Written Question
Broadband: South Yorkshire
29 Sep 2020, 5:54 p.m.

Questioner: Stephanie Peacock

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the roll-out of superfast broadband to communities in (a) South Yorkshire and (b) Barnsley.

Answer (Matt Warman)

The department invested over £10 million in broadband rollout across South Yorkshire. As a result of this, as well as commercial investment, 98% of premises in South Yorkshire now have access to superfast broadband. Nearly 14% of premises can also access gigabit-capable connectivity - up from 0% in February 2016. A further £780,000 has been made available to bring more South Yorkshire premises in scope for a broadband upgrade.

In Barnsley, 98% of premises in Barnsley have access to superfast broadband which is up from 44% in November 2011. Nearly 20% of premises have access to gigabit-capable connectivity, up from 0.4% in August 2018.

For those premises that are still struggling with slow speeds, there are a number of options available to them. DCMS runs a voucher scheme that can be used by rural communities across the UK to reduce the cost of installing gigabit-capable connectivity. This provides a voucher worth up to £3,500 for eligible small businesses and vouchers worth up to £1,500 for residents. ‘Top-up’ schemes run by Local Authorities, who provide their own funding on top of DCMS’s, are also operating across the UK.

The government also introduced the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) on 20 March 2020. The USO gives eligible premises in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable connection. The government has defined decent broadband as a service that can provide a download speed of 10Mbps and an upload speed of 1Mbps.


Written Question
Gambling: Internet
29 Sep 2020, 4:33 p.m.

Questioner: Mr Barry Sheerman

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to reduce the prevalence rate for problem gambling on online slots, casino and bingo games.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Between 2011, the earliest year for which we have complete figures, and September 2019, there was a 21% decrease in the number of bingo, arcade, casino and betting shop premises. A year-by-year breakdown is provided in the accompanying table.

According to data from the 2016 combined Health Surveys, 3% of adults in Great Britain played online slots, casino and bingo games, and 9.2% of those were considered problem gamblers. In the Health Survey for England 2018, 4% played those products, with a problem gambling rate of 8.5%. The Gambling Commission recently completed a consultation on new measures to make online slots safer. Those proposals included a minimum spin speed to reduce the maximum speed of play and banning split screen play which allowed multiple games to be played simultaneously. The Commission will publish its response to the consultation in the coming months.

The government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age and further details will be announced in due course.

Table: Land-based gambling premises numbers

Year to

Total

Arcades

Betting

Bingo

Casino

31/03/2011

12,307

2,396

9,067

695

149

31/03/2012

12,462

2,542

9,128

646

146

31/03/2013

11,957

2,033

9,100

680

144

31/03/2014

11,999

2,031

9,111

710

147

31/03/2015

11,758

1,941

8,995

674

148

31/03/2016

11,615

1,894

8,915

654

152

31/03/2017

11,404

1,819

8,800

635

150

31/03/2018

11,069

1,701

8,559

657

152

31/03/2019

10,781

1,656

8,320

651

154

30/09/2019

9,745

1,633

7,315

642

155


Written Question
Gambling
29 Sep 2020, 4:33 p.m.

Questioner: Mr Barry Sheerman

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of gambling services on the high street in the last 10 years.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Between 2011, the earliest year for which we have complete figures, and September 2019, there was a 21% decrease in the number of bingo, arcade, casino and betting shop premises. A year-by-year breakdown is provided in the accompanying table.

According to data from the 2016 combined Health Surveys, 3% of adults in Great Britain played online slots, casino and bingo games, and 9.2% of those were considered problem gamblers. In the Health Survey for England 2018, 4% played those products, with a problem gambling rate of 8.5%. The Gambling Commission recently completed a consultation on new measures to make online slots safer. Those proposals included a minimum spin speed to reduce the maximum speed of play and banning split screen play which allowed multiple games to be played simultaneously. The Commission will publish its response to the consultation in the coming months.

The government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age and further details will be announced in due course.

