Lord Taylor of Warwick

Non-affiliated - Life peer


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
None available
Speeches
Thursday 1st July 2021
Channel 4: Funding and Governance
My Lords, the Government are on record as praising the unique public service remit that Channel 4 has, especially for …
Written Answers
Monday 8th August 2022
Cybercrime
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to stop cyber criminals.
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Lord Taylor of Warwick has voted in 212 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Lord Taylor of Warwick 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
Baroness Barran (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
(10 debate interactions)
Lord Callanan (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(6 debate interactions)
Lord Greenhalgh (Conservative)
(6 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Legislation Debates
Trade Bill 2019-21
(510 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Lord Taylor of Warwick's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Taylor of Warwick, 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.


Lord Taylor of Warwick has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lord Taylor of Warwick has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Lord Taylor of Warwick has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Lord Taylor of Warwick has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


1146 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
6 Other Department Questions
13th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require salaries to be published on job advertisements.

There is growing evidence to show that when salary information is not transparent, it has an impact on how people, particularly women and those from ethnic minorities, negotiate pay. This can ultimately result in lower starting salaries and smaller pay rises.

On International Women’s Day this year, we called on all employers to provide salary information in all of their job adverts, and to stop asking about previous salary during recruitment.

In order to encourage and assist employers in taking these steps, we will build the evidence base on the impact of transparency, through a pilot study with businesses. We will also work with employers to develop a methodology to support them to adopt these measures.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to prohibit employers asking job applicants for their salary history.

There is growing evidence to show that, when pay is negotiable, asking applicants to disclose previous earnings and not including salary information in the advert increases the risk that historic disparities will be replicated.

On International Women’s Day this year, we called on all employers to provide salary information in all of their job adverts, and to stop asking about previous salary during recruitment.

We recognise that some employers may find it challenging to take these steps, due to historic pay decisions and lack of clarity in pay processes. That is why we also announced that we will work with employers to develop and pilot a methodology to support them to adopt these measures.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Vodafone Lost Connections, published in May; and what steps they are taking to ensure that women do not face increased barriers when returning to work.

I welcome the Vodafone report and the work of others to highlight the barriers some carers and parents face when balancing their care and work responsibilities. I met with female employees from Vodafone in May to hear about which initiatives have worked to support them, especially through the pandemic, and what challenges remain.

The Government recognises the vital role unpaid carers and parents play and has put a range of measures in place to help. In our manifesto we committed to extending the entitlement to leave for unpaid carers to one week. The Government has also funded 25 ‘returner programmes’ to support those with caring responsibilities back to work.

As we look to Build Back Better, increasing the take up of remote and flexible working will give more freedom and opportunity to people with caring responsibilities. In April the Government reconvened the Flexible Working Taskforce, tasking them to help employers build on the lessons we have learned through the pandemic to embed more flexible ways of working.

Strong digital connectivity is crucial in supporting more flexible working. This Government’s delivery of national gigabit connectivity means that today, over two in five premises can access gigabit-capable networks, up from just one in ten in November 2019. By the end of the year, 60% will have access, and by 2025 the Government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage. In rural areas we are investing £5bn to ensure those living in hard-to-reach areas get the gigabit connectivity they deserve.

25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of COVID-19 on racial economic equality.

The Government recognises the challenges of COVID-19 for all groups in society, including the most vulnerable. That is why we announced an unprecedented package of support – including boosts to Universal Credit, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Kick-start Scheme – helping to protect incomes, jobs, and support those most in need.

HM Treasury’s distributional analysis as of the end of May 2020, shows that these interventions, along with the existing tax and welfare system, have helped reduce income losses faced by working households by up to two-thirds, with the poorest working households protected most (as a proportion of income).

The Treasury, along with other relevant departments, carefully considers the impact of its decisions on those sharing protected characteristics, including at Budgets and other fiscal events, in line with both its legal obligations and with its strong commitment to promoting fairness.

2nd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings from Race on the Agenda's survey, featured in Channel 5's Everyday Racism programme on 25 November, on experiences of racism and, in particular, that 95 per cent of respondents identifying as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic have faced racism or racial prejudice.

This Government is committed to tackling racism and racial prejudice in all its forms. That is why the Prime Minister appointed the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities in July, to examine all aspects of continuing racial and ethnic disparities in Britain. The Commission aims to set out a new, positive agenda for change - balancing the needs of individuals, communities and society, maximising opportunities and ensuring fairness for all. It aims to report by the end of the year.

4th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to protect government accounts on social media from hacks and cyberattacks.

We are committed to protecting government accounts on social media. Public sector organisations are responsible for securing their own services, including social media accounts. The Cabinet Office, with the support of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), regularly provides advice and guidance to organisations on how best to secure social media accounts from hacks and cyber attacks.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
16th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to implement (1) air raid sirens, or (2) civil defence systems, in the UK to provide an early warning signal for a nuclear attack.

The Government does not plan to implement air raid sirens to provide an early warning signal for nuclear attack. Since April 1969, the Royal Navy has maintained continuous at sea deterrence, with at least one nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine patrolling the seas undetected at all times, ready to respond to the most extreme threats to the UK, should they materialise.


The Government is committed to ensuring the public receive advice about the risks to them and the actions they can take. As part of broad emergency response capabilities, arrangements are in place to warn and inform the public that an emergency has, or is about to, occur and the steps they should take in response. This is a locally based approach, supported as necessary, by national messaging from central government using a range of channels, including social and broadcast media. The Government has announced its intention to augment these existing arrangements with the launch of a mobile phone based emergency alerting system later this year.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
25th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to close the acceptance gap between white students and ethnic minority students who join the Civil Service Fast Stream.

The proportion of ethnic minority groups overall being appointed to the Civil Service Fast Stream in 2021 was 23.3%, this aligns with the 2019/20 Higher Education Statistics Agency graduate population level of 23.7% for ethnicity.

Steps to ensure that students from minority ethnic backgrounds are successful in their application to the Civil Service Fast Stream start with outreach, attraction and marketing activity, which is designed to encourage applications from individuals from all backgrounds and locations. This is undertaken via early stage schools, college and apprenticeship engagement, along with industrial and internship placements. We have developed an inclusive website, social media strategy, and refreshed the target university list for outreach.

Further to this, the Cabinet Office is:

  • expanding the range of internships we offer,

  • undertaking cultural bias reviews of our selection processes,

  • increasing assessor diversity, and

  • improving our fair and inclusive selection processes by incorporating more regional/virtual assessment.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
16th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to unilaterally stop checks on some goods sent across the Irish Sea as an alternative to triggering Article 16 to suspend the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

The Government has already secured unfettered access for Northern Ireland firms for goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain through the legislative protections we have provided, notably enshrining in the UK Internal Market Act 2020 full unfettered access for qualifying Northern Ireland goods to all parts of the UK market.

For movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, we have set out proposals that would largely eliminate checks on goods remaining within the UK. We would prefer to secure this reduction through negotiations with the EU. However, the Article 16 safeguards within the Protocol remain on the table if that should be the only way to secure our position.

15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide financial support for businesses whose checks and paperwork were delayed as a result of preparing for import control deadlines.

The revised timetable for import controls set out in my written statement of 14 September 2021 allows businesses more time to adjust to new processes as they recover from the pandemic which has impacted supply chains across Europe. The nature of the border import controls for which businesses are preparing has not changed, and therefore any time or resource spent by businesses preparing for them will still be of value. The additional time will be used to further businesses' readiness for the introduction of these new requirements.

The Government also continues to support businesses trading with the EU in all sectors of industry, including putting in place additional staffing, comprehensive guidance for businesses and funding infrastructure to ease border processes.

14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the level of trade experienced by businesses based in London.

On 13 April, the Office for National Statistics released the latest statistics on EU-UK trade which show a welcome growth in the value of trade with the EU, with goods exports close to the average 2020 level.

The vast majority of traders and hauliers have adapted well, and our focus now is on making sure that any business that is still facing challenges gets the support they need to trade effectively with the EU. We are continuing to monitor and assess the situation, including any potential change in trade patterns.

As the Office for National Statistics notes, it is premature to make any firm judgments on the long term impacts of our new trading relationship with the EU, especially with the pandemic still ongoing.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the survey by the British Chamber of Commerce on Brexit, published on 11 February; and what plans they have to allow small businesses to write off additional customs costs as a result of the UK–EU Trade Cooperation Agreement, against their tax bill.

The nature of our new relationship with the EU - outside the Single Market and Customs Union - does mean that there are practical and procedural changes that businesses need to adjust to.


We continue to work closely with sectors across the economy and all parts of the UK to support businesses in adapting to our new trading relationship with the EU and to continue to successfully compete on the global stage. The Government is providing £20 million to support small and medium businesses in adjusting to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU. Ministers across government have been speaking directly to hundreds of businesses large and small across the country, including through the Business Brexit Task Force to develop a shared vision and plan for the future.

24th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the EU about ensuring the continued provision of seasonal jobs in the EU for British citizens after 31 December.

The precise range of activities and documentation that will be needed after the transition period will be subject to negotiations with the EU. But any agreement will be without prejudice to the UK’s future points-based immigration system.

The Government is committed to ensuring that businesses and workers have all the information they need to get ready for 1 January 2021. We will continue to review and update the guidance we have published to help ensure businesses are as prepared as possible for the changes and opportunities the end of the year will bring.

Now is the time for businesses to get ready. They should go to www.GOV.UK/TRANSITION for more details.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support BAME women during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This Government is working to support all people through COVID-19, including BAME women. Guided by medical and scientific expertise, we have implemented specific measures to reduce the spread of the virus in all communities for everyone including women from BAME backgrounds.

This Government has taken unprecedented steps to support lives and livelihoods, including increasing the generosity of Universal Credit, introducing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and made changes to ensure women do not miss out on parental leave and childcare support. In addition, Equality Hub officials regularly meet with organisations representing women and BAME communities and continue to do so. We are also working to alert and encourage relevant grassroots charities to apply for funding that has been made available including through the National Lottery Community Fund.

Public Health England has now completed its review into ‘Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19’, which confirms that COVID-19 has replicated, and in some cases increased, existing health inequalities related to risk factors, including age, gender, ethnicity and geography. The Minister for Equalities is working with the Race Disparity Unit and the Department for Health and Social Care to carry forward work to address the disparities outlined in the Public Health England report.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they selected Wednesday 13 May as the appropriate day on which unlimited outdoor exercise could resume.

Throughout the period since the Government imposed restrictions due to Coronavirus, people have been encouraged to exercise outdoors, alone or with members of their households. The Government's advice was to limit this to once a day during the early phases.

The Government has developed specific guidance to mitigate transmission risks and communicated that guidance on 11 May, giving people time to understand and prepare for the changes to the regulations and guidance before the measures were implemented on 13 May. We will keep all of these measures under review, as required by the law.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
29th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to introduce a COVID-19-related identity card system after lockdown restrictions have been lifted.

The Government has no plans to introduce identity cards.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to review the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019.

The Government currently has no plans to review the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019, which will commence on 8 April 2020.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to pause their negotiations with the EU due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Given the latest coronavirus developments, Round 2 of negotiations did not formally start on the 18th March.

We remain in regular contact with the European Commission to explore alternative ways to continue discussions, and will be guided by scientific advice.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
20th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to relocate the House of Lords to York.

The Government has an aspiration that all parts of the United Kingdom should feel connected to politics and indeed to politicians.

We are looking at options to further that objective.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
12th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address falling retail sales.

The Government recognises that the rising cost of living has presented additional financial challenges to many consumers, reducing their spending power and impacting retail sales.

On 26th May, the Government announced a Cost of Living package, providing over £15bn of support targeted particularly at those with the greatest need. This package builds on the over £22bn already announced, bringing total government support for the Cost of Living to over £37bn this year.

The Retail Sector Council continues to work on the strategic issues facing the sector.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to tackle rising energy prices.

The Government has announced an exceptional support package worth £37billion this year to shield consumers from the worst impacts of volatile international energy markets this coming winter. The Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) will also deliver a £400 non-repayable grant to eligible households to help with energy bills from October.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a Help to Grow Scheme for the third sector.

Studies show that improving the performance of UK SMEs to match competitor countries such as Germany, could add up to £100 billion to the economy. Help to Grow aims to close that gap by specifically targeting SMEs who will benefit in a way that impacts growth potential and productivity. There are currently no plans to introduce a Help to Grow scheme for the third sector. Businesses applying to either Help to Grow schemes (management and digital) must:

  • Be registered in the UK;
  • Have between 5-249 employees;
  • Have been operating for at least twelve months​; and
  • Not be a charity.
Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to keep fertiliser plants open amidst rising gas prices.

The Government is closely monitoring the fertiliser market. On 6 May, the Government announced steps to support farmers with cost pressures caused by demand and instability seen across the globe – Direct Payments in England will be paid in two instalments each year for the remainder of the agricultural transition period, to help farmers with their cashflow. Furthermore, we have provided more than £2 billion in relief to help Energy Intensive Industries with electricity costs since 2013 – Fertiliser plants are recipients of this support.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a relative price cap on energy bills.

The current price cap on domestic default tariffs is an absolute cap, as this is the best way to ensure that households are protected from the effects of the loyalty penalty. The level of the price cap is set by Ofgem.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to grant the automotive sector energy-intensive status.

There is no single definition of an energy intensive industry (EII). There are currently two schemes for eligible EIIs that provide relief from high industrial electricity costs. The Compensation Scheme provides businesses with relief from a proportion of the costs of both the UK Emissions Trading Scheme and Carbon Price Support mechanism in their electricity bills. The Exemption Scheme provides a discount on the indirect costs of the Contracts for Difference, Renewables Obligation and Feed in Tariffs schemes.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to cut approval times for new offshore wind farms from four years to one year.

In the British Energy Security Strategy the Government outlined how it will cut approval times. The Government will strengthen the National Policy Statements, establish a fast-track consenting process for priority cases, implement a new Offshore Wind Environmental Improvement Package, review the Habitats Regulations Assessment process and work with the Offshore Wind Acceleration Task Force on further cutting the timeline.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a permanent replacement to the Recovery Loan Scheme to support cashflow.

As of the end of March 2022, the Recovery Loan Scheme has provided over £3.4bn of finance to more than 15,000 businesses.

We are consulting with lenders and business representative organisations on how best to continue to support businesses, including on the role of a government-backed loan guarantee scheme. Any such scheme would be announced in parliament in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the current national minimum wage for apprentices.

The National Minimum Wage rates, including for apprentices, are based on the independent and expert advice of the Low Pay Commission (LPC). The Government set a remit in March 2022 for the LPC to make recommendations in the Autumn for minimum wage rates to apply from April 2023. The LPC draws on economic, labour market and pay analysis, independent research, and stakeholder evidence to inform its recommendations.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to protect Britons from the effects of rising energy bills.

The Government is very aware of the difficulties that consumers have experienced as a result of the rise in energy prices. On 26 May, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer announced several support measures to help households and the most vulnerable with the cost of living.

Almost eight million of the most vulnerable households will get at least £1,200 of one-off support in total this year, with all domestic electricity customers receiving at least £400. This is in addition to the over £22 billion announced previously to support the rise in the cost of living, now totalling over £37 billion this year.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce the cost of connecting viable schemes to the national grid in order to increase levels of renewable energy production on farms.

Ofgem regulates network connection charges. It has decided that distribution network connection costs for renewable energy projects will be reduced from April 2023, where distribution network reinforcement is required.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to meet their target of women making up at least one third of the offshore wind workforce by 2030.

Through the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, the Government secured a commitment from developers and supply chain companies to work together to increase the number of women working in offshore wind to 33% by 2030, aiming for a higher 40% if feasible. This is starting from a 2018 baseline of 16%. This work is being taken forward by the Offshore Wind Industry Council.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people to enter the offshore wind industry.

Through the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, the Government secured a commitment from developers and supply chain companies to work together to increase the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people working in offshore wind to 9% by 2030, aiming for a higher 12% if feasible. This is starting from a 2020 baseline of 5%. This work is being taken forward by the Offshore Wind Industry Council.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require large corporations to report their anti-fraud procedures.

Last month, the Government published its response to consultation on Restoring Trust in Audit and Corporate Governance.

As part of this balanced, targeted, and proportionate package of reforms, we intend to require directors of large companies to produce a fraud statement as part of their annual report. Directors will be expected to set out the steps taken to prevent and detect material fraud; and their assessment of the risk of material fraud in the entity, highlighting the areas of the business most susceptible to material fraud.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a quota ensuring that women have at least 40 per cent of the seats on corporate boards.

Since 2011, the Government has supported a series of business-led independent reviews, increasing participation of women on FTSE boards via progressive targets: 25% women (Davies Review); 33% (Hampton-Alexander Review) and, to date, 40% (FTSE Women Leaders Review, published 22nd February 2022).

Women’s representation has grown from 9.5% FTSE board members in 2011, to 37.6% to the end of 2021. The UK is ranked second only to France, compared to other nations working to gender balance public listed companies’ boards. The Government continues to commit targets, but, given the successes of the voluntary approach, has no plans to introduce mandatory quotas.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make (1) steelmakers, and (2) other industrial manufacturers, exempt from network charges to ensure continued production.

As set out in the British Energy Security Strategy, the Government recognises that UK industrial electricity prices are higher than those of other countries. The Government committed to extend the EII Compensation Scheme for a further 3 years and intend to increase the aid intensity to up to 100% (1.5% of GVA). The Government is also considering a range of other measures which might be able to support these businesses.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the overall limit on the capacity of renewable energy generation at auctions.

On 20th May, the Government increased the budget available to offshore wind projects in the fourth Contracts for Difference allocation round by £10m to £210m. While there are maximum limits on how much onshore wind and solar can be successful in the auction, there are no limits on the capacity of other technologies, including offshore wind.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that energy infrastructure is sufficient in all regions to support the uptake of electrified transport.

Through the recently published EV Infrastructure Strategy, the Government set out roles and responsibilities for local authorities and Distribution Network Operators to provide a comprehensive network of charge points.

£2.5 billion of Government funding has been committed to the EV transition since 2020, over £1.6 billion of which will be used to support charging infrastructure. This includes £500m to support local charge point provision and £950m to unlock electricity network capacity to deliver 6,000 ultra-rapid charge points at motorway service areas and major A roads by 2035.

The upcoming price control for electricity distribution will enable network companies to ready the electricity network for the increase in charge point deployment.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to mandate the creation of net-zero transition plans from councils.

As outlined in the Net Zero Strategy, the Government does not believe that a new general statutory requirement is needed for Local Authorities to deliver net zero. The Government has no plans to mandate the creation of net zero-transition plans.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require companies with more than 50 employees to publish their ethnicity pay gap data.

The Government has no plans to require companies with more than 50 employees to publish their ethnicity pay gap data. In Inclusive Britain, the Government’s response to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, we committed to publish guidance for employers on voluntary ethnicity pay reporting.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that local authorities are co-operating on calculating the level of (1) fraud, and (2) error, in business support grants administered.

BEIS continues to work closely with Local Authorities to minimise the risk of fraud and error, and to take action where this does occur. Local Authorities are required to undertake assurance activity for all COVID-19 Business Grant schemes, to ensure that the recipients were eligible to receive the funds and that funds were paid correctly. Where it is identified that an award of a grant was non-compliant, funding issued will be subject to recovery and all cases of fraud will be pursued. The Assurance and Debt Recovery Guidance can be found on the COVID-19 Business Grants page at Gov.UK.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a deficit fund to remove £1,000 off the annual bills of struggling households on pre-payment meters.

The energy price cap ensures 4.5 million prepayment meter customers pay a fair price for their energy. The Government announced a further £15 billion package of support to help with the cost of living on 26 May, on top of the £22 billion already announced this year. This means almost eight million most vulnerable households will get £1,200 of one-off support in total this year, with all domestic electricity customers receiving at least £400.

The Ability to Pay principal set by Ofgem in the supply licence requires suppliers to provide appropriate support to households which are struggling to pay their energy bills by setting up repayment plans based on a customer’s ability to pay, and by directing them to further support services.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the Warm Home Discount Scheme to help families with higher than average bills due to disabilities.

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.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage investment in businesses based in the (1) North East, (2) East Midlands, and (3) North West of England.

The £1.4bn Global Britain Investment Fund will drive investment in industries where the UK has both natural strengths and geographic spread. This includes in the automotive sector, which has regional clusters in the West Midlands, North West and North East; the life sciences sector, where currently two thirds of manufacturing jobs are already located outside of London and the South East; as well as the offshore wind sector, which is generating new investment in coastal communities in the North East and East of England as well as in Scotland and Wales.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce training vouchers for rural enterprises.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. I will correspond directly with the noble Lord.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage companies to introduce social tariffs for disabled households.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. I will correspond directly with the noble Lord.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to include (1) hydropower, and (2) tidal lagoons, as elements in their new energy strategy.

The Government acknowledges the valuable contribution of hydropower to the GB energy mix over many decades. However, economic and environmental constraints mean that in practice the viable remaining resource is less than 1% of total generation capacity, and therefore hydroelectric generation will likely not be a significant contributor to the country's future generation portfolio.

The Government remains open to considering well-developed proposals for harnessing the tidal range energy in the bays and estuaries around the UK coast. Any such proposal would have to demonstrate strong evidence of value for money in the context of other low-carbon forms of generation before the Government could take a view on its potential.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to develop a long-term strategy for improving home insulation.

The Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy sets out our long-term strategy to improve home insulation.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the time taken for energy projects to be connected to the electricity grid.

The Government has committed in the British Energy Security Strategy to working closely with Ofgem – the independent regulator - to speed up connections and cut down on the time it takes for new energy projects to be connected to the grid.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide commercial incentives to businesses willing to reduce their gas use at certain times.

Gas industry representatives cooperatively developed the Demand Side Response tool which encourages Daily Metered (DM) consumers – usually large industrial users – to offer to reduce their gas demand during times of system stress, in return for payment.

This tool has the potential for DM users to protect their most critical loads, minimise costs, and may reduce the likelihood of a supply emergency.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reform the energy markets so that consumers’ bills are less dependent on global gas prices.

In the recently announced Energy Security Strategy, the Government set out plans to boost Britain’s energy security and reduce dependence on power sources, exposed to volatile international prices, that the Government cannot control. This will allow greater self-sufficiency, with cheaper bills.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to encourage oil and gas companies to increase investment in the Nigerian gas sector.

The UK Government no longer provides support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas as of 31 March 2021, other than in limited circumstances. The policy is set out in this guidance document (also attached).

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to grant a 20-year extension to the working life of the existing Sizewell B plant.

The continued operation of Sizewell B, or any UK nuclear power station, is a decision for the operator, EdF, and the independent nuclear regulator, the ONR, based on safety and commercial considerations.

Sizewell B is currently scheduled to generate power until 2035 but is widely expected to extend its operation beyond this date. EdF is actively exploring long-term operations for Sizewell B.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a new cap on energy prices.

There are no plans to introduce a new cap on energy prices. The Energy Price Cap is a temporary measure until competition in the market improves.

The Government announced in July last year that it would seek new legislation to enable future extensions of the price cap beyond 2023, if the conditions for effective competition are not in place.

Ofgem is required to set the energy price cap at a level that reflects the efficient cost of supplying households with gas and electricity.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to introduce interest-free loans to install solar panels.

The Government has a range of existing schemes and mechanisms which support rooftop solar deployment such as the Smart Export Guarantee, ensuring homes with solar panels get payment for the renewable electricity they export to the grid. In addition, the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, and The Home Upgrade Grant and the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery (LAD) Scheme, all include solar panels as an eligible measure.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reintroduce the Feed-In Tariff for homeowners investing in solar panels.

There are no plans to reintroduce the Feed-in Tariffs (FIT) scheme, which closed to new applications in March 2019.

With residential solar panels now over 50% cheaper than in 2011, and as costs fall, it is right that the Government move on from dependence on generous subsidies, that are ultimately levied onto customers. The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) which came into force in January 2020, follows on from the FIT, and gives small- scale low-carbon electricity generators, such as homes with solar panels, the right to be paid for the renewable electricity they export to the grid.

The SEG is a market-driven mechanism designed to pave the way to projects being deployed without subsidies. It reflects the government’s continued commitment to ensuring that low carbon electricity, whether at household level or national level,  is central to the transition to the smart and flexible energy systems of the future.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the UK's reliance on Russian gas.

The UK is not dependent on Russia for its gas, with no direct pipeline. In 2021, less than 4% of UK demand for gas came from Russian, via liquified natural gas (LNG).

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to open a new round of North Sea exploration licences.

The Government will introduce a climate compatibility checkpoint, which will be used to assess whether any future licensing rounds remain in keeping with the UK’s climate goals.

The Government has invited contributions on the design of the checkpoint with a public consultation which closed at the end of February. The Government is considering the responses to the consultation and will announce the outcome in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the UK’s reliance on Russian oil.

The Government has confirmed that the UK will phase out imports of Russian oil by the end of the year. The UK is a significant producer of both crude oil and petroleum products and participates in a global market of alternative suppliers.

The Government will work with companies through a new Taskforce on Oil to support them to make use of the transitory period in finding alternative supplies. Over the course of the year the taskforce will work closely with international partners including the USA, the Netherlands, and the Gulf to ensure alternative supplies of fuel products.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to further reduce the time given for Russian oligarchs to register UK property under the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill.

The Government brought forward amendments to the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill to shorten the deadline for overseas companies already owning land in England and Wales, and Scotland, to register their beneficial owners from 18 months to 6 months. This will help crack down on money laundering through UK property, whilst giving people who hold their property in overseas entities for legitimate reasons appropriate time to comply with the new requirements. The Bill has now received Royal Assent.

The vast majority of the beneficial owners of entities holding properties on the register will be entirely law-abiding. A 6-month transition period strikes a balance in allowing for the free enjoyment of property and maintaining the UK’s reputation as a stable investment environment whilst ensuring property owners register their beneficial owners.

We will give owners six months to register, because if they do not comply in time their property rights will be affected. The Government does not interfere with individuals’ rights lightly and this interference could not have reasonably been expected when such rights were acquired. It is important to remember that the majority of properties will be held via overseas entities by entirely law-abiding people.

The new register is a measure designed to inform investigatory work by the National Crime Agency and others, and will help clean up our property market in the long-term. It is not a necessary precondition of taking swift action to sanction individuals now.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to include anti-strategic legal action against public participation (SLAPPS) law in the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister is giving Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (‘SLAPPs’) and libel reform in UK courts urgent consideration in light of reports that Russia and its allies may be funding litigation against free speech in the UK.

Urgent consideration is being given what action can be taken across government to prevent acts by domestic or hostile entities that risk damaging the reputation of our judicial and legal profession. In doing so we are committed to a robust defence of transparency, rule of law and freedom of speech.

An announcement will be made very shortly.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce graduated sanctions to individuals who do not disclose their identity to Companies House in their proposed Registration of Overseas Entities Bill.

If a foreign company does not comply with the new obligations relating to the Register of Overseas Entities set out in the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill, criminal sanctions are in place. These include fines or a prison sentence of up to 5 years. The company’s rights over its property will also be affected. We have also included a new provision to allow the imposition of financial penalties for non-compliance without the need for criminal prosecution.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to conduct checks to ensure the transparency of those registering overseas entities.

On 1 March, the Government introduced the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill. The Bill will legislate for a new Register of Overseas Entities that will require overseas companies owning or buying property in the UK to provide information about their beneficial owners to Companies House.

Beneficial owners and managing officers of overseas entities will be required to verify their information with a UK professional who is supervised for anti-money laundering purposes, otherwise their registration will be refused. As such, information will be verified at the point of registration, annually as part of the updating duty, and at the point of removal from the register.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage more oil companies to cut ties with their Russian partners.

The Government welcomes the growing number of companies, organisations, and governments joining the international community in isolating Russia, both diplomatically and financially.

The Government has always been clear there would be massive consequences and a severe cost for any Russian military incursion into Ukraine. Russia’s assault on Ukraine is an unprovoked, premeditated and needless attack against a sovereign democratic state. The UK and our international partners stand united in condemning the Russian government’s reprehensible actions.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require companies to publish action plans on how they aim to increase the number of women in FTSE 100 boardroom roles.

Decisions about the publishing of action plans are for private companies to make, and not subject to any mandatory Government requirements. However, since 2011 the Government has sponsored and supported a series of independent reviews, aimed at increasing the proportion of women in top FTSE roles. This business led approach to increasing the proportion of women on boards has involved voluntary targets, persuasive and informative information campaigns as well as active tracking of the FTSE performance.

Since 2011 the proportion of women on FTSE 350 boards has increased from 9.5% in 2011, to 37.6% at the end of 2021. The independent reviews initially set a target of 25% of board members should be women (under the Davies Review), followed by 33% (under the Hampton-Alexander Review) and, finally, 40% under the FTSE Women Leaders Review, the latest report for which was published on 22nd February 2022.

The significant progress made in women on FTSE boards has allowed the UK to this year rank in second place, behind France, when compared internationally to other countries working to improve the gender balance on the boards of public listed companies. The UK is now ranked higher than countries who have set a statutory quota for women on boards.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reintroduce the Zero Carbon Homes policy to help reduce household energy bills.

The Government has no plans to reintroduce the Zero Carbon Homes policy. Instead, when it is implemented in 2025, the Future Homes Standard (FHS) will ensure new homes are zero carbon ready, with high energy efficiency and low carbon heat. Under the FHS, New homes will producing at least 75% lower CO2 emissions compared to current standards and will require no further retrofit to become fully zero carbon as the electricity grid continues to decarbonise.

We have also recently implemented an uplift to the Building Regulations as an important stepping-stone to the FHS. When the uplift comes into force in June 2022, new homes will produce 30% less CO2 compared to the current standard.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide a grant for homeowners to upgrade their gas boilers to heat pumps.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), which is due to launch in April 2022, will provide financial support for the installation of low carbon heat technologies in homes and small non-domestic buildings in England and Wales. The BUS will provide grants of £5,000 towards the installation and capital costs of air source heat pumps and £6,000 for ground source heat pumps.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting.

We are considering the findings of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities independent report, which included recommendations on ethnicity pay reporting, alongside feedback to our consultation on this issue and the recent Women and Equalities Select Committee Report. We will set out our approach in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce the threshold in the Help to Grow: Management scheme from five employees to one to enable more businesses to participate.

The Help to Grow Management programme has been designed to support businesses where we expect to see the biggest impact. There are currently no plans to change the criteria relating to the number of employees, but we will continue to keep the programme under review to ensure that it is able to effectively support businesses and deliver the intended boost to productivity.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to allow small businesses who took part in the Small Business Leadership programme to participate in the Help to Grow: Management scheme.

Help to Grow: Management built on lessons from the successful Small Business Leadership Programme (SBLP), which the programme replaced. The programme is regularly kept under review and as part of this, we will continue to review the eligibility criteria to ensure it effectively supports businesses and delivers its outcomes.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to implement a price control mechanism to reduce freight costs for the landscaping industry.

I refer the noble Lord to the answer given by my hon Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) to Question UIN 20498 (also attached).

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce an energy price cap for small businesses.

There are no plans to introduce an energy price cap for businesses. The price cap on domestic default variable tariffs was put in place to address the loyalty penalty and prevent consumers from being overcharged. There is a greater diversity of supply arrangements for businesses compared to the domestic sector. Businesses are therefore better placed to effectively procure goods and services for their business, including energy supply.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will implement a public register of beneficial owners of overseas entities that (1) buy, or (2) sell, property.

As set out in the Written Ministerial Statement I made on 2nd November 2021, the Government remains committed to establishing a new beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property. Overseas entities selling property will commit an offence if they sell their property at a time when they are in breach of the registration requirements. This register will help combat money laundering and achieve greater transparency in the UK property market. We will legislate when parliamentary time allows. Overseas entities in scope that already own land in the UK will be given 18 months to comply with the new requirements or dispose of their land.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make a portion of a redress fund overseen by Ofgem available for microbusinesses in trouble due to high energy costs.

Decisions on the fund are for Ofgem who have appointed the Energy Saving Trust as the independent Service Provider to manage and allocate funding. Funding is only available to registered charities in England Scotland and Wales, and Housing Associations that are exempted charities. The aim is to deliver energy related projects that meet the scheme’s priorities and benefit people in England, Scotland and Wales.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a Build Back Better fund to help the manufacturing sector recover after COVID-19.

The Government is, and will continue to be, a champion of the needs of business and industry, including the UK manufacturing sector. This is why the principles of our Plan for Growth, and its supporting strategies will put the UK at the forefront of opportunities, give businesses the confidence to invest, boost productivity across the UK, enable our green industrial revolution, and support our vision for Global Britain.

As part of the Spending Review, my Rt hon Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the Made Smarter Adoption programme award of £24 million for the period covering 2022-25 to help manufacturing SMEs increase productivity, competitiveness and drive-up efficiency by adopting industrial digital technology. This funding is in addition to the £8 million committed to the programme for the period covering 2021-22 and builds on the success of the £20 million North West pilot.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide greater (1) powers, and (2) funding, to (a) local, and (b) city, authorities to enable homes to be retrofitted more quickly.

The Government is working closely with local authorities as they are best placed to understand how to deliver home retrofits for the betterment of their local communities.

The Government has committed more than £6.6bn in this Parliament to make energy efficiency updates to homes as well as community buildings such as schools, hospitals and leisure centres. Schemes such as the Home Upgrade Grant, the Local Authority Delivery Scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund are being delivered through local authorities. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published a list of participating Local Authorities in England.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide COVID-19 vaccines with a longer expiry date to poorer nations to ensure they can be used.

The Vaccine Task Force is working closely with vaccine suppliers, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and international partners such as COVAX and UNICEF to allocate vaccines according to need, facilitate the rapid delivery of doses and maximise the shelf life available to recipients.

Our approach to the 20m recently announced for donation via COVAX at the G20 in October was also previously laid out in the answer given by my Hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State to the Hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon on 9th November 2021 to Question 69687.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide help for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises to become more environmentally sustainable.

Businesses have significant power to drive change towards achieving the UK’s domestic net zero goal. In order to underline the importance of this area, this year the Government led the Race to Zero campaign targeting small and microbusinesses across the UK. 2,362 have joined the Race to Zero to date.

Many businesses across the UK have said they want to tackle climate change, but that they are unsure how to start this process. Through the small business campaign, the Government has taken an important step towards making net zero relevant to SMEs by helping businesses access the support they need. Following COP26, the Government will continue to support UK businesses to meet their net zero commitments, including exploring a government-led digital advice service that consolidates and simplifies advice, funding, and other support on net zero.

The Government will also look to consult stakeholders on the Small Business Energy Efficiency Scheme (SBEES) later this year. The scheme will aim to remove barriers for SMEs in accessing energy efficiency measures, drive forward better buildings performance and help SMEs to meet regulatory standards.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a steel sector deal (1) to help UK producers compete internationally, and (2) to provide long-term, sustainable policy support for the steel industry to transition to a low-carbon future.

The Government recognises the vital role that the steel sector plays in our economy and across all areas of the UK. We are keen to secure a competitive and viable future for the sector and have already provided it with extensive support, including ​more than £600 million to help with the high cost of electricity.

In order to help UK steel producers to compete internationally, the Government is providing funding for a programme of research and innovation delivered bythe Materials Processing Institute, which will help the UK steel and metals sector to improve efficiencies and reduce emissions.

