Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and International Committee of the Red Cross (Status) Bill
28th Feb 2024 - 28th Feb 2024
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
4th Sep 2012 - 19th Oct 2012
Secretary of State for International Development
12th May 2010 - 6th Sep 2012
Shadow Secretary of State (Home Office)
20th May 2005 - 6th May 2010
Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)
10th Sep 2004 - 20th May 2005
Draft Charities Bill (Joint Committee)
29th Apr 2004 - 15th Sep 2004
Shadow Minister (Treasury)
10th Nov 2003 - 10th Sep 2004
Modernisation of the House of Commons
4th Dec 2002 - 22nd Jan 2004
Work and Pensions Committee
16th Jul 2001 - 6th May 2003
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Social Security)
6th Jul 1995 - 1st May 1997
Members' Interests
20th Jun 1994 - 17th Jul 1995
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
20th Jul 1994 - 6th Jul 1995
Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)
11th Jan 1992 - 20th Jul 1994
Vice-Chair, Conservative Party
1st Jul 1992 - 1st Jul 1993


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Andrew Mitchell has voted in 623 divisions, and 11 times against the majority of their Party.

2 Sep 2020 - Recall of MPs (Change of Party Affiliation) - View Vote Context
Andrew Mitchell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 41 Conservative No votes vs 47 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 55 Noes - 52
17 Jun 2020 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Andrew Mitchell voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 104 Conservative Aye votes vs 124 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 253 Noes - 136
23 Nov 2021 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Mitchell voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 18 Conservative Aye votes vs 276 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 219 Noes - 280
22 Mar 2022 - Nationality and Borders Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Mitchell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Conservative No votes vs 296 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 302 Noes - 232
22 Mar 2022 - Nationality and Borders Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Mitchell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 7 Conservative No votes vs 296 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 313 Noes - 227
20 Apr 2022 - Nationality and Borders Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Mitchell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Conservative No votes vs 304 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 311 Noes - 231
20 Apr 2022 - Nationality and Borders Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Mitchell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 11 Conservative No votes vs 291 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 294 Noes - 242
20 Apr 2022 - Nationality and Borders Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Mitchell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Conservative No votes vs 298 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 303 Noes - 236
20 Apr 2022 - Nationality and Borders Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Mitchell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Conservative No votes vs 298 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 303 Noes - 234
20 Apr 2022 - Nationality and Borders Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Mitchell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Conservative No votes vs 301 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 303 Noes - 235
25 Apr 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Andrew Mitchell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 11 Conservative No votes vs 276 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 278 Noes - 182
View All Andrew Mitchell Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(91 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(28 debate interactions)
Vicky Ford (Conservative)
(26 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
(1329 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(37 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(30 debate contributions)
Home Office
(27 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Birmingham Commonwealth Games Act 2020
(1,884 words contributed)
Finance Act 2020
(1,683 words contributed)
Nationality and Borders Act 2022
(1,432 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Andrew Mitchell's debates

Sutton Coldfield Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

The Government should bring forward legislation to allow assisted dying for adults who are terminally ill and have mental capacity. It should be permitted subject to strict upfront safeguards, assessed by two doctors independently, and self-administered by the dying person.

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


Latest EDMs signed by Andrew Mitchell

1st July 2020
Andrew Mitchell signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 1st July 2020

National Museum of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic History and Culture

Tabled by: Oliver Heald (Conservative - North East Hertfordshire)
That this House recognises the important role played by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC since it opened its doors to the public on 24 September 2016, documenting and enabling the study of the life, history and culture of African Americans; notes that …
15 signatures
(Most recent: 15 Jul 2020)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 9
Liberal Democrat: 2
Scottish National Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Independent: 1
Labour: 1
10th June 2020
Andrew Mitchell signed this EDM on Wednesday 24th June 2020

Judge-led public inquiry into the Horizon scandal

Tabled by: Kevan Jones (Labour - North Durham)
That this House recognises the life-changing injustices experienced by subpostmasters throughout the Horizon scandal; notes with the deepest sadness that subpostmasters have served custodial sentences and suffered bankruptcy for offences they did not commit; recognises the role of the Government in prolonging this crisis through not fulfilling their role of …
151 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 67
Scottish National Party: 43
Liberal Democrat: 11
Independent: 9
Democratic Unionist Party: 7
Conservative: 7
Plaid Cymru: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Alba Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alliance: 1
View All Andrew Mitchell's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Andrew Mitchell, 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.


