Alex Cunningham Portrait

Alex Cunningham

Labour - Stockton North

Shadow Minister (Justice)

(since April 2020)
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
12th May 2021 - 24th Jun 2021
Environmental Audit Committee
25th Feb 2019 - 8th May 2019
Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Pensions)
14th Oct 2016 - 21st Dec 2017
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Sep 2015 - 27th Jun 2016
Education Committee
7th Nov 2011 - 30th Mar 2015
Work and Pensions Committee
2nd Nov 2010 - 27th Jun 2011
Armed Forces Bill Committee
17th Jan 2011 - 8th Mar 2011


Oral Question
Monday 6th June 2022
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral Question No. 21
What assessment she has made of the effect of inflation on households in receipt of social security benefits.
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Department Event
Tuesday 5th July 2022
11:30
Ministry of Justice
Oral questions - Main Chamber
5 Jul 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Justice (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 25th May 2022
Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 147 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 163 Noes - 280
Speeches
Tuesday 24th May 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
Let me remind the Minister that 67% of a small number is still a small number. The recent criminal justice …
Written Answers
Wednesday 25th May 2022
Dementia: Screening
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to increase …
Early Day Motions
Monday 8th April 2019
COMMERCIAL PRESSURE ON OFFSHORE HELICOPTER SAFETY
That this House notes the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) review of its CAP1145 measures introduced in 2014 to improve commercial …
Bills
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Unpaid Work Experience (Prohibition) (No. 2) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to prohibit unpaid work experience exceeding four weeks; and for connected purposes.
MP Financial Interests
Tuesday 3rd May 2022
1. Employment and earnings
8 March 2022, payment of £225. Hours: 45 mins. (Registered 29 April 2022)
EDM signed
Tuesday 17th May 2022
Registration of deaths after a public inquiry
That this House notes the urgent need to amend legislation to allow grieving families the choice to register the death …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Alex Cunningham has voted in 416 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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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
Chris Philp (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
(198 debate interactions)
James Cartlidge (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
(58 debate interactions)
Bambos Charalambous (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs)
(44 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Home Office
(478 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(33 debate contributions)
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View all Alex Cunningham's debates

Stockton North Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Stockton North signature proportion
Petitions with most Stockton North signatures
Alex Cunningham has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Alex Cunningham

16th May 2022
Alex Cunningham signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 17th May 2022

Registration of deaths after a public inquiry

Tabled by: Emma Lewell-Buck (Labour - South Shields)
That this House notes the urgent need to amend legislation to allow grieving families the choice to register the death of a loved one after a public inquiry; highlights the heart-breaking case of Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford from South Shields who were tragically murdered in the Manchester Arena terror …
33 signatures
(Most recent: 24 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 24
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Independent: 2
Scottish National Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
23rd March 2022
Alex Cunningham signed this EDM on Thursday 24th March 2022

P&O Ferries and DP World

Tabled by: Karl Turner (Labour - Kingston upon Hull East)
That this House condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of P&O Ferries to fire 800 staff without notice or consultation with their trade unions, the RMT and Nautilus; demands the immediate reinstatement of the sacked workers; condemns their replacement with agency workers earning as little as £1.80 per …
125 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Apr 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 94
Scottish National Party: 12
Liberal Democrat: 7
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Alba Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
View All Alex Cunningham's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Alex Cunningham, 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.


Alex Cunningham has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Alex Cunningham

Thursday 9th December 2021

3 Bills introduced by Alex Cunningham



Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 2nd November 2012
Next Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Date TBA

A Bill to prohibit unpaid work experience exceeding four weeks; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 11th September 2020
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require the Secretary of State to make provision for a ban on smoking in private vehicles where there are children present; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 22nd June 2011

Alex Cunningham has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


807 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
4 Other Department Questions
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he intends to publish a relief scheme for the 2023 revaluation of business rates; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is required by legislation to introduce a transitional arrangements scheme at each revaluation to help business to adjust to their new bills. The next revaluation will have effect from 1 April 2023 and regulations to implement the transitional arrangements will be in place by 31 December 2022.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 21 March 2022 to Question 141196, on Homes for Ukraine Scheme: Vetting, what safeguarding checks will be undertaken on people providing accommodation under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils . There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance . Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what safeguarding mechanisms his Department has put in place for the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The Home Office will conduct checks as part of the visa issue process.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when his Department plans to launch the First Homes Scheme in the Tees Valley.

Homes England are currently awarding contracts for our First Homes pilot, which should see a small number of First Homes delivered in the Tees Valley area by the end of March 2023.

In addition, since 28 June 2021, national planning policy sets an expectation that new local plans should ensure 25% of all affordable homes delivered through developer contributions should be First Homes.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what proportion of young adults aged 18-25 who are charged by the CPS have received a maturity assessment prior to charge in the most recent period for which figures are available.

The Crown Prosecution Service (‘CPS’) does not hold data on the number of young adults aged 18-25 that have received a maturity assessment prior to charge.

However, the CPS recognises the importance of considering a suspect’s age and maturity when making a decision. This is included in the Code for Crown Prosecutors and relevant legal guidance, and is included in training for specialist youth prosecutors.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th May 2020
To ask the Attorney General, on how many occasions the Director of Public Prosecutions was informed of a failure to comply with custody time limits in April 2020.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is only informed of a custody time limit failure if it is deemed to be the responsibility of the CPS following review of the case. In April 2020, the Director of Public Prosecutions was informed of one custody time limit failure. This failure occurred in December 2019.

The CPS has made efforts to prioritise cases with a custody time limit during the pandemic, including via the interim charging protocol effective from 1 April.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
28th Apr 2020
What discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the use of the powers contained in the Coronavirus Act 2020.

I regularly meet ministerial colleagues to discuss important issues, including the Covid-19 outbreak. I am unable to talk about any legal content of those discussions because whether or not the Law Officers have given advice, by convention, is not disclosed outside Government.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much the Government has paid in fees to all counsel to public inquiries in each of the last ten years.

Under the Inquiries Rules 2006, the appointment of Counsel to the Inquiry is a matter for an inquiry’s independent chair.

Baroness Hallett, the chair of the Covid-19 Inquiry, has appointed Hugo Keith QC as Lead Counsel to the Inquiry.

Information as to fees paid to inquiry counsel is not held centrally. Statutory inquiries publish information on their expenditure on their own independent websites.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the process is for the selection of counsel for the forthcoming public inquiry into the covid-19 pandemic.

Under the Inquiries Rules 2006, the appointment of Counsel to the Inquiry is a matter for an inquiry’s independent chair.

Baroness Hallett, the chair of the Covid-19 Inquiry, has appointed Hugo Keith QC as Lead Counsel to the Inquiry.

Information as to fees paid to inquiry counsel is not held centrally. Statutory inquiries publish information on their expenditure on their own independent websites.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will confirm the process by which counsel to public inquiries are selected.

Under the Inquiries Rules 2006, the appointment of Counsel to the Inquiry is a matter for an inquiry’s independent chair.

Baroness Hallett, the chair of the Covid-19 Inquiry, has appointed Hugo Keith QC as Lead Counsel to the Inquiry.

Information as to fees paid to inquiry counsel is not held centrally. Statutory inquiries publish information on their expenditure on their own independent websites.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many offshore oil and gas workers were resident in (a) Teesside, (b) north east England, (c) England and (d) Scotland in (i) 2000, (ii) 2010 and (iii) 2020.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the timeframe is for allowing the restarting of small weddings.

Our Plan To Rebuild, the Government's COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, is published on gov.uk and includes details on plans for weddings. We understand the frustration couples planning a wedding must be feeling at this time. We are keeping these restrictions under review and will ease them as soon as it is safe to do so. We will continue to work closely with faith leaders and local government over the coming weeks to go through the practicalities of doing so.

Marriages and civil partnerships under the special procedure for those who are seriously ill and not expected to recover, are taking place in some cases where it is safe to do so in line with PHE guidance.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many smart meters have been installed in each of the last 10 years.

The smart meter rollout is making good progress, with 27.8 million smart and advanced meters in homes and small businesses across Great Britain as of the end of December 2021.

The Government’s official statistics on the rollout of smart meters are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/smart-meters-statistics.

These statistics, based on data from energy suppliers, cover all smart meter installations from 2012 onwards.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of energy company meter readers that have lost their jobs in the last ten years.

Smart meters are modernising the energy system, bringing an end to estimated bills and manual meter reads, which reduces costs and improves service for consumers.

Energy suppliers are responsible for managing their workforce and the provision of metering and billing services. They have adopted a number of approaches to their changing workforce requirements, including re-training meter readers for other roles such as smart meter installers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential capacity of the North Sea to assist with (a) ensuring a low cost and low carbon footprint and (b) energy security for the UK.

The North Sea will play an important role in enabling Government to meet the UK’s Carbon Budget 6 and net zero targets whilst delivering low-cost electricity for consumers. 11.3GW of offshore wind is already operating in the UK, the majority of which is in the North Sea with around a further 32GW under construction, or in earlier stages of development in UK waters. Further seabed leases totalling around 25GW were awarded to wind projects in the North Sea in the recent ScotWind leasing round. The Government has since published the British Energy Security Strategy, which sets out how the UK will become more self-sufficient, bolstering our energy security.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Emissions Trading System free allowances do not adversely impact decarbonisation projects.

The Government is committed to protecting industry from carbon leakage as the UK economy decarbonises. A proportion of allowances under the UK ETS, worth several billion pounds a year at current prices, are consequently allocated for free to businesses at risk of carbon leakage.

The Government is currently conducting a review into free allocation policy. These proposals were included in the “Developing the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS)” consultation, published on 25 March 2022, which will run until 17 June 2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will delay the compliance deadline for the 2021 UK ETS scheme, to allow the consultation on free allowances time to conclude.

UK Emissions Trading Scheme legislation establishes the legal requirement that the annual deadline for surrendering allowances is 30 April. This deadline is not discretionary and will not be delayed. This clarity regarding the timelines of the compliance cycle enables operators to plan ahead with confidence and ensure that they are able to meet their compliance obligations.

Through both free allocation and auctions, a total of 194 million allowances will have been released before the compliance deadline on 30 April, meaning that the UK ETS is well supplied to meet compliance demand.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the consultation on the UK Emissions Trading Scheme free allowances will take place.

The consultation “Developing the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS)”, which includes sections relating to free allowances, was published on 25 March 2022 and will run until 17 June.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of relaxing planning rules on the development of onshore wind farms in England.

Onshore wind is an important part of the energy mix, accounting for around a quarter of installed renewable capacity in the UK, but as one of the cheapest electricity generating technologies, we know that we will need more.

As set out in the Government’s Energy White Paper and Net Zero Strategy, a low-cost net zero system of the future will be comprised predominantly of wind and solar and to achieve this, we will require a sustained increase of locally supported onshore wind in the 2020s and beyond.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Prime minister's oral contribution of 31 January 2022, Official Report, column 37, what recent progress the Government has made bringing forward a package of measures to tackle the high cost of industrial energy.

The Government recognises this is still a worrying time for businesses facing pressures due to the significant increases in global gas prices.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State has met representatives of the UK’s high energy-using sectors frequently in recent months in order to better understand the impact on their business, and extensive engagement with industry continues across government at both a ministerial and official level. The Government’s priorities are to ensure supplies of energy are maintained.

In order to help ensure our industry remains strong and competitive, between 2013 and 2020, total relief to energy intensive industries for electricity policy costs of over £2billion was provided. This has so far helped over 270 businesses across the UK. In 2020 alone, the Government provided relief to Energy Intensive Industries for electricity policy costs worth over £470million.

In 2018, the Government announced £315 million of funding for the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, which is supporting businesses with high energy use to cut their bills until 2024.

We are currently undertaking a review of the schemes which will enable decisions to be taken on their future format.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what information his Department holds on the purpose of the daily standing charge on energy bills; and if he will make an assessment of the recent increases in those charges by (a) E-ON and (b) other energy suppliers..

The standing charge is a daily flat rate that E.ON and other suppliers charge their customers to cover the cost of providing a live supply regardless of how much energy they use. It includes charges from network companies for using pipes and power lines to carry gas and electricity supplies, the maintenance and installation of meters, billing and accounting. A small proportion of the standing charge also goes towards Government initiatives that help vulnerable households and reduce carbon emissions. Ofgem requires energy suppliers to separate out the standing charge from a tariff’s energy unit rate so consumers can see what the different charges amount to.

For millions of households the level of standing charge is protected by the energy price cap rate set by Ofgem. While the setting of tariffs is a commercial matter for individual supply companies, the energy unit rate and the standing charge together for a supplier’s default and standard variable tariffs must not exceed the level of the price cap. For consumers looking for a new fixed deal for their energy, suppliers can offer a range of tariffs including some with a low or even a zero standing charge and a higher energy unit rate to attract low energy users.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact on energy consumers of the increase in the daily standing charge on bills imposed by (a) E-ON and (b) other energy suppliers.

The standing charge is a daily flat rate that E.ON and other suppliers charge their customers to cover the cost of providing a live supply regardless of how much energy they use. It includes charges from network companies for using pipes and power lines to carry gas and electricity supplies, the maintenance and installation of meters, billing and accounting. A small proportion of the standing charge also goes towards Government initiatives that help vulnerable households and reduce carbon emissions. Ofgem requires energy suppliers to separate out the standing charge from a tariff’s energy unit rate so consumers can see what the different charges amount to.

For millions of households the level of standing charge is protected by the energy price cap rate set by Ofgem. While the setting of tariffs is a commercial matter for individual supply companies, the energy unit rate and the standing charge together for a supplier’s default and standard variable tariffs must not exceed the level of the price cap. For consumers looking for a new fixed deal for their energy, suppliers can offer a range of tariffs including some with a low or even a zero standing charge and a higher energy unit rate to attract low energy users.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of storms (a) Dudley, (b) Eunice and (c) Franklin on (i) workers and (ii) operations in the North Sea oil and gas industry.

No significant impacts on North Sea oil and gas workers or operations have been reported as a result of recent storms. The UKs offshore oil and gas sector is accustomed to weather events, and offshore installations are designed to remain in production in a wide range of weather conditions. Exposed activities, such as maintenance, may be temporarily paused and logistical operations such as workforce transportation may be affected, but operators remain resilient and plan accordingly.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of storms (a) Dudley, (b) Eunice and (c) Franklin on working patterns in the North Sea oil and gas industry.

No significant impacts on North Sea oil and gas workers or operations have been reported as a result of recent storms. The UKs offshore oil and gas sector is accustomed to weather events, and offshore installations are designed to remain in production in a wide range of weather conditions. Exposed activities, such as maintenance, may be temporarily paused and logistical operations such as workforce transportation may be affected, but operators remain resilient and plan accordingly.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has any plans to help mitigate the disproportionate effect of high energy prices on all electric homes.

The Government is monitoring the significant increases in wholesale energy prices closely, and meeting regularly with Ofgem, suppliers and consumer groups to understand the future impact on consumers as well as to discuss potential mitigations.

The Government is committed to protecting energy customers, especially the most vulnerable. The Government has announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23. This includes a £200 discount on their energy bill this Autumn for domestic electricity customers in Great Britain. This will be paid back automatically over the next 5 years. There will be a £150 non-repayable rebate in Council Tax bills for all households in Bands A-D in England. Additionally, the Government announced £144 million of discretionary funding for Local Authorities to support households who need support but are not eligible for the Council Tax rebate.

The Energy Price Cap will continue to protect consumers, ensuring they pay a fair price for their energy this winter. Low income and fuel poor households will continue to be supported with their energy bills through the Warm Home Discount, which provides eligible households with a £140 discount. Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments will ensure that the most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes through the winter. The £500 million Household Support Fund will support vulnerable households with essentials over the coming months.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the impact of increased electricity prices on all electric homes.

The Government is monitoring the significant increases in wholesale energy prices closely, and meeting regularly with Ofgem, suppliers and consumer groups to understand the future impact on consumers as well as to discuss potential mitigations.

The Government is committed to protecting energy customers, especially the most vulnerable. The Government has announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23. This includes a £200 discount on their energy bill this Autumn for domestic electricity customers in Great Britain. This will be paid back automatically over the next 5 years. There will be a £150 non-repayable rebate in Council Tax bills for all households in Bands A-D in England. Additionally, the Government announced £144 million of discretionary funding for Local Authorities to support households who need support but are not eligible for the Council Tax rebate.

The Energy Price Cap will continue to protect consumers, ensuring they pay a fair price for their energy this winter. Low income and fuel poor households will continue to be supported with their energy bills through the Warm Home Discount, which provides eligible households with a £140 discount. Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments will ensure that the most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes through the winter. The £500 million Household Support Fund will support vulnerable households with essentials over the coming months.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of blending 20 per cent hydrogen into the national grid by 2023.

The Government is working with the Health and Safety Executive, Ofgem and industry to understand safety, operability and value for money for blending hydrogen into the grid, including following emerging evidence from industry trials such as HyDeploy. The Government will make a decision once there is sufficient evidence on both technical safety and financial viability.The Government will be prioritising the economic assessmentof hydrogen blending and will make a decision at the end of 2023 at the earliest.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that a decision on blending 20 per cent hydrogen into the gas grid is delivered by 2023 at the latest.

The Government is working with the Health and Safety Executive, Ofgem and industry to understand safety, operability and value for money for blending hydrogen into the grid, including following emerging evidence from industry trials such as HyDeploy. The Government will make a decision once there is sufficient evidence on both technical safety and financial viability.The Government will be prioritising the economic assessmentof hydrogen blending and will make a decision at the end of 2023 at the earliest.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he expects the Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard to be published.

The Government consultation on a Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard closed on 25 October. The Government intends to publish its response, confirming the design of the standard, in early 2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what consideration he has given to placing all hydrogen production projects under Track-1 of the Cluster Sequencing Process.

The Cluster Sequencing process will bring forward the UK’s first full-chain carbon capture and storage proposals. The Track-1 decision has identified the HyNet and East Coast Cluster proposals as those with the potential to pioneer this technology in the UK, including through the deployment of CCS-enabled low carbon hydrogen capacity. Phase-2 of this process, which opened in November, focuses on individual projects. It is open to submissions from any hydrogen production project based in the UK provided they can demonstrate they have a CO2 transport solution, access to a Track-1 or reserve cluster CO2 store and meet the eligibility criteria.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to launch a public consultation on the potential impacts of mandating hydrogen-ready boilers.

In the Heat and Building Strategy, the Government committed to consulting shortly on the case for enabling, or requiring, new gas boilers to be readily convertible to hydrogen (‘hydrogen-ready’) by 2026, to prepare homes for a potential hydrogen conversion.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of conducting multiple hydrogen village trials by 2025 to better inform a policy decision on hydrogen for heating buildings by 2026.

I refer the Hon. Member to answer I gave my Hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley on 10th December 2021 to Question 86217.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to finalise hydrogen business models; and when he plans to publish those models.

Alongside its world-leading Hydrogen Strategy, the Government has consulted on a business model to provide revenue support to low carbon hydrogen production plants. Revenue support is needed to close the cost gap, between producing low carbon hydrogen and counterfactual higher carbon fuels, to unlock investment in hydrogen projects.

The Government is analysing stakeholder responses to the consultation and aims to publish the Government response in Q1 2022, alongside indicative Heads of Terms for the business model contract. The Government aims to finalise the business model in 2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many offshore oil and gas workers were employed on installations on the UK Continental Shelf in (a) January 2020, (b) January 2021 and (c) in the latest month for which figures are available.

The Department has not made an estimate of the number of workers employed on offshore oil and gas installations on the UK Continental Shelf. However, industry does compile statistics on the offshore workforce and these figures are provided in the Oil and Gas UK Workforce and Employment Insight Report 2021 (https://oguk.org.uk/product/workforce-insight-report-2021/), which shows the total number of offshore oil and gas workers (personnel on board) at approximately 10,000 in July 2021. This is an increase from around 7,000 offshore oil and gas workers in April 2020.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Civil Aviation Authority has participated in the investigation into CHC’s takeover of Babcock International’s offshore oil and gas crew transportation service which was launched by the Competition and Markets Authority in March 2021.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is responsible for assessing the risks and benefits of mergers and acquisitions in relation to competition in the UK, is a non-ministerial department which works independently from BEIS.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Competition and Markets Authority plans to reach a decision on whether to launch a phase two investigation of CHC’s takeover of Babcock International’s offshore oil and gas crew transportation services.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is responsible for assessing the risks and benefits of mergers and acquisitions in relation to competition in the UK, is a non-ministerial department which works independently from BEIS.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 18 October 2021 to Question 52489 on Employment Tribunals Service, and with reference to the minutes of the May 2021 meeting of the National Employment Tribunal User Group, published on 2 July 2021, when he plans to publish his Department's response to the Law Commission's April 2020 report on Employment Law Hearing Structures.

The Government welcomes the Law Commission’s report on Employment Law Hearing Structures, and the detailed consideration the Commission has given to this important topic.

The Government is considering these recommendations and expect that the full responses will be available on the Law Commission website in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the cost effectiveness of investing in carbon, capture, utilization and storage technology.

For the UK to keep options open to accommodate the different potential outcomes in 2050, then by 2035 BEIS whole system modelling suggests that for any given level of the sixth carbon budget there should be deployment of low carbon hydrogen, CCS and greenhouse gas removal technologies at scale.[1] This assessment is supported by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) who in their Sixth Carbon Budget advice classified the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a “critical and cost-effective means of meeting the UK’s 2050 Net Zero target”. [2]

[1] Impact Assessment for the sixth carbon budget

[2] CCC (2020) The Sixth Carbon Budget - The UK's path to Net Zero, Chapter 2, page 90

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the funding required to meet the Government's carbon capture 2030 targets.

In the Net Zero Strategy published on the 19th October, the Government reaffirmed the commitment to supporting Carbon Capture Usage & Storage (CCUS) via the £1 billion CCUS Infrastructure Fund. This will provide industry with the certainty required to deploy CCUS at pace and at scale and will form part of a package of government support, which will also include the Industrial Decarbonisation and Hydrogen Revenue Support (IDHRS) scheme and the £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund supporting both CCS-enabled ‘blue’ and electrolytic ‘green’ hydrogen.[1]

[1] CCC (2020) The Sixth Carbon Budget - The UK's path to Net Zero, Chapter 2, page 126

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of investing in carbon, capture, utilization and storage technology.

As outlined within the recently published Net Zero Strategy, carbon, capture, usage and storage will be an exciting new industry to capture the carbon we continue to emit and revitalise the birthplaces of the first industrial revolution. It has the ability to capture CO2 from power generation, hydrogen production and industrial processes to store it underground or reuse it. In addition, carbon, capture, usage and storage could help support up to 50,000 jobs in 2030, split across industry, power and the transport and storage network.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential financial benefits of investing in carbon, capture, utilization and storage technology.

As highlighted in the Government’s Net Zero Strategy, investing in carbon, capture, usage and storage will create transformative ‘SuperPlaces’ in areas such as the Humber, North East, North west and southern England, as well as in Scotland and Wales, bringing with it a range of financial benefits.

The deployment of CCUS clusters from the mid-2020s will also be a strong enabler for UK exports globally, building UK CCUS expertise and driving international demand for UK CCUS goods and services.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the report by the Law Commission, Employment law hearing structures, published in April 2020, whether he has plans to implement the recommendation in that report that the employment tribunal time limit for claims be extended to six months for all types of claim.

A claim to an Employment Tribunal must usually be made within three months. For certain claims, redundancy pay or equal pay, the claim must be made within six months. The Employment Tribunals already have the discretion to allow claims submitted out of time, on a case by basis.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the introduction of temporary visas for low skilled workers to supply sectors reporting labour shortages.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has regular discussions with my Rt. Hon. Friend the Home Secretary on a range of issues, including making sure businesses have appropriate access to talent from across the world so that we can build back better from the pandemic and support the national economic recovery.

We have taken action on this issue. We have expanded the Seasonal Workers Pilot to 30,000 visas for workers to come to the UK for up to six months; and have introduced measures to help tackle the HGV driver shortage.

We want to see employers make long term investments in the UK domestic workforce and make employment more attractive through offering training, careers options and wage increases.

We continue to work closely with industry to address sector challenges and our Plan for Jobs is helping people across the country retrain, build new skills and get back into work.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, published 14 September 2021, that labour shortages are the main concern of 88 per cent of recruiters for the remainder of 2021.

The Government is working closely with industry to address sector challenges, which are being faced by countries around the world.

We have expanded the Seasonal Workers Pilot to 30,000 visas for workers to come to the UK for up to six months; and have introduced measures to help tackle the HGV driver shortage.

We have expanded the roles which now qualify for our new Skilled Worker Route: senior care workers, healthcare practice managers, telecommunications engineers, construction and building trades not elsewhere classified and veterinary nurses are now eligible.

The Government wants to see employers make long term investments in the UK domestic workforce and make employment more attractive through offering training, careers options and wage increases.

We are investing in our Plan for Jobs because supporting people into work, ensuring they get the skills they need to get good jobs and helping businesses fill their vacancies is the best way to secure our economic recovery.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he expects to appoint a Supply Chain Champion for the offshore oil and gas sector.

Through the North Sea Transition Deal, the offshore oil and gas sector committed to appointing an industry supply chain champion to co-ordinate business opportunities with other energy sectors. Good progress has been made on this and an announcement is expected soon.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he expects to publish the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Green Jobs Taskforce.

The evidence collected by the Green Jobs Taskforce, and its recommendations, is now being considered by the Government as part of the development of the Government’s ambitious Net Zero Strategy, due to be published ahead of the UN’s climate summit COP26 in Glasgow this November. This will be the first step in responding to the Taskforce’s report.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last discussed an Offshore Energy Passport for workers in the oil and gas industry with (a) employers, (b) trade unions and (c) training standards bodies.

I met with a Skills Body for the energy workforce, Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation, in March to discuss re-skilling and future skills needs. OPITO is engaging with the oil and gas and offshore wind industries through the Energy Skills Alliance to address cross-industry priorities.

The offshore wind sector has, as part of the Sector Deal, committed to cross-industry collaboration to support workers transitioning between the oil & gas and offshore renewables sectors. This is being led by the Offshore Wind Industry Council.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to develop an internationally recognised Offshore Energy Passport for offshore workers that will facilitate job-mobility between offshore renewable and extractive industries.

The offshore wind sector is leading work to facilitate job-mobility between industries as part of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal People & Skills workstream. The release of a Joint Statement on Collaboration in 2020 reflects an active commitment to create good working practice and mutual recognition of standards across sectors. Industry have developed Merit Assessment, a system which allows for existing training, qualifications and certification to be converted to an industry recognised Global Wind Organisations qualification.

Industry is in the advanced stages of forming an agreement between offshore wind and oil and gas stakeholders committing them to work collaboratively for the benefit of the workforce across sectors and to avoid duplication of training where possible. Moreover, industry is in the final stages of developing a Wind Energy Access Portal which will provide the knowledge necessary for workers to transition to the offshore renewable industry with minimum friction.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the local content target in the Offshore Wind Sector Deal applies to offshore wind turbines installed to reduce emissions from oil and gas production on the UK Continental Shelf.

The UK Government, and the Oil and Gas Authority, consider the development of the industrial supply chain as a key priority. The objectives of the Sector Deal apply to the offshore wind sector as a whole.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress has been made on (a) public and (b) private funding for electrification of offshore oil and gas installations on the UK Continental Shelf in order to reduce emissions from oil and gas production in line with the targets to 2030 contained in the North Sea Transition Deal.

Through the North Sea Transition Deal, we committed to identifying potential funding opportunities for early-stage offshore electrification studies and are making good progress on this. We continue to work with regulators and industry on addressing strategic barriers to electrification of offshore oil and gas installations.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent progress the Offshore Implementation Group has made on tackling the regulatory and legislative barriers to offshore electrification; and if he will list the organisations included in that group.

A Government and Regulators Electrification Group has been established with the purpose of addressing barriers to electrification at a level of ambition consistent with Carbon Budget 6 and the North Sea Transition Deal. To date the group has been attended by representatives from across the Department, as well as The Health and Safety Executive, The Crown Estate, Crown Estate Scotland, Marine Scotland, Ofgem and the Oil and Gas Authority, membership is kept under review to ensure we are able to address the strategic barriers to electrification.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to publish its responses to the consultations on (a) Contracts for Difference (CfD): proposed amendments to the scheme 2020, (b) CfD: changes to Supply Chain Plans and the CfD contract and (c) CfD for low carbon electricity generation: new Supply Chain Plan questionnaire; whether he has discussed the findings of those consultations with representatives of the Low Carbon Contracts Company; and if he will ensure that responses to those consultations are published ahead of the start of the Contracts for Difference Fourth Allocation Round.