In addition to this, we are also providing up to £66 million in taxpayer support as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to help key foundation industries, such as steel, to develop innovative technology to reduce energy and resource use. We have also established the £315 million Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, which aims to support businesses with high energy use to cut their bills and reduce carbon emissions.

In October 2021, we published the Net Zero Strategy, which committed to provide further support for research and innovation through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, which is a £1 billion fund that aims to accelerate the commercialisation of low-carbon technologies, systems, and business models in power, buildings, and industry. Initiatives led by the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre will support the fuel switch to low carbon hydrogen on industrial sites.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to allow participants in the Small Business Leadership Programme to participate in the Help to Grow Scheme.

Help to Grow: Management built on lessons from the successful Small Business Leadership Programme (SBLP), which the programme replaced. The programme is regularly kept under review and as part of this, we will continue to review the eligibility criteria to ensure it effectively supports businesses and delivers its outcomes.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they are providing to businesses about applications to the relief funds announced in March 2020.

The Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF), both announced in the 11 March 2020 Budget, have supported many thousands of small businesses through this challenging period.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provided financial support to smaller businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). This scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2021. Guidance on how to apply for this scheme was published on 23 March 2020. This guidance was withdrawn on 1 April 2021 after the scheme had closed to new applications, but is still available to read

Guidance on the above schemes, a well as guidance from 18 March 2020 on whether a business is eligible for business rates relief, is available on the GOV.UK website.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to expand the Help to Grow scheme to allow businesses with fewer than five employees to participate.

The Help to Grow Management and Digital schemes have been designed to support business with more than five employees to increase their productivity. There are currently no plans to change the criteria relating to the number of employees, but the schemes will be regularly reviewed to ensure they effectively support businesses and deliver the intended boost to productivity.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to change the eligibility of the Help to Grow scheme to permit charities to participate.

Help to Grow: Management is designed to support SMEs, so charities are not eligible.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce an insulate homes scheme to help deliver their commitment to cutting carbon emissions.

The Government has announced more than £3.9 billion of new funding for decarbonising heat and buildings. This will fund the next 3 years of investment through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, the Home Upgrade Grant scheme, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and the Heat Networks Transformation Programme, as well as reducing carbon emissions from public buildings through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

The Government has allocated £500 million funding to support energy efficiency upgrades of homes of low-income households across England through Phase 1 and 2 of the Local Authority Delivery Scheme. The Government announced a further £200m to a third phase of this scheme which will be delivered alongside an initial £150m of the Homes Upgrade Grant Scheme from early 2022 to March 2023.

The Energy Company Obligation has installed 3.3 million measures in 2.3 million homes, and we are increasing the amount energy suppliers invest in energy efficiency measures for low-income households until 2026, boosting its value from £640 million to £1 billion a year. This will help an extra 305,000 families with green measures such as insulation, with average energy bill savings of around £300 a year.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to resolve the short-term issues to UK goods supply chains.

Businesses have faced a range of challenges over recent months as they recover from the global pandemic which has impacted supply chains across Europe and around the world.

The Government has acted quickly to introduce a series of measures to relieve pressure on vital supply chains, including by: streamlining the testing process for and creating skills bootcamps to train up HGV drivers, sending nearly one million letters to encourage HGV drivers who have left the industry to return, providing up to £7,000 per person funding for the Large Goods Vehicle Driver apprenticeship scheme, and deploying nearly 200 military tanker personnel to provide temporary support delivering fuel supplies across the country. The Government has also introduced short-term visas for food haulage drivers and poultry workers to ease pressures facing these supply chains.

On 8 October, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister appointed Sir David Lewis, former CEO of Tesco, as the UK Government’s supply chain adviser, bringing with him a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise to the new role. He will advise the Prime Minister and my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes to UK supply chains for goods, and will work with government officials to quickly resolve acute, short term issues. Successful resolution of supply chain pressures will be a joint effort between industry and Government and so Sir Dave Lewis will also co-chair the new Supply Chain Advisory Group, consisting of external experts in the field, and the new Industry Taskforce, to ensure those on the ground have the opportunity to voice their concerns and advise on the most efficient resolutions.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure ethnicity pay gap reporting is mandatory for all large employers by 2023.

The Government is committed to building a fairer Britain and ensuring that equality and opportunity is available for all. That is why my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister established the independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities which published its independent report on March 31st.


We welcome the opportunity to consider the Commission’s findings, and are looking at them in light of the work that has already taken place within government, including the consultation on ethnicity pay reporting. We will be publishing our response to the Commission’s report later this autumn.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to expand the green recovery programmes for rapid job creation; and how they intend to scale investment in line with G7 peers.

Under UK leadership at the G7, we have put Green Recovery from COVID-19 at the top of the international agenda and secured historic commitments such as the first ever ‘net zero G7’, with all countries committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Last November, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which brings together £12 billion of government investment to unlock three times as much private sector investment by 2030; and support up to 250,000 jobs across the UK by 2030.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to give struggling companies the option to convert emergency bounce back loans into Employee Ownership Trusts to support their post-pandemic recovery process.

The Government launched the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) to ensure that the UK’s smallest businesses could access loans of up to £50,000 to help businesses through the pandemic. Under BBLS, no repayments are due from the borrower for the first 12 months of the loan. The Government also covers the first 12 months of interest payments charged to the business by the lender.

We have always been clear that businesses are responsible for repaying any finance they take out. However, we recognise that a diverse range of businesses have taken out Bounce Back Loans and some of these will benefit from more flexibility in making their repayments. That is why the Government introduced the “Pay as You Grow” measures, which allow borrowers to tailor their repayments to their individual circumstances. “Pay as You Grow” provides borrowers with the option to:

  • Extend the length of their loan from six years ten
  • Make interest-only payments for six months, with the option to use this up to three times throughout the loan
  • Pause repayments entirely for up to six months

Borrowers can use these options either individually or in combination with each other. In addition, they have the option to fully repay their loan early and will face no early repayment charges for doing so.

The Government is not currently considering proposals to convert outstanding Bounce Back Loans into equity.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support the redevelopment of retail space to attract consumers back to local high street shops and support their recovery process.

The retail sector remains a key part of the high street and thriving high streets will continue to need a strong physical retail offering. In order to help our high streets recover and flourish, we are:

  • Providing funding that has real impact for high streets across the whole country.
  • Ensuring planning laws help councils to be flexible and make the most of their high streets and take control of vacant property, shops and shopping centres.
  • Giving communities the power to repurpose empty shops and spaces.
  • Making sure businesses are supported as landlords and tenants of high street properties.
Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide local authorities with clarity about their role in achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Officials regularly engage with local leaders on a range of net zero issues, for example through the local energy contact group which last met on 8th July 2021.

Future plans for the role of local authorities in meeting net zero will be outlined in the Net Zero Strategy, which is currently under development and due to be published before COP26.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to allow small businesses flexible government loan repayment plans.

We have always been clear that businesses are responsible for repaying any finance they take out. However, we recognise that some borrowers will benefit from additional flexibility with regards to their repayments. That is why we announced the Pay As You Grow measures last year.

Pay As You Grow is designed to provide Bounce Back Loan borrowers more time and flexibility over their repayments by giving them the option to:

  • Extend the length of the loan from six years to ten.
  • Make interest-only payments for six months, with the option to use this up to three times throughout the loan.
  • Take up a six-month repayment holiday. This option is available once during the term of their loan.

Businesses are able to use these options either individually or in combination with each other. These are only available once a business has started making repayments on the loan. In addition, they have the option to fully repay their loan early and will face no early repayment charges for doing so.

While the Government covers the interest due on Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) facilities for the first twelve months, repayments of capital are required during this period unless the lender chooses to grant additional forbearance measures.

CBILS lenders are able to extend the repayment period for CBILS facilities where this is needed, to a maximum of 10 years. CBILS term extensions are offered at the discretion of lenders, and for forbearance purposes only.

The British Business Bank has a range of guidance and resources available to all businesses, including content on managing cashflow and a list of independent advice services. Details can be found online at the British Business Bank website.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of increased remote working on employee wellbeing; and what steps they are taking to ensure employers prevent employee burnout.

The Government is aware that the increase in remote working during the pandemic has raised issues relating to employee wellbeing. It is in the interest of both employers and employees to support wellbeing at work and prevent burnout.

The Government is working with the Flexible Working Taskforce – a partnership across business groups, trade unions, charities, and government departments – to provide advice and guidance to support employers who are considering adopting more remote or semi-remote (hybrid) working practices going forwards.

In the short-term, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) – in consultation with the Flexible Working Taskforce – has produced advice on hybrid working to help employers consider whether this could be an option for their workplace and how to fairly introduce it. The advice covers the existing legal and practical issues associated with hybrid working – and includes a section on supporting and managing staff.

In the slightly longer-term, the Flexible Working Taskforce is working on developing best practice guidance for employers, which will include supporting the work-life balance of remote workers.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the survey by People 1st International Future Talent in Hospitality, published in June; and what steps they are taking to assist hospitality students to pursue a career in the industry.

The Department regularly meets with representatives from the hospitality sector to discuss how businesses can recover and build back from the pandemic, including raising the profile of skills and careers in hospitality. We welcome insight from a wide range of sources.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the survey research by the Trade Unions Congress, published on 19 March, which found that one in three black and minority ethnic workers say they have been unfairly turned down for a job; and what plans they have to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting.

The Government is aware of the TUC research which found that a third (33%) of ethnic minority workers say they have been unfairly turned down for a job compared to one in 5 (19%) of white workers. The Government is clear that no one should be discriminated against because of their ethnicity and the Equality Act 2010 makes such discrimination unlawful.


The Government is committed to building a fairer Britain and ensuring that equality and opportunity is available for all. That is why my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister established the independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities which published its independent report on March 31st.


The report includes a specific recommendation in relation to ethnicity pay reporting. We welcome the opportunity to consider the Commission’s findings in relation to this issue,
and are looking at them in light of the work that has already taken place within government, including the consultation on ethnicity pay reporting. We will be publishing our response to the Commission’s report later this summer.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to enhance workers' rights in the gig economy; and what steps they are taking to provide more clarity to businesses over employment status criteria.

The UK has one of the best employment rights records in the world. We have made good progress in bringing forward measures that add flexibility for workers while ensuring the protection of employment rights, such as banning the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts.

Gig economy workers’ employment rights are determined by their employment status - employee, worker or self-employed. Employees are entitled to all rights (subject to qualifying periods) and have responsibilities towards their employer. So-called “limb (b) workers” are only entitled to some rights such as the National Minimum Wage but have increased flexibility and fewer obligations to their employer. The self-employed generally have no employment rights but have complete flexibility in their work. We believe our three-tiered Employment Status structure provides the right balance for the UK Labour Market.

The Government will continue to work closely with businesses, trade unions and other groups to ensure that any options to clarify Employment Status are effective, preserving the flexibility of the labour market while making it easier to understand for individuals.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by Platform, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Greenpeace UK Training & Tickets: the hidden costs for offshore oil & gas workers, published on 22 June, what steps they are taking to create a training passport scheme to allow offshore workers to transfer their experience between sectors.

The North Sea Transition Deal includes a commitment from industry to create an integrated people and skills plan, with measurable objectives, to support its transition and diversification. This will assess the industry’s future skills, training and standards requirements, and how industry will support and enable the transition of the workforce.

Furthermore, the sector has committed to work to ensure that the workforce’s skills and competencies are mutually recognised across energy sectors enabling easier job transferability. This includes promoting the uptake of relevant existing initiatives, such as the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board Connected Competence scheme and expand these as appropriate.

In order to ensure we have the skilled workforce to deliver net zero, we have launched the Green Jobs Taskforce, working in partnership with business, skills providers, and trade unions, to help us develop plans for new long-term, good quality, green jobs by 2030 and advise on what support is needed for people in transitioning industries.

In addition, the offshore wind sector set out a commitment, in the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, to develop an offshore energy passport (recognised outside the UK) to facilitate job mobility between different sectors. Discussions with training providers is ongoing.

We are powering forward with my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, which will mobilise £12 billion of government investment to support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs in the UK.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to improve the understanding of small businesses about energy efficiency schemes.

In line with the Government’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, it is vital to improve the knowledge of small businesses about energy efficiency schemes. There are a range of steps that the Government is taking to do this.

In May we launched the UK Business Climate Hub website, where small businesses can use the hub to find practical tools, resources and advice to understand their emissions and develop a plan to tackle them. The campaign will also provide small businesses with access to some of the UK’s biggest businesses and leading climate experts to support them in taking the simple and practical steps to protect the planet, and the benefits of future-proofing and growing a low carbon business. The campaign also encourages small and micro businesses to commit to cutting their emissions in half by 2030 and to net zero by 2050 or sooner.

Further, BEIS has recently delivered a comprehensive upgrade to the Energy Technology List (ETL) website making it one of the leading sources of truly independent and trustworthy energy efficiency advice available to business. The ETL is a procurement tool that encourages users to specify and procure the most energy-efficient products available on the market. Businesses can have confidence that the energy performance of products are rigorously evaluated before being allowed on the ETL. Using the ETL allows businesses to streamline purchasing decisions, ensuring that efficient options are selected to decrease energy bills and increase green credentials. Going forward, BEIS plans to develop even more SME focused ETL content on the financial and environmental benefits of selecting energy-efficient products. This content will build on the positive feedback that BEIS has received from industry about the new website as demonstrated by the growth in new users that the site is continuing to attract.

In order to increase the uptake of energy efficiency measures, the Government is also developing a new Small Business Energy Efficiency Scheme which will aim to support small and medium sized businesses implement energy efficiency upgrades in their buildings. Following a Call for Evidence on the scheme, a consultation will be published later in 2021.

In order to help SMEs overcome barriers to investing in energy efficiency we launched the Boosting Access for SMEs to Energy Efficiency innovation competition. The competition offered up to £6m to fund the development of new, innovative market solutions that can provide businesses with tailored energy efficiency advice, as well as simplifying the energy efficiency investment processes through the creation of one-stop-shop platforms.

For additional advice, small businesses may choose to access the Business Support Helpline, or may find the then Department for Energy and Climate Change’s SME guide to energy efficiency useful.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Newable Small Business Confidence Index, published on 15 June 2020; and what steps they are taking to assist small businesses in creating sustainable office environments.

As the world starts to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic, businesses have an opportunity to recover cleaner, rebuild greener and emerge better equipped for the future. Businesses of all sizes can access free support and guidance on accessing the right finance from a range of Government-backed sources: the network of 38 Growth Hubs in England – and equivalent support in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – the Business Support Helpline and the business webpages on GOV.UK.

As part of COP26, through a campaign led by our Net Zero Business Champion my Hon. Friend the Member for Arundel and South Downs, small businesses from across the UK are invited to join the green business revolution and commit to becoming more sustainable. By November, the aim is for as many UK small businesses as possible to join the ‘Race to Zero’ – a global effort to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we all generate to zero by 2050.

The first step small businesses can take is to visit our new digital platform and sign up to the globally recognised small business climate commitment. Here small and micro businesses can also get help and advice on how to be greener and save money. The new digital platform is embedded on the existing SME Climate Hub, which is part of the global Race to Zero campaign. Signing up allows businesses to publicly commit to becoming greener, plan the steps they will take to get there, show customers they are serious about climate, and help to start a green business movement.

Taking action on climate change will help businesses to grow, seize new opportunities and adapt against the challenges of a changing planet. Reducing emissions can lower businesses’ running costs, save them money, and attract new customers who want to shop sustainably.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the UK Recruitment Diversity and Inclusion Index, published by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and the Association of Professional Staffing Companies on 14 June; and what steps they are taking to support small businesses to report on staff diversity.

Building a fairer economy means ensuring the UK’s organisations reflect the nation’s diversity.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities published its independent report on 31 March 2021. The report is intended to be a roadmap to racial fairness in the UK and sets out 24 recommendations for further action across Government, public bodies and the private sector. This includes recommendations relating to ethnicity pay gap reporting and advancing fairness in the workplace.

We welcome the opportunity to consider the Commission’s findings on this matter, and to consider them in light of the work that has already taken place within government.

The Government is now considering the independent report in detail and assessing the next steps for future government policy.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Henley Business School The Equity Effect, published on 7 June; and what steps they are taking to encourage businesses to have racially diverse workforces.

Building a fairer economy means ensuring the UK’s organisations reflect the nation’s diversity.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities published its independent report on 31 March 2021. The report is intended to be a roadmap to racial fairness in the UK and sets out 24 recommendations for further action across Government, public bodies and the private sector. This includes recommendations relating to ethnicity pay gap reporting and advancing fairness in the workplace.

We welcome the opportunity to consider the Commission’s findings on this matter, and to consider them in light of the work that has already taken place within government.

The Government is now considering the independent report in detail and assessing the next steps for future government policy.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Timewise The Impact of Covid-19 on Part-Time Employees, published in June; and what steps they are taking to support the creation of jobs with flexible working hours.

We are aware of the report. ONS data shows fewer people working part time (7.8 million, 24% of all in employment) in the three months to April 2021, than in the three months to February 2020 (8.6 million, 26% of all in employment). Further information on full-time and part-time working can be found on the ONS website.

The Government is keen to do more to support flexible working in all its forms. In 2019 the Government committed to consult on making flexible working the default unless employers have good reasons not to. The consultation will be published in due course.

My Hon. Friend the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets has also reconvened the Flexible Working Taskforce – a partnership across business groups, trade unions, charities, and government departments – to help inform the Government’s thinking and support employers as we navigate the impact of Covid-19 on future ways of working. Timewise is a valued member of the Taskforce.


The Taskforce has been asked to help take forward what we have learned through the pandemic about flexible ways of working. In the immediate phase, the Taskforce will consider the essential practical and legal issues associated with a return to a workplace and an increase in hybrid working. The Taskforce will move on to provide wider advice on best practice, so that employers are better able to support all forms of flexible working – whether the flexibility relates to the amount, timing or location of work.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the case for a ‘Right to Disconnect’; and if they have made such an assessment, what the impact of such a right would be on employee mental health.

The Government is considering the business practices, opportunities and risks associated with home and “hybrid” working, as some employers choose to embed these new ways of working into organisational business models more permanently. My Hon. Friend the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets has reconvened the Flexible Working Taskforce – a partnership across business groups, trade unions, charities, and government departments – to help inform the Government’s thinking and support employers as we navigate the impact of Covid-19 on future ways of working.


The Taskforce has been asked to help take forward the best of what we have learned through the pandemic about more flexible ways of working as the economy starts to fully open up.

The Taskforce will provide wider advice on best practice, so that employers are better able to support all forms of flexible working – whether the flexibility relates to the amount, timing or location of work. As part of this advice, the Taskforce will consider the issues associated with an employee’s ability to disconnect from work when working remotely and the related mental health considerations.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional steps they are taking to support small businesses in filling job vacancies in the hospitality sector.

The Department regularly meets with representatives from across the sector to discuss how it can recover and build back from the pandemic.

We are doing everything we can to support hospitality on its road to recovery. This includes offering generous incentives to employers to recruit staff, with hundreds of young people starting work every day through the Kickstart Scheme. We are providing employers with a hiring incentive for each new apprentice they hire, helping more people across a broad range of industries. We are also investing £126 million in additional support to help create 40,000 more traineeships in England, funding high-quality work placements and training for 16-24-year olds in 2021-22.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prevent cuts to the construction industry workforce once the furlough scheme ends.

The construction sector will be a key part of the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19. Construction output has significantly increased since May 2020, with record monthly growth in June 2020, and strong growth continuing into 2021, with £23 billion of large construction contracts awarded for a range of infrastructure, housing and commercial projects. We expect this strong growth to continue during the rest of the year, meaning there is likely to be less of a need for Government support.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is designed to be a temporary measure to support businesses facing severely restricted demand. It has provided significant support to the construction sector, with payments made between 1 November 2020 and 31 March 2021 totalling £1,023m, with 83,000 firms using the CJRS, helping to protect over 200,000 jobs.

The Government continues to work closely with the industry to support its recovery, and to ensure that it can retain and develop the skilled workforce it needs. This includes through an accelerated pipeline of projects worth up to £37 billion, the introduction of a Talent Retention Scheme to help workers move into jobs, and work with the Construction Leadership Council and Construction Industry Training Board to ensure effective support to ensure the construction workforce is equipped with the skills that the industry needs.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure local authorities are issuing Restart Grants within the required timeframe.

The £5 billion Restart Grants scheme announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer on 3 March 2021 are one-off grants to businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors to support businesses to reopen as covid-19 restrictions are lifted in the coming months.

Throughout the pandemic, BEIS officials have worked closely with Local Authorities to ensure that grants are delivered as quickly as possible, while safeguarding public funds.   As the range of grants available has increased, officials have continued regular briefings with all 314 Local Authorities. Ministers have also held regular conversations with leaders and chief executives.

Officials continue to engage with Local Authorities to ensure compliance to both the scheme rules and wider reporting requirements. We will be releasing data on Restart Grant payments in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require mandatory climate reporting for small and medium sized businesses.

The Government and regulators have concluded that to accelerate progress on climate risk disclosures, the UK will become the first country in the world to make Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)-aligned disclosures fully mandatory across the economy by 2025, with most requirements coming into force by 2023.

The UK Government recently published a consultation on Mandatory Climate-related Financial Disclosures, which closed on 5 May. The proposal covers larger companies and is consistent with the roadmap towards mandatory and climate related disclosures, and the interim report that was published in November 2020, which noted that the benefits of mandatory disclosures are likely to increase with an organisation’s size.

We will now carefully consider all of the responses to the consultation and a response will be published by the end of the year. BEIS has committed to review the case for expanding the scope of the regulations in 2023.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of companies’ compliance with minimum wage requirements in the (1) hospitality, and (2) leisure, industries; and what steps they are taking to ensure such compliance.

The ONS’ Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) is the most detailed and comprehensive source of earnings information available in the UK. ASHE provides a proxy measure of both the scale and nature of non-compliance with the relevant statutory minimum wage. In April 2020, we estimate that there were around 38,000 jobs paid below the applicable minimum wage rate and non-compliant with minimum wage legislation in the hospitality sector, and 3,000 in the leisure sector. This excludes individuals who were furloughed, as they would not have been working at that time.

The Government is committed to cracking down on employers who fail to pay the NMW. We are clear that everyone entitled to be paid the minimum wage should receive it. As well as investigating every worker complaint, HMRC also undertake proactive investigations (referred to as targeted enforcement) based on the identification of the risk of non-compliance, and deliver a programme of upstream ‘Promote’ work designed to promote understanding and encourage employer compliance.

We have more than doubled the budget for minimum wage enforcement and compliance, which is now over £27 million annually, up from £13.2 million in 2015/16. There are now over 400 HMRC staff involved in the enforcement of the minimum wage. In 2020/21 HMRC concluded over 2,700 minimum wage investigations, returning more than £16.7m in arrears to over 155,000 workers. Since 2015, the Government has ordered employers to repay £100 million to 1 million workers.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase awareness of government support for small businesses in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy continues to deliver a rolling plan of engagement with UK SMEs, webinars and other events across the spectrum of our sectors to discuss the impact of COVID-19 and the continued support Government is providing to small businesses.

Moreover, through the Growth Hubs, led and governed by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP), business advisers can highlight potential sources of support available and increase awareness of government support for small businesses. Demand for Growth Hub services doubled in the first 6 months of COVID-19 impact. LEP’s have self-reported that in the first six months of the financial year 2020-2021 (1/4/20 to 31/10/20) alone, their Growth Hubs have engaged with over 1.63m businesses and individuals; provided direct support to over 147,000 businesses (of which an estimated 6,400 received over 12 hours of high level support); and helped an estimated 3,900 individuals start a business.

The Government’s business advice pages on GOV.UK also provide information and guidance relevant to starting, growing and maintaining a business, as well as their statutory rights and obligations. More detail on the support provided by devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland can also be found online: www.gov.uk/browse/business.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that small businesses can repay government loans over flexible time frames.

We have always been clear that businesses are responsible for repaying any finance they take out. However, we recognise that some borrowers will benefit from additional flexibility with regards to their repayments. That is why we announced the Pay As You Grow measures last year.

Pay As You Grow is designed to provide Bounce Back Loan borrowers more time and flexibility over their repayments by giving them the option to:

  • Extend the length of the loan from six years to ten.
  • Make interest-only payments for six months, with the option to use this up to three times throughout the loan.
  • Take up a six-month repayment holiday. This option is available once during the term of their loan.

Businesses will be able to use these options either individually or in combination with each other. In addition, they have the option to fully repay their loan early and will face no early repayment charges for doing so.

While the Government covers the interest due on Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) loans for the first twelve months of the loan, repayments of capital are required during this period unless the lender chooses to grant additional forbearance measures.

CBILS lenders can extend the repayment period for CBILS facilities where this is needed, to a maximum of 10 years. CBILS term extensions are offered at the discretion of lenders, and for forbearance purposes only.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make ethnicity pay gap reporting mandatory.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities recently published its independent report which included recommendations in relation to ethnicity pay gap reporting.

We welcome the opportunity to consider the Commission’s findings on this matter, and to consider them in light of the work that has already taken place within government. As well as consulting on ethnicity pay gap reporting, we have met with businesses and representative organisations to understand the barriers towards reporting and what information should be published. We have also run a methodology testing exercise with a broad range of businesses to better understand the complexities outlined in the consultation.

The Government will respond to the Commission’s report in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on staff shortages in the hospitality sector.

We are in regular dialogue with the hospitality sector to understand how business operating models are affected by both leaving the EU and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the BRC's Retail Sales Monitor, published on 11 May; and what steps they are taking to reduce the shop vacancy rate.

In order to mitigate against a rise in the number of vacant units, the Government has introduced a range of measures to protect businesses that are struggling to pay their rent due to Covid-19. The moratorium on commercial landlord’s right to forfeiture for the non-payment of rent (Section 82 Coronavirus Act 2020) is extended to the end of June 2021. Landlords are also prevented from using winding up petitions and statutory demands to pursue rent debt and the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) has also been suspended, both extended until 30 June 2021.

In order to help inform the Government’s strategy to exit these protections, and to gather evidence on the progress of negotiations regarding rent debt between landlords and tenants, a Call for Evidence was launched on 6 April. This closed on 4 May and the Government will make an announcement on future policy ahead of 30 June 2021.

We continue to reduce the financial burden on retailers by providing eligible retail, hospitality, and leisure properties in England with 100% business rates relief until 30 June 2021. This will be followed by 66% business rates relief for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, or £105,000 per business for other eligible properties.

We have introduced reforms to the use classes to enable more flexible use of existing buildings. These came into force on 1 September 2020. The use class reform creates a new ‘commercial, business and service’ use class which encompasses a wide range of uses which will attract people to high streets and town centres. This includes offices and other business uses, shops, cafes, gyms and any other uses which are suitable in a town centre. The new class also allows for mixed uses to reflect changing retail and business models. These reforms will help support high streets and town centres as they seek to recover from the economic impact of Covid-19 Businesses will have greater flexibility to change use without planning permission, allowing them to adapt and diversify more quickly to meet changing circumstances.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the survey on the cost of COVID-19 to tradespeople by Simply Business, published on 23 April; and what steps they are taking to support the economic recovery of the construction industry from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. I will correspond directly with the noble Lord.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support small businesses to become more environmentally friendly.

Achieving our net zero goal requires all businesses to take action. In order to drive this forward, my Hon. Friend the Member for Arundel and South Downs has been appointed by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister to be the UK’s Net Zero Business Champion ahead of COP26. My Hon. Friend’s role is to encourage UK business to sign up to climate action via the Race to Zero science-based targets initiative, to champion the actions that UK businesses are already taking and to help UK businesses exploit the many opportunities of the transition to a low carbon economy.

By November, the aim is for as many UK small businesses as possible to join the Race to Zero – a global effort to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we all generate to zero by 2050.

Taking action on climate change will help businesses to grow, seize new opportunities and adapt against the challenges of a changing planet. Reducing emissions can lower businesses’ running costs, save them money, and attract new customers who want to shop sustainably.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that employers give as much notice as possible when offering work to employees on zero hours contracts.

In 2019, the Government held a consultation inviting views on policies which aim to tackle some of the challenges associated with non-guaranteed hours. These included proposals on providing reasonable notice of shifts and providing compensation for shifts cancelled at short notice.

We are analysing the results of this consultation, especially in light of the impacts of Covid-19 on the labour market and will respond in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the survey by Nerdwallet on business managers and mental health, published on 24 March; and what steps they are taking to ensure that entrepreneurs have access to mental health support.

The Government recognises the significant impact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had on both employers and employees, and their mental wellbeing.

In order to highlight available support around mental health for business figures including entrepreneurs, the Government is signposting to resources for businesses and employers, including Mind’s website and the Mental Health at Work toolkit, through GOV.UK. We also continue to work with the Thriving at Work Leadership Council to encourage employers to sign up to the Mental Health at Work (MHAW) commitments and to engage leading Mental Health charities and organisations to better understand issues around SME mental health, financial insecurity for small business owners and the self-employed, and continue to explore what further support may be offered.

We also know how worried people are and we are taking many steps to protect both jobs and the long-term financial future of businesses during the current economic emergency. Throughout this crisis, our priority has been clear: to protect lives and livelihoods. We have introduced an unprecedented and comprehensive package of business support measures to help as many individuals and businesses as possible, which has mitigated some of the worst immediate impacts of COVID-19 on risk factors for poor mental health. This includes measures such as the small business grants, the Coronavirus loan guarantee schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the deferral of VAT and income tax payments, and more. Businesses can also access tailored advice through our Freephone Business Support Helpline, online via the Business Support website or through their local Growth Hubs in England. The Business Support Helpline continues to support business owners with tailored advice and information, and also signposts individuals to mental health support services where appropriate.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support small businesses owners who commit to investing in their businesses in 2021.

The Government aims to make the United Kingdom the best place to start, grow and run a business. Support for small businesses to grow and invest comes on top of the Government’s existing plans to support growth through significant investment in infrastructure, skills and innovation – as set out in ‘Build Back Better – our plan for growth’, published alongside the Budget.

From April 2021 until the end of March 2023, companies can claim 130% capital allowances on qualifying plant and machinery investments. The super-deduction is the biggest two-year business tax cut in Modern British history - supporting British enterprise in leading us to the post-pandemic economic recovery. Under the super-deduction, for every pound a company invests, their taxes are cut by up to 25p. The super-deduction cuts the tax bills of companies that invest and the more they invest the less tax they will pay.

In order to help smaller firms improve business practices and productivity we are developing a new world-leading SME management training offer, Help to Grow: Management, aiming to directly upskill 30,000 business leaders helping them realise their potential. The Government will also launch a new online platform where businesses can access impartial advice on software, and a voucher to reduce the costs of buying that software through the Help to Grow: Digital scheme.

Our new Recovery Loan Scheme launched on 6 April, provides additional finance and further support to protect businesses and jobs, ensuring businesses continue to benefit from Government guaranteed finance throughout 2021. The new scheme will enable businesses of any size to continue accessing loans and other kinds of finance from £25,001 up to a maximum of £10 million per business as they grow and recover from Covid-19 related disruption. Invoice and asset finance from £1,000 is also available.

For those starting a new business or for businesses which have been trading for up to 24 months, the Start Up Loans Company provides loans of between £500 to £25,000 at a competitive rate of 6%. In addition to finance, every loan recipient is offered a dedicated mentoring service and access to a free expert business mentor for 12 months to help them with every aspect of setting up a business. The Start Up Loans programme, operated by the British Business Bank, has issued loans to businesses in every Local Authority and UK parliamentary constituency since 2012.

The Government continues to provide a range of support and information for small businesses, including on starting and running a business, through our online services on GOV.UK. Support and advice is also available via the Business Support Helpline on FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098, and via the network of 38 local Growth Hubs in England.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage consumers to support independent high street businesses.

We have extended opening hours for retail from 7am to 10pm until the 21st of June 2021, giving people greater flexibility to avoid peak times and easing transport pressures.

In order to support hospitality businesses, the temporary pavement licence provisions introduced in the Business and Planning Act 2020 create a quicker and cheaper process for businesses to obtain a licence to place outdoor furniture, including tables, chairs, and stalls outside their premise. The Government intends to extend the temporary pavement licence provisions for 12 months until September 2022, subject to Parliamentary approval.

In order to make sure that businesses can make the most of the summer, businesses such as pubs and restaurants, including where these premises are in listed buildings, will be allowed to use their land more flexibly to set up marquees and provide more outdoor space for diners as restrictions ease, allowing them to serve more customers and recover from the effects of the pandemic. They can be kept up for the whole summer rather than the 28 days currently permitted.

We are also providing a £56 million Welcome Back Fund which will help councils boost tourism, improve green spaces, and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets, and food stall pop-ups – giving people more safer options to reunite with friends and relatives.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of research by Pennyfreedom, published 14 March; and what steps they are taking to ensure that small businesses receive prompt payments of invoices.

Late payments damage the cashflow of small businesses, which can hold back investment or job creation and, in the worst cases, lead to job losses and business closures.

Action to stop the damaging practice of late payments remains a key priority for Government.

On 16 March, we announced the appointment of Liz Barclay as Small Business Commissioner, who will continue the excellent work of interim Commissioner Philip King in helping small businesses secure the payments owed to them and to galvanise UK businesses behind a new culture of prompt payment.

In October last year, we consulted on new powers for the Commissioner, including the power to order payments, levy fines and open investigations based on third-party information. The responses to the consultation and further proposals will be published in due course.

In January this year, we also announced reforms to the Prompt Payment Code to help build a culture of prompt payment between companies and challenge UK businesses to change their practices and stand by small partners at a critical time for the UK’s economic recovery.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support businesses to incorporate hybrid working arrangements on a long-term basis.

The Government has committed to consult on making flexible working the default unless employers have good reasons not to. The consultation will consider flexible working in all its forms – it is not just about where people work, but also about when they work and the associated number of hours. The consultation will be launched in due course.

In March 2018, the Flexible Working Taskforce – a partnership across business groups, trade unions, charities, and government departments – was set up and ran for a period of 18 months to advise the Government on policies and proposals around flexible working.

Earlier this year, my Hon. Friend the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets wrote to the co-chair of the Taskforce, Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), to commission a further 18 months’ work from the Taskforce to help inform the Government’s thinking as we develop the detail of new policies and navigate the impact of Covid-19 on future ways of working.

The Taskforce has been asked to produce advice for employers on “hybrid” and other ways of working within the next six months, which will aim to support businesses in addressing the challenges, issues, and opportunities associated with these new ways of working.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide additional financial support to retail businesses who do not trade online.

Retailers have been able to benefit through an unprecedented support package including loan schemes, grant funding, tax deferrals, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Government will continue to provide eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England with 100% business rates relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. This will be followed by 66% business rates relief for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, or £105,000 per business for other eligible properties.

We have provided one-off ‘Restart Grants’ of up to £6,000 for non-essential retail premises, expected to benefit over 450,000 non-essential retail businesses.

My Rt hon Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a new ‘Help to Grow’ initiative, providing £520 million to help SMEs recover from the COVID-19 pandemic by adopting digital technologies and providing management training to boost productivity.

