.77 million investment in green social prescribing, which will benefit disabled people
  • implement the 25 Year Environment Plan, ensuring nature is accessible to everyone

Work on the King Charles III England Coast Path is progressing with over 850 miles now open to the public. At 2,700 miles, when complete it will be the longest waymarked and maintained coastal walking route in the world. We are making the King Charles III England Coast Path as accessible as possible and have recently approved proposals that have included a brand-new wheelchair-friendly ramp to a popular seawall walkway in Essex, a 600m accessible boardwalk on the Wirral and significant improvements to a well-used stretch of the South West Coast Path which will improve the width, surface quality and gradient of the existing trail.

We are continuing work designating Wainwright’s existing coast to coast path across the North of England as a new National Trail by 2025.

Our Access for All programme has committed £14.5m of funding to make targeted access improvements in our protected landscapes, national trails, forests and the wider countryside, to help bring the benefits of spending time in nature to everyone. More than £3.5m has already been spent on making our protected landscapes more accessible, including on: resurfacing paths; replacement of stiles with accessible gates; new benches and resting stops; accessible viewing platforms and the provision of new all-terrain trampers to support disabled people to access the countryside. The Government has extended its Farming in Protected Landscapes programme to improve accessibility in our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including installing interpretation panels, replacing gates and stiles to improve access for people who use wheelchairs.

The Green Social Prescribing programme which closed in March 2023 achieved over 7,000 referrals to nature-based activities over the course of the programme, and the evidence suggests that the programme has had a very strong service take-up compared with traditional mental health support services. We are committed to supporting the scale-up of green social prescribing across England, as confirmed in our Environmental Improvement Plan.

We remain fully committed to supporting disabled people in the UK through creating more opportunities, protecting their rights and ensuring they fully benefit from, and can contribute to, every aspect of our society. To support this, the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs will be providing further details of our recent achievements to improve disabled people’s lives in the forthcoming Disability Action Plan consultation due for publication in the summer.

Ahead of this, the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work will write providing a list of these achievements and will place a copy in the House Library.

30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of people employed within her Department have recorded that they have a disability.

As of 31st December, 16.1% of Core Defra employees have recorded that they have a disability/lifelong health condition. This representation rate has been calculated by the number of staff reporting they have a disability divided by the number who have reported their disability status, excluding those with an unknown status or prefer not to say/undeclared. This is above the last published Civil Service wide figure of 13.6% (2021) of civil servants having declared a disability Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Dashboard - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Defra is a Disability Confident employer (Level 3) and has many policies in place to ensure the Civil Service is an inclusive workplace for everyone, including those who have disabilities, such as Workplace Adjustments policies, Occupational Health and Employee Assistance Programme and Employee Passports.

Defra are members of the Business Disability Forum and ensure we are always appraised of current best practice. All Defra Colleagues can also participate and receive support via our Employee led Networks, supported by our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champions, this includes our Disability networks and Disability Boards. Defra also engages with the Cross Government Workplace Adjustments forum, to ensure we are learning from and contributing to best practice across government.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has a Ministerial disability champion.

I was appointed as the Ministerial Disability Champion for Defra.

I will work with the other Ministerial Disability Champions appointed in each Government Department, to represent the interests of disabled people and drive forward progress on disability policy across government.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he made of the potential merits of setting a target of 5 micrograms per cubic metre (μg m-3) to be met across England by 2030 in line with 2021 WHO Global Air Quality Guidelines; and for what reason he did not set that target.

We are taking an evidence-led approach to set targets which are stretching, achievable and appropriate for our national circumstances. Our evidence indicates that a level of 5 μgm-3 would be impossible to achieve in many locations due to the level of natural PM2.5 and pollution blown in from outside the country. Even in the absence of all man-made emissions of PM2.5 from within the UK, modelling indicates that concentrations of PM2.5 would still likely exceed 5 μgm-3. The cost-benefit-analysis, which assesses the merits of setting a more ambitious target, will be published with the evidence pack in due course.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 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 findings of research presented in the 2019 Air Quality: Assessing progress towards WHO guideline levels of PM2.5 in the UK report and 2022 Pathway to Healthy Air in the UK Report report, that WHO air pollution targets are achievable by 2030; and whether the Department plans to take that modelling into account as part of its consultation on the review of the Local Air Quality Management Policy Guidance.

We are using an evidence-based approach to inform our proposed PM2.5 targets. We recently launched the consultation for the targets under the Environment Act, seeking views from key stakeholders and individuals. These include two highly ambitious air quality targets, which will be further supported by stretching interim targets. With the introduction of these new PM2.5 targets, we are considering the role local authorities could play in reducing PM2.5.

We have also launched a consultation on revised Policy Guidance to local authorities under our Local Air Quality Management framework. This reflects changes that were made to the Local Air Quality Management framework through the Environment Act 2021, which enter into force on 1 May 2022.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government response to the Ella Adoo-Kissi Debrah Coroner’s report published in June 2021, when his Department plans to open its public consultation on new legal targets for PM2.5 and other pollutants.

We will shortly publish a public consultation on the proposed legally-binding targets to be set under the Environment Act 2021 framework, including for air quality. The targets will then be brought forward in secondary legislation by 31 October 2022.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published on 28 July 2021, what steps his Department has taken to date to improve access, signage and information on existing national paths and trails.

Establishment works have not yet started on some stretches of the England Coast Path with no legal or planning issues, in part because these had been resolved but the proposals not yet approved. However, to date Natural England has published proposals for more than 99% of the route and 69% to be either open or in the establishment phase.

We are working hard to commence establishment on the remaining stretches and to make the trail as accessible as possible. Examples of recently approved proposals that will improve accessibility include a brand-new wheelchair-friendly ramp to a popular seawall walkway in Essex, a 600m accessible boardwalk on the Wirral and significant improvements to a well-used stretch of the South West Coast Path to improve its width, surface quality and gradient.

The 47-mile Grain to Woolwich stretch opened on 12 January this year, providing high-quality access between London and the outer Thames Estuary. In urban areas, much of this stretch follows existing accessible promenades and walkways. In more rural areas, barriers to access have been reduced wherever practical, such as replacing 18 stiles with gaps or accessible gates and where possible installing signage to show step-free routes.

With regards to the work to improve access, signage and information on existing national paths and trails, National Trails are now working to formalise their commitment to a ‘one family’ approach through the establishment of a National Alliance. A new charity is being formed as a single, strategic body for all National Trails which could also help ensure consistency in signage and information. We are exploring the role that this charity could play as part of the new national landscapes partnership. This could expand our protected landscapes’ collective capacity to plan and promote events, programmes and volunteering opportunities that focus on connecting young people with nature, increasing the ethnic and socio-economic diversity of visitors, and aiding people with disabilities to enjoy our protected landscapes. We are consulting on this new approach as part of the Glover response published earlier this month, which will allow stakeholders to contribute their views.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published on 28 July 2021, whether all stretches of the England Coast Path had opened or had establishment works underway by the end of 2021, unless there are ongoing planning or legal issues.

Establishment works have not yet started on some stretches of the England Coast Path with no legal or planning issues, in part because these had been resolved but the proposals not yet approved. However, to date Natural England has published proposals for more than 99% of the route and 69% to be either open or in the establishment phase.

We are working hard to commence establishment on the remaining stretches and to make the trail as accessible as possible. Examples of recently approved proposals that will improve accessibility include a brand-new wheelchair-friendly ramp to a popular seawall walkway in Essex, a 600m accessible boardwalk on the Wirral and significant improvements to a well-used stretch of the South West Coast Path to improve its width, surface quality and gradient.

The 47-mile Grain to Woolwich stretch opened on 12 January this year, providing high-quality access between London and the outer Thames Estuary. In urban areas, much of this stretch follows existing accessible promenades and walkways. In more rural areas, barriers to access have been reduced wherever practical, such as replacing 18 stiles with gaps or accessible gates and where possible installing signage to show step-free routes.

With regards to the work to improve access, signage and information on existing national paths and trails, National Trails are now working to formalise their commitment to a ‘one family’ approach through the establishment of a National Alliance. A new charity is being formed as a single, strategic body for all National Trails which could also help ensure consistency in signage and information. We are exploring the role that this charity could play as part of the new national landscapes partnership. This could expand our protected landscapes’ collective capacity to plan and promote events, programmes and volunteering opportunities that focus on connecting young people with nature, increasing the ethnic and socio-economic diversity of visitors, and aiding people with disabilities to enjoy our protected landscapes. We are consulting on this new approach as part of the Glover response published earlier this month, which will allow stakeholders to contribute their views.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on the ability of individuals accompanied by an assistance animal to travel to the EU from 1 January 2021 of the UK being listed in Part 1 of Annex II to EU Regulation (EU) No 577/2013.

Defra is proactively and positively engaging with the assistance dog community and relevant stakeholders on the impacts on dog movements to the EU after the end of the transition period. We will continue to closely work with assistance dog organisations to share the latest advice and guidance (in accessible formats) with their members on pet travel requirements.

The EU Commission has now responded to clarify its decision on listing the UK as a third country under Annex II of the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

On 3 December 2020 the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed of the EU voted in favour of giving the UK Part 2 listed status for the purposes of non-commercial pet travel after the transition period. This listed status will be formally adopted by the EU in due course.

Part 2 listed status means similar health requirements to travel to the EU as now, but new documentation will be required for pets and assistance dogs.

We are disappointed not to become a Part 1 listed third country. We are clear we meet all the requirements for this and have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity. Our disease risk will also not change after the transition period and so we will continue to press the EU Commission on securing Part 1 listed status.

There will be no changes to the current pet travel health requirements for entry into Great Britain and we will continue to accept EU pet passports. We intend to publish further guidance shortly on what this development means for travellers, on GOV.UK.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published July 2021, what recent steps her Department has taken to (a) encourage and support workplace disability networks, (b) achieve and maintain the highest level of Disability Confident accreditation, (c) ensure responsive and timely support to meet workplace adjustment needs and (d) develop and embed flexible working.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) supports our Disability Network by delivering against shared priorities in the Inclusion Framework, focusing on recruitment, building capability and raising awareness.

DIT and UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) level three (the highest level) Disability Confident accreditation was reaccredited in December 2020 and February 2021 respectively. To maintain the level 3 accreditation, DIT has developed Disability Confident training which is currently being rolled out.

DIT and UKEF have workplace adjustment policies and have access to the Civil Service Workplace Adjustment Service (CSWAS), an Occupational Health provider and an in-house advisory team to ensure timely end-to-end support.

The Department’s policies promote flexible working patterns (including Hybrid Working) to support individual needs, including disability-related adjustments and workplace adjustment passports.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
8th Oct 2020
What discussions she has had with UK trade partners on maintaining environmental protection standards in trade agreements.

HM Government is committed to meeting its ambitious environmental objectives, as we demonstrated last year by becoming the first major country to enshrine our Net Zero commitment into legislation.

We're?exploring?environmental provisions?in the design of our Free Trade Agreements to secure Britain’s high environmental standards.?Of course, the precise details of free trade agreements are a matter for?the?formal?negotiations. We will lay the full treaty text before Parliament at the end of the negotiations to enable proper scrutiny.

22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to reduce the cost of repairs to pavements that have been damaged by pavement parking.