1 Urgent Question tabled by Andrew Mitchell

Tuesday 2nd March 2021

1 Adjournment Debate led by Andrew Mitchell

Wednesday 8th December 2021

2 Bills introduced by Andrew Mitchell


A Bill to make provision about the keeping and maintenance of registers of births and deaths; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 80%

Last Event - Report Stage
Friday 12th March 2021
(Read Debate)

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report on the merits of a scheme for the United Kingdom to pay to train two doctors or nurses in developing countries for each doctor or nurse recruited to the National Health Service from those countries.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 17th November 2020
(Read Debate)

Latest 50 Written Questions

(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
26th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has for the use of (a) 55 Whitehall and (b) 3-8 Whitehall Place in the future.

55 Whitehall and 3-8 Whitehall Place will be refurbished in advance of BEIS relocation from London, 1 Victoria St.

26th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, which 10 Government buildings were scheduled to be exited during 2021-22 in accordance with the Whitehall Campus Programme plans referred to on page 17 of the Government Property Agency’s 2021-22 Business Plan; which of those buildings have been exited; and what the status is of each of those building as at 26 May 2022.

The GPA exceeded the target of 10 Buildings. The following 12 buildings (or leased parts thereof) were vacated and handed back to Landlords in the financial year 21/22:

Building/Occupation

Exit

151 Buckingham Palace Road

Apr-21

The Sanctuary (SW1P 3JS)

Jun-21

Plough Place

Jun-21

Bush House

Jun-21

Millbank Tower (part 1st Floor)

Oct-21

Roxburghe House

Sep-21

Fleetbank House

Sep-21

Custom House

Sep-21

36 Whitefriars Street

Oct-21

The Whitechapel Building (6th Floor)

Nov-21

Custom House Annex

Dec-21

30 Stamford Street (5th Floor)

Feb-22

26th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his Answer of 18 May 2022 to Question 64 on 36 Whitehall, what the nature of the one-off urgent Health and Safety works was costing £724k carried out at 36 Whitehall; when and by whom those works were carried out; and what target date the Government Property Agency has been set for the re-occupation of 36 Whitehall by public servants.

The urgent health and safety works comprised: surveys for the extent of structural damage of the building and assessment of repairs required to windows, brickwork and facades. Early risk mitigation works were undertaken. The external facades are Grade I listed and cannot be allowed to deteriorate. The majority of the works were completed between February 2022 and April 2022 by Mitie. No target date is set for the re-occupation of 36 Whitehall by public servants.

10th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Answer of 24 May 2021 to Question 3807, on Cabinet Office: Buildings, what progress has been made over the last twelve months on developing plans by the Government Property Agency to refurbish No. 36 Whitehall for use by civil servants; when that building was vacated by its last public service occupants; what the annual cost to the public purse in respect of (a) rates, (b) maintenance and utilities and (c) security relating to that building has been since that date; when he plans to provide the commercially sensitive information referred to in that Answer to the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield; whether he has plans to visit No. 36 Whitehall; and if he will make a statement.

The GPA has developed detailed designs for the building to be refurbished for use by Civil Servants. Records indicate the building was vacated in 2012.

As at 31 March 2021:

  • Rates: £0 per annum
  • Maintenance and security costs: £3.5k per annum

From 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022:

  • Rates: £0
  • Maintenance - principally for one-off urgent Health and Safety works: £724k

I visited 36 Whitehall on 4 May 2022. I have written to my Right Honourable Friend with regards to the letter he was expecting.

19th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has for the future use or disposal of No. 36 Whitehall, formerly the Paymaster General’s Office; when it was vacated by its last public service occupants; what the annual cost to the public purse has been of the building in (a) rates and (b) maintenance; what estimate he has made of its (a) rental and (b) freehold value; and if he will make a statement.

The Government Property Agency is currently developing plans to refurbish the building for use by civil servants.

Due to reasons of commercial sensitivity, I will write to my Hon. Friend separately with details of these costs.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which projects have underspent in order to contribute departmental budget from (a) climate finance and (b) foreign aid in order to fund lethal aid to Ukraine; and if he will make a statement.

Around £100m from the BEIS International Climate Finance budget in 2022-23 has been identified to be handed back to HM Treasury.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on Royal Mail’s decision to add barcodes to its postage stamps; and what assessment has been made of the impact of that decision on consumers with unused non-barcoded and Christmas stamps after they cease to be valid in January 2023.

The Department has regular discussions with Royal Mail on a wide range of issues. However, the development of stamp products is an operational matter for Royal Mail, a private company, and the Government is not involved in Royal Mail’s operational or commercial decisions.

Royal Mail launched a ‘Swap Out’ scheme for regular non-barcoded stamps on 31 March and has clarified that special issue and Christmas stamps will continue to be valid and will not need to be swapped out.

Further information about its plans for barcoded stamps is available on Royal Mail’s website: www.royalmail.com/sending/barcoded-stamps.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses have taken out loans under the Bounce Back Loan scheme in Sutton Coldfield constituency; and what the total value is of those loans.