Table: Land-based gambling premises numbers

Year to

Total

Arcades

Betting

Bingo

Casino

31/03/2011

12,307

2,396

9,067

695

149

31/03/2012

12,462

2,542

9,128

646

146

31/03/2013

11,957

2,033

9,100

680

144

31/03/2014

11,999

2,031

9,111

710

147

31/03/2015

11,758

1,941

8,995

674

148

31/03/2016

11,615

1,894

8,915

654

152

31/03/2017

11,404

1,819

8,800

635

150

31/03/2018

11,069

1,701

8,559

657

152

31/03/2019

10,781

1,656

8,320

651

154

30/09/2019

9,745

1,633

7,315

642

155


Written Question
Arts: Coronavirus
29 Sep 2020, 4:07 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on (a) allocating capital grants to assist with the cost of (i) commercial rent, (ii) lease payments, (iii) insurance costs, (iv) business rates and (v) tax breaks, (b) longer mortgage holidays, (c) extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and (d) extending the Self-employed Income Support Scheme for the creative industries supply chain; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

Ministers meet regularly with their Ministerial colleagues to discuss a variety of issues.

On 5 July, the government announced a major £1.57 billion support package for cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. Alongside recovery grants, and a repayable finance option for the largest organisations, the package includes £120m of capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England which was paused due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), business rates relief, a reduction in VAT to 5% for tourism and hospitality firms for six months, and the Bounce Back Loan schemes in particular are providing support to organisations across the arts and creative industries sector.

Our world-beating creative industries are nothing without the people who work in them, and we are working hard to help provide financial support to freelancers in those sectors.

Arts Council England has made £95m available for individuals - which includes £75m in project grants to maximise employment opportunities, £18m in “Developing your Creative Practice” program, for individuals looking to develop new creative skills and £2m in benevolent funds to support the likes of stage managers and technicians.



Written Question
Events Industry: Coronavirus
29 Sep 2020, 3:58 p.m.

Questioner: Paul Girvan

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to enable the return of in-person events without social distancing.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

We want to see live venues open their doors to full audiences as soon as it is safe to do so, and we are working extensively with these sectors on how to achieve this.

Indoor performances to socially distanced audiences have been permitted since 15 August, and I am happy to see a number of organisations have opened successfully in this way. Any further steps to continue to open up the sector will understandably be dependent on the pandemic and the number of cases at that time.


Written Question
Internet: Safety
29 Sep 2020, 3:12 p.m.

Questioner: Marsha De Cordova

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the timescale is for bringing forward an online harms Bill.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

The government is firmly committed to making the UK the safest place to be online, and we are working at pace on our proposals. We will publish a full government response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year. This will be followed by legislation, which will be ready early next year.


Written Question
Performing Arts: Social Distancing
29 Sep 2020, 3:06 p.m.

Questioner: Daniel Zeichner

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to allow cultural organisations to continue producing approved socially-distanced music and theatre performances.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

Professional Activity in line with Stage 4 of the performing arts roadmap can continue as it has done previously.

Venues such as theatres, concert halls and other entertainment venues that are already able to host larger numbers, and are Covid secure in line with the relevant guidance, will continue to be able to do so - as long as groups of more than one household are limited to six.

Venues will need to ensure that groups are kept separate from one another to ensure they do not mix and do not exceed the new legal limits. They will also need to adhere to new legal requirements around track and trace.


Written Question
Government Departments: ICT
29 Sep 2020, 12:50 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the need to regulate the relationship between technology companies and the Government.

Answer (Baroness Barran)

The Government’s approach to governing digital technologies seeks to drive growth and innovation across the UK, while ensuring the safety and security of the UK's citizens and promoting our democratic values.

Our approach to governing digital technology companies will be pro-innovation, agile and proportionate and we will ensure our regulators are equipped for the digital age. This will build confidence and clarity for businesses and consumers, boost innovation and investment, and reinforce the UK’s position as a global leader in innovation-friendly regulation.


Written Question
Pornography: Internet
29 Sep 2020, 11:16 a.m.

Questioner: Fiona Bruce

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will ask the Information Commissioner's Office to investigate instances of pornographic websites using children's browsing history data to promote pornographic content to those users.

Answer (Mr John Whittingdale)

Providers of online services which are likely to be accessed by children are required by UK data protection legislation to ensure that children’s data is processed fairly, lawfully and transparently. They should not be sharing data with third parties unless there are compelling reasons to do so, taking account of the best interests of the child.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued a code of practice on Age Appropriate Design, which offers guidance for organisations on complying with the legislation, including the privacy standards that should be adopted where they are offering online services to children. The code can be viewed on the ICO’s website at:

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/key-data-protection-themes/age-appropriate-design-a-code-of-practice-for-online-services/

Online services that do not comply with the legislation, should be reported to the ICO which may, in turn, consider enforcement action.