The initiative contains two schemes:

  • Help to Grow: Digital – this scheme will be available from the Autumn with small businesses able to access free impartial advice on how technology can boost their performance. Eligible businesses will also be able to get a discount of up to 50% on the costs of approved software, worth up to £5,000. Vouchers are initially expected to be available for software that helps businesses:
    • Build customer relationships and increase sales.
    • Make the most of selling online.
    • Manage their accounts and finances digitally.
  • Help to Grow: Management – this scheme will offer MBA-style management training to SMEs with the aim of increasing innovation and boosting growth.
Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the survey by takepayments, published in February, which found that 30 per cent of small businesses have had to let staff go due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through regular engagement with small and medium-sized businesses, the Government is aware of the issues highlighted by the results of the takepayments survey and recognises the individual impact on those that have lost jobs or had their livelihood affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Plan for Jobs measures announced last year provides significantly expanded employment support, (including extra Work Coaches) to help people who have become newly unemployed, and individuals who have fallen into longer term unemployment, whoever they are and wherever they live.

Further support will be announced shortly. DWP Train and Progress (TaP), a new DWP initiative aimed at increasing access to training opportunities for claimants, will see an extension to the length of time people can receive Universal Credit while undertaking work-focused study.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods across the UK, spending £352 billion on its package of support for affected businesses. This package includes grants, loans, and business rates relief, as well as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which has been used by 1.3 million employers to support 11.2 million jobs at a value of £53.8 billion. The CJRS has been extended to September 2021.

The Budget announced on 3 March 2021 also sets out how it will support a plan for recovery that focusses on backing business, improving skills, and creating jobs. As part of this support, businesses of any size will still be able to access loans and other forms of finance worth up to £10m via the new Recovery Loan Scheme which launched on 6 April, replacing the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans scheme. The Restart Grant supports businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors with a one-off grant, to reopen safely as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of a recent survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Corporate Finance Network, published on 11 March, which found that one in five small business owners are struggling with mental health issues; and what steps they are taking to increase the wellbeing of small business owners.

The Government recognises the significant impact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had on both employers and employees.

In order to highlight available support around mental health, the Government is signposting to resources for businesses and employers, including Mind’s website and the Mental Health at Work toolkit, through GOV.UK. We also continue to work with the Thriving at Work Leadership Council to encourage employers to sign up to the Mental Health at Work (MHAW) commitments. We also engage leading Mental Health charities and organisations to better understand issues around SME mental health, financial insecurity for small business owners and the self-employed, and we continue to explore what further support may be offered.

We also know how worried people are, and we are taking many steps to protect both jobs and the long-term financial future of businesses during the current economic emergency. Throughout this crisis, our priority has been clear: to protect lives and livelihoods. We have introduced an unprecedented and comprehensive package of business support measures to help as many individuals and businesses as possible, which has mitigated some of the worst immediate impacts of COVID-19 on risk factors for poor mental health. This includes measures such as the small business grants, the Coronavirus loan guarantee schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the deferral of VAT and income tax payments, and more. Businesses can also access tailored advice through our Freephone Business Support Helpline, online via the Business Support website or through their local Growth Hubs in England. The Business Support Helpline continues to support business owners with tailored advice and information, and also signposts individuals to mental health support services where appropriate.

Further measures were also announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Budget that build on the significant support already available as well as set out how current support will evolve and adapt. This includes the extension of the CJRS until September 2021, and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will continue with a fourth and a fifth grant. The Chancellor announced that a further 600,000 people, many of whom became self-employed in 2019-20, may now be able to claim direct cash grants under SEISS. The Chancellor also announced in the Budget that from 1st April one-off Restart Grants of up to £6,000 for non-essential retail and up to £18,000 for hospitality, leisure, personal care, and accommodation businesses will be available to support them to reopen as Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed.

Businesses and individuals can use our checker tool on GOV.UK to quickly and easily determine whether they are eligible for any further financial support at this time. We will continue to work with colleagues across Government, businesses and other organisations, to ensure the right support is available for employers and employees.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the UK–EU Trade Cooperation Agreement on the amount of revenue raised by UK manufacturers; and what steps they are taking in response any such impact.

The impacts on the UK economy of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement and our global trade deals will not be fully understood until the new processes and procedures are fully embedded. We have secured a Trade Deal that we believe will sustain the success of the UK manufacturing sector with 100% tariff liberalisation, and modern and appropriate rules of origin. This includes Product-Specific Rules of Origin tailored to the needs of UK businesses in manufacturing sectors such as automotive, aluminium, chemicals, machinery and food and drink.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of small businesses which are not eligible for COVID-19 Government grants; and what steps they are taking to reduce that number.

The government engages with a range of stakeholders to understand the reach and scope of the grant support that has been made available. All small business premises that have been mandated in legislation to close are able to access grant support including up to £4,500 per six weeks of closure.

For those small businesses that have not been mandated to close, £2bn of funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) has been made available to Local Authorities to develop business support, including grants, that suits their local area. Local Authorities provide regular data reports on the number and value of grants they are making across all grant schemes available, and this is available on the GOV.UK website.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the British Business Bank Small Business Finance Markets Report 2021, published on 10 March.

The British Business Bank’s Small Business Finance Markets Report makes clear how difficult the last year has been for many small businesses, which is why the Government continues to provide an extensive and generous package of support.

This package of support includes the extended furlough scheme, VAT and business rates relief, loan guarantees and direct cash grants so small businesses are able to keep afloat, protect jobs, and build back better from the pandemic.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that local authorities are correctly issuing grants under the Local Restrictions Support Grants scheme.

The Government is working closely with Local Authorities in England to support the implementation of business grants during the Covid-19 pandemic and monitor the distribution of grant funds. This has included the publication of guidance, webinars and one to one engagement to support Local Authorities in delivering this vital support to businesses. In addition, Ministers from the department have met with Local Authority Leaders and senior officers to discuss grant delivery.

Officials also continue to engage with Local Authorities to ensure compliance to both the scheme rules and wider reporting requirements.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Friends of the Earth An Emergency Plan on Green Jobs for Young People, published on 1 March.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan will support up to 90,000 highly-skilled green jobs across the UK within this Parliament, and up to 250,000 by 2030.

In order to ensure we have the skilled workforce to deliver net zero and our Ten Point Plan, we have launched the Green Jobs Taskforce, working in partnership with business, skills providers, and unions, to help us develop plans for new long-term good quality, green jobs and advise what support is needed for people in transitioning industries.

The Government is investing £2 billion in the Kickstart Scheme, which will create paid, quality 6-month work placements for hundreds of thousands of young people aged 16-24 on Universal Credit. The Kickstart Scheme is aimed specifically at young people deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment. The Scheme provides the opportunity for young people to develop their employability and experience as well as providing a potential route into longer-term employment.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to develop sustainability strategies.

Later this year, the UK’s Net Zero Business Champion, my Hon. Friend the Member for Arundel and South Downs (Andrew Griffith MP), will lead the Together for Our Planet (TFOP) Small Business campaign. The campaign, aimed at the UK’s 1.4 million small businesses, will enhance awareness of climate change and net zero, while encouraging them to pledge to take specific actions to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. Examples of the latter might include pledging to switch a commercial van to an electric vehicle, supporting employees to cycle to work or moving to a more local supplier.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sustainability of small and medium-size businesses.

The Government is in regular discussions with businesses and business representative organisations over a range of issues affecting small and medium-sized businesses, including Covid-19. Through this engagement we will continue to monitor the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on SMEs.

In addition, the Government monitors a number of data sources, including ONS business resilience data, and will continue to do so.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the ability of small businesses to repay loans provided by the Government during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of 21 February 2021, the Government’s lending schemes have approved over 1.5 million Government-guaranteed loans worth over £72 billion to support cashflow for businesses across the UK affected by Covid-19.

We recognise that some borrowers will benefit from repayment flexibility, and that is why we announced the Pay As You Grow measures, which give Bounce Back Loan borrowers more time and greater flexibility to repay their loans.

We have also enabled lenders to extend the repayment period for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) facilities beyond 6 years (up to a maximum of 10 years) where this is needed in connection with the provision of forbearance. CBILS term extensions are offered at the discretion of lenders. This measure is designed to help businesses that would struggle to repay their CBILS facility on their existing terms, by reducing monthly repayments.

The Government continues to enhance its engagement with a broad range of trade and representative bodies, in particular SME networks, to continue to understand the impact of Covid-19 on businesses and the concerns they have.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the working conditions of courier drivers; and what steps they are taking to ensure that such drivers are not paid less than the national minimum wage.

This Government is clear that everyone deserves to be treated fairly at work and rewarded for their contribution to the economy, both in terms of fair pay and fair working conditions. An individual’s entitlement to the minimum wage depends on their employment status and whether they are classed as a worker. We are clear that anyone entitled to be paid the minimum wage should receive it.

We have more than doubled the budget for minimum wage enforcement and compliance, rising to £27.5 million for 20/21, up from £13.2 million in 2015/16. In 2019/20 HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) identified £20.8 million in arrears for over 263,000 workers and issued over just under 1,000 penalties totalling £18.5 million to non-compliant employers.

We would encourage anyone who thinks they are being underpaid to report this. Workers can call the Acas helpline (0300 123 1100) for free, impartial and confidential advice about their rights and entitlements and Acas will pass cases onto HMRC where appropriate. HMRC follows up on every worker complaint it receives, even those which are anonymous.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase COVID-19 financial support to businesses in the wedding industry.

Over the course of the pandemic, the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to businesses, including those in the wedding industry, which we keep under regular review.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Budget a raft of new measures to further support businesses, including those in the wedding industry. These include:

  • Extension of the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme to the end of September 2021.

  • £5 billion for new Restart Grants.

  • The Government is also providing all Local Authorities in England with an additional £425 million of discretionary business grant funding, on top of the £1.6 billion already allocated.

  • Eligible businesses in hospitality sector will benefit from business rates relief worth over £6 billion in 2021 to 2022.
Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the ability of small businesses to obtain finance from banks that is not underwritten by the government.

The Government continues to engage with UK Finance, the Bank of England, and the wider banking sector, to encourage the flow of finance to UK businesses.

The Government continues to publish free information and advice on business finance outside the business interruption loans – including finance available from a variety of sources such as private funds and investors, and not only those guaranteed by Government. This can be found online on GOV.UK, through the business finance finder, through the network of Growth Hubs in England, and through the free Business Support Helpline.

The Government has provided an unprecedented level of support to protect the UK economy through the COVID-19 pandemic, including through the business interruption loan schemes. The business interruption loans will close on 31 March and the new Recovery Loan Scheme will launch on 6 April and run until 31 December 2021, subject to review.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the survey by Hiscox The Hiscox Business Demystified Survey Challenges for UK SMEs - 2020 and beyond, published on 4 January.

We have noted the Hiscox report and recognise the concerns it highlights that are faced by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), including access to finance, employee retention, and access to mental health support for employees.

The Government has implemented a range of measures to mitigate the immediate economic impacts of the covid-19 pandemic, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Additionally, as of the end of January 2021, over 12 million people and jobs have been protected to a sum of around £65 billion.

The loan schemes were launched at the beginning of the pandemic, and will close on 31 March 2021. A Successor Loan Scheme will be launched soon after to support additional lending.

We continue to engage with SMEs across the UK both directly and through the Business Representative Organisations such as the FSB, the CBI and Make UK.

Through GOV.UK’s Coronavirus support for business webpages, we are signposting mental health resources for businesses and employers, including Mind’s website and the Mental Health at Work toolkit.

In terms of wider support for businesses as restrictions ease, we continue to encourage businesses to access the free and tailored support available through our core services including GOV.UK, the FREEPHONE Business Support Helpline, and the network of 38 Growth Hubs operating in England.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that private companies retain interest in managing their environmental impact.

Achieving our net zero goal requires all businesses to take action to reduce their emissions, while helping to grow the economy. We are working with our stakeholders to drive the ambitious action needed from UK businesses to help tackle climate change and reduce their impact on the environment.

We are working across government, and with our regulators to drive progress on UK companies disclosing their climate risks in line with the framework provided by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. TCFD can deliver high-quality disclosure on how organisations will manage the material financial risks and opportunities arising from climate change and will improve transparency and encourage better informed pricing and capital allocation.

The eyes of the world will be on the UK as we host the G7 and COP26 in 2021. Business action on climate is vitally important to achieving a successful summit and presidency, and is an excellent opportunity to showcase businesses as global leaders in tackling climate change in the year leading up to COP26.

Our main ask ahead of COP26 in November is for businesses to set ambitious targets and take action to reduce emissions and build resilience, joining the Race to Zero. This sends the strongest signal to markets, supply chains, governments and consumers that businesses are committed to the transition.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk of increased vulnerability of BAME individuals to unfair employment dismissals; and what plans they have to strengthen unfair dismissal legislation.

There are laws in place to ensure fair procedure in redundancy and dismissal matters and to protect against discrimination. Employees who consider that their dismissal was unfair can complain to an employment tribunal, generally subject to a qualifying period of two years of continuous service. If an employee has been unlawfully discriminated against, there is no such qualifying period.

The Government collects data on claims to employment tribunals, but this is not disaggregated by the specific characteristics of the claimant.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the survey by Simply Business, published on 27 January, which found that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of 82 per cent of small business owners; and what steps they are taking in response.

The Government recognises the significant impact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had on both employers and employees, and their mental wellbeing.

In order to highlight available support around mental health, the Government is signposting to resources for businesses and employers, including Mind’s website and the Mental Health at Work toolkit, through GOV.UK. We also continue to work with the Thriving at Work Leadership Council to encourage employers to sign up to the Mental Health at Work (MHAW) commitments and to engage leading Mental Health charities and organisations to better understand issues around SME mental health, financial insecurity for small business owners and the self-employed, and continue to explore what further support may be offered.

We also know how worried people are and we are taking many steps to protect both jobs and the long-term financial future of businesses during the current economic emergency. Throughout this crisis, our priority has been clear: to protect lives and livelihoods. We have introduced an unprecedented and comprehensive package of business support measures to help as many individuals and businesses as possible, which has mitigated some of the worst immediate impacts of COVID-19 on risk factors for poor mental health. This includes measures such as the small business grants, the Coronavirus loan guarantee schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the deferral of VAT and income tax payments, and more. Businesses can also access tailored advice through our Freephone Business Support Helpline, online via the Business Support website or through their local Growth Hubs in England. The Business Support Helpline continues to support business owners with tailored advice and information, and also signposts individuals to mental health support services where appropriate.

Further measures were also announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer that build on the significant support already available as well as set out how current support will evolve and adapt. This includes the extension of the CJRS until the end of April 2021, the extension of the Coronavirus loan guarantee schemes until 31 March 2021, and the introduction of Pay As You Grow measures, meaning businesses now have the option to repay their Bounce Back Loans over a period of up to ten years. Businesses who also deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will now have the option to opt-in to a scheme to allow them to pay in smaller instalments up to the end of March 2022, interest free. Businesses and individuals can use our checker tool on GOV.UK to quickly and easily determine whether they are eligible for any further financial support at this time. We will continue to work with colleagues across Government, businesses and other organisations, to ensure the right support is available for employers and employees.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to launch a campaign to encourage consumers to support local businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

BEIS and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government are working closely with businesses and Local Authorities for a safe and successful reopening when the health data allows.

We will keep all options under review, exploring all avenues to support local businesses as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support small businesses in equipping remote workers with digital technology.

The Government’s commitment to promoting digital adoption and facilitating digital upskilling includes several initiatives, including:

- Local Digital Skills Partnerships, which currently operate in seven regions across England, working to advance digital inclusion, support small businesses and build regional digital skills capability.

- the Digital Boost platform, which is building a community of digital experts providing one-to-one support to small businesses and charities free of charge to help them improve their digital capability and build an online presence.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of viability of small businesses in London; and what plans they have to provide cash grants to London-based small businesses.

The Government engages continually with business groups and local leaders in London to understand the situation faced by businesses as we take action to tackle Covid-19. Small businesses are clearly vital to the success and draw of London and we are committed to supporting them over the coming months.

More than £1.6bn in grants was paid out to over 111,000 businesses in London in respect of the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund between March and September 2020.

We have also provided additional funding for national and local SME advice and support, with an additional £4m provided to Growth Hubs on top of £2.4m previously announced, this includes the London Growth Hub, which has provided advice on funding and EU Transition to London SMEs.

The Government has offered an unprecedented package of support throughout the pandemic to businesses that have been required by law to close and those which are severely affected by the Covid-19 restrictions.

London business premises that are currently required to be closed may access grants of up to £4,500 per six week period of closure as well as one-off grants of up to £9,000 to help them during this difficult period.

Local Authorities have also been allocated a total of £1.6bn in Additional Restrictions Grant funding which enables them to put in place discretionary support schemes that best suit their local area allowing them to support their wider business community over and above those that are legally required to close.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the compliance of large supermarket companies with minimum wage requirements.

We are clear that everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage should receive it and we will take action where employers have been found to be in breach of the law. In 2019/20, HM Revenue & Customs identified £20.8 million in arrears for over 263,000 workers and issued just under 1,000 penalties totalling £18.5 million to non-compliant employers. In addition, on 31st December 2020 the Government named 139 employers, including 18 retailers, who had failed to pay the minimum wage and owed over £5 million to more than 80,000 workers. This demonstrates our continued commitment to our clear and consistent message that it is never acceptable for employers to short-change their employees.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide (1) financial advisory, and (2) specific mental health, services to people who are self-employed.

Individuals and businesses can access tailored advice through our Freephone Business Support Helpline, online via the Business Support website or through the network of 38 local Growth Hubs in England. Further initiatives include the BEIS-led Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer-to-Peer networks, to help businesses build resilience and grow.

In summer 2018, the British Business Bank also launched a website that offers independent and impartial information on different finance options for scale-up, high growth and potential high growth businesses. The site features infographics and checklists to help businesses get ‘investor ready’ as well as articles and guides from finance providers on how smaller businesses can identify and access finance suited to their growth ambitions. At its heart is the Finance Hub’s Finance Finder, a simple six-step tool that enables smaller business to explore and identify finance options suited to their needs. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Finance Hub has been updated to clearly signpost the financial support options available for businesses during this period of economic uncertainty.

The Government also recognises the significant impact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had on both employers and employees, and their mental wellbeing. In order to highlight available support around mental health, the Government is signposting to resources for businesses and employers, including Mind’s website and the Mental Health at Work toolkit, through GOV.UK. We also continue to work with the Thriving at Work Leadership Council to encourage employers to sign up to the Mental Health at Work (MHAW) commitments and to engage leading Mental Health charities and organisations to better understand issues around SME mental health, financial insecurity for small business owners and the self-employed, and continue to explore what further support may be offered.

We are also taking many steps to protect both jobs and the long-term financial future of businesses during the current economic emergency. We have introduced an unprecedented and comprehensive package of business support measures to help as many individuals and businesses as possible, which has mitigated some of the worst immediate impacts of COVID-19 on risk factors for poor mental health. This includes measures such as the small business grants, the Coronavirus loan guarantee schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), the deferral of VAT and income tax payments, and more. These measures were designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

Further measures were also announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer that build on the significant support already available as well as set out how current support will evolve and adapt. Businesses and individuals can use our checker tool on GOV.UK to quickly and easily determine whether they are eligible for any further financial support at this time.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that employees in the UK have the same standard of legal protection as employees in the EU.

We made sure workers’ rights were protected as the U.K. left the EU and are committed to protecting and enhancing workers’ rights going forward. As an independent, sovereign nation we are now ideally placed to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities available to us. We want to go further than ever before to uphold workers’ rights, support UK businesses and ultimately boost productivity in the UK.

Our high standards have never been dependent on EU membership, and the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation agreement recognises the importance of these employment standards, whilst retaining flexibility for us to tailor our approach to what works for the UK and maintaining our strong levels of protection.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to strengthen the legal employment rights of gig economy workers.

Gig economy workers’ employment rights are determined by their employment status - employee, worker or self-employed.

We want to make it easier for individuals and businesses to understand which employment rights apply to them. The Government is currently considering options to improve clarity around employment status.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to help small businesses manage debt; and what plans they have to introduce employee shared ownership schemes to assist companies to address COVID-19 related debt.

We recognise that a diverse range of businesses have taken out Bounce Back Loans. No repayments are due during the first 12 months of the loan term, giving businesses the space they need to get through this difficult period without needing to worry about repaying these loans in the coming months.

Our ‘Pay as you Grow’ options will allow individual businesses to tailor their repayments to their individual circumstances, to help them repay their loans.

In addition, lenders may offer a term extension to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) borrowers in difficulty, as a forbearance tool, up to a maximum of 10 years, if the lender judges that it would help the borrower to repay their loan.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of skills gaps on employee mental wellbeing.

The Government recognises the significant impact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had on both employers and employees, and their mental wellbeing. Throughout this crisis, our priority has been clear: to protect lives and livelihoods and we have taken many steps to protect both jobs and the long-term financial future of businesses during the current economic emergency.

The Government has set out a plan for recovery that focusses on backing business, improving skills, and creating jobs. For example, the Plan for Jobs provides new funding to ensure more people will get tailored support to help them find work. This includes launching the £2 billion Kickstart Scheme fund and investing £2.9 billion in the Restart programme over 3 years to support the UK’s labour market. DWP are also doubling the number of jobcentre Work Coaches to provide intensive support for both young people and the newly unemployed.

Further measures include committing £8 million for digital skills boot camps, increasing apprenticeship opportunities, expanding sector-based work academies programme (SWAPs), launching the Job Finding Support Service, and increasing the funding for the Flexible Support Fund by £150 million in Great Britain.

In order to highlight available support around mental health, the Government is also signposting to resources for businesses and employers, including Mind’s website and the Mental Health at Work toolkit, through GOV.UK here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-support-for-business-from-outside-government. We also continue to work with the Thriving at Work Leadership Council to encourage employers to sign up to the Mental Health at Work (MHAW) commitments and to engage leading Mental Health charities and organisations to better understand issues around SME mental health, financial insecurity for small business owners and the self-employed, and continue to explore what further support may be offered.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support employers (1) to maintain, and (2) to increase, the number of graduate recruitment schemes.

Skills and training are vital to our long-term economic growth and recovery from Covid-19 as we build back better across the UK. We are working closely with the Department for Education to ensure that Government support for skills and training is an integral part of our plan for growth.

The Department for Work and Pension’s Kickstart schemeis a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality roles for 16 to 24 year olds that are receiving Universal Credit. The scheme will include wider employability support for participants to gain experience that will improve their chances of progressing to find long-term, sustainable work.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the funding available for career development programmes aimed at employees aged 16 to 29.

Skills and training are vital to our long-term economic growth and recovery from Covid-19 as we build back better across the UK. We are working closely with the Department for Education to ensure that Government support for skills and training is an integral part of our plan for growth.

The Department for Work and Pension’s Kickstart schemeis a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality roles for 16 to 24 year olds that are receiving Universal Credit. The scheme will include wider employability support for participants to gain experience that will improve their chances of progressing to find long-term, sustainable work.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recommendation by the Law Society and the Bar Council in its joint paper Immigration priorities for the legal services sector, published in November, that they should seek to "secure an EU-level treaty commitment to Permitted Paid Engagements throughout the entire period of a business visit and in all areas of legal activity".

As part of the ongoing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with the EU, it is our intention to agree reciprocal measures on permitted activities for short-term business visitors. We want to build on the EU’s precedents with Japan and Canada, where possible and to our mutual benefit. The purpose would be to ‘lock in’ a list of permitted activities that both Parties must allow, without requiring a work permit.

As is normal in EU trade agreements, some Member States may choose to table exceptions to this list, known as ‘reservations.’ Both Parties can, in practice, allow short-term business visitors to carry out more activities than those committed to in an FTA – and this is at the discretion of each of the immigration systems in question. Whether these activities are permitted visa-free is a matter for each individual Member State and the UK respectively.

The EU has not previously agreed with any of its trade partners a route for short-term business visitors to carry out paid or unpaid activities specific to legal professionals, preferring instead to adhere to its precedents on short-term business visitors.

After the transition period ends, for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period, the EU has legislated so that UK nationals will not need a visa when travelling to and within the Schengen Area to undertake a limited range of activities, such as attending business meetings. The types of activities allowed will differ by Member State, and UK nationals should check with their host state before travelling whether the activity they are travelling for requires a visa and/or work permit.

In the UK, EU legal professionals will be able to perform some activities as visitors without the need for a visa. These activities are detailed further on the GOV.UK website.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of construction employment rates; and what plans they have to increase construction apprenticeship schemes.

The Government is committed to supporting apprentices and their employers to continue to build the skills capabilities the UK will need in the long term. On 8 July, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that employers taking on new apprentices will receive an extra £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under 25, or £1500 for new apprentices above that age. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 grants for each 16 to 18-year-old apprentice taken on.

On 1 June, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) published its Industry Recovery Plan. Employment and skills in the construction sector are identified as a priority, and a focus of the ‘Restart’ phase of the Plan is to maximise employment opportunities. Apprenticeships, and how the construction sector maintains and takes on future apprentices, is a crucial part of this, and it is at the forefront of the CLC’s agenda.

The Government has welcomed the Plan and is collaborating with the CLC and industry to ensure that the proposals are implemented.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Centre for Progressive Policy From precarious to prosperous, published on 27 October; and what plans they have to introduce a minimum wage for the self-employed.

This Government is determined to tackle unfair working practices. As announced in the Queens’ Speech, we will bring forward an Employment Bill in due course, to make workplaces fairer, and provide new protections for those in low-paid work and the gig economy.

An individual’s employment rights – such as the right to the National Minimum Wage - are determined by their employment status (employee, worker or self-employed). Employment law doesn’t cover self-employed people in most cases because they are their own boss and are responsible for the success of their own business.

We recently announced an extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to continue to support self-employed individuals who are experiencing reduced demand or cannot trade due to the effect of coronavirus.

We are increasing the overall level of the grant to 80% of trading profits covering November to January for all parts of the UK. This provides equivalent support to the self-employed as we are providing to employees through the government contribution in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

This is £7.3 billion of support to the self-employed through November to January alone, with a further grant to follow covering February to April. This comes on top of £13.7 billion of support for self-employed people so far, one of the most comprehensive and generous support packages for the self-employed anywhere in the world.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what provisions they have put in place for short-term business visits to the EU for legal professionals and barristers once the Brexit transition period ends.

As part of the ongoing Fee Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with the EU, it is our intention to agree reciprocal measures on short-term business visitors. The purpose would be to ‘lock in’ a list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors that both Parties must allow, without requiring a work permit. As is normal in EU trade agreements, some Member States may choose to table exceptions to this list, known as ‘reservations’. Note that both Parties may in practice allow more activities than those committed to in the FTA. Whether these activities are permitted visa-free is be a matter for Member States.

The EU has never previously agreed with any of its trade partners a route for short-term business visits specific to legal professionals and barristers. The UK’s overarching approach to temporary entry and stay issues with the EU is to explore building on the EU’s precedents with Canada and Japan. This includes for short-term visitors, where it is mutually beneficial to do so.

After the Transition Period ends, for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period, the EU has legislated so that UK nationals will not need a visa when travelling to and within the Schengen Area to undertake a limited range of activities, such as attending business meetings. The types of activities allowed will differ by Member State, and UK nationals should check with their host state before travelling whether the activity they are travelling for requires a visa and/or work permit.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Learning and Work Institute Crisis in the Capital, published on 27 October; and what steps they are taking to create new jobs in London.

The Government is working closely with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and London Councils to support the London Recovery Plan, mapping employment and skills support to provide a coordinated skills and employment support package across the capital. DWP is also working with the Mayor’s Construction Academy to promote the opportunities in this sector as well as supporting GLA initiatives in the creative sector.

The Flexible Support Fund is available to support the unemployed to get back into work and DWP are working with individual London Boroughs using partnership grants to support initiatives to get people back into work.

We will review the report from the Learning and Work Institute and consider its findings.

Further to this through this Government’s Plan for Jobs, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer set out a plan to support jobs focussing on skills and young people. This includes:

  • A new £2bn Kickstart Scheme to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people aged 16 to 24 claiming Universal Credit across England. Funding is available for six-month job placements will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week – and employers will be able to top this wage up. There is no cap on the number of places available.
  • Recruiting 13,500 work coaches to more than double the number of work coaches across the country - as well as putting in place a package of support to ensure young people have the skills and training to go on to high quality, secure and fulfilling employment.
  • A new payment of £2,000 to employers in London and across England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. Employers can start claiming for payments from 1 September.
  • £111m is being invested to triple the scale of traineeships: with three times more funding available to providers in 2020-21 to support 30,000 new places. We have also introduced – for the first time - payments of £1,000 per trainee for employers who offer new or additional work placements (up to 10 trainees).
  • Apprenticeship opportunities will also be increased, with more funding for SMEs taking on apprentices, and greater flexibility in how their training is structured – especially in sectors such as construction and creative industries where there are more varied employment patterns.
  • Through the Government’s Local Growth Fund, the London Local Enterprise Action Partnership will deliver approximately 11,649 jobs and apprenticeships in London through the lifetime of the programme (15-21). The Fund will also help upskill 27,106 learners in London.
Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of job loss estimates reported by the New Economics Forum on 21 October; and what plans they have to increase the wage subsidy for businesses accessing COVID-19 economic support.

The Government is committed to ensuring workers across all regions are supported through this difficult time. Since the initial estimates were published by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) on 21 October, the Government has announced further revisions to the Job Support Scheme. The Job Support Scheme Open is at the heart of the Government’s efforts to protect viable jobs in businesses experiencing reduced demand, which was the focus of the New Economics Foundation’s research. The Government has increased the generosity of the scheme, ensuring that more jobs are protected.

Since the 21 October NEF publication, the Government has reduced the minimum hours that must be worked by employees to 20% from 33% and increased the wage subsidy provided by the Government from 33% to 61.67% of unworked time, up to a maximum monthly contribution of £1541.75. Employers must now pay for 5% of unworked time, down from 33%, up to a monthly cap of £125. This will ensure workers receive at least 73% of their salary while on the scheme, up to a salary limit of £3,125.

The New Economics Foundation itself has since said that they “welcome the improvements” the Government have made to the scheme.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to remove barriers to COVID-19 financial support for BAME run businesses.

A diverse and inclusive ecosystem is good for entrepreneurs, companies, investors, and society as a whole and HMG are committed to ensuring people from all backgrounds and regions benefit from the Government’s access to business finance schemes.

All the Government’s finance schemes, including the Future Fund, that were launched to provide support for those affected by Covid-19 are open to eligible businesses run by entrepreneurs from all regions and backgrounds, including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) businesses. Government will continue to monitor the implementation and take up of the schemes, working with lenders, the British Business Bank (BBB) and across industry.

The BBB published diversity data for the Future Fund on 22 September 2020, which showed that £427.1m worth of Convertible Loan Agreements have been approved to companies with BAME-only and mixed ethnicity management teams.

The Start Up Loans programme, also operated by the BBB, delivered nearly 77,000 loans overall in the UK, supporting nearly £650m of funding since the programme’s launch in 2012 to the end of September this year. 25% of the total number of these loans was made to BAME-led businesses in the UK.

The Department’s Ministerial team is actively engaging with entrepreneurs from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic business communities and has undertaken 10 engagements since March 2020.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they, if any, have to compel major transnational companies to improve working conditions in the UK.

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

As announced in the Queens’ Speech, we will be bringing forward an Employment Bill to implement a range of Manifesto commitments.

This legislation will make workplaces fairer, by providing better support for working families, new protections for those in low-paid work and the gig economy, and by encouraging flexible working.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) local authorities in London, and (2) the Greater London Authority, about the ethnicity pay gap in London.

In 2018/19, the Government consulted on options for exploring possibilities for employer-level ethnicity pay reporting. Following the consultation, Government met with businesses and representative organisations to understand the barriers to reporting and explore what information could be published to allow for meaningful action to be taken. It is essential that any reporting is reliable and robust, and that is why last year we also ran a voluntary methodology testing exercise with a broad range of businesses to better understand the complexities outlined in the consultation using real payroll data. The Greater London Authority and Local Government Association were both invited and took part in the methodology testing.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce Who is at risk? Work and automation in the time of COVID-19, published in October.

The Government is currently considering the report and continues to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the UK labour market.

The £30bn Plan for Jobs announced by my Rt. Hon friend the Chancellor of the Exhequer in July will protect, support and create jobs as part of our response to coronavirus. Among the measures included, we have committed at least £2 billion for a Kickstart Scheme that will directly pay employers to create new jobs for any 16 to 24-year old at risk of long-term unemployment, a further £3bn to support 140,000 green jobs, and trebling the number of sector-based work academy placements in England, in order to provide vocational training and guaranteed interviews for more people, helping them gain the skills needed for the jobs available in their local area.

As announced in the Queens’ Speech, we will be bringing forward an Employment Bill to implement a range of Manifesto commitments. This legislation will ensure that we have an employment framework that keeps pace with the changes in our labour market by providing new protections for those in low-paid work and the gig economy, and by encouraging flexible working. It will balance the needs of both employers and workers, ensuring everyone benefits from flexibility.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide additional financial support to the hospitality sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Winter Economy Plan outlines the additional support the Government is providing to help businesses, including those in the hospitality sector. Measures in the Winter Economy Pan include the Job Support Scheme, extending the VAT cut until 31 March 2021, the New Payment Scheme to allow deferred VAT payments to be spread through the year, extending the application period for government-backed loans and introducing ‘Pay as You Grow’ repayment options. There are also specific measures to support the self-employed, such as the SEISS Grant Extension. Also the Government have introduced measures to support businesses required to close their premises due to tier 3 restrictions. The Job Support Scheme is being expanded and the Government is also increasing the amounts payable under the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme and changing this scheme so that businesses will be eligible for payments through it after two weeks of being closed due to local restrictions instead of three.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the campaign launched on 1 October by the Confederation of British Industry and others to increase the diversity of racial and ethnic participation in British businesses.

The Government is committed to promoting business leadership diversity and inclusion. Companies should embrace diversity throughout their workforce, including at board level and throughout senior leadership and the talent pipeline.

We work with businesses and business representative bodies to promote diverse boardrooms for FTSE 350 companies, and we support the independent business-led Parker Review which recommends that FTSE 100 companies should have at least one director of colour by the end of 2021 and that FTSE 250 companies also meet this target by the end of 2024.

We welcome the CBI campaign’s reinforcement of the Parker Review’s recommendations.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Learning and Working Institute The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on London’s low paid workers, published in July.

The number of people earning below two-thirds of median hourly pay fell for the sixth consecutive year, falling from 17% or employees in 2018 to 15.5% in 2019, the lowest rate since 1978.

The introduction of the National Living Wage has contributed significantly to this and the Government remains committed to eradicate low pay through the National Living Wage’s target, to reach two-thirds of median earnings by 2024, provided economic conditions allow.

In addition to this, we are aware of the potential impacts that Covid-19 may have on low paid workers. Analysis by HM Treasury shows that Government’s interventions, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, helped reduce the scale of losses for working households by up to two-thirds.

From the 1 November the Job Support Scheme will open and run for 6 months. It is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to covid 19, to help their employees attached to the workforce.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of research from Radboud University Medical Center, Aarhus University and Copenhagen University that suggests sex and gender are not being adequately considered in COVID-19 clinical trials; and what steps they are taking, if any, in response.