Local authorities are responsible for pavement maintenance and already have powers to tackle pavement parking by implementing Traffic Regulation Orders. The Department has consulted on further options to help local authorities tackle this issue and will publish a formal response when final decisions have been taken. The Department is fully aware that pavement parking can pose problems for all pedestrians, particularly for people with sight or mobility impairments, and can be the cause of damage to pavements.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will commission research on the potential impact of pavement parking on (a) disabled people and (b) other pedestrians.

Local authorities are responsible for pavement maintenance and already have powers to tackle pavement parking by implementing Traffic Regulation Orders. The Department has consulted on further options to help local authorities tackle this issue and will publish a formal response when final decisions have been taken. The Department is fully aware that pavement parking can pose problems for all pedestrians, particularly for people with sight or mobility impairments, and can be the cause of damage to pavements.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the report by Sustrans, entitled Disabled Citizens' Inquiry: Giving disabled people a voice in walking and wheeling policy and practice, published 8 February 2023.

Active Travel England is working with local authorities and disabled people’s organisations to improve opportunities for walking, wheeling and cycling for all. An accessible and inclusive transport system is a priority for the Department for Transport, and integral to its objective of improving transport for the user.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure footways are accessible for people with visual impairments.

Local authorities are responsible for maintaining footways within their local areas. It is for them to ensure this is done in a way that complies with equalities legislation, particularly the Public Sector Equality Duty. However, the Government believes all public realms should be inclusive and accessible.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with Govia Thameslink Railway on the reduction of its (a) Southern and (b) London Bridge to East Croydon railway lines.

The department has regular discussions with Operators to assess the level of service provision and ensure that the timetable meets passenger demand. The timetable will remain under regular review however there are no significant changes currently planned to services between East Croydon and London Bridge

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of reductions in rail services following the covid-19 pandemic on (a) workforces and (b) inner city economies.

The industry continues to adjust service levels as passenger demand patterns evolve following the pandemic. Nationally passenger journeys are at around 80 per cent of 2019 levels whilst train operators are providing around 90 per cent of the services they operated in 2019. We continue to work closely with operators and Network Rail to ensure that service levels remain appropriate to expected demand and deliver good value for the taxpayer.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he is taking steps to encourage rail operators to reinstate services which were cut during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As the pandemic has changed travel habits, the Department expects train operators to use this opportunity to reassess their services to provide efficient rail timetables that respond to new passenger travel patterns, are fit for the future, and carefully balance cost, capacity and performance.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to allow disabled people who are in receipt of the standard mobility award for Personal Independence Payment to pay their vehicle tax to the DVLA through a direct debit scheme.

Data on whether an individual is entitled to the enhanced or standard rate mobility component of the personal independence payment is held by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is working with the DWP on how data can be shared securely and appropriately between the two departments. Once this has been established, the DVLA will consider the technical developments needed to allow such applications to be accepted online and to pay by direct debit.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
5th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on the training bus drivers receive on supporting the accessibility needs of people with disabilities.

Drivers of regular bus and coach services are already legally required to complete disability awareness training.

The Department for Transport publishes annual bus statistics which include an assessment of the proportion of on-board staff that have taken disability awareness training.  The most recent release (2021/22) estimated that 99% of on-board staff working for local bus operators had taken this training. We are aware that statistics indicate a low level of non-compliance with these requirements. We engage regularly with DVSA regarding their enforcement of accessibility requirements.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
5th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what training railway staff receive on supporting the accessibility needs of people with disabilities.

All station operators must establish and comply with an Accessible Travel Policy (ATP) that states how they will protect the interests of disabled passengers at stations and provides an overview of the accessibility of station facilities and services. As part of the ATP, operators must ensure that all frontline staff undertake disability awareness training, and that staff must receive refresher training within 2 years of receipt of disability awareness or disability equality training. Additionally, the Department mandates through its contracts with train operators that all staff with management responsibilities have undertaken this training.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 26 June 2023 to Question 191230 on Railway Stations: Disability, when he expects the Great British Railways Transition Team to publish data on the accessibility of station facilities.

The Great British Railways Transition Team is working with Network Rail and the Department to consider how to make Accessibility Audit data available to the public. This work is underway, and we will announce further details in due course.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Department's news article entitled New plans to boost protections for airline passengers, published on 27 June 2023, when his Department plans to roll out training for ground handlers in handling mobility equipment.

The Government published the response to the Aviation Consumer Policy Reform Consultation on 27 June 2023. The response sets out findings from the consultation and next steps on the proposals.

Responses to the proposals on compensation and refunds illustrated the complexity of the system and a range of competing factors and so the Government concluded further work is required to consider the merits and limitations of any changes in the area. The Government will consult on the compensation and payment framework for all forms of disruption. The Government will set out a timeframe for further consultation in due course.

The legislative reforms to give the Civil Aviation Authority additional powers to enforce consumer rights and mandating Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for all airlines will be taken forward when parliamentary time allows. In the meantime, the Department will work with the industry and associated stakeholders to drive forward improvements for aviation consumers.

The Government wants everyone to have equal opportunity to travel by air with dignity and respect. The Minister for Aviation chaired an Aviation Accessibility Roundtable on 28 June 2023 with disabled people, organisations representing disabled people, disability experts, members of both Houses of Parliament and the Disabled Persons’ Transport Advisory Committee. The roundtable considered the key issues and concerns that these passenger groups face and explored possible solutions to amplify their voice and improve the travel experience for disabled and less mobile passengers. The Department for Transport will continue discussions with these stakeholders.

The Government launched the new training package for the Department for Transport’s REAL disability awareness training programme on 27 June 2023, to ensure those handling powered wheelchairs are aware of the impact any damage has for the user, with useful tips on handling this vital equipment.

29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Department's news article entitled New plans to boost protections for airline passengers, published on 27 June 2023, whether his Department has had recent discussions with disabled (a) people and (b) people's organisations on its proposed reforms of aviation consumer policy.

The Government published the response to the Aviation Consumer Policy Reform Consultation on 27 June 2023. The response sets out findings from the consultation and next steps on the proposals.

Responses to the proposals on compensation and refunds illustrated the complexity of the system and a range of competing factors and so the Government concluded further work is required to consider the merits and limitations of any changes in the area. The Government will consult on the compensation and payment framework for all forms of disruption. The Government will set out a timeframe for further consultation in due course.

The legislative reforms to give the Civil Aviation Authority additional powers to enforce consumer rights and mandating Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for all airlines will be taken forward when parliamentary time allows. In the meantime, the Department will work with the industry and associated stakeholders to drive forward improvements for aviation consumers.

The Government wants everyone to have equal opportunity to travel by air with dignity and respect. The Minister for Aviation chaired an Aviation Accessibility Roundtable on 28 June 2023 with disabled people, organisations representing disabled people, disability experts, members of both Houses of Parliament and the Disabled Persons’ Transport Advisory Committee. The roundtable considered the key issues and concerns that these passenger groups face and explored possible solutions to amplify their voice and improve the travel experience for disabled and less mobile passengers. The Department for Transport will continue discussions with these stakeholders.

The Government launched the new training package for the Department for Transport’s REAL disability awareness training programme on 27 June 2023, to ensure those handling powered wheelchairs are aware of the impact any damage has for the user, with useful tips on handling this vital equipment.

29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Department's news article entitled New plans to boost protections for airline passengers of 27 June 2023, when his Department plans to introduce strengthened (a) enforcement powers for the aviation regulator and (b) dispute resolution measures for passengers on flights operating to and from the UK.

The Government published the response to the Aviation Consumer Policy Reform Consultation on 27 June 2023. The response sets out findings from the consultation and next steps on the proposals.

Responses to the proposals on compensation and refunds illustrated the complexity of the system and a range of competing factors and so the Government concluded further work is required to consider the merits and limitations of any changes in the area. The Government will consult on the compensation and payment framework for all forms of disruption. The Government will set out a timeframe for further consultation in due course.

The legislative reforms to give the Civil Aviation Authority additional powers to enforce consumer rights and mandating Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for all airlines will be taken forward when parliamentary time allows. In the meantime, the Department will work with the industry and associated stakeholders to drive forward improvements for aviation consumers.

The Government wants everyone to have equal opportunity to travel by air with dignity and respect. The Minister for Aviation chaired an Aviation Accessibility Roundtable on 28 June 2023 with disabled people, organisations representing disabled people, disability experts, members of both Houses of Parliament and the Disabled Persons’ Transport Advisory Committee. The roundtable considered the key issues and concerns that these passenger groups face and explored possible solutions to amplify their voice and improve the travel experience for disabled and less mobile passengers. The Department for Transport will continue discussions with these stakeholders.

The Government launched the new training package for the Department for Transport’s REAL disability awareness training programme on 27 June 2023, to ensure those handling powered wheelchairs are aware of the impact any damage has for the user, with useful tips on handling this vital equipment.

29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Department's news article entitled New plans to boost protections for airline passengers on of 27 June 2023, when his Department plans to begin further work on how to strengthen compensation for passengers facing disruption from cancellations and delays; and whether a proposed date has been set for the completion of that work.

The Government published the response to the Aviation Consumer Policy Reform Consultation on 27 June 2023. The response sets out findings from the consultation and next steps on the proposals.

Responses to the proposals on compensation and refunds illustrated the complexity of the system and a range of competing factors and so the Government concluded further work is required to consider the merits and limitations of any changes in the area. The Government will consult on the compensation and payment framework for all forms of disruption. The Government will set out a timeframe for further consultation in due course.

The legislative reforms to give the Civil Aviation Authority additional powers to enforce consumer rights and mandating Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for all airlines will be taken forward when parliamentary time allows. In the meantime, the Department will work with the industry and associated stakeholders to drive forward improvements for aviation consumers.

The Government wants everyone to have equal opportunity to travel by air with dignity and respect. The Minister for Aviation chaired an Aviation Accessibility Roundtable on 28 June 2023 with disabled people, organisations representing disabled people, disability experts, members of both Houses of Parliament and the Disabled Persons’ Transport Advisory Committee. The roundtable considered the key issues and concerns that these passenger groups face and explored possible solutions to amplify their voice and improve the travel experience for disabled and less mobile passengers. The Department for Transport will continue discussions with these stakeholders.

The Government launched the new training package for the Department for Transport’s REAL disability awareness training programme on 27 June 2023, to ensure those handling powered wheelchairs are aware of the impact any damage has for the user, with useful tips on handling this vital equipment.

28th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to introduce tactile paving in all Network Rail stations.

We remain fully committed to fitting tactile paving at all remaining mainline railway stations in Britain by the end of 2025 at the latest. In the meantime, safety announcements are being made to advise blind and partially sighted passengers of the current lack of tactiles at platform edges where this is still the case.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the closure of rail ticket offices on disabled passengers.

When proposing major changes to ticket office opening hours, including closures, operators are required to take into account the adequacy of the proposed alternatives in relation to the needs of passengers who are disabled; and to include this in the notice of the proposal sent to other operators and passenger groups. We would also expect operators to consider other equality related needs and make this clear in their consultation.

We recognise that many passengers value the services provided by staff at ticket offices and the Department recently hosted roundtable discussions with industry and accessibility and transport groups to discuss this matter. We continue to engage with the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee to understand any concerns.

No currently staffed station will be unstaffed as a result of industry changes, and train operators will ensure staff are well located to meet passenger needs in future. This will include assisting those who need additional support and cannot or do not want to use digital tickets.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 20 June 2023 to Question 189782 on Disability, if he will state the other seven commitments in the National Disability Strategy that his Department has fully implemented.