Written Question
Data Transmission
29 Sep 2020, 11:14 a.m.

Questioner: Sarah Olney

Question

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

Answer (Mr John Whittingdale)

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

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

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

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


Written Question
Gambling: Coronavirus
29 Sep 2020, 11:01 a.m.

Questioner: Mr Barry Sheerman

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce gambling-related harm during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Gambling operators providing facilities to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and must abide by strict player protection requirements. In response to the Covid outbreak, the Commission strengthened its guidance for online operators to include increased customer interactions, a ban on direct marketing of bonus offers or promotions to customers showing vulnerabilities, and a ban on operators allowing customers to reverse decisions to withdraw winnings. Data published by the Gambling Commission indicates that the majority of people spent the same amount or less on gambling during lockdown (83%) or since (90%) than they had before the Covid-19 period, but we continue to monitor the evidence in this area.

People who self-exclude through either individual or multi-operator self-exclusion schemes should not be able to end their exclusion before the minimum period they requested when they signed up has elapsed. Operators who knowingly allow customers who have self-excluded to gamble are in breach of their licence conditions and risk sanction by the Gambling Commission. GAMSTOP, the national online self exclusion scheme, gathers data on the number of requests it receives from people who want to cancel their self-exclusion early, even though these requests are not granted. Prior to lockdown on 23rd March 2020, an average of 1,000 requests to cancel registrations early per month were received by GAMSTOP, although these may not all have been from unique individuals. During the first two weeks of lockdown, 400 requests per week were received. This number stabilised thereafter, and for the months of May and June 2020 the average number of requests returned to approximately 1,000 per month. More than 160,000 people have now registered with GAMSTOP.

From 23rd March all land-based gambling facilities were closed, with betting shops reopening from 15th June, arcades and bingo remaining closed until 4th July and casinos remaining closed until 15th August.


Written Question
Gambling: Coronavirus
29 Sep 2020, 11:01 a.m.

Questioner: Mr Barry Sheerman

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the number of people revoking their self-exclusions to gambling during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Gambling operators providing facilities to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and must abide by strict player protection requirements. In response to the Covid outbreak, the Commission strengthened its guidance for online operators to include increased customer interactions, a ban on direct marketing of bonus offers or promotions to customers showing vulnerabilities, and a ban on operators allowing customers to reverse decisions to withdraw winnings. Data published by the Gambling Commission indicates that the majority of people spent the same amount or less on gambling during lockdown (83%) or since (90%) than they had before the Covid-19 period, but we continue to monitor the evidence in this area.

People who self-exclude through either individual or multi-operator self-exclusion schemes should not be able to end their exclusion before the minimum period they requested when they signed up has elapsed. Operators who knowingly allow customers who have self-excluded to gamble are in breach of their licence conditions and risk sanction by the Gambling Commission. GAMSTOP, the national online self exclusion scheme, gathers data on the number of requests it receives from people who want to cancel their self-exclusion early, even though these requests are not granted. Prior to lockdown on 23rd March 2020, an average of 1,000 requests to cancel registrations early per month were received by GAMSTOP, although these may not all have been from unique individuals. During the first two weeks of lockdown, 400 requests per week were received. This number stabilised thereafter, and for the months of May and June 2020 the average number of requests returned to approximately 1,000 per month. More than 160,000 people have now registered with GAMSTOP.

From 23rd March all land-based gambling facilities were closed, with betting shops reopening from 15th June, arcades and bingo remaining closed until 4th July and casinos remaining closed until 15th August.


Written Question
Gambling: Young People
29 Sep 2020, 10:58 a.m.

Questioner: Mr Barry Sheerman

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the accessibility of gambling to people who are under the legal age for that activity.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

As set out in answer to questions 73904 and 73907, gambling advertising and sponsorship, including around football, must be socially responsible and must not be targeted at children. The Government assessed the evidence on advertising in its Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, the full response to which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-proposals-for-changes-to-gaming-machines-and-social-responsibility-measures.

Since then, in March this year, the charity GambleAware has published the final report of a major piece of research into the effect of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable people. That study found that exposure to advertising was associated with an openness to gamble in the future amongst children and young people aged 11-24 who did not currently gamble. It also found that there were other factors that correlated more closely with current gambling behaviour amongst those groups, including peer and parental gambling. It did not suggest a causal link between exposure to gambling advertising and problem gambling in later life.