The Government published its response to ‘Contracts for Difference (CfD): proposed amendments to the scheme 2020’ on 24 November 2020. The Government will publish responses to ‘CfD: changes to Supply Chain Plans and the CfD contract’ and ‘CfD for low carbon electricity generation: new Supply Chain Plan questionnaire’ shortly. The Government has discussed and will continue to discuss these policy changes with representatives of the Low Carbon Contracts Company. The Government responses and guidance on supply chain plans will be published ahead of the commencement of the Contracts for Difference Fourth Allocation Round to ensure that stakeholders have time to review policy changes before submitting applications.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what methodology his Department used to set the target of 60 per cent UK content in offshore wind farm projects by 2030 contained in the (a) Offshore Wind Sector Deal and (b) Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan.

The Government did not set the 60% target, however, as part of the negotiations to agree the ambitious Offshore Wind Sector Deal in 2019, the industry conducted it’s own analysis and agreed to increase the target from 50% to 60% and published this year a Memorandum on UK Offshore Wind Supply Chain Development in February this year which sets out the strategic approach to delivering against their target.[1]

[1] https://www.owic.org.uk/documents

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last reviewed the (a) procedures and (b) methodology used by the domestic offshore wind industry to calculate local content over the lifetime of an offshore wind farm development (i) before and (ii) after the final investment decision.

The methodology for measuring the UK content of offshore wind farms was developed by industry via the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) in 2015. Under the framework, the owners of all UK offshore wind farms achieving final investment decision (FID) report their UK content through the trade association RenewableUK.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last reviewed the (a) procedures and (b) methodology used by the offshore wind industry for reporting local content in offshore wind developments at the capital expenditure stage.

The methodology for measuring the UK content of offshore wind farms was developed by industry via the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) in 2015. Under the framework, the owners of all UK offshore wind farms achieving final investment decision (FID) report their UK content through the trade association RenewableUK.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what advice (a) his Department and (b) predecessor Departments have provided to Crown Estate on the design of the bidding process used in the Round 4 auction of seabed leasing rights since the conclusion of Round 3 in 2010.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961. The Government has not made any assessment on the effectiveness of the bidding process used by Crown Estate to lease seabed development rights for offshore (a) wind and (b) other renewable energy projects on the UKCS. The latest Round 4 seabed leasing round has resulted in six new potential offshore wind projects totalling nearly 8GW.

BEIS was not involved in the design of the bidding process for the Round 4 seabed leasing.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what advice his Department and its predecessor departments have provided to the Crown Estate on the design of the bidding process used in the Round 4 auction of seabed leasing rights, since the conclusion of Round 3 in 2010.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961. The Government has not made any assessment on the effectiveness of the bidding process used by Crown Estate to lease seabed development rights for offshore (a) wind and (b) other renewable energy projects on the UKCS. The latest Round 4 seabed leasing round has resulted in six new potential offshore wind projects totalling nearly 8GW.

BEIS was not involved in the design of the bidding process for the Round 4 seabed leasing.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the bidding process used by Crown Estate to lease seabed development rights for offshore (a) wind and (b) other renewable energy projects on the UKCS.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961. The Government has not made any assessment on the effectiveness of the bidding process used by Crown Estate to lease seabed development rights for offshore (a) wind and (b) other renewable energy projects on the UKCS. The latest Round 4 seabed leasing round has resulted in six new potential offshore wind projects totalling nearly 8GW.

BEIS was not involved in the design of the bidding process for the Round 4 seabed leasing.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure that the outcome of Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process is discussed with trade union representatives on the Green Jobs Taskforce.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961.

The rate of return for the shareholders of the companies who were successful in Round 4 are a matter for the companies concerned.

The Department was not involved in the leasing process. The Crown Estate published information about criteria to be assessed at the pre-qualification and the Invitation to Tender stages, which applied to all bidders.

We will agree a transformational North Sea Transition Deal to deliver new business opportunities, high-quality jobs and skills, as well as protect the wider communities most affected by the move away from oil and gas production.

Regarding the annual options fees, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer and I are both in agreement that the results are a sign of confidence both in the UK as an attractive place to invest and in our offshore wind market.

I am aware the Crown Estate will be happy meet the Green Jobs Taskforce, on which trade unions are represented.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the annual option fees that the Crown Estate will receive from developers of six offshore wind farm sites leased in Round 4 of the Offshore Wind Leasing process.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961.

The rate of return for the shareholders of the companies who were successful in Round 4 are a matter for the companies concerned.

The Department was not involved in the leasing process. The Crown Estate published information about criteria to be assessed at the pre-qualification and the Invitation to Tender stages, which applied to all bidders.

We will agree a transformational North Sea Transition Deal to deliver new business opportunities, high-quality jobs and skills, as well as protect the wider communities most affected by the move away from oil and gas production.

Regarding the annual options fees, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer and I are both in agreement that the results are a sign of confidence both in the UK as an attractive place to invest and in our offshore wind market.

I am aware the Crown Estate will be happy meet the Green Jobs Taskforce, on which trade unions are represented.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether there are requirements in the Crown Estate offshore wind leasing process for bidders from the oil and gas sector to include workforce transition plans in their applications.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961.

The rate of return for the shareholders of the companies who were successful in Round 4 are a matter for the companies concerned.

The Department was not involved in the leasing process. The Crown Estate published information about criteria to be assessed at the pre-qualification and the Invitation to Tender stages, which applied to all bidders.

We will agree a transformational North Sea Transition Deal to deliver new business opportunities, high-quality jobs and skills, as well as protect the wider communities most affected by the move away from oil and gas production.

Regarding the annual options fees, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer and I are both in agreement that the results are a sign of confidence both in the UK as an attractive place to invest and in our offshore wind market.

I am aware the Crown Estate will be happy meet the Green Jobs Taskforce, on which trade unions are represented.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his policy is on the rate of return for shareholders in companies that were successful in Round 4 of the Crown Estate’s Offshore Wind Leasing process.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961.

The rate of return for the shareholders of the companies who were successful in Round 4 are a matter for the companies concerned.

The Department was not involved in the leasing process. The Crown Estate published information about criteria to be assessed at the pre-qualification and the Invitation to Tender stages, which applied to all bidders.

We will agree a transformational North Sea Transition Deal to deliver new business opportunities, high-quality jobs and skills, as well as protect the wider communities most affected by the move away from oil and gas production.

Regarding the annual options fees, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer and I are both in agreement that the results are a sign of confidence both in the UK as an attractive place to invest and in our offshore wind market.

I am aware the Crown Estate will be happy meet the Green Jobs Taskforce, on which trade unions are represented.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process on developers’ supply chain plans.

The Government has not made any assessment of the effect of the Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process on either the Offshore Wind Sector Deal’s target for 60 per cent UK content by 2030 or on developers’ supply chain plans.

It will be a number of years before any projects from this latest leasing round will be preparing a supply chain plan in order to bid into a Contract for Difference Allocation Round. We will work with all developers to see how we can increase UK economic benefit.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the outcome of the Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process on the Offshore Wind Sector Deal’s target for 60 per cent UK content by 2030 in offshore wind projects on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

The Government has not made any assessment of the effect of the Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process on either the Offshore Wind Sector Deal’s target for 60 per cent UK content by 2030 or on developers’ supply chain plans.

It will be a number of years before any projects from this latest leasing round will be preparing a supply chain plan in order to bid into a Contract for Difference Allocation Round. We will work with all developers to see how we can increase UK economic benefit.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with Ofgem on (a) the effectiveness of the new gas transmission charging regime introduced in October 2020 and (b) progress on proposals to introduce a short haul tariff.

BEIS have been in regular discussion with Ofgem regarding their assessment of the proposals to introduce a short-haul tariff to the new gas transmission charging regime introduced in October 2020. BEIS will continue to work closely with Ofgem whilst respecting its responsibility as an independent regulatory authority.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the financial effect of gas transmission network costs on the hydrogen producers required to help deliver his ten point plan for a green industrial revolution.

Hydrogen could provide a clean source of fuel and heat for our homes, transport and industry and, working with industry, we are aiming for the UK to have 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. To support this, work is on-going to consider options for policy support for hydrogen production as well as blending of hydrogen into the gas transmission grid. This is alongside additional work on the long-term future of the gas grid and potential conversion to hydrogen.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Policy paper entitled The ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, updated on 18 November 2020, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of the gas transmission network costs on hydrogen production and transmission capacity.

Hydrogen could provide a clean source of fuel and heat for our homes, transport and industry and, working with industry, we are aiming for the UK to have 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. To support this, work is on-going to consider options for policy support for hydrogen production as well as blending of hydrogen into the gas transmission grid. This is alongside additional work on the long-term future of the gas grid and potential conversion to hydrogen.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to implement the recommendations of the Oil and Gas Authority’s UK Continental Shelf Energy Integration Project.

We look forward to continuing to work with the Oil and Gas Authority and other partners on this project. The recommendations and actions set out in the final report of the project are part of the wider government policy under consideration across a full range of relevant areas including electrification, carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen, which could play a significant role in achieving the UK net zero target.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of adopting the recommendations of the Oil and Gas Authority’s UK Continental Shelf Energy Integration Project on employment levels.

We welcome the Oil and Gas Authority’s UKCS Energy Integration final report from August 2020. Its recommendations are under consideration across the full range of relevant policy areas within the Department and form part of the discussions around the North Sea Transition Deal, the focus of which will be on ensuring the oil and gas sector can support the energy transition and anchor the supply chain across the UK.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to maximise employment opportunities for UK workers from the supply chain required to deliver and operate Carbon Capture Usage and Storage projects as part of the UK's transition to a net zero carbon economy.

Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) will be essential to meeting our 2050 net zero target, playing a vital role in levelling up the economy, supporting the low carbon economic transformation of our industrial regions, creating new high value jobs.

Our new CCS Infrastructure Fund will provide at least £800m to support the establishment of CCS in at least two UK sites: the first by the mid-2020s; the second by 2030.

The Government is committed to having a strong, industrialised UK supply chain. We are working with industry to understand how we can build a thriving UK supply chain, drive growth, and seize the commercial opportunities in the UK and abroad.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to increase employment opportunities for UK workers across the supply chain that will be required to provide an additional 30GW of energy from offshore wind farms on the UK Continental Shelf by 2030.

On 6 October, the Government set out new plans to make the UK the world leader in clean wind energy – creating jobs, slashing carbon emissions and boosting exports. The Government also announced a commitment to 40GW of offshore wind capacity in the UK by 2030 alongside £160 million being made available to upgrade ports and infrastructure; supporting up to 2,000 construction jobs and enabling the offshore wind sector to support up to 60,000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories and the supply chains. The Government also announced a new target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1GW of energy by 2030, which is over 15 times the current volumes worldwide.

The Government recently sought views on strengthening Supply Chain Plan Policy for future CfD rounds, as part of the AR4 consultation. Government is considering the responses to the consultation before considering implications for policy.

These commitments are the first stage outlined as part of the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution, which will be set out fully later this year. This is expected to include ambitious targets and major investment into industries, innovation and infrastructure that will accelerate the UK’s path to net zero by 2050.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect that developing (a) hydrogen and (b) ammonia production capacity in Teesside to meet increased demand for low emission fuels from the merchant shipping industry will have on employment opportunities for (i) port workers and (ii) seafarers; and what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on developing that capacity in Teeside.

Low carbon hydrogen is one of a handful of critical options needed to deliver net zero and presents an opportunity to deliver against our clean growth goals – meeting our decarbonisation needs while capturing commercial opportunities.

DfT-commissioned analysis supporting the Government’s Clean Maritime Plan set out that hydrogen and ammonia, a hydrogen carrier, are expected to play a significant role in decarbonising the maritime sector. The global market for elements of alternative fuel production technologies like hydrogen and ammonia, in which the UK has a strong competitive advantage, could rise to up to £11bn per year by 2050, generating economic benefits to the UK of up to £0.5bn per year by the middle of the century

The proximity of the local port to the Net Zero Teesside industrial project, which aims to produce and use significant quantities of low carbon hydrogen, as well as the recently announced ambition for Tees Valley to become a trailblazing Hydrogen Transport Hub, position the area well to realise significant local benefits.

BEIS ministers and officials continue to work closely with colleagues in the Department for Transport (DfT) in developing our approach to hydrogen, including in end uses such as maritime.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to maximise employment opportunities for UK workers from the supply chain required to increase the production and storage of hydrogen as part of the transition to a net zero carbon economy.

Low carbon hydrogen is one of a handful of critical options needed to deliver net zero and presents an opportunity to deliver against our clean growth goals – meeting our decarbonisation needs while capturing commercial opportunities for UK firms. In November 2019 we published the Energy Innovation Needs Assessment (EINA) for hydrogen and fuel cells which identified that the future market for all hydrogen technologies could yield around £5.3bn of GVA and create nearly 50,000 jobs by 2050. This document is under review to reflect increased ambition from our move to a net zero target.

We are developing new policy to help realise these opportunities, including investible business models to support deployment, announcing the £100 million Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund to stimulate capital investment, and investing up to £121 million (between 2015 and 2021) in hydrogen innovation across the value chain.

We intend to publish a UK hydrogen strategy the strategy early in 2021 which will set out our strategic approach to hydrogen, and how we work with industry to build a robust UK supply chain capable of delivering low carbon hydrogen at scale to meet our net zero needs.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
29th Sep 2020
What discussions he has had with Ofgem on the introduction of a short-haul tariff scheme for gas transportation.

We recognise this is an important issue. I am in regular dialogue with Ofgem and understand they are examining five industry proposals on the short-haul tariff, with varying impacts on different consumers groups.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Jul 2020
What discussions his Department held with the Tees Valley Mayor on Government support for Sirius Minerals before the sale of that company.

My colleagues and I are in regular contact with the Tees Valley Mayor to discuss many issues, including Sirius Minerals. The Mayor is a passionate advocate for the area and we support him.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of OFGEM’s decision not to implement a short haul tariff for gas transportation in October on energy intensive industries.

Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, has responsibility for matters relating to gas network charging and has made their decision in accordance with their statutory duties, including Ofgem’s principal objective to protect the interests of GB’s energy consumers. It is their responsibility to undertake this assessment independently and manage the trade-offs between different users of the National Transmission System (NTS).

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will assess of the potential benefit of energy intensive industries creating their own local pipelines, independent of the national grid; and if he will make a statement.

The National Transmission System (NTS) is designed to offer a secure gas supply, for the benefit of all users. Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, have responsibility for matters relating to gas network charging. Ofgem’s assessment of the potential bypass of the NTS by users can be found within their impact assessment carried out for Uniform Network Code (UNC) modification 0678A, which can be found here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/amendments-gas-transmission-charging-regime-decision-and-final-impact-assessment-unc678abcdefghij.

Ofgem have set out in their decision letter that they will carry out an impact assessment to further explore the impacts of four shorthaul proposals and whether the proposals address the inefficient bypass of the gas network. More information on Ofgem’s decision to carry out an impact assessment can be found here:

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/uniform-network-code-728abcd-urgent-introduction-conditional-discount-avoiding-inefficient-bypass-nts.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Ofgem on the decision not to implement a short haul tariff for gas transportation in October.

BEIS have been in regular discussion with Ofgem regarding?their Gas (Transmission) Charging Review, including their decision to carry out an impact assessment to further explore the impacts of the four shorthaul proposals put forward by industry.

BEIS officials will continue to work closely and engage with Ofgem on all matters, whilst respecting Ofgem's responsibility as an independent?regulatory?authority.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he will review the merits of OFGEM's role in relation to the setting of tariffs for gas transportation.

Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, has responsibility for matters relating to gas network charging. Ofgem have made their decision in accordance with their statutory duties and powers provided for under the Gas Act 1986, which includes Ofgem’s principal objective to protect the interests of GB’s current and future energy consumers.

The framework which governs the relationship between BEIS and Ofgem is reviewed every three years. For more information on the framework which sets out the relationship between BEIS and Ofgem, please visit: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/framework-document-setting-out-our-relationship-beis.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to Ofgem's decision to implement gas transmission charging changes with effect from 1 October 2020, if he will make representations to Ofgem on the introduction of a replacement for short haul to keep affected energy intensive industries (a) on Teesside and (b) in the UK on the national gas grid.

BEIS have been in regular discussion with Ofgem regarding the impact of its decision to implement a new charging regime. BEIS will continue to work closely and engage with Ofgem on all matters, whilst respecting Ofgem's responsibility as an independent?regulatory authority.

Ofgem have said that they will consider proposals to introduce a gas short haul charge that seeks to address inefficient bypass of the gas network when they are brought forward by industry.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his policy is on achieving a transition to a net zero carbon economy for workers in the offshore oil and gas industry.

The Government is currently in discussion with the industry about our manifesto commitment to deliver a transformational oil and gas Sector Deal. This recognises that the sector has an important role to play as the UK moves to a net zero economy and is already strongly focussed on being part of the solution to the challenges that the transition will bring. I expect this Deal to focus on supporting jobs and maintaining skills, as well as new technologies and approaches that can help us decarbonise our economy.

On 11 June, I attended the Oil and Gas Authority’s Maximising Economic Recovery Forum with industry leaders to discuss first proposals from the oil and gas industry for a Sector Deal, as well as the challenges posed by COVID-19, and the sector’s recovery.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 34978 on Offshore Industry: North Sea, on what dates since 1 March 2020 (a) Ministers and (b) Officials in his Department discussed employment matters in the offshore oil and gas industry with trade unions in that industry.

The Oil and Gas Authority as the regulatory body for the UK’s upstream oil and gas industry meets during the year with trade union leaders and are in regular contact with them outside of these meetings.

BEIS Ministers and officials have had no direct meetings with trade unions on these issues since 1 March. However, I will be attending the virtual MER UK Forum on 11 June to which trade union leaders are also invited to participate. This forum allows for an open exchange of information on the challenges facing the industry and its workforce stemming from the COVID-19 crisis and the low oil price.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on consumer costs of Ofgem's new charging regime for gas transportation.

Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, has responsibility for matters relating to the charging regime for gas transportation and has made their decision in accordance with its statutory duties, including Ofgem’s principal objective to protect the interests of GB’s energy consumers.

BEIS have been engaging closely with Ofgem to understand their assessments of the potential effects. Ofgem expect that overall GB consumers will benefit from lower gas and electricity bills each year when the new policy is in operation.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Ofgem on its decision to implement a new charging regime for gas transportation.

BEIS have been in regular discussion with Ofgem regarding the impact of its decision to implement a new gas charging regime. BEIS will continue to work closely with Ofgem whilst respecting its responsibility as an independent regulatory authority.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on the (a) cost of gas to consumers and (b) viability of energy intensive industries close to terminals of Ofgem's new gas transportation charging regime.

The Government is fully committed to minimising industrial energy costs in the UK to ensure our industries remain strong and competitive. We continue to progress a range of measures to deliver an efficient and effective gas system that benefits all GB consumers.

Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, has responsibility for matters relating to gas network charging and has made their decision in accordance with its statutory duties, including Ofgem’s principal objective to protect the interests of GB’s energy consumers.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whom Ofgem is accountable to for its decision to implement a new charging regime for gas transportation.

The introduction of a new UK charging regime for gas transportation was driven by the requirement to be compliant with EU legislation (Regulation (EU) 2017/460 (“the EU Tariff Code”). The Tariff Code places obligations on Ofgem, as the UK’s national regulatory authority, to implement changes to the arrangements governing domestic gas transmission charges to meet the Tariff Code’s objectives. Ofgem remains accountable for compliance with EU law during the transition period.

Domestically, Ofgem is an independent regulator and is accountable for the exercise of its powers to Parliament. It is subject to Treasury financial control and it is regularly called to give evidence to Parliamentary select committees, including the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the potential risk of legal disputes arising from the delays and disruption to construction work as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises concerns about the effects of Covid-19 on construction projects, and the resultant inability of some parties to perform their contracts in accordance with agreed terms. We are also aware of the potential for legal disputes to arise from this.

That is why we have published guidance on contractual behaviour, which clearly states that responsible and fair behaviour is strongly encouraged in performing and enforcing contracts where there has been a material impact from Covid-19. A copy of that guidance is attached.

The Construction Leadership Council’s Covid-19 Task Force has supplemented this, by publishing further practical guidance for all companies involved in the construction supply chain on how to minimise potential disputes.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions the Government has had with professional bodies and trade groups in the built environment on planned timescales for the development and implementation of a recovery plan for the construction industry after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has welcomed the recovery plan produced by the Construction Leadership Council’s Coronavirus Task Force, which sets out a plan to ensure the sector can increase activity, work safely, and maximise its contribution to our economic recovery.

We will continue to work with the Task Force, which includes firms, business representative organisations, and representatives of the professional institutions, to support the recovery of the construction sector.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the availability of adequate (a) personal protective equipment and (b) hygiene and sanitary products for construction workers to (i) protect those workers and (ii) allow those workers to comply with official guidelines as they return to work during the covid-19 outbreak.

In order to ensure that workplaces are safe for workers in the construction sector, the Government has worked with Public Health England (PHE), business representatives, and trade unions to develop guidance on safer working in outdoor environments, including how to undertake risk assessments and implement social distancing.

This guidance includes advice on cleaning and sanitising the workplace, such as maintaining a good handwashing technique as well as providing signage, hand sanitiser, hand drying facilities, and waste facilities. It also states that, when managing the risk of Covid-19 on construction sites, additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) beyond that which is usually worn is not beneficial and should not be encouraged by workplaces. However, PHE is continually reviewing its guidance in line with emerging evidence.

The Safer Workplaces guidance is published at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/construction-and-other-outdoor-work.

The Government has also worked with the Construction Leadership Council to develop Site Operating Procedures, which provide practical advice to those seeking to implement PHE’s guidance.

Organisations must have effective arrangements in place to monitor and review their compliance with Government and industry guidance.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to engage with (a) trade unions, (b) Oil and Gas UK and (c) the Oil and Gas Authority to help counter the economic impact of the (i) covid-19 pandemic and (ii) collapse in the price of oil on the North Sea oil and gas industry.

The Government is closely monitoring developments related to potential impacts on the upstream oil and gas sector from the collapse in the oil price and COVID-19 and is in regular contact with industry and the Oil and Gas Authority. I have held telephone meetings with representatives from the sector including business leaders, trade associations and the Oil and Gas Authority to discuss these issues.

In response, Government has announced an unprecedented financial package to support businesses and has committed to do whatever it takes to get our nation through the impacts of this coronavirus pandemic. This includes a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as well as a host of measures to help businesses in this period with £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK. Additionally, responding to feedback from business, a Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme will ensure that more firms are able to benefit from government-backed support during this difficult time. It will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million.

We know that the offshore oil and gas sector and particularly its supply chain has a key role to play as we move to a net zero economy and we have committed to supporting this energy transition with a transformational Sector Deal.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking in response to the reduction in global prices of oil and gas to protect the (a) jobs and (b) skills of people working in that industry.

The Government is closely monitoring developments related to potential impacts on the upstream oil and gas sector from the collapse in the oil price and COVID-19 and is in regular contact with industry and the Oil and Gas Authority. I have held telephone meetings with representatives from the sector including business leaders, trade associations and the Oil and Gas Authority to discuss these issues.

In response, Government has announced an unprecedented financial package to support businesses and has committed to do whatever it takes to get our nation through the impacts of this coronavirus pandemic. This includes a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as well as a host of measures to help businesses in this period with £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK. Additionally, responding to feedback from business, a Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme will ensure that more firms are able to benefit from government-backed support during this difficult time. It will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million.

We know that the offshore oil and gas sector and particularly its supply chain has a key role to play as we move to a net zero economy and we have committed to supporting this energy transition with a transformational Sector Deal.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the provision of financial support for the installation of energy efficiency measures in homes of people with ill health.

BEIS, the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England are working in collaboration to tackle cold homes.

The Fuel Poverty Strategy for England includes a vulnerability principle and Government has consulted on updating this principle so that it focuses specifically on households that are most at risk to the impact of living in a cold home. This intends to ensure that energy efficiency schemes can support those in the greatest need.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO), the main domestic energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain, is worth £640m per year and is focused on low income and vulnerable households, including those in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Carers Allowance.

Additionally, under ECO measures can be installed in the homes of people referred by their local authority, with ill health being an eligibility criterion many use.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to (a) support over 60s who live in fuel-poor households and (b) improve the energy efficiency of existing homes.

Improving energy efficiency is the best long-term solution to tackle fuel poverty.

More than one quarter of fuel poor households in England include a resident over 60. Government is taking steps to ensure low income, vulnerable households, including older people, are protected from living in a cold home.

The Energy Company Obligation Scheme provides support for low income and vulnerable households. Since ECO launched it has delivered energy efficiency measures to more than 2 million households. ECO, or a successor scheme, will continue to drive at least £640 million investment per year in home energy efficiency until 2028.

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards now require landlords spend up to £3500 improving their properties to energy efficiency Band E before renting them out. We intend to consult later this year on a long-term trajectory for improving Private Rented Sector homes to Band C.

In addition to receiving energy efficiency support, pensioners receive financial support to ensure they can keep their homes warm. Winter Fuel Payments provide pensioners with between £100 and £300 to keep their homes warm during the winter. Those on Pension Credit also receive a £140 Warm Home Discount rebate.

Our 2020 Fuel Poverty Strategy will detail our future plans to tackle fuel poverty.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the percentage of Energy Company Obligation funding that has been spent on identifying suitable homes for energy efficiency measures.

The costs for identifying suitable homes has been estimated at around £257m for the three and a half year duration of ECO3 (2018 – 2022). That would be around 11% of the total estimated cost of the scheme.

These costs include finding suitable homes whose residents are eligible and willing to have energy efficiency measures installed.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many energy efficiency measures were installed through the obligation trading route in the last 12 months.

In the Clean Growth Strategy, Government set an aspiration for as many homes as possible to be Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C by 2035, where practical, cost-effective and affordable. We are developing policies and measures that will help to build a sustainable market for energy efficiency.

The Energy Company Obligation Scheme provides support for low income and vulnerable households. Since ECO launched it has delivered energy efficiency measures to more than 2 million households. ECO, or a successor scheme, will continue to drive at least £640 million investment per year in home energy efficiency until 2028.

A total of 793 energy efficiency measures were installed through the Energy Company Obligation’s trading route (ECO Brokerage) from the start of January 2019 to the end of December 2019.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that energy efficiency measures are implemented in the private rented sector.

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and wales) Regulations 2015 require that, subject to certain exemptions, domestic and non-domestic private rented sector landlords improve their properties to a minimum energy efficiency rating of E by: April 2020 for domestic property; and April 2023 for non-domestic property.

The Department has published detailed guidance to assist landlords in complying with their obligations under the existing regulations, and is conducting enforcement pilots with Local Authorities to develop best practice around enforcement of the regulations. The Department has also launched a landlord exemptions register, a requirement of the Regulations, which is used by enforcement authorities to help target their enforcement activities.

On 15 October 2019, the government published a consultation on the future target for the non-domestic private rented sector regulations alongside the government’s response to the Committee on Climate Change Progress Report. The consultation, which closed on 7 January 2020, set out that the government’s preferred target was for all non-domestic rented buildings to achieve an EPC Band B by 2030, where cost-effective. A government response is due to be published later this year. The government will also consult in due course on options for tightening the standards required of domestic private rented properties over time.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what responsibilities his Department has for ensuring that homes and buildings are healthy for its occupants.

As part of the impact assessments of our policies, we include the benefits to a household’s health from improving their homes’ thermal performance.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the lead department for standards in buildings.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of energy customers that do not contribute to the (a) Energy Company Obligation and (b) Warm Homes Discount as a result of being with a smaller supplier.

The current threshold for participation in the Energy Company Obligation and Warm Home Discount is 200,000 domestic customer accounts and this is changing to 150,000 customer accounts from 1 April this year.

In the final stage impact assessment for ECO3, published in October 2018, we estimated that suppliers over the 200,000 threshold covered 96% of the market and those over 150,000 covered 99%. While the number of energy suppliers in the market and their customer numbers fluctuate, we expect the current market coverage to be similar now.

How energy suppliers pass on their costs depends on their individual pricing decisions.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding has been allocated to help energy intensive industries move to low-carbon techniques.