In addition to the Accessible Information Regulations (AIR) which were made in June 2023, the department has implemented the following seven commitments from the National Disability Strategy:

  • Further developed the Passenger Assist Programme for disabled passengers and introduced a passenger assist app.
  • In 2022, delivered four accessibility-focused projects as part of the DfT-funded First of a Kind Rail Innovation Competition, delivered by Innovate UK. The projects were aimed at improving communication and navigation for disabled rail passengers and others with reduced mobility.
  • Supported the passage of the Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022 so that disabled people have specific rights and protections to be carried and receive assistance when accessing a taxi or private hire vehicle, without being charged extra for doing so.
  • In 2022 DfT consulted on updated Best Practice Guidance for taxi and private hire vehicle licensing authorities in England. This contained strengthened recommendations including encouraging the mandatory provision of disability awareness training for taxi and PHV drivers. DfT intends to publish the final version of the guidance later this year.
  • In 2022 provided nearly £1 million to improve the accessibility of lifeline seaports on the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly.
  • The British Standards Institution (BSI) published the PAS (Publicly Available Standard) 1899 in October 2022 which set clear accessibility standards for Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • Ran multiple rounds of the ‘It’s everyone’s journey’ communications campaign, with the latest activity running from September 2022 to March 2023. The campaign encourages disabled people to travel by helping to raise awareness of disabled passengers’ needs amongst non-disabled passengers.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of disabled people currently hold a driving licence.

Data from the National Travel Survey show that in 2021, 61% of disabled adults aged 17 or over in England held a full car driving licence, compared with 80% of adults with no disability. Data are not available on the number of disabled people holding a driving licence, as the proportions above are derived from a sample and are therefore estimates rather than precise figures.

These data are updated annually in the disability, accessibility and blue badge statistical release:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/disability-accessibility-and-blue-badge-statistics-2021-to-2022/disability-accessibility-and-blue-badge-statistics-2021-to-2022

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 21st October 2022 to Question 69709, when he plans to publish his Department's response to the Best Practice Guidance for taxi and private hire vehicle licensing authorities in England consultation.

The Department intends to publish the Government's response to the consultation on updated Best Practice Guidance for taxi and private hire vehicle licensing authorities in England later this year.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 1 February 2022 to Question 113209 on Railway Stations: Disability, what progress his Department has made on conducting a network-wide accessibility audit of station facilities at all 2,565 mainline railway stations in Great Britain to inform future investment decisions.

Work is now complete on auditing all stations across Great Britain to understand how accessible they are for passengers with a range of requirements. We have commissioned the Great British Railways Transition Team to implement data platforms to (a) allow passengers to access this information to better plan their journeys and (b) allow the rail industry to better plan how they operate the network.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of their Department's employees are recorded as having a disability.

The representation of disabled staff within the Department is currently 8.6%, with a declaration rate of 82.4%.

14th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is taking steps to support the transition to wheelchair accessible electric vehicle stock for taxi (a) firms and (b) drivers by the Net Zero target date of 2030.

The Government’s Plug in Taxi (PiTG) grant scheme supports taxi firms and drivers to transition to zero emission vehicles.

To be eligible for this grant, manufacturers must demonstrate that the vehicle has been approved as a wheelchair accessible vehicle.

The PiTG scheme offers a discount on the price of eligible taxis of up to a maximum of £7,500 or £3,000, depending on the vehicle’s range, emissions and design.

14th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has taken steps to ensure that sufficient wheelchair-accessible electrical vehicle stock is available after 2030.

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone can transition to zero emission vehicles. Government grants are available to support the transition to wheelchair-accessible electric vehicles and are designed to reduce the upfront purchase price and encourage growth in this market.

14th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that local licensing authorities publish data on the number of wheelchair accessible taxis and private hire vehicles available in their local area in the context of section 167 of the Equality Act.

Following the Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022 receiving Royal Assent in April 2022, we published guidance to support local licensing authorities to fulfil their new duty to maintain and publish a list of wheelchair accessible vehicles in their area.

We will monitor compliance with s167 of the Equality Act through the Department’s annual taxi and private hire vehicle statistics.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
14th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is taking steps to help ensure that local licensing authorities offer disability equality training to taxi and private hire vehicle drivers.

Last year the Department consulted on updated taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) best practice guidance for licensing authorities, which provided strengthened recommendations on the provision of an inclusive service.

The guidance recommended licensing authorities ensure there are sufficient wheelchair accessible vehicles within the fleets they regulate to fulfil the demand from disabled passengers. It also recommended that licensing authorities require taxi and PHV drivers to undertake disability awareness training to give them the skills, knowledge, and confidence to provide disabled people with appropriate assistance.

The Department’s response to this consultation will be published in due course, along with a substantive version of the updated guidance document. In the meantime, we remain committed to mandating the completion of disability awareness training by taxi and PHV drivers when Parliamentary time allows.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
14th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help increase the number of wheelchair accessible taxis and private hire vehicles in England.

Last year the Department consulted on updated taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) best practice guidance for licensing authorities, which provided strengthened recommendations on the provision of an inclusive service.

The guidance recommended licensing authorities ensure there are sufficient wheelchair accessible vehicles within the fleets they regulate to fulfil the demand from disabled passengers. It also recommended that licensing authorities require taxi and PHV drivers to undertake disability awareness training to give them the skills, knowledge, and confidence to provide disabled people with appropriate assistance.

The Department’s response to this consultation will be published in due course, along with a substantive version of the updated guidance document. In the meantime, we remain committed to mandating the completion of disability awareness training by taxi and PHV drivers when Parliamentary time allows.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
2nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the availability of electric vehicle charging points.

Today, the majority of electric vehicle charging happens at home. The Department expects this trend to continue. In addition, there is an extensive public charging network across the country, with over 37,600 available chargers. Government support and industry investment has seen the number of public chargepoints more than triple over the last four years. Last week, the Department for Transport announced an additional £56 million in public and industry funding for local chargepoints across the country.

22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has a Ministerial disability champion.

I am the Department’s Ministerial Disability Champion.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the new train timetable on the reliability of rail services.

The December 2022 timetable was designed to improve performance through some of the busiest parts of the network, including Manchester, Birmingham and the south east. Since it was introduced, the network has faced considerable challenges, with poor weather (snow, ice, wind, heavy rain), sustained industrial action and a wide-ranging programme of engineering works. The full impact of the timetable on service performance will only become clearer when network disruption stabilises, towards the end of January.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of disabled people currently hold a driving licence.

Data from the National Travel Survey show that in 2020, 60% of disabled people aged 17 and over in England held a full car driving licence, compared with 83% of those with no disability. Data are not available on the number of disabled people who hold a driving licence, as the proportions above are derived from a sample and are therefore estimates rather than precise figures.

Updated figures will follow in the next release of the disability statistics publication.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if her Department will introduce mandatory training for taxi and minicab drivers to ensure that people with sight loss are not discriminated against when using those services.

The Government has committed to introducing mandatory disability awareness training for taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers through new National Minimum Standards for licensing authorities when Parliamentary time allows.

The Government recently consulted on revised Best Practice Guidance for taxi and private hire vehicle licensing authorities in England, which included a stronger recommendation that every driver is required to complete disability awareness training. The Government’s response to this consultation will be published in due course, along with the final version of the guidance.

15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the 9.30am start time for free public transport on disabled people's abilities to commute to their place of work or education; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of removing that restriction.

Under the terms of The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme a holder of a concessionary bus pass is able to travel between 09.30am and 11.00pm on weekdays and all day at weekends and on Bank Holidays.

The primary aim of the scheme is to ensure that no eligible disabled or older person in England is prevented from bus travel by cost alone. The provision of a free bus pass aims to provide these groups with greater freedom and independence in accessing a range of basic necessities.

Local authorities in England have the power to offer additional local concessions, such as extending the hours of the concession, and around three quarters of authorities already do so.

This area is kept under review. The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme costs around £1 billion annually so any changes, such as extending the concession to include morning peak travel times, would need to be carefully considered for their impact on the scheme’s financial sustainability. At present, there are no plans to extend the travel times for the concession given the current pressures on public finances.

23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 21 January 2022 to Question 105660 on Railway Stations: Disability, what further progress has been made towards finalising a public consultation to revise the Design Standards for Accessible Stations: A Code of Practice.

We are in the process of finalising a public consultation to revise the Design Standards for Accessible Stations: A Code of Practice. We will make a further announcement shortly.

21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of enabling people undergoing (a) surgery followed by chemotherapy or radiation, (b) chemotherapy followed by surgery and (c) chemotherapy and concurrent radiation for the purposes of cancer treatment to apply for a Blue Badge.

The Blue Badge scheme is primarily about helping those with permanent mobility issues to access the goods and services they need. Applications are not dependent upon condition but are based on the need of the applicant to park closer to their destination.

The Department has previously issued local authorities with advice on how they could use their existing powers to provide temporary parking concessions locally within their areas for residents with temporary impairments.

21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of allowing people with a temporary disability to apply for a Blue Badge.

The Blue Badge scheme is primarily about helping those with permanent mobility issues to access the goods and services they need. Applications are not dependent upon condition but are based on the need of the applicant to park closer to their destination.

The Department has previously issued local authorities with advice on how they could use their existing powers to provide temporary parking concessions locally within their areas for residents with temporary impairments.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published July 2021, what recent steps his Department has taken to (a) encourage and support workplace disability networks, (b) achieve and maintain the highest level of Disability Confident accreditation, (c) ensure responsive and timely support to meet workplace adjustment needs and (d) develop and embed flexible working.

DfT has undertaken multiple recent steps to address the points raised.

In reference to point a) encouraging and supporting workplace disability networks:

There are a number of staff networks across DfT and arm’s length bodies covering disability. Some cover disability generally. More specific subgroups cover neurodiversity, mental health conditions and d/Deafness and hearing loss. A Board Level Champion for disability is active and engaged in this agenda. A senior director sponsors DfT’s central disability network, Ability.

  • Network committee members are given dedicated time away from their day to day roles specifically for the undertaking of network duties
  • Via the Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing teams, funding for network events and training has been provided as well as guidance and planning support.

Regarding work done to b) achieve and maintain the highest level of disability confident accreditation, the following recent steps have been taken:

  • DfT was awarded Disability Confident Level 3 status - “Leader” - in 2021. DVLA have held this level since 2018. DVSA and MCA both hold Level 1 status, with action plans in place to raise this.
  • DfT holds membership of disability themed professional organisations to provide support and guidance to networks, staff and DfT as a whole.

In response to subsection c), actions taken to ensure response and timely support to meet workplace adjustment needs include

  • The Workplace Adjustments (WPA) team works with experts in the Cabinet Office, networks, and charities to continuously improve WPA guidance and interventions. The process has recently been streamlined based on feedback from employee networks and employee satisfaction levels have subsequently improved.
  • A tailored service is in place to support disabled colleagues who need reasonable adjustments in order to help them to return to their offices.

Finally, regarding DfT’s work to d) develop and embed flexible working:

  • A culture of hybrid working has been successfully embedded at DVSA, VCA and DfT following the Covid-19 pandemic. In January 2022 DfT launched a hybrid working policy allowing most non-operational staff to spend a proportion of time every month working remotely.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy, published 28 July 2021, what progress his Department has made on conducting a network-wide accessibility audit of station facilities at all 2,565 mainline railway stations in Great Britain to inform future investment decisions.

The audits started on site last September and are progressing well. 630 stations have been completed so far and we expect the rest to be complete by early summer next year.