Operators are required both by law and by the conditions of their licence from the Gambling Commission to prevent underage gambling. In May 2019 the Gambling Commission introduced new rules that require online gambling businesses to verify the age of customers before they can deposit money, gamble, or access play-for-free versions of gambling games. The Gambling Commission provides support to licensing authorities, local police and trading standards who undertake test purchasing to monitor compliance with minimum age rules in the land based sector, and is working with local authorities and the hospitality sector to improve the enforcement of legal age requirements on the use of gaming machines in pubs.


Written Question
Football: Gambling
29 Sep 2020, 10:58 a.m.

Questioner: Mr Barry Sheerman

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of gambling advertising in football on the wellbeing of young people.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

As set out in answer to questions 73904 and 73907, gambling advertising and sponsorship, including around football, must be socially responsible and must not be targeted at children. The Government assessed the evidence on advertising in its Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, the full response to which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-proposals-for-changes-to-gaming-machines-and-social-responsibility-measures.

Since then, in March this year, the charity GambleAware has published the final report of a major piece of research into the effect of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable people. That study found that exposure to advertising was associated with an openness to gamble in the future amongst children and young people aged 11-24 who did not currently gamble. It also found that there were other factors that correlated more closely with current gambling behaviour amongst those groups, including peer and parental gambling. It did not suggest a causal link between exposure to gambling advertising and problem gambling in later life.

Operators are required both by law and by the conditions of their licence from the Gambling Commission to prevent underage gambling. In May 2019 the Gambling Commission introduced new rules that require online gambling businesses to verify the age of customers before they can deposit money, gamble, or access play-for-free versions of gambling games. The Gambling Commission provides support to licensing authorities, local police and trading standards who undertake test purchasing to monitor compliance with minimum age rules in the land based sector, and is working with local authorities and the hospitality sector to improve the enforcement of legal age requirements on the use of gaming machines in pubs.


Written Question
Events Industry
29 Sep 2020, 9:30 a.m.

Questioner: Mr Andrew Mitchell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional (a) business and (b) financial support for the (i) exhibition and (ii) events industry he has discussed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

We are in regular contact with Treasury colleagues regarding the impact of Covid-19 on the business events industry.

Events businesses can continue to make use of the broader support package available to them. This includes the Bounce Back Loans scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

We recognise that the events industry and its supply chain has been severely impacted by Covid-19. We continue to meet with the stakeholders, including through the Visitor Economy Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to discuss the specific issues facing the industry.


Written Question
Tourism: West Midlands
29 Sep 2020, 9:29 a.m.

Questioner: Mr Andrew Mitchell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support the tourism sector in the West Midlands.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

The Government has also implemented a series of Covid-19 related financial measures that will assist tourism businesses, including those in the West Midlands. This includes the significant cut to VAT and business rates relief for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses, both of which will last until the end of March.

Between April and July, VisitEngland’s £1.3 million Destination Management Organisation Resilience Fund supported local tourism organisations in the West Midlands. The West Midlands Growth Company received £29,866 from the DMO Resilience Fund. Visit Shropshire received £25,066.


More broadly, the £45m Discover England Fund has supported the development of internationally marketed tourism products in the region, including the ‘England’s Waterways’ project. We are also working with regional partners to maximise the tourism benefits of hosting the UK City of Culture in Coventry and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.


Written Question
Events Industry: Coronavirus
29 Sep 2020, 9:27 a.m.

Questioner: Kerry McCarthy

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on support for the exhibitions sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

We are in regular contact with colleagues across Government regarding the impact of Covid-19 on the business events industry.

Events businesses can continue to make use of the broader support package available to them. This includes the Bounce Back Loans scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

We recognise that the events industry and its supply chain has been severely impacted by Covid-19. We continue to meet with the stakeholders, including through the Visitor Economy Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to discuss the specific issues facing the industry.


Written Question
Events Industry and Hospitality Industry: Coronavirus
29 Sep 2020, 9:25 a.m.

Questioner: Owen Thompson

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Prime Minister's oral contribution of 2 September 2020, Official Report, column 160, what steps events and hospitality companies that cater for large events can take to get back to work while continuing to follow Government guidance.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Due to the sharp upward trajectory of Covid-19 cases, we took the decision to pause the planned 1st October reopening of business events in England. We recognise that this means that many companies who cater for affected large events cannot fully return to their roles.