As of 10 January 2021, 2,057 loans have been offered at a value of £62,409,360 in the Sutton Coldfield constituency, through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding has been allocated through the (a) Small Business Grant Fund and (b) Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund to businesses in the West Midlands.

In March 2020, the Government put forward an initial and unprecedented package of support to help businesses with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This included the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF). These schemes closed in August last year.

Over the lifetime of the two schemes, more than £11.12 billion was paid out to 906,620 businesses in England. In the West Midlands region, Local Authorities have reported to the department that a total of £1.11 billion was paid to 94,265 business premises under these schemes.


A full breakdown of grant funding allocated to and distributed by each Local Authority is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the hospitality sector in (a) Sutton Coldfield and (b) England during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

We are providing the hospitality sector with a wide package of support. On 5 January, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a one-off top up grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses. A £594 million discretionary fund is also being made available to Local Authorities to help them support other impacted businesses.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to publish its response to the consultation on corporate transparency and register reform.

The Corporate Transparency and Register Reform Consultation was launched on the 5th May 2019 and closed on the 5th August 2019. It received a significant number of responses. The Government plans to publish the response in due course.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timetable is for introducing the Registration of Overseas Entities Bill.

The Registration of Overseas Entities Bill has undergone Pre-Legislative Scrutiny by a joint parliamentary committee. The final Bill will reflect many of the committee’s recommendations to ensure that the legislation is as effective as possible in tackling the use of UK property for money laundering. The Bill will be introduced when Parliamentary time allows.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to support self-employed people in the West Midlands.

We want to make sure that the UK is the best place in the world to work and grow a business. Our long-term plan is to support entrepreneurs, including self-employed individuals who are running or considering starting up a business, not just in the West Midlands, but in all parts of the UK.

That’s why we are backing businesses right across the country, with 381,000 new businesses starting last year, and the government-owned British Business Bank supporting over 91,000 SMEs with £7 billion of finance.

The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme provides?loans to entrepreneurs seeking to start and grow their own businesses. The British Business Bank delivered more than 69,000 Start-Up Loans?since 2012, providing more than £558m of funding, in every part of the United Kingdom

The West Midlands has received 5,788 loans totalling over £44.8m and your constituency of Sutton Coldfield has received 101 loans totalling over £878,000.

Additionally, self-employed business people can access tailored advice and support through the 38 local Growth Hubs. They can also access support?through our Gov.uk website and the Business Support Helpline (0300 456 3565).

The West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy, published in May 2019, sets out a shared ambition to build on the region’s distinctive strengths to drive growth and ensure that all communities benefit from that growth, including the self-employed.

Self-employed mothers who qualify for Maternity Allowance are also now able to share parental leave and pay with an employed father or partner.

In addition, the Government has increased the personal allowance from £11,500 to £12,500 (benefiting employed and self-employed taxpayers) and self-employed people are now able to build their entitlement to the new State Pension at the same rate as employed people.

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to prevent pub closures in the West Midlands.

The Government recognises the importance of pubs to the economy and to community life in providing a place to socialise and encourage responsible drinking and welcomes recent data from the Office of National Statistics that suggest an increase in the number of pubs and bars in the UK for the first time in a decade. In order to provide support for pubs, the Government announced a freeze on beer duty at Budget 2018 which, together with previous cuts and freezes to alcohol duty, means a typical pint of beer is estimated to cost 14p less than it otherwise would have since ending the beer duty escalator in 2013.

Some 2,000 pubs have been listed as Assets of Community Value across the country in recognition of the positive role they play in their local areas and to allow the community to bid for those pubs should they be put up for sale. The Government has committed to help community groups to take over local community assets which are under threat, including pubs, by establishing a new £150m Community Ownership Fund.

In addition, many pubs will benefit from the business rates retail discount announced at Budget 2018, which cuts bills for eligible businesses by one third for two years from April 2019. The Government has committed to increasing the discount to 50% in 2020/21.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many applications to the Culture Recovery Fund from applicants in the West Midlands have been accepted.

Last year the government announced the unprecedented £1.57 billion support package for the culture sector, of which over £1 billion has now been allocated to over 3,000 arts and culture organisations across the country. This funding is supporting the arts and culture sector to survive the pandemic and continue operating.

We have now also announced a second round of the Culture Recovery Fund to support organisations to make the transition to full reopening.

So far 289 organisations in the West Midlands received funding through the recovery grants programme, the capital grants programme and via repayable finance. These include world-renowned organisations such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Birmingham Royal Ballet as well as those at the heart of their communities, such as the Black Country Living Museum, the People’s Orchestra in West Bromwich and Re-form Heritage in Stoke-on-Trent.

Overall, funding awarded through the first Round of the Culture Recovery Fund is supporting organisations which employ 69% of arts sector employees in the West Midlands.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional (a) business and (b) financial support for the (i) exhibition and (ii) events industry he has discussed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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

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

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

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support the tourism sector in the West Midlands.

