Barry Sheerman Portrait

Barry Sheerman

Labour (Co-op) - Huddersfield

First elected: 3rd May 1979


Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
11th May 2020 - 16th Jan 2021
Children, Schools and Families
9th Nov 2007 - 6th May 2010
Liaison Committee (Commons)
21st Dec 1999 - 6th May 2010
Children, Schools and Families
12th Nov 2007 - 6th May 2010
Education & Skills
16th Jul 2001 - 5th Nov 2007
Education Sub-committee
30th Nov 1999 - 11th May 2001
Education Sub-committee
1st Dec 1999 - 11th May 2001
Shadow Spokesperson (Disabled Peoples' Rights)
1st Jun 1992 - 1st Jun 1994
Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)
1st Jun 1988 - 1st Jun 1992
Shadow Spokesperson (Education and Employment)
1st Jun 1983 - 1st Jun 1988
Public Accounts Committee
14th Apr 1981 - 8th Dec 1983


Oral Question
Tuesday 27th February 2024
11:30
Department for Energy Security & Net Zero
Oral Question No. 9
If she will meet representatives of Adfree Cities to discuss high carbon advertising.
Save to Calendar
Oral Question
Wednesday 28th February 2024
11:30
Northern Ireland Office
Oral Question No. 2
What steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help improve air and water quality in Northern Ireland.
Save to Calendar
Oral Question
Thursday 29th February 2024
09:30
Cabinet Office
Topical Question No. 1
If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
Save to Calendar
Oral Question
Thursday 29th February 2024
09:30
Cabinet Office
Oral Question No. 12
Whether he is taking steps with Cabinet colleagues to monitor the effectiveness of the work undertaken by each department on helping to achieve the Government's net zero targets.
Save to Calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Ceasefire in Gaza
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 173 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 20 Noes - 212
Speeches
Thursday 22nd February 2024
Oral Answers to Questions
Some Members of the House will know that I had a death threat. A gentleman was arrested and went into …
Written Answers
Monday 12th February 2024
Education: Autism
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report entitled Outcomes of the review of the …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 16th May 2023
Access to justice and challenges to parking fines
That this House notes the importance of private car park provision in urban areas; is aware of the need for …
Bills
Wednesday 1st March 2023
Air Pollution (Local Authority Audits) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to make provision for local authorities to conduct annual audits of air pollution in their area and associated …
MP Financial Interests
Tuesday 2nd May 2023
8. Miscellaneous
From 25 April 2023, Trustee of the Future Justice Project, a registered charity set up to support the sound administration …
EDM signed
Thursday 22nd June 2023
Children’s Hospice Week 2023
That this House celebrates Children’s Hospice Week 2023 between 19 and 25 June; recognises that children’s hospices across the UK …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 17th January 2024
Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to establish the right to breathe clean air; to require the Secretary of State to achieve and maintain …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Barry Sheerman has voted in 500 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Barry Sheerman 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)
(48 debate interactions)
Penny Mordaunt (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(43 debate interactions)
Mark Spencer (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(36 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(67 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(51 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(49 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Barry Sheerman's debates

Huddersfield 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

Enact legislation to protect retail workers. This legislation must create a specific offence of abusing, threatening or assaulting a retail worker. The offence must carry a penalty that acts as a deterrent and makes clear that abuse of retail workers is unacceptable.


Latest EDMs signed by Barry Sheerman

19th June 2023
Barry Sheerman signed this EDM on Thursday 22nd June 2023

Children’s Hospice Week 2023

Tabled by: Siobhain McDonagh (Labour - Mitcham and Morden)
That this House celebrates Children’s Hospice Week 2023 between 19 and 25 June; recognises that children’s hospices across the UK support thousands of seriously ill babies, children and young people; is concerned by Together for Short Lives’s recent findings that local NHS funding for children’s hospices in England is currently …
18 signatures
(Most recent: 25 Oct 2023)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 11
Scottish National Party: 2
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
15th November 2022
Barry Sheerman signed this EDM on Tuesday 20th June 2023

Royal Commission on Prisons and the Wider Criminal Justice System

Tabled by: Gordon Henderson (Conservative - Sittingbourne and Sheppey)
That this House notes the Government's manifesto commitment to hold a Royal Commission on the Criminal Justice Process, a pledge included in the 2019 Gracious Address; believes that such an initiative is needed now more than ever, with widespread concern over many elements of the criminal justice system; further believes …
31 signatures
(Most recent: 20 Jun 2023)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 21
Independent: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Conservative: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Barry Sheerman's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Barry Sheerman, 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.


Barry Sheerman has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Barry Sheerman has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

9 Bills introduced by Barry Sheerman


A Bill to set standards as to the emissions particulate sensing technology to be used in roadworthiness tests for diesel vehicles; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to make provision for local authorities to conduct annual audits of air pollution in their area and associated emissions by public and private entities; to require those local authorities to prepare reports on those audits; to require the Secretary of State to report annually to Parliament on those audit reports; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to set limits on the use of toxic chemicals in the manufacture of tyres; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 22nd February 2023

A Bill to make the offence of driving or riding in a motor vehicle on a road without a seat belt an endorsable offence; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 31st January 2023

A Bill to set standards as to the emissions particulate sensing technology to be used in roadworthiness tests for diesel vehicles; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 15th November 2022

A Bill to amend the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 to allow leave to appeal an unspent conviction where there has been a material change in the law, notwithstanding the date of conviction; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 6th September 2022
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision for local authorities to conduct annual audits of air pollution in their area and associated emissions by public and private entities; to require those local authorities to prepare reports on those audits; to require the Secretary of State to report annually to Parliament on those audit reports; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 1st March 2023

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 25th March 2015

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 introduce a requirement that a functioning carbon monoxide detector must be installed in residential properties; and for connected purposes

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Thursday 3rd November 2011

1375 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
20 Other Department Questions
27th Apr 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of trends in the level of sexual harassment in workplaces in England in the last 12 months.

The Equality Hub does not actively collect data on the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace in England. External data collection and media reports have shown that sexual harassment remains a persistent, prevalent problem across the country, and particularly in our workplaces. In 2021 a poll by the TUC found that around 7 in 10 disabled women surveyed had been sexually harassed at work, for example.

The Government is committed to tackling sexual harassment in the workplace, to make sure that people feel safe and supported to thrive. In July 2021, as part of our strategy to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls, the Government committed to a new package of measures. This includes supporting the Equality and Human Rights Commission to develop a statutory Code of Practice, preparing our own practical guidance for employers, as well as two legislative commitments to strengthen protections for those affected by harassment at work.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with the BBC Board on the adequacy of pay transparency at the BBC.

Licence fee payers deserve to know how their money is being spent, which is why the Government introduced requirements for the BBC to disclose staff salaries in the current Charter.

We expect the BBC to be held to the highest standards on transparency.

The Government has regular meetings with BBC leadership on a range of issues. Ultimately the amount the BBC pays its staff is a matter for the BBC.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
20th Apr 2022
What assessment he has made of the effect of the announcements in the Spring Statement 2022 on prospects for meeting COP26 objectives.

Since March 2021, through the 2021 Budget and Spending Review, the Government will have committed a total of £30 billion of domestic investment for the green industrial revolution.

And my Right Honourable Friend, the Chancellor built on this in his recent Spring Statement by setting out measures for exemptions on business rates for green technology, a 100% relief on low-carbon heat networks and extending VAT relief from 5% to 0% on the installation of energy saving materials.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what steps is he taking to ensure COP26 commitments are upheld by signatories.

At COP26, almost 200 countries agreed to the historic Glasgow Climate Pact which keeps alive the aim of limiting average global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Today, 90% of global GDP is covered by net zero pledges, up from 30% when the UK took on the COP Presidency, and 154 countries have submitted emissions reductions targets for 2030. Under the UK’s Presidency, 95% of the largest developed country climate finance providers made new commitments, with many doubling or even quadrupling their support for developing countries to take climate action.

The Paris Agreement made promises and now Glasgow’s legacy is focused on delivery. We will work closely with Egypt and the UAE, as incoming COP27 and COP28 Presidencies, with Germany and Indonesia, respectively G7 and G20 Presidencies, with the UNFCCC and other international organisations, to ensure commitments and agreements made at COP26 are built upon and delivered. We will use the full calendar of international events in 2022 to progress this work.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Right hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, what steps the Sponsor Body is taking to help ensure that the construction of the Holocaust Memorial Centre is conducted sustainably.

The scope of the Restoration and Renewal Programme does not include the construction of the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre. The UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre is a matter for the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Representatives from the R&R Programme have held preliminary discussions with representatives working on the Memorial and Learning Centre to discuss potential efficiencies in using the River Thames for both construction projects. We intend to continue these discussions once the planning process for the Memorial and Learning Centre is concluded.

The R&R Programme is currently in the design phase and, under the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019, no restoration works other than preparatory works (such as initial design works and surveys) can be carried out at this juncture.

Mark Tami
Opposition Pairing Whip (Commons)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Right hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, what assessment the Sponsor Body has made of the potential impact of the Restoration and Renewal of the Parliamentary Estate on levels of air pollution.

The Restoration and Renewal Programme is committed to sustainability and to meeting its environmental obligations. Under the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal Act) 2019, the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body has a statutory duty to have regard to the need to protect the environment and to contribute to achieiving sustainable development in exercising its functions.

The Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority had been working on developing a detailed and costed plan for the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster. This would have included an environmental assessment on both the construction phase and operations of the restored buildings, including considering the impact on air pollution and steps to mitigate road traffic pollution. The work on developing a detailed and costed plan is currently paused following the decisions made by the two House Commissions in February.

Despite the broader uncertainty about the future of the programme, the Delivery Authority is planning to conduct an Air Quality Survey to set a site-specific air quality baseline. This will allow site-specific assessments to be completed in the future. The Delivery Authority is also continuing to review opportunities to make use of the River Thames during construction to reduce environmental and traffic impacts on the surrounding area and road networks.

Mark Tami
Opposition Pairing Whip (Commons)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Right hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, what discussions the Sponsor Body has had with (a) experts and (b) industry leaders in (i) haulage and (ii) construction to ensure that the River Thames is effectively utilised during the restoration and renewal of the parliamentary estate.

The Restoration and Renewal Programme is committed to sustainability and to meeting its environmental obligations. Under the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019, the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body has a statutory duty to have regard to the need to protect the environment and to contribute to achieving sustainable development in exercising its functions.

The Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority had been working on developing a detailed and costed plan for the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster. As part of this, the Delivery Authority was reviewing opportunities to make use of the River Thames during construction to reduce environmental and traffic impacts on the surrounding area and road networks. This included preliminary discussions with some of the relevant stakeholders, such as the Port of Tilbury and Tideway.

The work on developing a detailed and costed plan is currently paused following the decisions made by the two House Commissions in February.

The scope of the Restoration and Renewal Programme does not include the construction of the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre and the Sponsor Body has therefore not made an assessment of the potential merits of transporting construction materials and debris via the River Thames during the construction of the Memorial and Learning Centre. The UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre is a matter for the Secretary of State of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Representatives from the Programme have held preliminary discussions with representatives working on the Memorial and Learning Centre to discuss potential efficiencies in using the River Thames for both construction projects. We intend to continue these discussions once the planning process for the Memorial and Learning Centre is concluded.

Mark Tami
Opposition Pairing Whip (Commons)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Right hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, what assessment the Sponsor Body has made of the potential merits of transporting construction materials and debris via the River Thames during the (a) construction of the Holocaust Memorial Centre and (b) restoration and renewal of the parliamentary estate.

The Restoration and Renewal Programme is committed to sustainability and to meeting its environmental obligations. Under the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019, the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body has a statutory duty to have regard to the need to protect the environment and to contribute to achieving sustainable development in exercising its functions.

The Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority had been working on developing a detailed and costed plan for the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster. As part of this, the Delivery Authority was reviewing opportunities to make use of the River Thames during construction to reduce environmental and traffic impacts on the surrounding area and road networks. This included preliminary discussions with some of the relevant stakeholders, such as the Port of Tilbury and Tideway.

The work on developing a detailed and costed plan is currently paused following the decisions made by the two House Commissions in February.

The scope of the Restoration and Renewal Programme does not include the construction of the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre and the Sponsor Body has therefore not made an assessment of the potential merits of transporting construction materials and debris via the River Thames during the construction of the Memorial and Learning Centre. The UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre is a matter for the Secretary of State of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Representatives from the Programme have held preliminary discussions with representatives working on the Memorial and Learning Centre to discuss potential efficiencies in using the River Thames for both construction projects. We intend to continue these discussions once the planning process for the Memorial and Learning Centre is concluded.

Mark Tami
Opposition Pairing Whip (Commons)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of grassroots sustainability initiatives in towns, cities, and communities as a way of empowering individuals to tackle climate change.

All those who make and shape our economies and societies have a vital role to play in the implementation of the Paris Agreement. At COP26, the voice of youth and civil society was loud and clear. We saw nearly 8,000 non-state actors committed to halving global emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest through the UN-backed global campaign Race to Zero – the largest ever such coalition.

The Glasgow Climate Pact emphasises the importance of collaboration across all parts of society to deliver effective climate action. And we were pleased that Parties were able to agree the 10-year Glasgow Work Programme on Action for Climate Empowerment, which will enhance youth engagement, climate education and public participation in climate action in the years ahead, and the new 3-year work programme on local communities and Indigenous Peoples, alongside other important steps.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking to implement the Glasgow Agreement at a grassroots level.

The historic Glasgow Climate Pact acknowledges the vital role that indigenous peoples, local communities and civil society play in driving climate action, and emphasises the importance of collaboration across all parts of society to deliver effective climate action.

We will use our Presidency year to ensure that the commitments from COP26 are delivered and that we build on our progress in Glasgow, including through the 10-year Glasgow Work Programme on Action for Climate Empowerment, and the new 3-year work programme on local communities and Indigenous Peoples. COP26 advisory groups will continue to lend their voices to this endeavour, offering their expertise, insights, and experiences.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the President of COP26, how many discussions he has had with foreign delegations since the closing of the COP26 summit to encourage signatories to implement the Glasgow Climate Pact in full.

Since the COP26 summit, I have written to over 40 governments and have spoken to or met ministers from 19 countries, and continue to meet others. In these conversations, I have been thanking countries for their role in securing the Glasgow Climate Pact and encouraging them to implement its commitments as well as discussing how we work together to encourage all countries to deliver on the commitments made.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he plans to take help encourage signatories of the Glasgow Pact to implement domestic climate change mitigation policies.

We will continue to demonstrate strong UK leadership over our Presidency year, working with our COP26 partners Italy, the incoming COP Presidency Egypt, the Chairs of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies, the UNFCCC Secretariat, parties and civil society partners to build on the momentum and high ambition from COP26 to ensure that countries deliver on their commitments.

The Paris Rulebook, for how the Paris Agreement is delivered, was also completed at COP26. This will allow for the full delivery of the landmark accord, after agreement on a transparency process which will hold countries to account as they deliver on their targets.

The Glasgow Climate Pact requests Parties to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their nationally determined contributions as necessary to align with the Paris Agreement temperature goal by the end of 2022, taking into account different national circumstances. ​​We will continue to use the year of our COP26 Presidency to keep up the pressure to deliver on the commitments made, and urge parties to go further and faster on delivering on climate change.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the urgency of taking steps to tackle air pollution on public health; what steps he will take at COP26 to ensure that any agreement includes a roadmap to improve air quality; and if he will make reference to the inalienable right to breathe clean air in any agreement.

Carbon emission reduction policies do, in fact, have the potential to improve air quality; rapidly moving away from coal towards renewable energy will provide cleaner air and better health outcomes for all citizens. As set out in the Net Zero Strategy, the UK will pursue decarbonisation options that leave the environment in a better state for the next generation by improving air quality, minimising adverse impacts on human health. The UK is continuing to take urgent action to curb the impact air pollution has on our citizens and communities, including through our landmark Environment Bill and Clean Air Strategy.

27th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what priority reductions in air pollution levels have in the Government's COP26 negotiating platform.

Carbon emission reduction policies do, in fact, have the potential to improve air quality; rapidly moving away from coal towards renewable energy will provide cleaner air and better health outcomes for all citizens. As set out in the Net Zero Strategy, the UK will pursue decarbonisation options that leave the environment in a better state for the next generation by improving air quality, minimising adverse impacts on human health. The UK is continuing to take urgent action to curb the impact air pollution has on our citizens and communities, including through our landmark Environment Bill and Clean Air Strategy.

27th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking to help ensure that countries commit to reductions in air pollution at COP26.

Carbon emission reduction policies do, in fact, have the potential to improve air quality; rapidly moving away from coal towards renewable energy will provide cleaner air and better health outcomes for all citizens. As set out in the Net Zero Strategy, the UK will pursue decarbonisation options that leave the environment in a better state for the next generation by improving air quality, minimising adverse impacts on human health. The UK is continuing to take urgent action to curb the impact air pollution has on our citizens and communities, including through our landmark Environment Bill and Clean Air Strategy.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace.

Under the Equality Act 2010 employers have a legal responsibility to take all reasonable steps to protect their employees against workplace sexual harassment. The Government expects employers to take these responsibilities seriously. If they fail, employees can seek advice from Acas and, if necessary, take legal action in an Employment Tribunal.

Last year the Equality and Human Rights Commission, with the Government’s support, published guidance on harassment and sexual harassment at work.

In addition, the Government has consulted on sexual harassment in the workplace, focusing on whether the laws to protect people from harassment at work are operating effectively. We will be setting out the Government’s response to this shortly.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
10th Dec 2020
To ask the right hon. Member for East Hampshire, representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, what discussions he has had with (a) Ministers and the (b) House of Commons Commission on the effect of the parliamentary restoration and renewal project on congestion in London.

The Restoration and Renewal Programme is currently creating its business case. Part of this work, once the preferred option has been agreed, will be an environmental assessment on both the construction phase and operations of the restored buildings, where impacts will be assessed and mitigations proposed. To date, no specific conversations have been held on congestion, as the business case work is still in its early stages. The Programme is committed to sustainability and to meeting its environmental obligations.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps he is taking to ensure the accuracy of guidance issue to people planning weddings to (a) protect the finances of those people and minimise disruption to weddings.

Weddings are permitted in places of worship, providing certain public health criteria are met, including an advised maximum number of 30 people in attendance.

Up to date guidance for clergy on weddings and COVID-19 is provided on the Church of England website at: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-08/COVID%2019%20advice%20for%20Clergy%20Conducting%20Weddings%20v5.1.pdf

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
19th May 2020
To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the Commissioners' timetable is for churches to reopen for baptisms, weddings and funerals following the covid-19 outbreak.

The Church Commissioners do not have responsibility for setting a timetable for the reopening of church buildings for funeral services. Baptisms and weddings cannot at present be celebrated inside church buildings, and the relevant Cabinet Office and MHCLG guidance can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance#contents

Current guidance from the House of Bishops is not to conduct funeral services in church buildings because of widely expressed concerns about parishes having capacity to conduct such funerals safely, including being able to clean churches thoroughly between services to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. This is guidance, not instruction. We are acutely aware of the anguish of those not able to celebrate significant life events such as baptisms, weddings and funerals in their parish church in the current circumstances. The House of Bishops meets regularly to review its guidance which will be updated in line with changing circumstances, and published on the Church of England website.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the Crown Prosecution Services threshold for deciding whether to prosecute road death offences.

The threshold for deciding whether to prosecute offences relating to fatal road traffic collisions in Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) cases is the same threshold that is used for all offences.

The CPS, in making decisions on whether or not a case should be prosecuted, will always apply the two-stage test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors (the Code).

The Code is issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) under section 10 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 and gives guidance to prosecutors on the general principles to be applied when making decisions about prosecutions. It has been the subject of frequent reviews and public consultations, most recently in 2018, when the eighth edition was published.

The first stage of the two-stage test for prosecution (the evidential stage) requires the prosecutor to be satisfied that there is a realistic prospect of conviction on the evidence. The second stage (the public interest stage) requires the prosecutor to be satisfied that the prosecution is in the public interest. The case will not proceed unless both stages of the test are met.

The CPS guidance on Road Traffic - Charging assists prosecutors in charging cases involving fatal road traffic collisions. It outlines the charging standards and factors for consideration when prosecution decisions are taken.