The Government has schemes worth nearly £2 billion operating, or in development, supporting our vital energy intensive industries to decarbonise. These schemes include the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund to help companies reduce their fuel bills and transition to low carbon technologies, the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge to support industry with the deployment of low-carbon technologies in industrial clusters, and the ISCF Transformation Foundation Industries competition to improve the resource and energy efficiency of foundation industries.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many jobs were created in the offshore wind industry in each year between 2016 and 2019; and what estimate his Department has made of the number of such jobs that will be created in each year from 2020 to 2030.

The Low Carbon and Renewable Energy Economy (LCREE) Survey direct and indirect estimates of employment, UK, 2014 to 2018 can be found in the link below.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/adhocs/11120lowcarbonandrenewableenergyeconomylcreesurveydirectandindirectestimatesofemploymentuk2014to2018

In the Offshore Wind Sector Deal published last year the Offshore Wind sector estimated that it could support 27,000 jobs across the UK by 2030, covering all aspects of a wind farm; project management, construction and operations and maintenance.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when officials in his Department last met representatives of the Global Wind Organisation; and how often those meetings take place.

Officials in the Department have not met with representatives of the Global Wind Organisation.

In the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, published on 7 March 2019, the sector made a commitment to continue to collaborate in order to deliver a strong, sustainable and continually improving culture, promoting and maintaining the highest possible standards of health and safety through the life cycle of projects both in the UK and around the world.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of jobs on offshore (a) oil and (b) gas installations on the UK continental shelf in each year from 2016 to 2019; and what assessment he has made of trends in the level of those jobs in each year from 2020 to 2030.

Maintaining quality jobs benefitting from the skills and experience of the UK’s oil and gas sector will be a key focus as the UK moves to a net zero economy. The industry is already strongly focussed on its role to support net zero by using the skills and expertise developed in the North Sea to become part of the solution to the challenges that the transition to a net zero economy will bring.

The Department has not made an estimate of the number of jobs on offshore oil and gas installations on the UK Continental Shelf, but figures provided in the Oil and Gas UK Workforce Report 2019, suggest a recent stabilisation in the total number of offshore oil and gas workers (not broken down into oil and gas separately) at approximately 49,000. See the following weblink:

https://oilandgasuk.co.uk/product/workforce-report/

The Department has not made an assessment of trends in the level of those jobs in each year from 2020 to 2030, but the offshore industry skills body OPITO has published two recent reports on future trends in the level of jobs supported by the UK Continental Shelf oil and gas industry up to 2035. See the following weblinks:

https://www.opito.com/policy-and-research/research/ukcs-workforce-dynamics-review

https://www.opito.com/policy-and-research/research/the-skills-landscape

Future employment levels are subject to a wide range of factors, not least the oil price, and we are supporting the sector on several fronts, as we recognise that a successful offshore industry will continue to generate and protect jobs.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department plans to take to support offshore oil and gas workers during the transition to a low carbon economy.

The Government is currently in discussion with industry about supporting the energy transition with a transformational oil and gas Sector Deal, recognising that the offshore oil and gas sector has a key role to play as the UK moves to a net zero economy.

The UK’s offshore oil and gas industry, which supports an estimated 270,000 jobs, is already very focussed on its role to support net zero by using the skills and expertise developed in the North Sea to become part of the solution to the challenges that the transition to a net zero economy will bring.

The Government supports the measures undertaken by the sector to diversify its workforce into other areas of the economy such as offshore wind. For example, OPITO, the offshore industry skills body, is working with Government and representatives from the oil and gas, renewables and nuclear sectors to identify common qualifications for a range of technical job roles to enable workers to move more freely between energy sectors. The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board has also developed a Connected Competence programme which helps equip the oil and gas workforce with transferable engineering skills that are in demand across industry sectors. This standardises competence and training requirements and makes proof of competence, training and qualifications easily transferable.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to support the development of battery trains.

Through the Faraday Battery Challenge, run by Innovate UK and funded by the Department, we have facilitated work with a leading UK train manufacturer to develop battery technology for use on trains.

Harnessing technology to drive innovation is one of the aims of the Rail Sector Deal, launched by BEIS and the Department for Transport in December 2018. The Rail Sector Deal is a partnership between the Government and the rail industry to help address the Grand Challenges we face. This includes maximising the advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth and positioning the UK as a world leader in shaping the future of mobility.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Committee on Climate Change will make an assessment of the potential merits of battery trains as part of its work on the Sixth Carbon Budget.

The Committee on Climate Change is an independent advisory body and so it is for the Committee to decide how to take into account any evidence it deems relevant in the development of its advice to Government on the sixth carbon budget.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the reform of (a) train manufacturing and (b) rolling stock procurement to promote productivity in the UK; and whether her Department has contributed to the Williams Rail Review.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy works closely with the Department for Transport regarding the current review of the UK’s railways, independently chaired by Keith Williams.

Our work with DfT, through the Rail Supply Group Council and the Rail Sector Deal, brings the industry and government together to shape investment in our railways and encourage improvements to sustainability, digitalisation, use of data, productivity, skills and diversity, and a boost to exports.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if her Department will set out a timeline for the Online Safety Bill; and whether that timeline will allow for the outcomes of the Government’s public consultation on banning conversion therapy practices to inform the Bill.

Pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Bill by Parliament is underway, and we expect the Joint Committee to report with their recommendations by 10 December.

The Bill remains a priority for DCMS and the Home Office, and we will introduce the Bill as soon as possible after we have considered the recommendations made by the Joint Committee.

The conversion therapy consultation is open until 10 December. The government will then publish its response to the consultation in the new year. Legislation to ban conversion therapy is being prepared for Spring 2022.

The government is considering how best to tackle the promotion of conversion therapy online through the Online Safety Bill and associated work.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to support LGBTQ+ inclusion in British sport.

The government is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion, which is at the heart of our strategy ‘Sporting Future’. Our aim is to help the sport sector be more inclusive and welcoming to its spectators, participants and workforce, including LGBTQ+ people.

Sport England, our arm’s length body for grassroots sport in England, launched their new ten year strategy Uniting the Movement (UoM) in January 2021. As part of that, they held a number of focus groups and interviews to ensure LGBTQ+ people are given as many opportunities and as much support to get active as people with other protected characteristics. These efforts include a combination of research, insight, and funding for specific LGBTQ+ projects and organisations. The Sport England’s Active Lives Survey also captures data on LGBTQ+ people’s physical activity levels biannually.

Additionally, as part of the forthcoming update for the Code of Sport Governance, sports receiving the most funding will be required to agree a diversity and inclusion action plan with Sport England and UK Sport, which will be published and updated annually. This will further support LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport across the nation.

We will continue to work closely with our arm’s length bodies, sports national governing bodies, and sector partners, to ensure inclusion for LGBTQ+ people is present at grassroots sport all the way through to elite sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether adult gaming centres are classified as non-essential retail under covid-19 guidance; and whether those centres will reopen once the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The government has published guidance to help businesses understand how to make workplaces Covid-secure and help tackle the spread of the virus. Adult Gaming Centres should follow the shops and branches guidance in addition to Bacta’s specific guidance for FECs and AGCs to ensure they can operate as safely as possible when they are open.

The shops and branches workplace guidance was intended as guidance for those businesses on how they could operate safely when the regulations permitted them to do so after the first national lockdown and beyond. It does not have a direct bearing on the timing for reopening of the businesses included in the guidance.

As announced by the Prime Minister, we intend to publish our plan for taking the country out of lockdown in the last week of February. That plan will depend on the continued success of our vaccination programme, and on a sustained reduction in Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will allow competitive ice skaters who are over 18 and who are not elite athletes to access ice rinks to train when the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021 ends.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus.

On Monday 4 January the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown and instructed people to stay at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions. Therefore, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, including ice rinks, must close.

Previously, outdoor skating rinks could stay open across all tiers and indoor skating rinks could open in Tiers 1 and 2. Ice rinks were closed in tier 3 and 4 as they are primarily used for the purpose of entertainment. This is consistent with other venues used for entertainment purposes across the economy which were also closed. To allow those who need to access ice rinks, in tier three, exemptions were made for sport for educational purposes, people with disabilities, supervised activity for under-18s and elite athletes.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will hold discussions with the TV Licensing Authority on the (a) the time taken to process cheque payments from people over 75 and (b) issuing reminder letters to people who have already paid for their TV licence.

The BBC and TV Licensing are responsible for the collection and enforcement of the licence fee, not the government.

The government is therefore not involved in how TV Licensing processes payments, including cheques, or how and when it issues reminder letters.

However, the government expects TV Licensing to collect the licence fee in an efficient and proportionate manner, and to ensure particularly sensitive handling for those aged 75 and over who may be affected by the BBC’s changes to the over 75 concession.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support the Government will provide to charities who are responding to the covid-19 outbreak but are unlikely to benefit from the support schemes announced to date.

The Government is aware that the coronavirus outbreak has caused a series of economic challenges to charities at a time where they are seeing an increased demand. The £750m funding package announced by the Chancellor is specifically aimed at supporting those who need to continue providing their services as part of the national coronavirus response.

£360 million will be directly allocated by government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis.

A further £310m will be granted to charities through the National Lottery Communities Fund (NLCF) in England and £60m via the Devolved Administrations. We expect the application system for the National Lottery Community Fund grant pot in England to be operational shortly.

Unfortunately, we cannot match every pound of funding charities expected to receive this year. Many charities will have to assess whether they can access cross-cutting support measures announced by HM Treasury. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; access to a Business Interruption Loan, and schemes to defer VAT bills to the end of June, and pay no business rates for charity shops next year.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the proposal in his Department's SEND review to only allow families with disabled children to pick a school from a pre-defined list, what assessment he has made of the potential impact on the mental health of parent carers from having to appeal this list in order to have their child attend a school that meets their disabled child’s needs.

Through the proposals set out in the SEND and AP green paper, it is our aim to provide parents and carers with a clearer understanding of the support that should be available to meet their child’s needs, regardless of where they live.

Where specialist provision is required, the department is consulting on proposals for a simplified process where parents will be supported to express an informed preference for a suitable placement from a tailored list of settings that are appropriate to meet their child’s needs.

This aims to give parents and carers clarity on what is available locally which may still include mainstream, special, independent, or out of borough provision where appropriate in order to meet their child’s needs.

The expectation is that all schools on the list will be settings that can meet the child’s special educational needs as identified in their education, health and care needs assessments, therefore reducing the need to appeal and improving the choice offered to parents.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 25 April 2022 to Question 155726 on Special Educational Needs: Tribunals, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the introduction of compulsory mediation on the ability of families with disabled children to access the SEND Tribunal and obtain redress when necessary.

As the SEND and AP green paper sets out, the new national system will be designed to minimise uncertainty and disagreements throughout the system and improve parental confidence. The department recognises, however, that disputes around decision-making may still occur.

The government’s proposals seek to resolve issues earlier and improve relationships locally by strengthening mediation, including consulting on making it mandatory. Appeals to the tribunal should only need to be made in cases where parents feel that their child’s needs or proposed provision arrangements are not in line with the new national SEND standards, and mediation has not resolved the dispute. Mediation helps to maintain and improve relationships between providers, local authorities and families which is important for long-term collaborative working and supports better outcomes for children and young people.

This will reduce the need for cases to escalate to tribunal. The department will make sure there is appropriate support available to parents to help them understand the mediation process and how best to engage with it. However, parents will still be able to go to tribunal if necessary.

The green paper is now out for public consultation on its proposals until 22 July.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the policy proposal in his March 2022 SEND Review to make mediation mandatory before allowing families to go to the SEND Tribunal, what assessment he has made of the impact this will have on access to support for families with disabled children.

Throughout the SEND Review, parents and carers told the department how lengthy, stressful, and often expensive, the tribunal process can be.

In the current system, in most cases, families must secure a mediation certificate before registering an appeal with the tribunal, but they do not have to participate in the mediation itself. If the parent or young person does decide to proceed with mediation then the local authority must ensure that a mediation session takes place within 30 days. There were 4,100 mediation cases held during 2020. Of these, only 1,100 (27%) were followed by appeals to the tribunal.

Waiting for a SEND tribunal hearing can take significantly longer - the tribunal has a performance measure that 75% of appeals should be brought to hearing and the decision issued within 22 weeks.

This government’s proposals seek to resolve issues earlier and improve relationships locally by strengthening mediation, including consulting on making it mandatory. Parents will still be able to go to tribunal if necessary.

The Green Paper is now out for public consultation on its proposals until 1 July.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the current requirement for parents to consider mediation before accessing the SEND Tribunal; and for what reason he has concluded that mediation should become mandatory before accessing that tribunal.

Throughout the SEND Review, parents and carers told the department how lengthy, stressful, and often expensive, the tribunal process can be.

In the current system, in most cases, families must secure a mediation certificate before registering an appeal with the tribunal, but they do not have to participate in the mediation itself. If the parent or young person does decide to proceed with mediation then the local authority must ensure that a mediation session takes place within 30 days. There were 4,100 mediation cases held during 2020. Of these, only 1,100 (27%) were followed by appeals to the tribunal.

Waiting for a SEND tribunal hearing can take significantly longer - the tribunal has a performance measure that 75% of appeals should be brought to hearing and the decision issued within 22 weeks.

This government’s proposals seek to resolve issues earlier and improve relationships locally by strengthening mediation, including consulting on making it mandatory. Parents will still be able to go to tribunal if necessary.

The Green Paper is now out for public consultation on its proposals until 1 July.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the guidance to local authorities on how to process applications from parents to defer their child’s entry to school.

Most children start school in the September following their 4th birthday. The department has not made an assessment of the effect of deferring school entry on children who were born in August.

In September 2020 the department published guidance for local authorities and advice for parents on delaying entry to school for summer born children. This includes guidance on transition to secondary school for children who delayed their start at school. The guidance helps admission authorities to understand the framework within which they must operate when responding to parental requests for summer born children to be admitted out of their normal age group. Admission authorities must make decisions based on the circumstances of each case and in the best interests of the child concerned. Survey data shows that almost 9 in 10 requests were approved in 2020.

Any change allowing the parents of summer born children the automatic right to delay their child’s entry to reception, and for the child to remain with that cohort throughout their education, would require primary legislation.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to introduce legislative proposals to clarify the guidance to local authorities on when parents apply to defer their child’s entry to school.

Most children start school in the September following their 4th birthday. The department has not made an assessment of the effect of deferring school entry on children who were born in August.

In September 2020 the department published guidance for local authorities and advice for parents on delaying entry to school for summer born children. This includes guidance on transition to secondary school for children who delayed their start at school. The guidance helps admission authorities to understand the framework within which they must operate when responding to parental requests for summer born children to be admitted out of their normal age group. Admission authorities must make decisions based on the circumstances of each case and in the best interests of the child concerned. Survey data shows that almost 9 in 10 requests were approved in 2020.

Any change allowing the parents of summer born children the automatic right to delay their child’s entry to reception, and for the child to remain with that cohort throughout their education, would require primary legislation.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish guidance to local authorities on determining which year group a child should start secondary school when their entry to primary school had been previously deferred.

Most children start school in the September following their 4th birthday. The department has not made an assessment of the effect of deferring school entry on children who were born in August.

In September 2020 the department published guidance for local authorities and advice for parents on delaying entry to school for summer born children. This includes guidance on transition to secondary school for children who delayed their start at school. The guidance helps admission authorities to understand the framework within which they must operate when responding to parental requests for summer born children to be admitted out of their normal age group. Admission authorities must make decisions based on the circumstances of each case and in the best interests of the child concerned. Survey data shows that almost 9 in 10 requests were approved in 2020.

Any change allowing the parents of summer born children the automatic right to delay their child’s entry to reception, and for the child to remain with that cohort throughout their education, would require primary legislation.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of deferring school entry on children who were born in August.

Most children start school in the September following their 4th birthday. The department has not made an assessment of the effect of deferring school entry on children who were born in August.

In September 2020 the department published guidance for local authorities and advice for parents on delaying entry to school for summer born children. This includes guidance on transition to secondary school for children who delayed their start at school. The guidance helps admission authorities to understand the framework within which they must operate when responding to parental requests for summer born children to be admitted out of their normal age group. Admission authorities must make decisions based on the circumstances of each case and in the best interests of the child concerned. Survey data shows that almost 9 in 10 requests were approved in 2020.

Any change allowing the parents of summer born children the automatic right to delay their child’s entry to reception, and for the child to remain with that cohort throughout their education, would require primary legislation.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to find places on UK medical courses for UK students who were studying in Ukraine but have now been displaced as a result of Russia's invasion of that country.

The department is aware that UK nationals studying in Ukraine, many of whom were studying medicine, have had their studies disrupted. The government will look to support these students as they reassess their options in the UK and the department has asked universities to treat these students sensitively.

The department recognises that, for a variety of reasons, many of these students cannot be accommodated on medicine courses. Therefore, we are encouraging universities to consider alternative options to allow these students to continue their studies. These include related courses in the biological sciences or subjects allied to medicine.

The department is also looking into how the higher education (HE) sector can support Ukrainian HE providers should it be appropriate or feasible for elements of the course or exams to be delivered remotely.

Whilst HE providers are autonomous and independent from government, we are encouraging them to be as flexible as possible for all students impacted by the situation in Ukraine and where they are facing challenges, to ensure support is given where it is most needed.

The department will continue to work closely with key representatives to explore how the HE sector can collectively support Ukrainian students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students have been reached with a free breakfast as part of the National School Breakfast Programme so far in the academic year 2021-22.

The government is committed to continuing support for school breakfast clubs and we are investing up to £24 million to continue our national programme until July 2023. This funding will support up to 2,500 schools in disadvantaged areas, meaning that thousands of children from low-income families will be offered free nutritious breakfasts to better support their attainment and wellbeing.

The enrolment process is still underway for schools that wish to sign up to the programme. As of 22 December 2021, 1,245 schools had signed up and 847 schools had placed food orders. We will work with our supplier Family Action to monitor the data and consider suitable opportunities to share more information on the programme as it progresses, including in relation to the number of children and young people that are benefiting from the programme.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many school-based support staff are trained to aid children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Information on the number of staff, including teaching assistants and other support staff, employed in state-funded schools in England is published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

In 2020/21, the full-time equivalent of 271,370 people were working as teaching assistants in state-funded schools in England. This figure is 49,889 (equivalent to 22.5%) higher than in 2011/12.

'Teaching Assistants' comprises those support staff based in the classroom for learning and pupil support, for example higher level teaching assistants, teaching assistants, special needs support staff, nursery officers/assistants, minority ethnic pupils support staff and bilingual support assistants.

Special support assistants are included in the teaching assistant totals and special educational needs coordinator assistants are included in the administrative staff totals.

Information on the number of school-based support staff trained to aid children with special educational needs and disabilities is not collected centrally.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) teaching assistants and (b) other educational focused support staff employed in schools in England in the latest period for which figures are available.

Information on the number of staff, including teaching assistants and other support staff, employed in state-funded schools in England is published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

In 2020/21, the full-time equivalent of 271,370 people were working as teaching assistants in state-funded schools in England. This figure is 49,889 (equivalent to 22.5%) higher than in 2011/12.

'Teaching Assistants' comprises those support staff based in the classroom for learning and pupil support, for example higher level teaching assistants, teaching assistants, special needs support staff, nursery officers/assistants, minority ethnic pupils support staff and bilingual support assistants.

Special support assistants are included in the teaching assistant totals and special educational needs coordinator assistants are included in the administrative staff totals.

Information on the number of school-based support staff trained to aid children with special educational needs and disabilities is not collected centrally.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has undertaken or commissioned a study or review of the capacity and effectiveness of (a) school based and (b) local authority based educational support staff.

In 2019, the department commissioned research about the use and effects of teaching assistants in primary and secondary mainstream schools. The research was published in June 2019 and is available on the government’s website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-deployment-of-teaching-assistants-in-schools.

The research explores models of deployment in a range of primary and secondary mainstream schools in England, including the factors that affect deployment and reasons for changes to deployment.

Schools have the freedom to make decisions about the recruitment, training, use and pay for teaching assistants, according to their own circumstances.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how his Department plans to monitor and evaluate the sufficiency of the additional £1.8 billion allocated to school catch-up in the Autumn Budget 2021.

The department is undertaking a range of monitoring and evaluation activities to assess COVID-19 catch-up activity, including for the additional £1.8 billion allocated in the autumn Budget 2021.

The department has commissioned Renaissance Learning, and their subcontractor, the Education Policy Institute, to collect data from a sample of schools. This will provide a baseline assessment of lost education and catch-up needs for pupils in schools in England, and to monitor progress over the course of the academic year 2020/21 and Autumn term 2021. We are seeking commercial agreements for further academic years which will help the department understand the impact of the additional £1.8 billion.

The department has a contract with Ipsos MORI, in consortium with Sheffield Hallam University and the Centre for Education and Youth to undertake a mixed-methods study design (including surveys of school leaders, interviews, and case studies) to examine how schools are tackling the issue of lost education. Results from the study will be used to understand how the catch-up premium funds have been spent and how best to support schools to tackle lost education.

The department is also undertaking evaluations of specific education recovery programmes to understand their effectiveness.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to Scope and the Disabled Children’s Partnership’s report entitled The Gap Widens, published in October 2021, which found that there is a £573 million funding gap in disabled children’s social care, what fiscal steps his Department is planning to take to support all families with a disabled child to access respite care and take short breaks.

I refer the hon. Member for Stockton North to the answer I gave on 20 October 2021 to Question 56976.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has in the next Comprehensive Spending Review to deliver ring-fenced funding to tackle the disproportionate social isolation affecting families with disabled children.

I refer the hon. Members for the City of Durham, Bath, and Stockton North to the answer I gave on 2 June 2021 to Question 7328.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2021 to Question 157325, on the Academic Year and School Day, what progress his Department is making on examining a range of options to help schools use evidence-based interventions to support their pupils to make up lost learning as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and when he plans to make an announcement on those options.

The Department appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to oversee our long-term recovery plan. Sir Kevan will speak with parents, pupils, and teachers whilst developing this, and will review how evidence-based interventions can be used to address the impact COVID-19 has had on education. We will share further details in due course.

In June 2020, we announced a £1 billion catch-up package including a National Tutoring Programme and a Catch-up Premium for this academic year, and in February 2021 we committed to further funding of £700 million to fund summer schools, the expansion of our tutoring programmes and a Recovery Premium for the next academic year. Funding will support pupils across early years, schools, and colleges.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2021 to Question 157325 on the Academic Year and School Day, what progress his Department is making on examining a range of options to help schools use evidence-based interventions to support their pupils to make up lost learning as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and when he plans to make an announcement on that matter.

The Department appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to oversee our long-term recovery plan. Sir Kevan will speak with parents, pupils, and teachers whilst developing this, and will review how evidence-based interventions can be used to address the impact COVID-19 has had on education. We will share further details in due course.

In June 2020, we announced a £1 billion catch-up package including a National Tutoring Programme and a Catch-up Premium for this academic year, and in February 2021 we committed to further funding of £700 million to fund summer schools, the expansion of our tutoring programmes and a Recovery Premium for the next academic year. Funding will support pupils across early years, schools, and colleges.

15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to appoint a cross-Departmental Minister for Disabled Children; and if he will make a statement.

As the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families I am responsible for policy on special educational needs and disabilities and on disadvantaged children more broadly.

The government is committed to supporting disabled children and as part of this we will be publishing a new national strategy for disabled people this year. I work closely with my hon. Friend, the Member for North Swindon, as Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, and with Ministerial Disability Champions across Whitehall to ensure that our policies are joined up effectively. Our priority here is ensuring that the needs of disabled children are recognised and appropriately met, which is what the current ministerial arrangements are already working to achieve.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the (a) employment and (b) income of supply teachers.

The Department does not hold data on the rate of employment or the income of supply teachers.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has released estimates of the number and value of claims made to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). This outlines the number of companies, and employees who have been supported by the CJRS by employment sector, including education. However, the statistical release does not provide data on specific job roles within a sector. The information is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-december-2020

If supply staff employed via employment agencies are unable to find work, their employment agency can place them on furlough and use the CJRS to claim for 80% of their wages, including during school holiday periods, provided that the eligibility criteria. are met. Information on the CJRS is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme. Information on the eligibility criteria is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support is available for casual supply teachers who are not contracted to a school during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. Schools have autonomy over these budgets and their employment arrangements and decisions on staffing are made at the local level.

If supply staff employed via employment agencies are unable to work due to COVID-19, their employment agency can place them on furlough and use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to claim for 80% of their wages, including during school holiday periods, provided that the eligibility criteria are met. Information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme. Information on the eligibility criteria is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

Employers can now flexibly furlough their employees for the hours the employee would usually have worked in that period, whilst also being able to work outside of the hours they are furloughed. Employees can work for any amount of time, and any work pattern but they cannot do any work for their employer during hours that employers record them as being on furlough. Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#flexible-furlough-agreements.

The decision to furlough an employee, fully or flexibly, is entirely at the employer's discretion as it is dependent on a range of factors that the employer is best placed to determine, for example, the amount of work available for employees.

The Government has provided additional financial support for those who are unable to work because they have COVID-19, or are self-isolating, which is outlined here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-youre-employed-and-cannot-work?priority-taxon=5ebf285a-9165-476c-be90-66b9729f50da#if-someone-you-live-with-has-symptoms-of-coronavirus.



6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to provide support to parents who have to home school their children while working full time.

It is critically important to ensure that all children and young people continue to learn during the national lockdown. The Department has updated the remote education guidance for schools and colleges to clarify and strengthen expectations while on-site attendance is restricted, drawing on our evolving understanding of best practice in remote education. The guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf.

Schools are expected to provide a set number of hours of remote education for pupils, increased from the Government’s previous minimum expectations. This includes time for independent study and recorded or live direct teaching. The Department recognises that different expectations are appropriate for younger and older age groups when learning remotely. The minimum number of expected hours therefore vary by Key Stage: 3 hours for Key Stage 1, on average across the cohort with less for younger pupils; 4 hours for Key Stage 2; and 5 hours for Key Stages 3 and 4. Schools are also expected to provide daily check ins on pupil engagement.

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

To provide further clarity for pupils, parents, and carers about what they can expect, schools are expected to publish information about their remote education provision on their website by 25 January 2021. An optional template is available to support schools with this expectation. It is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/providing-remote-education-information-to-parents-template. Colleges were also expected to publish information about their remote education provision on their websites by 18 January.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people, 800,000 of which were delivered to schools, trusts and local authorities by 17 January. All schools have been invited to order devices. Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

The Department has partnered with the UK’s leading mobile network operators, such as EE, Three, O2, and Vodafone, to provide free data to disadvantaged families, which will support access to education resources, including Oak National Academy, and other websites. Families will benefit from this additional data until July 2021. Schools will be able to request free mobile data uplifts via the Get Help with Technology service.

In addition, the Department has already provided 4G wireless routers, with free data for the academic year, and continue to provide 4G wireless routers where children need to access remote education.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of potential discrepancies in examination and test performance between children who (a) have and (b) have not missed more than 20 days of schooling.

The Department recognises the challenges faced by schools, teachers, and students, and is aware that disruption has been felt differently across the country and between schools and colleges in the same area and between students within individual institutions.

The Department collects data from early years settings, schools and colleges detailing absences related to COVID-19. We are also conducting research to understand the learning lost by school aged pupils as a result of disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department has also confirmed the launch of an expert advisory group to consider the differential impacts of the pandemic on students and recommend mitigations for these impacts. Furthermore, Primary assessments in 2021 will be focused on those most important for schools, pupils and parents. The assessments that are going ahead will help assess the impact of lost time in education and ensure pupils receive the teaching that will best enable them to address any impact.

In recognition of the challenges faced by students, the Department has announced a package of measures that will ensure students have a fair chance of showing their knowledge and understanding of a subject in exams. The announcement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-support-the-summer-2021-exams.

These include grading that is more generous than previous years and adaptions to exams, such as giving students advance notice of topic areas and exam support materials. These adaptations will allow students to use the remaining time before the exams more effectively, which will be of particular benefit to those most affected by learning loss.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the head of Ofsted on changes to the (a) frequency of and (b) methodology used in school inspections for the duration of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has regular discussions with Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector about a range of matters, including Ofsted’s inspection approaches and programmes. On 3 December, the Secretary of State for Education confirmed the intention that routine, graded school inspections would not resume until the summer term, and that in the meantime, Ofsted would carry out monitoring inspections in schools most in need of support.

The Department will continue to engage with Ofsted as it implements its inspections in the spring term, and prepares for the resumption of routine, graded inspections.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the availability of experienced supply teachers in the last eight months.