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

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


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

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps his Department has taken to increase tourism in the West Midlands.

My Department has taken a number of steps to increase tourism in the West Midlands.

The £45m Discover England Fund supports the development of internationally marketed tourism products in the region. For example, the England’s Waterways project encourages visitors to explore the canals in and around Birmingham and the Midlands, while the England’s Originals project provides itineraries that include Worcester as a destination.

We are also working with regional partners to maximise the tourism benefits of hosting the UK City of Culture 2021 in Coventry and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle loneliness in the West Midlands.

Government’s first annual report on tackling loneliness was published in January 2020. It highlighted the progress made so far across the country, including in the West Midlands.

This includes: action by frontline workers across the public sector to recognise and act on loneliness; the launch of the Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign; the commitment to include measures in the Public Health Outcomes Framework so we can understand local rates of loneliness; and the announcement of an additional £4m of grant-funding, in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund, to help frontline grassroots organisations that bring people together.

The report also highlighted the good work of the 126 projects supported through the £11.5m Building Connections Fund to bring people and communities together. 14 grants, totalling £1.2million, have been made to projects in the West Midlands. This includes grants to the Chell Area Family Action Group to appoint volunteer social isolation champions to work with the people most at risk of loneliness and to Edward’s Trust to create and support a compassionate community of bereaved young people.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Net Zero strategy, what steps the Government is taking to help promote apprenticeships in the environmental sector.

I refer my hon. Friend, the Member for Sutton Coldfield to the answer I gave on 24 May 2022 to Question 3482.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Net Zero strategy, what steps the Government is taking to help promote apprenticeships in the environmental sector.

Apprenticeships will play a key part in supporting the creation of two million skilled jobs to build back greener and support the UK to transition to net-zero by 2050.

The department has put employers at the heart of our apprenticeship system, empowering them to design a range of high-quality apprenticeship standards that are directly aligned to the green economy. This includes Dual Smart Meter Installer level 2, Countryside Ranger level 4 to level 7 Sustainability Business Specialist.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) has identified over 50 apprenticeship standards that are supportive of the green economy. This includes some in the Digital, Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and Project Management spheres. This will support employers to develop the right skills and build the workforce for tomorrow.

The department is encouraging employers to make full use of apprenticeships in the environmental sector, including those in construction and manufacturing who want to develop green skills. We are also improving training options and supporting modern methods of construction that support greener approaches and deliver our commitment to a net-zero economy.

The department will continue to ensure apprenticeships support new and emerging occupations with the help of the Institute, which is prioritising the development of green apprenticeship standards. This will ensure that employers in the green economy can benefit from apprenticeships and support our transition to net-zero.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government is taking steps to align relevant apprenticeships with the schedule of public works on insulating housing.

This is a matter for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. I have asked its Chief Executive, Jennifer Coupland, to write to my hon. Friend, the Member for Sutton Coldfield, and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses when it is available.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department has had with Birmingham City Council on increasing the number of (a) primary and (b) secondary school places in Sutton Coldfield constituency.

Supporting local authorities to create sufficient school places is one of the government’s top priorities. Local authorities are responsible for providing enough school places for children in their area. Birmingham was allocated £23,208,348 of basic need funding earlier this year for places needed by September 2023.

Officials are in close liaison with Birmingham City Council and all other local authorities with regard to the sufficiency of local school provision. The department engages regularly to discuss local intelligence and offer advice and support to ensure sufficiency requirements are addressed.

In Birmingham, at a citywide level, a reduction in demand at primary phase is expected and, as a consequence, the department does not anticipate any local expansion plans in the primary phase in the short term. In contrast, during recent engagement with Birmingham City Council, it was identified that the local authority plans to uplift secondary phase capacity in Sutton Coldfield. We anticipate further engagement with Birmingham City Council about the detail of these expansion plans.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what Government funding has been provided for (a) respite care and (b) additional support for the families of disabled children in the West Midlands to help alleviate the impact of covid-19 on those families.

I refer the right hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield to the answer I gave on 2 June 2021 to Question 7328.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional financial support his Department is allocating to schools to help with cleaning and testing costs incurred as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has provided additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred between March and July 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak that could not be met from their budgets. We have paid schools £102 million for all claims in the first claims window that were within the published scope of the fund, and we will shortly process claims made in the second window in December 2020.

Last term, the Department announced the COVID-19 workforce fund for schools and colleges, to help those with high staff absences and facing significant financial pressures to stay open. It funded the costs of teacher absences over a threshold from 1 November 2020 until the end of the autumn term. We expect the schools claims form to be launched in spring 2021.