19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published 28 July 2021, what steps his Department has taken towards working with the Community Transport Association and other stakeholders to understand the difficulties associated with recruiting community transport drivers.

The Government understands that community transport services are essential for many people’s independence, yet some organisations struggle to recruit drivers qualified to drive their vehicles.

My officials are engaging with stakeholders to better understand these challenges. £200,000 is paid annually by the Department to the Community Transport Association (CTA), supporting them to continue championing inclusive and accessible community transport across the country.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published 28 July 2021, what recent work his Department has carried out with Blue Badge users and local authorities in England to ensure its suitability for all users.

The Department conducts an ongoing programme to identify ways to improve the Blue Badge scheme application process for all users, including acting on feedback from local authority administrators and citizen users of the scheme. A project to test the application of advanced technological developments to the online application process is expected to report in Spring 2022.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published 28 July 2021, what progress his Department has made towards improving the online Blue Badge application process.

The Department conducts an ongoing programme to identify ways to improve the Blue Badge scheme application process for all users, including acting on feedback from local authority administrators and citizen users of the scheme. A project to test the application of advanced technological developments to the online application process is expected to report in Spring 2022.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published 28 July 2021 and the £1 million made available to improve the accessibility of lifeline seaports on the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly, how many ports have applied for funding; and what proportion of the £1 million has been allocated to date.

The funding was available for both port and ferry operators serving the Isles of Wight and Scilly. All bids received have been assessed and offers have been made to all successful applicants. Full details of the awards will be published in due course.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published 28 July 2021, what work his Department has carried out to date with consumer groups and charge point operators to set clear accessibility standards for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The Government is committed to ensuring an accessible electric vehicle (EV) charging network and that inclusively designed chargepoints are available for all consumers.

That is why we are partnering with national disability charity Motability to commission the British Standards Institution (BSI) to develop accessibility standards for public EV chargepoints across the country. These standards – to be finalised by summer 2022 – are being developed in collaboration with consumer groups, chargepoint operators and other stakeholders and will provide a new, clear definition of accessibility for public EV chargepoints. Guidance will consider aspects such as kerb height, cable weight, adequate space between bollards and chargepoints being of a height suitable for wheelchair users. It will also consider chargepoints in the context of their surrounding built environment to ensure pedestrians and other road users’ needs are reflected.

We have also consulted on introducing accessibility requirements at EV chargepoints via the Future of Transport Regulatory Review consultation. The consultation closed on 22nd November.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published 28 July 2021, was recent steps his Department has taken to encourage local authorities to require drivers to complete disability awareness training.

Effective disability awareness training can help ensure that taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers have the knowledge, skills and confidence to provide passengers with appropriate assistance, so that they can travel independently and with confidence.

The Department wants every local licensing authority to require taxi and PHV drivers to complete this training, and will make this clear in updated best practice guidance, due to be published for consultation later in the year.

The Government also remains committed to introducing mandatory disability awareness training for taxi and PHV drivers through new National Minimum Standards for licensing authorities when Parliamentary time allows.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published on 28 July 2021, how many additional Changing Places toilets have been made available since August 2021.

In October 2020, the government announced that it would provide £2.2 million of funding to 59 motorway service areas to support the installation of more Changing Places toilets on the motorway network in England.

Most of these will be installed through 2022, with all due to be in place by April 2023.

This will see us achieve the ambition set out in the 2018 Inclusive Transport Strategy to have Changing Places toilets at the majority of motorway service areas in England.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published on 28 July 2021, whether his Department consulted on an update to the Design Standards for Accessible Stations in 2021 as planned.

We are in the process of finalising a public consultation to revise the Design Standards for Accessible Stations: A Code of Practice. We will make a further announcement shortly.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published on 28 July 2021 and his Department's invitation to submit innovative project ideas to improve communication for disabled passengers and others with reduced mobility on rail services across Great Britain, (a) whether the contracts were awarded as planned by July 2021, (b) how many contracts were awarded and (c) to whom they were awarded.

Four projects aimed at making the railway easier to use for people with disabilities were awarded funding through the First of a Kind 2021 rail innovation competition. The contracts were awarded to Mission Room Ltd, GoMedia Services Ltd (two projects) and Transreport Ltd, working in partnership with other bodies. Each project commenced as scheduled on 1 July 2021, though contracts for the two projects led by GoMedia were finalised in August and October due to delays in completing pre-contract checks. The projects are all still in progress and are scheduled to complete by the end of March 2022.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published on 28 July 2021, what work his Department has carried out to date with Network Rail to develop proposals for the accelerated upgrade of rail station platforms with tactile paving.

Network Rail estimate that around 60 percent of British mainline station platforms are fitted with tactile surfaces. We are committed to making this 100 percent and Network Rail has received an initial £10 million to install tactile paving at priority stations not already funded. Tactiles have since been installed at a number of stations including Chiswick, Cosham and Whitchurch with more to come. I will make further announcements on future rounds of funding in due course.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published on 28 July 2021, (a) what work his Department has done to date to work closely with rail companies to further develop the Passenger Assist Programme for disabled passengers and (b) whether it introduced a passenger assist app in 2021 as planned.

The Department continues to work closely with the Rail Delivery Group on the Passenger Assist Improvement programme. The Department provided £700k from the ‘First of a Kind’ fund in 2018 and 2019 and made a further contribution of £250k in May 2020. We have also agreed an allowable cost of £770k for the further development of the Passenger Assist programme.

The passenger assist app was successfully introduced in May 2021.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published on 28 July 2021, how much funding was awarded to help the smallest bus companies to provide audible and visible information on services in 2021 in addition to the £2 million already committed and (b) if he will publish a list of companies which received this additional funding.

The National Disability Strategy aims to improve disabled people’s everyday lives and to take action to create a society that works for everyone so we can build back better, and fairer.

Within the Strategy, the government has committed to introducing Regulations by Summer 2022 to require bus companies to provide audible and visible announcements onboard their services in Great Britain, subject to final analysis. To support small operators to comply with the Regulations, the government has allocated a further £1.55 million in 2021, on top of the £2 million allocated in 2018, to the Real Time Information Group (RTIG) to distribute to those operators that most need it. The government expects that the names of the beneficiaries of this funding will be published in due course.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department expects to publish the outcome of the Managing pavement parking consultation, which closed on 30 August 2020.

The Department’s consultation on pavement parking closed on 22 November 2020. We received over 15,000 responses and Ministers are now actively considering the options for addressing pavement parking. We will publish the formal consultation response and announce next steps for policy as soon as possible.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much printed material has been distributed to public transport providers operating in (a) the UK, (b) London and (c) Lewisham constituency in relation to the requirement to wear face coverings on public transport.

The Department for Transport has created over 300 public information resources related to Covid-19. Many incorporate the message that passengers must wear face coverings on public transport and at indoor transport hubs.

There are a range of face covering materials, many of which include exemptions for age, health or disability reasons as well as consequences for those who are not exempt and do not comply. The department has not printed any of these materials itself, instead we have ensured that transport operators, local authorities and partners across England have had access to these materials allowing them to download, print and display these messages as appropriate.

Our materials have been downloaded over 3,700 times and sent to over 250 stakeholders since face coverings became mandatory. We also shared the materials on the department’s social media channels and amplified supporting content from stakeholders. We have worked with Cabinet Office and secured 6,700 digital displays for face coverings at bus stops and rail stations in England.

We do not have specific data for London or Lewisham. The London Borough of Lewisham and TfL are responsible for transport in Lewisham constituency and have access to DfT’s online resources.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what printed material his Department has produced to advise passengers that they must wear a face covering on public transport.

The Department for Transport has created over 300 public information resources related to Covid-19. Many incorporate the message that passengers must wear face coverings on public transport and at indoor transport hubs. There are a range of face covering materials, many of which include exemptions for age, health or disability reasons as well as consequences for those who are not exempt and do not comply. The department has not printed any of these materials itself, instead we have ensured that transport operators, local authorities and partners across England have had access to these resources allowing them to download, print and display these messages as appropriate. Our materials have been downloaded over 3,700 times and sent to over 250 stakeholders since face coverings became mandatory. We also shared the materials on the department’s social media channels and amplified supporting content from stakeholders. We have worked with Cabinet Office and secured 6,700 digital displays for face coverings at bus stops and rail stations in England.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve accessibility for disabled people using the rail network.

The Access for All Programme has been extended across CP6 with an additional £350m of funding, making a total of £383m available to the programme up until 2024. This will deliver more than 100 accessible step free routes and smaller scale access improvements at another 124 stations.

This is in addition to access improvements delivered by major projects such as Crossrail and HS2 or when the industry installs, replaces or renews station infrastructure.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received on extending the validity period for Disabled Persons Railcard holders to compensate them for lack of access to rail services during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to ensure that the Rail Delivery Group tackles that issue.

The Disabled Persons Railcard is sold and managed by the Rail Delivery Group on behalf on the rail industry. Therefore, any proposals for amending existing Railcard policies are for the Rail Delivery Group to bring forward.

The Rail Delivery Group is working with train companies on a number of ways to assist Railcard holders, in light of the current COVID-19 related travel restrictions.

Departmental officials have been engaging regularly with the Rail Delivery Group as it considers possible changes to Railcard conditions.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what has been the largest number of people awaiting a decision on their Access to Work application in any month since 1994.

The information requested about Access to Work decisions since 1994 is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people were awaiting a decision on their Access to Work application on the first day of each month in 2023.

The following number of applications were awaiting a decision on their Access to Work applications on the first day of each month in 2023:

January 2023 – 24,490

February 2023 – 24,603

March 2023 – 24,540

April 2023 – 23,915

May 2023 – 24,169

June 2023 – 23,289

July 2023 – 23,143

August 2023 – 22,663

September 2023 – 21,985

October 2023 – 23,348

November 2023 – 24,107

December 2023 – 25,063

Please note that the data supplied is derived from unpublished management information, which was collected for internal Departmental use only, and have not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. They should therefore be treated with caution.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average waiting time was for a payment to be made through the Access to Work programme for the cost of employment coaches for supported interns in the latest period for which data is available.

The information requested about Access to Work payment journey times for the cost of employment coaches for supported interns in the latest period is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

However, the Access to Work statistics includes number of people who received a payment for any Access to Work provision from 2007/08 to 2022/23. Please see Table 6 of the Access to Work statistics.

The latest Access to Work statistics can be found here.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department plans to take to help support disabled people who cannot work with the cost of living in the 2024-25 financial year.

We understand those with complex disabilities require extra support which is why vulnerable people and their needs are rightly one of our priorities. This Government has demonstrated its commitment by providing one of the largest support packages in Europe. Taken together, support to households to help with the high cost of living is worth £104 billion over 2022/23 to 2024/25, which includes, among other support, two rounds of means-tested Cost of Living Payments, Disability Cost of Living Payments and Pensioner Cost of Living Payments over 2022/23 and 2023/24. Cost of Living Payments enabled us to target immediate further support during the rising cost of living pressures. The Government has also uprated benefits to reflect increased costs.

Reducing inflation and growing the economy are the most effective way, longer term, to build a more prosperous future for all. This Government committed to halving the rate of inflation, and it has achieved that: inflation has fallen from 11.1% in October 2022 to 4 % in December 2023. Energy prices have significantly fallen in the past year alone and the Quarter 1 2024 price cap of £1,928 has more than halved compared to the previous year when the Quarter 1 2023 price cap peaked at £4,279.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department plans to take to help support people with complex disabilities with the cost of living in the 2024-25 financial year.