We are aware that the events industry and its supply chain has been severely impacted by Covid-19. We continue to engage with the stakeholders, including through the Visitor Economy Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to monitor the situation.

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

Events businesses can continue to make use of the broader support package available to them. This includes the Bounce Back Loans scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Meetings of up to 30 can still take place in permitted venues, as per the Covid-19 Secure guidance for the visitor economy. Since 11 July, a range of outdoor events have been able to take place.


Written Question
Darts: Coronavirus
29 Sep 2020, 9:21 a.m.

Questioner: Robert Halfon

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to issue guidance on the conduct of (a) professional and (b) recreational darts during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. The Government has made it clear that it will adopt a phased approach based on scientific and medical advice, and that the primary goal is to protect public health.

The Government has published guidance on GOV.UK allowing the phased return of sport and recreation activities in line with the latest medical guidance. The Government does not plan to publish sport-specific guidance. It is for the national governing bodies of sports to publish relevant guidance in accordance with the latest government guidance.


Written Question
Performing Arts: Coronavirus
29 Sep 2020, 8:49 a.m.

Questioner: Rachel Hopkins

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the latest covid-19 guidance, published on 22 September 2020 affects the ability for indoor grassroots performing arts organisations to rehearse and perform in groups of six.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

It is against the law to gather in groups of more than six, where people are from different households or support bubbles. Some activities - such as those organised for under-18s - are exempt. In a COVID-19 Secure venue or public outdoor place, non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between groups of more than six at any time.

If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups of no more than six (including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising) then such non-professional activity should not take place.


Written Question
Travel: Coronavirus
29 Sep 2020, 8:48 a.m.

Questioner: Theresa Villiers

Question

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

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

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


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


Written Question
Voluntary Work: Young People
28 Sep 2020, 6:23 p.m.

Questioner: Mr Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the funding allocated from the public purse to the National Citizens Service.

Answer (Mr John Whittingdale)

Around 600,000 young people have taken part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme since its inception, with almost 100,000 young people taking part in 2019. Consecutive, independent evaluations have demonstrated the positive impacts that NCS delivers both to its participants and their communities. The most recent evaluation shows that for every £1 of taxpayer money spent on the 2018 summer programme, £3.49 is provided back to society in terms of the economic benefit.


Written Question
Football: Coronavirus
28 Sep 2020, 5:03 p.m.

Questioner: Daisy Cooper

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the statement by the Prime Minister on 22 September setting out further covid-19 lockdown restrictions, whether non-league football clubs can begin playing games from 1 October 2020 without fans present.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Decisions on whether to start playing competitive fixtures is a matter for the leagues themselves.

The FA have defined non-elite football as the leagues below the National Leagues North and South. Those leagues continue to be able to admit spectators in line with government’s overall framework on the Return to recreational team sport framework and the FA’s supplementary guidance.


Written Question
Football: Coronavirus
28 Sep 2020, 5:01 p.m.

Questioner: Daisy Cooper

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make financial support available to (a) St Albans City FC and (b) other non-league football clubs during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Football clubs, at all levels, form the bedrock of our local communities. There have been countless examples during the pandemic of football clubs across the country demonstrating their importance to their local area, volunteering both time and money during these difficult times.

The Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses throughout the pandemic, including a comprehensive and sizable package of direct fiscal support for business through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support. Many football clubs have benefited from these measures.

Where it can, we will expect the top tiers of professional sport to look at ways in which it can support itself, with government focusing on those most in need. I also welcomed the Premier League announcement to advance funds of £125 million to the EFL and National League to help clubs throughout the football pyramid.

As the Prime Minister said on 22 September, the government recognises the implications of being able to admit spectators on sports clubs and is working urgently on what the government can do to support them.


Written Question
Football: Taxation
28 Sep 2020, 5 p.m.

Questioner: Mr Clive Betts

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with HMRC on providing guidance to professional football clubs on the effect that reduced revenues will have on the taxation requirements for those clubs.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

The Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses throughout this period, including a comprehensive and sizable package of direct fiscal support for business such as the business rates relief. Many football clubs have benefited from these measures.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport continues to work closely with other Government Departments as part of our coordinated response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Guidance on tax requirements can be found on gov.uk.