In order to ensure consistency of approach, charging decisions in all fatal collision cases are required to be approved by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP), a Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor (DCCP), or a senior decision-maker nominated for the role by the CCP or DCCP.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what steps the Crown Prosecution Service takes when deciding to prosecute defendants of road death offences.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), in making its decision on whether or not a case should be prosecuted, will always apply the two-stage test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors (the Code).

The Code is issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) under section 10 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. The Code gives guidance to prosecutors on the general principles to be applied when making decisions about prosecutions.

The first stage (the evidential stage) requires the prosecutor to be satisfied that there is a realistic prospect of conviction on the evidence. The second stage (the public interest stage) requires the prosecutor to be satisfied that the prosecution is in the public interest. The case will not proceed unless both stages of the test are met.

The CPS provides legal guidance to assist prosecutors in charging cases involving fatal road traffic collisions. It outlines the charging standards and factors for consideration when prosecution decisions are taken.

In order to ensure consistency of approach, charging decisions in all fatal collision cases are required to be approved by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP), a Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor (DCCP), or a senior decision-maker nominated for the role by the CCP or DCCP.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 23 May 2022 to Question 5345 on Criminal Liability, for what reason the CPS does not maintain a central record of any defence employed by defendants in criminal proceedings.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) collects data to assist in the effective management of its prosecution functions. This data is derived from structured data fields completed on individual case records held in the Case Management Information System (CMS) and reported in the Management Information System (MIS).

Any information recorded in the CMS about the defence(s) employed by defendants would be added as ‘freetext’ which cannot be centrally collated in the MIS and would only be obtainable by manually reviewing CPS case records. Defences employed are by their nature specific to the circumstances of each individual case, so collecting related data would provide little benefit as CPS operational management information.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Attorney General, whether she is taking steps to improve access to justice for victims of death by driving offenders.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) recognise that deaths caused by driving offences are particularly tragic cases and ensuring that the victim’s family is appropriately informed and supported in the aftermath is incredibly important.

Crown Prosecutors must always adhere to the two-stage test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors when making charging decisions in any case. This means first objectively assessing whether the evidential threshold is met, and if this aspect of the test is satisfied, going on to consider whether a prosecution is required in the public interest.

The CPS operates a Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) Scheme which enables close relatives of a person whose death was directly caused by criminal conduct to seek a review of a CPS decision not to bring a prosecution, or to discontinue a case. This scheme has been designed to be as accessible as possible, with no obligation on a victim’s family to make specific representations relating to the CPS decision, it is sufficient to simply ask that the decision be reviewed.

The CPS also has specific guidance and practices which deliver an enhanced standard of service to bereaved families, in recognition of the particularly difficult nature of these cases. This will include offering a meeting with the victim’s family to explain any CPS decision not to charge, and at various other stages of a case.

Improving the experience of victims of crime is a priority for the CPS and last year it commissioned independent research to better understand what victims want and need; and to identify areas for improvement. On the 27 June, the CPS published its response to the research findings, setting out four key areas of action which will form the basis of a long-term programme of work to improve how it engages with victims.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment she has made of adequacy of recourses for the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute defendants of road death offences.

The CPS does not have dedicated teams that deal with road death cases. However, these cases are always dealt with carefully and sensitively by prosecutors who have the skills and experience to apply the relevant law and CPS policies.

Crown Prosecutors must always adhere to the two-stage test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors when making charging decisions in any case. This means first objectively assessing whether the evidential threshold is met, and if this aspect of the test is satisfied, going on to consider whether a prosecution is required in the public interest.

In addition, CPS guidance on Road Traffic - Charging assists prosecutors in charging cases involving fatal road traffic collisions. It outlines the charging standards and factors for consideration when prosecution decisions are taken.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
24th May 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what proportion of criminal cases have been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service where automatism has been used as a defence in each of the last three years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not maintain a central record of any defence employed by defendants in criminal proceedings. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Attorney General, with reference to CPS data summary Quarter 4 2019-2020, what recent assessment he has made of the reasons for the decline in rape prosecutions.

Over the last financial year 2019-20 the charging rate increased by over 10% and there was a 6.2% rise in the volume of rape cases proceeding to prosecution following a decision to charge. Although this is a promising trend which the CPS is seeking to maintain, there is clearly more to be done.

The reasons behind the recent declines in prosecutions are complex and a whole system approach is necessary to address them. There is ongoing work to improve the handling of these sensitive cases and narrow the disparity between offences reported and cases going to court.

In July the CPS published its own rape strategy, the first of its kind for any department. There is also an ongoing cross-Government review of the criminal justice response to rape. This is examining evidence across the system about the causes of the falls in outcomes for rape and identifying solutions to reverse the trend. The CPS is actively engaged in this review and will address any issues raised honestly and openly.

10th Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment he has made of the effect of restraining orders on the career prospects of defendants who have been acquitted.

Restraining orders are civil orders under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, though they may be issued in criminal proceedings. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has not made any assessment of the effect of restraining orders on the career prospects of defendants who have been acquitted. The AGO is not responsible for policy related to assessing the impact of restraining orders, nor is it responsible for the relevant legislation.

10th Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, if he will commission an inquiry into the adequacy of support services for families of victims of dangerous driving during prosecutions for that offence.

Supporting victims and witnesses throughout the criminal justice system is a key priority for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). In cases where death has been caused by dangerous driving the CPS offers an enhanced service to bereaved families, meeting with them at crucial stages of the criminal justice process to explain the anticipated progress of the case and what is to be expected at each court hearing. The CPS commitment to bereaved families is incorporated in the Victims’ Code.

Where a victim or a bereaved family, in a dangerous driving case, is not satisfied with a decision by the CPS not to charge they can seek a review under the CPS Victims Right to Review Scheme. This scheme allows for an independent review of such decisions, which can confirm or overturn them. Bereaved families will be offered a meeting at the end of the review process to discuss the outcome.

The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (Victims’ Code) outlines the services victims are entitled to receive, including updates on the progress of their case during an investigation or prosecution. The Government will be consulting shortly on changes to the Victims’ Code, in line with the commitment in its cross-government Victims Strategy.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment the Government has made of the effect of appeal and review processes for dangerous driving cases on access to justice for victims and their families.

The Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) scheme was launched in June 2013 and provides victims with the opportunity to request a review of a Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decision not to proceed with a prosecution. This can include cases where charges of death by dangerous driving have been considered.

Access to the scheme has been deliberately designed to be as simple and transparent as possible. No reasons or justification for requesting a review are required. A simple request from the victim that they wish for the decision to be reviewed is all that is required. The VRR scheme has been endorsed by the courts and published guidance is available online.

If the reviewing lawyer decides that the original decision was wrong, and a prosecution is required to maintain confidence in the Criminal Justice System, that decision will be overturned and proceedings reinstituted, where possible. All decision making is taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. Following a review under the VRR scheme, if a victim remains dissatisfied with the decision and wishes to challenge it further, they can apply to the High Court for a judicial review.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, if he will undertake a review of the decision by the CPS not to prosecute the driver responsible for the death of 15-year-old school girl Katelyn Dawson.

This is indeed a tragic case and I offer my sincere condolences to Katelyn Dawson’s family and friends. This case has been reviewed multiple times, culminating in an independent review by senior external Counsel which found that the case should not be prosecuted.

The CPS determined not to bring proceedings against the driver of the vehicle as he had passed out at the wheel due to an unforeseeable medical condition. Under the Victim’s Right to Review (VRR), Katelyn’s family asked the CPS to reconsider the decision. The Chief Crown Prosecutor personally reviewed the original decision, as the first stage of the VRR process. The Chief Crown Prosecutor upheld the original decision. The Appeals and Review Unit then reviewed the case. A further independent review was then carried out by a Specialist Prosecutor. Senior Counsel external to the CPS was also instructed due to the highly sensitive nature of the case and the unusual circumstances. This second entirely independent review also concluded that the case should not be prosecuted.

A clear and independent process is already in place to ensure victims’ rights are supported and protected and was fully operative in this case. It would therefore not be right for me to interfere with that independent process.

17th Feb 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of increasing the pay of civil servants.

Pay for grades below the Senior Civil Service is delegated to departments. Pay awards are made by individual departments, in consideration of their own priorities and affordability, and discussed with their trade unions.

The pay remit guidance is a cost control document and allows departments to seek further flexibility for a pay award above the headline range for pay awards, as demonstrated by pay deals in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Ministry of Justice in previous years.

It is important that pay awards for civil servants are affordable, as well as fair to both staff and the taxpayer. The pay remit guidance considers economic conditions while balancing the need for sustainable public finances. The 2023/24 guidance will be published this year.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) women and (b) men have taken their own lives in the latest year-end statistics who had sought help for (i) substance or (ii) alcohol use.

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

A response to the hon. Member’s Parliamentary Questions of 6 June is attached.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) women and (b) men have taken their own lives in the latest year-end statistics who had been homeless.

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

A response to the hon. Member’s Parliamentary Questions of 6 June is attached.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) women and (b) men have taken their own lives in the latest year-end statistics who had been experiencing gambling related harms.

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

A response to the hon. Member’s Parliamentary Questions of 6 June is attached.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) women and (b) men have taken their own lives in the latest year-end statistics who were LGBTQ+.

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

A response to the hon. Member’s Parliamentary Questions of 6 June is attached.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) women and (b) men have taken their own lives in the latest year-end statistics who were from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller ethnic group.

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

A response to the hon. Member’s Parliamentary Questions of 6 June is attached.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to strengthen the independence of the Electoral Commission.

The public rightly expects efficient and independent regulation of the electoral system. The Government has proposed a series of measures in the Elections Bill that will facilitate parliamentary scrutiny of the Electoral Commission’s work, while respecting their independence.

The Bill makes provisions for the introduction of a Strategy and Policy Statement that will set out guidance and principles, which the Commission will have to have regard to in the discharge of their functions. The Commission will remain independent and the Statement will not replace or undermine the Commission’s other statutory duties. The Statement will also be subject to statutory consultation with the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, the Commission themself and the Devolved Administrations before being submitted to parliamentary approval. The Statement will not affect the ability of the Commission to undertake enforcement activity as they see fit, having had regard to the Statement, but will ensure greater accountability to Parliament on how the Electoral Commission discharge their functions.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what data his Department holds on the number of people who are employed to work in the arts and design sector.

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

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to conduct an internal review of contracts issued by the Government during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Audit Office has published its report relating to government procurement during the Covid-19 pandemic covering the period up to 31 July 2020. This includes, among other things, an examination of procurement activity during the pandemic and the Government’s management of procurement risks. The report has been scrutinised by the Public Accounts Committee in the usual way.