The Department will also fund schools for costs relating to COVID-19 testing. We have published a workforce planning tool which illustrates the levels of funding available. Funding will be paid to schools who have conducted testing in respect of workforce costs and other incidental costs relating to testing, such as waste disposal.

The Government is delivering catch-up funding worth £1 billion, including a ‘Catch-Up Premium’ worth a total of £650 million to support schools to make up for lost teaching time. Alongside this, we have also announced a new £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils, including the National Tuition Fund for students age 16-19.

Finally, schools have continued to receive their core funding throughout the outbreak, regardless of any periods of full or partial closure, with this year marking the first year of a three-year increase to core funding - the biggest in a decade. This will ensure schools can continue to pay their staff and meet other regular financial commitments.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial support is available to (a) maintained and (b) private nurseries for additional costs that have been incurred as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The early years sector has benefitted from the continuation of early years entitlement funding during the summer and autumn terms in 2020.

According to the 2019 Provider Finances report, the biggest cost for early education providers is staff, comprising 70% of costs for private nurseries, 75% for voluntary, 81% for school-based nurseries and 79% for Maintained Nursery Schools. The report is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/providers-finances-survey-of-childcare-and-ey-providers-2019/.

Providers who have seen a drop in either their income from parents or the government, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, can access support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), as long as the staff meet the other criteria for the scheme. An early years provider can access the CJRS to cover up to the proportion of its salary bill which could be considered to have been paid for from that provider’s private income. This would typically be income received from ‘parent-paid’ hours that have not yet returned as a result of COVID-19.

Eligible nurseries can also benefit from a business rates holiday and can access the business loans as set out by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

We continue to work with the early years sector to understand how they can best be supported to ensure that sufficient safe, appropriate and affordable childcare is available to those who need it now, and for all families who need it in the longer term.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the needs of children with special needs and learning disabilities are being met during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown in England.

On 7 January 2021, we published guidance to schools on the current national lockdown, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families can be disproportionately impacted by being out of education. We therefore set out in the guidance that schools are expected to allow vulnerable children and young people to attend, including those with an Education, Health and Care plan. We want these children and young people to continue to receive high-quality teaching and specialist professional support. The system of protective measures that schools have in place means that any risks associated with attendance are well managed. If a pupil does not attend, we expect the school to provide remote education.

Specialists, therapists, clinicians, and other support staff for pupils with SEND should provide interventions as usual.

We will update the guidance as needed and, as part of this, we will be providing more detailed advice and support for special schools.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) practical and (b) financial support is available to families that rely on childcare provided by extended family members in areas with additional covid-19 restrictions in place which prevent the mixing of households unless they are in a support bubble.

We recognise that extended family members often provide informal childcare. In relevant areas where local restrictions are in place on household mixing, people cannot host others they do not live with, or who are not in their support bubbles, in their homes and gardens. Informal childcare is not exempt from these restrictions.

Nationally, our ‘Rule of Six’ guidance specifies the exceptions where groups can be larger than six people, which includes registered childcare and supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups.

Parents who need support to obtain suitable childcare to meet their circumstances can contact their local authority for information and guidance about what childcare is available in their area.

The government funds a significant package of free and subsidised childcare. All 3 year olds and 4 year olds in England are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare a week, with 30 hours of free childcare available for eligible working parents. The government has acted to protect families that have faced a reduced income as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Parents who who were eligible for the 30 hours free childcare entitlement prior to the COVID-19 outbreak remain eligible until October even if they have experienced a change in income. Disadvantaged 2 year olds are also eligible for 15 hours of free childcare a week and eligible working parents may also be eligible for tax-free childcare. Parents can find out more about the free and subsidised childcare offers at: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a series of policies to support people, jobs and businesses on 20 March 2020, during which he confirmed an increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance for 12 months, in addition to planned uprating of 1.7%. The Universal Credit childcare offer remains the same, and working families can claim back up to 85% of their registered childcare costs each month. This can be claimed up to a month before starting a job. For families with 2 children, this could be worth up to £13,000 a year.

Help with up-front childcare costs for starting work is available through a non-repayable Flexible Support Fund (FSF) award for eligible Universal Credit claimants. The FSF received an additional £150 million this financial year to help support Universal Credit claimants to move closer to, or into, work. Help with up-front costs for eligible Universal Credit claimants is available through Budgeting Advances.

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support additional expenditure on cleaning and hygiene measures in schools during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government intends that all pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. On 2 July we published guidance to help schools prepare for this. 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 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20. As stated in our guidance, schools should use their existing resources when making arrangements to welcome all children back for the autumn.

Schools have been able to claim additional funding for exceptional costs incurred due to COVID-19, between March and July 2020, such as additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases and increased premises costs to keep schools open for priority groups during the Easter and summer half term holidays.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding his Department has allocated to Birmingham City Council for the refurbishment of schools for the 2020-21 calendar year; and whether that funding has been ringfenced.