Vaccine developers that the Government are working with decide on which specific groups to include in their trials. For instance, the University of Oxford / Astra Zeneca Phase 3 trial includes arms that specifically looks at safety and efficacy of the vaccine in those aged between 56 – 69 and over 70. For the groups that are investigated, researchers are assessing the immune response to the vaccine to find out if there is variation in how well the immune system responds in older people.

In addition to the work that vaccine developers are undertaking, the Government has funded the NHS Registry, developed by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). This national registry is encouraging people who may be disproportionately affected by COVID19, such as older people, older people with underlying health conditions and people from different ethnic groups, to volunteer for clinical trials. This includes supporting the development of communications materials to provide information on taking part in COVID19 vaccine trials via the NIHR website (Be Part of Research).

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide financial support to young people in the services sector.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £1.6bn plan to support jobs focussing on skills and young people whose employment prospects are expected to be disproportionately affected by the economic fallout of Coronavirus.

We have aligned our skills and training offers to priority areas for economic recovery, including the services sector, and we are investing over £500m in a package of support to ensure young people have the skills and training to go on to high quality, secure and fulfilling employment. This includes:

  • A new payment to support organisations that take on new apprentices between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021 - £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and £1,500 for each newly recruited apprentice aged 25 and over.
  • £111m to triple the scale of traineeships: with three times more funding available to providers in 2020-21 to support 30,000 new places.
  • £101m for a brand new offer to give 18 and 19-year-old school and college leavers the opportunity to study high value Level 2 and 3 courses when there are not employment opportunities available to them.
  • £32m over two years to help 269,000 more people receive advice from the National Careers Service.
  • £17m to triple the number of sector-based work academy programme placements in 2020/21, enough funding to support an extra 40,000 job seekers with additional training opportunities and the chance of a job.

We have also launched a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country. Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, will be eligible. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week and employers will be able to top this wage up.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recent report by Culture Shift, Maintaining Workplace culture in a rapidly changing environment, published on 11 September.

Remote working is more appropriate for some roles and sectors than others, which is why we have been consistent in making the distinction between those who can and those who cannot work from home as part of our COVID-19 guidance. We also appreciate that the appropriateness of remote working depends on an individual’s personal circumstances and remote working environment.

The Government has committed to consulting on making flexible working the default and we will use this consultation to consider the lessons learned from COVID-19. The consultation will consider flexible working in all its forms – it is not just about where people work, but also when they work and their associated working patterns.

On the report’s wider observations around problematic behaviour in the workplace, the government is already seeking to address these issues. Last year we held a consultation to ensure that laws to protect people from sexual harassment at work are operating effectively – and at the start of this year we ran a nationally-representative survey that will further develop our understanding of the problem and its extent.

We are also supporting the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)’s work to develop a statutory Code of Practice on sexual harassment and harassment in the workplace, which will be based on the technical guidance they published in January.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to create new jobs on low carbon (1) projects, and (2) infrastructure schemes.

The UK has over 460,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains. By 2030, the UK’s low carbon economy has the potential to grow at up to four times the rate of GDP growth and support up to 2 million jobs.

At my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer’s economic update, the government announced £3 billion of green investment to create thousands of green jobs and upgrade the energy efficiency of domestic and public buildings. The Green Homes Grant could support more than 100,000 green jobs, upgrade more than 600,000 homes across the country, and save households hundreds of pounds a year on their energy bills. The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme will fund shovel-ready projects that could support up to 33,000 green jobs in sectors that will be key to delivering our net zero ambitions.

On 30 June, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister made further announcements in support of green jobs, including a £40 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund to boost local conservation projects and create 3,000 new jobs, and safeguard a further 2,000.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prevent skills losses in the manufacturing industry when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.

As at 16th August 2020, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has helped 74,800 manufacturing employers across the UK to furlough just over 1 million jobs, protecting people’s livelihoods. As we re-open the economy, it is right that our focus shifts to getting furloughed employees back to work.

Throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, we have engaged closely with the UK’s manufacturing sectors and their input has helped to shape the Government’s response. This engagement includes a series of recovery roundtables, chaired by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, bringing together businesses, business representative groups (including Make UK), and leading academics. Participants discussed the potential measures needed to support economic recovery and to ensure we have the right skills in place to meet the needs of the manufacturing industry over the next 18 months.

This builds on the Government’s commitment to invest in manufacturing research and developmetn and innovation. For example, we are investing up to £1 billion of additional funding to develop and embed the next generation of cutting-edge automotive technologies through the Automotive Transformation Fund, as well as £1.9 billion up to 2026 for the Aerospace Technology Research programme, helping to secure future jobs in these strategically important sectors.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to support BAME–led architecture practices and BAME built environment professionals in their plans for the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are continuing to work across Government and with a wide array of stakeholders including the Royal Institute of British Architects, to ensure that diverse voices are heard in the policy making process, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are supporting the construction sector by helping it drive increased investment in skills development, adopt a more strategic and co-ordinated approach to recruitment, and equip workers with the skills they need for the future.

Additionally, the Professional and Business Services Council’s Skills and Inclusion Working Group is engaged on access to skills to support business growth in the industry, as well as considering how to increase social mobility within the sector. The group have convened a sub-group to consider immediate emerging skills issues that have arisen as a result of COVID-19.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take following reports that many black-owned businesses struggle to find investors.

The Government’s access to finance schemes are open to all businesses and BAME-led businesses benefit from them. The Department’s ministerial team is actively engaging with the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) business community on a regular basis to cover multiple issues, including access to finance.

The Future Fund provides government co-investment to innovative businesses. As of 21 June, the Future Fund had approved 252 applications for investment worth £236 million. Companies with BAME only and mixed ethnicity management teams accounted for over 55% of these applications, valued at £118.5m.

The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme had delivered more than 71,500 loans to entrepreneurs by the end of March 2020, providing more than £586 million of funding. Of these, 20 per cent of the total were to applicants from a BAME background, compared to approximately 15 per cent of the UK’s population who are from a BAME background (2011 census).

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to support women at work who have been affected by employment and risk concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has taken significant steps to protect jobs for all people, whilst minimising the risk of spreading the virus – by encouraging flexible work practices and home working, and through implementing our unprecedented Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Support Scheme.

We have provided clear Health and Safety guidance to employers, to minimise risk in the workplace. This includes identifying what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus and thinking about who could be at risk (e.g. pregnant women).

As always, equalities legislation requires that employers must not discriminate based on gender or pregnancy and maternity in the workplace – this includes discrimination in regard to decisions around access to furlough and working from home. The same applies to decisions around redundancy. It is breaking the law to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex or disability.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that (1) disabled people, and (2) those who live with a vulnerable person, are being threatened with dismissal if they do not physically return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government is actively monitoring the impact of Covid-19 on the labour market, including the impact on those with disabilities and on other groups. Employers must comply with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 to ensure that they do not unlawfully discriminate.

The Public Health advice is clear and we expect employers to act accordingly.

Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals have been strongly advised not to work outside the home. They have been asked to take extra care in observing social distancing and should be helped to work from home, either in their current role or in an alternative role.

If clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable) individuals cannot work from home, they should be offered the option of the safest available on site roles, enabling them to stay 2m away from others. If they have to spend time within 2m of others, the employer should carefully assess whether this involves an acceptable level of risk.

Those living with clinically extremely vulnerable individuals do not need to start shielding themselves, but they should do what they can to carefully follow guidance on staying alert and safe (social distancing).

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to expand the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies to include (1) immunologists, and (2) experts on large scale logistics.

Expert participation varies depending on the subjects being discussed. The Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Chief Medical Officer will decide who or what expertise is needed for each meeting, typically drawing from leading experts from within government and relevant fields of academia and industry.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what assessment he has made of the impact of the decision to not broadcast the Virtual Proceedings in the House of Lords live online on democratic engagement with the House.

Since the 21 April the House of Lords has conducted virtual sittings of the House, and the broadcasting unit have been developing the necessary infrastructure to enable high quality live broadcast of these proceedings. In the interim period, all virtual sittings were made available online as video or audio files as soon as possible after the proceedings concluded. The Hansard record of proceedings for each virtual sitting has also been made available online from approximately three hours after each sitting. On Tuesday 28 April and Thursday 30 April the virtual sittings of the House were broadcast live on parliamentlive.tv.

As of this week, the House of Lords has begun to use the same system as the House of Commons to enable high-quality live broadcast output via parliamentlive.tv. As well as virtual sittings of the House, House of Lords committees have been continuing to meet remotely, and last week the first virtual evidence sessions with witnesses were broadcast live on parliamentlive.tv. Throughout this period the House Administration has used social media channels to promote democratic engagement and publicise the channels through which members of the public can continue to follow virtual House of Lords proceedings.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to relax temporarily Sunday trading hours to prevent overcrowding and allow key workers to purchase shopping at supermarkets.

Supermarkets have developed a range of approaches to accommodate key workers and address overcrowding, within the existing statutory framework. The Government is also temporarily relaxing competition law to allow the retailers to share information and collaborate over the management of supplies and opening hours. The Government is speaking to retailers regularly to ensure supply to key workers and others is maintained.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to meet the energy efficiency targets for housing set out in their Clean Growth Strategy, published in October 2017.

The Clean Growth Strategy set out the aspiration that as many homes as possible will be EPC Band C by 2035 where practical, cost-effective and affordable.

The current iteration of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO3) will upgrade around a million homes for low income and vulnerable households by March 2022. ECO3 and its successor will drive £6 billion of investment between 2018 and 2028 to support energy efficiency improvements. Furthermore, the Manifesto committed to an additional £6.3 billion of public investment to upgrade the energy performance of fuel poor homes and social housing.

In April 2018, we introduced for the first time a minimum energy efficiency standard of EPC Band E for private rented sector properties, with all private rented properties required to meet, or exceed, this standard by 1 April 2020. We will be consulting in due course on options to increase this minimum standard to EPC Band C.

Last year, we launched Simple Energy Advice, a new digital and phoneline service to provide homeowners with impartial and tailored advice on how to cut their energy bills and make their homes greener, as well as information on any available financial support.

We also launched two energy efficiency innovation competitions in summer 2019, both aimed at investigating ways to make energy efficiency cheaper and more accessible for householders. The Whole House Retrofit cost reduction trajectory competition made available £9.4 million of funding for projects which demonstrate the potential to reduce costs for Whole House Retrofit. The Green Home Finance Innovation Fund is making nearly £2 million of funding available for a series of projects to develop innovative green mortgage and other lending products, to improve householder access to green finance to support energy efficiency retrofit.

We have also committed to consult later this year on requirements for lenders to support homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by Carnegie UK Trust Race Inequality in the Workforce, published in February 2020, what assessment they have made of the finding that BAME individuals are more likely to have less stable working lives than their white peers.

For BAME individuals in the UK, employment rates are at a near record high at 66.8%, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 1974 at 5.8%. However, we know that employment rates are still lower than for White individuals and that BAME individuals are more likely to have less stable working patterns. The Government is bringing forward the Employment Bill, legislating for a wide range of reforms to employment law that will improve working conditions in the UK, but particularly for the most vulnerable workers.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to ensure that UK-based artificial intelligence start-ups are not acquired by dominant market players.

Under the Enterprise Act 2002, consideration of the competition aspects of mergers and takeovers in the UK is handled by the independent Competition and Markets Authority or, in some cases during the Transition Period, the European Commission.

In March last year, the Digital Competition Expert Panel, led by Professor Jason Furman, made a series of recommendations for how the UK’s competition framework can face the challenges posed by digital markets. The Government welcomed this report and is carefully considering the Panel’s recommendations. The Government will respond in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to ensure that the acquisition of smaller companies by Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft or Google is transparent.

In March last year, the Digital Competition Expert Panel, led by Professor Jason Furman, made a series of recommendations for how the UK’s competition framework can face the challenges posed by digital markets. The Government welcomed this report and is carefully considering the Panel’s recommendations. The Government will respond in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the financial impact the outbreak of Wuhan coronavirus has had on the technology market.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have made no such assessment.

The Government is closely monitoring developments in relation to potential economic impacts on the UK economy and individual businesses and supply chains.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to encourage greater diversity on executive level boards.

The Government is committed to working with the business community to create more inclusive workplaces from the shop floor to the boardroom.

The Government commissioned and supports the business-led, independent Hampton-Alexander Review which has a 33% target for women on boards and in senior leadership positions across the FTSE350 by close 2020.

Women hold a higher percentage of senior leadership positions than ever before and I am pleased that the FTSE100 have achieved their 33% target ahead of schedule.

Government also fully supports the Parker Review, published in October 2017, which looks at ethnic minority representation on FTSE100 and FTSE250 boards. The review recommends that FTSE100 and 250 boards should have at least one director of colour by 2021 and 2024, respectively. The Government also supports the recently launched Leaders As Change Agents board which is working to increase diversity in critical decision-making roles.

4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they taking to reduce the thawing of permafrost in the Arctic.

The Government is in no doubt that climate change is one of the greatest global challenges we face, and that action is urgently needed in the UK and across the world. It is clear that we are already seeing the impacts of climate change, with the Arctic among those regions being particularly affected.

We are at the forefront of global action on climate change and we are determined to build on the leadership we have shown to date, notably through our world-leading net zero target set in UK legislation in June last year. We are hosting the crucial COP26 climate negotiations this year, and we are determined to use this conference to promote ambitious action to deliver the transformational change required by the Paris Agreement.

8th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to increase the incentives for firms to comply with paying the National Minimum Wage.

The Government is committed to ensuring employers correctly pay the National Minimum Wage (NMW). We recognise that as the minimum wage increases, so too does the risk of non-compliance. This is why we have doubled the compliance and enforcement budget to £27.4 million for 2019/20, up from £13.2 million in 2015/16. Last year was a record year for NMW enforcement, HMRC identified £24.4 million in minimum wage underpayment for over 220,000 workers.

Our enforcement approach is designed to strike a balance between promoting compliance with the NMW whilst deterring future cases of underpayment. HMRC uses a variety of methods to achieve this, working with employers and workers to raise awareness of NMW rules and, in instances of underpayment, using sanctions to deter future non-compliance.

We regularly review and adapt our approach to address particular issues around non-compliance and will continue to do so.

29th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to include a statutory watchdog to advocate for children as users of online services, funded by a levy on the tech industry, in the Online Safety Bill.

Protecting children online sits at the heart of the new Online Safety Bill. The new regime will ensure that children are protected from harmful or inappropriate content such as grooming, bullying, pornography and the promotion of self-harm and eating disorders.

Once the regime is operational, Ofcom’s new responsibilities under the Bill will be fully funded by industry fees. They will oversee and enforce service providers’ compliance with the duties in the Bill, including the child safety duties.

The regulatory framework is already designed to capture the insight and expertise of organisations that represent the interests of children. For example, Ofcom must consult relevant experts when designing its codes of practice, which will determine the recommended safety measures platforms put in place. It must also undertake research into users’ experience of regulated services, which will inform its regulatory approach and priorities. In addition, the Bill expands the remit of the Communications Consumer Panel. This panel, which is an independent group of experts, will act on behalf of users by conducting research, carrying out consultations and giving advice to Ofcom. Ofcom will also have the flexibility to choose other mechanisms better to understand users and their experiences as it deems appropriate. Finally, the super-complaints mechanism will also ensure that Ofcom is alerted by eligible bodies, which will include advocacy bodies like the Children's Commissioners, to any significant or systemic risks to children, though the ongoing consultation and research will likely mean Ofcom is able to tackle such issues upstream.

Adding an additional ‘watchdog’ would duplicate the existing provisions in the Bill, creating a confusing landscape. This would not be in the best interests of children.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
29th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take, alongside sporting bodies and associations, to address racism in motorsport.

Racism has no place in society. Her Majesty’s Government is committed to working with our arm’s length bodies, sporting bodies and sector partners to ensure sport does all it can to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination.

We were extremely dismayed to hear about the recent racist remarks made about Sir Lewis Hamilton but commend Formula 1’s zero-tolerance approach to harassment and discrimination. Alongside work under Formula 1’s anti-racist platform We Race As One, their swift condemnation of Nelson Piquet’s racist remarks has led to their decision to implement a life-time ban on his attendance at races. In addition, the British Racing Drivers’ Club has suspended Mr Piquet as a member, citing its zero-tolerance policy toward racism and stating it expects formally to terminate his membership at a board meeting to be held within seven days.

Last year we also welcomed the work of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Sir Lewis Hamilton which is aimed at improving the representation of Black people in UK motor sport. However there is still more to do, and we will continue to work across Her Majesty’s Government and with sector partners to ensure that inequalities people from ethnically diverse backgrounds face in sport, including motorsports, are being tackled effectively.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
20th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take, alongside sporting bodies and associations, to tackle racism in cricket.

Racism has no place in cricket, sport, or wider society. The Government is committed to working with our arm’s-length bodies, sporting bodies and sector partners to ensure sport does all it can to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination.

We welcome the action the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is taking to tackle racism in cricket. We will continue to monitor its actions, including the implementation of the ECB’s plan for diversity and inclusion. A recent update indicates that the ECB is continuing to deliver on its commitments on improved diversity in governance, the development of an anti-discrimination unit, and its review of crowd management alongside the First Class Counties and the Sports Grounds Safety Authority. The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, established by the ECB in March 2021, is also currently in the process of reviewing the evidence to form an independent report with suggested recommendations on how to tackle discrimination and achieve equity in cricket.

Funding from our arm’s-length body for grassroot sport, Sport England, is explicitly linked to the development and implementation of robust diversity and inclusion policies and plans. This has been made clear to the ECB, which has responded positively and constructively.

We will continue to liaise with the cricket authorities on tackling racism and hold them to account on this.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
15th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to establish an independent racism reporting body for the broadcasting industry.

Her Majesty’s Government believes that there is no place for prejudice or discrimination in the media or anywhere else and is committed to supporting the broadcasting sector to ensure it is a place which offers opportunities for people from all backgrounds to contribute and succeed. This can only be achieved through a diverse workforce which reflects modern Britain.

Ofcom, as the independent communications regulator, has a duty to promote equality of opportunity in relation to employment in the broadcasting sector and has powers to ask broadcasters to provide information about their diversity policies and the make-up of their workforce. Her Majesty’s Government is committed to working together with the industry and with Ofcom to support greater diversity and inclusion. Her Majesty’s Government has no plans to establish an independent racism reporting body for the broadcasting industry.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
18th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide more capital via the Dormant Assets Act 2022.

The Dormant Assets Act 2022 delivers on Her Majesty’s Government's commitment to expand the scheme. Over time, this will unlock an estimated £880 million for good causes across the UK.

Her Majesty’s Government will launch a public consultation this summer on the social and/or environmental focus of the English portion. This is an opportunity to consider how future funds can be distributed in England.

The Act provides the power to expand the scheme without the need for primary legislation. This will enable Her Majesty’s Government to respond more rapidly to opportunities to broaden the pool of eligible assets as they arise, alongside experience of managing dormant assets which will build over time.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
1st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ban Russian state-backed television channels.

As the Secretary of State set out in her statement to the House of Commons on 3 March 2022, Vladimir Putin must not be allowed to exploit our open and free media to spread poisonous propaganda into British homes.

I am pleased to say that RT has already been removed from Sky, Freeview and Freesat in the UK, meaning that Putin cannot push out his propaganda on UK television. I also welcome Ofcom’s announcement of 27 investigations into RT, and their confirmation that they are considering RT’s UK broadcasting licence.

The Secretary of State has written to the major platforms, asking them to do everything they can to prevent access to RT online in the UK, as they have done in Europe, and we are glad that YouTube and Meta have already done so.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
28th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to regulate companies' use of technological systems to monitor people.

Organisations that process personal data for the purposes of monitoring their activities or surveillance must comply with the requirements of the UK General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018. This means that the data processing must be fair, lawful and transparent. Any adverse impact of monitoring on individuals must be necessary, proportionate and justified by the benefits to the organisation and others. A Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) would usually be required, particularly where the processing involves the use of new technologies, or the novel application of existing technologies.

Where people’s biometric data are processed, such as through fingerprint, voice or facial recognition technology, companies would generally need to conduct a DPIA. Companies conducting live facial recognition would generally need to show that processing was necessary for one of a limited number of specified reasons of substantial public interest - for instance, preventing or detecting unlawful acts. They would also need to show that specific conditions and safeguards were met.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is the UK’s independent regulator for data protection and has published extensive guidance to help organisations comply with their data protection obligations. This includes guidance for employers on the rules in relation to monitoring of employees, as well as guidance on monitoring employees in connection with Covid-19 related measures.

The Information Commissioner has also published an opinion on the non-law enforcement use of live facial recognition technology in public spaces which explain the requirements of the legislation and stress that data protection and people’s privacy must be at the heart of any decisions to deploy live facial recognition technology in public spaces.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
26th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to replace references to harmful ‘content’ in the Online Safety Bill with ‘content and activity’, to cover the release of new social media products such as virtual reality.

The Government agrees that the scope of the Online Safety Bill must cover a broad range of online interaction, including both content and activity. This is already covered in the draft Bill. All online activity is facilitated by content: therefore references to “harmful content” in the Bill require companies to tackle harm associated with both activity and content. The Bill also requires companies to consider and mitigate the risks arising from the functionalities and ways in which people use their services, for example to contact other users, share content, or express a view on content through “likes” or “dislikes”. Under the Bill, if a company plans to release a new social media product, including one that enables virtual reality functionality, it will have to mitigate any risk of harm posed to users arising from this.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
26th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of diversity in the administration of English cricket; and what plans they have to support or require the England and Wales Cricket Board to increase levels of diversity as a condition of receipt of future public funding.

Racism has no place in cricket, sport, or wider society. The Government is committed to ensuring sport does all it can to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination.

The Government believes that sports should be given every opportunity to run their own affairs wherever possible. However, as the Minister for Sport stated in front of the DCMS Select Committee on 18 November, if other actions do not result in meaningful change, independent regulation remains an option that the Government would consider as part of a range of wider measures to address governance and regulation.

We welcome the recent action on tackling racism in cricket from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). We will continue to monitor its actions, including the implementation of the ECB’s new plan for diversity and inclusion. One of the key commitments of this plan is to improve diversity in leadership and governance positions across cricket.

Sport England funding is explicitly linked to the development and implementation of robust diversity and inclusion policies and plans. This has been made clear to the ECB, who have responded positively and constructively.

The Government will continue to liaise with the cricket authorities on tackling racism and hold them to account on this.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
26th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce an independent regulator for cricket to oversee the progress the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) makes to tackle racism in that sport.

Racism has no place in cricket, sport, or wider society. The Government is committed to ensuring sport does all it can to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination.

The Government believes that sports should be given every opportunity to run their own affairs wherever possible. However, as the Minister for Sport stated in front of the DCMS Select Committee on 18 November, if other actions do not result in meaningful change, independent regulation remains an option that the Government would consider as part of a range of wider measures to address governance and regulation.

We welcome the recent action on tackling racism in cricket from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). We will continue to monitor its actions, including the implementation of the ECB’s new plan for diversity and inclusion. One of the key commitments of this plan is to improve diversity in leadership and governance positions across cricket.

Sport England funding is explicitly linked to the development and implementation of robust diversity and inclusion policies and plans. This has been made clear to the ECB, who have responded positively and constructively.

The Government will continue to liaise with the cricket authorities on tackling racism and hold them to account on this.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
24th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce measures in the Online Safety Bill that grant Ofcom powers to scrutinise social media companies' algorithms.

The Online Safety Bill will give Ofcom a range of powers to understand how and to what extent companies are operating their algorithms in ways that comply with their duties in the Bill. Ofcom will have the power to request information from providers which could, for instance, be used to require from a provider information about its assessment of the risks associated with its algorithms or about how its algorithms operate.

Ofcom will have the power to require a company to undergo, and pay for, a skilled person’s report which could be used to assess potential non-compliance, and/or to build an understanding of the risks associated with the operation of a service’s algorithms.

Ofcom will also have the power to enter and inspect premises, documentation, and equipment. Where there are reasonable grounds to suspect non-compliance, Ofcom will be able to seek a warrant which would allow it to inspect and seize information and equipment. These powers could also be used in relation to the operation of companies’ algorithms.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
19th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide (1) support, and (2) advice, for those who experience (a) racial discrimination, (b) harassment, and (c) racial hatred, on social media platforms.

Under the Online Safety Bill, services in scope will need to have effective systems in place to minimise and remove illegal content and protect children from harmful abuse. Major platforms will also need to address content which is legal but harmful for adults. Priority categories of legal but harmful content will be set out in legislation, and are likely to include racist abuse and some types of harassment.

If platforms fail in their duties under the Bill, they will face tough enforcement action including fines of up to 10% of global annual qualifying turnover.

The draft Bill has been subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee which reported its recommendations on 14 December. We are considering the Committee’s report and will introduce the Bill as soon as possible.

The Government has also published an Online Media Literacy Strategy which supports the empowerment of users with skills and knowledge they need to make safe and informed choices online. This has an amplified focus on supporting users who are most vulnerable online, such as those who experience disproportionate amounts of online abuse.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
18th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce measures in the Online Safety Bill aimed at preventing the use of of end-to-end encryption in online private messaging.

The UK supports the responsible use of strong encryption, as the safety and security of digital technologies is essential. However, if end-to-end encryption is implemented in a way which intentionally blinds tech companies to content on their platforms it can have a disastrous impact on public safety.

All parts of regulated platforms, including instant messaging services and closed social media groups, are in scope of the Online Safety Bill. Companies cannot use encryption as an excuse to avoid protecting their users, particularly children, and those companies who implement end-to-end encryption will need to demonstrate how they are managing risk to their users, or face big fines. Ofcom will set out the measures platforms need to implement in codes of practice, and could include making these channels safer by design, for example by limiting the ability for anonymous adults to contact children.

More widely, the Government has launched a £555,000 Safety Tech Challenge Fund, which is focused on developing innovative technologies to detect child sexual abuse content in end-to-end encrypted environments, whilst respecting user privacy.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
17th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to develop an external dispute resolutions scheme for issues with large technology companies.

Under the Online Intermediation Services for Business Users (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, business users are able directly to assert their rights through cases in the UK courts.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
17th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to replace the BBC licence fee with a subscription service.

The Government has committed to maintain the current licence fee funding model for the duration of this 11-year Charter period, i.e. until 2027.

As the Secretary of State has made clear, we will be reviewing the licence fee funding model well in advance of the next Charter period.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
17th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ban gambling adverts in the UK.

The Government is reviewing the Gambling Act to make sure it is fit for the digital age. As part of the broad scope of this review, we called for evidence on the potential benefits or harms caused by allowing licensed gambling operators to advertise and to make promotional offers. The call for evidence received approximately 16,000 submissions from a broad range of interested organisations and individuals. We are considering the evidence carefully and will publish a White Paper outlining conclusions and any proposals for reform in the coming months.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
17th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to remove the two-year grace period included in the Online Safety Bill before criminal sanctions can be imposed on named technology executives.

The Online Safety Bill will enable Ofcom to pursue criminal action against a named senior manager who fails to ensure that his or her company complies with Ofcom’s information requirements. As the Secretary of State made clear to the Joint Committee in December 2021, we are considering how we can bring this forward to commence as quickly as possible after Royal Assent. This will help to encourage strong compliance in the sector, and ensure that technology executives are held to account.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
12th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require social media platforms to appoint a senior manager liable for the safety of their users.

The draft Online Safety Bill includes tough powers for Ofcom to take action against companies breaching their online safety duties, including substantial fines and even blocking services in the most serious cases.

The Bill will also provide for Ofcom to pursue criminal action against a named senior manager who fails to ensure that their company complies with Ofcom’s information requirements. This will encourage strong senior engagement and ensure Ofcom has the information it needs to regulate the tech sector effectively and improve user safety.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
6th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to replace the BBC licence fee with a grant where viewers pay a voluntary subscription for entertainment and sport.

The Government has committed to maintain the current licence fee funding model for the duration of this 11 year Charter period, until 2027.

We will be reviewing the licence fee funding model well in advance of the next Charter period.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
15th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require technology companies to implement mechanisms to deal with harmful anonymous accounts.

The Online Safety Bill requires companies to manage effectively the risk of online anonymous abuse on services in scope. Companies will need to remove and limit the spread of illegal content and prevent children from experiencing harmful abuse. Major platforms will also need to set out clearly what legal content is acceptable for adult users on their services and enforce their terms and conditions consistently and transparently. This applies whether a user is anonymous or not.

Ofcom will have enforcement powers available to use against companies which fail their duties. These powers include fines for companies of up to £18 million or 10% of qualifying annual global turnover, and business disruption measures.

The draft Bill has been subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee which reported its recommendations on 14 December. We are considering the Committee’s recommendations and are committed to introducing the Bill as soon as possible after that.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
14th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage social media companies to reveal how many underage users are on their platforms.

In May 2021 HM Government published the draft Online Safety Bill. The strongest protections in this legislation are for children. Companies in scope whose sites are likely to be accessed by children will have to ensure that only users who are old enough are able to access services which have age restrictions or which risk causing them harm. The regulator, Ofcom, will be able to take enforcement action against companies that fail to comply.

The largest and most high-risk companies will also be required to publish annual transparency reports about the steps they are taking to tackle online harms. This will include steps they are taking to fulfil their safety duties and provide a higher level of protection for children. Ofcom can take robust enforcement action where companies do not provide the required information.

In addition, the Secretaries of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and for Education, alongside the Children’s Commissioner for England, hosted a roundtable with social media companies on 1 December 2021 at which the companies pledged to identify further information regarding children on their platforms and the nature of harms children may face.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
6th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to introduce age verification for commercial pornography websites.

The strongest protections in the draft Online Safety Bill are for children. Companies in scope of the legislation will need to take steps to prevent children from accessing content which poses the highest risk of harm, including online pornography. Ofcom will set out in its codes of practice the steps companies need to take to comply with their duties under the Bill which we expect will include recommending the use of age verification technologies.

The Government recognises the concerns that have been raised about protecting children from online pornography on services which do not currently fall within the scope of the Bill. The Government is exploring ways to provide wider protections for children from online pornography.

The Joint Committee scrutinising the Bill reported with their recommendations on 14 December. We will consider the Committee’s recommendations and are committed to introducing the Bill as soon as possible.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
1st Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require all football clubs to have an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion action plan to be assessed as part of the annual club licensing process.

The Government welcomes the Independent Fan-Led Review of Football Governance and has endorsed in principle the primary recommendation of the review: that football requires a strong, independent regulator to secure the future of our national game.

The Government will work quickly to review the report in full, including the recommendations made on equality, diversity and inclusion.

The Government will continue to engage with interested parties as we work towards issuing a full response to the report in Spring 2022.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
10th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce guidelines for social media companies on what counts as journalism in the Online Safety Bil.

The draft Online Safety Bill requires the highest risk, highest reach in-scope service providers (‘Category 1’ services) to safeguard journalistic content. This is defined as UK-linked content that is generated for the purposes of journalism. As part of this duty, Category 1 services must specify in their terms of service the method by which they identify content as being created for the purposes of journalism. In doing so, companies will be expected to consider the ordinary English meaning of journalism, the underlying purpose of protecting freedom of expression and information, and relevant case law. Ofcom, the online safety regulator, will produce codes of practice to assist companies in complying with their duties to protect journalism.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
25th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to force social media platforms to stop amplifying hateful content via their algorithms.

Under the new Online Safety Bill, companies will need to mitigate the risks of harm associated with their algorithms, for example by preventing them from recommending particular types of content, or by giving users additional control over the content with which they interact.

Major platforms will have to publish annual transparency reports, setting out what they are doing to tackle online harms, including information about algorithms.

Ofcom will have further powers available to help it assess whether companies are fulfilling their duties, including in relation to algorithms. This will include powers to require information from companies, to require an expert report on a platform, and to access premises, data and equipment.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
19th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to legislate (1) to limit the social media abuse of public figures, and (2) to end online anonymity.

Everybody should be able to be safe online. Under the Online Safety Bill, which was published in draft in May 2021 for pre-legislative scrutiny, companies in scope will need to minimise and remove illegal content including criminal online abuse targeted at public figures and illegal anonymous abuse.

Major platforms will also need to address legal but harmful content for adults. These companies will have to set out clearly what content is acceptable on their platforms and enforce their terms and conditions consistently and transparently.

The Bill also places new requirements on tech companies in relation to anonymity online. It requires companies to identify, mitigate and effectively manage the risk of online anonymous abuse. Ofcom will set out the steps that companies must take to address online abuse in codes of practice.

If companies do not comply with their legal duties, they could face tough enforcement penalties of up to £18 million or ten percent of annual global qualifying turnover.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce loan schemes at libraries for electronic devices to encourage citizens to become more digitally capable.

The provision of public library services in England is a matter for local authorities to determine. The responsibility for libraries in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales rests with the respective devolved administration.

Local authorities in England have a statutory duty under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. They are responsible for determining the delivery of a modern and efficient library service that meets the requirements of their communities. In considering how best to deliver this statutory duty, each local authority can, if they wish, consider the provision of loaning out electronic devices.

Whilst this is not a matter for the department to require, we understand that the provision of portable devices to lend is something library services are increasingly delivering. We know that at least a quarter of library services in England already provide portable electronic devices for loan, generally targeted to those more likely to be digitally disadvantaged. ​​I learned about an example of this at Manchester Central Library in my visit during Libraries Week.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
6th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of a YouGov survey, published on 25 August, which found that 62 per cent of football fans fear that a player will be racially abused.

There is no place for racism in football, whether in the stands or on social media, or society more widely.

The Government therefore welcomed the Premier League’s “No Room for Racism” Action plan, and the announcement of new enhanced anti-discrimination measures to be implemented in the 2021/22 season, such as league-wide bans for offenders.

The Government’s pioneering Online Safety Bill will make it even tougher for offenders to abuse others, with social media firms facing huge fines if they fail to clamp down on abuse.

There is still more to do though, and we will continue to work with the football authorities to combat racism in the game.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support a defibrillator education programme at all professional sports teams.

First aid skills, including how to administer CPR, are important life skills for everyone. Recent events at UEFA EURO 2020 have demonstrated the immense value of first aid training and access to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for anyone involved in professional sport.

Sports have a responsibility to make the safety and welfare of players their top priority, including through access to life-saving first aid equipment and relevant training and education. It is for the relevant national governing body or professional league to determine what education programmes may be appropriate for participants and support staff in their sport.

A number of sports do provide relevant education, including football. The Minister for Sport and Tourism welcomed the Premier League’s announcement in June 2021 of their new Defibrillator Fund, which will fund AEDs at thousands of football clubs and facilities across the country. Each grant recipient will be required to have at least one person successfully complete The FA Education’s free online Sudden Cardiac Arrest course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce regulations on social media companies, including mandatory design standards, to increase online safety for services that are used by children.

The draft Online Safety Bill, published in May 2021, will ensure companies design their platforms to be safer for users, and particularly for children. The new laws will apply to companies that allow users to post content online or to interact with each other, which includes social media companies. The draft bill will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny in this session. The Joint Committee that will scrutinise the draft Bill has now been set up, and members from both Houses have now been appointed.

The strongest protections in the legislation are for children. Unless social media companies are able to prove that children are not accessing their service, they will need to conduct a child safety risk assessment and provide safety measures for child users, keeping these under regular review. As part of the risk assessment, companies will need to assess how the design and operation of the service may increase or reduce the risks identified.