Government also published the Green Paper consultation on 15 December on reform of the UK’s public procurement regulations. The Green Paper proposals put value for money and transparency at the heart of the new approach, and will cut red tape, reduce bureaucracy and unleash wider social benefits from public money spent on procurement.

Cabinet Office has also conducted some internal work to examine procurements during the pandemic, commissioning an independent expert review of certain communications contracts, the Boardman Review. The report and recommendations have been published on gov.uk.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
11th Feb 2021
If he will take steps to help ensure that Ministers make themselves available for select committee evidence sessions.

The Government is absolutely committed to Parliamentary scrutiny, and recognises the important role played by Select Committees.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to combat phishing scams in relation to gov.uk services; and what discussions he has had with search engine providers on screening those scams out of search results.

GOV.UK is the government's website and online brand. We take steps to ensure this is protected so that people can rely on it as a trusted source for information and do not fall victim to phishing scams.

We ensure that government information and services are correctly listed and rank highly in search engine results so that they are easy for people to find and identify as government information and services. When we identify misleading or scam websites, we immediately report them to the search provider as part of our established process on misleading and scam websites.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has had recent meetings with Cabinet colleagues to help ensure that UK trade deals protect workers rights and prevent forced labour.

The Secretary of State regularly engages with Cabinet colleagues on a wide range of issues. The UK is committed to ensuring trade supports an environment where workers’ rights are upheld, including working towards the eradication of modern slavery (including forced labour) in global supply chains.  In our new free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand, for example, we have secured labour chapters containing strong modern slavery provisions, which support our global efforts in this area.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department has taken to ensure that guide dog owners have equal access to businesses in Huddersfield in the last 12 months.

Strong protection already exists in the Equality Act 2010, which places a duty on businesses and service providers to make reasonable adjustments to improve disabled people’s access to goods and services so they are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people.

Anybody who thinks that they have been discriminated against in the services offered to them - including where access to an assistance dog has been refused - can take legal action to resolve the issue. Before doing so, they might first find it useful to contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) which provides free bespoke advice and in-depth support to individuals with discrimination concerns via their website - http://www.equalityadvisoryservice.com/, or by telephone on 0808 800 0082 or by text phone on 0808 800 0084

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of planned cuts to Royal Mail customer service points on other local services in (a) Huddersfield and (b) West Yorkshire.

Decisions on the closure of customer service points are an operational matter for Royal Mail, provided they are consistent with Ofcom’s regulatory obligation on Royal Mail to provide access points for the universal service.

While the Government has no role in Royal Mail’s operational decisions, I understand that Royal Mail has completed the first stage of its review of customer service points and decided to maintain the current estate.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he has had discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of expanding the eligibility for the electricity rebate available to people who run medical equipment at home.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State has regular discussions with Ministerial Colleagues on a number of issues.

As we explore possible approaches to consumer protection from April 2024, the Government is working with disability organisations, considering the costs for disabled people, and assessing the need for specific support for disabled people using medical equipment in the home. I am attending the next quarterly meeting of the Disability Charities Consortium on Wednesday 24th May, and I am meeting my Hon. Friend the Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work on 6th June to discuss consumer protection for people with disabilities.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of financial support with the cost of energy for disabled people who run medical equipment at home.

As we explore possible approaches to consumer protection from April 2024, we are working with disability organisations, considering the costs for disabled people, and assessing the need for specific support for disabled people using medical equipment in the home.

I am attending the next quarterly meeting of the Disability Charities Consortium on Wednesday 24th May, and I am meeting my Hon. Friend the Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work on 6th June to discuss consumer protection for people with disabilities.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps he is taking to support people with complex disabilities who run medical equipment at home with the cost of energy.

As we explore possible approaches to consumer protection from April 2024, we are working with disability organisations, considering the costs for disabled people, and assessing the need for specific support for disabled people using medical equipment in the home.

I am attending the next quarterly meeting of the Disability Charities Consortium on Wednesday 24th May, and I am meeting my Hon. Friend the Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work on 6th June to discuss consumer protection for people with disabilities.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent discussions he has had with Ofgem on the potential impact of trends in the level of wholesale gas prices on the price of energy for domestic consumers.

Ministers and officials meet regularly with Ofgem to discuss a range of issues including the operation of the wholesale market and gas prices. The Government expects to see changes in wholesale prices reflected in retail prices, in accordance with how suppliers have purchased their wholesale supplies. For default tariffs, changes in wholesale prices will be reflected when Ofgem updates the level of the price cap.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
19th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department has made an estimate of the number and proportion of businesses that are on deemed contracts for their energy supply.

The Government does not hold this information.

Ofgem are in the process of conducting a review of the non-domestic market which will provide up-to-date data on Deemed Contracts. They have published their initial findings which found that the prevalence of Deemed Contracts has increased amongst some non-domestic customers. The full findings of Ofgem’s review are due to be published in the summer.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what methodology his Department uses to determine eligibility for Warm Home Discount payments.

Under Core Group 1 in England and Wales, and Core Group in Scotland, recipients of the Guaranteed Credit element of Pension Credit are eligible.

Under Core Group 2 in England and Wales, people who are both in receipt of a qualifying means-tested benefit or Tax Credit and living in a property with estimated high relative heating costs, calculated on the basis of property characteristics.

Under the Broader Group in Scotland, customers must apply through their energy supplier, who may set additional eligibility criteria on top of the minimum eligibility criteria set by the Government.

Further information can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/warm-home-discount-eligibility-statement-england-and-wales.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of adjusting the eligibility criteria for the Warm Home Discount scheme to include people with ill health whose homes are ineligible due to (a) a low energy performance certificate rating or (b) being ineligible for a home insulation grant.

Under the Warm Home Discount, eligibility is not linked to the energy performance rating nor the eligibility for insulation grants. The scheme was designed to reach the maximum proportion of households in fuel poverty and for as many rebates as possible to be provided automatically.

There is no central dataset of people whose ill health increases their likelihood of being in fuel poverty.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of altering the metrics of type, floor space and EPC of properties to increase accessibility to the Warm Homes Discount for households in colder northern areas of the UK.

The options for eligibility criteria for Warm Home Discount were set out in full in the scheme consultation. Adjusting the eligibility of the Warm Home Discount to take into account temperature by location would add significantly to the complexity of the scheme.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of expanding the Warm Home Discount scheme to people who reside in properties that cannot be insulated.

The Warm Home Discount is targeted at low income households some of whom live in homes that cannot be insulated.

There is no reliable dataset of homes that cannot be insulated so we could not equitably expand the Warm Home Discount eligibility criteria to specifically include that.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February to Question 135157 on Energy Bills Rebate: Landlord and Tenant, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a regulatory framework to ensure that tenants have access to information on intermediary landlord recipients of the Energy Bills Support Scheme so they know whether they should enter civil proceedings.

The Government has not undertaken such an assessment. The Government does not hold data on which meter points receiving the Energy Bills Support Scheme are rented properties where the landlord receives the discount.

The Government has already introduced regulations to require intermediaries to inform end users of benefits received from the Government’s energy affordability schemes and to pass on these benefits in a just and reasonable way. Where an intermediary has failed to meet their obligations, the end-user has the ability to pursue the civil debt through the courts.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February to Question 135157 on Energy Bills Rebate: Landlord and Tenant, if his Department will define what reasonably practical equates to as a defined timescale in the context of the pass through requirement of the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

It is the responsibility of the intermediary to take reasonable steps to notify the end user in writing. This should be done within 30 days of the intermediary receiving the relevant scheme benefit (or 1 November 2022 for EBSS Great Britain and 12 January 2023 for EBSS Northern Ireland, if later).

The information includes, the amount of scheme benefit received; the amount that the intermediary intends to pass on; when and how they will pass-through the benefit; and that the end user can recover amounts to which they are entitled to but do not receive as a civil debt.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February to Question 135157 on Energy Bills Rebate: Landlord and Tenant, whether his Department has created a framework to further define just and reasonable with reference to landlords passing on support through to end users under the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

Intermediaries must pass on the Government support irrespective of how the end users pay for their energy. They can adjust the amount, and demonstrate why the amount is just and reasonable. For example, if a landlord has fully passed on the increased energy prices to their tenants, then it would be just and reasonable to pass on the full scheme benefit. Whereas, if they shielded their tenants from the impact of increased energy prices, they may retain some or all the benefit.

The Government has published guidance which sets out illustrative examples of how the pass-through requirements can be calculated: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pass-through-requirements-for-energy-price-support-provided-to-intermediaries.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what specific support his Department is providing for people living with arthritis to assist with increasing energy costs.

To help UK consumers with rising energy costs, the Government launched various energy support schemes. These include the Energy Price Guarantee, Alternative Fuel Payment, and Energy Bills Support Scheme.

The Government will provide free energy efficiency upgrades to low-income and vulnerable households through local authorities and energy suppliers. Government-funded upgrades will be available for poorly insulated homes via the Energy Company Obligation from spring 2023. The most vulnerable households will receive a Cost-of-Living Payment of £900 for means-tested benefits, £300 for pensioners, and £150 for individuals on disability benefits. Furthermore, from April 2023, benefits, including working-age and State Pension, will increase by over 10%.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department is taking steps to help support homes without central heating with the cost of alternative heat and energy sources.

The Alternative Fuel Payment scheme in Great Britain will deliver £200 to households who use alternative fuels such as biomass, liquefied petroleum gas or heating oil, helping around 2 million off-grid households to meet their energy costs this winter. The vast majority of eligible households will receive a credit automatically via their electricity supplier from 6 February.

Households on a single fuel tariff, such as electricity-only, will continue to be protected from increases in energy costs by the Energy Price Guarantee, which limits the amount suppliers can charge per unit of energy used.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
30th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department is planning to open an application process for the Energy Bills Support Scheme - Alternative Funding.

The portal for the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding is application is scheduled to open no later than 27 February. In addition to this portal, a dedicated customer helpline will be available to assist customers who do not have online access.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
30th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps he is taking to ensure landlords pass on savings from the Energy Bills Support Scheme to tenants who have no relationship with an energy supplier.

Third-party intermediaries, such as landlords, who receive the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) must pass that support through to end users, such as tenants, in a just and reasonable way.