?The Department does not hold live data on the number of supply teachers available to schools although officials continue to engage with suppliers on the Department and Crown Commercial Service’s supply teacher framework to monitor market capacity.

?The Department has published guidance for schools for reopening which gives advice on how they can meet their workforce challenges, including advice on engaging supply teachers. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#school-workforce.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will provide additional funding to cover the increased supply teacher costs in schools as a result of teachers self-isolating during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department appreciates the continued and significant efforts by schools and their staff to keep schools open this term. Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and wellbeing, and has rightly been a national priority. The latest published figures show that, on average, 99% of schools are open on a daily basis. The Department published guidance to support schools to welcome back all children full-time. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in the 2020-21 financial year compared to 2019-20.

The Department has also announced a new Covid workforce fund to support schools that are eligible with some of the costs of covering staff absences in schools, including employing supply staff to cover these absences. Relevant information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-funding-to-support-schools-and-colleges-during-covid-pandemic.

Ministers and officials continue to engage regularly with school leaders and their representatives on a wide range of issues around COVID-19, including discussions in relation to costs faced by schools at this time. The Department will continue to review the pressures schools are facing into next term.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made on the importance of KS2 SATs results for the 2020-21 Year 7 cohort during the transition period into secondary schools.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and associated school closures, the Department made the decision to cancel key stage 2 national curriculum assessments in the 2019/20 academic year. As a result, there were no formal assessment and reporting requirements for that year. The Department recognises the gap in information this creates on pupils’ attainment for the year 7 cohort of pupils in the 2020/21 academic year. Schools must continue to share pupils’ common transfer files with secondary schools and make arrangements to share additional information as required.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made for the implications of his policies for (a) regional variations in covid-19 infection rates, and (b) the number of days of schooling lost as a result of covid-19 restrictions on school exams in 2021.

The Department works closely with relevant partners such as the Joint Bio Security Centre, Public Health England, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the Office for National Statistics to understand regional trends in COVID-19 infection. Furthermore, our regional REACT teams gather information about the challenges facing individual schools and supports them to respond to their local circumstances.

The Department collects data from schools, nurseries, and colleges detailing absences related to COVID-19. We are also conducting research to understand the learning lost by school aged pupils as a result of disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department recognises that pupils, including those due to sit exams and assessments next year, will have experienced disruption to their education due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The measures announced on 3 December are the best way to ensure pupils have a fair chance of showing their knowledge and understanding of a subject in exams. These include grading that is more generous than previous years and adaptions to exams, such as giving pupils exam support materials and advance notice of topic areas.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the amount schools have spent on supply teaching in the last eight months by region.

Information on school spending is found in the schools financial benchmarking tool which contains local authority maintained schools’ Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) returns and academies’ accounting returns (AARs). The tool is found here: https://schools-financial-benchmarking.service.gov.uk/Help/DataSources.

The CFR and AAR results publish spending by schools on supply teachers. The latest information available is for the 2018/19 financial year for maintained schools, and 2018/19 academic year for academies.

Local authority maintained schools have submitted their 2019/20 financial year data which is due to be released shortly. This will include the period up to 31st March 2020. The Department will not have the school financial data for the last 8 months until the 2020/21 financial data is released in late 2021.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in the 2020/21 financial year compared to 2019/20.

The Department has announced a new COVID-19 workforce fund to support schools that are eligible with some of the costs of covering staff absences in schools, including employing supply staff to cover these absences. The announcement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-funding-to-support-schools-and-colleges-during-covid-pandemic.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the increase in expenditure by schools on public health measures during the covid-19 outbreak, by region.

The Department appreciates the continued and significant efforts by schools and their staff to keep schools open this term. Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and wellbeing and has rightly been a national priority. The latest published figures show that, on average, 99% of schools are open on a daily basis. The Department published guidance to support schools to welcome back all children full-time. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise risk of transmission. The measures set out in the Department’s guidance has been endorsed by Public Health England.

Schools have also continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in the 2020/21 financial year compared to 2019-20. As stated in our guidance, schools should use their existing resources, including these funding increases, when making arrangements to support children this term, including on public health measures associated with COVID-19 where appropriate.

To further support schools with some of these costs, the Department has been providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred between March and July due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As part of this, schools were able to claim for additional cleaning costs, over and above existing arrangements, for confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. The first window for schools to claim funding back for exceptional costs due to the COVID-19 outbreak incurred between March and July closed on 21 July. Payments against claims made within the published scope of the fund were made to schools and academies in September. Schools received £16 million for additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases. Schools now have a second opportunity to claim for any costs in the approved categories, for which they did not claim during the first window. This second claims window launched on 4 December, along with details on how to make a claim, and will remain open until 22 December.

Ministers and officials continue to engage regularly with school leaders and their representatives on a wide range of issues around COVID-19, including discussions in relation to costs faced by schools at this time. The Department will continue to review the pressures schools are facing into next term.


5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the age at which children's attitudes towards money are shaped; and if he will make a statement.

Education on financial matters helps to ensure that young people are prepared to manage their money well, make sound financial decisions, and know where to seek further information when needed. In 2014, for the first time, financial literacy was made statutory within the National Curriculum as part of the citizenship curriculum for 11 to 16 year olds: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-citizenship-programmes-of-study.

We also introduced a rigorous mathematics curriculum, which provides young people with the knowledge and financial skills to make important financial decisions: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-mathematics-programmes-of-study.
The Government has published statutory programmes of study for mathematics and citizenship that outline what pupils should learn about financial education from Key Stages 1 to 4.

In the primary mathematics curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on the essential arithmetic that pupils should have. This knowledge is vital, as a strong understanding of numeracy and numbers will underpin the pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money, including, for example, percentages. There is also some specific content about financial education such as calculations with money.

The Department trusts schools to use their professional judgement and understanding of their pupils to develop the right teaching approach for their particular school, drawing on the expertise of subject associations and organisations such as Young Money.

For the longer term, the Department will continue to work closely with The Money and Pension Service and Her Majesty's Treasury, to consider how to provide further support for the teaching of financial education in schools.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 24 September 2020 to Question 91162, if he will provide an update on when his Department plans to publish the independent evaluation of the 2019 Holiday Activities and Food programme.

Last year, we commissioned Ecorys to carry out an independent evaluation of our 2019 Holiday Activities and Food programme.

The report has been delayed due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak but it is now in the final stages and is being prepared for publication. We will continue to work with Ecorys on this and we expect their report to be published in the near future.

This summer, our £9 million Holiday Activities and Food programme worked across 17 local authority areas, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities, building on the success of the programme in 2018 and 2019.

Future policy and spending decisions will be set following completion of the current Spending Review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 23 September 2020 to Question 91763 on Holiday Play Schemes: Free School Meals and the Treasury’s News story of 21 October 2020, Spending Review to conclude late November, whether the Government plans to make an announcement on the long-term future of his Department’s Holiday Activities and Food programme after that Spending Review on 25 November 2020.

Last year, we commissioned Ecorys to carry out an independent evaluation of our 2019 Holiday Activities and Food programme.

The report has been delayed due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak but it is now in the final stages and is being prepared for publication. We will continue to work with Ecorys on this and we expect their report to be published in the near future.

This summer, our £9 million Holiday Activities and Food programme worked across 17 local authority areas, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities, building on the success of the programme in 2018 and 2019.

Future policy and spending decisions will be set following completion of the current Spending Review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many referrals there have been to children’s social care in each month since March 2020.

The department has undertaken a new Vulnerable Children and Young People Survey which has collected data from local authorities in England since May 2020. It includes data on contact with children supported by children’s social care, workforce, cost and system pressures. The report includes the number of referrals to children’s social care and referral source. Findings from the survey are published monthly and are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vulnerable-children-and-young-people-survey.

The attached table shows the data we have collected from the survey on the number of referrals to children’s social care services between May and August. The survey collects data fortnightly and asks for the number of referrals received over a one-week period, meaning there are gaps in the data. The total number of referrals to children’s social care received over a full month is not held.

Figures on the number of referrals and referral source are also published annually in the characteristics of children in need statistical release. The latest published data relates to the period up to 31 March 2019. The statistics are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-children-in-need.

The department has been working closely with local authorities to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, setting up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact. Bringing together expertise from across the department, these teams monitor the challenges that local authorities are facing, including any increases in demand, and can provide support and guidance where appropriate.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to his oral contribution of 16 June 2020, Official Report column 713, when he plans to confirm (a) how, (b) where and (c) over what period the £1 billion fund to create more high-quality childcare, after-school clubs and support during holidays will be allocated.

The department wants to give parents the freedom, support and choice to look after their children in the way that works best for them. That is why from 2021, the government will be investing up to £1 billion to help create more high-quality wraparound and holiday childcare places. We will announce further details on this new investment in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's press release of 22 June 2020 entitled Thousands of children to benefit from free meals and activities, what recent estimate he has made of the number of disadvantaged children in (a) Stockton-on-Tees, (b) the North East and (c) England who will be unable to access free holiday activity provision in summer 2020.

Our Holiday Activities and Food programme is integral to our approach to provide healthy food and activities to children over the summer. We have announced 17 local authority areas that will benefit from this programme, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities, and build on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes. Grant funding was allocated based on a competitive bidding process.

We have worked with our Holiday Activities and Food coordinators to ensure that the programmes will support children and families through the disruption caused by COVID-19. We will set our future plans for this area in due course.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, we fully understand that children and parents face an unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a Covid Summer Food Fund. This will support families with children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the 6-week holiday period. The department’s guidance on providing free school meals during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

We have also recently announced a £1 billion Covid catch-up package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time. £650 million will be shared across state primary, secondary and special schools over the 2020-2021 academic year. Schools are best placed to decide how this money is spent, but that can include, where appropriate, running summer schools.

Following the confirmation from my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, that holiday clubs will now be allowed to reopen during the summer holidays, we have published guidance on community activities, holiday and after-school clubs, as well as other out-of-school provision for children over the age of 5. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's press release of 22 June 2020 entitled Thousands of children to benefit from free meals and activities, what support his Department is providing to local authorities that were not allocated funding from the £9 million Holiday Activities and Food programme to be able to offer free holiday activity provision to disadvantaged children in summer 2020.

Our Holiday Activities and Food programme is integral to our approach to provide healthy food and activities to children over the summer. We have announced 17 local authority areas that will benefit from this programme, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities, and build on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes. Grant funding was allocated based on a competitive bidding process.

We have worked with our Holiday Activities and Food coordinators to ensure that the programmes will support children and families through the disruption caused by COVID-19. We will set our future plans for this area in due course.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, we fully understand that children and parents face an unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a Covid Summer Food Fund. This will support families with children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the 6-week holiday period. The department’s guidance on providing free school meals during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

We have also recently announced a £1 billion Covid catch-up package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time. £650 million will be shared across state primary, secondary and special schools over the 2020-2021 academic year. Schools are best placed to decide how this money is spent, but that can include, where appropriate, running summer schools.

Following the confirmation from my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, that holiday clubs will now be allowed to reopen during the summer holidays, we have published guidance on community activities, holiday and after-school clubs, as well as other out-of-school provision for children over the age of 5. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's press release of 22 June 2020 entitled Thousands of children to benefit from free meals and activities, by what date he plans to announce whether the Holiday and Activities and Food programme will continue beyond summer 2020.

Our Holiday Activities and Food programme is integral to our approach to provide healthy food and activities to children over the summer. We have announced 17 local authority areas that will benefit from this programme, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities, and build on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes. Grant funding was allocated based on a competitive bidding process.

We have worked with our Holiday Activities and Food coordinators to ensure that the programmes will support children and families through the disruption caused by COVID-19. We will set our future plans for this area in due course.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, we fully understand that children and parents face an unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a Covid Summer Food Fund. This will support families with children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the 6-week holiday period. The department’s guidance on providing free school meals during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

We have also recently announced a £1 billion Covid catch-up package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time. £650 million will be shared across state primary, secondary and special schools over the 2020-2021 academic year. Schools are best placed to decide how this money is spent, but that can include, where appropriate, running summer schools.

Following the confirmation from my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, that holiday clubs will now be allowed to reopen during the summer holidays, we have published guidance on community activities, holiday and after-school clubs, as well as other out-of-school provision for children over the age of 5. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's publication of 1 July 2020 entitled Devices and 4G wireless routers progress data as of 30 June 2020, if he will provide that data in relation to each local authority area in the North East.

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

The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets, and allocated devices to local authorities and academy trusts based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and prioritise children and young people who need devices. The Department has invited all local authorities and academy trusts to order laptops and tablets and 4G wireless routers. As of the end of June, over 200,000 laptops and tablets and over 47,000 4G wireless routers have been delivered to local authorities and academy trusts.

The Department has delivered the following number of devices to local authorities across the North East for children with a social worker, care leavers and disadvantaged year 10s. The Department continues to deliver devices as orders are received.

Local Authority

Devices Delivered or Dispatched

4G Wireless Routers Delivered or Dispatched

Gateshead

604

81

Newcastle upon Tyne

1827

260

North Tyneside

731

142

South Tyneside

711

130

Sunderland

1130

171

Hartlepool

671

105

Middlesbrough

961

138

Redcar and Cleveland

550

148

Stockton-on-Tees

755

160

County Durham

1697

248

Darlington

410

49

Northumberland

976

146

Total

11023

1778

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of pupils eligible for free school meals in (a) Stockton-on-Tees, (b) the North East and (c) England who will not have access to (i) an appropriate digital device, (ii) an internet connection and (iii) data after his Department's roll-out of devices and 4G wireless routers is complete.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support children in England to access remote education and social care services, including by providing vulnerable and disadvantaged children with laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers. We have provided laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in year 10 do not have internet connections, we have provided 4G wireless routers.

The Department has provided over 200,000 laptops and tablets to local authorities and academy trusts based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. These estimates were based on the proportion of disadvantaged children, an estimate of private devices ownership and an estimate of existing devices held by schools which could be loaned out to meet the needs of these children. Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and prioritise children and young people who need devices. Local authorities and academy trusts could request additional devices, if required.

As of the end of June, over 200,000 laptops and tablets and over 47,000 4G wireless routers had been delivered to local authorities and academy trusts. This included 755 laptops and tablets and 160 4G wireless routers to Stockton-on-Tees local authority for children with a social worker and care leavers and year 10 pupils in local authority maintained schools.

The Department has delivered the following number of devices to local authorities for children with a social worker, care leavers and disadvantaged year 10s across the North East. The Department continues to deliver devices as orders are received.

Local Authority

Devices Delivered or Dispatched

4G Wireless Routers Delivered or Dispatched

Gateshead

604

81

Newcastle upon Tyne

1827

260

North Tyneside

731

142

South Tyneside

711

130

Sunderland

1130

171

Hartlepool

671

105

Middlesbrough

961

138

Redcar and Cleveland

550

148

Stockton-on-Tees

755

160

County Durham

1697

248

Darlington

410

49

Northumberland

976

146

Total

11023

1778

Devices have also been delivered to academy trusts which have schools in the North East for disadvantaged year 10 pupils.

The Department has launched a service to provide children and young people free access to BT wifi hotspots until the end of December. 10,000 families will initially be able to access the scheme. We are currently working with BT to expand this offer to allow more children to access the internet through their network of BT wifi hotspots.

We are working with the major telecommunications companies to improve internet connectivity for disadvantaged and vulnerable families. For families who rely on a mobile internet connection, mobile network operators are working to provide access to free additional data while COVID-19 requires children to learn from home and more social care services are online.

For those in rural areas or without a connection, schools are able to draw on support from the BBC which is broadcasting lessons on television. Some of the BBC educational content is offline, via the red button.

Schools may also choose to draw on the many resources offers which have been made by publishers across the country. The Department has published an initial list of high quality online educational resources, which have been identified by some of the country’s leading educational experts to help pupils learn at home.

28th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the analysis by The Children’s Society, Barnardo’s, Action for Children, NSPCC and the National Children’s Bureau, published on 18 May 2020, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authority children’s services are adequately prepared for a potential spike in referrals after the covid-19 lockdown is lifted.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures including on children’s services. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months.

The department has set up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact with local authorities. Bringing together expertise from across the department, these teams monitor the challenges local authorities are facing and can provide support and guidance where appropriate. To assist in this, Ofsted has suspended routine inspections of children’s care services and only urgent inspections for specific concerns will go ahead so that children’s safety is prioritised. Ofsted inspectors have been deployed to support our regional teams and local authorities to provide their expertise.

We have recently set up a fortnightly data collection from local authorities to capture timely intelligence on referrals. This will allow the department to support local authorities to respond to any changes as the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted.

The department has committed over £100 million to support access to social care services and remote education, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to vulnerable and disadvantaged children. We are also in continual discussions with charities on the support they provide and currently need. We have committed additional funding worth £26.4 million directly to support them, including £1.6 million to expand NSPCC’s helpline.

We are working closely with local authorities to ensure workforce capacity is sufficient to cope with any potential spike in referrals. This includes weekly discussions between the Chief Social Worker and practice leaders.

Through emergency legislation and with Social Work England, we have reinstated the professional registration of 8,000 former social workers so that they can re-join the profession, providing additional resource where it is required.

We have also developed The Social Work Together online tool in partnership with Social Work England and the Local Government Association, so those social workers who have registered are available to support their local community if needed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the analysis published on 18 May 2020 by The Children’s Society, Barnardo’s, Action for Children, NSPCC and the National Children’s Bureau, if he will he take steps to incentivise local authority children’s services to invest in early intervention services.

Early help plays an important role in promoting safe and stable families. It is about supporting and intervening with the right families, at the right time, and, most importantly, in the right way. It is right that local authorities are free to decide how to use their children’s social care budget to manage local priorities and deliver the best services for children. The statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children is clear that local areas should have a comprehensive range of effective, evidence-based services in place to address assessed needs early.

The government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months. The government also announced at the Local Government Finance Settlement that English councils' core spending power is rising by over £2.9 billion this financial year. This includes £1 billion of new grant funding that can be used flexibly by local authorities to deliver adult and children’s social care services, including early intervention services. Longer term funding considerations are a matter for the next spending review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that local authority children’s services are adequately funded to prepare for a potential increase in referrals after lockdown restrictions are eased after the covid-19 outbreak.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures including on children’s services. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months.

The department has set up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact with local authorities. Bringing together expertise from across the department, these teams monitor the challenges local authorities are facing and can provide support and guidance where appropriate. To assist in this, Ofsted has suspended routine inspections of children’s care services and only urgent inspections for specific concerns will go ahead so that children’s safety is prioritised. Ofsted inspectors have been deployed to support our regional teams and local authorities to provide their expertise.

We have recently set up a fortnightly data collection from local authorities to capture timely intelligence on referrals. This will allow the department to support local authorities to respond to any changes as the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted.

The department has committed over £100 million to support access to social care services and remote education, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to vulnerable and disadvantaged children. We are also in continual discussions with charities on the support they provide and currently need. We have committed additional funding worth £26.4 million directly to support them, including £1.6 million to expand NSPCC’s helpline.

We are working closely with local authorities to ensure workforce capacity is sufficient to cope with any potential spike in referrals. This includes weekly discussions between the Chief Social Worker and practice leaders.

Through emergency legislation and with Social Work England, we have reinstated the professional registration of 8,000 former social workers so that they can re-join the profession, providing additional resource where it is required.

We have also developed The Social Work Together online tool in partnership with Social Work England and the Local Government Association, so those social workers who have registered are available to support their local community if needed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to incentivise local authority children’s services to allocate additional funding to early intervention services.

Early help plays an important role in promoting safe and stable families. It is about supporting and intervening with the right families, at the right time, and, most importantly, in the right way. It is right that local authorities are free to decide how to use their children’s social care budget to manage local priorities and deliver the best services for children. The statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children is clear that local areas should have a comprehensive range of effective, evidence-based services in place to address assessed needs early.

The government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months. The government also announced at the Local Government Finance Settlement that English councils' core spending power is rising by over £2.9 billion this financial year. This includes £1 billion of new grant funding that can be used flexibly by local authorities to deliver adult and children’s social care services, including early intervention services. Longer term funding considerations are a matter for the next spending review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to (a) schools and (b) local authorities to ensure that parents claim e-vouchers issued by them for free school meals.

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

Our latest guidance on national voucher scheme is set out below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

During this period, we are asking schools to speak to their catering team or food suppliers to arrange meals or food parcels for pupils who are eligible for free school meals while they are staying at home. Where this is not possible, the department has developed a national voucher scheme as an alternative to support schools with this provision.

We are working very closely with our national voucher scheme supplier, Edenred, to ensure schools, as administrators ordering the vouchers for families, receive regular updates and advice regarding the scheme. There are also a number of online resources specifically aimed at schools and parents, including the following:

Edenred has reported that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket e-gift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his written statement of 21 April 2020, HCWS193, on Support for Education Settings/Providers, how many (a) laptops and tablets and (b) wireless 4G routers have been (i) applied for and (ii) will be received by schools on behalf of children and young people in each local authority area in the North East region.

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

We are providing laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver.

The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets. Local authorities and academy trusts are best place to identify and prioritise children and young people who need devices. The Department is agreeing the number of devices allocated to each local authority and academy trust based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device.

The Department is working to provide these devices in the shortest possible timeframe; deliveries to schools and Local Authorities will start this month and continue in June.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing parents and carers in England with direct payments in place of the national free school meal voucher scheme.

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

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate free school meal (FSM) arrangements for eligible pupils during this period. In the first instance, we are asking schools to speak to their catering teams and food suppliers about making food parcel arrangements for children staying at home as we believe that this is the best way to ensure that children are continuing to receive healthy meals. Where this is not possible, schools can use our national voucher scheme or alternatively can also set up their own voucher arrangements where the national scheme is not suitable. We have not put forward an approach that would involve direct payments to parents.

Schools and local authorities continue to accept FSM applications from parents or pupils. The department provides an Eligibility Checking System to support schools and local authorities in verifying and awarding FSM and we have developed a model registration form to help schools encourage parents to sign up for FSM.

Our Holiday Activities and Food Scheme will ensure that thousands of disadvantaged children have access to healthy meals this summer. On 16 March, we wrote to all bidders to let them know whether or not they were successful in their applications for funding and offered feedback to unsuccessful bidders. We will shortly announce the successful areas publicly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department provides to (a) schools and (b) local authorities to encourage newly-eligible families to apply for free school meals.

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

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate free school meal (FSM) arrangements for eligible pupils during this period. In the first instance, we are asking schools to speak to their catering teams and food suppliers about making food parcel arrangements for children staying at home as we believe that this is the best way to ensure that children are continuing to receive healthy meals. Where this is not possible, schools can use our national voucher scheme or alternatively can also set up their own voucher arrangements where the national scheme is not suitable. We have not put forward an approach that would involve direct payments to parents.

Schools and local authorities continue to accept FSM applications from parents or pupils. The department provides an Eligibility Checking System to support schools and local authorities in verifying and awarding FSM and we have developed a model registration form to help schools encourage parents to sign up for FSM.

Our Holiday Activities and Food Scheme will ensure that thousands of disadvantaged children have access to healthy meals this summer. On 16 March, we wrote to all bidders to let them know whether or not they were successful in their applications for funding and offered feedback to unsuccessful bidders. We will shortly announce the successful areas publicly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 1 May 2020 to Question 38875 on Academic Year and Free School Meals, by what date his Department will announce the successful bids for the summer 2020 Holiday Activities and Food scheme.

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

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate free school meal (FSM) arrangements for eligible pupils during this period. In the first instance, we are asking schools to speak to their catering teams and food suppliers about making food parcel arrangements for children staying at home as we believe that this is the best way to ensure that children are continuing to receive healthy meals. Where this is not possible, schools can use our national voucher scheme or alternatively can also set up their own voucher arrangements where the national scheme is not suitable. We have not put forward an approach that would involve direct payments to parents.

Schools and local authorities continue to accept FSM applications from parents or pupils. The department provides an Eligibility Checking System to support schools and local authorities in verifying and awarding FSM and we have developed a model registration form to help schools encourage parents to sign up for FSM.

Our Holiday Activities and Food Scheme will ensure that thousands of disadvantaged children have access to healthy meals this summer. On 16 March, we wrote to all bidders to let them know whether or not they were successful in their applications for funding and offered feedback to unsuccessful bidders. We will shortly announce the successful areas publicly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2020 to Question 9002, on Holiday Activities and Food Research Fund, of the nine bids received from the North East region how many were successful; and what the value is of those successful bids.

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

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate free school meal (FSM) arrangements for eligible pupils during this period. In the first instance, we are asking schools to speak to their catering teams and food suppliers about making food parcel arrangements for children staying at home as we believe that this is the best way to ensure that children are continuing to receive healthy meals. Where this is not possible, schools can use our national voucher scheme or alternatively can also set up their own voucher arrangements where the national scheme is not suitable. We have not put forward an approach that would involve direct payments to parents.

Schools and local authorities continue to accept FSM applications from parents or pupils. The department provides an Eligibility Checking System to support schools and local authorities in verifying and awarding FSM and we have developed a model registration form to help schools encourage parents to sign up for FSM.

Our Holiday Activities and Food Scheme will ensure that thousands of disadvantaged children have access to healthy meals this summer. On 16 March, we wrote to all bidders to let them know whether or not they were successful in their applications for funding and offered feedback to unsuccessful bidders. We will shortly announce the successful areas publicly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 6 May 2020 to Question 42022, what factors he plans to take into account when reviewing whether free school food schemes will continue over the Whitsun school holiday week in May 2020.

As indicated in my previous answer, the provision of free school meals is ordinarily term time only. The department met the cost of this provision for eligible pupils during the Easter holidays, and this was to reflect the immediate circumstances schools and families were facing as a result of school closures that had only recently been introduced.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that students are able to retrieve their possessions from university accommodation during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

The government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy published on 11 May sets out a cautious roadmap to ease existing measures in a safe and measured way. The strategy allows for certain necessary travel if people take precautions.

In light of this, we are developing guidance on students travelling to and from student accommodation and this will be published as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, we have made clear that we do not believe that students should be fined for failing to collect their belongings if this is the case because they are complying with the government’s travel advice.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what the guidance is for students who chose to stay at university but who now wish to travel home.

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

The government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy published on 11 May sets out a cautious roadmap to ease existing measures in a safe and measured way. The strategy allows for certain necessary travel if people take precautions.

In light of this, we are developing guidance on students travelling to and from student accommodation and this will be published as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, we have made clear that we do not believe that students should be fined for failing to collect their belongings if this is the case because they are complying with the government’s travel advice.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will fund the centrally-funded national voucher scheme to support free school meal provision during the covid-19 outbreak for families of pupils eligible for benefits-related free school meals in the Whitsun school holiday week in May 2020.

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

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, during the Easter holidays the department met the costs of offering free school meals to eligible pupils not attending school during term time weeks. This was in recognition of the unprecedented levels of disruption and uncertainty for schools during this time. We currently have no plans to extend the scheme into future holiday periods.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the vouchers offered to children eligible for free school meals during the school closures will cover the costs of breakfast.

While schools are closed to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, they will be able to provide meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops for families. The government has confirmed that the total value of vouchers offered to each eligible child per week will exceed the rate it pays to schools for free school meals.

In addition to this, we are working to consider options to support children who receive a free breakfast through our contracts with Family Action and Magic Breakfast.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of children living in poverty in Stockton-on-Tees who are unable to access the provision of free school holiday activities and food.

This government has announced a programme of research and pilots to explore ways of supporting disadvantaged families during school holidays. Following the success of our previous programmes, we now understand more about how best to support disadvantaged families. We are targeting this support where it is needed during the 6-week summer holidays.

We awarded £2 million of funding to 7 organisations to deliver free healthy food and activities to children and families in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country during the 2018 summer holidays. The organisations informed us that with this money they were able to support around 280 clubs and reach around 18,000 children.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly, alongside the areas that we will be working in and the number of children that we expect to benefit.

We have also commissioned an independent evaluation of the 2019 programme, which will report on the number of disadvantaged eligible children who accessed the clubs across the country, including our work in the North East, and which will be published in 2020.

Further funding of this programme after 2020 will be considered as part of the three-year Spending Review and we will set out our plans in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's news story of 4 January 2020, Free meals and summer holiday activities for children, what estimate he has made of the number of children that will benefit from that funding.

This government has announced a programme of research and pilots to explore ways of supporting disadvantaged families during school holidays. Following the success of our previous programmes, we now understand more about how best to support disadvantaged families. We are targeting this support where it is needed during the 6-week summer holidays.