The government has also published voluntary Safety by Design guidance in June 2021 that will help companies design safer online services. In addition, the Information Commissioner’s Age Appropriate Design Code, which will come into force in September 2021, will set out specific protections for children’s personal data that companies will need to build in when designing online services likely to be accessed by children.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to negotiate (1) visa-free travel, and (2) Europe-wide work permits, for musicians and crew.

This government recognises the importance of our world leading creative and cultural industries. That is why the UK took an ambitious approach during negotiations with the EU that would have ensured that touring musicians, performers and their support staff did not need work-permits to perform in the EU. Regrettably, our proposals were rejected by the EU, but our door remains open if the EU wants to reconsider its position.

A bespoke visa waiver agreement with the EU would require the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) to be renegotiated. The TCA is the basis of our trading relations with the EU, and this is not going to be renegotiated. Furthermore, the Commission would be likely to argue that any EU-wide visa waiver agreement can only be part of a wider package with a binding non-discrimination clause and a reciprocal visa waiver agreement covering all current and future Member States. This was what the Commission proposed in the negotiations and would be incompatible with our manifesto commitment to retain control of our borders.

Our focus is now on engaging with Member States, who are principally responsible for deciding the rules governing what work UK visitors can undertake in the EU. We have spoken to every Member State, involving British Embassies and DCMS ministers. We have established that musicians and performers do not require visas or work permits for short-term tours in at least 19 out of 27 Member States, including France and Germany.

We are now working closely with individual Member States that do require visas or permits for short-term touring to encourage them to adopt a more flexible approach, in line with the UK’s own rules which allow creative professionals to tour easily here. These countries are Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Malta, Bulgaria, and Romania. We are also still confirming the details of requirements with Cyprus.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce tax penalties against tech companies that are slow to remove harmful content.

Where tech companies fail to fulfil their new duty of care, the Online Safety Bill provides a suite of enforcement powers for the regulator, Ofcom. Ofcom’s powers will include fines for companies of up to £18m or 10% of qualifying annual global turnover (whichever is higher), and business disruption measures (including applying to court to block access to services that cause serious harm).

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by British Future Our Chance to Reconnect, published in March; and what steps they are taking to make it easier for people to volunteer in their local community.

Her Majesty’s Government welcomes the findings of the report and its contribution to our understanding of civil society during the pandemic. As documented, the scale and breadth of the volunteer response over the last year has been remarkable; as the study estimated, 12.4 million people volunteered during the pandemic, 4.6 million of them volunteering for the first time. Government would like to express its gratitude to all those who volunteered for their contributions, whether through continuing or taking up a formal role with an organisation, or national schemes such as the NHS Volunteer Responders programme, or the extraordinary 2.5 million people who undertook local acts of neighbourliness as coordinated through over 4,000 mutual aid groups. Undoubtedly our experience of the pandemic would have been very different without them.

As outlined by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, our approach to the government's role in volunteering is as a steward, enabling further unlocking of the potential within the volunteering sector as we seek to build a volunteering legacy from this challenging time.

To meet this ambition, DCMS is developing policy with a focus on simplifying the routes into volunteering, how volunteering supply and demand can be best matched and leveraging government’s links with the voluntary and community sector for strategic collaboration. Developing solutions to address the barriers facing those who wish to volunteer in their local community will be an integral element of our work.

Beyond this, the Government continues to celebrate and champion extraordinary individuals who volunteer across the United Kingdom through the Prime Minister’s daily Points of Light Awards, and remains committed to promoting the benefits of volunteering both to personal wellbeing and community cohesion.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prepare further financial support packages for the night-time entertainment industry affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

The Government recognises the severe impact the pandemic has had on the night-time entertainment industry.

The Chancellor announced in the 2021 Budget an additional £300 million to support cultural organisations, including businesses in the night industry such as theatres, music venues and nightclubs in England through the Culture Recovery Fund. Nightclubs were eligible for the first and second rounds of Culture Recovery Funding and many organisations were funded, for example, the Ministry of Sound received a grant of almost £1m. To date, over £1.2 billion has been allocated from the Culture Recovery Fund, reaching over 5000 individual organisations and sites.This extra funding means that our total support package for culture during the pandemic is now approaching £2bn.

More generally, the Government will spend over £33 billion supporting those in self-employment during this crisis, among the most generous anywhere in the world. The Government has also provided economic wide support packages which the sector has been able to access including extensions to the furlough scheme, SEISS, and additional business support.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to assist businesses in creating digital identity services.

In 2020 the Government committed to creating a framework of standards, governance, and legislation to enable a UK Digital Identity market. DCMS published a draft Trust Framework in February this year setting out the government’s vision for the rules governing the future use of digital identities. A next iteration is expected to be published this summer. We continue to work on proposals for legislation that will underpin the digital identity market and will consult on these later this year.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to introduce a cancellation insurance scheme for the live events sector.

I refer the Noble Lord to my answer to the Oral Question on Tuesday 27th April 2021 on this issue. A copy of the Hansard record can be found here.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to (1) support the development of social enterprises, and (2) integrate social enterprises into plans to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050.

The Government is committed to developing the innovative and impactful work of social enterprises across the UK. For example:

  • Through the pandemic, the Government provided an unprecedented package of support, including furlough payments, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Bounce Back Loans, and direct funding through the £750 million charities and social enterprise support package.

  • The new social value model presents a significant opportunity to support social enterprises and invest in our people and communities. Developed with stakeholders, including the federation of Small Businesses and Social Enterprise UK, the model ensures social value is explicitly evaluated in all major central government contracts from January 1st 2021.

All individuals and organisations, including social enterprises, have a part to play in helping us to protect the environment. We welcome small businesses from across the UK to join the green business revolution and commit to becoming greener and more sustainable as we work towards our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they plan to have with the Football Supporters'  Association about the potential involvement of English football clubs in the European Super League; and what steps they are taking to ensure that supporters are more involved in the decision-making of English football clubs.

The Government has been vocal in its opposition to the European Super League. The Secretary of State was therefore glad to see the withdrawal of all English teams from the project, which came after the Government had met with multiple stakeholders on the proposals, including The Football Association and Premier League.

The football authorities are best placed to take action on such proposals in the first instance, but the Government continues to stand ready to act if needed.

This is the right result for football fans, clubs and communities across the country. However, these events have demonstrated that now is the right time to launch the fan-led review of football governance which will have fan interests at its heart.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they are planning with (1) the Premier League, and (2) the Football Association, about the potential involvement of English football clubs in the proposed European Super League.

The Government has been vocal in its opposition to the European Super League. The Secretary of State was therefore glad to see the withdrawal of all English teams from the project, which came after the Government had met with multiple stakeholders on the proposals, including The Football Association and Premier League.

The football authorities are best placed to take action on such proposals in the first instance, but the Government continues to stand ready to act if needed.

This is the right result for football fans, clubs and communities across the country. However, these events have demonstrated that now is the right time to launch the fan-led review of football governance which will have fan interests at its heart.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what sanctions, if any, they are considering in response to the potential involvement of English football clubs in the proposed European Super League.

The Government has been vocal in its opposition to the European Super League. The Secretary of State was therefore glad to see the withdrawal of all English teams from the project, which came after the Government had met with multiple stakeholders on the proposals, including The Football Association and Premier League.

The football authorities are best placed to take action on such proposals in the first instance, but the Government continues to stand ready to act if needed.

This is the right result for football fans, clubs and communities across the country. However, these events have demonstrated that now is the right time to launch the fan-led review of football governance which will have fan interests at its heart.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the threat to small businesses from cyber-attacks; and what steps they are taking to support small business to improve their cyber defences.

The government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2020 found almost half (46%) of micro and small businesses reported cyber security breaches or attacks in the past 12 months. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) 2020 Annual Review identified an increase in ransomware and phishing attacks over the past year.

The National Cyber Security Strategy sets out the government’s work to protect the UK online and help ensure all organisations, large and small, are effectively managing their cyber risk. The NCSC, working closely with trade bodies, local initiatives, banks and industry partners, provides a range of actionable guidance, training and easy to implement tools to help small businesses improve their cyber security. Last month, the NCSC launched a state-of-the-art tool which creates a personalised ‘Cyber Action Plan’ for small businesses as part of the cross-government Cyber Aware campaign.

DCMS is carrying out a review of business resilience and cyber security to identify what more can be done to build cyber resilience across the economy and increase security in supply chains.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase financial support for social enterprises.

The Government has provided an unprecedented multi billion pound package of support, allowing social enterprises and other civil society organisations, including those at risk of financial hardship, to continue their vital work during the Covid-19 outbreak

The funding includes furlough payments, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and direct funding to the charity and social enterprise sector through the £750m sector support package, £150m release of dormant assets. The impact of the funding will continue beyond the life of the grants with equipment purchased still being used and service adaptations still benefiting people across the country.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that full-fibre broadband is accessible for all small businesses.

In areas not covered by commercial delivery, support to provide full-fibre broadband to premises is currently being provided through schemes including the Superfast Broadband programme, Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) and Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) schemes. LFFN is a challenge funded scheme designed to stimulate commercial investment in full fibre networks across the UK. This programme will be ending in December 2021. RGC will be ending in March 2021, after which any new projects can be developed as part of the public sector hubs element of the new UK Gigabit programme.

The Government’s ambition for digital infrastructure presents opportunities for growth and security in the UK economy. The National Infrastructure Strategy outlines how the Government is working with industry to target a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage by 2025 and to go as far as possible beyond this as part of our £5 billion UK Gigabit programme. The 2020 Spending Review set out the timeline for how the first tranche of the £5 billion we have promised will be made available to industry.

Furthermore, as announced on 8 August 2020, to develop an evidence-based strategy to encourage take up of gigabit broadband services by consumers and small businesses, the government asked Which?, CBI and the FSB to convene a Gigabit Take-up Advisory Group. The group has been engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to develop its evidence and solutions. An interim report with the group’s initial findings was published in December 2020, and is expected to publish a final report by Spring 2021 with its recommendations.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they plan to take to tackle racism on social media platforms.

Racism online is completely unacceptable in an open and tolerant society. We must do all we can to tackle it.

The Government is committed to tackling racism, including the spread of racist content online. In December 2020, we published the full government response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation, which sets out new expectations on companies to keep their users safe online. Under a new legal duty of care, in-scope companies, including social media, will need to tackle illegal content and activity on their services and take swift and effective action against such material.

Companies providing high-risk, high-reach services will also need to undertake regular assessments of the risk posed to adults by legal but harmful material on their services. These companies will need to set clear terms and conditions which explicitly state what categories of legal but harmful material they accept (and do not accept) on their service. Companies will need to enforce these terms and conditions consistently and transparently and could face enforcement action if they do not. The Online Safety Bill, which will give effect to the regulatory framework, will be ready this year.

The full government response also set out plans to publish an Online Media Literacy Strategy. The Strategy will explore the existing media literacy landscape, and set out the Government’s plans to ensure a coordinated and strategic approach to media literacy education for all citizens. This will support users to make informed and safer decisions online, including taking action against online hate such as racism.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender equality within the performing arts sector.

Her Majesty’s Government has not made a specific assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender equality within the performing arts sector. However, the Department for Culture, Digital, Media and Sport is committed to working closely with the Governments Equalities Office to improve equality across our sectors, promoting gender equality in the performing arts sector.

All guidance related to the performing arts sector during the COVID-19 pandemic undergoes a PSED (Public Sector Equality Duty) review each time it is updated. We are also duty bound to ensure that we consider impacts of new legislation on people of protected characteristics.

Additionally, we have been working to ensure that diversity is embedded in the Culture Recovery Fund. In the first round of funding, the ALBs making funding decisions looked for a track record of delivering social benefit and welcoming diverse audiences. For the second round of funding, we asked applicants to inform us of their plans to open up access and participation in culture. Organisations in receipt of funding are expected to demonstrate progress in diversity and outreach over the coming years in return for this investment into their futures.

We know that reports, such as that published by Women in Theatre, which brings together some of the major recent research on women in theatre, is looking into gender inequality in the theatre sector. The report can be found here: https://sphinxtheatre.co.uk/new-women-in-theatre-forum-report/

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they plan to have with social media companies about racist abuse of Premier League football players on social media platforms.

Ministers and officials meet regularly with social media companies to discuss online harms. The Culture Secretary and Sports Minister recently led a roundtable discussion with current and former players from the Premier League, English Football League (EFL), Women’s Super League (WSL) and Women’s Championship, which discussed online racist abuse and players’ perspectives on tackling discrimination in the game.

We are clear that the online racist abuse of Premier League football players is unacceptable. We must do all we can to tackle it. We are taking steps through the online harms regulatory framework to ensure that online abuse, whether anonymous or not, is addressed. Under a new legal duty of care, companies will need to remove and limit the spread of illegal content, including illegal online abuse. All companies will need to take swift and effective action against such content.

Companies providing high-risk, high-reach services will also need to undertake regular risk assessments to identify legal but harmful material on their services. These companies will need to set clear terms and conditions which explicitly state what categories of legal but harmful material they accept (and do not accept) on their service. Companies will need to enforce these terms and conditions consistently and transparently and could face enforcement action if they do not. The Online Safety Bill, which will give effect to the regulatory framework, will be ready this year.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) the Football Association, and (2) the Premier League, about the compliance of players with COVID-19 protocols.

The government is glad that elite sport can currently continue safely behind closed doors during this period of national restrictions due to the strict health and safety protocols it can uphold.

Ministers recently met with the Football Association, Premier League and English Football League to discuss the latest health situation in light of the new COVID strain and national restrictions.

Ministers have made the football authorities fully aware of their responsibility to ensure that players and staff act in accordance with government rules and guidance.


Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Football Association about the classification of the Women’s FA Cup as a ‘non elite’ competition.

The Minister for Sport recently met with the Football Association to discuss the Women’s FA Cup and we continue to liaise closely with them to understand this issue.

However, it is up to the respective governing bodies to determine what constitutes the boundary between elite and non-elite within their sports and the classification of such competitions.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the Football Association's Football Leadership Diversity Code since its introduction in October 2020; and what discussions they had with the Football Association about the creation of that Code before it was launched.

The Government welcomed the launch of the Football Association’s ‘Football Leadership Diversity Code’ and believe it will help improve diversity within the game, from the coaching setup to the boardroom, with over 40 clubs signed up so far.

The Government is in regular contact with the Football Association (FA) across a range of matters, however, the responsibility for developing the Code was for the FA.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the English Football League about the impact of the ‘Rooney Rule’ on the racial diversity of football managers.

The Government is in regular contact with the English Football League on a range of issues, including diversity.

Whilst the ‘Rooney Rule’ was not explicitly discussed, actions aimed at improving diversity, and their impact, were discussed in a roundtable with key football stakeholders led by Ministers in November 2020.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to offer additional emergency financial support to non–professional football clubs whose competition participation has been suspended due to restrictions put in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support, which many non-professional clubs have benefited from. This includes the Government’s £100m support fund for local authority leisure centres; Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund which provided £210m directly to support community sport clubs and exercise centres through this pandemic; and the £300m Sports Winter Survival Package which aims to protect the immediate futures of major spectator sports in England over the winter period.

Furthermore, non-professional clubs will be able to access £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs which the Chancellor announced on Tuesday 5 January. Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000.

We are continuing to work with sports and physical activity providers, including non-professional football clubs, to understand what they need and how we may be able to support them.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Football Association about increasing racial diversity amongst football managers.

The Government is in regular dialogue with the Football Association (FA) across a range of matters, including diversity. We welcomed the launch of the FA’s ‘Football Leadership Diversity Code’ which is a step in the right direction to ensure English football better represents our modern and diverse society, on and off the pitch. The Code commits clubs to tackling inequality, including hiring targets, across senior leadership positions, broader team operations and coaching roles. The FA has also committed to following this with a version adapted for the National League System and grassroots clubs in Spring 2021.

Ministers discussed the Code with the FA, as well as other matters including tackling discrimination, in a roundtable with key football stakeholders in November 2020.

The Government is also committed to working with all sports to ensure opportunities to progress are open to all, from athletes to administrators, to board members. As an example of this, in July 2020 Sport England and UK Sport announced a joint review of the Code for Sports Governance. The Code sets out the levels of transparency, accountability and financial integrity required from those who ask for government and National Lottery funding. It currently says that organisations must show a "strong and public commitment" to progressing ethnic diversity. However, it is right to review this to ensure that opportunities to progress are open to all. The Government will be working with UK Sport and Sport England to set new expectations and ensure the sport sector leads by example.

However, there is still progress to be made and the Government will continue to liaise closely with the football authorities on their efforts to improve diversity in the sport.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a racial diversity threshold for boardrooms of all football organisations.

The Government is in regular dialogue with the Football Association (FA) across a range of matters, including diversity. We welcomed the launch of the FA’s ‘Football Leadership Diversity Code’ which is a step in the right direction to ensure English football better represents our modern and diverse society, on and off the pitch. The Code commits clubs to tackling inequality, including hiring targets, across senior leadership positions, broader team operations and coaching roles. The FA has also committed to following this with a version adapted for the National League System and grassroots clubs in Spring 2021.

Ministers discussed the Code with the FA, as well as other matters including tackling discrimination, in a roundtable with key football stakeholders in November 2020.

The Government is also committed to working with all sports to ensure opportunities to progress are open to all, from athletes to administrators, to board members. As an example of this, in July 2020 Sport England and UK Sport announced a joint review of the Code for Sports Governance. The Code sets out the levels of transparency, accountability and financial integrity required from those who ask for government and National Lottery funding. It currently says that organisations must show a "strong and public commitment" to progressing ethnic diversity. However, it is right to review this to ensure that opportunities to progress are open to all. The Government will be working with UK Sport and Sport England to set new expectations and ensure the sport sector leads by example.

However, there is still progress to be made and the Government will continue to liaise closely with the football authorities on their efforts to improve diversity in the sport.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support the Football Association in the recruitment of BAME referees in grassroots football.

The Government is in regular dialogue with the Football Association (FA) across a range of matters, including diversity. We welcomed the launch of the FA’s ‘Football Leadership Diversity Code’ which is a step in the right direction to ensure English football better represents our modern and diverse society, on and off the pitch. The Code commits clubs to tackling inequality, including hiring targets, across senior leadership positions, broader team operations and coaching roles. The FA has also committed to following this with a version adapted for the National League System and grassroots clubs in Spring 2021.

Ministers discussed the Code with the FA, as well as other matters including tackling discrimination, in a roundtable with key football stakeholders in November 2020.

The Government is also committed to working with all sports to ensure opportunities to progress are open to all, from athletes to administrators, to board members. As an example of this, in July 2020 Sport England and UK Sport announced a joint review of the Code for Sports Governance. The Code sets out the levels of transparency, accountability and financial integrity required from those who ask for government and National Lottery funding. It currently says that organisations must show a "strong and public commitment" to progressing ethnic diversity. However, it is right to review this to ensure that opportunities to progress are open to all. The Government will be working with UK Sport and Sport England to set new expectations and ensure the sport sector leads by example.

However, there is still progress to be made and the Government will continue to liaise closely with the football authorities on their efforts to improve diversity in the sport.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Football Association about how that organisation can improve on issues of racial diversity.

The Government welcomed the launch of the Football Association’s (FA) ‘Football Leadership Diversity Code’ to ensure English football better represents our modern and diverse society.

Ministers discussed the Code with the FA, as well as other matters including tackling discrimination, in a football roundtable on 17th November 2020.

There is still more to do, however, and the Government will continue to liaise closely with the football authorities to improve diversity in the sport.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to introduce (1) new business rate relief, and (2) an indemnity insurance scheme, for the events industry.

We are aware that the events and exhibition industry, as well as other sectors, have been severely impacted by Government measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

My Department regularly engages with events stakeholders to assess the issues being faced and to develop means of offering support, including on the issue of insurance provision. The Government is also in continual dialogue with the insurance sector on its response to COVID-19.

We encourage events businesses and suppliers, including those ineligible for schemes related to business rates relief, to explore the Government’s full support package.

Events businesses can access support such as the various government-backed loans, as well as the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes. We are also giving £1.1bn of discretionary funding to Local Authorities to help businesses through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).

We are continuing to engage with stakeholders, including through the Tourism Industry Council and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to monitor the situation facing the events industry.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support self–employed and freelance workers within the live music industry.

Our world-beating live music industry would be nothing without the people who work in it, and we are working hard to help provide financial support to freelancers in this sector.

Over two thirds of eligible people in the cultural sectors have benefitted from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). We’ve supported the self-employed with over £13 billion in grants and the Chancellor has increased the generosity of the scheme from 40% to 80% of people’s profits for November, in order to reflect recent changes to the furlough scheme. This also increases the total level of the grant from 40% to 55% of trading profits for 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2020.

In addition, more businesses will be able to access additional support as deadlines for applications for government-backed loan schemes and the Future Fund have been further extended until 31 January 2021.

The Arts Council England has made £119 million available to individuals, with £23.1 million already distributed and £95.9 million currently available to apply for via open funds.

The £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund will benefit freelancers, because it will invest in organisations and help them to reopen, and restart performances. So far, over £500m has been announced from the Culture Recovery Fund to protect cultural organisations across England, almost a fifth of which has gone to the music sector.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Oct 2020
5G
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to speed up the 5G rollout.

The Government is committed to the delivery of world-class digital infrastructure, including 5G, across the UK. Our ambition is for the majority of the population to have access to a 5G signal by 2027.

All four mobile network operators have now launched 5G networks, with 5G services now available in over 100 towns and cities across the UK. Whilst the vast majority of investment in 5G will be made by industry, the Government is funding the research and trials of 5G networks through the £200 million 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme which invests in targeted projects across the UK to build the commercial case for 5G.

The Government is committed to reducing the barriers to the deployment of mobile infrastructure to help speed up rollout. As part of this, the Government has announced that, subject to a technical consultation, it intends to take forward reforms to the planning system to support the deployment of 5G and extend mobile coverage. The Government also intends to consult on whether changes to the Electronic Communications Code are needed to support these aims.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the BBC about increasing the number of Black, Asian, and minority ethnic leaders within that organisation.

The government is clear that the BBC should be leading the way on both on and off-screen diversity, and the BBC Charter specifically requires the BBC to ensure its organisation and management reflects the diversity of the UK.

The government looks forward to the BBC’s new Diversity and Inclusion Strategy which will be published later this year, and to see how the BBC will work to better serve all diverse audiences across the UK nations and regions in future.

However, the BBC is independent of the government and responsible for decisions on its editorial and operational matters, including those on recruitment and staffing. As the independent regulator of the BBC, it is for Ofcom to hold the BBC to account.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) professional football clubs, and (2) the Police, about sharing data on discrimination within professional football.

Racism or any form of discrimination has no place in football or society.

The Government continues to liaise closely with the football authorities and the Police to combat discrimination and promote collaboration wherever possible.


Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Football Association about increasing diversity among (1) grassroots, and (2) professional, football referees.

We are in regular dialogue with the Football Association (FA) across a range of matters, including diversity. I welcomed the FA’s announcement of a new voluntary code for Equality in Football Leadership, which aims to champion equality in football and tackle all forms of discrimination in the game.

The Government is committed to working with sports to ensure opportunities to progress are open to all, from athletes to administrators, to board members. As an example of this, on 13 July 2020 Sport England and UK Sport announced a joint review of the Code for Sports Governance. The Code sets out the levels of transparency, accountability and financial integrity required from those who ask for government and National Lottery funding. It currently says that organisations must show a "strong and public commitment" to progressing ethnic diversity. However, it is right to review this to ensure that opportunities to progress are open to all. Government will be working with UK Sport and Sport England to set new expectations and ensure the sport sector leads by example.

It is also important that referees feel safe and supported. That is why I was pleased to see the football authorities commit to improving reporting systems and providing better training and support for referees and stewards last year - including improved CCTV.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take to support young BAME journalists.

Racism or any form of discrimination has no place in the media or society.

The media plays a vital role in British society and it has an important responsibility to reflect modern Britain. This can only be achieved through a representative, and diverse workforce.

The government is committed to working together with industry to support greater diversity, and to ensure that everyone regardless of their background should have the same opportunity to go as far as their talents and hard work take them.

In broadcast journalism, Ofcom, who are the independent communications regulator, publish an annual diversity report which provides diversity monitoring data for the main broadcasters and includes information on the diversity initiatives of their news teams. In the print media a number of national newspapers are running diversity schemes. These include the Daily Mail’s Stephen Lawrence Scholarship and BAME internships at the Guardian. The National Council for the Training of Journalists also runs a diversity fund.

The Government does not wish to interfere in any way with editorial freedoms, operations or decision making in news organisations, but we encourage industry to do more to increase diversity in journalism.

DCMS ministers and officials regularly meet with a range of stakeholders to discuss a range of issues and the Government is committed to ensuring that equality and diversity are a key feature in all of our interactions with industry.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had, if any, with UK newsrooms about addressing racism.

Racism or any form of discrimination has no place in the media or society.

The media plays a vital role in British society and it has an important responsibility to reflect modern Britain. This can only be achieved through a representative, and diverse workforce.

The government is committed to working together with industry to support greater diversity, and to ensure that everyone regardless of their background should have the same opportunity to go as far as their talents and hard work take them.

In broadcast journalism, Ofcom, who are the independent communications regulator, publish an annual diversity report which provides diversity monitoring data for the main broadcasters and includes information on the diversity initiatives of their news teams. In the print media a number of national newspapers are running diversity schemes. These include the Daily Mail’s Stephen Lawrence Scholarship and BAME internships at the Guardian. The National Council for the Training of Journalists also runs a diversity fund.

The Government does not wish to interfere in any way with editorial freedoms, operations or decision making in news organisations, but we encourage industry to do more to increase diversity in journalism.

DCMS ministers and officials regularly meet with a range of stakeholders to discuss a range of issues and the Government is committed to ensuring that equality and diversity are a key feature in all of our interactions with industry.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Birmingham Organising Committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games about the diversity of its workforce.

The government is in regular discussions with the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee about equality, inclusivity and the diversity of its workforce. Birmingham 2022 is committed to living up to the Games Partners’ common purpose of being a ‘games for everyone’ and recognises it has work to do to ensure its workforce reflects the rich diversity of the West Midlands. It is developing an initial roadmap to move forward positively on the issue and recently set this out in an open letter which can be found on its website. It is also committed to openness and transparency. More details of its action plan will be made public in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Clive James Race and ethnicity in the UK film industry: an analysis of the BFI diversity standards, published on 15 July.

The Government’s aim is to see a UK cultural and creative sector that is strong, vibrant and inclusive, which can only be achieved through a diverse and representative workforce. We recognise there is still much to be done to improve diversity and inclusion across both the film and wider creative industries workforce and are working with industry - including the BFI and Creative Industries Council - on a range of measures to ensure the sector better reflects the diversity of the UK.

Whilst DCMS has made no assessment of Dr Nwonka’s report, the Diversity Standards are an important part of the BFI’s work, and as an arm’s-length body of DCMS, the department works closely with them to ensure that they are as effective as possible in driving change.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had, if any, with (1) Sport England, and (2) UK Sport, about ethnic diversity within elite sports governance.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport talks regularly to both Sport England and UK Sport about all aspects of diversity, including ethnic diversity. It welcomes the joint announcement made by both organisations on 13 July 2020 announcing a review of the Code for Sports Governance. This will include a substantive review of the elements of the Code that support equality, diversity and inclusion, particularly those that focus on the boards of sporting organisations. The aim will be to ensure the greater representation of people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, disabled people or people with a long-term health condition, as well as female representation.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to support BAME–led television organisations during the COVID-19 economic recovery.

The government is committed to supporting our fantastic screen industries, which include BAME-led television organisations, and to working together with industry to support greater diversity. We welcome the work Ofcom has undertaken through their annual diversity reports on broadcasting and we are working with the British Film Institute (BFI), in their role as the Government’s arm’s length body, to improve representation both on and off screen, including through supporting the wider adoption of the BFI’s Diversity Standards which apply to films, online and broadcast television content.

To date, as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Government has not provided bespoke support to any one group within the television industry. However, the Government has provided support to the sector as a whole, including the recently announced UK-wide £500 million Film and TV Production Restart Scheme. This will help to get TV and film productions across the country that have been halted or delayed by a lack of insurance to get back up and running, by giving productions the confidence they need that they will be supported if future losses are incurred due to Covid-19. The scheme will directly support up to 40,000 - 50,000 jobs in the film and TV production industry.

Ministers have engaged with the broadcasting sector at regular roundtables to take into account challenges created by the pandemic, including impacts on diversity in broadcasting. We will continue these discussions to assess where Government can further support organisations as we move further into the recovery stage.

More broadly, the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most generous and comprehensive in the world, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Bounceback Loan Scheme and business rates reliefs. In addition, the Government has adapted the welfare system so that the self-employed can access Universal Credit in full, to help people get quicker and more generous support when they need it most.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support BAME community organisations which have lost heritage funding as a result of the restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government is fully committed to supporting the heritage sector through the coronavirus crisis. BAME community organisations are able to take advantage of the unprecedented support made available by the Government, including the Job Retention Scheme and a years' business rates holiday. In addition to Government support, Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund have made emergency response packages available, totalling over £50 million, for those organisations most in need.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) the Premier League, (2) the English Football League, and (3) the Professional Footballers' Association, about BAME coaching representation.

The Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage has frequent discussions with football authorities covering a range of issues, including BAME representation in the sport.

The government welcomes steps being taken by the Premier League, English Football League and Professional Footballers’ Association to improve BAME coaching representation, including the recent announcement of a new coach placement scheme aimed at increasing the number of BAME players moving into full-time coaching roles in the professional game.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage greater diversity in UK film and TV.

Encouraging greater diversity in UK film and TV is a priority for government, and from our engagement with the cultural and creative sectors - including a roundtable hosted by my colleague Caroline Dineage on the impact of Covid-19 on diversity in these areas - we recognise that this issue has been under greater scrutiny in recent weeks.

We are working with the British Film Institute (BFI), in their role as the Government’s arm’s length body with responsibility for the sector, to improve representation both on and off screen, including through supporting the wider adoption of the BFI’s world-leading Diversity Standards. In addition, we are seeking to identify and promote best practice; through our sponsorship of the National Film and TV School, we have recently provided an additional £65,000 to support students from diverse backgrounds and we are also engaging with industry to drive change on the ground. In January this year, DCMS launched the ScreenSkills Apprenticeship Pilot with industry partners Netflix and Warner Media. Recruitment will focus on underrepresented groups within the sector and will not consider previous qualifications as a key recruitment criteria - thereby providing opportunities to people from all backgrounds.

We welcome the work Ofcom has undertaken through their annual diversity reports and the work of Project Diamond, an initiative supported by the broadcasters, which captures diversity data and the Creative Industries Council’s recent Diversity Charter. The Government continues to encourage employers to publish diversity data not because they have to but because it is the right thing to do.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Football Association about the number of black football managers.

We are in regular dialogue with the Football Association (FA) across a range of matters, including diversity. I welcome the FA’s recent announcement of a new voluntary code for Equality in Football Leadership, which aims to champion equality in football and tackle all forms of discrimination in the game.

The government is committed to working with sports to ensure opportunities to progress are open to all, from athletes to administrators, to board members. As an example of this, on 11 June 2020 the Minister for Sport announced a review of the Code for Sports Governance. The Code sets out the levels of transparency, accountability and financial integrity required from those who ask for government and National Lottery funding. It currently says that organisations must show a "strong and public commitment" to progressing ethnic diversity. However, it is right to review this to ensure that opportunities to progress are open to all. Government will be working with UK Sport and Sport England to set new expectations and ensure the sport sector leads by example.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to regulate the use of facial recognition technology to ensure that it is not discriminatory towards people from BAME communities.

Uses of facial recognition technology in the UK, both private and public, are regulated by the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 that set standards for protecting personal data. Organisations have an obligation to ensure that any personal data they hold is accurate and processed in a manner that is lawful, fair and transparent.

Facial images, which constitute 'special category' data for the purposes of the legislation are subject to heightened safeguards and can only be processed if specific conditions in the legislation are met. Processing must be necessary, proportionate and justified. The legislation is enforced by the Information Commissioner's Office, which has shown a willingness to take action against commercial organisations that are acting unlawfully.

To ensure a safe use of facial recognition technology (FRT) in all sectors, the government tasked the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) to produce a Snapshot briefing paper looking at the uses and potential implications of facial recognition technology’s deployment in the UK. The paper was published on 28 May and we are considering its findings. The CDEI are currently working on a review into bias in algorithmic decision-making and will continue to examine the impacts of FRT and algorithms on society and provide recommendations on how to minimise bias.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that commercial facial recognition technology is (1) registered, (2) accurate, and (3) not discriminatory towards people from BAME communities.

Uses of facial recognition technology in the UK, both private and public, are regulated by the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 that set standards for protecting personal data. Organisations have an obligation to ensure that any personal data they hold is accurate and processed in a manner that is lawful, fair and transparent.

Facial images, which constitute 'special category' data for the purposes of the legislation are subject to heightened safeguards and can only be processed if specific conditions in the legislation are met. Processing must be necessary, proportionate and justified. The legislation is enforced by the Information Commissioner's Office, which has shown a willingness to take action against commercial organisations that are acting unlawfully.

To ensure a safe use of facial recognition technology (FRT) in all sectors, the government tasked the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) to produce a Snapshot briefing paper looking at the uses and potential implications of facial recognition technology’s deployment in the UK. The paper was published on 28 May and we are considering its findings. The CDEI are currently working on a review into bias in algorithmic decision-making and will continue to examine the impacts of FRT and algorithms on society and provide recommendations on how to minimise bias.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to promote diversity in football.

It is vital that diversity is promoted in all levels of sport and the Government is committed to doing so.

The Government, through Sport England, is investing £2 million per year into the FA to support their work in ensuring the coaching workforce in football is more representative of wider society. This includes providing bursaries to develop coaching abilities from the grassroots to the elite levels of the game.

Government's sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation’ has diversity and inclusion at its heart. The Government remains supportive of a number of anti-racism initiatives that work with English football from grassroots to the elite, which include Show Racism the Red Card and Kick it Out.

The Government also supports the steps the football authorities (the FA, the Premier League and the English Football League) have taken during the current season to combat discrimination. This included actions targeted at and around football grounds such as, improving reporting systems, providing better training and support for referees and stewards; and improving the quality of CCTV around stadia.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Football Association about (1) restarting the English Premier League behind closed doors and (2) the timing of matches in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ministers held a productive meeting with the Football Association, alongside the Premier League and English Football League, on 14th May to discuss the latest on their plans for the safe resumption of professional football in June.

The Premier League will only return when it is safe to do so - the health and welfare of players, coaches and staff comes first.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much accommodation they have offered to key workers who want to reduce the risk of giving COVID-19 to their families.

We are working closely with accommodation providers to explore ways in which they can support key workers. My Department is in regular contact with the sector and other Departments to try and help match supply with the demand. We have been proud to see accommodation providers uniting to play their part in COVID-19 response efforts.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to review Huawei's planned involvement in the UK's 5G network.