The Government has introduced regulations to ensure that EBSS support is provided to the people it is designed to help. Further information can be found here.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of accounting for the effects of (a) financial harm and (b) reputational damage in false online communications compensation cases.

The Online Safety Bill will update criminal law in relation to the communications offences, including a new false communications offence, which will criminalise the sending of a message which the sender knows to be false and sends with the intention to cause harm, without any reasonable excuse.

Under this offence, harm is defined as 'non-trivial psychological or physical harm', and a person who commits the offence could face a prison sentence.

28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she is taking steps to ensure that disabled people are included in the development of (a) policy on and (b) the regulation of artificial intelligence use and development.

All Government Departments are bound by the Public Sector Equality Duty, as mandated by the Equality Act 2010. Across His Majesty’s Civil Service, Government Departments are also equal opportunities employers. In AI specifically, there are a number of initiatives that ensure the experiences of disabled people inform public policy, including how we consider regulation.

The AI Procurement Guidelines published in 2020 recommend that teams within Government procuring AI are diverse and reflect the diversity of society. In terms of implementing AI solutions in public service delivery, the same guidelines also recommend that Equality Impact Assessment be carried out, so that public services work for people regardless of disability status or any other protected characteristic.

For the wider economy the Department is now working at pace to develop a proportionate regulatory regime that will make use of our world-class regulators’ expertise, which will be set out in a White Paper to be published soon. Our approach will establish a framework based on a set of cross-cutting principles to inform how regulators should tackle issues such as fairness, which would include discrimination against disability. We had over 130 organisations in industry, regulation and civil society respond to our policy paper call for views. Our AI regulation White Paper will be open to public consultation and we will work to hear a wide-range of perspectives through different activities. We would encourage all civic groups - including and especially those by and for people with disabilities - to respond to the open survey on our proposals.

Finally, in order to address the issue of underrepresentation of disabled people in the AI industry, last year we expanded our diversity scholarship programme for postgraduate conversion course Masters courses in AI, which are open to disabled students, alongside encouraging more women, black students, and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to study towards a career in AI. In the 2021 phase, over a quarter of students identified as having a disability. The Government is now working with industry up to cofund 2000 more scholarships, and we would encourage anyone with a disability who meets the academic criteria to apply.

12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to protect energy customers from companies exploiting remotely programmable features of energy smartmeters.

Ofgem rules require energy suppliers to assess whether installing a prepayment meter, or the remote switching of a smart meter, is safe and reasonably practicable for a customer. Prepayment meters should not be installed, or smart meters remotely switched, without carrying out appropriate assessments, including identifying any vulnerability. When making this assessment, suppliers are required to consider whether a customer’s vulnerability makes a prepayment service a poor choice, for example where medical equipment is required.

The Government welcomes the steps Ofgem is taking to ensure energy suppliers comply with these obligations.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help prevent misuse of remotely programmable features of energy smart meters by provider companies.

Ofgem rules require energy suppliers to assess whether installing a prepayment meter, or the remote switching of a smart meter, is safe and reasonably practicable for a customer. Prepayment meters should not be installed, or smart meters remotely switched, without carrying out appropriate assessments, including identifying any vulnerability. When making this assessment, suppliers are required to consider whether a customer’s vulnerability makes a prepayment service a poor choice, for example where medical equipment is required.

The Government welcomes the steps Ofgem is taking to ensure energy suppliers comply with these obligations.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
12th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the Energy Bill Relief Scheme for businesses beyond 31 March 2023.

HM Treasury is currently conducting a review of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme. Evidence from a broad range of stakeholders has already been received. The Government will announce the outcome of this review in the New Year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an estimate of the number of homes that have been retrofitted through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund in Huddersfield constituency since the introduction of that fund.

The 2019 Conservative Manifesto committed to a £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) over a 10-year period. The SHDF Demonstrator and Wave 1 awarded a combined total of around £240m of grant funding, including to projects in Yorkshire, but these projects do not include any homes in Huddersfield. The SHDF Wave 2.1 competition, which closed on 18th November 2022, will allocate up to £800m of grant funding, with successful projects likely to be notified in March 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help businesses decarbonise their supply lines.

The Government currently provides voluntary supply chain (Scope 3) emissions disclosure guidance for UK organisations in the Environmental Reporting Guidelines. The Government is also encouraging small UK businesses to join the ‘Race to Zero’ – a global effort to achieve Net Zero by 2050. In the Race to Zero, organisations are required to set emission reduction targets which must include Scope 3 emissions. The Government has also publicly outlined, in the Government response to the ‘Mandatory climate-related financial disclosures by publicly quoted companies, large private companies and LLPs’ consultation, that officials will consider the issue of Scope 3 emission disclosures in due course.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the development of (a) local heat networks and (b) industrial heat connections.

As set out in the Heat and Buildings Strategy, we are investing £338 million over 2022/23 to 2024/25 into a Heat Network Transformation Programme to scale up low-carbon heat network deployment and to enable local areas to deploy heat network zoning, which will create a step-change in low-carbon heat network market growth. This programme includes support for heat being supplied from industrial waste or recoverable heat sources and this is outlined further in our National Comprehensive Assessment for heat networks published in 2021.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a requirement for statistics relating to carbon capture and storage to be published before Carbon Capture and Storage projects become operational.

The Government will publish information on projects that are recipients of government support before they become operational. For industrial and power capture projects, this may also include information submitted under supply chain reporting requirements. The Government is also developing a plan to monitor and evaluate statistics from emitters in the longer term.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of developing carbon capture storage facilities in the North Sea.

The UK has one of the largest offshore carbon dioxide storage potential of any country in the world. It is estimated that the UK Continental Shelf could safely store 78 billion tonnes of CO₂[1], the equivalent of 200 years of the UK’s annual CO₂ emissions.

Unlocking this potential through the development of carbon dioxide transport and storage networks could generate strategic national assets. This market, according to government commissioned analysis, could be worth up to £54 billion by 2050[2].

[1]http://www.eti.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/D16-10113ETIS-WP6-Report-Publishable-Summary.pdf

[2]Energy Innovation Needs Assessment: Carbon capture, utilisation, and storage. (October 2019). Commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy & Industry Strategy and lead by Vivid Economics. Report available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/845655/energy-innovation-needs-assessment-ccus.pdf

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress the Government has made on its plans for four industrial carbon capture and storage clusters by 2035.

The Government is committed to establishing Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) in four industrial clusters by 2030.

In November 2021, Hynet and the East Coast Cluster were announced as Track 1 CCUS clusters. In August 2022, Government took a significant step forward in the Cluster Sequencing process by announcing a shortlist of 20 projects.

The Government is developing and refining the Track-2 process and is developing business models designed to address the commercial barriers that have previously had an impact on the development of CCUS in the UK.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits for the UK of an international centralised reporting framework and quality control standards for carbon capture and storage statistics; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the UK managing and maintaining that system.

The UK Government does not own an international reporting system for Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) and has not conducted an assessment to evaluate such a system.

The Government is an active participant in the development of ISO Standards for Carbon dioxide capture, transportation, and geological storage through the BSI (British Standards Institution) committee on carbon capture, transport and storage. This alliance allows the UK to influence, and have direct input into, the development of international Carbon Capture and transportation standards.

The Government also works through forums, such as the Clean Energy Ministerial to help the UK develop its CCUS industry.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of offering specific financial support to people who use medical equipment including dialysis machines, ventilators and feeding pumps in the home.

The Government has announced unprecedented support within its Growth Plan to protect households and businesses from high energy prices. The Energy Price Guarantee and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme are supporting millions of households and businesses with rising energy costs, and they will continue to do so from now until April next year.

The Government will continue to monitor the prices of energy and will consider further intervention to protect UK households from extraordinary prices.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what further steps he will take in addition to the Energy Price Guarantee to limit the impact of rising energy prices on people who use essential medical equipment including dialysis machines, ventilators and feeding pumps in the home.

The Government has announced unprecedented support within its Growth Plan to protect households and businesses from high energy prices. The Energy Price Guarantee and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme are supporting millions of households and businesses with rising energy costs, and they will continue to do so from now until April next year.

The Government will continue to monitor the prices of energy and will consider further intervention to protect UK households from extraordinary prices.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Energy Price Guarantee in instances where households have higher than average consumption of energy due to running essential medical equipment such as ventilators, feeding pumps and dialysis machines.

The Government has announced unprecedented support within its Growth Plan to protect households and businesses from high energy prices. The Energy Price Guarantee and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme are supporting millions of households and businesses with rising energy costs, and they will continue to do so from now until April next year.

The Government will continue to monitor the prices of energy and will consider further intervention to protect UK households from extraordinary prices.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of offering disabled people additional non-means-tested support with their energy bills.

The Government has announced unprecedented support within its Growth Plan to protect households and businesses from high energy prices. The Energy Price Guarantee and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme are supporting millions of households and businesses with rising energy costs, and they will continue to do so from now until April next year.

The Government will continue to monitor the prices of energy and will consider further intervention to protect UK households from extraordinary prices.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of ensuring that people who use medical equipment in the home continue to receive support with the cost of energy bills after April 2023.

The Government has announced unprecedented support within its Growth Plan to protect households and businesses from high energy prices. The Energy Price Guarantee and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme are supporting millions of households and businesses with rising energy costs, and they will continue to do so from now until April next year.

The Government will continue to monitor the prices of energy and will consider further intervention to protect UK households from extraordinary prices.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will have discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on ensuring that disabled people with higher than average energy needs are supported with energy bills beyond the end of the Energy Bills Relief Scheme in March 2023.

The Government has announced unprecedented support within its Growth Plan to protect households and businesses from high energy prices. The Energy Price Guarantee and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme are supporting millions of households and businesses with rising energy costs, and they will continue to do so from now until April next year.

The Government will continue to monitor the prices of energy and will consider further intervention to protect UK households from extraordinary prices.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 18 July 2022 to Question 33677 on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, what recent progress his Department has made on preparing the Net Zero progress report.

I have laid a statutory instrument to extend the deadline for my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State’s response to the CCC’s annual report to 31 March 2023.

The extension will give the Government sufficient time to consider its response to the findings of the Net Zero review, reporting at the end of December 2022, and reflect this in the Government response. It will also avoid pre-empting or undermining the outcome of the review. This response will include an update on progress of the Net Zero Strategy.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has conducted a recent cost-benefit analysis of energy from waste facilities.