We awarded £2 million of funding to 7 organisations to deliver free healthy food and activities to children and families in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country during the 2018 summer holidays. The organisations informed us that with this money they were able to support around 280 clubs and reach around 18,000 children.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly, alongside the areas that we will be working in and the number of children that we expect to benefit.

We have also commissioned an independent evaluation of the 2019 programme, which will report on the number of disadvantaged eligible children who accessed the clubs across the country, including our work in the North East, and which will be published in 2020.

Further funding of this programme after 2020 will be considered as part of the three-year Spending Review and we will set out our plans in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's news story of 4 January 2020, Free meals and summer holiday activities for children, what plans his Department has to extend the provision of free school holiday activities and meals to all school holidays.

This government has announced a programme of research and pilots to explore ways of supporting disadvantaged families during school holidays. Following the success of our previous programmes, we now understand more about how best to support disadvantaged families. We are targeting this support where it is needed during the 6-week summer holidays.

We awarded £2 million of funding to 7 organisations to deliver free healthy food and activities to children and families in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country during the 2018 summer holidays. The organisations informed us that with this money they were able to support around 280 clubs and reach around 18,000 children.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly, alongside the areas that we will be working in and the number of children that we expect to benefit.

We have also commissioned an independent evaluation of the 2019 programme, which will report on the number of disadvantaged eligible children who accessed the clubs across the country, including our work in the North East, and which will be published in 2020.

Further funding of this programme after 2020 will be considered as part of the three-year Spending Review and we will set out our plans in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's news story of 4 January 2020, Free meals and summer holiday activities for children, whether the Holiday Activities and Food scheme remains in a pilot phase.

This government has announced a programme of research and pilots to explore ways of supporting disadvantaged families during school holidays. Following the success of our previous programmes, we now understand more about how best to support disadvantaged families. We are targeting this support where it is needed during the 6-week summer holidays.

We awarded £2 million of funding to 7 organisations to deliver free healthy food and activities to children and families in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country during the 2018 summer holidays. The organisations informed us that with this money they were able to support around 280 clubs and reach around 18,000 children.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly, alongside the areas that we will be working in and the number of children that we expect to benefit.

We have also commissioned an independent evaluation of the 2019 programme, which will report on the number of disadvantaged eligible children who accessed the clubs across the country, including our work in the North East, and which will be published in 2020.

Further funding of this programme after 2020 will be considered as part of the three-year Spending Review and we will set out our plans in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Holiday Activities and Food scheme will operate in each year of the 2019 Parliament.

This government has announced a programme of research and pilots to explore ways of supporting disadvantaged families during school holidays. Following the success of our previous programmes, we now understand more about how best to support disadvantaged families. We are targeting this support where it is needed during the 6-week summer holidays.

We awarded £2 million of funding to 7 organisations to deliver free healthy food and activities to children and families in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country during the 2018 summer holidays. The organisations informed us that with this money they were able to support around 280 clubs and reach around 18,000 children.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly, alongside the areas that we will be working in and the number of children that we expect to benefit.

We have also commissioned an independent evaluation of the 2019 programme, which will report on the number of disadvantaged eligible children who accessed the clubs across the country, including our work in the North East, and which will be published in 2020.

Further funding of this programme after 2020 will be considered as part of the three-year Spending Review and we will set out our plans in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of any increase in testing chemical and pharmaceutical products on animals as a result of different REACH regimes in the UK and EU.

The UK has been at the forefront of opposing animal tests where alternative approaches could be used. This is known as the "last-resort principle", which have retained and enshrined in legislation through our landmark Environment Act.

We are determined that there should be no need for any additional animal testing for a chemical that has already been registered, unless it is subject to further evaluation that shows the registration dossier is inadequate or there are still concerns about the hazards and risks of the chemical, especially to human health.

The Health and Safety Executive, as the UK REACH Agency, will shortly be publishing its first report under Article 117(3) on the status of implementation and use of non-animal test methods and testing strategies under REACH. This report covers the first twelve months of UK REACH operation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of running and managing the UK REACH system.

We want to minimise disruption for business and ensure a smooth transition to UK REACH. We have put in place provisions to minimise the costs for businesses and maintain market access to both the EU and GB markets


We recognise that transition to the UK REACH regime has presented some challenges for the chemicals industry, particularly around the cost of having to access and purchase data to support their registration.

We previously extended the transitional registration deadlines (from two years to a phased two, four, & six-year approach) to allow industry more time to adapt and comply with UK REACH and to spread costs over a longer period. We have now gone further and committed to exploring alternative arrangements for UK REACH transitional registrations that would reduce the need for companies to access EU REACH data packages whilst maintaining high standards to safeguard public health and the environment. Although it is too early to commit to this model, we wish to further explore its potential. We will engage fully with industry, NGOs and other interested stakeholders as part of this process. We have also committed to consult on further extending the transitional registration deadlines.

The cost to Government in running UK REACH includes the cost of further digital development and management of the Comply with UK REACH digital service and the cost of regulatory capacity in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Environment Agency (EA). In 2022/23 this will cost around £13 million. There will also be additional costs of Defra staff working on REACH.


Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact on trade with the EU for British chemical companies of having to operate within UK REACH and EU REACH.

We want to minimise disruption for business and ensure a smooth transition to UK REACH. We have put in place provisions to minimise the costs for businesses and maintain market access to both the EU and GB markets


We recognise that transition to the UK REACH regime has presented some challenges for the chemicals industry, particularly around the cost of having to access and purchase data to support their registration.

We previously extended the transitional registration deadlines (from two years to a phased two, four, & six-year approach) to allow industry more time to adapt and comply with UK REACH and to spread costs over a longer period. We have now gone further and committed to exploring alternative arrangements for UK REACH transitional registrations that would reduce the need for companies to access EU REACH data packages whilst maintaining high standards to safeguard public health and the environment. Although it is too early to commit to this model, we wish to further explore its potential. We will engage fully with industry, NGOs and other interested stakeholders as part of this process. We have also committed to consult on further extending the transitional registration deadlines.

The cost to Government in running UK REACH includes the cost of further digital development and management of the Comply with UK REACH digital service and the cost of regulatory capacity in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Environment Agency (EA). In 2022/23 this will cost around £13 million. There will also be additional costs of Defra staff working on REACH.


Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the additional costs to British chemical companies of registering with UK REACH.

We want to minimise disruption for business and ensure a smooth transition to UK REACH. We have put in place provisions to minimise the costs for businesses and maintain market access to both the EU and GB markets


We recognise that transition to the UK REACH regime has presented some challenges for the chemicals industry, particularly around the cost of having to access and purchase data to support their registration.

We previously extended the transitional registration deadlines (from two years to a phased two, four, & six-year approach) to allow industry more time to adapt and comply with UK REACH and to spread costs over a longer period. We have now gone further and committed to exploring alternative arrangements for UK REACH transitional registrations that would reduce the need for companies to access EU REACH data packages whilst maintaining high standards to safeguard public health and the environment. Although it is too early to commit to this model, we wish to further explore its potential. We will engage fully with industry, NGOs and other interested stakeholders as part of this process. We have also committed to consult on further extending the transitional registration deadlines.

The cost to Government in running UK REACH includes the cost of further digital development and management of the Comply with UK REACH digital service and the cost of regulatory capacity in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Environment Agency (EA). In 2022/23 this will cost around £13 million. There will also be additional costs of Defra staff working on REACH.


Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his oral contribution of 17 June 2021, Official Report, column 437, if he will provide details of the meeting with representatives of the ornamentals sector referred to in that oral contribution.

On 16 June 2021, as part of his sector engagement activities, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs met with stakeholders from the edible and non-edible horticulture sector, to discuss labour issues and the effectiveness of the current Seasonal Workers Pilot.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the financial sustainability of animal rescue organisations.

Animal rescue organisations do excellent work, often on a voluntary basis, protecting animals against cruelty and ensuring that unwanted and abandoned animals in the UK are offered the opportunity of a forever home. I am acutely aware that the coronavirus pandemic, and specifically the measures put in place to control the spread of the virus, continue to affect individuals, businesses and charities caring for animals. Protecting the welfare of animals remains a priority for Defra throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The sector has kept us regularly updated of the developing situation, sharing their surveys particularly with respect to the rescue and rehoming of companion animals, and sharing information on cruelty investigations. It has been encouraging to see the sector working collaboratively and successfully to support itself and to safeguard the welfare of equines in their care in the face of financial hardship and uncertainty.

The latest figures from a survey by the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) show that although the animal rescue sector has seen a drop in income during the pandemic the financial sustainability in the sector appears to be improving. This suggests that rescues have adapted to the new situation either through fundraising in different ways or taking advantage of grants made available by the ADCH and other sources. More rescues are now taking in dogs and cats and more are rehoming. In Quarter 4 of 2020 there was a 24% Year on Year reduction of cat intake and a 32% reduction in dogs entering rescues. 68% of rescues have reported more people wish to foster dogs or cats and 58% wish to rehome a dog or cat.

National equine welfare charities have also kept us closely informed of the status of the Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund established by the Pet Plan Charitable Trust together with World Horse Welfare and the National Equine Welfare Council. The current picture of equine welfare is better than feared, but we continue to keep things under review.

We have worked closely with sector groups to update guidance to animal rescue and rehoming organisations, and other animal charities and businesses. This has enabled them to undertake core operations as far as possible, whilst maintaining compliance with the social distancing rules and need for hygiene precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Throughout this period, we have ensured that rescue and rehoming organisations are permitted to stay open, that staff and volunteers can continue to work and tend to the animals in their care, and that rehoming, fostering and adoption services can continue in accordance with Covid-19 secure guidance.

We take the concerns of the sector very seriously and are keeping a close watch on in-take levels and trends in animal relinquishments. Defra remains committed to continued engagement with the sector to understand the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, monitor the animal welfare implications of this and offer appropriate advice.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support the Government has made available to kennel and cattery businesses in the context of the re-classification of those services as essential and the implications of that matter for the eligibility of those workers regarding furlough.

There has been no change in the status of kennel and cattery businesses. Under the current restrictions veterinary services, animal rescue centres, and animal boarding facilities may stay open. Continued access to animal boarding facilities at this time is important for animal welfare purposes, including where required to enable critical workers to go to work or to allow owners to attend medical or vaccination appointments.

Local authorities have been allocated £500 million in discretionary funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant to support businesses that are significantly impacted by the restrictions even though not required to close. This is in addition to £1.1 billion already allocated in November 2020. Local authorities have discretion to use this funding to support businesses in the way they see fit. For example, this could include businesses which supply the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, or businesses in the events sector or businesses outside the business rates system, which are effectively forced to close. Businesses which cannot maintain their workforce because operations have been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) can furlough employees and apply for a grant to cover a portion of their usual monthly wage costs, more information on eligibility can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#who-can-claim.

The Government has issued advice for pet owners and livestock keepers on looking after the welfare of animals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This includes guidance on how to access animal boarding facilities safely and is clear that you should only access these facilities by appointment and recommends that you ask the facilities if they provide a collection and drop-off service. More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-people-with-animals

The Canine and Feline Sector Group has also issued advice for pet businesses, including animal boarding establishments, on how to operate safely within the new restrictions. This includes a protocol for the handover of pets and may be found online: https://www.cfsg.org.uk/repository/360/

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will reverse the reclassification of kennel and cattery businesses from animal welfare to non-essential.

There has been no change in the status of kennel and cattery businesses. Under the current restrictions veterinary services, animal rescue centres, and animal boarding facilities may stay open. Continued access to animal boarding facilities at this time is important for animal welfare purposes, including where required to enable critical workers to go to work or to allow owners to attend medical or vaccination appointments.

The Government has issued advice for pet owners and livestock keepers on looking after the welfare of animals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This includes guidance on how to access animal boarding facilities safely and is clear that you should only access these facilities by appointment and recommends that you ask the facilities if they provide a collection and drop-off service. More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-people-with-animals

The Canine and Feline Sector Group has also issued advice for pet businesses, including animal boarding establishments, on how to operate safely within the new restrictions. This includes a protocol for the handover of pets and may be found online: https://www.cfsg.org.uk/repository/360/

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the £63 million allocated for the Local Authority Emergency Assistance Grant for Food and Essential Supplies announced on 10 June 2020, (a) on what basis was the £63 million calculated, (b) when he will publish allocations for each local authority, and (c) whether he will conduct a review to assess whether further funding is necessary.

The Emergency Assistance Grant Scheme was created as a one off fund to enable Local Authorities to support those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to COVID-19. The £63 million was calculated on the basis of the cost of supporting the ‘most at risk’ groups for a notional period of 12 weeks, based on an estimated net household budget shortfall. I intend to publish the allocations for each local authority as soon as possible, after the authorities have accepted their grant offers. We will monitor the use of the funding over the coming months.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's press release of 11 June 2020, entitled £63 million for local authorities to assist those struggling to afford food and other essentials, how much of that funding he plans to allocate to each local authority in the North East; and when he plans to issue guidance on the use of that funding.

We are allocating the funding according to the size of a local authority’s population and the level of deprivation. The exact amounts will be published on the GOV.UK website in due course. We issued guidance to local authorities on Friday 10 July, which is available to view at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-authority-emergency-assistance-grant-for-food-and-essential-supplies.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effect on levels of noise pollution of Environment Agency proposals to allow an increase in operating hours for gas peaking plants from 1,500 to 3,500 hours per year.

At this time, no decision has been made to amend guidance on operating hours for gas peaking plants.

The Environment Agency consider noise impacts in individual environmental permit applications and will consider noise assessments for gas peaking plants based upon the operating hours agreed within the permit.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether air quality targets for enclosed train stations will be included in proposals combined in the Environment Bill.

The Government considers air pollution on the railway to be an important issue. The Department for Transport is working closely with Network Rail and industry to improve air quality for railway users, workers, and neighbours.

The Environment Bill introduces measures to improve the natural environment, including outdoor air quality. The Bill establishes a duty to set a legally binding target on fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations in outdoor air as this is the most damaging pollutant to human health. An additional legally binding air quality target will also be set through the target framework. Setting ambitious air quality targets will drive comprehensive action across all parts of Government and society to reduce emissions and will deliver health benefits in all locations including stations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will include proposals for air quality targets for train stations in the forthcoming environment Bill.

The Government considers air pollution on the railway to be an important issue. The Department for Transport is working closely with Network Rail and industry to improve air quality for railway users, workers, and neighbours.

The Environment Bill introduces measures to improve the natural environment, including outdoor air quality. The Bill establishes a duty to set a legally binding target on fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations in outdoor air as this is the most damaging pollutant to human health. An additional legally binding air quality target will also be set through the target framework. Setting ambitious air quality targets will drive comprehensive action across all parts of Government and society to reduce emissions and will deliver health benefits in all locations including stations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to support the covid-19 response in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The UN assesses that although the current number of detected cases remains relatively low in Gaza and the West Bank, the capacity of the Palestinian health system to cope with an increase in COVID-19 cases is poor, including the low availability of PPE and ventilators. The situation is particularly severe in Gaza, where the health system has shortages in specialised staff, drugs and equipment.

The UK has pledged £764 million to support the global humanitarian response to COVID-19. We have delivered additional vital support in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by providing funding to the World Health Organization and UNICEF to purchase and co-ordinate the delivery of medical equipment, treat critical care patients, train frontline public health personnel and scale up laboratory testing capacity. I also recently announced £20 million in new funding, which will help the Palestinian Authority support its health workers who have been on the frontline battling coronavirus.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effect of Israel’s blockade on Gaza’s capacity to respond to the covid-19 pandemic.

The UN assesses that although the current number of detected cases remains relatively low in?Gaza?and the West Bank, the capacity of the Palestinian health system to cope with an increase in COVID-19 cases is poor, including the low availability of PPE and ventilators. The situation is particularly severe in?Gaza, where the health system has shortages in specialised staff, drugs and equipment.

The UK remains deeply concerned about the restrictions on movement and access that affect Gaza. The restrictions impact infrastructure development, the delivery of vital humanitarian services and limit the professional development of health and humanitarian workers.

During this global crisis, cooperation is vital. The cooperation between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority towards tackling COVID-19, as well as the important part played by the United Nations, was a very welcomed response. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv and the British Consulate-General in Jerusalem are in regular contact with the Israeli and Palestinian authorities respectively. We encourage UN agencies, the PA and the Israeli Government to work together to ensure that essential medical supplies and staff are able to access Gaza.

DFID is providing £1.3 million (2018-21) to support the UN’s Access Coordination Unit (ACU), which works to ensure humanitarian access to Gaza for UN and NGO workers. The ACU has played an important role in facilitating movement of humanitarian personnel and goods during the COVID-19 crisis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will publish the licence requirements for a member of the public to send protective body armour equipment to Ukraine.

HM Government publishes a consolidated list of strategic military and dual-use items that require export authorisation on GOV.UK and body armour meeting certain technical characteristics can be found listed under control entries 1A005 and ML13 (d).

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans she has to prioritise hydrogen technology in her Department's export strategy.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has a dedicated hydrogen team who, as part of their ongoing work, keep regular assessments of international hydrogen markets under review. DIT has energy teams in all key hydrogen markets, with the direct purpose of increasing business for UK energy companies, including companies in the hydrogen sector. DIT is in regular discussion with governments overseas to understand where there are opportunities for greater co-operation, and where there are opportunities for closer working, we will look to capitalise on these.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to facilitate the development of a UK hydrogen export market.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has a dedicated hydrogen team who, as part of their ongoing work, keep regular assessments of international hydrogen markets under review. DIT has energy teams in all key hydrogen markets, with the direct purpose of increasing business for UK energy companies, including companies in the hydrogen sector. DIT is in regular discussion with governments overseas to understand where there are opportunities for greater co-operation, and where there are opportunities for closer working, we will look to capitalise on these.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
14th Jan 2021
What recent steps she has taken to ensure continuity of trading relationships for UK businesses after the end of the transition period.

In under two years, HM Government has secured trade deals with 63 countries, which covered £217 billion of trade in 2019. Taken alongside our recent deal with the European Union, trade with countries worth £897 billion in 2019 is now covered. No country, anywhere in the world, at any point in history, has conducted trade negotiations concurrently on this scale nor with our ambition.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will ban pavement parking in England.

The Department consulted on measures to address pavement parking and received over 15,000 responses. Ministers are carefully considering the options in the light of the consultation findings. We will publish the formal consultation response and announce next steps as soon as possible.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to enable home charging points for electric vehicles for people who park in the street and do not have driveways or garages.

Government has committed £2.5 billion since 2020 to support the transition to zero emission vehicles, with funding to offset their higher upfront cost and to accelerate the rollout of chargepoint infrastructure.

Government is supporting those without access to off street parking through the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS). To date, more than 135 local authorities have applied to the scheme and this year, £20 million is available to ensure more local authorities and residents can benefit. In 2022/23, we will launch our new Local EV Infrastructure Fund (LEVI). This will facilitate the rollout of larger-scale chargepoint infrastructure projects across England for local areas. Details will be announced in due course.

In addition, Government’s forthcoming EV Infrastructure Strategy will define our vision for the continued roll-out of a world-leading charging infrastructure network across the UK.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many commercial helicopter flights to offshore oil and gas installations on the UK Continental Shelf were cancelled due to storms (a) Dudley, (b) Eunice and (c) Franklin.

Neither the Department for Transport (DfT) nor the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) hold this information. As North Sea helicopter movements are non-scheduled, operators do not provide flight data to the CAA. Only the operators themselves will know how many flights they cancelled or postponed because of the three storms.


Flight operations in the North Sea are frequently subject to extreme weather conditions. Therefore, operators will have numerous standard operation procedures determining when they fly and when they don’t.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of making dashboard cameras mandatory for all vehicles.

The use of dashcam footage is important in tackling unsafe driving behaviour. The police accept and assess footage captured by witnesses using dashcams and sent to them in relation to a number of road traffic offences, such as using a hand-held mobile phone while driving.

The natural proliferation of dashcams has helped support enforcement; the Government has no plans to make dashcams mandatory.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December 2021 to Question 84353, on Shipping: Exhaust Emissions, whether it is his policy to make collective bargaining agreements a standard condition of employment for seafarers working in green shipping corridors from UK ports.

A Trade Union must be recognised by the employer for it to enter into collective bargaining with that employer.

The recognition of Trade Unions is regulated by the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 and it not the intention of the government to change those requirements specifically for vessels operating on green corridors.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December 2021 to Question 84351, on Shipping: Exhaust Emissions, if he will ensure that representatives of maritime trade unions are consulted during the delivery of the aims in those declarations; and if he will outline the departmental structures that he plans to use to deliver those aims.

Trade Unions were consulted in the development of the Department’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan which sets the overarching framework for decarbonising the sector.

The ‘Declaration on Zero Emission Shipping by 2050’ and the ‘Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors’ represent the beginning of a multi-year process to decarbonise the international maritime sector and develop green shipping corridors.

We are now moving to develop these initiatives and delivery structures, including engaging with other States, industry, and stakeholders.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has plans to offer incentives to support individuals and organisations to purchase hydrogen vehicles.

The Government offers grants to offset the higher upfront cost of zero emission cars, vans, trucks, motorbikes and taxis and is also supporting the development of hydrogen vehicles, particularly larger vehicles like HGVs and buses.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to announce the first green shipping corridors from UK ports in response to the Government’s status as a signatory to the Clydebank Declaration announced at COP26.

The Clydebank Declaration represents the beginning of a multi-year process to develop green shipping corridors. As such, launching the Declaration is the first step on that voyage in establishing at least six corridors by middle of this decade, across all signatory States.

We are now moving, with other States and the industry, to exploring, designing and then delivering a corridor or corridors in the UK.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors, what process his Department will use to identify (a) ports and (b) operators on (i) international and (ii) domestic shipping routes for participation in green shipping corridors.

The Clydebank Declaration represents the beginning of a multi-year process to develop green shipping corridors. As such, launching the Declaration is the first step on that voyage in establishing at least six corridors by middle of this decade, across all signatory States.

We are now moving, with other States and the industry, to exploring, designing and then delivering a corridor or corridors in the UK.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of declarations signed by the Government at COP26 on seafarer (a) employment and (b) training in the shipping industry.

The ‘Declaration on Zero Emission Shipping by 2050’ and the ‘Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors’ are both state-led initiatives and signatories are responsible for developing their respective domestic policies to support delivery.

The UK delivery will be guided by the Maritime 2050 Strategy, the Clean Maritime Plan, the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, and the Net Zero Strategy

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had at the International Maritime Organisation’s Marine Environment Protection Committee on zero emission shipping.

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) met between the 22 and 26 of November for its 77th Session. The United Kingdom submitted a proposal referring to scientific evidence from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicating the steps required to keep to the Paris Agreement temperature goals. The proposal by the United Kingdom supported the adoption of a resolution recognising the importance of international shipping reaching zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050.

Unfortunately, this resolution, supported by many like-minded ambitious Member States, did not gain sufficient support. Although the United Kingdom would have preferred to send a stronger message in a resolution, the Government is pleased that the MEPC initiated the review of the initial IMO strategy on reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from ships and recognised the need to strengthen the ambition in the strategy during this revision.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions his Department has had with members of the Clean Maritime Council on the Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors.

Since late 2019, my Department engaged continuously with a variety of States, industry bodies, research organisations and across Whitehall in the development of its ambitious COP26 maritime programme, including the Clydebank Declaration. This included a discussion at the most recent Clean Maritime Council on 16 September 2021.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Government’s support for the (a) Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors and (b) Declaration on Zero Emission Shipping by 2050 on the (i) environment and (ii) People and Skills route maps in the Maritime 2050 strategy.

The Clydebank Declaration represents the beginning of a multi-year process to develop green shipping corridors. As such, launching the Declaration is the first step on that voyage in establishing at least six corridors by middle of this decade, across all signatory States.

We are now moving, with other States and the industry, to delivering on these declarations. The Global Maritime Forum have performed an assessment of the role that shipping corridors can play in decarbonising international shipping, this can be found at: www.globalmaritimeforum.org/content/2021/11/The-Next-Wave-Green-Corridors.pdf

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the offshore helicopter market, following CHC’s takeover of Babcock International’s offshore oil and gas crew transportation services on the UK Continental Shelf.

It has not been necessary for the Secretary of State for Transport to have any such discussions.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), as the UK’s independent competition regulator, is reviewing this transaction. After conducting an initial review, on the 18 November the CMA announced its intention to progress to a more in-depth Phase 2 review unless the parties can offer acceptable undertakings to address the CMA’s concerns.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment the Civil Aviation Authority has made of the impact of CHC’s takeover of Babcock International’s offshore oil and gas crew transportation services on (a) passenger safety and (b) commercial pressure on offshore helicopter transport services.

Offshore helicopter services provide a vital link to ensure the viability of the United Kingdom’s oil and gas industry and high standards of air safety are of fundamental importance.

As the United Kingdom’s aviation safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) concern is whether the commercial environment has any impact on safety. The CAA monitors all aspects of the operations of offshore helicopter companies and any risks to safe operation through its safety oversight programme.

As with any significant organisational change, the CAA will oversee how the change is managed and how any potential safety risks are assessed so that safety is maintained.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), as the UK’s independent competition regulator, is reviewing this transaction. After conducting an initial review, on the 18 November the CMA announced its intention to progress to a more in-depth Phase 2 review unless the parties can offer acceptable undertakings to address the CMA’s concerns.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence; and whether he plans to amend the requirement for that certificate to help tackle driver shortages.

In 2016, the Government published a post-implementation review of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC) 2007 regulations. The review considered the extent to which the regulations improved road safety and increased the professionalism of driving as an occupation. Road safety has improved but it is not possible to isolate the effect of the regulations from other measures.

HGV drivers continue to be required to hold a DCPC. Many employers are offering training packages to allow drivers whose DCPC has lapsed to renew it and return to driving.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish any representations he has received from Dubai Airport in relation to the UAE's classification on the red list.

Ministers and officials have engaged extensively with the aviation and travel industries throughout the pandemic, including with representatives from Dubai Airport and the UAE. We remain committed to an open engagement with the sector and continue to work with industry partners to share information with the aim of ensuring a safe return of international travel.

The government keeps the data for countries and territories under regular review and changes to the Red, Amber and Green lists will be implemented every three weeks, unless concerning evidence means we need to act faster to protect public health.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of the Tees Freeport on existing (a) road, (b) rail and (b) ports infrastructure.

I would like to congratulate the Tees Freeport on its successful bid. My Department recognises that appropriate links will be vital to ensure the success of the UK’s newly established Freeports. My Department will consider the implications of the Freeport business cases for our transport networks and future infrastructure investment decisions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many merchant ship calls there were at the sea ports comprising the Tees Freeport in (a) 2000, (b) 2010 and (c) 2020.

Tees and Hartlepool maritime ports had 4,671 and 3,533 merchant ships calls in 2010 and 2019 respectively. My Department does not hold figures dating to 2000, and the 2019 dataset is most current.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received on the delay to planned accessibility works at Billingham Station under the Access for All scheme; and what assessment he has made of the effect of such a delay on local residents who have disabilities.

We have received no representations about Billingham since it was included in the Access for All programme. Although the deadline for completing Access for All projects is 2024, Billingham is due to finish in 2022. Development and design work are well advanced and construction is due to start early next year.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the operation of the driving test system; and if he will extend the expiry date of theory tests.

In line with national lockdown restrictions, all routine practical driving tests have been suspended until the restrictions are lifted. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has rescheduled affected tests by moving them to the next available test dates and has notified candidates accordingly.

Once it is safe for driving tests to resume, the DVSA will ensure measures are in place to increase testing availability wherever possible; this will include offering overtime and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to carry out tests (warrant card holders) to do so, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays).

The maximum duration of two years between passing the theory test and a subsequent practical test is in place to ensure a candidate’s road safety knowledge is current. This validity period is set in legislation and the Government has no current plans to lay further legislation to extend it.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 16 November 2020 to Question 114164 on Shipping: Carbon Emissions and with reference to page 31, paragraph 92 of the Clean Maritime Plan, if he will list the negative externalities associated with zero emission shipping technologies which deter (a) public and (b) private investment in low or zero emission fuels for the shipping industry.

DfT-commissioned research, published in 2019 to support the publication of the Clean Maritime Plan, explored market failures and other barriers to the take-up of emission abatement options. This research highlighted that negative externalities associated with emissions of GHGs and air pollutants from the consumption of fuels constitute a market failure that influences the perceived cost effectiveness of any possible abatement option.