In the financial year 2020-21, Birmingham City Council has been awarded £9,505,036 in capital funding to maintain and improve the condition of the schools for which it is responsible. Local authorities have the flexibility to prioritise capital projects to meet local needs. The responsible bodies for voluntary aided schools and academies are awarded separate capital funding.

In addition, individual schools are allocated Devolved Formula Capital (DFC) to invest in capital projects to meet their own priorities. Allocations are published on GOV.UK.

The government has also committed to providing £560 million of additional condition funding for the school system this year to support essential maintenance projects. This comes on top of over £1.4 billion capital funding already provided for school maintenance in the financial year 2020-21. We will set out details of how the additional capital funding will be allocated shortly.

6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the level of take-up of the 30 hour childcare entitlement in the (a) West Midlands and (b) England.

The National Statistics release, 'Education provision for children under 5 years of age in England', estimates that around 4 out of 5 eligible children were taking up some extended hours in January 2019. It is not possible to reliably produce an equivalent estimate for the number of eligible children at a regional level due to the relatively small sample population within sub-national geographies in the data that the Department holds.

The release shows that 34,764 3 to 4 year olds in the West Midlands benefited from extended hours in January 2019, an increase from 31,610 in January 2018. The national figures show that 328,127 3 to 4 year olds across England benefited from extended hours in January 2019, compared to 296,924 in January 2018.

The release is available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/education-provision-children-under-5-years-of-age-january-2019.

28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the number of places in (a) secondary and (b) primary schools in Sutton Coldfield after 2022.

The statutory duty to provide sufficient school places sits with local authorities. The Department provides basic need funding for every place that local authorities forecast is needed. Local authorities can use this funding to provide places in new schools or through expansions of existing schools, and can work with any school in their local area, including academies and free schools.

The Department does not collect information at Parliamentary constituency level, only at local authority and at sub-local authority planning area level. Birmingham has been allocated £294.7 million to provide new school places from 2011-2021, and there are now 30,872 more places than there were in 2010.

The next set of basic need allocations, for places needed in September 2022, will be announced in spring 2020.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support research on (a) the effect of climate change on nature and (b) the carbon capture potential of woodland; and if he will hold discussions with the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research on the implications for his policies of research on carried out in the northern hemisphere’s largest Free-Air CO2 Enrichment facility.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave on 19 January 2022 to PQ 101646 and PQ 101647.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support research on (a) the effect of climate change on nature and (b) the carbon capture potential of woodland; and if he will hold discussions with the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research on the implications for his policies of research on the rate of photosynthesis in mature woodland exposed to artificially raised levels of CO2.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave on 19 January 2022 to PQ 101646 and PQ 101647.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support research on (a) the effect of climate change on nature and (b) the carbon capture potential of woodland; and if he will hold discussions with the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research on the implications for his policies of research carried out in the northern hemisphere’s largest free-air CO2 enrichment facility.

The environment is facing unprecedented challenges, including climate change, and we recognise the importance of building resilience to these challenges. Climate change increases risks such as from pests, diseases and wildfires, and is likely to influence long term changes to habitat conditions. We are working to ensure that climate risks are embedded and addressed across government policy, including in our approach to nature protection and restoration, culminating in our third National Adaptation Programme due for publication in early 2023.

Defra funds relevant research through their Public Sector Research Establishments (PSREs) including Forest Research (an Agency of the Forestry Commission) and Natural England, as well as engageing with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in identifying themes for research council spend, such as the current TreeScapes programme. We are also directly funding 3 projects this financial year (2021/22):

  • Model Development for Carbon in Trees Outside Woodlands
  • Aboveground Carbon in Natural Colonisation Woodland Sites
  • Natural Woodland Colonisation and Soil Carbon

Furthermore, Defra is also overseeing a large Nature Based Solutions project designed to research and monitor the potential for diverse habitats to sequester carbon which is being led by Natural England.

Defra are supporting the work of the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) via Forest Research (FR) who are a project collaborator. We will consider opportunities for increased collaboration between FR, BiFor and Defra - including to discuss policy implications of the work BiFor are doing.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will hold discussions with the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research on the implications for his policies of research on the rate of photosynthesis in mature woodland exposed to artificially raised levels of CO2.

There is already good engagement between BiFoR and my Department via Forest Research (an Agency of Defra), through BiFOR chairmanship of The Trees and Woodlands Scientific Advisory Group (TAW-SAG) and links with the Plant Health Policy Team. We recognise that there are opportunities for closer cooperation between BiFor, FR and Defra and we will consider how best to achieve that, including opportunities to discuss policy implications of the work BiFor are doing.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to increase the use of biodegradable plastic which can naturally biodegrade.