We understand those with complex disabilities require extra support which is why vulnerable people and their needs are rightly one of our priorities. This Government has demonstrated its commitment by providing one of the largest support packages in Europe. Taken together, support to households to help with the high cost of living is worth £104 billion over 2022/23 to 2024/25, which includes, among other support, two rounds of means-tested Cost of Living Payments, Disability Cost of Living Payments and Pensioner Cost of Living Payments over 2022/23 and 2023/24. Cost of Living Payments enabled us to target immediate further support during the rising cost of living pressures. The Government has also uprated benefits to reflect increased costs.

Reducing inflation and growing the economy are the most effective way, longer term, to build a more prosperous future for all. This Government committed to halving the rate of inflation, and it has achieved that: inflation has fallen from 11.1% in October 2022 to 4 % in December 2023. Energy prices have significantly fallen in the past year alone and the Quarter 1 2024 price cap of £1,928 has more than halved compared to the previous year when the Quarter 1 2023 price cap peaked at £4,279.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Access to Work claims are outstanding.

At close of business on 01st February 2024, there were 26,924 Access to Work applications awaiting a decision.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many personal independence payment claims are outstanding.

On 31st October 2023, there were 288,000 Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims outstanding. This includes 257,000 new claims awaiting a decision by a Case Manager and 31,000 current claims due for reassessment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to ensure the UK's obligations under the International Labour Organization Convention on Occupational Health Services are met.

As a founding member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UK is committed to our obligations to the organisation and continues to be actively engaged in its work.

The Government’s Occupational Health (OH) reform programme is focused on increasing private market coverage of employer led OH to help businesses support disabled employees and those with health conditions stay in, succeed in, and return to work.

This programme of work includes the OH subsidy pilot for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and the £1m innovation fund launched in January 2023 which aim to increase access to and capacity in OH. The Occupational Health Workforce Expansion Funding Scheme also launched in July 2023 and funds doctors and nurses to undertake Occupational Health training courses and qualifications.

In the summer 2023, to better support employee health, the Government consulted on ways to increase employer uptake of OH services. The Government’s response to the Occupational Health: Working Better consultation was published following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 22 November 2023. This outlined plans to imminently set up an expert task and finish group to support the development of a voluntary minimum framework for quality OH provision which employers could adopt to help improve employee health at work.

The response also explored options for new voluntary national workplace health and disability standards; a potential new SME group purchasing framework supported by a digital marketplace; and using the learning, including from our existing Workforce Expansion scheme, to consider a long-term strategic OH workforce approach to a multidisciplinary work and health workforce for businesses and providers to improve support for their employees.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to help ensure that disabled people who are (a) in work and (b) are seeking to return to work have access to occupational health services.

As a founding member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UK is committed to our obligations to the organisation and continues to be actively engaged in its work.

The Government’s Occupational Health (OH) reform programme is focused on increasing private market coverage of employer led OH to help businesses support disabled employees and those with health conditions stay in, succeed in, and return to work.

This programme of work includes the OH subsidy pilot for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and the £1m innovation fund launched in January 2023 which aim to increase access to and capacity in OH. The Occupational Health Workforce Expansion Funding Scheme also launched in July 2023 and funds doctors and nurses to undertake Occupational Health training courses and qualifications.

In the summer 2023, to better support employee health, the Government consulted on ways to increase employer uptake of OH services. The Government’s response to the Occupational Health: Working Better consultation was published following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 22 November 2023. This outlined plans to imminently set up an expert task and finish group to support the development of a voluntary minimum framework for quality OH provision which employers could adopt to help improve employee health at work.

The response also explored options for new voluntary national workplace health and disability standards; a potential new SME group purchasing framework supported by a digital marketplace; and using the learning, including from our existing Workforce Expansion scheme, to consider a long-term strategic OH workforce approach to a multidisciplinary work and health workforce for businesses and providers to improve support for their employees.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people are waiting for an Access to Work assessment as of 16 January 2023.

Access to Work statistics are published annually and figures, including those for January 2023, can be found here

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent progress his Department has made on publication of the Disability Action Plan.

Since the consultation closed on 6 October 2023 we have been working carefully through the responses and we aim to publish the Disability Action Plan as soon as possible.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 11 December 2023 to Question 5084 on Social Security Benefits: Disqualification, if his Department will start capturing this data.

There are no current plans to make this information available as it would incur disproportionate costs to link the necessary data

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the wellbeing of Jobcentre staff.

DWP continues to review and refine its wellbeing offer to ensure it remains up-to-date, relevant, and accessible to all. We have a DWP Colleague ‘My Wellbeing button’. The button enables quick, easy access to our DWP Wellbeing support offer from everyone’s desktop and takes colleagues to a newly designed wellbeing triage page where colleagues can quickly access the right information and support based on their needs. For example, ‘I need support today’ through to ‘I am looking for guidance as a line manager’. The purpose of this button is to raise the visibility of our wellbeing offer and provide a quick and streamlined journey to the service required, strengthening our culture of putting colleague wellbeing at the heart of everything we do.

Within the Wellbeing button, the below support can be found:

Employee Assistance Provision which includes:

  • Telephone counselling via PAM Assist is available to all colleagues at any time of the day or night, 365 days a year for anyone needing immediate support.
  • The PAM Assist service enables colleagues, where clinically appropriate, to access counselling by telephone or face-to-face.
  • A free app with access to online coaches, offering Food Coach/Fitness Coach/Mind Coach/Lifestyle Coach/Health Coach.
  • Managers can also contact PAM for advice on sensitive conversations, bereavement support and much more.
  • Physiotherapy provision.
  • PAM wellbeing workshops which colleagues can book onto and cover things such as SAD and winter wellness, mindfulness, mental health, stress.

Flu vaccinations: Information for all DWP colleagues who are not able to access, or are not eligible for, the NHS flu vaccine can claim a refund if they choose to have a flu vaccination in 2023/24.

‣ Details of key wellbeing dates across the year which includes events/webinars to promote the day along with helpful tips for staff.

‣ A network of over 1,000 wellbeing advocates. Colleagues who have been given permission to give 5% of their time to support employee wellbeing. Colleagues can call them to discuss the wellbeing support offer and they actively promote the offer through giving presentations locally. We also have a Buddy Network who are volunteers that colleagues can call if they ever feel lonely and simply want a chat and have a wellbeing check-in.

Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) who are specially trained colleagues who offer immediate support to others experiencing mental ill health or emotional distress. They also look out for early signs of developing issues and promote mental health awareness across the Department.

Community Networks, these range from networks offering support with the Menopause, Cancer, alcohol, religion and more. They offer peer to peer support and regularly run events.

Eye test – colleagues can access a free eye test once every two years or more frequently if advised by an optician or medical advisor, or if they are having visual problems whilst working at a workstation.

Sanitary provision - DWP provide free sanitary products across the DWP Estate for anyone with an immediate need, to support colleague health and wellbeing.

Charity for Civil Servants who offer Independent, impartial financial and emotional support to all Civil Servants. Assistance includes help for carers, financial support and advice, wellbeing support, mindfulness, anxiety support, nutrition, sleep, menopause, bereavement and Podcasts and Webinars

Wellbeing and Resilience Toolbox which can be accessed by Line managers to lead their own team training on resilience, slide packs and facilitator packs are available to talk their team through sessions.

5 step Wellbeing Conversation Tools - a tool to help colleagues discuss how they are feeling, identify early warning signs of emotional distress, and explore a way forward.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) – This document is to aid employee and line manager discussions (related to mental health/wellbeing). The WRAP is designed to help employees to reflect on the causes and symptoms of their own workplace mental health and wellbeing challenges, and to take practical steps to manage these.

Stress evaluation tool – this tool is designed to assist staff to concentrate on pro-active and preventative measures to good stress management.

Annually we update the DWP voluntary reporting on disability, mental health and wellbeing - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) voluntary report on Gov UK.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to help improve (a) the quality of recruitment and (b) staff retention levels within his Department.

DWP is committed to improving its recruitment processes and improving candidate experience. The Resourcing Centre of Expertise has an ongoing work programme to ensure policy, guidance and tools support the business to fill high volumes of vacancies across a wide range of professions, grades, functions and locations. DWP work closely with recruitment suppliers, candidates and vacancy holders to identify ways to improve our processes and the quality of our recruitment outcomes.

DWP actively takes steps to promote and raise awareness of careers opportunities to increase attraction of diverse talent from the widest possible range of geographical, social, diversity and career backgrounds by:

  • Developing and launching corporate branding materials to support external recruitment activity and promote career opportunities in DWP to appeal to a broad range of applicants from entry level through to career changers and returners to the labour market. The branding provides consistent corporate attraction materials for DWP recruitment and is used on a range of social media, digital platforms and in outreach activities.
  • Promoting the DWP Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to the external labour market and widen the reach of DWP recruitment campaigns by promoting opportunities and employee stories on LinkedIn and the Civil Service Careers website.
  • Piloting use of diverse jobs boards which targets applicants with protected characteristics.
  • Delivering national communications campaigns for volume recruitment of critical Work Coach and Universal Credit Review roles.

Within the Civil Service Success Profiles framework, DWP use high quality selection tools which are centrally evaluated such as Civil Service online tests and video interviewing. Processes have been developed to increase the diversity of panel members and tested different approaches to evaluate their impact on diverse outcomes, inclusive candidate experience, and quality of hire.

The DWP People Strategy specifically sets out to ensure we offer fulfilling, rewarding careers that attract and retain motivated people. Most recently DWP have been implementing measures to increase retention by:

  • Using our people performance one to ones to increase awareness of partial retirement options, promoting options for part time employees to change their working pattern and using survey data to understand what is driving attrition trends and continue to create an environment where colleagues are highly motivated and retained.
  • By directly targeting all colleagues noted as leaving we have successfully increased the response rate to our leavers survey. We have revised the questions to provide more relevant insight and spoken to other Government Departments to learn from best practice.
  • Currently running a 3 month exit interview pilot in part of our operations to further build understanding of the reasons people are leaving the Department. As this will only be a proportion of the leavers that notify us during this period we will triangulate this data with other sources and additional business insight to ensure that we have a holistic picture upon which further action can be taken.
Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of his Department's employees are paid (a) at and (b) above the Real Living Wage.

This following is based on the Real Living Wage rates of UK £12.00 per hour and £13.15 per hour for London as of 13 December 2023.

In response to the question raised the proportion of DWP colleagues in relation to the Real Living Wage is as follows:

a) No DWP employees are paid at the Real Living Wage.

b) 99.93% of employees are paid above the Real Living Wage.

This Government is committed to paying people a decent living wage, which is being addressed through the statutory National Living Wage. The Real Living Wage is not a statutory requirement unlike the National Living Wage, which applies to those aged 23 and over. From 1 April 2023, the National Living Wage increased to £10.42 an hour. All DWP employees are paid above this rate.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of his Department's staff have (a) applied for and (b) been given reasonable adjustments in the most recent period for which data is available.

We are unable to answer this question within costs as currently it is not compulsory to enter this information onto the HR System. Each request is decided on its own merits locally and records are held by individual Line Managers.

DWP is running pilots to see whether this information can be recorded for the future however currently only start dates are visible.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average caseload of a Jobcentre work coach was in the most recent period for which data is available.