As set out in the Clean Maritime Plan, the negative externalities associated with zero emission shipping technologies mean that the return on investment for many technologies is not currently sufficient to attract finance at competitive rates. Further information on the nature and implications of this and other market failures and barriers to the transition to clean maritime is publicly available on GOV.UK[1]

[1] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/815671/identification-market-failures-other-barriers-of-commercial-deployment-of-emission-reduction-options.pdf

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Clean Maritime Plan, published 11 July 2019, whether his Department has made an estimate of the potential amount of (a) public and (b) private investment required to achieve the pathway to zero carbon emissions in the domestic maritime industry.

The Department has undertaken extensive research considering the level of investment required for the UK’s domestic maritime sector to achieve net zero by 2050. This research comprises a range of scenarios assessing different policy options, including both costs and benefits, and has been published on GOV.UK:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/clean-maritime-plan-maritime-2050-environment-route-map

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of the effect of the objectives of the Clean Maritime Plan, published in July 2019, on maritime employment levels in each year to 2035.

Alongside the Clean Maritime Plan, the Department published an assessment of the potential economic opportunities from low and zero emission shipping. While this does not estimate the number of potential new jobs that could be created through the decarbonisation of the maritime sector, it identifies a large potential global market for the elements of alternative maritime fuel production technologies in which the UK has a particular competitive advantage (for example, upfront design), which could result in economic benefits to the UK of around £360–£510 million per year by the middle of the century.

More recently, Maritime UK has published its views that investment in maritime decarbonisation could in future create more than 15 thousand jobs as well as tens of thousands of jobs when considering the wider supply chain[1]. Industry research estimates that in 2017 the UK maritime sector as a whole directly supported more than 220 thousand jobs for UK employees[2].

[1] https://www.maritimeuk.org/spending-review/bid/

[2] https://www.maritimeuk.org/documents/429/Maritime_UK_-_state_of_the_maritime_nation_report_2019_D17mVSQ.pdf

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 November 2020 to Question 111511, when he plans to publish the Transport Decarbonisation Plan; and what assessment he has made of the potential effect of that Plan on the planned review of the Clean Maritime Plan in 2022.

We expect to publish the Transport Decarbonisation Plan in Spring 2021. When reviewing the Clean Maritime Plan in 2022, the Government will consider the actions set out in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan and the progress made towards maritime decarbonisation.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 November 2020 to Question 111511 on Merchant Shipping: Carbon Emissions, how much the Government is investing to support the transition to zero emission vessels in the UK shipping industry; and if he will include full details of that investment in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

To date, the Department for Transport has funded a £1.5m competition for innovation in clean maritime and provided £193,897 in grant support, through the Department’s Transport Technology Research Innovation Grant Programme, to early stage research projects related to clean maritime. Details of the grant winners are available, respectively, on the MarRI-UK website[1] and on GOV.UK[2].

[1] https://www.marri-uk.org/funding-opportunities/clean-maritime-call/clean-maritime-call-winners

[2] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/879162/transport-technology-research-innovation-grants-t-trig-funding-winners.csv/preview

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to use the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation to encourage the uptake of low carbon fuels in the shipping industry.

As set out in our Clean Maritime Plan, we are considering whether and how the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) could be used to encourage the uptake of low carbon fuels in maritime. We plan to consult soon on this policy as part of a wider consultation on potential changes to the RTFO scheme.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential contribution that (a) hydrogen and (b) ammonia fuel will make to the decarbonisation of the shipping industry by 2025; and what the latest advice is of the Clean Maritime Council on bridging targets in (i) 2025 and (ii) 2030 for decarbonising the maritime sector.

DfT-commissioned research supporting the Clean Maritime Plan set out that hydrogen and ammonia, a hydrogen carrier, are expected to play a significant role for decarbonising the maritime sector, with ammonia representing the most prevalent fuel for shipping by 2051. It also suggested that the global market for elements of alternative fuel production technologies like hydrogen and ammonia, in which the UK has a strong competitive advantage, could rise to up to £11bn per year by 2050, and could generate economic benefits to the UK of up to £0.5bn per year by the middle of the century.

The Clean Maritime Plan includes the Government ambitions that by 2025 all new vessels being ordered for use in UK waters are being designed with zero emission propulsion capability and that by 2035 low or zero emission marine fuel bunkering options are readily available across the UK. The Clean Maritime Plan has been developed in close partnership with the maritime industry, including the Clean Maritime Council, which advice continues to inform the implementation of the Plan. Further detail on developing trajectories for the decarbonization of the maritime sector in the UK will be set out within the forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the report of the Committee on Climate Change, Reducing UK emissions: Progress report to Parliament. published in June 2020, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on (a) port workers, (b) port infrastructure and (c) seafarers of the recommendation that the shipping industry switch to using vessels powered by (i) hydrogen and (ii) ammonia in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from merchant shipping activity.

The Department has been engaging actively with maritime stakeholders to better understand the opportunities for employment arising from the transition to net zero and will comment on the related consideration of employment issues in the forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

More broadly, following the publication of the Clean Maritime Plan and its associated research in 2019, the Department has commissioned additional research into the economic opportunities presented by maritime clusters and the role such clusters will play in delivering net zero, and expects this work to be finalised later this year.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the report commissioned by his Department, Reducing the Maritime Sector’s Contribution to Climate Change and Air Pollution - Economic Opportunities from Low and Zero Emission Shipping, published in 2019, when he plans to make an assessment of the effect on (a) port worker and (b) seafarer employment of the transition to zero emission shipping.

The Department has been engaging actively with maritime stakeholders to better understand the opportunities for employment arising from the transition to net zero and will comment on the related consideration of maritime employment issues in the forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

More broadly, following the publication of the Clean Maritime Plan and its associated research in 2019, the Department has commissioned additional research into the economic opportunities presented by maritime clusters and the role such clusters will play in delivering net zero, and expects this work to be finalised later this year.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is his policy to require the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to produce recommendations for the merchant shipping industry.

The Government is investing £2.5bn? to support the transition to zero emission vehicles on our roads. There are no plans to require the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to produce recommendations for the merchant shipping industry. The Government’s approach for decarbonising this sector is set out in the Clean Maritime Plan. Published in July 2019, the Plan outlines the UK’s pathway to zero carbon emissions in domestic maritime. Further plans on the decarbonisation of the maritime sector will be included in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, to be published later this year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to require the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to consult trade unions on the employment implications of different low emission technologies under consideration for each mode of public transport.

The Department is developing a bold and ambitious plan to achieve net zero emissions across all modes of transport. Thousands of people and organisations, including trade unions, have responded to our call for engagement over the past six months and we are grateful for their contributions. The Transport Decarbonisation Plan will be published later this year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what effect the inaugural meeting of the Hydrogen Advisory Council on 20 July 2020 has had on his Department’s Clean Maritime Plan.

Government is committed to developing hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier. The Hydrogen Advisory Council was established in July 2020 to inform the development of a hydrogen strategy, to be published early in 2021, and formalise engagement with industry. The Clean Maritime Plan was published in 2019, prior to the launch of the Hydrogen Advisory Council, but recognised the key role hydrogen may have to play in the decarbonisation of the maritime sector. Further detail on the Government’s policies on maritime decarbonisation will be set out in the forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what effect the inaugural meeting of the Hydrogen Advisory Council on 20 July 2020 has had on his policies on sea port infrastructure on the east coast of (a) England and (b) Scotland.

The Hydrogen Advisory Council was established in July 2020 to inform the development of a hydrogen strategy, to be published early in 2021, and formalise engagement with industry.

At the inaugural meeting of the council, hydrogen demand in transport sector and accompanying infrastructure requirements were discussed. No policies on sea port infrastructure on the east coast of England and Scotland, where port policy is devolved, have been changed in light of the inaugural meeting of the Hydrogen Advisory Council.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to make it compulsory to wear a helmet when cycling.

The Government considered this matter in detail as part of its cycling and walking safety review in 2018.

In summary, the Government will continue to encourage cyclists, especially children, to wear helmets, but does not intend to legislate to require it. Supporting safe cycling, including helmet use, will be a feature of many of the programmes outlined in the Prime Minister’s Cycling and Walking Plan being supported by the £2 billion of funding for active travel.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of amending the Bus Service Operator's Grant to include hydrogen.

As announced in the ‘Better Deal for Bus Users’ package, the Government remains committed to the reform of the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) in order to support the environment and improved passenger journeys.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to announce further information on his Department's policy to introduce (a) a hydrogen bus town scheme and (b) a hydrogen hub.

The Transport Secretary is exploring options for using hydrogen in transport. Further details will be announced in due course.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with travel agents including on-line agents on their roll in issuing refunds to customers that have booked flights through those agents which have subsequently been cancelled as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the challenges businesses and consumers are experiencing regarding refunds for cancelled holidays and flights. Airlines are working hard to answer the high call volumes and to process the very large number of applications for refunds.

The Government appreciates the distress and frustration consumers may be experiencing. The Department for Transport is in regular conversation with UK airlines and wider membership bodies. The Department is working closely with the sector, the regulator and consumer groups to help ensure airlines deliver on their commitments.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with UK airlines on issuing refunds to customers whose travel arrangements were cancelled as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the challenges businesses and consumers are experiencing regarding refunds for cancelled holidays and flights. Airlines are working hard to answer the high call volumes and to process the very large number of applications for refunds.

The Government appreciates the distress and frustration consumers may be experiencing. The Department for Transport is in regular conversation with UK airlines and wider membership bodies. The Department is working closely with the sector, the regulator and consumer groups to help ensure airlines deliver on their commitments.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential economic effect on offshore helicopter operators in the North Sea of the recent fall in the price of oil.

The government is not planning to make an assessment focusing specifically on offshore helicopter operators in the North Sea. However, the government will consider the offshore helicopter sector as part of its wider work on how it can best support the aviation sector and ensure it remains resilient.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to issue guidance on covid-19 to (a) passengers, (b) crew and (c) operators in the offshore transport sector of the commercial helicopter industry.

No guidance has been issued specifically to the commercial offshore transport sector industry. However, the sector is covered by the wider guidance published by Public Health England, including on social distancing and on the use of personal protective equipment.

In addition, as is the case with other sectors, all non-essential services must stop, including training. An exception would be made if the service provider offers essential or emergency services, including search and rescue, medical, firefighting or key personnel movement – during which the usual social distancing guidelines should apply where possible.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether European Technical Standard Orders issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency after 31 December 2020 will continue to apply to commercial helicopter operators in the oil and gas industry on the UK continental shelf.

As the Prime Minister has made clear, the most important objective – in all policy areas – is for the UK to have economic and political independence. Whatever happens, we will not enter a relationship in which we do not have control of our own laws and political life. That means we will not agree to any Treaty obligations for our laws to be aligned with the EU's or for the EU's institutions, including the European Court of Justice, to have any jurisdiction in the UK. This includes the European Technical Standard Orders.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many of the commercial helicopters currently contracted to provide passenger transport in the North Sea oil and gas sector have been upgraded to comply with the recommendations issued to that industry by the Civil Aviation Authority in 2014.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is committed to making North Sea helicopter flying as safe as possible and the CAA’s Safety review of offshore public transport helicopter operations in support of the exploitation of oil and gas resulted in wide ranging recommendations and actions to improve offshore helicopter safety standards.

A number of these recommendations and actions related to the certification of new helicopter designs, which is the responsibility of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). None of the recommendations specifically required existing helicopters to be upgraded.

One action from the safety review tasked the CAA to promote and support the implementation of the results of research into helicopter terrain awareness warning systems. This led to some helicopters being retrofitted in 2019, so that existing equipment specifically offers warnings for the offshore operating environment. This work is ongoing.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policies of the Civil Aviation Authority’s CAP 1877 Progress Report on the recommendations in CAP 1145 Safety Review of offshore public transport helicopter operations in support of the exploitation of oil and gas.

The CAA published a comprehensive review into offshore helicopter safety in 2014, which put forward recommendations and actions to helicopter operators and the oil and gas industry. These have led to the introduction of a number of significant measures to increase the safety standards of offshore helicopter flights. The changes were welcomed by both the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers and the British Airline Pilots Association.

No recommendations were made for the Department in this report. However, the CAA and the Department will continue to monitor the safety of helicopter operations.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which criteria his Department uses to assess the socio-economic effect of public procurement of rolling stock.

The Department considers the case for the procurement of rolling stock in line with the principles set out in the Government’s Green Book guidance on appraisal and evaluation, and the Business Case Guidance for Projects (available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-green-book-appraisal-and-evaluation-in-central-governent).

The socio-economic effects of a project are assessed within the Economic Case, with the project’s impacts on individuals and the environment, for example. The Department for Transport’s Appraisal Guidance (TAG) (available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/transport-analysis-guidance-webtag) sets out the guidance for producing an Economic Case.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress he has made on his Department's decarbonisation plan; and whether that plan will include battery trains.

The Government has set an ambitious, legally binding target to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the UK by 2050. Rail must make a significant contribution towards achieving this target as part of our Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

In line with the recommendations of the Rail Industry Decarbonisation Taskforce, Network Rail is developing a Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy with the Department and industry partners. This work will examine which parts of the network are best suited to use of battery trains, as well as hydrogen trains and electrification, and will inform Government decisions in 2020 about the scale and pace of further rail decarbonisation.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking with Network Rail to improve air quality in train stations.

The Government is determined to reduce the impact of poor air quality on railway users, workers, and neighbours and will soon be announcing a Transport Decarbonisation Plan which looks at the environmental impact of transport. We are acting to both eliminate pollution, largely caused by diesel engines, and to reduce its negative effects.

The Government has reduced use of diesel trains on the network by delivering hundreds of miles of electrification since 2010. Of the passenger vehicle miles travelled by electric or diesel vehicles in 2018/19, about 70% were electric – up from about 63% in 2009/10.

We are supporting development of new technology to reduce pollution from diesel trains, funding air quality projects through the ongoing First of a Kind innovation programme. Network Rail have taken mitigating action in stations where air quality is particularly poor and plan to extend this to other stations.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of reforming the rolling stock procurement criteria.

Rolling stock procurement in the UK is undertaken through a competitive process by franchised or open access train operators who must act without discrimination and in a transparent manner. The Government continues to remain supportive of a competitive UK rolling stock manufacturing market that delivers benefits for both the economy and passengers.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of cancelling High Speed Two on (a) existing and (b) potential jobs in train manufacturing .

In August 2019 the government commissioned the independent Oakervee Review to provide advice on whether and how to proceed with HS2. The Government will make a decision on HS2 shortly.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Williams Rail Review will make recommendations on rolling stock procurement to (a) increase UK productivity and (b) create jobs in the North East.

The Williams Rail Review was tasked with bringing forward recommendations for root and branch change in the rail industry.

Keith Williams, its independent chair, and his team have been looking closely across the sector, including at workforce engagement and skills, to ensure it works in the best interests of passengers and taxpayers. He has not been asked to develop specific recommendations on rolling stock manufacturing. A White Paper based on his recommendations will be published soon.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support the development of battery trains in the UK.

The Government supports use of battery trains on the railway where appropriate to deliver our legally binding target to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the UK by 2050.

Our innovation programmes have supported development of battery technology and continue to provide funding opportunities for innovative environmental projects. The Government is also funding work on safety and wider issues that will have to be considered to allow the smooth entry into service on the network of battery trains.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Williams Rail Review will make recommendations to ensure there are no further job losses at Hitachi Rail’s Newton Aycliffe factory.

The Williams Rail Review was tasked with bringing forward recommendations for root and branch change in the rail industry.

Keith Williams, its independent chair, and his team have been looking closely across the sector, including at workforce engagement and skills, to ensure it works in the best interests of passengers and taxpayers. He has not been asked to develop specific recommendations on rolling stock manufacturing. A White Paper based on his recommendations will be published soon.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has met with representatives of Hitachi Rail to discuss potential job losses at its factory.

The Secretary of State for Transport has not met with representatives of Hitachi Rail to discuss any specific matters in respect of their facility at Newton Aycliffe. Officials at the Department remain fully engaged with Hitachi on a regular basis with regard to current and future projects.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the remedial order to extend eligibility for bereavement support payments will come into force.

Due to the nature of the Parliamentary processes, we cannot say at this stage when the Order will come into force. We will be updating the GOV.UK website at key points during the process: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bereavement-benefits-proposal-for-implementation-of-the-mclaughlin-2018-and-jackson-2020-judgments

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what training her Department provides to job centre staff on the menopause.

The Department regularly runs events on the Menopause, with a combination of experts talking about the physical and psychological impacts and also colleagues sharing their own lived experience. These are aimed and marketed for both colleagues who may be experiencing the menopause as well as encouraging line managers and colleagues to also attend so that the department has as wide a knowledge base as possible.

The Department also has a thriving Menopause network made of up volunteers who work regularly and collaboratively with colleagues who head up the Wellbeing and Age portfolios as part of the People, Capability and Place directorate.

Our 37 district 50PLUS Champions utilise their knowledge and local links to support Work Coaches and employers to understand the characteristics of our customers and the issues that may affect them such as the impact of the menopause, helping them retain women’s skills and expertise.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the impact of Storms (a) Dudley, (b) Eunice and (c) Franklin on the safety of workers on North Sea oil and gas installations; and if she will make a statement.

The offshore oil and gas health and safety regulatory regime requires duty holders to ensure their installations have, and maintain, sufficient integrity throughout their lifecycle, for all expected degradation mechanisms, including the impact severe weather, to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place.

This includes severe weather arising from named storms which affect UK waters. Additionally, installation operators are required to have measures in place to mitigate the effects of severe weather on the safety of operations, by altering activities as necessary to reduce risks to the workforce.

The recent storms did not result in any reportable incidents to HSE by offshore duty holders. Therefore, HSE does not consider that an assessment of the specific impact of those storms is necessary.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made on the impact of not uprating benefits in line with inflation on levels of child poverty in Stockton North constituency.

No such assessment has been made. The Government is up-rating benefits in line with inflation. The Secretary of State undertakes an annual review of benefits and pensions with reference to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). All benefit up-rating since April 1987 has been based on the increase in the relevant price inflation index in the 12 months to the previous September. The relevant benefits are increasing by 3.1% from April.

The latest statistics on the number and proportion of children who are in low income families by local area, covering the six years, 2014/15 to 2019/20, can be found in the annual publication: Children in low income families: local area statistics 2014 to 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab).

This Government is committed to reducing poverty and supporting low-income families, and believes work is the best route out of poverty. Our approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment – particularly where it is full-time – in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty and in improving long-term outcomes for families and children.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the impact of not uprating benefits in line with inflation and the end of the uplift to universal credit on the incomes of households in receipt of universal credit.

The Secretary of State undertakes an annual review of benefits and pensions based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation in the year to September. All benefit up-rating since April 1987 has been based on the increase in the relevant price inflation index in the 12 months to the previous September.

The Government is providing £12 billion of support with the cost of living, with help targeted at working families, low-income households and the most vulnerable. A further £9 billion has been announced to protect against the impact of rising global energy prices.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have been affected by the underpayment of benefits after transitioning from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance in (a) Stockton North constituency and (b) the Tees Valley Combined Authority area.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 19th January to question number 104377.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the 28 days self-certification for illness will be extended beyond 26 January 2022.

There is no plan to extend the 28 days self-certification beyond 26 January 2022. This is a temporary measure to quickly maximise GP capacity to support the coronavirus booster campaign.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 5 January 2022 to Question 92626, how many planned maintenance shutdowns have been reported to the HSE by operators on the UKCS since 2015; and on what dates those shutdowns were reported.

There is no legal requirement for operators on the UK Continental Shelf to report their planned maintenance shutdowns to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). HSE does not collect information on the numbers and timing of planned maintenance shutdowns on an annual basis.

As part of its ongoing interactions with operators on the UKCS, HSE does discuss with them any planned maintenance shutdowns they are considering so that HSE can determine what, if any, regulatory intervention might be required.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2021 to Question 80980 on Offshore Industry: Continental Shelf, if she will provide the duty holders that worked with HSE on alternative ways of carrying out safety critical maintenance work; and what the outcomes were of that work.

Although many duty holders undertook extended maintenance shutdowns in 2021, these were often not enough to eliminate the backlog issues. As well as through its day-to-day regulatory activities, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also impacts on offshore safety through membership of working groups. One of these is the Asset Integrity Task Group (AITG). AITG members include Apache, BP, CNOOC, CNR, Repsol Sinopec, TAQA as well as the Oil and Gas Authority and Oil and Gas UK. The AITG’s current key focus relates to addressing asset integrity issues, including maintenance backlog, through a more effective focus on Process Safety Leadership. The offshore industry signed up to improving its approach to Process Safety Leadership at the Oil and Gas UK’s Health & Safety Conference in 2019.

Outcomes of HSE’s working on alternative means than traditional shutdowns to address maintenance backlogs, include the recognition by industry that a move towards more sustained asset integrity campaigns for late life installations is required. Potential solutions include increasing the size of the offshore workforce using flotels or jack-up drilling rigs in accommodation mode alongside production installations and more frequent maintenance campaigns; more extended shutdowns and Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSOs) being taken off station for extensive maintenance that cannot be done offshore.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the annual (a) staffing and (b) resource level was in the HSE Energy Division in each year since 2016 to date.

The annual staffing in the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Energy Division and the full-time equivalent number of personnel engaged in Offshore regulation is as follows:

.

April 2016

April 2017

April 2018

April 2019

April 2020

April 2021

Headcount

221

201

193

190

197

187

Full-Time Equivalent

201.7

190.9

186.1

183.6

189.8

179.4

Due to changes in HSE’s IT and reporting systems over time, the 2016 figures were calculated in a different way from the subsequent years and so may not represent a like-for-like comparison.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2021 to Question 80980 on Offshore Industry: Continental Shelf, if she will publish the types of enforcement action the HSE took where backlogs were not being manged safely; and if she will provide to which installations those actions applied.

HSE does not record its enforcement actions specifically in relation to “maintenance backlogs”. A search of HSE’s database has revealed that since the start of the initial pandemic lockdown in March 2020, there have been 112 interventions that have looked at maintenance management, including backlog, and have resulted in enforcement action in the form of letters and notices. A table showing the actions in relation to installations and their duty holders is attached.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2021 to Question 80980 on Offshore Industry: Continental Shelf, what the percentage increase was in the maintenance backlogs based on the data provided to the HSE.

The data provided to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) indicates that there has been a distinct increasing trend in maintenance backlogs. Operators record and classify their maintenance backlog figures according to their own safety management systems. There is no legal requirement for operators to be record it in a particular way. This means that it is difficult and potentially misleading to compare the maintenance figures for different operators in absolute terms. What is clear though is that there is a clear trend of an increase in maintenance backlog among UKCS operators. HSE’s focus is on how effectively operators risk manage their backlogs until they have dealt with them.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2021 to Question 80980 on Offshore Industry: Continental Shelf, what steps she is taking to ensure that staffing levels are not reduced below that required to safely operate installations on the UKCS.

The UKCS safety case regime requires all offshore duty holders to demonstrate to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) they can comply with safety legislation. Every UKCS offshore installation has an accepted safety case. HSE has a targeted intervention plan which involves testing the assertions made in safety cases. All duty holders must continue to demonstrate they are operating in compliance with their accepted safety case, and this includes the potential impact of reducing personnel numbers offshore for whatever reason. HSE’s interventions have covered duty holders’ continued ability to comply with legal requirements irrespective of whatever changes in offshore personnel levels they make.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2021 to Question 80980 on Offshore Industry: Continental Shelf, if she will provide a copy of the HSE’s detailed questions to production installation duty holders regarding the specific impact of pandemic-related down-manning on maintenance and inspection backlogs.

A copy of the Health and Safety Executive’s Question Set, as referred to in the answer to Question 80980, is attached.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of managing the risk of covid-19 in the workplace on duty holders’ safety cases in the offshore oil and gas industry.

All installations currently operating on the UKCS have a safety case that has been accepted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Safety cases are required to demonstrate how a duty holder operating an installation complies with the relevant statutory provisions in relation to the hazards created by their work activities. HSE’s ongoing offshore intervention plan tests the validity of demonstrations made in those offshore safety cases by identifying failures in compliance and requiring any non-compliance to be addressed. The planned interventions also check on how effectively duty holders are managing the potential safety impact of their responses to COVID19.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many planned maintenance shutdowns there were on oil and gas installations on the UK Continental Shelf in (a) 2018, (b) 2019, (c) 2020 and (d) 2021 to date.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) does not routinely collect information on planned maintenance shutdowns on a yearly basis. There is no legal duty for operators on the UK Continental Shelf to inform HSE of this information, however it is held at a company level.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of redundancies proposed by the PBS consortium on the contract with TotalEnergies on offshore safety standards in the North Sea.

The UK Continental Shelf (UKSC) safety case regime requires Total to demonstrate to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that it can comply with the offshore legislation. Total has accepted safety cases for all its offshore installations and HSE has a targeted intervention plan which involves the testing of assertions made in safety cases. Total must continue to demonstrate that it is operating in compliance with the accepted safety case in the event of changing its contractors or when contractors themselves make changes, such as decreasing staff numbers etc.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Health and Safety Executive’s Energy Division on the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on backlogs of safety critical maintenance work on oil and gas installations on the UK Continental Shelf; and if she will list any recent actions that the HSE has taken against duty holders in this area.

No recent discussions have taken place between the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Energy Division on this specific issue. Recognising the potential impact of the pandemic in 2020, HSE wrote to production installation duty holders with a detailed question set on maintenance and inspection backlogs, in order to evaluate and quantify the specific impact of pandemic-related down-manning on backlog. HSE’s analysis of the data provided in response to its question set indicated an increase in backlogs. This was because duty holders had postponed maintenance shutdowns because their approach to managing the risk of COVID infection required reduced manning levels that were insufficient to undertake the shutdowns.

HSE took the following steps:

(i) Identified at the outset of the pandemic that maintenance would be affected and carried out inspections using the existing ‘Maintenance management’ Inspection Guide, which HSE developed in 2014 specifically to address backlogs.

(ii) Worked with duty holders to look at alternative ways of carrying out the work, such as mini shutdowns and the use of “flotels” and walk-to-work vessels etc.

(iii) Set up a working group with Oil & Gas UK and its members to specifically look at addressing the backlog issue.

(iv) Took enforcement action where backlogs were not being managed safely.

(v) Set up a program of Process Safety Leadership inspections starting in Q1 2022, of which asset integrity and maintenance backlog will form a key component.

(vi) Worked with senior industry integrity personnel in the Asset Integrity Task Group to highlight and address the issue.

(vii) Repeating the data gathering exercise in Q1 2022 to check that duty holders are managing their backlogs as they stated and to take enforcement action if they are not.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the level of (a) safety critical and (b) environmental maintenance backlogs in the offshore oil and gas industry since January 2019 to date.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) uses its Offshore Safety and Environmental Critical Element (SECE) Management and Verification Inspection Guide when inspecting duty holder compliance in this subject. Maintenance backlogs are covered by the Guide and attract a score. The scores have both numeric and descriptive classifications: unacceptable (60), very poor (50), poor (40), broadly compliant (30), fully compliant (20) and exemplary (10).

In 2019, HSE completed 26 SECE inspections and scored 1 x very poor, 9 x poor, 15 x broadly compliant and 1 x fully compliant. In 2020, there were 22 inspections with 4 x poor, 16 x broadly compliant and 2 x fully compliant scores. Since January 2021, there have been 19 inspections with 3 x poor and 16 x broadly compliant scores. Whenever HSE finds examples of non-compliance, they are raised as issues with the duty holder in a letter, and in some cases a notice. These are then monitored to ensure compliance by the due date.

Recognising the potential impact of the pandemic in 2020, HSE wrote to production installation duty holders with a detailed question set on maintenance and inspection backlogs, which includes several questions on SECE management. This has enabled HSE to assess SECE backlog management for a representative sample of UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) production duty holders. HSE will use the question set again from the start of 2022 as part of its ongoing intervention targeting procedure so that those duty holders that appear not to be managing their SECE backlog effectively can be prioritised for inspection.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she will publish the Department for Work and Pensions report into the efficacy of benefits sanctions.

We do not plan to publish a report on the sanctions evaluation as we were unable to assess the deterrent effect and therefore this research doesn’t present a comprehensive picture of sanctions.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support unemployed young people; and what plans she has to support job mobility.

The Government has provided an unprecedented economic support package to protect and create jobs, including a particular focus on young people.