While biodegradable materials may be seen as a solution to reduce the impact of waste, they can also be more environmentally damaging than non-biodegradable materials if disposed of incorrectly. The Government is also concerned that, in the absence of robust standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic-based products cannot be verified.

In order to consider impacts carefully, Defra and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published a call for evidence to help us consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics, and to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. We are currently analysing responses to the call for evidence with a view to publication of a government response shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the recycling rates in Birmingham in 2019-20.

Recycling rates for 2019/20 for local authorities in England are not yet available. Reporting of waste and recycling data for local authorities in England for the year 2019/20 was delayed due to Covid-19.

Recycling rates for 2019/20 will be published on 3 March 2021 (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/announcements/local-authority-collected-waste-management-for-england-for-201920)

The most recent publication of waste statistics shows that the recycling rate for Birmingham in 2018/19 was 22.0%

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to reduce the amount of plastic pollution in public parks.

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. We are making great strides to tackle plastic pollution. In December 2018 we published the Resources and Waste Strategy, which sets out how we want to achieve this and move towards a circular economy. We know more needs to be done, and for the most problematic plastics we are going faster, which is why we have committed to work towards all plastic packaging on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

We have made significant progress, by introducing one of the world’s toughest bans on microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and have significantly reduced the use of single-use carrier bags by the main supermarket retailers by 95% with our 5p charge. We have announced our plans to increase the minimum charge to 10p and to extend the charge to all retailers later this year. In October 2020, we introduced measures to restrict the supply of plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. We will continue to review the latest evidence on problematic products and/ or materials to take a systematic approach to reducing the use of unnecessary single-use plastic products, including problematic packaging materials.

As the hon. Member will be aware, it is an offence to drop litter (including in public parks), and councils have legal powers to take enforcement action against offenders. Anyone caught littering may be prosecuted in a magistrates’ court, which can lead to a criminal record and a fine of up to £2,500 on conviction.

Instead of prosecuting, councils may decide to issue a fixed penalty (on-the-spot fine) of between £65 and £150.

With regards to improving enforcement, we are seeking powers in the Environment Bill to ensure that enforcement powers are used with a high degree of professionalism, whether by council staff or private contractors, and to place our improved enforcement guidance on a firm statutory footing, giving those to which it applies a clear and explicit duty to have regard to it when exercising their enforcement functions.

We also continue to campaign to raise awareness of littering issues in public spaces. Last summer, in response to Covid-19, Defra developed a ‘Respect the Outdoors’ campaign to encourage people to follow the Countryside Code and to highlight the impacts of littering. This was promoted both online and in locations across the country near to urban parks, beaches and national parks. We also supported, and provided funding for, Keep Britain Tidy’s Love Parks campaign, which encouraged people to treat our parks with respect.

Preliminary evaluation of these campaigns indicated that they had a positive influence on the target audience’s intended disposal of PPE litter, with anecdotal reports from local authorities that the intervention resulted in a markedly beneficial outcome.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Zoo Animals Fund in supporting zoos and aquaria during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise this has been an extremely tough time for the sector and would like to assure zoos that we remain committed to ensuring the sector can deliver the best possible care for its animals. We have extended the application deadline for the Zoo Animals Fund from 29 January 2021 to 26 February 2021, and the fund provides support up until the end of March 2021. The Zoo Animals Fund is an envelope of funding which to provides for zoos which, due to a coronavirus-related drop in income are experiencing severe financial difficulties and need support in caring for their animals. The focus of the fund is on the welfare of zoo animals and if zoos are downsizing or rehoming their collections, including if they are closing, then the fund can also provide support for this to ensure the animals' welfare. The fund has been a lifeline for many zoos and has been accessible to all zoos which need funds to care for their animals, as evidenced by the success of small, medium and large zoos in securing grant funding. We stand ready to process applications and encourage any zoo in need to apply.

Beyond the Zoo Animals Fund, the Government has provided a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support businesses, including zoos, through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19 and we encourage zoos to explore these. Zoos are eligible to apply for a range of support schemes including the Job Retention Scheme, VAT deferral, Business Rates Relief, the Business Interruption Loan, the option to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay and grant funding.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage the development and wider use of non-chemical pesticides in order to protect pollinators.

Our strict regulation applies to both chemical and non-chemical pesticides, as it cannot be assumed that non-chemical pesticide are inherently safer.

Defra and the Devolved Administrations are currently consulting on the revised National Action Plan for Sustainable Use of Pesticides (the NAP). The NAP lays out how we intend to support the uptake of integrated pest management (IPM) to reduce the risks associated with pesticides use, including those to pollinators.

The NAP supports the development of alternatives to chemical pesticides, with the aim of reducing impact on non-target species. Our proposed plan will increase uptake of non-chemical approaches by improving advice and skills sharing, and providing financial support through the new Environmental Land Management Scheme.