The Government conducted a comprehensive, evidence-based review into the telecoms supply chain, which was published in July 2019. The final conclusions of the Government’s Telecoms Supply Chain Review in relation to high risk vendors were announced on 28 January and provided the details of the additional steps it will be necessary to take to mitigate the risk from high risk vendors. This announcement made clear the Government’s intention to, over time, reduce our reliance on high risk vendors as market diversification takes place. We want to get to a position where we do not have to use a high risk vendor in our telecoms networks at all.

The conclusions of the Review were based on security analysis from our world-leading cybersecurity experts, and took into account the full range of issues and risks.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure women in football receive equal pay to their male counterparts.

It is important that women and men are recognised and paid equally for doing the same work. I welcome the positive step that has been taken to ensure that all companies in Great Britain with more than 250 employees are required to report their gender pay gap to the Government Equalities Office.

We know there is some work to do to narrow the gender pay gap across the sport sector. If this is to happen progress must continue to be made in the wider culture of sport to ensure women are treated equally to men at all levels. I am pleased to see Lewes FC paving the way by paying their women’s team the same wages as their men’s team and we hope others can look at how they can reduce gender pay gaps.

In order to close the gender pay gap it is also crucial that we provide greater exposure and commercial opportunities. As part of a broader aim to support greater equality of coverage, in September 2019 the government consulted on whether to add women’s equivalents of men’s events currently on the list to both group A and group B categories. The consultation closed on 11 December 2019. The government is now carefully considering the responses in detail and we will respond in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to introduce cyber-harassment fines for (1) the media, and (2) members of the public.

The Online Harms White Paper sets out our plans to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator.

We are also ensuring the criminal law is fit for purpose. The Law Commission is conducting the second phase of its review of abusive and offensive online communications. We expect the Law Commission to produce its final report in early 2021.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for introducing legislation to permit the legal ownership of personal data.

The word ‘ownership’ usually implies certain rights over a property such as being able to use it, sell it or give it away, but this is unlikely to be a workable concept in the wide range of circumstances that processing of personal data occurs. Data protection legislation in the UK does, however, impose obligations on data controllers to process personal data lawfully and transparently in a way that individuals would expect. It also gives individuals specific rights in relation to their data. These include rights to seek access to, rectify or erase their data or to object to its continued processing.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to work with the Football Association to ban children under the age of 18 from heading footballs during training, in order to mitigate the possible associated risk of developing brain disease in later life.

Guidance on training and coaching for grassroots sport is a matter for the sport’s National Governing Body. However, we are encouraged to see the Football Associations of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland putting children’s health and wellbeing at the heart of their provision.

It is important that all schools and sports clubs follow guidance on age-appropriate sport participation, and have appropriate measures in place to protect young people from harm, including serious injuries such as concussion.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of Google's decision to move all data about UK users of its services to the US.

Google has announced that it is updating its Terms of Service for UK customers so that Google US, rather than Google Ireland, will now be the service provider and the data controller responsible for UK users’ information.

Data rights laws in the UK will continue to apply to Google's treatment of personal data of UK users, whether UK users are served from Ireland or the US. Google has confirmed that it will continue to apply the GDPR standard of protection for UK users, with no change in its approach to privacy, including how it collects and processes UK users’ information. The UK is committed to high data protection standards and we are confident that data protection laws in the UK provide appropriate protection for users in the UK.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to increase the number of their grants to Ofcom, following the announcement that it will have increased regulatory responsibilities.

As outlined in the Government’s ‘The Online Harms White Paper - Initial consultation response’, published on 12 February 2020, “The White Paper makes clear that in order to recoup both the implementation costs and running costs of the regulator, the government is considering fees, charges or a levy on companies whose services are in scope. This could fund the full range of the regulator’s activity. The government intends the new regulator to become cost neutral to the public sector.” The Government is carrying out extensive analysis on potential funding options taking Ofcom’s existing funding structure into consideration. Full details on the funding mechanism for the Online Harms regulatory regime will be set out in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that loopholes in Google's advertising networks allow companies to target vulnerable groups.

All organisations that process data that contains personal or identifying information about individuals in the UK must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018. The Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations 2003 also imposes certain restrictions on the processing of personal data for direct marketing purposes.

These rules impose strict obligations on organisations to process people’s data fairly and lawfully and to ensure that any data collected is held securely. Organisations must also ensure they have a legal basis for processing data, are clear and transparent about how personal data will be handled, and ensure that the data is processed in a way which individuals would expect. Organisations that fail to comply may be subject to enforcement action by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The ICO are consulting on a draft code of practice on Direct Marking, which is available on the ICO's website.

Last year the government announced its intention to consider how online advertising is regulated in the UK. One of the key aims of this work is to drive transparent and ethical targeting practices for advertising online so that consumers are informed, empowered and can have trust in online advertising. The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation published a Review of online targeting on the 4th February 2020, which explicitly considers the impact of targeting on vulnerable people. This included a number of recommendations which the Government is considering; we will respond to the report by October. In addition, the ICO is currently investigating real time bidding practices within online advertising to ensure they are GDPR compliant.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to regulate the algorithms used by social media companies to promote content.

The Government published the initial response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation on 12 February 2020. This response confirmed that the Government is developing legislation on online harms to introduce a statutory duty of care, overseen and enforced by an independent regulator. This will require social media companies to have appropriate systems and processes in place to deal with harmful content on their services to keep their users safe. As set out in the White Paper, the regulator will have the power to request explanations about the way algorithms operate, where necessary to establish that a company is fulfilling its duty of care. The Government will publish full details of the final policy position in the Spring, ahead of legislation.

On a related topic, the Government noted the Committee for Standards in Public Life's recent report on Artificial Intelligence, and will respond to its recommendations in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to further regulate how social media companies secure information online.

The Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR is in place to ensure that organisations, including social media companies, who collect and use personal data do so lawfully and transparently. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) regulates data protection legislation in the UK. Organisations which fail to comply with the legislation may be the subject of enforcement action.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that technology companies are deliberately slowing down old phone models.

The application of consumer law to specific cases is ultimately a matter for the courts and it is not for Government to take a view on specific cases. However, the Government expects companies to behave fairly towards consumers and they are not allowed to use unfair terms in their standard contracts with consumers. Terms which allow a trader to alter goods or digital content may be potentially unfair when the terms are not sufficiently transparent for the consumer to understand.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to de-criminalise non-payment of the BBC licence fee.

On 5 February, the Government announced an 8 week consultation on whether to proceed with the decriminalisation of TV licence evasion by replacing the criminal sanction with an alternative civil enforcement scheme. The Government believes that it is right to look again at whether the criminal sanction remains appropriate for TV licence fee evasion, given ongoing concerns about whether the criminal sanction is unfair and disproportionate. Following careful consideration of the responses, the Government expects to publish a response by summer 2020.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to promote diversity in the UK gaming industry.

The government recognises the critical importance of diversity in the video games industry, and the Creative Industries as a whole. We welcome the games industry’s Raise The Game diversity pledge launched on 4 February 2020. The pledge is backed by companies such as Microsoft XBox, Facebook, EA, Jagex and King and the aim is to sign up at least 200 employers by 2021.

This builds on the Creative Industries Council’s Diversity Charter, announced in July 2019, which commits to engaging leaders across the creative industries to champion diversity and inclusion.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to introduce legislation to establish the difference between free speech and false information online.

The UK supports freedom of expression, both as a fundamental right and as an essential enabler of the full range of other human rights protected by UK and international law. The Online Harms White Paper, published in April 2019, outlines our proposals for a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. The regulator will have a responsibility to protect freedom of expression. Our approach will support more people to access their right to freedom of expression, by reducing the risk of being attacked on the basis of their identity. The counter-disinformation measures proposed in the White Paper are focused on protecting users from harm, not judging what is true or false.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that Huawei's limited role in the UK's 5G network does not present a security risk.

UK Telecoms operators have been advised by the National Cyber Security Centre - in its guidance published on 29 January - on the steps they need to take in relation to high risk vendors. The guidance also sets out the steps necessary for Huawei, including the important continuing role for the world class Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre and Oversight Board.

In addition, new telecoms security requirements proposed in the Government’s Telecoms Supply Chain Review will raise the height of the security bar and require telecoms operators to design and manage their networks to meet new requirements. They will provide clarity to industry on what is expected in terms of network security and, in turn, improve security across vendors.

27th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with owners of social media platforms about the support they provide to workers who moderate content.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings with social media companies on a range of issues, including support provided to workers who moderate content on their platforms. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to introduce fines for social media companies who do not actively seek to remove (1) suicide. and (2) self-harm, related posts.

The Online Harms White Paper sets out our plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. This will make companies more responsible for their users’ safety online, especially children and other vulnerable groups, and will help to build trust in digital markets. The Government will will bring forward legislation to improve internet safety for all, as set out in the Queen’s speech.

The new regulatory framework will place a duty of care on online operators. To fulfil the duty of care, where relevant, companies will be required to take robust action to address harmful content that provides graphic details of suicide methods and self-harming.

The new Online Harms framework will be overseen by an independent regulator which will have effective enforcement powers, including the power to fine operators who do not comply with the new duty of care.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Instagram about reports that its algorithms cause people with mental illnesses to self-harm.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings with social media platforms such as Instagram on a range of issues, including the use of algorithms to target specific groups. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the GOV.UK website.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to introduce an artificial intelligence ethical regulatory framework after the UK leaves the EU.

The government is committed to harnessing the potential of emerging technology, including artificial intelligence. We recognise the importance of strong ethical frameworks and guidance to ensure the appropriate use of data-driven technologies.

That is why the UK launched the Data Ethics Framework in 2016, a practical guide for the public sector to the appropriate use of data to deliver high quality evidence for policy making and service design, and the first guidance of its kind. The Framework was developed through open collaboration across the government data science community, academia and civil society and is currently being updated to ensure that it remains a world-leading guide on the ethical use of data in the public sector.

The government also established the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation in 2018, to provide independent, expert advice on the measures needed to enable and ensure safe, ethical and innovative uses of artificial intelligence and data-driven technologies. This includes advising on how we address potential gaps in our regulatory landscape, and identifying best practice for the responsible use of data and artificial intelligence through engagement with industry bodies, public service providers and consumers to coordinate world-leading standards and codes of conduct.

The UK already benefits from a world-class regulatory regime, and the Centre will build on this by making sure we understand and respond to the rapidly evolving way in which data is impacting our lives.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to introduce further legislation to ban companies from profiting from other digital companies’ scam advertising or misleading investments.

The government takes fraud very seriously and continues to work closely with industry to close down the vulnerabilities that fraudsters exploit, and ensure members of the public have the information they need to spot a scam and stand up to fraudsters. We set up the Joint Fraud Taskforce to help build a collaborative law enforcement, government and industry response to tackling fraud. Scams can also be reported to Action Fraud and Citizens Advice.

Last year the government announced its intention to review how online advertising is regulated in the UK, looking at how well the current regime is equipped to tackle the challenges posed by developments in online advertising. The announcement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/jeremy-wrights-statement-on-the-cairncross-review

Currently, advertising in the UK is overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the industry’s independent regulator, which for online advertising enforces the Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) through a system of self-regulation. The CAP Code incorporates all relevant legislation and sets standards for accuracy and honesty to which advertisers must adhere. This system operates independently of government.

With specific regard to online scam advertising, the ASA works with online platforms to have problem advertising taken down, and with other partners, including National Trading Standards, to take action against those who are engaged in fraud. The ASA also works closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to regulate the advertising of legitimate financial products.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Norwegian Consumer Council, Out of Control: How Consumers Are Exploited by the Online Advertising Industry, published on 14 January, which states that a number of mobile applications are violating the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

We are aware of the recent report on the online advertising industry published by the Norwegian Consumer Council. The Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR is in place to ensure that organisations, including advertising companies, who collect and use personal data do so lawfully and transparently. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) regulates data protection legislation in the UK. It is working with the advertising industry to improve compliance with the law and has published the following blogs which urge organisations to review their processes and systems. Organisations which fail to comply with the legislation may be the subject of enforcement action.

https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/blog-advancing-the-adtech-debate-from-a-data-protection-perspective/ 12 February 2019

https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/blog-adtech-fact-finding-forum-shows-consensus-on-need-for-change/ 07 March 2019
Last year the government announced its intention to review how online advertising is regulated in the UK, looking at how well the current regime is equipped to tackle the challenges posed by developments in online advertising.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of Google's "privacy sandbox" technology on market fairness and safety.

Google’s “privacy sandbox” initiative is at an early stage, and the impact of its proposals on consumer outcomes is yet to be seen. The Government is committed to ensuring that the internet and new technologies are safe and secure, and that businesses can compete on a level playing field. We are currently considering how to boost competition and innovation in digital markets, and will continue to assess all external proposals for supporting these aims.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what risk assessment they have conducted of the proposed adoption of Huawei technology for the UK's 5G network infrastructure.

The security of the UK’s telecoms networks is of paramount importance. The Government has undertaken a comprehensive review of the telecoms supply chain to ensure the security and resilience of 5G and fibre in the UK. The Review, published in July, set out the Government’s priorities for the future of telecommunications and proposed the introduction of a new, strengthened security framework for telecoms

The Review also considered the use of high risk vendors in UK telecoms networks. High risk vendors never have been and never will be in the UK’s most sensitive networks. A decision on the use of high risk vendors in the UK telecoms networks will be made in due course following a robust assessment of the risks

The UK is not considering options that would put at risk the UK’s national security or intelligence sharing. The Government continues to work closely with the US and other international partners on the issue of telecoms security.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of remarks by senior officials in the United States that adopting Huawei technology in the UK's 5G network presents a security risk.

The security of the UK’s telecoms networks is of paramount importance. The Government has undertaken a comprehensive review of the telecoms supply chain to ensure the security and resilience of 5G and fibre in the UK. The Review, published in July, set out the Government’s priorities for the future of telecommunications and proposed the introduction of a new, strengthened security framework for telecoms

The Review also considered the use of high risk vendors in UK telecoms networks. High risk vendors never have been and never will be in the UK’s most sensitive networks. A decision on the use of high risk vendors in the UK telecoms networks will be made in due course following a robust assessment of the risks

The UK is not considering options that would put at risk the UK’s national security or intelligence sharing. The Government continues to work closely with the US and other international partners on the issue of telecoms security.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to work with the Football Association to combat racism in football.

Racism or any form of discrimination has no place in football or society, and we must confront this vile behaviour.

Together with the Minister for Sport, I met with the FA last week and discussed their action on discrimination. Whilst progress has been made, there is still more to do and we will be calling in all the footballing authorities for a further update about their work on this important issue.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the dangers that may arise from Facebook not strengthening regulation of political advertisements.

The Government regularly engages with social media platforms, including Facebook, on a number of issues. Whilst we welcome existing steps taken by platforms to take more responsibility for the content on their platforms, we are clear that these steps do not go far enough to protect users online.

The Online Harms White Paper sets out our plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. This will make companies more responsible for their users’ safety online, especially children and other vulnerable groups, and will help to build trust in digital markets.

The Online Harms White Paper proposes that under the new regulatory framework for online safety, companies could be required to improve transparency of political advertising, in line with requirements in electoral law. The Cabinet Office is also considering this issue as part of the Defending Democracy programme, which has been set up to protect and secure UK democratic processes and strengthen the integrity of UK elections. Last year, the Government announced a review into online advertising, which will consider the extent to which the current regulatory regime is equipped to tackle the challenges posed by rapid technological developments in advertising. Further details will be set out in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to introduce tougher advertising legislation for celebrities who do not clearly state that their social media posts include branded items which are part of an advertising partnership.

Last year the government announced its intention to review how online advertising is regulated in the UK, looking at how well the current regime is equipped to tackle the challenges posed by developments in online advertising. The announcement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/jeremy-wrights-statement-on-the-cairncross-review

Currently, advertising in the UK is overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the industry’s independent regulator, which for online advertising enforces the Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) through a system of self-regulation. The CAP Code incorporates all relevant legislation, including consumer protection legislation, and sets standards for accuracy and honesty to which advertisers must adhere. This system operates independently of government.

The remit of the ASA extends to the online promotion of products by celebrities, if the celebrity has been paid (including payment in kind) by an advertiser, and the advertiser exerts some form of editorial control over the resulting content. To guarantee compliance with the CAP Code in such cases, advertisers must ensure that endorsements are genuine, claims are accurate and advertising is clearly identified as such. The products themselves must also adhere to relevant regulation and standards.

If the advertiser does not exert some form of editorial control over the resulting content, consumer protection legislation still applies and is enforced instead by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA works closely with the ASA in this area, and expects such content to clearly identify any commercial relationship and to have regard to the CAP Code.

The Competition and Markets Authority recently investigated social media endorsements by influencers / celebrities to ensure that they were being clear to their followers, resulting in influencers / celebrities changing their practices. They also published a guide to help influencers and those working with them to understand how to comply with UK consumer protection law. Separately to this work, but complementary to the government's review of online advertising, the CMA is conducting a market study of online platforms and digital advertising, and published an interim report in December which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-lifts-the-lid-on-digital-giants

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether social media platforms are adequately monitored for harmful and illegal content.

We published the Online Harms White Paper in April last year, setting out plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

Our proposals would establish a new statutory duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. The duty of care will ensure companies have appropriate systems and processes in place to deal with harmful content on their services to keep their users safe.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support technology start-ups.

As outlined in our Digital Strategy, the Government’s ambition is to ensure the UK is the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business.

To support access to finance, the Government has introduced a new £2.5 billion British Patient Capital programme, which is expected to attract a further £5 billion in private investment. This will support UK companies with high growth potential to access the long-term investment they need to grow and internationalise.

To continue to attract international talent, the Government has: doubled the number of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas to 2,000; taken doctors and nurses out of the Tier 2 visa cap, increasing the number of skilled worker visas available to other sectors, including tech; and launched the new Start-Up and Innovator visa routes for entrepreneurs. In addition, the Government has committed to introducing a new 2 year visa route for individuals who graduate from UK higher education providers.

The Government continues to fund Tech Nation, supporting their work to accelerate the growth of the digital tech sector across the country. Tech Nation deliver growth programmes for the sector aimed at stages across the business lifecycle, with programme alumni including Monzo, Deliveroo and Funding Circle. In the past year, Tech Nation have started sector-specific growth programmes in AI and Cyber, in addition to their FinTech programme. In 2019, Tech Nation's growth programmes supported 649 tech companies. Tech Nation have a regional network of 11 Entrepreneur Engagement Managers (EEMs) working across the UK to support entrepreneurs, startups and scaleups to access their programmes and networks.

Finally, at London Tech Week 2019, the PM launched a study into the competitiveness of the UK Tech Sector. Reporting later this year, the study will identify key opportunities and support mechanisms to further accelerate business growth in the digital tech sector.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to introduce legislation to ban deepfake videos which promote misinformation.

The Government recognises the potential challenges artificial intelligence and digitally manipulated content such as deepfakes may pose and we are considering these issues carefully as part of work to tackle online manipulation and disinformation.

The Online Harms White Paper sets out our plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. We intend to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. Ahead of the implementation of the new regulatory framework, we continue to work closely with companies to encourage them to take early action to address disinformation and online manipulation on their platforms. Platforms continue to make progress in this area and we welcome these efforts.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the interim report by the Competition and Markets Authority Online platforms and digital advertising, published on 18 December, in particular the consideration that online platforms should allow users to turn off personalised advertisements.

Digital services are an important part of everyday life. It is vital that we ensure they work for everyone and can harness the incredible benefits of digital technologies, protect consumers while encouraging trust, and foster innovation across the economy. The government is currently considering how to boost competition and innovation in digital markets, including those funded through online advertising. Last year the government announced its intention to review how online advertising is regulated in the UK, which will assess the extent to which the current regulatory regime is equipped to tackle the challenges posed by rapid technological developments seen in online advertising.

The government is grateful to the CMA for their work to date on the interim report from their market study into Online Platforms and Digital Advertising. The CMA’s final market study report will set out findings and may make recommendations to the government. We look forward to these recommendations.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by United for All Ages Together in the 2020s, published on 7 January; and what action, if any, they plan to take in response.

The Government has made no formal assessment of this report. I thank the Noble Lord, however, for bringing this to our attention. I agree there is a need for government to work closely with civil society in many areas, including age inequality. These issues are cross-cutting and require input from many parts of government. DCMS is playing its part in this work, as set out in the government’s Civil Society Strategy and ‘A Connected Society: A strategy for tackling loneliness’.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to introduce further regulation in regard to the online promotion of products by celebrities.

Last year the government announced its intention to review how online advertising is regulated in the UK, looking at how well the current regime is equipped to tackle the challenges posed by developments in online advertising. The announcement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/jeremy-wrights-statement-on-the-cairncross-review.

Currently, advertising in the UK is overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the industry’s independent regulator, which for online advertising enforces the Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) through a system of self-regulation. The CAP Code incorporates all relevant legislation, including consumer protection legislation, and sets standards for accuracy and honesty to which advertisers must adhere. This system operates independently of government.

The remit of the ASA extends to the online promotion of products by celebrities, if the celebrity has been paid (including payment in kind) by an advertiser, and the advertiser exerts some form of editorial control over the resulting content. To guarantee compliance with the CAP Code in such cases, advertisers must ensure that endorsements are genuine, claims are accurate and advertising is clearly identified as such. The products themselves must also adhere to relevant regulation and standards.

If the advertiser does not exert some form of editorial control over the resulting content, consumer protection legislation still applies and is enforced instead by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA works closely with the ASA in this area, and expects such content to clearly identify any commercial relationship and to have regard to the CAP Code.

The Competition and Markets Authority recently investigated social media endorsements by influencers / celebrities to ensure that they were being clear to their followers, resulting in influencers / celebrities changing their practices. They also published a guide to help influencers and those working with them to understand how to comply with UK consumer protection law. Separately to this work, but complementary to the government's review of online advertising, the CMA is conducting a market study of online platforms and digital advertising, and published an interim report in December which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-lifts-the-lid-on-digital-giants.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage universities to advertise (1) subject drop-out, and (2) employment, rates for courses.

Students should be made fully aware of subject completion rates and graduate outcomes data, so that they can make meaningful decisions about what course to take and where to study.

On 1 July 2022, the department published guidance asking higher education providers to improve the transparency and consistency of advertising at provider and subject level. Published guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transparency-in-advertising-for-higher-education-providers.

We expect that providers will incorporate this data into any newly commissioned advertising, as it is right that applicants are made aware of it before they commit to applying for a particular course or institution.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase sports funding for schools.

The department continues to deliver year on year increases to school funding, with the total core school budget increasing to £56.8 billion by the 2024/25 academic year. This is a £7 billion cash increase, compared with 2021/22.

In addition to the school’s core budget, the department confirmed that for the 2022/23 academic year, primary schools will continue to receive the £320 million PE and sport premium.

In October 2021, the department announced nearly £30 million a year to improve the teaching of physical education at primary school, and to open primary and secondary school sport facilities in the evenings, at weekends, and during the holidays.

To support the pupils who the department knows are most inactive, such as girls and pupils with special education needs and disabilities, we are investing nearly £2 million over a three-year period to deliver the Inclusion 2024 programme and the girls’ competitive sport Your Time initiative.


Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to allow all employers to use their apprenticeship levy funds to tackle labour shortages.

The apprenticeship levy is an important part of the government’s reforms, supporting employers of all sizes to invest in high-quality apprenticeship training, and helping employers address industry labour shortages by building the skilled workforces they need.

Employers can already choose from over 640 high-quality employer-designed apprenticeship standards, at all levels and in all sectors of the economy, to meet their skills needs and develop a diverse pipeline of talent for the future. The Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education continues to work with employers to develop new apprenticeship standards where there is an employer demand.

The department is encouraging more employers to make greater use of their levy funds by helping them choose more flexible training models, such as accelerated and flexi-job apprenticeships, so that employers in all sectors can benefit from apprenticeships and apprentices can hit the ground running from day one.


We continue to make improvements to the apprenticeship levy transfer system to make it easier for large employers to make full use of their levy funds and support starts in their supply chain, sector, or local area, and to support more employers, including small-medium-sized employers, to meet local or sectorial skills needs.

We also provide £1,000 payments to both employers and training providers when they take on apprentices aged between 16 and 18 years old, helping to support younger people into apprenticeships.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to extend the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund to apprentices.

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund targets support for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people who need help with the costs of staying in post-16 education and training.

The department has no plans to extend the qualifying criteria to include apprentices, because they are employed and in receipt of a wage. Apprenticeships are paid jobs allowing people to earn while they learn, gaining the necessary knowledge and skills needed to progress, or start an exciting career in a variety of industries.

The department continues to provide £1,000 to both employers and providers when they take on 16 to 18 year-old apprentices and 19 to 24 year-old apprentices with an education, health and care plan.

To support apprentices with living costs, employers may offer work benefits such as travel loans, or company equipment such as a phone or a car and in some cases offer relocation allowance.

The department recognises that young care-experienced apprentices, usually living independently, are more likely to struggle with living costs while on an apprenticeship. For this reason, in 2018 the department introduced a £1,000 bursary for care leavers on apprenticeships.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide financial incentives for (1) training providers, and (2) employers, to encourage them to take on young people who have not already achieved a Grade 4 or above in English and Maths.

The department recognises the importance of English and maths both in work and everyday life. For this reason, we are continuing to support participation in English and maths, training to meet employers’ needs, and progression in employment and further study.

The 16-19 funding formula has two payments to support schools, colleges, and all other 16-19 institutions where young people have not already achieved a Grade 4 or above in English and maths.

Students studying level 3 programmes (including T Levels), who have not yet attained these qualifications attract additional funding of a single £750 payment per subject if they are studying a 2-year programme, or a single £375 payment per subject if they are studying a 1-year programme.

Disadvantage funding is provided to help attract and retain disadvantaged 16-19-year-olds. A rate of £480 is available per instance of a full-time student without grade 4 GCSE English or maths.

In addition, the 16-19 tuition fund provides ring-fenced funding for schools, colleges and all other 16-19 institutions who receive annual funding allocations from the Education and Skills Funding Agency for the provision of 16-19 education. £222 million has been made available across the next two academic years to provide small group tutoring activity for disadvantaged 16-19 students whose studies have been disrupted through the impact of the pandemic, and who have not achieved a level 4 or 5 in GCSE maths and English. From the 2022/23 academic year, additional flexibilities will be introduced around which students can receive tuition support. This will not impact the way funding is allocated.

The Condition of Funding (CoF/resits) policy requires full-time 16-19 learners to continue studying English and maths if they have not yet achieved level 2.

The number of learners achieving level 2 in English and maths by the age of 19 has improved since the CoF policy was introduced. In 2019, 72% of 19-year-olds had achieved level 2 in English and maths, a 12-percentage point rise, compared with the level of achievement at age 16, which stood at 60%. To put it another way, that year almost 63,000 learners had achieved English and maths through their post-16 providers, compared with around 37,500 in 2014.

Targeted English and maths professional development for teachers supporting 16-19-year-olds continuing to work towards level 2 English and maths has been provided through government grant funding since 2013. The department continues support into this new Spending Review period, including a recently launched grant competition to fund up to £3 million over the next three years to provide these teachers with free, high-quality professional development that is targeted specifically to help them support this cohort of learners

Continuing to invest in teachers’ skills provides additional means of supporting young people to gain vital English and maths qualifications, boosting, and levelling up education standards, so that young people in every part of the country have greater opportunities for employment and study.

English and maths qualifications are also an important part of the apprenticeship programme. The department provides funding for apprentices to achieve up to an approved level 2 qualification in English and maths where they do not already hold a suitable equivalent qualification.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to establish a British Baccalaureate which offers a mix of (1) academic, and (2) vocational, qualifications at age 18.

Since 2010, the government’s reforms have made a lasting improvement to the rigour of qualifications, ensuring they reflect the knowledge and skills pupils need to progress. With further reforms currently in train, the department has no plans to introduce a Baccalaureate-style system at age 18.

GCSEs were reformed from 2013 to ensure they rigorously assess the knowledge acquired by pupils during key stage 4. They are in line with the expected standards in high-performing jurisdictions. Around half of students change institution at age 16. GCSEs therefore provide an important reflection of academic attainment, giving students recognised and respected qualifications, and supporting a smooth transition between institutions.

With the benefit of a broad education pre-16, students can then specialise post-16. The academic and technical pathways the department has developed serve different purposes, but they are rigorous and enable students to progress to the next stage of their education or employment.

The academic pathway includes our gold standard A levels. We have worked with higher education (HE) providers to reform A levels to ensure they are as robust as possible and support progression to HE.

The technical pathway includes T levels, which have been designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and behaviours they need to secure employment in a range of occupations or to progress to higher technical education. Our ten new T levels, including digital, construction, and health and science, are now being taught. Over twenty T Levels will be available by 2023.

In addition, our high-quality apprenticeships provide young people with the opportunity to earn while learning the skills needed to start an exciting career in a wide range of industries. There are currently over 640 employer-designed apprenticeship standards available at all levels, ensuring a wide variety of options for young people. We are also promoting front-loaded and accelerated apprenticeships to ensure apprentices can hit the ground running, and to support progression from other skills programmes, including T levels.

The department is also streamlining and improving the quality of all post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below. The changes we are making will give students a clear route map to the high-quality technical and academic pathways available, which they can trust to lead to rewarding careers.

The department is confident that recent and upcoming reforms have and will provide students with a range of rigorous and evidence-informed academic and technical qualifications, and that our qualifications system supports all students to achieve their full potential.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require the Office for Students to (1) monitor trends in international student recruitment, and (2) impose regulatory conditions on universities that have low diversity rates among their student body.

The department monitors international student recruitment trends and has set out in the International Education Strategy (IES) that diversification and sustainable recruitment of international students remains a key strategic priority.

The IES sets an ambition to host at least 600,000 international higher education students in the UK, per year, by 2030. This ambition was met for the first time in the 2020/21 academic year, with over 605,000 international students studying in the UK.

The government does not plan to require the Office for Students (OfS) to undertake additional monitoring of trends in international student recruitment.

Regarding measures to improve diversity at specific providers, under OfS registration condition A1, all approved (fee cap) providers charging higher fees must have an approved access and participation plan in place. These must present a credible, ambitious strategy by the provider for closing identified gaps in access, continuation, and progression for disadvantaged and under-represented groups within their student body. Providers are held accountable on their targets via an annual monitoring return to the OfS. 171 providers had an OfS approved access and participation plan in the 2020/21 academic year, in accordance with the regulatory framework and powers under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017.

It is important that providers focus on supporting students to see good outcomes, not just getting more disadvantaged students through the door, this is what will ensure that Higher Education (HE) remains an engine of true social mobility. The department expects providers to do more to support high prior attainment for all, and to help students to identify and access the pathways that are right for them. That is why we have tasked the OfS through guidance issued in November 2021 with a reboot of access and participation in English HE.

John Blake, as Director for Fair Access and Participation at the OfS, is responsible for driving these changes forward. John is working closely with the sector to encourage stronger partnerships between HE providers and schools, and the expansion of the range of courses that are both offered and promoted to prospective students.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to run a national campaign for adult education explaining (1) what opportunities are free to access, and (2) how to access courses.

A large number of providers across the country, such as further education colleges and Independent Training Providers, are already delivering local adult education and skills provision. This ensures that adult learners have the opportunity to gain new qualifications and skills in their area.

The department is continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the adult education budget (AEB). This comprises £1.34 billion in the 2021/22 academic year. The AEB fully funds, or co-funds, skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3. This is to help them gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship, or further learning.

The department is also investing £1.6 billion through the National Skills Fund across the 2022 to 2025 financial years, on top of the £375 million already committed in the 2021/22 financial year. This includes investment of up to £550 million to significantly expand Skills Bootcamps, and investment to expand the eligibility for delivery of the Free Courses for Jobs offer, which is now open to more adults.

The National Careers Service provides free, up-to-date, and impartial information, advice, and guidance to help individuals consider the different programmes, learning and skills opportunities in their local areas. This helps them determine which route would be best for them. This includes community-based face-to-face service for priority groups of adults, such as those with low qualification levels or learning difficulties and disabilities.

The department launched the Skills for Life campaign in January 2022, focusing on adults in England. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the different education and training routes available for adults to get the skills they need to get the job they want, whatever their stage in life. This includes promotion of free opportunities for adults, such as Skills Bootcamps, Free Courses for Jobs, apprenticeships, Multiply and essential maths, English, and digital skills. The campaign signposts adults to Skills for Life and the National Careers Service to find out more and apply. The department plans to launch the second phase of the campaign later this year.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to allow businesses to direct the apprenticeship levy towards prison rehabilitation schemes.

The department fully supports preparing prisoners for employment upon their release and recognises how important this is. We are working with the Ministry of Justice to introduce an apprenticeship programme for those in prison and who are close to being released, in order for these individuals to benefit from the enhanced skills and employment prospects that apprenticeships bring.

We expect to make the necessary changes to legislation by the autumn to allow the first apprenticeship starts later on this year. Initially, up to 100 prisoners a year will be supported to begin an apprenticeship in custody.

The introduction of apprenticeships for serving prisoners later this year will allow levy-paying employers to use their levy funds to support apprenticeships for those in custody. Levy payers can already employ prisoners as apprentices upon their release and can use their levy funds to support these apprenticeships.

We do not have plans to allow businesses to direct levy funds intended for apprenticeships towards prisoner rehabilitation schemes. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for, and receives funding to deliver, prisoner education and rehabilitation services.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to establish a branded adult education centre in every town which supports adults into learning and throughout their education journey.

A large number of providers across the country, such as further education colleges and Independent Training Providers, are already delivering local adult education and skills provision. This ensures that adult learners have the opportunity to gain new qualifications and skills in their area.

The department is continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the adult education budget (AEB). This comprises £1.34 billion in the 2021/22 academic year. The AEB fully funds, or co-funds, skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3. This is to help them gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship, or further learning.

The department is also investing £1.6 billion through the National Skills Fund across the 2022 to 2025 financial years, on top of the £375 million already committed in the 2021/22 financial year. This includes investment of up to £550 million to significantly expand Skills Bootcamps, and investment to expand the eligibility for delivery of the Free Courses for Jobs offer, which is now open to more adults.

The National Careers Service provides free, up-to-date, and impartial information, advice, and guidance to help individuals consider the different programmes, learning and skills opportunities in their local areas. This helps them determine which route would be best for them. This includes community-based face-to-face service for priority groups of adults, such as those with low qualification levels or learning difficulties and disabilities.

The department launched the Skills for Life campaign in January 2022, focusing on adults in England. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the different education and training routes available for adults to get the skills they need to get the job they want, whatever their stage in life. This includes promotion of free opportunities for adults, such as Skills Bootcamps, Free Courses for Jobs, apprenticeships, Multiply and essential maths, English, and digital skills. The campaign signposts adults to Skills for Life and the National Careers Service to find out more and apply. The department plans to launch the second phase of the campaign later this year.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to offer early learning and childcare spaces for children under the age of six.

The department does not directly offer childcare places, but it does support the take up of places, and each local authority has a duty to ensure that there are sufficient childcare places for all parents that need them.

The department has invested more than £3.5 billion in each of the last three years to deliver early education entitlements. All three and four-year-old children can access 15 hours of free childcare a week. We have doubled this for three and four-year-olds in families with working parents, saving them over £6,000 a year. The 15 hours of free childcare is also available for two-year-olds from lower-income families. The department recently announced that it is investing additional funding for these entitlements worth £160 million in 2022/23, £180 million in 2023/24 and £170 million in the 2024/25 financial years, compared to the 2021/22 financial year.