BEIS has assessed that energy from waste for electricity generation is economically viable without Government support, and therefore only energy from waste with combined heat and power is supported under the Contracts for Difference scheme.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the extent to which consumers are able to access adequate information on the country of origin of flowers and plants they purchase in supermarkets.

No specific assessment has been made. Aside from certain products (e.g. food), there is no mandatory requirement to label goods with an indication of their country of origin for the majority of consumer products.

The government encourages traders to include helpful labelling on a voluntary basis, particularly where this may be in the best interests of the consumer or represents a unique selling point for the business, so long as the additional information is true and not misleading as required by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs).

If consumers believe that the trader is not being truthful, they should report the matter in the first instance to the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 (www.citizensadvice.org.uk/).

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he take steps to reduce the standard charge on energy bills to alleviate financial pressure for consumers.

Energy suppliers use standing charges to recover the on-going costs to provide a live supply, regardless of a consumer’s usage.

The largest element of the standing charge is the cost of the electricity and gas transmission and distribution networks, which vary depending on different geographical area. Reducing or removing the standing charge would likely see the system costs being added to the unit price of energy. This could result in increased bills for high energy users, such as those with medical equipment used at home.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact that (a) reducing or (b) removing the standing charge on energy bills will have on alleviating cost pressures on consumers.

Energy suppliers use standing charges to recover the on-going costs to provide a live supply, regardless of a consumer’s usage.

The largest element of the standing charge is the cost of the electricity and gas transmission and distribution networks, which vary depending on different geographical area. Reducing or removing the standing charge would likely see the system costs being added to the unit price of energy. This could result in increased bills for high energy users, such as those with medical equipment used at home.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support businesses with investing in carbon capture and storage initiatives for energy from waste.

In November 2021, the Government set out that waste sector CCUS projects that meet the eligibility criteria will be eligible for business model support through Phase-2 of the CCUS Cluster Sequencing process. In March 2022, applications were received from twelve eligible waste sector projects.

On 25th March 2022, the UK Emissions Trading Scheme Authority published a Call for Evidence to explore whether the UK ETS should be expanded to cover waste incineration and Energy from Waste. Including energy from waste facilities, the UK ETS would provide a market-based carbon price with a long-term trajectory that could incentivise improvements in the efficiency of existing incineration plants, stimulate investment in decarbonisation technologies or practices, and support business investment in carbon capture and storage in the future.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to further incentivise carbon capture and storage initiatives for energy from waste (a) schemes and (b) facilities.

In November 2021, the Government set out that waste sector CCUS projects that meet the eligibility criteria will be eligible for business model support through Phase-2 of the CCUS Cluster Sequencing process. In March 2022, applications were received from twelve eligible waste sector projects.

On 25th March 2022, the UK Emissions Trading Scheme Authority published a Call for Evidence to explore whether the UK ETS should be expanded to cover waste incineration and Energy from Waste. Including energy from waste facilities, the UK ETS would provide a market-based carbon price with a long-term trajectory that could incentivise improvements in the efficiency of existing incineration plants, stimulate investment in decarbonisation technologies or practices, and support business investment in carbon capture and storage in the future.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of HVO fuels on the Government's net-zero emissions target.

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) is one type of biofuel which can be used to replace fossil diesel. HVO has been eligible for support under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) scheme for more than a decade. In 2020, 38 million litres of biodiesel of HVO were supplied under the RTFO in the UK. As part of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, the Department for Transport committed to work with stakeholders to review the role of biofuels in compatible vehicles and any potential measures to remove barriers to their deployment.

BEIS publishes a range of statistics on renewable energy in Energy Trends at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-trends-section-6-renewables and in DUKES at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/renewable-sources-of-energy-chapter-6-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to extend the Warm Home Discount scheme to include carers on the lowest incomes.

The Government is reforming the Warm Home Discount to better focus support towards households on the lowest incomes who are struggling to heat their homes, as outlined in the Government Response to the consultation published on 1st April. Eligibility will therefore be linked to receipt of a qualifying means-tested benefit and having high energy costs. Carers on the lowest incomes in receipt of one of the qualifying means-tested benefits and with high energy costs, or in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of the Pension Credit, would therefore be eligible for a rebate.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what financial steps he will take to ensure that energy efficient heat pumps can be installed in all households the UK.

The forthcoming Boiler Upgrade Scheme will provide financial support for the installation of low carbon heat technologies in homes and small non-domestic buildings in England and Wales. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme will provide grants of £5,000 towards for the installation of air source heat pumps and £6,000 for ground source heat pumps.

As part of the 2021 Spending Review process, the Government announced that £800 million has been committed for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund over 2022/23 to 2024/25, and that a further £950 million has been committed for the Home Upgrade Grant over the same period. These schemes operate in England and support the installation of measures which improve the energy efficiency of homes as well as heat pumps.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to encourage major multinational companies to become more sustainable.

The Government continues to encourage and support UK businesses to set net zero commitments and deliver on them, including through the UN’s Race to Zero, reflected in the fact that 60 FTSE100 companies have signed up. This represents more than tripled a quadrupling in the 12 months up to COP26, as well as over £1.2 trillion in market capitalisation and over £700 billion in annual turnover. High-quality, independently verified net zero plans – not just pledges – are now becoming the norm due to the Race to Zero campaign.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure that wages within the security industry rise above the rate of inflation.

The Government announced that on 1 April 2022, the National Living Wage (for workers aged 23 and over) will rise by 6.6% to £9.50. The independent Low Pay Commission recommended this rate and concluded that workers should see their pay rise faster than inflation.

The minimum wage applies to all sectors of the UK economy, including the security industry.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that music makers receive equitable remuneration when contracting their product to streaming platforms.

A comprehensive programme of work is underway to investigate the issues raised by the Digital, Media, Culture and Sport Select Committee’s inquiry into the economics of music streaming. This includes Government-funded research and extensive stakeholder engagement to strengthen the evidence base needed to determine whether intervention is warranted.

5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending entitlement to parental bereavement leave and pay to parents of babies miscarried or stillborn during early pregnancy.

The Government recognises that losing a child at any age is deeply upsetting, and in April 2020 we legislated to give parents who lose a child under the age of 18 a right to take up to two weeks off work in the 56 weeks following the death of their child. This right extends to parents of babies stillborn after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy. In the Explanatory Memorandum published alongside the legislation, we committed to taking forward a review of the scheme’s impact in 2025.

Individuals who do not feel able to return to work following a miscarriage before 24 weeks may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay while off work. All employees are also entitled to 5.6 weeks of Annual Leave a year and many employers also offer ‘Compassionate Leave’. We encourage employers to respond sensitively to each individual’s specific needs.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure that carbon emissions produced by public and private entities are audited by local authorities.

Whilst the Government recognises that Local Authorities have an important role to play in delivering net zero, they are not responsible for auditing the emissions produced by public and private entities.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to restore stability to the energy market and ensure households have access to affordable central heating in winter 2021-22.

The Government previously committed to review whether reform of the retail market is needed in the future, as we transition to a net zero energy system.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with representatives of Weetabix on the company's alleged use of the practice of fire and rehire.

This Government has been consistently clear that we do not accept the inappropriate use by some employers of fire and rehire as a negotiation tactic.

Earlier this year we asked Acas to produce more comprehensive, clearer guidance to help all employers explore all the options before considering ‘fire and rehire’ and encourage good employment relations practice. This guidance was published on 11 November and is available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/changecontract.

The Secretary of State meets regularly with a diverse range of stakeholders including trade unions and employers to discuss various policy matters, across the sectors covered by the Department.

7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure that retailers financially offset any environmental damage incurred through their operations, including through their vehicle fleets and emissions.

The Government welcomes the efforts of retailers in supporting our transition towards net zero and strengthening our resilience to the impacts of climate change.

The British Retail Consortium have published a Climate Action Roadmap which offers detail on the actions needed for decarbonisation across retail operations, logistics, and supply chains and products.

On 18 August, the Retail Sector Council launched a national online initiative to help small independent retailers (SMEs) cut their carbon footprint and become more environmentally friendly. Green Street is an informative and accessible Hub, built by retailers for retailers to encourage planet friendly shopping.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to encourage the production of electrolytic hydrogen in the UK.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan and the Energy White Paper demonstrate a clear commitment to hydrogen, setting an ambition to deliver 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, working alongside partners in industry.

The UK has expertise and assets to support both electrolytic and Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) enabled hydrogen production. By enabling multiple low carbon production routes, we can drive cost effective supply volumes in the 2020s in line with our 2030 5GW ambition, whilst scaling up electrolytic hydrogen.

Support for multiple production routes has underpinned our innovation funding to date and is also part of our policy thinking. The forthcoming UK Hydrogen Strategy will set out what is required to build a hydrogen economy fit for 2030, Carbon Budget 6 and beyond, whilst maximising economic benefits. Alongside this, we will also consult on priority policies including a hydrogen business model, a low carbon hydrogen standard, and the £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund. These are designed to support multiple production technologies, including CCUS-enabled and electrolytic hydrogen, and will be targeted at projects that can deploy during the 2020s.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to provide specific support to the night-time economy in (a) Huddersfield and (b) West Yorkshire.

The Government has brought forward a substantial package of financial support for businesses, including those in the night time economy, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This included an additional £300 million added to the £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund.  At the Budget, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced further support measures with extensions to the furlough scheme, self-employed support, business grants, and loans.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to support businesses in areas under (a) tier 2 and (b) tier 3 covid-19 restrictions that are affected by (i) curfews and (ii) other restrictions on trading.

Substantial grant support is being made available for businesses that are required to close or which are severely affected by restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives. England is now under country-wide restrictions. Businesses that are required to close will be eligible for grants of up to £1,500 per 14-day period of closure. A further one off grant to closed businesses of up to £9,000 will also be made to support businesses through Spring.

A further £500m is being made available in discretionary support via local authorities on top of £1.1bn already allocated to them in November 2020.

For the period where Tiers 2, 3 and 4 restrictions were applicable in certain local authorities, businesses required to close were eligible for grants of up to £1,500 for each 14-day period of closure. The level of support depended on the rateable value of the business hereditament in question.

For businesses that are not required to close but which are severely affected by the restrictions, further funding has been made available to local authorities to provide discretionary grants via the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open). This funding is available to local authorities in all tier 2 and tier 3 areas.