There is no set minimum/maximum or optimum caseload size. The net claims per Case Manager is circa 1,500, this excludes: Claims with no Identity Verification – older than 30 days; Suspended claims; Claims with open ‘additional action close claims’ to-do; Claims with consecutive nil payments; Claims with a Case Manager not based in a Service Centre; Claims without a Case Manager.

The size of a Work Coach caseload will vary as it is dependent on several factors, including the level of customer support required, the needs of the local labour market and the experience and working pattern of each Work Coach. For November, our case loads of Intensive Work Search customers averaged 113 cases per Universal Credit Work Coach.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average caseload of a Jobcentre Universal Credit case manager was in the most recent period for which data is available.

There is no set minimum/maximum or optimum caseload size. The net claims per Case Manager is circa 1,500, this excludes: Claims with no Identity Verification – older than 30 days; Suspended claims; Claims with open ‘additional action close claims’ to-do; Claims with consecutive nil payments; Claims with a Case Manager not based in a Service Centre; Claims without a Case Manager.

The size of a Work Coach caseload will vary as it is dependent on several factors, including the level of customer support required, the needs of the local labour market and the experience and working pattern of each Work Coach. For November, our case loads of Intensive Work Search customers averaged 113 cases per Universal Credit Work Coach.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 12 December 2023 to Question 5438, if he will make an estimate of the number of people that are waiting for (a) trauma and (b) orthopaedic treatment and are unable to work until they receive treatment as of 12 December 2023; and what steps he is taking to help these people re-enter the workforce.

The Department has not made such an assessment.

The Government is taking several steps to help support people with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions to start, stay and succeed in work. In the Spring Budget, the government set out a package of measures to tackle the leading health-related causes keeping people out of work, including people with MSK conditions:

  • Introducing employment advisors within MSK services, including to support people with MSK conditions to thrive in work;
  • Developing and scaling up MSK hubs in the Community, building on the example of delivering physical activity interventions in local leisure and community centre venues.
  • Making best use of digital health technologies to support people with MSK conditions to better manage symptoms and remain in the workforce. This will include providing access to digital therapeutics for MSK problems.

As announced in the Autumn Statement, to tackle rising economic inactivity, government is investing £2.5 billion over the next five years, building on the existing package of support that helps disabled people and individuals with health conditions, including MSK, to work. This includes:

  • a WorkWell service that will join up employment and health support at the local level to help keep people in work. WorkWell services will be in place from Autumn 2024 and will be delivered in approximately 15 pilot areas.
  • Doubling of Universal Support, a new, voluntary employment programme for inactive disabled people and those with health conditions and additional barriers to employment, from 50,000 people a year announced in Spring Budget to 100,000 people a year once fully rolled out.
  • Improving the quality of occupational health for employers through the development of new voluntary national baseline for employers to help them retain and recruit disabled workers.
  • An expansion of access to mental health services, increasing the number of people accessing NHS Talking Therapies to benefit an additional 384,000 people over the next five years and helping an additional 100,000 people with severe mental illness to find and keep jobs in that same period through Individual Placement and Support (IPS)

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answers of 20 November 2023 to Question 1370 and 28 November 2023 to Question 3349 on Access to Work Programme, for what reason the requested information was only available on 28 November 2023.

We were able to provide the requested information for PQ3349 because a specific time period was provided.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how the Access to Work cap is calculated.

The Access to Work upper limit, known as ‘cap’, provides up to £66,000 of support for disabled people, to move into and sustain employment. The calculation used to determine the cap limit is twice the amount of national average earnings published in the Office for National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many calls the access to work helpline received from (a) employers, (b) employees and (c) in total in financial year (i) 2021-22 and (ii) 2022-23.

The number of call Access to Work helpline received from (a) employers and (b) employees is not held.

The total number of calls the Access to Work helpline received in the financial year:

(i) 2021-2022 = 116,234

(ii) 2022-2023 = 119,342

Please note that the data supplied is derived from unpublished management information, which was collected for internal Departmental use only, and have not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. They should therefore be treated with caution.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure individuals whose Access to Work requirements exceed the annual cap receive support to (a) start and (b) stay in work.

To enable disabled people whose support exceeds the Access to Work annual cap to maximise support, an Access to Work Holistic Assessment is carried out to identify if any assistive technology could be used. The Case Manager will work closely with the customer and their employer (where appropriate) to identify how the available support can be best utilised and identify any adjustments or support the employer could provide. These awards are reviewed annually.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many British sign language users accessed Jobcentres in the most recent period for which data is available.

The information requested cannot be provided because it is not collated centrally.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) deaf people and (b) people with hearing loss accessed Jobcentres in the most recent period for which data is available.

The information requested cannot be provided because it is not collated centrally.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many blind and partially-sighted people accessed Jobcentres in the most recent period for which data is available.

The information requested cannot be provided because it is not collated centrally.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much his Department has spent on the Health Transformation Programme.

The Department’s spend for delivering HTP as of the end of March 2023 is £168 million.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has made a recent assessment of the potential impact of increases in cost of living on people with complex disabilities.

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit is considering the potential impacts of cost of living on disabled people.

The Disability Unit continues to liaise with stakeholders and across government departments to ensure the broadest understanding of how increases in living costs affect disabled people, including people with complex disabilities, and advises Ministers accordingly.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people who are (a) waiting for (i) trauma and (ii) orthopaedic treatment and (b) are unable to work until they are treated who will be supported to (A) receive their treatment and (B) re-enter the workforce.

The Department has not made such an assessment.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Access to Work scheme applications were submitted for reconsideration in 2023.

In response to your question, I have provided the information on reconsiderations below:

January 2023 – 16

February – 32

March 2023 – 32

April 2023 – 21

May 2023 – 22

June 2023 – 20

July 2023 – 40

August 2023 – 32

September 2023 – 28

October 2023 – 33

November 2023 - 34

Please note that the data supplied is derived from unpublished management information, which was collected for internal Departmental use only, and have not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. They should therefore be treated with caution.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the proposed changes to the Work Capability Assessment on disabled people’s finances.

The vast majority of existing Universal Credit (UC) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants will not be affected by the Work Capability Assessment Changes if they have already been assessed as having Limited Capability for Work and Work-Related Activity LCWRA. With the Chance to Work Guarantee, which will be introduced with the WCA changes in 2025, the majority of this group will be able to try work without the fear of reassessment, as we will be switching off department-led reassessments for existing claimants.

The financial impacts on individuals have been considered in taking decisions on the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), alongside consideration of the responses to the consultation.

The Office for Budget Responsibility have published their assessment of the numbers that they expect to be affected by the changes and HMT have also published the impacts in their policy costing note that accompanies the Autumn Statement. We will publish an Impact Assessment in due course.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when his Department plans to publish the Disability Action Plan.

The Disability Action Plan consultation ran for 12 weeks between 18 July and 6 October 2023. Since the consultation closed, we have been working carefully through the responses.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
4th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data his Department holds on the number of sanctioned benefits claimants who have subsequently found long-term employment.

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

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Government Response to the Work Capability Assessment: Activities and Descriptors Consultation, published on 22 November 2023, what steps his Department plans to take to help increase the availability of home working jobs for people with health conditions affecting their mobility.

There has been a significant increase in the availability of hybrid and home working opportunities, and there is better employer understanding of the needs of disabled people and people with health conditions, since the WCA criteria were last updated in 2011.

Our Jobcentre staff will continue to work with all employers to help ensure they are making all opportunities accessible to realise the talents and potential of people with health conditions and disabilities.

Our expanded employment and health offer will provide integrated and tailored support to disabled people to help them to move claimants closer to work and help them to access these opportunities within the labour market.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Autumn Statement 2023, whether he had discussions with (a) disabled people and (b) disabled people's organisations when finalising reforms to the Work Capability Assessment.

We published our response to the consultation on changes to the Work Capability Assessment criteria on 22 November. We engaged extensively throughout the consultation period, taking care to ensure the views of charities, groups and organisations that represent disabled people were considered. 14 public consultation events were held, both face-to-face across Great Britain, and virtually. We also engaged directly with clinical experts, employer groups and disability organisations across the country. We received over 1300 written responses from disabled people and people with health conditions, as well as the organisations that represent and support them. We listened carefully to what people told us and took their views into account when deciding about which changes to take forward.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department plans to take to support people with (a) arthritis and (b) musculoskeletal conditions who have been out of work for longer than six months into work.

Following the £2 billion investment announced at the Spring Budget, we announced a new package of support in Autumn Statement 2023 to: double the number of places on the Universal Support employment programme; launch WorkWell in approximately 15 pilot areas to provide light touch work and health support; explore new ways of providing individuals receiving a fit note with timely access to support; and establish an expert group to advise on a voluntary national baseline for Occupational Health provision.

In the Spring Budget, the government set out new measures to tackle the leading health-related causes keeping people out of work, including specific initiatives for people with MSK conditions:

  • Introducing employment advisers within MSK services, including to support people with MSK conditions to thrive in work;
  • Developing and scaling up MSK hubs in the Community, building on the example of delivering physical activity interventions in local leisure and community centre venues;
  • Making best use of digital health technologies to support people with MSK conditions to better manage symptoms and remain in the workforce. This will include providing access to digital therapeutics for MSK problems.

This new investment builds on the Government’s existing ambitious programme of initiatives to support disabled people and people with health conditions, including people with both arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions, to start, stay and succeed in work. These include: the Work and Health Programme; Access to Work grants; Disability Confident; a digital information service for employers; Disability Employment Advisers and increasing Work Coach support in Jobcentres; Employment Advice in NHS Talking Therapies and Individual Placement and Support in Primary Care.

On the 24 January 2023, Government announced plans to publish the Major Conditions Strategy (MCS). The Strategy will focus on six major groups of conditions including musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis. It will explore how we can tackle the key drivers of ill-health in England, reduce pressure on the NHS and reduce ill-health related labour market inactivity. The Strategy will focus on six major groups of conditions, including musculoskeletal disorders, and our intention is to publish in early 2024.

In October 2022 we published the Musculoskeletal (MSK) Health Toolkit for employers and further education institutions which encourages employers to support adolescents and young adults with MSK conditions. The Musculoskeletal health toolkit for employers was developed in partnership with Business in the Community and provides practical information for employers of all sizes to address MSK conditions in the workplace for the working age population.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department plans to take to assess the impact of the Universal Support programme on employment outcomes.

Universal Support aims to match long-term sick, disabled and disadvantaged participants with suitable vacancies, based on their preferences, strengths, and any lessons from previous work experience. The programme will fund up to £4,000 per participant on relevant support such as training and practical help for employers to make appropriate adjustments e.g to recruitment approaches, to ensure participants can succeed in their roles.

In the Autumn Statement, the government announced it will increase the annual number of placements available on Universal Support to 100,000 in England and Wales, doubling its commitment made in the Spring Budget 2023.

As we continue developing Universal Support, which is expected to launch in late 2024, we are also developing evaluation plans which will take into consideration assessment and impact of the programme on employment outcomes.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support his Department provides to people who are waiting for (a) trauma, (b) joint replacement and (c) other orthopaedic treatment who are unable to live independently until they receive that treatment.

Benefits and support for people with a health condition or disability are not condition-based. Eligibility will depend on the claimant’s individual circumstances, and needs, including work history where relevant.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support his Department provides to people who are waiting for (a) trauma, (b) joint replacement and (c) other orthopaedic treatment who have to give up their jobs until they receive that treatment.