In England, we are working to ensure that these actions support and align with our wider priorities for protecting pollinators through the National Pollinator Strategy.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2020 to Question 72166 on Animal Products: Imports, what steps he is taking to include lions in the definition of endangered species.

The Government takes the conservation of endangered species seriously and is committed to doing all we can to support wildlife and the environment, both in the UK and internationally.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is internationally recognised for its work in identifying the conservation status of species, known as the “Red List”. The IUCN currently classifies lions as ‘Vulnerable’. For the extinction risk of lions to be increased to ‘Endangered’ the species must meet several additional classification criteria.

The Government works with other countries, and through international conventions, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, to further the conservation of vulnerable species such as lions based on the latest available evidence.

The Government also supported the establishment of the Big Cats Task Force at the 18th CITES Conference of the Parties last year, which aims to bolster international cooperation against illegal trade in big cat specimens.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2020 to Question 72166 on Animal Products: Imports, when he plans to make a decision on the import of trophy-hunted animals and animal parts.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow on 19 May 2020, PQ UIN 46697, which remains the current situation.

[www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-05-13/46697]

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to ban the import of trophy-hunted animals and if he will list which animals will be banned.

The Government is committed to doing all we can to support wildlife and the environment, both in the UK and internationally, including by delivering on our manifesto commitment to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered species.

Our consultation on controls on the import and export of hunting trophies, which closed in February 2020, provided an opportunity for respondents to provide views on which species they considered needed further restrictions. No decisions have been made yet as the pace of this work was impacted by the Government’s need to focus on addressing the urgent issue of COVID 19. We will publish the summary of responses to the consultation and call for evidence in due course. The outcome will inform our next steps.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the proposed ban on the import of animal parts as trophies will include lions.

The Government is committed to doing all we can to support wildlife and the environment, both in the UK and internationally, including by delivering on our manifesto commitment to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered species.

Our consultation on controls on the import and export of hunting trophies, which closed in February 2020, provided an opportunity for respondents to provide views on which species they considered needed further restrictions. No decisions have been made yet as the pace of this work was impacted by the Government’s need to focus on addressing the urgent issue of COVID 19. We will publish the summary of responses to the consultation and call for evidence in due course. The outcome will inform our next steps.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase the number of trees planted in (a) the West Midlands and (b) England.

To drive an unprecedented step-change in planting and reach net zero, the Government is investing in tree planting in England through the recently announced £640 million Nature for Climate Fund. This supports our commitment to increase planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares of trees per year by 2025.

The Government supports woodland creation through grants and incentives. These include the recently launched Woodland Carbon Guarantee, in addition to the existing Countryside Stewardship, Woodland Carbon Fund, Woodland Creation Planning Grant and the Urban Tree Challenge Fund. These grants are available to local authorities, land managers and community-led organisations across England, including those in the West Midlands.

While we do not set specific targets for individual constituencies, we are working hard to increase the uptake of grant schemes across England, and strongly encourage eligible organisations to take advantage of this support.

The Government continues to consider ways to further incentivise land managers and owners to plant more trees. Later this spring we will be consulting on the English Tree Strategy, to gather information to help us design policy to best increase planting.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase biodiversity in the Midlands.

Across England, the Government is investing in protected sites, restoring wildlife-rich habitats and supporting species recovery.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) provide legal protection for our most important wildlife and natural features in England. There are over 4000 SSSIs in England, covering around 7% of the land area in England. The East and West Midlands are home to some of the finest, with 848 of these sites covering an area of 190,205 hectares.

The Government also provides substantial public funding for managing protected sites and restoring wildlife habitats, spending £2.9 biilion on agri-environment schemes in England through our seven-year Rural Development Programme. Schemes are tailored to the specific biodiversity interests in the Midlands through our local targeting statements[1].

The Government supports species recovery through its agri-environment schemes and partnership projects. Natural England is working with conservation organisations and landowners on the Back from the Brink programme, a £7.7 million partnership funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and others to put over 100 priority species on the road to recovery. Two Back from the Brink projects are in the Midlands, both led by Butterfly Conservation. The Limestone’s Living Legacies project is restoring a network of limestone grassland sites across the Cotswolds. A second project in Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire, is restoring and managing woodland to aid the local recovery of vulnerable species and the reintroduction of the Chequered Skipper, which last year become the first previously extinct butterfly to have bred successfully in an English woodland for more than 40 years.

Our Bees’ Needs Champions Awards has recognised a number of councils and community groups from across the Midlands for their own exemplary work to support pollinators.

Our 25 Year Environment Plan marked a step-change in ambition for the natural environment and we are determined to build on these successes.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/countryside-stewardship-statements-of-priorities

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)