In recognition of the particular challenge faced by wet-led pubs in tier 2, tier 3 and tier 4 over the Christmas period, an additional £1,000 grant is being paid.

This grant support is part of a substantial package of support for businesses. The Coronavirus Job Retention has been extended until April 2021 and the deadlines for the government’s business loan schemes has been extended until the end of January 2021 giving businesses an additional 2 months to make applications.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what fiscal steps he is taking to support the recovery of steel supply chains affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

We have been working with companies across the steel sector and its supply chains to ensure that they can access the unprecedented package of support measures the Government have made available during this challenging time. This includes Government-backed finance through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme to help firms keep operating. We have also provided support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended to March 2021 to protect people’s wages and manufacturing jobs across the UK.

In addition, the Government provided, as a lender of last resort, a £30m loan on commercial terms to Celsa, in line with EU State Aid rules.

We will continue to engage regularly with the steel industry and their suppliers.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that expectant fathers may attend all antenatal appointments.

Since October 2014, expectant fathers and partners of pregnant woman have been able to take time off work to attend up to two antenatal appointments with their partner. This is a ‘day 1’ right which means that fathers and partners will be eligible for time off work even if they have recently changed jobs.

We recognise that restrictions in place due to the pandemic have made it difficult for some fathers and partners to accompany expectant mothers to antenatal appointments. On 5 June, the NHS’s suspension on hospital visiting was lifted. Since then, NHS Trusts have been using guidance published by NHS England and NHS Improvement when exercising their discretion on whether or not to allow fathers/partners to accompany their partner to antenatal appointments.

On 14 December, NHS England and NHS Improvement issued new guidance on supporting pregnant women using maternity services during the coronavirus pandemic. It sets out the expectation for all NHS maternity services to take steps to enable women to have access to support from a person of her choosing at all stages of her maternity journey and to prevent and control COVID-19 infection and keep women and staff safe.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of energy comes from wind power in the UK.

In 2019, electricity generated by wind power accounted for 2.9 per cent of total energy consumption[1],[2] and 19.8 per cent of total electricity generation[3] in the UK.

[1] Total inland energy consumption is published in DUKES 1.1.1 at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-chapter-1-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes

[2] Total consumption of wind power is published in DUKES 6.6 at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/renewable-sources-of-energy-chapter-6-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes

[3] Wind’s percentage share of electricity generation is published in Energy Trends 6.1 at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-trends-section-6-renewables

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to improve the efficiency of wind power.

The Offshore Wind sector is driving forward a range of innovations to improve efficiency and bring down costs, and my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has recently announced the UK's ambition to have 40GW of wind power by 2030.

Through our Energy Innovation Programme we have supported cutting edge companies such as providing Edinburgh based, ACT Blade, £1.46m to design, engineer and manufacture a prototype extra light-weight blade for offshore wind use.

As set out in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, wind is one of our key priorities under our new £1 billion Net Zero Innovation programme.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy, what recent environmental impact assessments have been undertaken on the effect of wind power on the (a) land and b) sea environments.

Offshore and onshore wind developers are required to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment as part of any planning application. The Environmental Impact Assessment affords protection to the environment by ensuring that the planning authority considers any significant effects as part of the decision-making process and that the local community are informed of any impacts.

For onshore wind projects in England, the local authority is the primary decision maker for all sizes of schemes. We introduced planning tests in 2015 that ensure that local communities have the final say on onshore wind farm developments. This means that a local community can raise concerns based on the publicly available information in the Environmental Impact Assessment, and a development cannot be granted permission if these concerns have not been addressed. Copies of Environmental Impact Assessments are usually available on local authority websites.

Planning applications for offshore wind projects in England and Wales above 100MW capacity are determined by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime. In respect of the Secretary of State’s decisions on applications for development consent made so far in 2020, Environmental Impact Assessments were carried out on the Thanet Extension Offshore Wind Farm and the Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Wind Farm, details of which are available on The Planning Inspectorate’s website - https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/

In addition, Defra has undertaken strategic assessments of the environmental impacts of offshore wind developments, including assessments of cabling impacts, floating wind technologies and underwater noise. Given the Government’s ambitions for offshore wind, Defra is working closely with other Government bodies, the Crown Estate, industry and wider stakeholders to prepare for and mitigate against the environmental impacts of growth in this sector. Included in this is the Offshore Wind Enabling Actions programme, a £4.3m action programme to be jointly run by Defra and BEIS to deliver upon its aims.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to increase the use of wind as a major power source in the UK.

On 6 October, the Government set out its plans for a Green Recovery, which ?included?an increased ambition of?40 GW of offshore wind by 2030 which would include as part of the 40GW a new target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1GW of energy by 2030 - over 15 times the current volumes worldwide.??This plan will help to build a world-leading offshore wind industry with the ability to generate more power by 2030 from offshore wind than every home in the UK uses now, and bring new jobs and growth to our ports and coastal regions.

In March, the Government announced the inclusion of onshore wind in the next Contracts for Difference allocation round, which is scheduled to open in late 2021 and which will aim to support double the capacity of renewable energy compared to the last round. On 24th November, the Government published a response to a consultation on proposed amendments to the Contract for Difference (CfD) scheme for the next allocation round. This confirmed a series of amendments to the CfD scheme so that it may continue to support the deployment of low carbon electricity generation, including the creation of a new auction pot for offshore wind projects, and the introduction of floating offshore wind as an eligible technology class.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to meet with representatives of the PUMPITUP! heat pump campaign to discuss support for heat pump projects across a range of industries.

Heat pumps will play a vital role in decarbonising heat in the UK. I have already asked BEIS officials to meet with representatives of the Pump it Up Campaign to discuss support for heat pump projects further.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support (a) night clubs, (b) music venues and (c) other businesses in the night time service sector by providing financial relief commensurate with the longevity of the period that they have had to remain closed during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government have put in place an unprecedented package of financial support to help businesses, including those in the hospitality and leisure sector, with the support they need during this difficult time of the covid-19 outbreak. Measures included deferring VAT payments for 3 months to support businesses with cashflow during the outbreak and extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until October.

We are committed to reopening creative businesses, including music venues, as soon as it is safe to do so. On 9 July, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced that from 11 July outdoor arts performances – including theatres, opera, dance and music – will be able to resume provided they are covid-secure.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to ensure suitable flexible working arrangements for people with disabilities in the context of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. The Government continues to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work. For example, Access to Work is continuing to provide support for people with a disability or health condition whether they are working in the workplace or are working from home.

Currently the Government advice is that people should be working from home where it is possible to do so. Employers have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers including making reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage.

The law is clear: to discriminate directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex or disability, race or ethnicity is unlawful. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the Coronavirus pandemic.

12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure the (a) financial sustainability and (b) growth of the hospitality sector after the covid-19 outbreak subsides.

The Government is engaging with representatives from across the hospitality sector to help ensure its financial sustainability after the current Covid-19 outbreak. Work is progressing to develop guidance following consultation with representatives from the industry to allow the sector to reopen and return to trading in a Covid-secure way. As my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has already announced, the Government’s Job Retention Scheme has been extended until October in order to support businesses through the reopening phase.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that all employers are obligated to protect people with diabetes in their return to work following the covid-19 lockdown.

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

Nothing in this guidance affects employers’ existing responsibilities under employment and equalities legislation. Employers therefore need to bear in mind the particular needs of different groups or individuals, and make sure that the steps they take to address the risk of COVID-19 do not unjustifiably impact on some groups compared with others.

The safer workplaces guidance provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure the (a) reliability and (b) continuity of postal service during the covid-19 outbreak and (c) the protection of postal service workers.

The postal service plays an important role in helping to mitigate the impacts of coronavirus on individuals, families, and businesses up and down the country.

Royal Mail has well-established contingency plans to mitigate disruption to postal services overseen by Ofcom, the independent regulator. Royal Mail continues to work closely with Ofcom to do everything it can to maintain service levels during this period.

Safety of workers is the number one priority for the Government. The Government is clear that we will support people in work during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are regularly engaging with industry stakeholders to ensure they are aware of the latest guidance.

Postal operators should make sure they put appropriate measures in place to follow the latest public health guidance and the legal obligations set out under health and safety legislation to protect their staff at work. Postal workers should continue to follow the advice of their employers and make sensible workplace adjustments.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will extend the business loan scheme to ensure that dental practices are able to access financial support where necessary.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is open to eligible businesses operating in most sectors, including dental practices.

In order to be eligible for the CBILS, businesses must:

  • Be UK-based in their business activity, with annual turnover of no more than £45m;
  • Have a borrowing proposal which, were it not for the current pandemic, would be considered viable by the lender;
  • Self-certify that they have been adversely impacted by the Coronavirus; and
  • Derive more than 50% of their income from trading activity.
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take to support small travel agencies facing financial difficulties as a result of cancellations, refunds and loss of income during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the extremely difficult circumstances many businesses are currently facing. The Government has launched an unprecedented set of support measures. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) offers financial support to smaller businesses that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Firms with a turnover of up to £45 million can apply for a loan, invoice finance, asset finance or overdraft of up to £5 million for up to six years.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment she has made of the effect of the Industrial Strategy on the protection of intellectual property.

The Government wants the UK to be the most innovative economy in the world and be the best place in which to start and grow a business. The UK’s world-leading IP framework has a key role to play in this.

As part of the Industrial Strategy the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) carried out a call for views seeking ways to maximise the incentives of the IP system to stimulate collaborative and increase licensing opportunities for IP rights. A number of interventions were implemented as a result to ensure that the IP framework continues to underpin and support the UK’s innovation economy.

The IPO has made it a priority to explore the opportunities and challenges posed by emerging technologies and has also worked with industry to address issues outlined in the Sector deals such as that of the Creative Industries. In addition, the IPO has been working to integrate IP into the developing Local Industrial Strategies under the Place Foundation.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons a Patent application takes a minimum of two years to be examined and granted.

We recognise the need to offer a timely service to those who need it, alongside a flexible service that allows applicants to develop their technology as their patent application progresses. We also offer a prompt grant option.

Applicants have up to two years to request examination of their application; they can request to accelerate their application if a suitable reason is provided, enabling a patent to be examined and granted in less than a year.

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if she will include a policy on reducing the effect of carbon monoxide poisoning in the updated Fuel Poverty Strategy for England; and if she will make a statement.