The DWP Youth Offer provides wrap-around support to young people aged 18-24 who are in the intensive work search regime of Universal Credit and was introduced as part of the wider UK government Plan for Jobs package. It has been developed to combat youth unemployment and ensure that young people have the skills they need to look for, find and keep employment.

Through the Youth Employment Programme young people receive intensive Work Coach support and every young person is encouraged to take part in a wide range of work based opportunities including Kickstart placements, Sector Based Work Academy Programmes, traineeships, Mentoring Circles or apprenticeships, which can be taken up at any point in the 13-week programme.

This sits alongside Youth Hubs that are co-located and co-delivered with external partners to support young people with skills gaps, and Youth Employability Coaches that help those with significant complex needs and barriers into the labour market.

We currently have over 135 new Youth Hubs physically open to support young people across Great Britain and 150 Youth Employability Coaches, delivering tailored employment & skills support for those most at risk of longer term unemployment.

To support job mobility for people of all ages, we are supporting claimants to access the skills and training opportunities delivered by the Department for Education and devolved Governments, through our DWP Train and Progress initiative across Great Britain. This includes the expansion of the successful Sector-based Work Academy Programme in England and Scotland. Where it will help people into work, DWP claimants can access sector-specific training provided as part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, including L3 Skills Boot camps of up to 16 weeks’ full time while remaining on benefit.

Additionally, we recognise that people need the skills and opportunities to progress, build their careers and increase their earnings. The independent In-Work Progression Commission published its report on the barriers to progression for those in persistent low pay on 1 July 2021. It makes a number of recommendations for the Government which we will consider carefully and respond to later in the year.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will arrange emergency payments for people who have seen their state pension delayed.

DWP is aware that a small number of new State Pension claims have been subject to delays in receiving payment.

The Department is working hard to clear the current backlog, many of which have accrued since the Covid Pandemic.

We are prioritising overdue payments and payments that are imminent within the next few weeks. Normal service will be resumed by the end of October 2021.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the delays in processing state pension applications will be resolved.

DWP is aware that a small number of new State Pension claims have been subject to delays in receiving payment.

The Department is working hard to clear the current backlog, many of which have accrued since the Covid Pandemic.

We are prioritising overdue payments and payments that are imminent within the next few weeks. Normal service will be resumed by the end of October 2021.

Claimants don’t need to act, we have identified the cases and will process them as soon as possible.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the additional costs of working from home are taken into account when calculating universal credit payments for claimants who are working from home during covid-19 restrictions.

A Universal Credit award is calculated on the basis of the set benefit rate against money coming in, to ensure fairness of treatment for all claimants against the money that they have available. This is a long-standing principle of means-tested benefits.

Universal Credit rules align closely to tax legislation (Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA)). Amounts that are taken into account for a Universal Credit award include those that are general earnings, as defined in section 7(3) of ITEPA. Amounts paid as expenses that are exempt from Income tax under Part 4 of ITEPA are not taken into account for a Universal Credit award.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish the (a) number of people who had debt deductions from their legacy benefits in each of the last 12 months and (b) total amount recovered in each of those months.

The number of people who had debt deductions from their legacy benefits and the value of those deductions for the last twelve months, are detailed in the table below.

Month

Number of people who had deductions from Legacy Benefits

Value of those deductions

Jan-20

205,700

£11.300m

Feb-20

199,200

£10.331m

Mar-20

200,100

£11.849m

Apr-20

181,100

£10.083m

May-20

162,300

£8.454m

Jun-20

95,700

£3.030m

Jul-20

9,000

£0.370m

Aug-20

66,800

£4.326m

Sep-20

70,200

£4.900m

Oct-20

70,200

£5.029m

Nov-20

72,500

£5.361m

Dec-20

75,800

£5.982m

We recognise that there will be some claimants who may be experiencing financial difficulty, and anyone unable to afford the rate of recovery proposed is encouraged to contact DWP Debt Management to review the proposed rate of recovery.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will raise Local Housing Allowance to ensure it covers housing costs.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates were increased in April 2020, costing almost £1 billion and providing 1.5 million claimants with on average an extra £600 more housing support per year than they would otherwise have received.

In 2021/22 all LHA rates will be maintained at their increased level, meaning claimants renting in the private rented sector will continue to benefit from the significant increase in the rates applied this year.

For those who require additional support with housing costs Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available. Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in DHP funding.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to reduce child poverty in (a) Stockton North constituency and (b) the Tees Valley Combined Authority area.

Tackling child poverty is a priority for this Government. Our recent focus has been on supporting people financially during these unprecedented times. The Department for Work and Pensions quickly introduced a package of support, including welfare changes worth £9.3 billion this year to help people with the financial consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our long-term ambition remains to level up across the country and continue to tackle child poverty through our reformed welfare system that works with the labour market to encourage parents to move into and progress in work wherever possible.

Our £30bn Plan for Jobs is the first step on the ladder to achieving this and will support economic recovery through new schemes including Kickstart and Job Entry Targeted Support. We are also doubling the number of work coaches who, through our Jobcentre network, will provide more people with the tailored support they need to move back into work and towards financial independence.

The Government launched its Plan for Jobs in response the impact of the pandemic. Progress can be seen in the recent launch of Kickstart, the new Job Entry Target Support (JETS), an extension of the Work and Health Programme and the expansion of the Sector-based Work Academy Programme. A New Job Finding Support Service, involving the private sector recruiters, will also be introduced.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many children lived in (a) poverty and (b) extreme poverty in (i) Stockton North constituency and (ii) the Tees Valley in each of the last 10 years.

Protecting families with low incomes during the COVID-19 outbreak is of upmost importance to this government. The policies implemented in response to the outbreak, such as the Job Retention Schemes and the increases to the welfare budget have made a huge difference, particularly to those with low incomes. This was shown in HMT’s recently published distributional analysis about the Impact of COVID-19 on working household incomes. This publication shows that the lowest income decile of working households has seen no fall in income due to Government measures that have been put in place. This is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/impact-of-covid-19-on-working-household-incomes-distributional-analysis-as-of-may-2020

The Government launched its Plan for Jobs in response the impact of the pandemic. Progress can be seen in the recent launch of Kickstart, the new Job Entry Target Support (JETS), an extension of the Work and Health Programme and the expansion of the Sector-based Work Academy Programme. A New Job Finding Support Service, involving the private sector recruiters, will also be introduced.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. The rates of children in absolute poverty in the North East region in the three years to 18/19 has decreased, both before and after housing costs, compared to the three years to 09/10.

These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201819

The Department now publishes supplementary official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually.

The latest figures from 2014/15 to 2018/19 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-201415-to-201819

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of children living in food insecure households in (a) Stockton North constituency and (b) the Tees Valley Combined Authority area.

There currently is no consistent and accurate measure of food security at a constituency or national level.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many children were living in poverty in (a) Stockton North constituency and (b) the Tees Valley Combined Authority area in (i) May 2017, (ii) May 2020 and (iii) October 2020.

Protecting families with low incomes during the COVID-19 outbreak is of upmost importance to this government. The policies implemented in response to the outbreak, such as the Job Retention Schemes and the increases to the welfare budget have made a huge difference, particularly to those with low incomes. This was shown in HMT’s recently published distributional analysis about the Impact of COVID-19 on working household incomes. This publication shows that the lowest income decile of working households has seen no fall in income due to Government measures that have been put in place. This is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/impact-of-covid-19-on-working-household-incomes-distributional-analysis-as-of-may-2020

The Government launched its Plan for Jobs in response the impact of the pandemic. Progress can be seen in the recent launch of Kickstart, the new Job Entry Target Support (JETS), an extension of the Work and Health Programme and the expansion of the Sector-based Work Academy Programme. A New Job Finding Support Service, involving the private sector recruiters, will also be introduced.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. The rates of children in absolute poverty in the North East region in the three years to 18/19 has decreased, both before and after housing costs, compared to the three years to 09/10.

These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201819

The Department now publishes supplementary official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually.

The latest figures from 2014/15 to 2018/19 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-201415-to-201819

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate the Government has made of the number of families that will be affected by the reduction in (a) universal credit and (b) working tax credit by £20 a week in April 2021 in (i) Stockton North constituency and (ii) the Tees Valley Combined Authority area.

No estimate has been made. Volumes will be dependent on the Universal Credit caseload during the period to March 2021.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the effect of job losses in (a) Stockton North, (b) the Tees Valley Combined Authority area and (c) the North East on levels of child poverty in each respective area.

Protecting families with low incomes during the COVID-19 outbreak is of upmost importance to this government. The policies implemented in response to the outbreak, such as the Job Retention Schemes and the increases to the welfare budget have made a huge difference, particularly to those with low incomes. This was shown in HMT’s recently published distributional analysis about the Impact of COVID-19 on working household incomes. This publication shows that the lowest income decile of working households has seen no fall in income due to Government measures that have been put in place. This is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/impact-of-covid-19-on-working-household-incomes-distributional-analysis-as-of-may-2020

The Government launched its Plan for Jobs in response the impact of the pandemic. Progress can be seen in the recent launch of Kickstart, the new Job Entry Target Support (JETS), an extension of the Work and Health Programme and the expansion of the Sector-based Work Academy Programme. A New Job Finding Support Service, involving the private sector recruiters, will also be introduced.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. The rates of children in absolute poverty in the North East region in the three years to 18/19 has decreased, both before and after housing costs, compared to the three years to 09/10.

These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201819

The Department now publishes supplementary official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually.

The latest figures from 2014/15 to 2018/19 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-201415-to-201819

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2020
What assessment she has made of the potential effect of reducing universal credit and working tax credit by £20 a week in April 2021 on (a) average working age and (b) levels of child poverty.

DWP is continuing to work with HMT and other Government Departments to monitor the evolving economic situation and identify the most effective ways to help people. There is a lot of uncertainty involved in projecting incomes and levels of poverty.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families with children are affected by the benefit cap in Stockton North constituency.

The available information on the number of households, receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, who are subject to the Benefit Cap, by Family Type and Parliamentary Constituency, is published and can be found at:

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

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

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

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families are affected by the two-child limit on social security benefits in Stockton North in the most recent period for which figures are available.

In Stockton North 240 families (or 7% of all households on Universal Credit with at least one child) were affected by the policy in April 2020.

Notes:

1. Families affected means households on Universal Credit reporting a third or subsequent child on or after 6 April 2017 and not receiving a child element/amount.

2. This data is for households that had an open Universal Credit claim in April 2020, as included in this year’s Two Child Policy Publication.

3. Percentages rounded to nearest percent and number of families rounded to nearest 10

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families with children have received the £20 per week uplift in universal credit standard allowance payments in Stockton North in each month since that uplift was introduced.

The available information on the number of households with children on Universal Credit, by parliamentary constituency, is published and can be found at:

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

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

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the right for unmarried couples to claim bereavement benefits will extend to people who do not live together but do have a child.

Bereavement Support Payment is intended to help with the immediate costs of bereavement following the premature death of a spouse or civil partner. Whilst we intend to take forward a Remedial Order to extend this benefit to cohabitees with children, we have no plans to extend eligibility any further.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Health and Safety Executive on the provision of covid-19 guidance in the workplace for (a) employers and (b) staff in the offshore oil and gas industry.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a contributing member of the Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) Pandemic Steering Group (PSG), which also includes members from OGUK, helicopter operators, oil and gas companies, industry associations, medical professionals, Step Change in Safety (SCiS), Health Protection Scotland (HPS) and trade unions, including Unite and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers.

The PSG has developed and published a range of guidance for offshore oil and gas companies on measures required to manage the risks of COVID-19 infection. The PSG has also produced guidance specifically for the offshore workforce on the measures oil and gas companies should have in place to manage the risks of COVID-19 offshore: https://oilandgasuk.co.uk/covid-19/ and https://www.stepchangeinsafety.net/workgroups/covid-19/. HSE has also supported the PSG in formulating Scottish Government sector guidance which supports working safely offshore during the COVID-19 pandemic: https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/web-resources-container/guidance-for-prevention-and-management-of-cases-of-covid-19-on-offshore-installations/.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the (a) Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and (b) Scottish Government on the (i) provision and (ii) uptake of public covid-19 test facilities for offshore oil and gas workers.

The Secretary of State and I engage with a wide variety of stakeholders on a regular basis.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) supports the testing of offshore workers to identify and manage the risks from COVID-19. HSE has given its full support to the Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) Pandemic Steering Group (PSG) to help deliver testing for all offshore workers. HSE is in regular communication with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to further support the availability of testing for all offshore workers, including those who are asymptomatic.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the (a) content and (b) availability of covid-19 workplace safety guidance for (i) employers and (ii) staff in the offshore wind industry; and when she last discussed that matter with that industry's representatives.

On 24th March 2020, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) wrote to the offshore wind industry reminding employers of their legal duty to ensure the health and safety of their workforce. The letter also directed duty holders to the more detailed social distancing guidelines on the Public Health England, Health Protection Scotland and Public Health Wales websites.

On 26th March 2020, HSE met virtually with representatives of major industry duty holders and trade associations to discuss how the industry would comply with social distancing requirements. On 1st April 2020 the Renewable Energy Emergency Response Forum (“REEF”) held a meeting at which HSE, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Police and industry representatives agreed that each duty holder would develop their own arrangements to comply with their duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, based on the above mentioned social distancing guidelines.

Since then, HSE continues to contact offshore wind farm duty holders to check that they have suitable COVID-19 risk control measures in place.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many new universal credit claimants there were in each of the five local authority areas within the Tees Valley in each of the last three months.

Information on new Universal Credit claims is not available by local authority. However, data surrounding starts to UC by postcode area is published online and can be found at:

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

This includes data on the number of new Universal Credit claims in the postcode areas of Cleveland and Darlington up to 9th April 2020.

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

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department has provided to staff processing claims for universal credit on using a better off calculation when a new claim is received.

DWP staff will signpost people to independent benefit calculators where they can check their eligibility for Universal Credit before applying.

The independent benefits calculators we endorse are intended to provide useful estimations of what people can get in certain circumstances, based on what information is entered on the calculators themselves. This is to allow people to safely explore what help they may receive from Universal Credit before they apply, or based on potential changes of circumstances.

For people considering claiming Universal Credit, we have updated our information on gov.uk and on understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk, where links to independent benefit calculators are published.

https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/new-to-universal-credit/how-much-youll-get/

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Health and Safety Executive is taking to ensure that (a) social distancing and (b) other measures to help prevent increasing covid-19 infection rates are enforced among offshore oil and gas workers.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a contributing member of the Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) Pandemic Steering Group, which also contains members from OGUK, helicopter operators, oil and gas companies, Step Change in Safety and Health Protection Scotland. The Pandemic Steering Group has developed a protocol and range of measures to give guidance to offshore oil and gas companies on social distancing and other measures to prevent the COVID-19 infection of offshore workers. This has been disseminated to the industry via the OGUK working groups and online communication channels where appropriate and will be supported by the published full guidance document on OGUK’s website early next week.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish the names of the training providers in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales that offer courses in (i) basic safety training and (ii) basic technical training that are required for employment in the offshore wind industry.

It is a legal duty on all employers within the offshore wind industry to provide sufficient information, instruction and training to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of people in their employment and others who may be affected. It is a matter for each individual employer to decide on how that information, instruction and training is provided, commensurate to the risks. Therefore, HSE does not approve the industry training standards.

HSE is aware of the Global Wind Organisation’s (GWO) training standards and that training providers are audited on a regular basis by the GWO to ensure that training is delivered to those standards. Further information can be found at:

https://www.globalwindsafety.org/trainingproviders/findttraningprovider?d19e55cf_page=5.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Health and Safety Executive has taken since 2016 to assess the compliance of (a) basic safety training and (b) basic technical training standards required by employers in the offshore wind industry with domestic health and safety regulations.

In 2012, in response to the emergence of the offshore wind industry, HSE created a dedicated team to regulate the offshore renewable energy industry. In addition to carrying out planned inspection and investigation of injuries and incidents, HSE’s dedicated team has worked with a range of stakeholders to encourage the development of good standards for health and safety. This has included working with industry bodies including the Global Wind Organisation (GWO), G+ Global Offshore Wind Health and Safety Organisation (G+) and RenewableUK (RUK).

In November 2015, HSE hosted an industry leaders’ event where a commitment was made by those organisations to further improve industry leadership, increase engagement across the supply chain, develop a common risk reduction programme for the industry and develop and deliver good practice. The industry created a steering group to ensure the effective delivery of improvement. In April 2018, HSE and the industry reviewed progress and were broadly satisfied that progress had been made with a desire to do more.

Since 2012, one of HSE’s priorities has been worker competence to ensure that people work safely. Although HSE does not approve training standards, it has been involved in discussions about the GWO training standards for basic safety. HSE sees the benefit in industry minimum standards of training as it facilitates worker mobility, reduces unnecessary bureaucracy and costs without reducing health and safety standards. However, they make clear to industry that this should be supplemented with an individual training needs analysis to determine the additional training needs for specific tasks required to be carried out safely.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of employees in the offshore wind industry that hold (a) basic safety training and (b) a basic technical training certification in line with the minimum safety training standards for the industry set by the Global Wind Organisation.

It is a legal duty on all employers within the offshore wind industry to provide sufficient information, instruction and training to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of people in their employment and others who may be affected. It is a matter for each individual employer to decide on how that information, instruction and training is provided, commensurate with the risks. Therefore, HSE does not approve the industry training standards nor keep records of the numbers trained under any individual training scheme.

At inspections and during investigations, HSE does make thorough inquiries to ensure that workers who go offshore have received basic safety training prior to going offshore and that this is refreshed on a regular basis. That basic safety training covers the following topics: Marine Safety; Work at Height and Escape and Evacuation; First Aid; Fire Awareness; and Manual Handling. In addition, HSE does make inquiries into ensuring job specific training is provided.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department his made of the adequacy of health and safety training standards required by employers for (a) commercial divers, (b) seafarers and (c) technicians for employment the offshore wind industry.

It is a legal duty on all employers within the offshore wind industry to provide sufficient information, instruction and training to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of people in their employment and others who may be affected. It is a matter for each individual employer to decide on how that information, instruction and training is provided, commensurate to the risks.

HSE does not have a statutory responsibility to approve training courses or standards for the sector. In 2012, HSE created a dedicated team to regulate the sector and that team has conducted inspections and investigations at offshore wind farms, enforcing health and safety legislation in accordance with HSE’s policies and procedures. Where HSE has identified that a duty holder has not provided suitable information, instruction and training, then it has taken action in accordance with its Enforcement Policy Statement (https://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/enforcepolicy.htm).

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with (a) ministerial colleagues in the Department for Transport and (b) the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation on changes to the basic offshore safety induction and emergency training standard since the Civil Aviation Authority’s most recent recommendations on improving passenger safety and survivability in the helicopter transport sector of the offshore oil and gas industry.

Offshore helicopter safety falls within the remit of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). There have been no recent discussions between the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation (OPITO) on changes to the basic offshore safety induction training (BOSIET) syllabus with respect to helicopter transport. Although HSE has no direct influence on the content of OPITO training syllabuses (it is a matter for OPITO and the offshore Oil and Gas Industry), HSE actively engaged with OPITO/Oil & Gas UK Ltd in September 2015 following the CAA’s decision to introduce the new Category A Emergency Breathing System (EBS) of a compressed-air underwater escape system for offshore helicopter transport.

HSE had no direct involvement in the CAA decision. However, because this system uses compressed air as part of basic offshore survival training it is subject to the Diving at Work Regulations 1997 (DAWR). These regulations require anyone diving as part of a work activity to pass a medical carried out by an HSE approved medical Examiner. However, this medical sets an unnecessarily high standard for the type of training undertaken. HSE worked out a balance between allowing realistic OPITO training and the risk of barotrauma to participants. Consequently, in 2015 HSE issued an Exemption Certificate from DAWR to allow training “in pool” to proceed to max depth of 1.5m, provided participants had been passed fit following an examination to a set standard by a registered medical practitioner. Following further consultation with industry, a new exemption certificate was issued in April 2017. This incorporated the medical requirements of the original certificate issued in 2015 for helicopter escape training but allowed for unrestricted medical certificate of fitness for offshore work to be acceptable for shallow water training. A further exemption was issued in 2018 to allow a similar provision for the acceptability of unrestricted medical certificates of fitness to work at sea. All exemptions followed consultation with the industry and allow for the required training to be undertaken whilst still providing a level of protection to those taking part.

There is an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between HSE and the CAA that includes arrangements for the regulation of offshore helicopter transport. As part of this MoU, there are regular meetings held between HSE and CAA to discuss offshore helicopter safety-related issues.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to increase screening for dementia in England.

There is no nationally recommended screening programme for dementia in the United Kingdom. The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) reviewed the available evidence and found no screening test which could identify people with dementia before the onset of symptoms. The UK NSC also found there was no evidence that current treatments for dementia are effective. The UK NSC is due to the review the evidence for screening for dementia in 2022/23.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the equity of the dementia diagnosis process.

No formal assessment has been made. NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to monitor the monthly dementia diagnosis rate each month and provide analysis on trends at regional and sustainability and transformation partnership level to aid targeted recovery efforts. In 2021, factsheets were published to encourage local conversations to understand patterns and potential reasons for any trends in dementia diagnosis rates and identifying specific areas for support. In 2021/22, we also provided £17 million to clinical commissioning groups to address the needs of those waiting for diagnosis and those who have a diagnosis but are unable to access support services due to the pandemic.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have also commissioned the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities’ Dementia Intelligence Network to investigate the underlying variation in dementia diagnosis rates in specific areas in England. This will include a focus on social and economic deprivation; rurality; demographic characteristics including age, ethnicity and educational attainment; and general health and life expectancy. We will set out plans for dementia in England for the next 10 years later this year, which will include a focus on dementia diagnosis.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of people living with dementia who have benefitted from community diagnostic centres.

No specific estimate has been made. We will set out plans for dementia in England for the next 10 years later this year, which will include a focus on dementia diagnosis.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to make Evusheld available to immunocompromised people.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to Question 132250 on North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: Reorganisation tabled by the hon. Member for Stockton North on 1 March 2022.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer to Question 132250.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the NHS chief operating officer on the progress of the proposed merger of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust with South Tees NHS Foundation Trust.

We have had no such discussions and we are not aware of plans to formally merge North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust with South Tees NHS Foundation Trust.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with NHS England on the proposed merger of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust with South Tees NHS Foundation Trust.

There are currently no plans to formally merge North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust with South Tees NHS Foundation Trust. However, we are aware of proposals to increase working relationships between the Trusts. There have been no specific discussions on a proposed merger.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will confirm the statement made by the Minister for Health in his correspondence with the Member for Stockton North on the 25 January 2022 that there are currently no plans to merge the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust with South Tees NHS Foundation Trust.

There are currently no plans to formally merge North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust with South Tees NHS Foundation Trust. However, we are aware of proposals to increase working relationships between the Trusts. There have been no specific discussions on a proposed merger.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many women have been admitted to mental health hospitals in Teesside in each of the last five years.

The information is not held in the format requested. However, the following table shows the number of women in contact with National Health Service-funded secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services who were admitted to hospitals within Tees, Esk And Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust as part of their treatment from 2017 to 2021.

2017

1,640

2018

1,690

2019

1,570

2020

1,500

2021

1,470

Source: Mental Health Services Dataset (MHSDS), NHS Digital.

Notes:

  1. The data used for December 2021 is provisional.
  2. As this is provider level data, counts have been rounded to the nearest five in line with MHSDS disclosure rules.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to revoke EU Commission Regulation 2017/542 of 22 March 2017, amending Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008, named as Annex VIII to CLP, copied from EU law into UK law which governs poison centre notification requirements for hazardous chemical mixtures.

The Department is currently confirming the United Kingdom’s position on Annex VIII. This will include engagement with industry and stakeholders.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to From harm to hope: a 10-year drugs plan to cut crime and save lives published in December 2021, whether the £533 million specified to support local authority commissioned substance misuse treatment services in England includes funding for alcohol treatment services.

The commissioning and delivery of drug and alcohol treatment services is almost entirely integrated in England. This funding will be invested in local authority commissioned substance misuse treatment services in England for those seeking treatment for alcohol and drug misuse.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the increase in alcohol consumption in the north of England during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities found that consumption of alcohol in the North increased for higher risk drinkers during periods of lockdown, as compared with periods of no restrictions in place. The overall percentage of people in the North who reported drinking within the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of 14 units per week reduced and the latest data available shows this change has maintained. The latest data as of November 2021 shows that the number of non-drinkers had increased in the North, compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the increase in alcohol consumption during the covid-19 outbreak.

In England, the Department continues to promote the United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers’ recommendations of not regularly exceeding 14 units a week through online platforms, local authorities’ public health duties and encouraging alcoholic drink producers to reflect the guidelines on labelling. The Department is also working with industry to create more consumer choice and availability in the low and no alcohol sector to moderate drinking habits within the guidelines.

The Better Health and One You adult health campaigns have provided information and advice to help adults consume less alcohol during the pandemic. Better Health continues to offer tips and online tools to help people drink less including the Drinks Tracker app, ‘How Are You’ health quiz, Better Health website and email programme. We also provide the Drinkline service and webchat.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help reduce deaths from alcohol in the North East.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, we have provided national funding to support the implementation of specialist alcohol care teams in the 25% of hospitals with the highest rates of alcohol-related harm. 12 hospitals have received funding so far, of which two are in the North East - South Tyneside and Sunderland. A second wave of sites will be announced shortly.

We are also investing £533 million over three years to support local authority commissioned substance misuse treatment services in England. This funding will be targeted to areas of highest need first. Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will soon be informing local areas of their funding allocations. As part of this funding, an inpatient detoxification grant, available until 2024/25, has been allocated increasing the availability of inpatient detoxification beds nationally.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will review the 14 day covid-19 isolation period operating within children’s mental health units.

On 17 January 2022, guidance was updated to recommend that the inpatient isolation period for COVID-19 cases or contacts is reduced from 14 days to 10 days, with some exceptions. It also outlines that NHS services, including children’s mental health units, should take a risk assessment approach to implementing the guidance in their area.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of the 14 day covid-19 isolation periods in children’s mental health units on (a) the children using the units and (b) their parents.

No specific assessment has been made. However, commissioners and clinical teams have used digital forms of communication to maintain and, where possible, enhance therapeutic engagement, including supporting contact with parents and families.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of the suspension of the Quality and Outcome Framework on the size of the backlog of diabetes patients.

No specific assessment has been made.

In December 2021 measures were announced to increase general practice capacity and financial support to deliver an expanded vaccine programme, including part-income protecting the 2021/22 Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). However, to be eligible for income protection, practices were required to agree a plan with their commissioners to deliver QOF care where possible according to clinical risk and accounting for inequalities, in order to target and support the most vulnerable patients.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of missed routine diabetes appointments on the number of patients who are presenting with complications from that disease.

No formal assessment has been made. However, we are analysing the impact of the pandemic on major health conditions to inform how we can recover the provision of routine care.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people need to test positive to define a covid-19 outbreak in a residential care setting.

Current guidance defines an outbreak as two or more confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed by an appropriate test, or clinically suspected cases among people in the same specific setting with the onset of symptoms within 14 days. If there is a single test-confirmed case, this would initiate further investigation and risk assessment. An outbreak would be declared if the investigation ascertained a second COVID-19 case, either test-confirmed or clinically suspected.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish the number of (a) social workers and (b) social care staff that were off work due to covid-19 in the week commencing 1 January 2021.

The Department does not hold data on the number of social workers absent from work due to COVID-19 in the week commencing 1 January 2021. The Department collects data on COVID-19 related absence among staff in care homes and domiciliary care. This data is currently being collated and validated for future publication.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish statistics on the number of residential care homes that cannot admit more residents on a temporary basis as of 5 January 2021.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to introduce covid passports for children under 16 years old.

The NHS COVID Pass is available to people aged 16 years old and over and can be used to demonstrate vaccination and recovery from COVID-19. We are looking at ways children aged 12 to 15 years old with two vaccinations to demonstrate their vaccination status for international travel. This will be available shortly, initially via a NHS COVID Pass travel letter. Further information will be made available in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021, what steps his Department is taking to measure how effective the additional funding is in tackling backlogs in disabled children’s health service assessments.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement constantly monitor data in order to help to maximise performance and tackle backlogs.

We are committed to ensuring greater stability of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services as we enter the recovery phase following the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS England and NHS Improvement will monitor local areas’ performance in delivering SEND services, including those that had weaknesses before the COVID-19 outbreak and those that are struggling to respond to the challenges that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought.