Outside of school hours, children aged five and above can access wraparound childcare, holiday childcare and other out-of-school settings that provide childcare. The department’s Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme supported more than 600,000 children last summer with free holiday club places. We are making more than £600 million available to local authorities in England over the next three years for the HAF programme, so that we can continue to provide disadvantaged children and families with access to clubs that provide healthy food and enriching activities during the longer school holidays.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require schools to implement anti-racist policies.

There is no place for racism in our education system and schools have an important role in preparing pupils for life in modern Britain, by supporting them to understand the society in which they grow up in and teaching about respect for other people and difference.

The department has no plans to place specific requirements on schools, but we expect them to take steps to tackle racist and discriminatory attitudes or incidents and condemn racism within the school and wider society. Challenging intolerant, racist or discriminatory views, where these are shared at school, should be seen as part of schools’ wider anti-bullying and safeguarding duties.

Further to this, relationships education is now compulsory in all schools and the relationships, sex and health education curriculum has a strong focus on equality, respect, the harmful impact of stereotyping, as well as the importance of valuing difference.

Under the Equality Act 2010, schools must not discriminate against a pupil in a number of respects because of a characteristic protected by the act. State-funded schools are also subject to the public sector equality duty. The department has published guidance for schools to help them comply with their duties, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to decrease energy costs in schools.

The government is committed to reducing energy use in new and existing buildings, and to meeting the legislative net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050.

The department’s capital funding and programmes help both to reduce carbon emissions and to save schools money on operating costs, through delivering new school buildings and improving the existing school estate.

The department recognises that schools will be facing cost pressures in the coming months, particularly due to the increase in energy prices. We are looking carefully at how this will impact schools and are considering what additional support we could offer.

The department has contacted all schools in England to get basic data on their current and future energy tariffs to better understand how they have been affected by recent energy price increases, so we can consider what additional support we can offer. The survey closed on 2 June 2022.

The department’s schools resource management tools include recommended deals for energy costs and ancillary services relating to energy. We will also update and strengthen guidance on a regular basis to inform schools of the market and commercial position, with practical advice on exiting existing and entering new contracts, available here: https://www.get-help-buying-for-schools.service.gov.uk/procurement-support. The ‘get help buying for schools’ service will also be able to offer support to schools in switching and entering new contracts and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/find-a-dfe-approved-framework-for-your-school.

The department knows that every school’s circumstances are different, and where schools are in serious financial difficulty, they should contact their local authority or the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to expand the eligibility for free school meals.

The provision of free school meals (FSM) to children from out-of-work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government. Under the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom.

Under this government, eligibility for FSM has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century, including the introduction of universal infant FSM, and further education FSM.

The temporary extension of FSM eligibility to some groups with no recourse to public funds, that has been in place since 2020, was extended to all groups and made permanent, subject to income thresholds.

The department will continue to keep all free school meal eligibility under review, to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that funding for free school meals is extended through to secondary school.

All maintained schools and academies, including primary and secondary schools fund benefit-related free school meals (FSM) from their core funding which they receive through the schools block of the dedicated schools grant and is derived from the national funding formula.

For the 2022/23 academic year the department will allocate £470 of funding to local authorities for each of the pupils in their area eligible for FSM. Local authorities then distribute this money to schools through their local funding formula, which must include additional funding for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, such as those eligible for FSM.

It is then for schools to decide how to use their budget, including how much to allocate to pay for benefits-based FSM.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require that companies spend over half of their apprenticeship levy on young people.

It is important that employers have access to training to meet their skills needs and the apprenticeships programme is delivering that. Requiring employers to spend half of their levy funds on young people would restrict employer choice and may reduce opportunities for older workers who may want to re-train, up-skill or re-enter the workforce. Employers are best placed to determine the apprenticeships they need; the government, therefore, have no plans to restrict apprenticeship funding in this way.

The government want more young people to benefit from the high-quality training and opportunities for progression that apprenticeships bring and have a range of work underway to ensure that young people can access apprenticeships more easily. This includes working on new ways to connect young people in schools and colleges with employers and providers much earlier in their final academic year when they are considering their options and working with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to identify and promote standards most suitable for those starting their careers. We are also working with employers and providers to highlight the benefits of hiring young apprentices and increase their use of our free recruitment tools so that vacancies are accessible through our Find an Apprenticeship service.

The government also continues to offer £1,000 payments to employers when they hire apprentices aged 16 to 18, or those aged 19 to 24 who are care leavers or have an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to address the gap in UK child labour and performance regulation which leaves child influencers without protection.

The department is committed to keeping children safe and protected online. We are continuing to explore this issue more broadly across government to identify steps to address it and we will consider the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee’s report carefully.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to extend the apprenticeship levy to include more qualifications.

The apprenticeship levy is an important part of the department’s reforms, supporting employers of all sizes to invest in high-quality apprenticeship training.

Employers can already choose from over 640 high-quality employer-designed apprenticeship standards, at all levels and in all sectors of the economy, to meet their skills needs. Employers can hire apprentices at any age and at any stage in their career, whether that’s a new recruit, or an existing employee being retrained or upskilled. Apprenticeships are designed to support an apprentice to achieve occupational competence. They may include a mandatory qualification, such as a degree or professional accreditation.

The Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education continues to work with employers to develop new apprenticeship standards to support businesses to build the workforce of the future.

We are also supporting employers to make greater use of their levy funds by helping them to choose more flexible training models, and making it easier for levy-paying employers to transfer funds to support apprenticeships in their supply chains or to meet local or sectorial skills needs.

Employers can continue to benefit from a range of other high-quality government funded skills programmes, including Skills Bootcamps and traineeships, to recruit new talent or train current staff.

The department currently has no plans to broaden the scope of what apprenticeship levy funds can be spent on.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to develop a scheme to enable school leavers with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) into the workforce.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to raise the income threshold at which households become eligible for free school meals to £20,000 a year.

Eligibility for free school meals (FSM) has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century, including the introduction of universal infant free school meals, and further education free meals.

The department is also permanently extending FSM eligibility to children from all groups with no recourse to public funds. This will come into effect for the start of the summer term.

In 2018, the government introduced new eligibility criteria for families on Universal Credit, following a consultation in 2017. It was estimated that this will be more generous in its reach by 2022, in comparison to the legacy benefit system. The government included generous protections, which mean any family eligible for FSM transitioning to Universal Credit from a legacy benefit will continue to have access to FSM even if they move above the earnings threshold.

The department continues to work closely with other departments across government in considering eligibility for FSM. This has included working closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to consider all the evidence and recommendations of the National Food Strategy. The Government Food Strategy White Paper will be published in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to lift the limitations which prevent access to free school meals on the grounds of immigration status.

The government will be extending free school meal eligibility to children from all households with no recourse to public funds. I refer the noble Lord to the statement I made on 24 March for more information on this: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2022-03-24/hlws695. This builds on our existing benefits-related criteria which ensures 1.7 million children receive a free nutritious school meal each day, and our universal infant free school meal policy which has been in place since 2014, benefitting a further 1.3 million infant children.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide figures to local councils regarding how many school spaces they should make available for Ukrainian refugees.

The department stands with Ukraine. We continue to work across government to ensure we are supporting all arrivals in the UK from Ukraine to give them the same access to education and childcare as a UK citizen.

The department believes that the best place for all children to be educated is in schools. Local authorities will work with families to enable all children to attend school in the local area as soon as possible, even if these places are not in the immediate vicinity of their accommodation. We understand the challenges of finding suitable school places for new arrivals and will work with local authorities, where necessary, to make this as smooth as possible.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to introduce measures to encourage universities to take action against university academics who promote pro-Putin propaganda.

Alongside our allies, we are united in support for Ukraine.

Universities, as independent and autonomous organisations, should decide whether to investigate such incidences.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support school-age Ukrainian children who have gaps in their education.

Supporting local authorities to create sufficient school places is one of the government’s top priorities. Ukrainian children, aged at least 4 but under 16, who move to and live in the UK are entitled to a school place in England.

10,000 lessons can now be auto translated into Ukrainian, Russian and other languages through Oak National Academy, the online classroom serving millions of children through the pandemic. This will help schools support pupils who have English as a second language.

The department is working closely across government to ensure school-age children transition back to normal life and will set out more details when available. The success of Operation Warm Welcome, which ensured Afghans arriving in the UK received the vital support they need to rebuild their lives demonstrated the government is prepared.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support refugee children from Ukraine and accommodate them within the education system.

The department is working across government, and with charities and local authorities to ensure refugees from Ukraine are properly supported so they can rebuild their lives. The department is preparing to make sure school-aged children who resettle from Ukraine can get into schools and will set out more details when available.

To support schools’ efforts, Oak National Academy have rolled out an auto-translate function across all 10,000 of its online lessons, meaning Ukrainian children can access education in their native language.

All Ukrainian 16 to 19 year olds given right to reside in UK are automatically eligible for 16-19 funding. Those with right to reside may also be able to access bursary support via a provider if they meet the other criteria and can be assessed by the provider as having direct participation costs they need help with.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to include Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history in the school curriculum to combat bullying in schools.

The history curriculum gives teachers and schools the freedom to use specific examples to teach pupils about the history of Britain and the wider world.

Gypsy, Roma and Travellers’ history can already be taught as part of schools offering a broad and balanced curriculum. Resources are available from experts in the communities themselves and bodies such as the Historical Association.

In recognition of its importance, the Holocaust is the only historic event which is compulsory within the national curriculum for history at key stage 3. The curriculum gives teachers and schools the freedom to decide how to teach the subject and what resources to use to support an understanding of the Holocaust, and the experiences of non-Jewish victims of Nazi persecution.

The department is providing over £1.1 million of funding, between 10 August 2021 and 31 March 2022, to five anti-bullying organisations, to support schools to tackle bullying. We are working with all five organisations to ensure any training and resources produced as part of these projects are in line with our requirements.

Our preventing and tackling bullying guidance sets out that schools should develop a consistent approach to monitoring bullying incidents and evaluating the effectiveness of their approaches.

Alongside guidance, the department’s Educate Against Hate website provides teachers, school leaders and parents with advice and trusted resources to safeguard young people from radicalisation, build resilience to all types of extremism and promote shared values. We have also published the Respectful School Communities: Self-review and Signposting Tool to support schools to develop a whole-school approach which promotes respect and discipline. This can help education settings combat bullying, harassment, and prejudice of any kind, including hate-based bullying.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of results of a recent YouGov survey which found that only 12 per cent of teachers feel empowered to teach diversity issues; and what steps they are taking to increase this number.

The national curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what the department expects schools to cover in each subject and is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to go beyond these specifications. The national curriculum does not set out how curriculum subjects, or topics within the subjects, should be taught. The department believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their pupils, and to make choices about what they teach.

The department is committed to an inclusive education system which recognises and embraces cultural diversity. As part of the broad and balanced curriculum, pupils should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain. Diversity issues are covered in several subjects within the curriculum, including but not limited to history, English, citizenship and religious studies. Furthermore, there is a model curriculum being developed for history, which will offer high quality support for knowledge-rich teaching on diversity in this subject.

In autumn 2021, the department launched the National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) to support teachers and leaders who want to develop their knowledge and skills in specialist areas of teaching practice. The Leading Behaviour and Culture NPQ supports teachers to set clear expectations and communicate shared values that improve classroom and school culture. It encourages teachers to create environments where all pupils and colleagues feel welcome, safe, and able to learn from their mistakes, empowering teachers to explore a range of topics, such as diversity, and support others to do the same. More information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-professional-qualifications-npqs-reforms/national-professional-qualifications-npqs-reforms.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Consortium for Research in Deaf Education report Education provision for deaf children in England 2020/21, published in 2021; and what plans they have to encourage teaching staff to hold a Level 3 Certificate in British Sign Language.

The department is determined that all children and young people, including those who are deaf or have a hearing impairment, receive the support they need to succeed in their education. Those teaching classes of children with sensory impairment must hold an appropriate qualification approved by the Secretary of State for Education. Teachers working in an advisory role to support such pupils should also hold the appropriate qualification.

Wider decisions relating to teachers’ professional development rest with schools, headteachers, and teachers themselves, as they are in the best position to judge their own requirements. This may include further training and development relating to British Sign Language.

All teachers in local authority-maintained schools or non-maintained special schools in England are required to hold qualified teacher status, which is awarded upon successful completion of an initial teacher training (ITT) course.

All ITT courses must be designed to allow trainees to meet the teachers' standards, including standard 5, which states that teachers should “adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils”. Standard 5 is clear that all teachers must have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities. The teachers’ standards are available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teachers-standards.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make colleges jointly responsible for the development of local skills improvement plans (LSIPs).

The government plans to designate employer representative bodies to lead the development of the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) through new powers in the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill. This will put employers firmly at the centre of local skills systems, working closely with colleges and other providers. They will be informed by key stakeholders to shape technical skills provision so that it better supports the local economy and boosts this country’s productivity.

The Skills and Post-16 Education Bill also places a duty on colleges and other relevant providers to co-operate with employer representative bodies for the purposes of assisting them to develop LSIPs. This will ensure that colleges and other relevant providers share their knowledge and experience to directly inform the development of these plans and help ensure they are evidence-based, credible, and actionable.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to expand the eligibility criteria for free school meals to all children whose parents are on universal credit.

Eligibility for free school meals (FSM) has been extended several times. Under the benefits-based criteria, 1.7 million of the most disadvantaged pupils are eligible for and claiming FSM, which saves families around £400 per year. The government spends around £600 million per year ensuring an additional 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the Universal Infant FSM policy in 2014.

We think it is important that FSM support is targeted at those that need it most, and FSM is an integral part of our provision for families on low incomes, and our wider actions to promote social mobility.

In 2018, the government introduced new eligibility criteria for families on Universal Credit, following a consultation in 2017. It is estimated that this will be more generous in its reach by 2022, in comparison to the legacy benefit system. Further to this we included generous protections, which mean any family eligible for FSM transitioning to Universal Credit from a legacy benefit will continue to have access to FSM even if they move above the earnings threshold.

The government will publish a Food Strategy in early 2022. This will consider the evidence of Henry Dimbleby’s review of the food system and build on existing work across government to identify new opportunities to make the food system healthier, more sustainable, more resilient, and more accessible for those across the UK.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recent finding by the Association of Accounting Technicians that only 29 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds heard about alternatives to degrees while they were at school; and what steps they are taking to encourage schools to promote such alternatives.

To ensure that young people consider technical options alongside the academic pathway, the government introduced a provider access law in January 2018. This requires all maintained schools and academies to publish a policy statement setting out opportunities for providers of technical education, including apprenticeships, to access year 8-13 pupils, and to make sure that the statement is followed. Through the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill, we are aiming to strengthen the law and create a clear minimum legal requirement for provider encounters.

The government’s careers statutory guidance sets out that all schools and colleges should use the internationally recognised Gatsby Benchmarks to help meet their legal duties and improve their careers provision. In addition to encounters with further and higher education, the Gatsby Benchmarks define other elements of an excellent careers programme, including encounters with employers, experiences of workplaces and personal guidance.

To support this, we are investing £29.6 million to help schools and colleges to improve their careers programmes for young people. This includes £28 million for The Careers and Enterprise Company to deliver support to schools and colleges to implement the Gatsby Benchmarks, including Careers Hubs and Careers Leader training. Young people aged 13 to 18 are able to access ongoing in-depth information, advice and guidance from the National Careers Service via local telephone-based advisers or the National Careers Service website.

Increasing exposure to technical options is vital so that young people can make fully informed choices about their future. New analysis found that uptake of apprenticeships was 16% higher in the schools that provided information on apprenticeships to most or all of their students compared with the schools that provided information to a small minority.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage universities to increase the numbers of black staff to reflect the diversity of students.

Higher education (HE) providers are independent and autonomous institutions. The government does not compel participation in equality charters.

However, it is essential that HE providers address disparities in pay or opportunity, where they may be based on race, disability, gender, or other protected characteristics. We want HE providers to address inequality with confidence, using their own judgement to address the real issues which restrict opportunity.

The department expects HE providers, like all employers, to comply with their obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and give due consideration to the way their employment practices affect different people from different communities and at different stages of their careers.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage university accommodation providers to introduce race awareness training for students and staff.

The government does not play a role in providing or running student residential accommodation. Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and responsible for setting their own rent agreements.

We encourage accommodation providers to review their policies to ensure they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart. There should be no tolerance of any form of racism.

If a student thinks their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice if the provider is a code member. The codes can be found here: https://www.thesac.org.uk/, https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and https://www.nrla.org.uk/about-us/code-of-practice.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that the freeze on the student loan repayment threshold will only stay in place for one year.

We announced on 28 January that the repayment thresholds for post-2012 (Plan 2) and postgraduate (Plan 3) student loans will be maintained at their current levels of £27,295 and £21,000 per year respectively, for financial year 2022-23.

It is more crucial than ever that higher education is underpinned by just and sustainable finance and funding arrangements, and that the system provides value for money for all at a time of rising costs. Maintaining the repayment thresholds at current levels, alongside the ongoing freeze in fees, will help to ensure the sustainability of the student loan system, while keeping higher education open to everyone who has the ability and ambition to benefit from it, including the most disadvantaged.

We will confirm repayment thresholds for future years at the appropriate time.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Education Policy Institute report Measuring Pupil Inclusion in School Groups, published on 31 January; and what plans they have to ensure that schools are measured on whether they (1) exclude, or (2) off-roll, vulnerable pupils.

The department will consider the Education Policy Institute methodology discussion paper in due course.

School performance tables are designed specifically to generate meaningful data from which the public and relevant parties can hold schools and colleges to account. The department keeps all its school performance measures under review and welcomes feedback on how we can refine and improve our suite of measures and the way they are used.

Governing boards are expected to carefully consider the level and characteristics of pupils who are leaving the school. They should also deploy maximum challenge to the school and academy trust management teams on any permanent exclusions to ensure it is only used, when necessary, as a last resort. This also includes looking at suspensions, pupils taken off roll and those directed to be educated off site in alternative provision and whether there are any patterns to the reasons or timing of such moves.

The government is clear that off-rolling (the practice of removing a pupil from the school roll without using a permanent exclusion, when the removal is primarily in the best interests of the school, rather than the best interests of the pupil) is unlawful and unacceptable in any form and we continue to work with Ofsted to tackle it. Ofsted already considers records of children taken off roll and their characteristics and strengthened the focus on this in the revised framework in September 2019. Where inspectors find off-rolling, this will always be addressed in the inspection report and, where appropriate, could lead to a school’s leadership being judged inadequate.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to add British Sign Language to mainstream curriculum classes for (1) nursery, (2) primary school, and (3) secondary school.

The government has recognised British Sign Language (BSL) as a language since 2003. Teaching BSL is not a compulsory part of the national curriculum nor the early years foundation stage learning and development requirements. However, schools and nurseries are free to offer BSL and accredited BSL qualifications as part of their wider curriculum, or as a varied programme of extra-curricular activities, to meet the needs of their pupils and children if they wish. There are currently no plans to add BSL to mainstream curriculum classes for nursery, primary school or secondary school.

The department is aiming to introduce a GCSE in BSL as soon as possible, provided it meets the rigorous requirements that apply to all GCSEs. The department is working closely with subject experts and Ofqual to develop draft subject content and will aim to consult publicly later this year. The department is also engaging with Ofqual to ensure the subject content can be assessed appropriately and will be working with relevant parties to ensure that a wide range of views are reflected.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase offerings of (1) vocational, and (2) technical, courses throughout the school system, to help better prepare students for the working world.

The department is streamlining and improving the quality of the post-16 qualifications system at level 3 and below.

We are reforming technical education to ensure that all post-16 students have access to vocational and technical options that support progression and meet employer needs. This includes the introduction of new T Levels which have been designed with employers and will increase the options for learners to take post-16. We are also reviewing all other technical qualifications at level 3 and below and introducing new higher technical qualifications which will improve the quality of the future technical landscape.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Green Alliance Closing the UK's green skills gap, published on 11 January; and what plans they have to develop a national framework for green jobs which (1) is regularly updated, and (2) outlines the skills required for the transition.

​​We welcome the Green Alliance’s report on closing the UK’s skills gap. The government is committed to supporting green skills across the country and a number of measures are in place to ensure we are supporting the labour market transition to net zero.

At the recent Spending Review, we set out investment of £3.8 billion in further education and skills over the course of the parliament as a whole, to ensure people can access high-quality training and education that leads to good jobs, addresses skills gaps, boosts productivity and supports levelling up. This includes funding for programmes to support green skills crucial to the net zero transition.

In November 2020, we launched the Green Jobs Taskforce, working in partnership with business, local areas, skills providers, and unions, to ensure we have the skilled workforce to deliver net zero and our Ten Point Plan. Following that, and building on the Skills for Jobs White Paper, the Net Zero Strategy was published in October 2021 and set out how the government’s skills reforms will support teachers understanding of sustainability, strengthen links between employers and providers, support workers in high carbon sectors with the transition, and help to build a pipeline of future talent.

Through the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, we are supporting workers to gain the skills they need to transition to the green economy, including through targeted support for retraining. As part of this and through the National Skills Fund investment, we are delivering Skills Bootcamps, which are short, flexible courses covering digital, technical and green skills. Green Skills Bootcamps are available in areas such as housing retrofit, solar, nuclear energy and vehicle electrification.

The Free Courses for Jobs offer has, since April 2021, been supporting adults who do not have a qualification at Level 3 or higher to access over 400 Level 3 courses for free. The offer currently includes qualifications linked to green sectors such as Agriculture, Building and Construction, Engineering, Environmental Conservation, Horticulture and Forestry and Science. This offer replaces loan funding with grant funding for any adult over the age of 23 looking to achieve their first level 3 qualification. In addition, we have recently announced that, from April this year, any adult in England who is earning under the National Living Wage annually (£18,525) or unemployed will also be able to access these qualifications for free, regardless of their prior qualification level.

At post-16 level, we will continue to build on our apprenticeship reforms, to align the majority of post-16 technical education and training with employer-led standards by 2030. A strengthened system of employer-led standards, underpinning apprenticeships, T Levels and new higher technical qualifications will ensure employers, including in low carbon sectors, have a central role in designing and developing qualifications and training.

We are also introducing Local Skills Improvement Plans, which will be developed by employer representative bodies working closely with employers, post-16 education and training providers and key local stakeholders. These Plans will articulate unmet and future skills needs and key changes needed to ensure technical skills provision is responsive to local labour market skills needs. Through the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill, we are legislating to put the employer leadership of these plans on a statutory footing and ensure they consider skills needed to help deliver on our net zero target, adaptation to climate change, and other environmental goals.

Going forward, a new Green Jobs Delivery Group will be the central forum through which government, industry and other key stakeholders work together to ensure that the UK has the workforce needed to deliver a green industrial revolution.

The Group will include ministerial representation from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Education, the Department for Work and Pensions, and other departments as required. It will also importantly be co-chaired by an industry representative to ensure an inclusive view of the action on green jobs needed for net zero and wider environmental goals.

The Group will be active for the duration of this parliament and will aim to drive forward industry and government action across a range of topics, which might include: ensuring we have the skilled workforce to deliver net zero and wider environmental goals in line with the UK’s levelling up agenda; ensuring workers and communities in high carbon sectors are supported with the transition in the wider context of the UK’s levelling up agenda; better understanding and addressing barriers to recruitment, retention and progression in green jobs (including quality of work, pay, conditions, image, etc); ensuring green jobs are open to all; building on the work of the Green Jobs Taskforce to develop a clearer understanding of the green economy and how to define and measure it.

Taken together, and alongside the wider suite of reforms to the skills system being implemented by government in partnership with industry, these measures will help to ensure more people can get the skills they need to enter and progress within green jobs.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a register for children who are being home educated.

The department remains committed to a form of local authority register for children not in school. We will set out further details on this in the government response to the ‘Children Not in School’ consultation, which we will publish in the coming weeks.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to alter the definition of what constitutes a school in order to protect children who attend alternative education.

The existing definition of full-time education does not capture providers which offer only a narrow curriculum even if this teaching takes place throughout all, or most, of the school day.

In 2020, the department’s consultation on regulating independent educational institutions contained a number of related proposals for legislation which would affect independent schools and also some education providers which are neither state-funded nor currently registered with the department as independent schools, although they are attended full-time by children of compulsory school age. This includes some religious education and several other providers.

The consultation included proposals to consider how to expand on the categories of full-time institutions that will be regulated in the same way that independent schools are currently regulated, and to change the definition of independent schools in primary legislation to incorporate such institutions. Taking forward the proposals would bring a range of currently unregistered institutions under the independent education regulatory regime and help ensure requirements are consistent for all providers that children of compulsory school age attend full-time during the school day, which prevents them securing an education elsewhere.

The government remains committed to changing the law on the registration of independent educational providers.

Publication of the response to the consultation on regulating independent educational institutions is expected in early 2022.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage universities to make face-to-face teaching compulsory.

Face-to-face teaching is a vital part of getting a high-quality student experience. With the removal of the Plan B measures, there are no COVID restrictions that apply to higher education (HE) and providers should ensure that they are delivering the full programme of face-to-face teaching and learning that they were providing before the COVID-19 outbreak.

We know that in response to the COVID-19 outbreak HE providers delivered new and innovative approaches to teaching and learning and that some providers continue to use some of these approaches alongside in-person provision. However, online learning should only be offered to enhance the student experience, not to detract from it, and it should not be used as a cost-cutting measure. The Office for Students (OfS) will be monitoring to ensure this is the case, and that universities are being open about what students can expect.

The government expects all universities to continue to deliver excellent learning, in line with guidance from the OfS. On 29 October, my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Higher and Further Education, wrote to all English HE providers to make clear that we expect them to be offering a high quality face-to-face student experience. On 17 January, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote an open letter to students about face-to-face teaching, setting out what they can do if they feel they are not getting the teaching they signed up for. This letter can be found here: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2022/01/17/face-to-face-teaching-is-a-vital-part-of-getting-a-high-quality-student-experience-education-secretary-nadhim-zahawi-writes-to-students/. In addition, the Minister of State for Higher and Further Education has been speaking with some university Vice Chancellors to ensure they are offering students the amount of in-person teaching they should expect.

If students have concerns, they should first raise them with their HE provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at HE providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to provide parents with catch-up vouchers for each day their child is absent from school due to COVID-19 in order to help pay for the costs of remote learning.

The department’s priority is for schools to deliver face-to-face, high-quality education to all pupils. The evidence is clear that being out of education causes significant harm to educational attainment, life chances, mental and physical health.

School attendance is mandatory for all pupils of compulsory school age and it is the department’s priority to ensure that as many children as possible regularly attend school. The department’s current guidance for remote education states that schools affected by the remote education temporary continuity direction must provide remote education for state-funded, school-aged pupils whose attendance would be contrary to public health advice or government guidance or law relating to COVID-19 during the 2021/22 academic year. This means that schools should be offering remote education to pupils who test positive for COVID-19 or present with COVID-19 symptoms, where they are well enough to learn from home. Schools must also have regard to the expectations for remote education published here: https://get-help-with-remote-education.education.gov.uk/statutory-obligations.

The government has committed to an ambitious and long-term education recovery plan, including an investment to date of nearly £5 billion to support the tutoring programme, deliver world class training for teachers, provide additional direct recovery funding to schools, and to extend time in colleges by 40 hours a year. This support will help children and young people make up for education lost and get back on track.

The department’s overall direct investment in education recovery includes funding for up to 100 million tutoring hours for 5-19 year olds, the multi-year recovery premium so schools can deliver evidence-based interventions based on pupil needs, summer schools, extra time in 16-19 education and 500,000 training opportunities for school teachers and early years practitioners.

Recovery programmes have been designed to allow early years, school, and college leaders the flexibility to support those pupils most in need, including the most disadvantaged.

Alongside overall investment in education recovery, the department has delivered over 1.7 million laptops and tablets to schools, trusts, local authorities and further education colleges for disadvantaged children and young people as part of a £520 million government investment to support access to remote education and online social care services.

The department has previously announced funding to support schools and colleges in providing internet access for disadvantaged pupils whose face-to-face education is disrupted due to the COVID-19 outbreak and has enabled ordering of 4G routers for schools and colleges.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure school classrooms are properly ventilated; and what plans they have, if any, to introduce a requirement to keep CO2 in classrooms below 800 parts per million.

The department has provided CO2 monitors to state-funded nurseries, schools and further education colleges, backed by £25 million in government funding. Over 99% of eligible maintained schools, further education colleges, and the majority of nurseries have now received a CO2 monitor with over 300,000 now delivered. Final deliveries will be made before the end of term. Feedback suggests that the monitors are acting as a helpful tool to manage ventilation, sitting alongside the other protective measures in place to manage transmission, such as regular testing, vaccinations and increased hygiene.

While CO2 measurements are a useful proxy for ventilation, they do not give direct information about infection risk. For these reasons, the values given in guidance should not be seen as absolute safe versus unsafe thresholds, but as a broad guide to the quality of ventilation in a space. This approach is recommended by both the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in their guidance. As stated in our guidance, it is the responsibility of schools, colleges and nurseries to decide on the use of poorly ventilated rooms in accordance with their own risk assessment procedures and obligations under health and safety law. 1,500 parts per million (ppm) is well below the workplace exposure limit set by HSE, set at 5,000ppm (averaged over the course of 8 hours).

If used properly, air cleaning units can help reduce airborne contaminants in a poorly ventilated space while remedial work is undertaken to permanently improve ventilation. It is important to note that air cleaning units cannot improve ventilation, and they should never be used as a reason to reduce ventilation or not to remediate poor ventilation in a space.

The department is providing additional, exceptional funding for air cleaning units for poorly ventilated spaces in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and alternative provision (AP) providers, including SEND units in mainstream schools, where quick fixes to improve ventilation are not possible. These institutions are being prioritised given the higher-than-average number of vulnerable pupils in attendance. The purchase of 1,000 air cleaning units reflects our assessment of need in the sector based on recent feedback from SEND and AP providers.

Institutions which are not eligible for a department funded unit have access to an online ‘marketplace’, which provides a route to purchasing air cleaning units of a suitable specification and competitive price. We expect that in most classrooms existing ventilation will be sufficient.

Maintaining adequate ventilation ultimately remains the responsibility of individual schools, colleges and nurseries. It is for institutions to decide on the use of affected rooms in accordance with their risk assessment procedures and obligations under health and safety law.

The case for additional support for institutions to maintain good ventilation will be kept under review as the programme continues and schools, colleges and nurseries use the monitors to further assess their ventilation needs.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce (1) school attainment gaps, and (2) exclusion rates, in refugee and asylum-seeking pupils.

The government is committed to its mission to provide a world-class education for all children, irrespective of their backgrounds. The pupil premium provides schools with additional money to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, with £2.5 billion being distributed in the current financial year. The government has also announced an additional £1 billion for a recovery premium over the next two academic years (2022/23 and 2023/24), which will help schools deliver evidence-based approaches to support the most disadvantaged pupils.

There is no right number of suspensions or permanent exclusions. The department supports headteachers in using suspension and permanent exclusions as a sanction where it is warranted. We are clear that permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort, and this should not mean exclusion from education.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require universities to provide partial refunds of tuition fees to students who are affected by the disruptions caused by industrial action.

The quality of higher education and the learning and opportunities it offers for students are priorities for this government.

The government believes that students should be at the heart of the higher education system. Therefore, we set up the Office for Students (OfS) to regulate the higher education sector in England, protect student rights and ensure the sector is delivering real value for money.

The OfS expects providers to do all they can to avoid disruption for students. Prior to these strikes starting, the OfS wrote to universities outlining how they will uphold standards and protect student interests. They have made clear that they expect universities to abide by the conditions of registration, maintain the delivery of higher education and minimise disruption to students in the event of any industrial action. The OfS also highlighted providers’ obligations under consumer protection law in relation to the impact of industrial action. The OfS published a statement about its expectations of providers during industrial action, available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/news-blog-and-events/press-and-media/ofs-responds-to-industrial-action/

Higher education providers are independent, autonomous institutions responsible for their own decisions about the terms and conditions of employment and pensions. The Pensions Regulator is currently working with the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), Universities UK and a range of other stakeholders as they work to find a long-term solution to the funding challenges faced by the USS.

We expect higher education providers to consider their obligations under consumer law and students’ consumer rights carefully, including during industrial action. This includes ensuring that a range of appropriate remedies and mitigations are available, which may include financial compensation, to prevent and minimise the effects of any strike action upon their students.

If students have concerns, they can complain through their provider’s complaints process. If they are unhappy with the outcome, students have the right to make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). The OIA has published a briefing note about its approach to complaints by students affected by the industrial action, available here: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/resources-and-publications/briefing-notes/oia-briefing-note-complaints-arising-from-strike-action/. The OIA has also published case summaries relating to industrial action complaints they have handled, available here: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/resources-and-publications/case-summaries/.

On 19 April 2021, the OIA announced the introduction of new rules to streamline the Large Groups Complaints process. This should help the OIA to manage similar complaints from large groups of students from a single higher education provider, allowing complaints to be considered collectively and for individual complaints to be added to a larger group.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase the number of secondary school teachers in England.

The number of teachers remains high, with over 461,000 (FTE) working in schools across the country, 20,000 more than in 2010. The department aims to continue to attract and then retain the highly skilled teachers that every child needs. We are taking action to improve teacher recruitment and retention by transforming the training and support we provide to not only attract more people into teaching, but to help teachers stay and thrive in the profession.

The department is creating an entitlement to at least three years of structured training, support and professional development for all new teachers to bring teaching in line with other prestigious professions such as law, accountancy and medicine. Underpinning this is the new Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework and the Early Career Framework (ECF). Together, these ensure that new teachers will benefit from at least three years of evidence-based training, across ITT and into their induction.

To support recruitment and retention of specialist secondary teachers in subjects that are harder to recruit, we have put in place a range of measures, including bursaries worth £24,000 tax-free and prestigious scholarships worth £26,000 tax-free. This will encourage talented trainees into key subjects, such as chemistry, computing, mathematics and physics. Additionally, we have announced a levelling up premium worth up to £3,000 tax-free for teachers in these subjects in years 1 to 5 of their careers.

Furthermore, the department offers bespoke programmes to attract people who may not otherwise have considered teaching. These include the High Potential Initial Teacher Training and Leadership Development Programme and a dedicated programme to attract, support and retain those with career and industry experience into teaching.

The department recognises the importance of increasing the consideration of teaching as a career of choice amongst undergraduates, and therefore we continue to support schools to deliver our teaching internship programme in mathematics, physics and computing. Our expert teacher training advisers offer bespoke, personalised support for candidates across all subjects who are looking to apply for ITT.

We also remain committed to increasing teacher starting salaries to £30,000 to make teaching an attractive graduate option. We are continuing our efforts to support teacher wellbeing, including by launching the education Staff Wellbeing Charter, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-staff-wellbeing-charter, and by driving down unnecessary burdens and reducing teacher workload though the use of our Workload Reduction Toolkit, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-workload-reduction-toolkit.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require employers to spend two-thirds of the funding for apprenticeships on under-25 year olds starting their careers.