Benefits and support for people with a health condition or disability are not condition-based. Eligibility will depend on the claimant’s individual circumstances, and needs, including work history where relevant.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 21 November to Question 1648 on Employment Schemes: Chronic Illnesses and Disability, if he will provide an anticipated timeline for the publication of that information.

The main phase of Universal Support is in the early stages of development. As part of this, we are considering the information that will be published.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he plans to allow Personal Independence Payment applications to be made online.

The Health Transformation Programme (HTP) is modernising health and disability benefit services. We are developing the new service carefully, designing it around the needs of claimants.

We have introduced a digital version of the PIP2 health questionnaire, which is now offered to the majority of those making a claim. This is offered to those who call us to begin their claim.

We have also begun trialling a fully online application for PIP. Since 27 July, people in selected postcode districts may be able to apply for PIP online via GOV.UK if they:

  • Live in England.
  • Are claiming for themselves or helping someone with their claim.
  • Are not already claiming PIP or Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or have a previous PIP/DLA claim.

The online service is an additional optional route to apply for PIP and is not replacing the existing methods of telephony or post.

The current testing phase is allowing us to test the functionality and stability of the service; the department intends to scale the service gradually and safely. We aim to make the online applications for PIP available nationally across England, Wales and Northern Ireland by the end of 2024.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many students took part in the Adjustment Planner pilot.

Three universities (Wolverhampton, Manchester Metropolitan, and Kings College London) piloted the Adjustments Planner. The pilot was evaluated by the universities, with 242 students providing a mix of qualitative and quantitative evidence.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the impact of phone-based applications for Personal Independence Payment on people with energy-impaired illnesses.

We recognise that even short calls can be stressful or difficult for some claimants with certain types of conditions. We therefore offer a number of alternatives:

We can issue a clerical form, known as a PIP1, which claimants can complete and return by post.

Claims to PIP can also be made by via the Video Relay Service (via Relay UK) for BSL users if someone can’t hear or speak on the phone, or via email/accessible forms for those that need that as a reasonable adjustment.

In addition, we aim to make online applications for PIP available nationally by the end of 2024.

We inform claimants of all these channel options on Gov.UK, or if claimants explain their requirements when they speak to a new claim telephony agent.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people had their Motability allowance stopped in each of the last three financial years; and how many of those people had their allowance stopped after moving from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment.

Individuals can opt to receive a Motability vehicle if they are awarded an Enhanced Mobility Personal Independence Payment (PIP) award or Higher Mobility Disability Living Allowance (DLA) award.

Information on how many people have stopped receiving a Motability vehicle is not readily available for PIP claimants and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The department does not hold the data requested for DLA claimants, and thus also not of those who have moved from DLA to PIP.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Government Response to the Work Capability Assessment: Activities and Descriptors Consultation, CP973, updated on 22 November 2023, if he will publish his Department's review of substantial risk cases.

We have listened to stakeholder concerns about the impact on vulnerable customers of removing LCWRA Substantial Risk altogether and agree that LCWRA risk should be preserved for the most vulnerable. The changes we are making will ensure that the LCWRA Substantial Risk is applied as per the original policy intent so that claimants are not excluded unnecessarily from support that is available to them. The department carried out internal policy work on substantial risk, not a “review” of substantial risk cases.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the (a) number of Attendance Allowance claimants who were contacted by decision-makers to give an explanation for their decision between 1 April and 30 September 2023 after the claimant had already requested a mandatory reconsideration and (b) proportion of those calls which resulted in the original mandatory reconsideration request not being actioned.

This information is only available at disproportionate cost to The Department for Work & Pensions. The Department does not have a business requirement to maintain this level of data as part of its routine management information pack.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 20 November 2023 to Question 1370 on Access to Work Programme and with reference to the Answer of 30 November 2022 to Question 96603 on Access to Work Programme, for what reason the requested information is no longer readily available.

The information is not readily available and the time required to conduct manual interrogation of records can vary dependant on the volume of cases that need to be trawled. We have seen a significant increase in applications for Access to Work from November 2022 to November 2023 and that is why the information could be provided at November 2022, but is not readily available at November 2023.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
20th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Ministerial Statement made by the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work on 20 November 2023, HCWS44, what estimate he has made of the completion date for the Health Assessment Channels Trial.

We are currently analysing findings from the Health Assessment Channels Trial to incorporate final outcomes following Mandatory Reconsiderations and Appeals.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
20th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the written ministerial statement by the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work of 20 November 2023, HCWS44, which 13 areas have been chosen as test sites for the Employment and Health Discussion.

The Employment and Health Discussion (EHD) is a voluntary service available to claimants with a disability and/or long-term health condition and is a discussion with a claimant about their health situation, any barriers it presents in moving towards work, and how to overcome them. It is not part of the assessment process and takes place before the Work Capability Assessment.

In addition to the medical qualifications that the Employment and Health Practitioners hold, the DWP has provided specific theory and practical EHD training sessions, alongside mandatory DWP training, for example, data protection, security and Universal Credit. The EHD was first piloted from Leeds Health Model Office in 2022, and has been expanded to Aberdare, Bradford, Chelmsford, Doncaster, Durham, Hull, Lancaster, Newcastle, Norwich, Sunderland, Wigan and York.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
20th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the written ministerial statement by the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work of 20 November 2023, HCWS44, what training his Department provides to Employment and Health Practitioners.

The Employment and Health Discussion (EHD) is a voluntary service available to claimants with a disability and/or long-term health condition and is a discussion with a claimant about their health situation, any barriers it presents in moving towards work, and how to overcome them. It is not part of the assessment process and takes place before the Work Capability Assessment.

In addition to the medical qualifications that the Employment and Health Practitioners hold, the DWP has provided specific theory and practical EHD training sessions, alongside mandatory DWP training, for example, data protection, security and Universal Credit. The EHD was first piloted from Leeds Health Model Office in 2022, and has been expanded to Aberdare, Bradford, Chelmsford, Doncaster, Durham, Hull, Lancaster, Newcastle, Norwich, Sunderland, Wigan and York.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
20th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 20 November 2023 on Health and Disability White Paper Tests and Trials, HCWS44, how individuals will be selected for the severe disability group pilot; and if he will make an estimate of the number of individuals who will take part in the pilot in each of the next 12 months.

Following a small-scale test last year, we are exploring with health partners how to identify people who are eligible for the Severe Disability Group. We have worked with an expert group of specialist health professionals to draw up a set of draft criteria that identifies claimants who have conditions which are severely disabling, lifelong and with no realistic prospect of recovery. These criteria were shared with several charities and their feedback was used to further develop our draft criteria. No estimates have yet been made regarding the numbers expected to take part in the test.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
20th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the written ministerial statement by the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work of 20 November 2023, HCWS44, how many people who have received support from the Enhanced Support Service are in employment as of 20 November 2023.

Evaluation of the Enhanced Support Service is currently in progress to analyse the number of customers supported and to determine its impact and next steps.

The Enhanced Support Service (ESS) has not been designed specifically to help people in to work, instead it provides personalised support for people who find the benefits system difficult to navigate, such as those who do not have friends or family to support them. ESS helps these individuals to access the right support, at the right time, and lead independent and fulfilling lives.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
20th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the written ministerial statement by the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work of 20 November 2023, HCWS44, how many people have received support from the Enhanced Support Service.

Evaluation of the Enhanced Support Service is currently in progress to analyse the number of customers supported and to determine its impact and next steps.

The Enhanced Support Service (ESS) has not been designed specifically to help people in to work, instead it provides personalised support for people who find the benefits system difficult to navigate, such as those who do not have friends or family to support them. ESS helps these individuals to access the right support, at the right time, and lead independent and fulfilling lives.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
17th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an estimate of the number and proportion of people who were unable to access support due to the annual cap on the Access to Work grant were deaf in each of the last five years.

The information requested is not readily available. To provide it would incur a disproportionate cost.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people left the Employment and Support Allowance Support Group in each of the last twelve months for which data is available.

The following table shows the volume of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Support Group (SG) claimants who left the SG, in each of the last twelve months for which data is available.

Volume of ESA claimants who left the SG by month.

Month

Volume

Apr-22

11,400

May-22

12,000

Jun-22

11,500

Jul-22

10,700

Aug-22

10,700

Sep-22

10,800

Oct-22

11,100

Nov-22

10,800

Dec-22

10,400

Jan-23

10,700

Feb-23

9,800

Mar-23

11,600

Volumes have been rounded to the nearest 100.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) long-term sick and (b) disabled people have been referred for personalised support under the Universal Support employment programme by providers of his Department’s Work and Health Programme.

Universal Support is in the early stages of development, and we will publish further information in due course.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) long-term sick and (b) disabled people have been referred for personalised support under the Universal Support employment programme by Jobcentre work coaches.

Universal Support is in the early stages of development, and we will publish further information in due course.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) long-term sick and (b) disabled people have been referred for personalised support under the Universal Support employment programme.

Universal Support is in the early stages of development, and we will publish further information in due course.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
10th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the longest waiting time was for an Access to Work decision in the latest period for which data is available.

The information requested about what the longest wait time was to apply for Access to Work is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
10th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people are waiting for an Access to Work assessment.

As of 13th November 2023, there are 24,339 people awaiting a decision on their Access to Work application.

Please note that the data supplied is derived from unpublished management information, which was collected for internal departmental use only, and have not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. They should therefore be treated with caution.  

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when he expects each Government Department to publish its five year plan setting out how it will meet its obligations under Section 2 of the British Sign Language Act 2022.

In the first BSL report, published on 31 July 2023, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions committed to ask each ministerial department to produce a 5-year BSL Plan, setting out how they plan to improve the use of BSL within their departments. These will be published at the same time as the next BSL report, which will be published by 31 July 2024.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to communicate the work of the British Sign Language Advisory Board with the deaf community.

Summaries of meetings of the BSL Advisory Board are available on GOV.UK. These summaries are available both in BSL and in written English.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of his Department's (a) press conferences, (b) social media posts and (c) webpages have been accessible for British Sign Language users since 25 October 2022.

The cross-government BSL Report published on 31 July 2023 provides information on the number of British Sign Language videos produced by DWP since June 2022.

DWP does not hold press conferences and the information on social media posts is not collected.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment has his Department made of the adequacy of changes in the level of communication (a) for deaf children in early years settings and (b) between family members who use British Sign Language as their primary language since the entry into force of the British Sign Language Act 2022.

The British Sign Language (BSL) Act (2022) recognises BSL as a language of Great Britain, and places duties on the DWP Secretary of State:

  1. to produce a report detailing the use of BSL in the central communications of Ministerial Departments listed in the schedule to the Act; and
  2. to produce guidance on the use of BSL in the public sector.

To sit alongside the BSL Act, the Government has established a non-statutory board of BSL users to advise it on matters arising from the Act and of importance to Deaf people.

The BSL Advisory Board will advise the Government on the guidance detailed in the BSL Act and its implementation to best represent the Deaf community.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions,what funding his Department provided to the British Sign Language Advisory Board in the last 12 months.

The Cabinet Office funds interpreters, palantypists, travel and accommodation for members attending the BSL Advisory Board.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when he plans to publish the findings of the consultation on the Disability Action Plan.

The consultation closed on 6 October. We are currently carefully analysing the responses received and revising proposals accordingly. We plan to publish the findings and final Disability Action Plan together, at the first appropriate opportunity.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
19th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the shortest waiting time was for any person applying for Access to Work in the latest period for which data is available.