In April, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission re-started their revisit programme of areas where SEND services need to improve and which received a Written Statement of Action. Full inspections resumed in June.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to offer covid-19 booster vaccinations to people who are now immunocompromised but were not immunocompromised at the time of their second vaccination.

All adults in England aged 18 years old and over are eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccination, including those who are now severely immunosuppressed but were not severely immunosuppressed at the time of their second primary dose.

The Government accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) regarding the offer of a third primary dose and a fourth dose as a booster to eligible individuals aged 12 years old and over with severe immunosuppression at or around the time of their first or second primary vaccination. Individuals whose immunosuppression commenced at least two weeks after their second primary dose do not require a third primary dose at this stage but will be eligible for a booster dose following completion of their two dose primary schedule.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to help protect people who are immunocompromised against the effects of covid-19 over winter 2021-22.

On 1 September 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that individuals aged 12 years old and over with severe immunosuppression at the time of their first or second COVID-19 vaccination should be offered a third primary dose. Severely immunosuppressed individuals may not have developed a full immune response to the primary vaccination, therefore the third primary dose gives a similar level of protection as those without a weakened immune system and has received two doses.

The National Health Service is writing to patients who may be eligible for a third primary dose due to severe immunosuppression. Severely immunosuppressed individuals may become eligible for a booster dose after their third primary dose, pending further advice from the JCVI.

Immunocompromised individuals are a priority cohort for research into therapeutic and prophylaxis treatments, such as monoclonal antibody therapies, novel antivirals and repurposed compounds. In August, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved Ronapreve as the first neutralising monoclonal antibody combination product for use in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will meet with providers of discount schemes for health and social care workers to help ensure that all eligible staff are able to participate in those schemes.

The Department does not currently work directly with providers of discount schemes. Individual employers are free to further develop their local reward offer through discount schemes with providers of their choice.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of discount schemes on helping to (a) recognise, (b) recruit and (c) retain workers in the health and social care sectors.

The Department does not currently work directly with providers of discount schemes. Individual employers develop their local reward offer through discount schemes with providers of their choice.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of a carer verification system to help identify paid and unpaid carers so that they have greater access to discount schemes.

The Department has assessed the merits of a carer verification system for the paid workforce and further detail of this will be set out in the upcoming social care white paper.

We will ensure that unpaid carers have the support, advice and respite they need the Care Act 2014. We are working with stakeholders, including unpaid carers, to develop our plans and we will publish further detail in the white paper.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will launch an investigation into Dante Labs for alleged failure to provide covid-19 PCR test results in line with advertised timescales.

While we currently have no plans to investigate Dante Labs, we are working with the organisation to understand a potential drop in performance on test turnaround times.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding by the Disabled Children’s Partnership’s in their report, Left Behind, published 16 July 2021, that nearly three quarters of disabled children have seen their progress managing their conditions reversed in the covid-19 outbreak, what plans he has to ensure that disabled children can (a) regain lost progress and (b) improve their ability in managing their condition.

As part of COVID-19 recovery planning we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health services to disabled children, including support for managing their condition. In 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance making clear that restoration of essential community services must be prioritised for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged up to 25 years old and who have an Education Health and Care Plan in place or are going through an assessment for one. We have invested £6.6 billion from March to September 2021 to help National Health Service recovery and an additional £1 billion to reduce waiting times for patients, including disabled children, to access NHS services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the quality of mental health support that young people can access through their GP.

Under the Primary Care Network (PCN) Direct Enhanced Services, networks are able to recruit new roles to expand their care team with 100% reimbursement through the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme. From April 2021, PCNs have been able to recruit mental health practitioners through the Scheme.

The Mental Health Recovery Action Plan aims to respond to the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the public, specifically targeting groups which have been most impacted including those with severe mental illness, including young people. This is in addition to the £2.3 billion invested in mental health services by 2023-24.

General practitioners are responsible for ensuring their own clinical knowledge remains up-to-date and for identifying learning needs as part of their continuing professional development. This activity should include taking account of new research and developments in guidance, to ensure that they can continue to provide high quality care to all patients.

All United Kingdom registered doctors are expected to meet the professional standards set out in the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Good Medical Practice.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the (a) knowledge and (b) confidence of GPs on responding effectively to the mental health concerns of children and young people.

Under the Primary Care Network (PCN) Direct Enhanced Services, networks are able to recruit new roles to expand their care team with 100% reimbursement through the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme. From April 2021, PCNs have been able to recruit mental health practitioners through the Scheme.

The Mental Health Recovery Action Plan aims to respond to the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the public, specifically targeting groups which have been most impacted including those with severe mental illness, including young people. This is in addition to the £2.3 billion invested in mental health services by 2023-24.

General practitioners are responsible for ensuring their own clinical knowledge remains up-to-date and for identifying learning needs as part of their continuing professional development. This activity should include taking account of new research and developments in guidance, to ensure that they can continue to provide high quality care to all patients.

All United Kingdom registered doctors are expected to meet the professional standards set out in the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Good Medical Practice.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 December 2020 to Question 106995 on Dental Health: Children, when his Department plans to hold a public consultation on a national early years supervised toothbrushing scheme for England.

We are currently reviewing plans for a consultation, subject to current funding considerations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government before the decision was taken to withdraw the health, care and volunteer workers parking pass.

Departmental officials have had regular discussions with officials at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

No impact assessment has been undertaken. Local authorities are responsible for their own parking criteria and make decisions on providing this free parking locally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Royal College of Physicians’ report, Smoking and health 2021: a coming of age for tobacco control?, published in 29 April 2021, recommendation to provide smoking cessation services on an opt-out basis to all smokers at any point of contact with the NHS.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to delivering National Health Service-funded tobacco treatment services to all inpatients, pregnant women and people accessing long term mental health and learning disability services; which are expected to be opt-out services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan for England, if he will make it his policy to increase funding for related mass media campaigns to at least 2008 levels.

The Government remains committed to funding a programme of targeted evidence-based marketing campaigns to help people quit the use of tobacco. We will publish a new Tobacco Control Plan later this year to outline our proposals to deliver a smoke free country by 2030.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan for England, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing financial incentives in maternal smoking cessation pathways.

The Department is currently assessing the potential merits of providing financial incentives for pregnant women as part of the proposals for a new Tobacco Control Plan, due to be published later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the findings of the Disabled Children’s Partnership’s report entitled No End In Sight Report, published on 14 May 2021, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing support for specific therapies catch-up plans for disabled children as part of the covid-19 recovery.

We have no plans to make a specific assessment. However, as part of COVID-19 recovery planning we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of therapies to disabled children. NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance which makes clear that essential community services, including therapies such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, must be prioritised for children and young people aged up to 25 years old with special educational needs and disabilities and who have an Education Health and Care Plan in place or who are going through an assessment for one.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the Government placed the UAE on the red list for travel.

Decisions to place countries, including UAE, on the ‘red list’ are taken by the Government to protect public health. They are informed by evidence including the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s risks assessments alongside wider public health factors.

The advice, evidence and methodology which informs these decisions relates to on-going development of Government policy and we are unable to provide this specific information at this time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether every local authority area has a Transforming Care Lead; and whether that information is publicly available.

We do not hold this information centrally.

A Transforming Care Partnership may include several local authorities, as well as being made up of National Health Service clinical commissioning groups and NHS England’s specialised commissioners.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of covid-19 lockdown restrictions on people in Assessment and Treatment Units and other closed culture environments.

We have not made a specific assessment.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of appointing a Lead Commissioner to oversee the implementation of the Transforming Care Programme and the discharge of autistic people and people with learning disabilities from Assessment and Treatment Units.

We have made no such assessment.

The Department is responsible for driving forward the programme with delivery partners across health and social care.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 April 2021 to Question 168907 on Health Services: Inspections, what steps his Department plans to take to monitor compliance with the new Care Quality Commission guidelines on closed cultures.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an independent body with statutory responsibility for monitoring, inspecting and regulating services that provide regulated activities within health and social care, to ensure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety. The CQC will therefore monitor compliance by providers of its guidelines on closed cultures.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason visitors to the UK from red list countries who are fully vaccinated against covid-19 are not able to quarantine at home.

The ‘red list’ is used for those countries that have been assessed as particularly high risk in respect of transmission of new variants of COVID-19. The Government is prioritising the prevention of new variants entering the country and the possibility of these being spread in the wider community. Individuals who have been vaccinated might nonetheless contract another variant, particularly while in ‘red list’ countries and spread it even if quarantining at home. This means it is vital to continue to follow the public health guidance and rules including the necessity of quarantining in hotels.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the UK placed Qatar on the red list for travel.

Decisions to place on countries, including Qatar, on the ‘red list’ are taken by Ministers informed by evidence including the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s analysis as well as other relevant information about the risk of the spread of variant. The advice, evidence and methodology which informs these decisions relates to on-going development of Government policy and therefore cannot be published at this time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to to prioritise covid-19 vaccinations for workers in the industries producing covid-19 vaccines.

In January 2021, to 2,000 people working in roles crucial to the continuity of the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain were offered vaccinations. Workers identified by the Government as being crucial to the delivery of vaccine supply included staff working for Pfizer and AstraZeneca involved in specialist, highly trained roles.

Eligible workers were identified by their employer against clear criteria and the most appropriate location for vaccination were agreed between the National Health Service, local providers and employer.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department undertake a national review of existing commissioning arrangements for (a) autistic people and (b) people with learning disabilities.

While we have no current plans to review the existing commissioning arrangements, as part of work on the upcoming Health and Care Bill, we are supporting the National Health Service’s efforts to develop more integrated services and remove barriers and bureaucracy.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what meetings he has had with the Care Quality Commission on the implementation of its new inspection regime in relation to closed cultures; and how that new inspection regime relates to the Transforming Care agenda.

We are not aware of any specific meetings that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has had with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that focussed on its new inspection regime in relation to closed cultures.

The Minister of State for Care has regular meetings with the CQC including discussions on closed cultures, as well as on Transforming Care more widely. I met with the CQC on the 29 June 2020 which included discussions around closed cultures.

CQC have been making significant improvements in how they understand and identify closed culture services, prioritising these services for monitoring. This supports improvements in the quality of care provided to people with a learning disability and autistic people, in line with the Transforming Care objectives.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether funding under the Community Discharge Fund is allocated to the local authority in which the person is ordinarily resident or the local authority where they are in hospital.

Allocations of funding through the Community Discharge Grant are made on the basis of forecast future discharges of people for whom a Transforming Care Partnership has a commissioning responsibility.

In order to calculate the 2020-21 allocations for each Transforming Care Partnership in England under the Community Discharge Grant we have estimated the double running costs that each Transforming Care Partnership could face for the coming year. Double running costs occur in the period before a formal discharge when a person is still an inpatient requiring a bed and a community care package is also put in place.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 157099, which local authorities have been awarded funds from the Community Discharge Fund to date; and how much money each such authority received.

For the financial year 2020-21, Community Discharge Grant allocations were made to individual Transforming Care Partnerships in England. Each Transforming Care Partnership nominated a lead local authority to receive funds on their behalf.

A table showing the lead local authorities that have received the Community Discharge Grant to date and the amount each lead local authority was awarded on behalf of their wider Transforming Care Partnership is attached.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether Liaison and Diversion services routinely assess the maturity of defendants aged between 18 and 24 for pre-sentence reports.

Liaison and Diversion services screen and assess individuals of any age who are referred to the service for a wide range of vulnerabilities, including mental health, substance misuse, learning disabilities and difficulties, autism, acquired brain injury, speech language and communications needs. This helps inform an indication of maturity and ability to comprehend or engage with services. There are no currently known assessment tools designed specifically to assess maturity.

If concerns regarding maturity are identified, these will be shared, with the individual’s consent, with key decision-makers in criminal justice agencies and Liaison and Diversion outreach workers will design an holistic package of support, making referrals to relevant health, social care and voluntary sector services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department will use to assess the effectiveness of the Community Discharge Fund.

We will review the allocation methodology for the second year of the Grant and expect to consult with local government on how best to apportion funds in future so the funds have maximum impact in facilitating timely discharges of people with a learning disability and/or autism into the community.

The Department may undertake a formal evaluation of the effectiveness of the Community Discharge Grant. Any evaluation will focus on how effective funding has been to meet the purpose of the grant, which is to support discharges and would engage with local authorities and Transforming Care Partnerships.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his policy is on the vaccination of workers who are currently in the UK but employed overseas and need to have the covid-19 vaccine before they are allowed to return.

Those ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine according to the priority cohorts defined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Currently all those aged over 50 years old and those who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 can book their vaccination, including those who work overseas and are in the UK now. Wherever possible, British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. Foreign nationals living overseas should obtain the vaccine in their country of residence.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make foster parents a priority group to receive the covid-19 vaccine.

Based on the clinical assessment that most children are not considered to be at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality, being a foster carer alone is not cause for prioritisation for a COVID-19 vaccination. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that only those children at very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes, such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities within residential care, should be offered vaccination as part of phase one. There are currently no plans to prioritise foster parents not in the first nine priority groups in the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Unpaid carers are included in the JCVI’s priority group six, which includes individuals who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable. This means that if a foster parent or carer is the sole or primary carer of a child who was prioritised for vaccination in cohorts four or six, they will be offered the vaccination in cohort six.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish a daily total of the number and proportion of people vaccinated in each of the priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Currently daily and weekly data for those who have received a first and second dose is available for each of the four nations with daily data for vaccinations in England by region. NHS England and NHS Improvement also publish weekly data for vaccinations with data on vaccinations by more granular localities, some patient groups and by ethnicity. Each month further data will be provided on vaccinations by patient subgroup. This is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's policy is on (a) whether frontline police officers will be prioritised for the covid-19 vaccine and (b) when that group will be offered the covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that the priority for the current COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.

The Government will set out plans for phase two of the vaccination programme in due course, based on further advice from the JCVI. Phase two of the roll-out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase capacity within the contact tracing policy team responsible for answering enquiries from hon. Members; and if he will introduce a telephone helpline for hon. Members and their staff to contact that team.

The NHS Test and Trace service seeks to respond to enquiries from hon. Members as quickly and efficiently as possible. NHS Test and Trace is currently developing an enhanced response service, which will be fully operational in February 2021. This will provide a faster and more efficient service for hon. Members to get answers to questions on behalf of their constituents.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the time taken to respond to enquiries by hon. Members on behalf of constituents by his contact tracing policy team.

The NHS Test and Trace service seeks to respond to enquiries from hon. Members as quickly and efficiently as possible. NHS Test and Trace is currently developing an enhanced response service, which will be fully operational in February 2021. This will provide a faster and more efficient service for hon. Members to get answers to questions on behalf of their constituents.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide a bonus to care workers in recognition of their work throughout the covid-19 outbreak.

The social care workforce more than ever demonstrates unwavering compassion and dedication. We are proud of them and immensely grateful to them. We want to celebrate their work and give them the acknowledgement and appreciation that they deserve.

The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers who ultimately set their pay?and remuneration, independent of central government. We are exploring ways to further develop recognition of the social care sector, to empower staff?and?reinforce appreciation across the sector. However, we are not currently planning to pay social care staff a bonus as a part of this.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of autistic people and people with learning disabilities in care and health settings.

People with a learning disability and autistic people should have access to the same, high quality health and care that we all expect. The Government is implementing Building the Right Support national plan, which aims to reduce the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people in specialist inpatient settings by ensuring more people get the support they need in the community.

As part of this, we will provide £74 million (£62 million in England) over the three years from 2020/21 to support discharge for people with a learning disability and autistic people from hospital into the community. In England, the first year of funding (£20m) of has already been paid through the Community Discharge Grant to all nominated lead Local Authorities.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people with (a) learning disabilities and (b) autism have the right care and support available and in place to prevent the need for hospital admissions.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to an extra £4.5 billion a year for primary care and community health services by 2023/24 to enable more people to receive personalised care in the community and reduce preventable admissions to inpatient services. This will include developing seven-day specialist multidisciplinary services and crisis care.

In the Reforming the Mental Health Act white paper, published in January 2021, we propose reducing the number of circumstances in which someone with a learning disability or an autistic person could be detained under the Act. We also propose creating new duties on commissioners to ensure that there are sufficient community-based services to support people with a learning disability and autistic people.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to end the use of restraint, segregation and seclusion for people with (a) learning disabilities and (b) autism.

We are clear that restrictive interventions should only ever be used as a last resort. In 2018, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care commissioned the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to undertake a review into the use of restraint, segregation and seclusion for people with a learning disability and autistic people. The CQC’s final report was published on 22 October 2020, and we will take further action drawing on its recommendations.

We remain committed to implementing The Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act. This makes clear that staff should be appropriately trained and that the Secretary of State must ensure that at the end of each year statistics are published regarding the use of force by staff in mental health units. We are developing statutory guidance to support the implementation of the Act.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to meet targets to discharge people with (a) learning disabilities and (b) autism from health and care settings.

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to implement the Building the Right Support national plan to achieve at least a 50% reduction in the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people who are inpatients in mental health hospitals by 2023/24. The Long Term Plan commits to an extra £4.5 billion a year for primary care and community health services by 2023/24 to reduce preventable admissions to inpatient services. This includes developing seven-day specialist multidisciplinary services and crisis care.

We will provide £74 million, £62 million in England, over three years from 2020/21 to support discharge for people with a learning disability and autistic people from hospital into the community. In England, the first year of funding of £20 million has already been paid through the Community Discharge Grant to all nominated lead local authorities.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will lift the tier three covid-19 restriction on competitive ice skaters aged 18 and over training at ice rinks.

National restrictions ended on Wednesday 2 December and gyms and sport facilities are reopening across all tiers. Outdoor skating rinks can stay open across all tiers and indoor skating rinks can open in Tiers 1 and 2.

Under Tier 3, ice rinks are able to open for disability sport, sports as part of the curriculum in education and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18 year olds, including those who were under 18 years old on 31 August 2020. Elite and professional athletes may continue to use facilities including ice rinks to train and to compete behind closed doors.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to prioritise funeral directors and staff for the covid-19 vaccine alongside health and care home staff.

The Green Book Immunisation Against Infections Disease chapter on COVID-19, states that hospital-based laboratory and mortuary staff who frequently handle COVID-19 or collect or handle potentially infected specimens, including respiratory, gastrointestinal and blood specimens should be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination as they may also have social contact with patients. This may also include cleaners, porters, secretaries and receptionists in laboratories. Frontline funeral operatives and mortuary technicians/embalmers are both at risk of exposure and likely to spend a considerable amount of time in care homes and hospital settings where they may also expose multiple patients, therefore they should also be eligible for vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on children’s (a) mental health and (b) emotional resilience by region.

‘Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2020: Wave 1 follow up to the 2017 survey’ was published on 22 October 2020 by NHS Digital and is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mental-health-of-children-and-young-people-in-england/2020-wave-1-follow-up

The survey states that, in 2020, rates of probable mental disorder in children aged 5 to 16 years old ranged from 10% in London to 20.5% in the West Midlands. The increased rates of probable mental disorder in most regions between 2017 and 2020 were not found to be statistically significant.

The sample size in this survey was sufficiently big to detect differences in England between 2017 and 2020 but when divided across regions, the samples sizes will be smaller at regional level, and these smaller sizes may not have been sufficient to detect a statistically significant difference.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to implement the ban on the sale of energy drinks to under 16s.

In July 2019, following public consultation, the Government confirmed it will end the sale of energy drinks to children under the age of 16. We will be setting out our full response to the consultation as soon as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will reconsider the decision to close specialist shops selling vaping products during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown in England.

Hygiene and social distancing measures are vitally important for reducing the transmission risk of COVID-19. We know that the virus spreads readily in any indoor environment where members of different households and/or support bubbles spend time together, so the transmission risk in indoor settings, such as specialist shops selling vaping products, remains high.  On this basis the decision was made to close non-essential shops during the November 2020 national restrictions.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of dentists and dental staff being ineligible for a free flu vaccination on the ability of patients to access dental services; and if he will make a statement.

Provision of flu vaccination for frontline health care workers, including National Health Service independent contractors such as dentists, is the responsibility of the employer, as part of their occupational health responsibility.

Some dentists and other dental staff who are in an ‘at-risk’ group will continue to be eligible for a free flu vaccine under the flu programme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to provide NHS dental teams with priority access to a covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI published interim advice on 25 September 2020 stating the vaccine should first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and health and social workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk.

The JCVI has prioritised health and care workers, which would include National Health Service dental teams, in the initial recommendations. The final recommendations may further refine these recommendations taking into account the different levels of exposure, vaccine characteristics and other factors such as age and clinical risk. We will consider the Committee’s advice carefully as we continue to plan for a vaccination campaign.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to hold a public consultation on a national early years supervised toothbrushing scheme for England.

No date has yet been set for a consultation on a national early years toothbrushing scheme for England.

We estimate the cost of rolling out a supervised toothbrushing scheme for 30% of the most deprived 3-5 year-olds would cost approximately £9 million per annum. The Public Health England Return on Investment tool estimates that supervised toothbrushing provides a five-year return of £3.06 for every £1 invested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an estimate of the (a) cost and (b) return on investment of rolling out supervised toothbrushing in early years settings for the 30 per cent most deprived children in England.

No date has yet been set for a consultation on a national early years toothbrushing scheme for England.

We estimate the cost of rolling out a supervised toothbrushing scheme for 30% of the most deprived 3-5 year-olds would cost approximately £9 million per annum. The Public Health England Return on Investment tool estimates that supervised toothbrushing provides a five-year return of £3.06 for every £1 invested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will implement a policy similar to that of the Scottish Government on visits to care homes in England.

We keep our policies under continuous review, based on the emerging international and domestic evidence. As the pandemic progresses, we will continue to update our guidance in line with this to ensure that best practice is reviewed and can be applied.

On 5 November, we published updated visiting guidance for care homes which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes

We are working to further update guidance as we come out of the current period of national restrictions. We want to bring an end to the pain of separation and help care homes bring families and loved ones together. The launch of visitor testing is a crucial step to making that happen. We aim to rollout visitor testing nationwide by Christmas.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has he made of the implications for his policies of the Scottish Government’s policy to relax visiting restrictions to care homes.

We keep our policies under continuous review, based on the emerging international and domestic evidence. As the pandemic progresses, we will continue to update our guidance in line with this to ensure that best practice is reviewed and can be applied.

On 5 November, we published updated visiting guidance for care homes which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes

We are working to further update guidance as we come out of the current period of national restrictions. We want to bring an end to the pain of separation and help care homes bring families and loved ones together. The launch of visitor testing is a crucial step to making that happen. We aim to rollout visitor testing nationwide by Christmas.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy to permit a person in a tier two covid-19 area to travel to a family wedding in a tier one area and stay overnight in a hotel.

If you live in an area where the local COVID-19 alert level is high you can stay in a hotel outside of your area, but you must only do this with people in your household or support bubble.

Similarly, you are able to attend a wedding service and attend a wedding reception provided it takes place at a COVID-secure venue or in public outdoor space, unless specific exemptions apply. Up to 15 people can attend a wedding, or a wedding reception in a medium risk area. However, you should not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble while you are there.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) dentists and (b) dental health staff has the same access to covid-19 tests as other NHS staff.

We have made it our priority to provide testing for National Health Service front line staff, including dentists and dental health staff, when symptomatic. A number of tests are reserved for essential workers and all symptomatic frontline staff can request a test as an essential worker via GOV.UK or 119. Essential workers can order five test kits for themselves and other symptomatic members of their households. However, for households of more than five, 119 can raise an order on their behalf.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what impact assessment his Department has undertaken on the effect of regional health inequality on the covid-19 death rate in the North East.

Public Health England’s (PHE) review into factors impacting health outcomes from COVID-19 confirms that the impact of COVID-19 has replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, has increased them. Building on the PHE reviews, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP), is undertaking vital work that will contribute to reducing these disparities to protect our most vulnerable communities.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the North East had the third highest mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19. The ONS will continue to review deaths involving COVID-19 and will release an update when appropriate.

Local authorities will be working with other local partners including clinical commissioning groups, voluntary sector partners and community leaders to identify the way in which COVID-19 has widened health inequalities and will already be taking mitigating actions factoring it into their local recovery plans.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of regional health inequalities on covid-19 death rates in the North East.

Public Health England’s (PHE) review into factors impacting health outcomes from COVID-19 confirms that the impact of COVID-19 has replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, has increased them. Building on the PHE reviews, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP), is undertaking vital work that will contribute to reducing these disparities to protect our most vulnerable communities.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the North East had the third highest mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19. The ONS will continue to review deaths involving COVID-19 and will release an update when appropriate.

Local authorities will be working with other local partners including clinical commissioning groups, voluntary sector partners and community leaders to identify the way in which COVID-19 has widened health inequalities and will already be taking mitigating actions factoring it into their local recovery plans.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce covid-19 death rates through tackling health inequalities in the North East.

Public Health England’s (PHE) review into factors impacting health outcomes from COVID-19 confirms that the impact of COVID-19 has replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, has increased them. Building on the PHE reviews, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP), is undertaking vital work that will contribute to reducing these disparities to protect our most vulnerable communities.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the North East had the third highest mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19. The ONS will continue to review deaths involving COVID-19 and will release an update when appropriate.

Local authorities will be working with other local partners including clinical commissioning groups, voluntary sector partners and community leaders to identify the way in which COVID-19 has widened health inequalities and will already be taking mitigating actions factoring it into their local recovery plans.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 23 September 2020 to Question 81878, if he will make an assessment of the potential link between (a) covid-19 death rates and (b) regional health inequalities in the North East; and if she will take steps to collect more data on regional health inequalities.

Public Health England’s (PHE) review into factors impacting health outcomes from COVID-19 confirms that the impact of COVID-19 has replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, has increased them. Building on the PHE reviews, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP), is undertaking vital work that will contribute to reducing these disparities to protect our most vulnerable communities.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the North East had the third highest mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19. The ONS will continue to review deaths involving COVID-19 and will release an update when appropriate.

Local authorities will be working with other local partners including clinical commissioning groups, voluntary sector partners and community leaders to identify the way in which COVID-19 has widened health inequalities and will already be taking mitigating actions factoring it into their local recovery plans.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his policy is on where to publish the list of authorities using the powers in section 10 of Schedule 8 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 relating to temporary modification of mental health and mental capacity legislation in the event that the Government activated those powers.

These powers have not been commenced in England and therefore no authorities have used them. Throughout the pandemic, the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working very closely with National Health Service trusts and local systems to monitor pressure on services and any consequent need to commence these powers. On 30 September 2020, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced during the motion on the Coronavirus Act 2020, Official Report, 30 September, columns 392-393, that these provisions will be removed from the Act for England.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Coronavirus Act 2020 analysis which states that local authorities have used Part 1 of Schedule 12 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 responsibly and complied with guidance, if he will publish the work undertaken by Chief Social Workers on which that analysis is based.

The Department has used a number of routes to gather evidence on the use and impact of temporary easements to the Care Act 2014. Departmental officials, including the Chief Social Workers, have been working with the Principal Social Worker Network and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) to gather local intelligence. These conversations have shown that local authorities have used provisions responsibly and complied with guidance.

ADASS and Think Local, Act Personal (TLAP) have been engaging with local authorities operating under easements, and those that did not, to understand lessons learned from this period. A TLAP Insight Group has been meeting regularly to coordinate intelligence of TLAP partners on the impact and views of people accessing care and support and unpaid carers. Both organisations aim to publish their findings as soon as it is feasible.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on producing impact assessments on health inequalities in policy development.

We are determined to address the long-standing inequalities that exist and level up across society, which requires a whole of Government approach. The Department works closely with other Government departments to raise awareness of health inequalities and departments in turn are responsible for carrying out equalities impact assessments under the Public Sector Equality Duty for all key Government policy and legislation. Recent examples of this include impact assessments for the Coronavirus Act 2020 and COVID-19 policies which considered, where relevant, the potential impact on ethnic minorities and factors such as deprivation and intergenerational housing.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to tackle regional health inequalities.

The recent reviews published by Public Health England and data published by the Office for National Statistics emphasise that we must do more to level up health across the country and reduce health inequalities.

The Government is determined to address long-standing inequalities by progressing work under the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) and through the Prime Minister’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the potential link between higher covid-19 death rates and regional health inequalities in the North East.

The recent reviews published by Public Health England and data published by the Office for National Statistics emphasise that we must do more to level up health across the country and reduce health inequalities.

The Government is determined to address long-standing inequalities by progressing work under the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) and through the Prime Minister’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Social Workers Unio