It is a central principle of the apprenticeship programme that people can access apprenticeships throughout their lifetimes to help them upskill and re-train, as well as start out in their careers. Employers take the decisions about who they recruit as an apprentice, and which type and level of apprenticeship they offer.

To set an employer a requirement to spend two-thirds of funding for apprenticeships on those aged under 25 would restrict employers’ recruitment choice and reduce opportunities for older employees to retrain or progress.

We recognise the value of apprenticeships in helping young people starting out in their careers, and we are delivering a range of measures to support them and employers. To promote apprenticeships to students and parents our Apprentice Support and Knowledge is working with 56 schools to raise awareness and demonstrate the range of opportunities. We are also creating clearer progression routes for young people completing T Levels and traineeships so that more can move into an apprenticeship, with their training being accelerated to reflect their prior learning and qualifications.

To encourage employers to offer more apprenticeship opportunities to young people we offer them, and training providers, an additional £1,000 so they can deliver effective support to each 16-18 year old apprentice they take on. We also make it more attractive for the smallest employers across the country to employ an apprentice by paying 100% of their training and assessment costs. Alongside this we are encouraging all employers to create new apprenticeship opportunities through the £3,000 employer incentive for hiring any new apprentices. This incentive payment has been extended until the end of January 2022, and has so far supported over 127,000 apprentice starts, of which 77% were aged 16 to 24.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to extend the 30 hours funded childcare policy.

30 hours free childcare is available to working parents of 3 and 4 year olds, helping them with the cost of childcare and supporting parents back into work, or to work more hours if they wish to. To be eligible, parents have to earn the equivalent of at least 16 hours a week at national minimum/living wage (for parents aged over 23, this is equivalent to just over £7,400 per year), and under £100,000 per year. The government currently has no plans to extend this scheme.

In addition to the 30 hours free childcare scheme, all 3 and 4 year olds, as well as some disadvantaged 2 year olds, in England are eligible for 15 hours free childcare. This provides them with high-quality early education and helping prepare them for school.

The government also offers Tax-Free Childcare, which contributes 20% towards childcare costs, and can save eligible working parents up to £2,000 for children aged 0-11, or up to £4,000 for disabled children aged 0-16.

For working parents on a low income, Universal Credit can reimburse up to 85% of childcare costs, up to a monthly limit of £646 for one child or £1108 for 2 or more children.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide more support for students at risk of dropping out of university.

On Wednesday 24 November we issued guidance to the Office for Students (OfS), asking them to refresh the access and participation regime to drive up standards in education and focus in on genuine social mobility by making getting on at university as important as getting in.

We have tasked the OfS with rewriting national targets for access and participation and renegotiating providers’ access and participation plans in line with these new targets.

We want to see the higher education sector stepping up and taking a greater role, not only in improving the access rates for disadvantaged young people, but in ensuring those successes also result in improvements in attainment and outcomes. The OfS should remove any incentives in the current system for providers to recruit disadvantaged students onto courses where too many students drop out or that do not offer good graduate outcomes.

Through the refocusing of the access and participation regime, we expect universities to provide more support to disadvantaged students by:

  • tackling dropout rates and providing support through university to graduation and into high skilled and high paid jobs
  • working more with schools and colleges to raise standards in schools so students get better qualifications and have more options and can choose the path that is right for them
  • offering more courses that are linked to skills and flexible learning such as degree apprenticeships, higher technical qualifications and part time courses.

It is essential that the OfS’ work on access and participation focuses on delivering real social mobility by ensuring students can make the right choices and can access and succeed on high quality courses which are valued by employers and lead to good graduate employment.

This refresh is a central part of our levelling up agenda and national focus on improving the skills gap in disadvantaged areas.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a voucher subsidy scheme alongside maintenance grants to enable students to upgrade their devices if they are becoming outdated.

Students attending full-time undergraduate higher education courses and part-time degree level and equivalent courses can apply for loans as a contribution towards their living costs, including the costs of computers. All students qualify for a minimum loan for living costs with additional support for poorer students.

Students from the lowest income families have access to the largest ever amounts of living costs support in cash terms. Maximum loans for living costs have been increased by 3.1% for the current 2021/22 academic year, with a further 2.3% increase announced for the 2022/23 academic year.

In addition to the standard living costs package, many universities and colleges offer specific funds, bursaries, and scholarships for eligible students. Students experiencing financial hardship can contact their higher education provider. Many providers have hardship funds which students can apply to for assistance.

In the academic year 2020/21, we made £85 million of one-off student hardship funding available to higher education providers on top of the £256 million of Student Premium funding they were already able to draw on towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase the access to healthy food for primary school children.

The standards for school food are set out in The Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014. They ensure that schools provide children with healthy food and drink options, and to make sure that children get the energy and nutrition they need across the school day. The government encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools (including academies), and further information on these are available here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1603/contents/made.

Under the benefits-based criteria, 1.7 million of the most disadvantaged pupils are eligible for and claiming a free school meal. We spend around £600 million per year ensuring an additional 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy in 2014.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that 3,835 schools are in postcodes which do not have access to full-fibre broadband; and what steps they are taking to improve connectivity for schools.

We want all schools in the country to have access to fast internet. We are committed to continued investment, ensuring that every school has access to modern internet connectivity in the classroom, benefiting thousands more children and teachers.

Most schools in the UK are in urban or suburban areas which already have access to fast full fibre broadband, so this government investment is focused on mostly rural or hard-to-reach areas, to ensure they don’t miss out on next-generation speeds.

Recognising the importance of broadband infrastructure in education, we are working with industry and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to accelerate the full-fibre internet connectivity rollout to all schools in England. Children in more than 1,000 schools are now enjoying next generation internet speeds thanks to government investment, with around a further 2,000 to be connected by 2025. Further information on this rollout can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/200-million-rollout-of-full-fibre-broadband-begins.

The government remains committed to investing £5 billion to bring gigabit coverage to the hardest to reach areas and will continue to work with suppliers to accelerate this investment. This takes into account industry capacity to bid for, and deliver, contracts to build in uncommercial areas alongside their commercial plans. GigaHubs is one of the programmes DCMS is using to deliver the government ambition of gigabit capabilities across the UK by 2030. As part of Project Gigabit, GigaHubs will use up to £110 million to connect public buildings such as rural schools, doctors’ surgeries, and libraries to gigabit broadband. This will help GPs provide remote video consultations and allow whole classes of school children to be online, at once, with no interruptions.

Ensuring good connectivity to the building is just the first step. The actual internet speed experienced is also affected by the technology and Wi-Fi arrangements in place within institutions. We have published a suite of resources to help steer schools, colleges and other providers through the key questions and issues to consider when implementing technology infrastructure, including broadband and local infrastructure issues. To ensure investment made in fast broadband carries through into a high-quality experience in the classroom, we have also set up the ‘connect the classroom’ pilot programme, which is investing up to £30 million to upgrade Wi-Fi for over 1,000 schools.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Higher Education Policy Institute report The Humanities in Modern Britain: Challenges and Opportunities, published on 23 September; and what plans they have to ensure that humanities degrees teach professionally valuable skills to boost (1) enrolments, and (2) the employment, prospects of humanities graduates.

We want every university student, regardless of background, to benefit from a high quality education and go on to pursue successful careers with the skills and knowledge they have studied for.

The government is taking forward a manifesto commitment to tackle low quality higher education and drive up standards for all students, no matter what subject they study. Our landmark Skills and Post-16 Education Bill makes clear the power of the Office for Students to take much needed action in this area, including its ability to enforce minimum standards for universities on course completion rates and graduate outcomes.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to create an apolitical organisation to lead an independent consultation on reforming the education (1) curriculum, and (2) assessment, models.

There are no plans to change the curriculum framework for England. All maintained schools and academies are expected to offer a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes pupils’ spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development, and prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.

The department reformed GCSEs and A levels from 2011 to be in line with the highest performing education systems. We consulted widely with schools, colleges, universities and employers, both on the principles for reform and the detail of the content of individual subjects, to help them prepare for their introduction.

At GCSE, the department wanted to make sure that young people had access to qualifications that set expectations that match those in the highest performing countries. At A level, the department wanted the qualifications to be robust and rigorous and keep pace with universities’ and employers’ demands. There are no plans for further wholesale reform of GCSEs and A levels.

Primary assessment policy is the responsibility of the Standards and Testing Agency (STA), an executive agency of the Department for Education. Neither STA nor the department have any plans to establish an organisation to consult on assessment reform.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that their £90 million support-funding pledge for the arts and creative development in secondary schools is met.

The government is committed to high-quality education for all pupils, and integral to this are the arts and music. With the significant disruption and impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on children’s learning and their lives, the department’s priorities have inevitably had to focus on education recovery over the next three years. In this context, creating a stand-alone Arts Premium was not the priority at this Spending Review.

The department is providing schools with a cash increase of £1,500 per pupil by financial year 2024-25 compared to 2019-20, as well as a total of almost £5 billion for education recovery, which will make sure all schools are able to deliver a broad and ambitious curriculum and enrichment activities, including in the arts.

The department will also continue to invest around £115 million per annum in cultural education over the next three years, through our music, arts and heritage programmes, including Music Education Hubs. We will continue to work closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and engage with Arts Council England and other stakeholders to ensure we are making the best use of our funding and reach by aligning on priorities for children and young people.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce compulsory teaching for Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) once per week in schools.

The government does not specify how schools should allocate their time to deliver the curriculum. School managers will need to design their timetables to meet the requirements of all parts of the statutory curriculum and their other duties with regard to the wider school curriculum.

Since September 2020, it has been compulsory for schools to teach relationships education (for primary school-aged pupils), relationships and sex education (for secondary school-aged pupils) and health education (for all pupils in state-funded schools). The department knows that many schools choose to teach some of the new content from the new curriculum in their personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) (or similarly described) programme for their pupils. Teachers are encouraged to develop their practice in a way that meets the specific needs of their pupils.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to include a module on sustainability in every (1) apprenticeship, and (2) T Level course.

This is a matter for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. Its Chief Executive, Jennifer Coupland, has written to the noble Lord and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to introduce environmental sustainability across all National Curriculum and A-Level courses.

The department believes it vital that young people are taught about important matters such as environmental sustainability in school.

Topics relating to the environment are covered in the National Curriculum in the science and geography curricula and in GCSEs. In both subjects, at key stages 1 and 2, pupils are taught about seasons and habitats, as well as covering climate zones and how environments can change. Secondary geography includes study of the climate, how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate. In science key stages 3 and 4 and at GCSE, pupils study climate and ecosystems including how human interaction with ecosystems impacts on biodiversity. We have also introduced a new environmental science A level which became available to pupils in 2017. This will enable pupils to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled.

Pupils also cover content on the environment in citizenship education which has been a compulsory subject in maintained schools since 2002. Pupils are taught what improves and harms the environment, and how economic choices affect sustainability. Teachers have the flexibility and freedom to determine how they deliver the content in the way that best meets the needs of their pupils and can choose to cover particular topics in greater depth if they wish.

On 27 October, there was a Westminster Hall Debate on 'Sustainability and Climate Change (National Curriculum)': https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-10-27/debates/F638FCEC-9A64-4B21-BD6A-A34D96D26DC8/SustainabilityAndClimateChange(NationalCurriculum).

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make the teaching of digital skills mandatory.

The government recognises the critical importance of digital skills in everyday life and for the wider economy. A new computing curriculum was introduced to schools in England in September 2014. This replaced Information and Communications Technology (ICT), due to widespread views that it was outdated and failed to equip young people with the knowledge and skills they needed.

The new computing curriculum is designed to ensure that all pupils learn the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, can analyse problems in computational terms, have experience of writing computer programs, can evaluate and apply information technology (including new or unfamiliar technologies), and are responsible, competent and creative users of ICT. This computing curriculum is compulsory for all state-maintained schools, and free schools and academies can use it as an exemplar.

The acquisition of digital skills in the school space is supported by the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), backed by a government investment of £84 million. The NCCE has created 500 hours of free, high quality teacher resources, which include cyber security, digital literacy and data science.

From August 2020, the department introduced a new digital entitlement for adults with no or low-level digital skills to undertake digital qualifications, up to level 1, free of charge. Digital skills qualifications funded under the digital entitlement are based on national standards that set out the digital skills people need to get on in life and work. The department has committed to making essential digital skills training more accessible and flexible, building on the innovation in online learning implemented during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The department also supports the provision of basic digital skills training for adults in community settings through the adult education budget.

We are investing £500 million in the implementation of the new T Levels, and to help individuals enhance their digital skills, there are three available under the digital route. All T Level programmes include digital skills that are relevant to the occupations in question, giving employers the confidence that graduates have the level of proficiency needed for employment.

The department is also taking forward an ambitious programme of further education reform through the Further Education White Paper. It is clear digital skills will be a major area of focus.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to accelerate, and (2) to publish, the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Review.

The department is determined to improve the outcomes for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The government is working at pace and extensively with a range of partners, including children and young people with SEND, the Children’s Commissioner, parents and carers, system leaders, SEND sector organisations, and many other representatives from education, health and care to ensure the department gets this right.

The department is committed to concluding the review and will publish proposals for full public consultation in the coming months.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to launch a national awareness campaign regarding access to adult education courses.

In January 2022, the department plans to launch a new campaign to help people access the skills they need to get the job they want, whatever their stage in life. The campaign will aim to raise awareness and boost understanding of skills offers among adults, whether they are looking to change career, want to find a more rewarding job or are just starting out.

At the centre of the campaign will be a new digital landing page to help people compare the skills offers available to them and choose the one that best suits their lifestyle, helping to simplify a complex market and support decision making.

Ahead of the campaign launch, no-cost communications through government and stakeholder channels will continue to promote the opportunities available. From April to the end of September 2021, this activity has delivered almost 2.5 million impressions and 29,000 engagements on social media. It has also contributed to more than 326,000 views of the ‘Free courses for jobs’ gov.uk page which has generated almost 300,000 onward clicks, including to provider websites, indicating an audience intent to find out more.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reintroduce COVID-19 safety measures in secondary schools in light of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in younger people.

The department’s priority is for schools to deliver face to face, high quality education to all pupils. The evidence is clear that being out of education can cause significant harm to educational attainment, life chances, and mental and physical health. As COVID-19 becomes a virus that we learn to live with, there is now an imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education.

While the latest data and scientific modelling suggest that cases will continue to rise as restrictions are eased, we are now in a context that has fundamentally changed due to the success of the vaccination programme.

We have therefore moved away from stringent restrictions on everyone’s day-to-day lives, towards advising people on how to protect themselves and others, alongside targeted interventions to reduce risk.

All young people aged 16 and 17 years have already been offered a first dose of vaccine and 12 to 17 year olds with certain medical conditions that make them more at risk of serious illness, or who are living with someone who is immunosuppressed, are eligible for 2 doses.

To reduce transmission, the department is keeping some measures in place across nurseries, schools and colleges to enable us to provide as normal an experience as possible. This will be supported by our ability to respond swiftly and consistently to any exceptional circumstances should it prove necessary and may include reintroducing additional control measures for a limited period to deal with outbreaks. These are set out in the contingency framework: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

Schools continue to have their own health and safety risk assessments and keep these under review. As part of this there are certain control measures we have asked schools to maintain in order to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. This includes ensuring good hygiene for everyone, maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes and keeping occupied spaces well ventilated.

Carbon dioxide monitors have also been provided to all state-funded schools starting from September, so staff can quickly identify where ventilation needs to be improved. The government has also launched a trial of air purifiers in 30 schools in Bradford, which is designed to assess the technology in education settings and whether they could reduce the risk of transmission.

The department will continue to keep these measures under review, in partnership with health experts and informed by the latest scientific evidence and advice.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide funding for scholarships for those wanting to study subjects in which black students are under-represented.

Ensuring equality of opportunity for talented young people across the country is one of this government’s highest priorities.

The previous government brought forward sweeping reforms of higher education (HE) through the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA) to tackle equality of opportunity. This includes the Transparency Duty, which will for the first time require all universities to publish applications, offers and acceptance rates broken down by gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background.

On 11 March 2021 the Office for Students (OfS) published the access and participation data dashboard, which is used to identify gaps in access, continuation, attainment, and progression at English providers delivering undergraduate provision by different student characteristics, available at: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/access-and-participation-data-dashboard/.

All HE providers wanting to charge higher level fees must have an Access and Participation Plan agreed by the OfS, in which they set out the measures they intend to take to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups to access and succeed in higher education.

In the 2021-22 academic year, providers have committed over £202 million to access activity. Through access and participation plans, providers are delivering a range of interventions aimed at improving access, progression and continuation rates for under-represented groups, including additional financial support through bursaries and scholarships. For example, Durham University this year launched their ‘Durham Inspired’ scholarship programme for Black students: https://www.durham.ac.uk/study/scholarships/undergraduate-scholarships-2022-entry/durham-inspired-scholarships-for-black-uk-students/.

In 2019 the government announced £13.5 million of funding for up to 2,500 new places for AI and data science conversion courses, including up to 1,000 government-funded scholarships. These scholarships are prioritised for Black, Female and Disabled students and are based across 28 Universities across England. In the first year alone over 1,300 students have enrolled, with a total of 210 scholarships awarded to date. Of the scholarships awarded, 40% have been awarded to Black students.

We recognise there is still more to be done, including ensuring that students are accessing high quality courses which have real labour market demand and lead them into skilled employment. In our latest strategic guidance to the OfS we asked them to urge providers to do more to ensure that all students, particularly those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, are recruited on to courses that will deliver good outcomes.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage schools to boost diversity among teachers.

It is important that teaching is an inclusive profession. Schools, and their leadership teams, should reflect their communities and their pupils.

Whilst the department knows that, in certain areas, the teaching profession is becoming more diverse, there is further to go to both attract and retain diverse, talented teachers and to support them as they enter the profession and develop their career and leadership journeys.

The ‘Teaching – Every Lesson Shapes A Life’ recruitment campaign is targeted at audiences of students and recent graduates and potential career changers, regardless of background, and we take every effort to ensure that our advertising is fully reflective of this across the full range of marketing materials we use.

In October, Apply for Teacher Training, the department’s new application service for initial teacher training (ITT) in England, was rolled out nationally. Apply has been designed to be as user-friendly as possible and has been extensively tested with a diverse range of potential applicants, to ensure it helps remove barriers to teachers applying for ITT courses. Apply will also allow us to collect more data and insight into candidate behaviour and the behaviour of providers of teacher training. This will mean we have a greater idea of where barriers may occur and allow us to develop and deliver policy interventions where they are most needed.

Alongside a focus on recruitment, it is important we retain people from diverse backgrounds. This will be supported by our work to ensure that all new entrants to teacher training have the best possible start to the early stage of their career.

The department has also developed programmes to support the school workforce, including the Early Career Framework reforms for those at the beginning of their careers and National Professional Qualifications, which are now freely available to all teachers in state-funded schools and 16-19 organisations.

The department understands that creating a culture of flexible working can promote equality of opportunity and diversity in the teaching workforce. We have taken action to expand and promote flexible working practices in schools, including through publishing a suite of supportive resources including guidance and case studies: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/flexible-working-resources-for-teachers-and-schools. We have also appointed eight flexible working ambassador schools to champion flexible working culture and share best practice at a local level: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/flexible-working-ambassador-schools. Alongside this, we are offering free training for head teachers in how to implement effective flexible working arrangements, and how to develop strategic approaches to flexible working.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide funding to schools to improve ventilation systems.

Letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Good ventilation has also been associated with a range of benefits, including improved health, better concentration and lower rates of absence from schools and work. Measuring CO2 levels in indoor spaces is an effective way of identifying poor ventilation in multi-occupant spaces, such as classrooms.

The department has started to provide CO2 monitors to state-funded education settings, including early years, schools and further education providers, backed by £25 million in government funding. We expect that, in most cases, the monitors will confirm that existing ventilation is sufficient.

Where any issues are identified, in most cases we expect this to be resolved by opening windows and doors, or in some cases minor estate repairs may be needed. Day to day maintenance and minor repairs, including those to improve ventilation, should typically be funded from school revenue budgets. Schools also receive an annual Devolved Formula Capital Allocation to spend on small capital projects or capital purchases. For more substantial capital works, schools and those responsible for school buildings have access to funding to improve the condition of buildings through different routes depending on their size and type.

The case for additional support for settings to maintain good ventilation will be kept under review as the programme continues and schools and other settings use the monitors to further assess their ventilation needs.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reform the apprenticeship levy and use part of the levy funds to support pre-apprenticeship programmes to help young people at school build confidence.

The apprenticeships levy was created to support the uptake and delivery of high-quality apprenticeships, allowing employers to make a long-term, sustainable investment in the skills they need, and has been set at a level to fund this employer demand. The department currently has no plans to review what apprenticeship levy funds can be spent on.

As part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, we are providing a range of support and funding to help prepare young people for the world of work. The department is investing £126 million in the 2021/22 academic year to support the largest ever expansion of traineeships and we continue to rollout T Levels.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide more special educational needs and disability (SEND) support to schools.

Our ambition is for every child and young person to have access to a world-class education that sets them up for life, regardless of the challenges they face.

The government is making a major investment in education, and this includes increasing high needs funding for children and young people with more complex special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) by £780 million, or 9.6%, in the 2022-23 financial year. This will follow an increase of more than £1.5 billion over the previous two years and will bring the total high needs budget to £8.9 billion, an increase of over a third since 2019-20. We have also provided, so far, more than £3 billion to support children, including those with SEND, to catch up with their learning.

More generally, it is also providing over £42 million in the 2021-22 financial year to: continue funding projects to support children and young people with SEND and their families; strengthen local area performance; and ensure that they have a voice in the development of SEND services, and information and advice. This includes £27.3 million to support over 60,000 low-income families with children and young people with disabilities or serious illnesses; £2 million funding to continue to equip the workforce to delivery high quality teaching to children and young with SEND through the Whole School SEND consortium; and £600,000 funding to the Autism Education Trust to provide a hub of guidance and resources to support families, teachers and other professionals.

The government is carrying out a review of the SEND system, which includes looking at the support available in mainstream schools for children with SEND. The review is looking at how to ensure support across all education settings is consistent, high quality and joined up across health and care. Proposals for consultation will be published as soon as possible.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to expand Free School Meal eligibility (1) to all children aged seven to 18 in households earning £20,000 per annum or less after benefits, and (2) to children that are undocumented or living in households as part of the no recourse to public funds immigration system.

Under this government, eligibility for free school meals (FSM) has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century. We think it is important that FSM support is targeted at those that need it most. FSM is an integral part of our provision for families on low incomes, and our wider actions to promote social mobility. The government is considering the recommendations in the National Food Strategy and will respond in due course.

We are currently working with departments across government to evaluate access to FSM for families with no recourse to public funds. In the meantime, the existing temporary extension of eligibility will continue until a decision on long-term eligibility is made. Guidance on this extension can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/guidance-for-the-temporary-extension-of-free-school-meals-eligibility-to-nrpf-groups.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce cybersecurity education to Key Stage 1 children in order to educate them on tech literacy and online safety.

The introduction of e-safety content in key stage 1 reflects the fact that children are increasingly accessing the internet from a young age. As part of the computing curriculum, pupils are taught the fundamental principles of e-safety and cyber security. These fundamental principles include how to use technology safely and respectfully, how to keep personal information private, recognise unacceptable behaviour, and identify a range of ways to report concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies. Cybersecurity knowledge is then developed right through a pupil’s time in school, with progression in content throughout each key stage to reflect the different and escalating risks that children face throughout life.

To support the delivery of computing in schools, the department launched the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) in November 2018, which is backed by £84 million of government funding, to ensure teachers have the knowledge and expertise to deliver all aspects of the computing curriculum with confidence at each key stage, including e-safety and cyber security. As part of their core offer, the NCCE are delivering online courses on cyber security and a range of resources on e-safety for each key stage. This includes a unit of learning on being a competent, confident and respectful user of IT for key stage 1 pupils.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the University College London report  Addressing Extremism Through the Classroom, published on 7 September; and what steps are they taking to provide schools with the training and tools to teach pupils how to reject extremist views.

Officials in the Department for Education have reviewed the report with interest and are engaged with the research team at University College London.

The government is committed to supporting the education sector to equip pupils and staff to understand the risks associated with terrorism and develop the knowledge and skills to be able to challenge extremist arguments. The ‘School Snapshot Survey: Winter 2017’ report indicated that 98% of leaders and teachers were confident that their school effectively teaches the values of respect and tolerance of those from different backgrounds, and that 94% of teachers were confident in their responsibilities to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.

Our ‘Educate Against Hate’ website provides teachers, school leaders and parents with the information, guidance and support they need to challenge radical views and keep their children safe, including from online extremist influences. The School Snapshot Survey: Winter 2017, published in 2018, highlights that 85% of school leaders and teachers that used Educate Against Hate thought it helped them to understand how to raise a concern. Additionally, 82% felt it helped them to identify signs of radicalisation and 79% stated it helped them promote mutual respect tolerance and understanding of those with different faiths.

The department continues to identify and produce high-quality resources to assist teachers to build pupils’ resilience to extremist ideologies. This includes hosting resources from the charity ‘Since 9/11’, who the department has worked with to develop teaching materials ahead of the 20th anniversary of September 11th attacks.

The department works closely with and supports the network of Prevent Education Officers based in local authorities, who play an important role in supporting schools. This network provides support and guidance to schools, develops bespoke lesson resources, and provides training to school staff, empowering teachers to approach extremism in the classroom. These practitioners help to inform the development of policy and practice nationally.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide mental health support for students and staff returning to school.

Mental health and wellbeing are a priority for the government. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have prioritised keeping schools open above all else because they are vital for young people’s wellbeing, as well as their education.

We are investing £3 billion to boost learning, including £950 million in additional funding for schools which they can use to support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.

In May, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we announced more than £17 million of mental health funding to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges. This includes £7 million additional funding for local authorities to deliver the Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme. This builds on our £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme in 2020/21, which provided free expert training, support and resources for staff dealing with children and young people experiencing additional pressures from the last year. Wellbeing for Education Return has been used by more than 90% of councils since its launch last summer: https://www.minded.org.uk/Catalogue/Index?HierarchyId=0_48943_49165&programmeId=48943.

Up to 7,800 schools and colleges in England will be offered funding worth £9.5 million to train a senior mental health lead from their staff in the next academic year, which is part of the government’s commitment to offering this training to all state schools and colleges by 2025.

Training will provide senior leads with the knowledge and skills to develop or introduce a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing in their setting. It will encourage staff to develop their own understanding of issues affecting their pupils, giving young people a voice in how their school or college addresses wellbeing and working with parents and monitoring pupils where appropriate.

This support for practice in schools is in addition to the £79 million boost to children and young people’s mental health support we announced in March, which will include increasing the number of Mental Health Support Teams. The support teams - which provide early intervention on mental health and emotional wellbeing issues in schools and colleges - will grow from the 59 set up by last March to around 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children.

The department has brought together all its sources of advice for schools and colleges into a single site, which includes signposting to external sources of mental health and wellbeing support: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mental-health-and-wellbeing-support-in-schools-and-colleges#mental-health-and-wellbeing-resources.

In May, we published the first ever Education Staff Wellbeing Charter: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-staff-wellbeing-charter. The charter sets out the actions that government and other organisations, including Ofsted, will take to improve wellbeing of staff in schools and colleges.

Since June 2020, we have funded peer-support and one-to-one telephone supervision from experts, which has supported over 300 school leaders. This June, we launched an invitation to tender seeking a contractor to provide peer support and one-to-one counselling to least 2,000 school leaders, starting in the autumn 2021.

We know flexible working opportunities can promote staff wellbeing and have appointed the training provider ‘Timewise’ to train school leaders to implement flexible working practices in schools.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to engage with professional and statutory regulatory bodies to determine how degree apprenticeship proposals are implemented.

This is a matter for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. I have asked its Chief Executive, Jennifer Coupland, to write to the noble Lord and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses when it is available.

21st Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of funding cuts to the high cost subsidy for creative arts courses at universities on the viability of these courses; and what steps they are taking to ensure equal access to creative arts courses in all educational settings.

In January 2021, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education asked the Office for Students to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for the academic year 2021/22 in order to ensure value for money and to support strategic priorities across the sector as well as disadvantaged students and under-represented groups.

The Office for Students ran a consultation on this matter and has recently published its conclusions. The responses to the consultation were carefully analysed, and the issues raised were considered by both the Office for Students and the Secretary of State in reaching their respective decisions about the allocation of the Strategic Priorities Grant in 2021/22.

These reforms include the reallocation of high-cost subject funding, which is one element of the Strategic Priorities Grant, towards the provision of high-cost subjects which support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology and engineering subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs. As a result, the total funding for high-cost subjects such as medicine and engineering is 12% (£81 million) higher than last year. The high-cost subject funding rate for arts and music courses will be set at £121.50 in 2021/22 – the fall from 2020/21 is equivalent to a reduction of around 1% in combined funding (on a per-student basis) from a £9,250 tuition fee and Office for Students grant funding.

The government continues to value arts and social science subjects. High-quality provision in a range of subjects is critical for our workforce and our public services, as well as being intellectually rewarding and culturally enriching for those studying them and wider society.

As part of the same reform programme, we have asked the Office for Students to invest an additional £10 million in our world-leading specialist providers, many of which specialise in arts provision. We want to ensure that such providers receive additional support, and that grant funding is used effectively to support students.

The Office for Students continually monitors and assesses financial health in the higher education sector, working closely with any provider that shows increased risk of financial difficulties. The latest Office for Students report on the financial sustainability of higher education providers in England showed that the overall financial position of universities, colleges, and other higher education providers registered with the Office for Students across the higher education sector remains sound, with reasonable financial resilience.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
20th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to improve access to STEM training and resources for both (1) employed, and (2) unemployed individuals.

The noble Lord is aware that this government recognises the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and Technical Education. Our many existing reforms aimed at boosting technical education include the introduction of employer-led standards in apprenticeships; launching T levels; growing the higher-level technical qualifications market; establishing Institutes of Technology across the country; and focusing Skills Bootcamps and Free Courses for Jobs on sectors that are key to the economy such as engineering, construction and digital. We also support those who do not have the required level of maths qualifications through the requirement for 16-18 year olds to continue to study maths as part of their programmes, an entitlement for adults and embedding maths in apprenticeships and traineeships.


19th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Education Policy Institute The cost of high-quality professional development for teachers in England, published on 15 July; and what steps are they taking to improve the quality of existing CPD training that teachers participate in.

The department would like to thank the Education Policy Institute for the report ‘The cost of high-quality professional development for teachers in England’. Supporting our teachers with the highest quality training and professional development is the best way in which we can improve pupil outcomes, with evidence showing that expert teaching can have a disproportionately strong impact on those from disadvantaged backgrounds or those who have fallen behind. That is why the government has made the training, support and professional development we provide for our teachers central to our levelling up agenda and a key part of our plan to deal with the disruption that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused to schools.

To this effect, the government is creating a world-class teacher development system, building from initial teacher training (ITT), through to early career support, specialisation and onto school leadership. At each phase, teachers will have access to high-quality training and professional development underpinned by the best available evidence. This will create a golden thread of support that teachers can draw on at every stage of their careers.

As part of the department’s plans to boost education recovery, the package of measures we announced on 2 June included an investment of £253 million to expand our reforms to teacher development to give 500,000 school teachers the opportunity to access world-leading training appropriate for whatever point they are at in their career. This funding includes £184 million for a reformed suite of National Professional Qualifications which will provide training and support for teachers and school leaders at all levels, from those who want to develop expertise in high quality teaching practice, such as behaviour management, to those leading multiple schools across trusts.

From September 2021, the government is also funding an entitlement for all early career teachers in England to access high quality professional development and support through the Early Career Framework (ECF) reforms. Under the reforms, new teachers will benefit from a longer induction period of two years, replacing the previous one-year induction processes. This means they will have more time to access structured support and to develop their expertise and confidence. The funding available will give every school who wants it access to a Department for Education funded training provider who will design and deliver a comprehensive programme of face-to-face and online training as part of the new statutory induction for early career teachers. The ECF reforms will be backed by over £130 million a year in funding when fully rolled out.

The reforms the department is making to the professional development teachers can access, which also includes the introduction of the ITT Core Content Framework, will root teacher development in the same consistent evidence-based understanding of what works. This will create a thread of high-quality support, training, and development through the entirety of a teacher’s career.

13th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide training for school staff on work-based assistive technology; and what assessment they have made of how such technology can support disabled students.

The department funded training in assistive technology in financial year 2020-21 via the EdTech Demonstrator Programme. National Star College launched a special education need and disabilities (SEND) Hub, which included training on ways assistive technology could be used by teachers, leaders and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCos) to support all pupils. Materials from these training sessions to support teachers and ensure their practice is inclusive to all learners, can still be accessed through the SEND Hub website and the EdTech Demonstrator website.

The success of this programme is informing our next steps in relation to supporting teachers, leaders and SENCos with assistive technology, including a proposed pilot training programme for school staff for financial year 2021-22.

The department published a rapid literature review on assistive technology in education in July 2020, which found strong evidence of the positive impact of specific types of assistive technology (for example to improve communication) and recommended training for teachers and other staff on the use, assessment and evaluation of assistive technology.

7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to create a national framework of minimum standards of support for children with special educational needs and disabilities in mainstream schools.

The government is carrying out a review of the special educational needs and disabilities system, which includes looking at the support available in mainstream schools for children with special educational needs and disabilities. The review is looking at how to ensure support across all education settings is consistent, high quality and joined up across health and care.

It is also considering measures to make sure that money is being spent fairly, efficiently, and effectively, and that the support available to children and young people is sustainable in the future.

This cross-government review is being led by the Department for Education, working closely with other government departments, partners in education and with children, young people, and their families.

7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by London First Central Government's Role in Helping London Drive Recovery, published in May; and what plans they have to create a London Apprenticeship Fund targeted at small firms affected by COVID-19 to restart apprenticeship growth in the capital.

We welcome the report’s focus on the importance of business-led skills programmes in responding to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Through our Plan for Jobs, we are supporting businesses to create employment opportunities and develop their skills bases as we build back better from COVID-19.

We are committed to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the country, including in London, to benefit from the high-quality training that apprenticeships offer. In the first half of the 2020/21 academic year (August to January), there were 18,400 apprenticeship starts in London.

For the 2021/22 financial year, funding available for investment in apprenticeships in England is £2.5 billion, double that spent in the 2010/11 financial year. As well as funding new apprenticeships in levy-paying employers, income from the levy is used to fund new apprenticeships in employers that do not pay the levy. These SMEs continue to be able to access funding for 95% of apprenticeship training and assessment costs, and can now reserve funding for up to 10 new apprenticeship starts in the 2021/22 financial year.

SMEs can also benefit from further funding through the receipt of levy transfers from larger employers who are able to transfer up to 25% of their annual levy funds. In August 2021, we will introduce a new online service to help levy paying employers pledge funds for transfer and find SMEs to receive their transfer. This will allow large employers to make greater use of their levy funds to support apprenticeships in their supply chains and help meet local and regional skills needs.

To further help businesses offer apprenticeships as new employment opportunities, we have increased our cash incentive payments to £3,000 for every apprentice they hire as a new employee from 1 April until 30 September 2021.

Given this existing commitment to supporting apprenticeships in SMEs, we have no plans to introduce a London apprenticeship growth fund.