During October 2023 a number of Supported Internship and Mental Health Support service direct referrals have had a decision within 1 day of the person making the application.

Please note that the data supplied is derived from unpublished management information, which was collected for internal departmental use only, and have not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. They should therefore be treated with caution.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
19th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether AI is used in his Department's sanctions processes.

The Department does not currently use Artificial Intelligence in sanctions processes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment his Department has made of the suitability of hardware and software installed in jobcentres to assist jobseeker with complex disabilities.

I would refer to the answers previously given at PQ 196829, 186156 and 185499.

As part of its commitment to make services accessible to all customers, the Department provides computers for customer use in Jobcentres which have assistive technology built into them such as screen readers and screen magnification and are managed separately from the wider DWP IT estate. The Department also provides a range of peripheral items in each Jobcentre such as alternative keyboards. Computers for customer use with specialist assistive technology are currently available in 574 Jobcentres.

Customers can also access a wide range of services which can support their needs such as braille and large print documents being made available upon request.

The DWP have also improved access to our Wi-Fi services in all Jobcentres, allowing customers to use their own personal devices if they prefer.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many jobcentres have specialist assistive technology installed on their customer computer kiosks.

I would refer to the answers previously given at PQ 196829, 186156 and 185499.

As part of its commitment to make services accessible to all customers, the Department provides computers for customer use in Jobcentres which have assistive technology built into them such as screen readers and screen magnification and are managed separately from the wider DWP IT estate. The Department also provides a range of peripheral items in each Jobcentre such as alternative keyboards. Computers for customer use with specialist assistive technology are currently available in 574 Jobcentres.

Customers can also access a wide range of services which can support their needs such as braille and large print documents being made available upon request.

The DWP have also improved access to our Wi-Fi services in all Jobcentres, allowing customers to use their own personal devices if they prefer.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have moved into employment as a result of assistance provided through the universal support programme as of 13 October 2023.

Universal Support is in the early stages of development. We have a commitment to transparency and are considering the information that will be published on Universal Support services.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information his Department holds on the number of assessors employed by contractors to carry out Access to Work assessments in the latest period for which data is available.

Access to Work Holistic Assessments are contracted to two suppliers who both cover England, Scotland and Wales. As of Monday 16th October, there were 56.9 FTE (full-time equivalent) assessors on the contract, across both suppliers and their supply chains.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the initial Universal Support programme assessment comprises.

The first phase of delivery of Universal Support are the Pioneer services. These are being delivered through two routes:

- Up to 25,000 new places available across England and Wales on Work and Health Programme (WHP) Pioneer. This support offers a ‘place and train’ approach on a voluntary basis for economically inactive disabled people and those from disadvantaged groups. It is delivered through extensions to the Work and Health programme contracts. WHP Pioneer looks to support these groups into work at the earliest opportunity after an initial work assessment and provide wraparound in work support from a personal advisor.

- Expansion of Individual Placement and Support in Primary Care (IPSPC) into 42 upper tier local authority areas in England. IPSPC is a voluntary evidence-based Supported Employment programme (place, train and maintain) with referrals from primary health care professionals and community health care. IPSPC is integrated with an individual’s normal health treatment, encouraging recognition of employment as an important driver of an individual’s health and wellbeing. IPSPC provides tailored support to help disabled people out of work and those needing support with their health issues to find and keep sustainable work.

When a participant is referred to these services their initial engagement will be person centred, with the aim of securing a good match with a suitable job and not just any job.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people with complex disabilities who have been referred to a Disability Employment Advisor in each of the last three years for which data is available.

We do not have the data for this, however when a Work Coach engages with a claimant with complex disabilities and considers it appropriate, there will automatically be either a referral or case conference with a Disability Employment Advisor to understand their health and disability and employment barriers. This will support the Work Coach to provide more personalised support, tailored to each claimant’s individual needs.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have received support through the universal support programme as of 13 October 2023.

Universal Support is in the early stages of development. We have a commitment to transparency and are considering the information that will be published on Universal Support services.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the British Sign Language (BSL) Advisory Board last met; if he will publish the minutes of that meeting; and when the next meeting of the BSL Advisory Board is due to take place.

The BSL Advisory Board last met on 17th July 2023. The summary minutes of that meeting will be published on GOV.UK in due course.

The BSL Advisory Board will next meet on 8th November 2023.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Disability Unit took steps with organisations representing disabled people to develop the Ask, Don't Assume campaign.

The Disability Unit worked closely with disabled people and organisations representing them when developing the 'Ask Don't Assume' campaign. This ensured that their insights and lived experiences were incorporated into the development and design of our public campaign to change perceptions and challenge unhelpful stereotypes and behaviours towards disabled people.

As part of the development of the campaign, the Disability Unit set up a Campaign Reference Group, made up of twelve organisations representing disabled people’s organisations and disability charities. We engaged with this group through regular workshops and in-depth discussions to help shape the campaign, and they were consulted on several aspects, including the 'Ask Don't Assume' hashtag, ahead of the launch.

A number of disabled people also worked directly on this campaign, both internally across the Equality Hub, and externally through creative agencies. Four disabled influencers were also involved in this campaign, and the campaign’s images were created by a disabled photographer who has Type 2 Usher Syndrome (deaf and blind). Their insights and lived experiences helped inform the development of the campaign.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what training work coaches receive on supporting jobseekers with complex disabilities.

All new DWP Work Coaches undergo comprehensive learning to support customers with additional or complex needs, particularly disabilities, and they continue to build on this in the workplace through accessing point of need learning products.

Work coaches are also signposted to tools, guidance, support and websites to effectively use resources from both internal and external sites. This ensures that they access the most up to date advice and expertise on a particular health condition.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people were employed by his Department to determine the outcome of Access to Work assessments as of 1 October 2023.

As of the 1st October 2023, there were 281 case managers employed to make decisions on AtW applications.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate his Department has made of the number of jobseekers with complex disabilities who have received one to one support from a Work Coach in each of the last three years.

We do not have the data for this; however, when a Work Coach engages with a claimant with complex disabilities and considers it appropriate, there will automatically be either a referral or case conference with a Disability Employment Advisor to understand their health and disability and employment barriers. This will support the Work Coach to provide more personalised support, tailored to each claimant’s individual needs.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have taken part in the severe disability group test group as of 13 October 2023; and how those people were selected.

Following a small-scale test, we are exploring with health partners how to identify people who are eligible for the severe disability group.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what training Jobcentre work coaches receive on identifying potential recipients of the Universal Support programme.

DWP learning signposts work coaches to relevant websites and guidance to equip staff with information, skills, and behaviours to help and support people facing complex barriers to work.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many staff are employed in his Department's Economic, Serious and Organised Crime team as of 13 October 2023.

Staffing figures are recorded at the end of each calendar month. As at 30th September 2023, the total full-time equivalent (FTE) in our Economic, Serious and Organised Crime team (ESOC) is 720.45.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average waiting time was to receive the results of an Access to Work application in the latest period for which data is available.

The average waiting time to receive the result of an Access to Work application for August 2023 was 46.9 days with a year to date (April 2023 to August 2023) average waiting time of 48.4 days.

Please note that the data supplied is derived from unpublished management information, which was collected for internal departmental use only, and have not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. They should therefore be treated with caution.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
18th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the longest waiting time was to apply for Access to Work in the latest period for which data is available.

The information requested about what the longest wait time was to apply for Access to Work is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
18th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people are awaiting an Access to Work assessment.

As of 19th September 2023, there are 22,432 people awaiting a decision on their Access to Work application.

Please note that the data supplied is derived from unpublished management information, which was collected for internal departmental use only, and have not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. They should therefore be treated with caution.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average length was of investigations undertaken by his Department's serious fraud team into cases relating to Personal Independence Payment in each of the last three years.

We cannot break down the average length of investigations as this information is not recorded by our Economic Serious Organised Crime team (ESOC).

DWP investigators seek to expedite all investigations as quickly as possible whilst ensuring they meet prosecution standards.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average length was of investigations undertaken by his Department's serious fraud team into cases relating to Universal Credit in each of the last three years.

We cannot break down the average length of investigations as this information is not recorded by our Economic Serious Organised Crime team (ESOC).

DWP investigators seek to expedite all investigations as quickly as possible whilst ensuring they meet prosecution standards.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
12th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many assessments for personal independence payments were carried out by his Department by (a) phone, (b) video and (c) paper-based assessment in each month of 2023 as of 12 September.

The number of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments carried out by (a) phone, (b) video and (c) paper-based assessment in each month, from January 2023, are shown in the table below:

PIP Assessment Channel

(a) Telephone

(b) Video

(c) Paper-based Review

Jan-23

61,890

8,610

17,750

Feb-23

55,990

7,600

17,420

Mar-23

67,080

8,570

20,200

Apr-23

51,490

6,110

16,260

May-23

59,450

6,670

18,600

Jun-23

64,640

6,920

19,800

Jul-23

62,680

6,230

18,270

Aug-23

62,250

6,170

20,440

Please note

  • All volumes have been rounded to the nearest 10.
  • All the above data is derived from management information produced by the assessment providers.
  • The above data is derived from unpublished management information which is collected for internal departmental use only and has not been quality assured to Official Statistics Publication standards
Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to his Department's publication entitled DWP statistical FOI releases, published on 16 November 2017, whether he plans to publish new figures for his Department's FOI releases.

The Department has an established programme of publication and publishes a large amount of data per year. Overall, the Department complies with the FOI Act and the Cabinet Office Code of Practice and will keep under consideration its approach to process and publication of information. However, it is not a requirement to publish all FOI responses.

You may be interested to know that all FOI requests that are submitted by the ‘WhatDoTheyKnow.com’ website are automatically published on that website.

The Departments figures for FOI releases are published by the Cabinet Office on a quarterly and annual basis and they can be accessed here.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of work capability assessment decisions were overturned at tribunal in each of the four most recent quarters for which data is available.

Statistics on Employment and Support Allowance Work Capability Assessments, including appeal decision outcomes are published quarterly on Stat-Xplore. Users can log in or access Stat-Xplore as a guest user and, if needed, can access guidance on how to extract the information required.

The Official Statistics for Universal Credit Work Capability Assessments covers key metrics on the number of people on the UC health journey, as well as WCA decisions and outcomes. As set out in the published release strategy we are taking a phased approach to development and publication of additional statistics accounting for the complexity of source data that is in discovery. Future releases are planned to include new/repeat claims, medical conditions, Mandatory Reconsiderations and Appeals, and clearance times.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications to the Access to Work Scheme were outstanding as of 5 September 2023; and what steps he is taking to reduce the number of those applications.

At close of business on 5th September, 21,780 applications were outstanding.

Access to Work has received a significant increase in applications over the last year. During the period February 2023 and up to the middle of October 2023 we have/and continue to redeploy staff from other areas of service delivery, together with recruiting additional new staff externally in order to meet the increased demand and reduce the time it takes to make decisions.

Customers were notified of a 20 week wait to be assigned when applying in late 2022. Customers are now being notified of a 12 week wait.

We are also transforming the Access to Work service through increased digitalisation, that will make the service more efficient, will make the application process easier and improve the time taken from application through to decision.

We are working to develop a fully digital service and are redesigning the online application and renewal journeys to improve usability.

The new digital payments portal was introduced in June 2023 and is available for all customers that choose to claim online.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information his Department holds on the number of assessors employed by contractors to carry out (a) Personal Independence Payment and (b) work capability assessments in the latest period for which data is available.