The Government takes the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home seriously and is taking steps to raise awareness of and tackle these risks. A summary of Government activities can be seen at www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/cross-government-group.htm.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can affect families at any income level. We are grateful for the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group’s response to our consultation on updating the fuel poverty strategy. We are currently considering all responses to the consultation and we will publish a Government response in due course.

20th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket report Holding Up A Mirror To Cricket, if her Department will discuss recommendation 18 of that report with the MCC.

The government is clear that there is absolutely no place for racism, discrimination, bullying or harassment in sport or society. It is for the England and Wales Cricket Board to implement recommendations from the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket’s report, and we welcome their commitment to bring forward a plan to tackle these serious issues, which must be addressed fully. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is having regular conversations with the ECB to discuss what actions they will take in response.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not had any direct conversations with Marylebone Cricket Club.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket report Holding Up A Mirror To Cricket, what recent discussions her Department has had with (a) the ECB and (b) the MCC on that report's findings.

The government is clear that there is absolutely no place for racism, discrimination, bullying or harassment in sport or society. It is for the England and Wales Cricket Board to implement recommendations from the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket’s report, and we welcome their commitment to bring forward a plan to tackle these serious issues, which must be addressed fully. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is having regular conversations with the ECB to discuss what actions they will take in response.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not had any direct conversations with Marylebone Cricket Club.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help implement the recommendations in the report of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket entitled Holding up a mirror to cricket.

The government is clear that there is absolutely no place for racism, discrimination, bullying or harassment in sport or society. It is for the England and Wales Cricket Board to implement recommendations from the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket’s report, and we welcome their commitment to bring forward a plan to tackle these serious issues, which must be addressed fully. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is having regular conversations with the ECB to discuss what actions they will take in response.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not had any direct conversations with Marylebone Cricket Club.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has had discussions with the BBC on policy support for victims of online harassment within that organisation within the last eight months.

The BBC is operationally independent from Government, and issues relating to its employees are a matter for the Corporation. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Ministers have not discussed the issues set out in the questions with the BBC.

In regards to online abuse, the Online Safety Bill, currently in Committee Stage in the House of Lords, will ensure that all adults have a triple shield of protection when online. All companies in scope will need to take robust action against illegal content, including public order offences.

The Government is committed to ensuring that journalists within the UK are able to operate free from violence, abuse and harassment. For this reason, we established a National Committee for the Safety of Journalists, whose membership includes the BBC, in 2020, and published a National Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists in 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent meetings she has had with the BBC on provision of support to victims of online harassment within the Corporation within the last six months.

The BBC is operationally independent from Government, and issues relating to its employees are a matter for the Corporation. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Ministers have not discussed the issues set out in the questions with the BBC.

In regards to online abuse, the Online Safety Bill, currently in Committee Stage in the House of Lords, will ensure that all adults have a triple shield of protection when online. All companies in scope will need to take robust action against illegal content, including public order offences.

The Government is committed to ensuring that journalists within the UK are able to operate free from violence, abuse and harassment. For this reason, we established a National Committee for the Safety of Journalists, whose membership includes the BBC, in 2020, and published a National Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists in 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has had discussions with the BBC Board on the potential merits of reviewing the BBC's policy on online harassment of employees within the corporation in the last six months.

The BBC is operationally independent from Government, and issues relating to its employees are a matter for the Corporation. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Ministers have not discussed the issues set out in the questions with the BBC.

In regards to online abuse, the Online Safety Bill, currently in Committee Stage in the House of Lords, will ensure that all adults have a triple shield of protection when online. All companies in scope will need to take robust action against illegal content, including public order offences.

The Government is committed to ensuring that journalists within the UK are able to operate free from violence, abuse and harassment. For this reason, we established a National Committee for the Safety of Journalists, whose membership includes the BBC, in 2020, and published a National Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists in 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will take steps to help ensure the English Football League and football club owners are accountable to fans.

We recognise the need for football to be reformed to ensure the game’s long term sustainability. In April 2022, the government responded to the Fan Led Review of Football governance and confirmed support for greater fan engagement.

One of my first meetings as Minister for Sport was with the Football Supporters’ Association to hear their concerns. We will publish a White Paper setting out our detailed response to the Fan Led Review of Football Governance in the next few weeks.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the answer of 18 October to Question 59454 on Internet and Pornography: Children, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of appointing an independent ombudsman or organisation to assess (a) online harmful content and (b) pornography present on a service provider's online presence rather than by the service providers themselves.

The Online Safety Bill introduces clear legal responsibilities on service providers to understand the risk of harm to users and put in place systems and processes to improve user safety. Service providers will be required to protect children from harmful content online, including pornography, and Ofcom will be able to take enforcement action against services which do not comply with these duties.

The Government has considered the merits of establishing an independent ombudsman to consider harmful content online, including access to pornographic material. However, it is not necessary as a number of the key functions performed by an Ombudsman, such as consumer research and advocacy for affected groups, will be performed by Ofcom as regulator. The Online Safety Bill also sets out a comprehensive range of duties on all regulated services in relation to clear and accessible complaints and redress mechanisms. Ofcom will be able to take enforcement action against services who do not comply fully with their user redress duties.

11th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to protect and support local radio broadcasting.

The Government is committed to supporting the provision of local radio services by commercial and community radio stations across the UK.

Radio continues to demonstrate its huge public value, including recently in response to the coronavirus pandemic, when it expanded its provision of trusted news and information while continuing to provide much-needed entertainment and companionship to its millions of listeners throughout the country. The Government negotiated significant packages of support from Arqiva for commercial stations, as well as providing additional direct funding to ensure that no station was left behind in terms of support with their transmission costs.

In 2019, we introduced legislation allowing Ofcom to license small-scale DAB multiplexes, to provide more community and small commercial stations with the opportunity to broadcast to their local communities. In 2020, we passed more legislation to enable national and local commercial stations to renew their analogue licences for a further period. Following the publication of the Digital Radio and Audio Review in October 2021, we are currently exploring legislative options for securing radio’s position on smart speakers.

We have also committed, following a consultation on future commercial radio regulation in 2017, to strengthen local news and information requirements - the key public service aspects of local commercial radio - and to extend this to digital stations as part of a package of changes to update the rules on commercial radio licensing. We intend to bring forward legislation in this area when Parliamentary time allows.

The Government has continued to make funding available to support the growth of the community radio sector, by way of the Community Radio Fund (CRF). The Fund distributes £400,000 on an annual basis to help fund the core costs of community radio stations (of which there are approximately 300 across the UK) and enable the sector to move towards self-sustainability. In both of the last two financial years, we have supported the CRF to go beyond this core funding, with significant uplifts targeted on tackling loneliness and to reflect the sector’s important contribution to the government’s ambitions on levelling up.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
11th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with BBC leadership on proposed cuts to BBC Local Radio.

The Government recognises the important role that BBC Local Radio plays in bringing communities together, reflecting local experiences and delivering local news. I am therefore disappointed that the BBC is planning to reduce parts of its local radio output.

While it is up to the BBC to decide how it delivers its services, I have met with BBC leadership and shared concerns expressed in recent parliamentary proceedings about reductions to BBC Local Radio. The Government has been clear that, as our national broadcaster, the BBC must make sure it continues to provide distinctive and genuinely local radio services, with content that reflects and represents people and communities from all corners of the UK.

The BBC has outlined that, under current proposals, overall investment in local services is being maintained, which includes £19m from broadcast services being moved to online and multimedia production to adapt to audience changes. The BBC has confirmed that it is protecting local news bulletins throughout the day, and local live sport, and community programming across all 39 stations, and that there will be fully local programming between 6am and 2pm, with neighbouring or regional sharing in most of the remaining listening hours.

Ofcom, as the independent regulator of the BBC, is responsible for ensuring that the BBC continues to meet the public service obligations set out in the BBC Charter, Agreement, and Operating Licence. The Government understands that Ofcom is continuing to discuss these proposals with the BBC.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
11th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if her Department will take steps to help ensure that the BBC continues to provide quality local and live radio output.

The Government recognises the important role that BBC Local Radio plays in bringing communities together, reflecting local experiences and delivering local news. I am therefore disappointed that the BBC is planning to reduce parts of its local radio output.

While it is up to the BBC to decide how it delivers its services, I have met with BBC leadership and shared concerns expressed in recent parliamentary proceedings about reductions to BBC Local Radio. The Government has been clear that, as our national broadcaster, the BBC must make sure it continues to provide distinctive and genuinely local radio services, with content that reflects and represents people and communities from all corners of the UK.

The BBC has outlined that, under current proposals, overall investment in local services is being maintained, which includes £19m from broadcast services being moved to online and multimedia production to adapt to audience changes. The BBC has confirmed that it is protecting local news bulletins throughout the day, and local live sport, and community programming across all 39 stations, and that there will be fully local programming between 6am and 2pm, with neighbouring or regional sharing in most of the remaining listening hours.

Ofcom, as the independent regulator of the BBC, is responsible for ensuring that the BBC continues to meet the public service obligations set out in the BBC Charter, Agreement, and Operating Licence. The Government understands that Ofcom is continuing to discuss these proposals with the BBC.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
11th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment she has made of the benefits that local BBC Radio stations provide to communities; and what assessment she has made of the effect the proposed cuts to BBC Local Radio will have on respective communities.

The Government recognises the important role that BBC Local Radio plays in bringing communities together, reflecting local experiences and delivering local news. I am therefore disappointed that the BBC is planning to reduce parts of its local radio output.

While it is up to the BBC to decide how it delivers its services, I have met with BBC leadership and shared concerns expressed in recent parliamentary proceedings about reductions to BBC Local Radio. The Government has been clear that, as our national broadcaster, the BBC must make sure it continues to provide distinctive and genuinely local radio services, with content that reflects and represents people and communities from all corners of the UK.

The BBC has outlined that, under current proposals, overall investment in local services is being maintained, which includes £19m from broadcast services being moved to online and multimedia production to adapt to audience changes. The BBC has confirmed that it is protecting local news bulletins throughout the day, and local live sport, and community programming across all 39 stations, and that there will be fully local programming between 6am and 2pm, with neighbouring or regional sharing in most of the remaining listening hours.

Ofcom, as the independent regulator of the BBC, is responsible for ensuring that the BBC continues to meet the public service obligations set out in the BBC Charter, Agreement, and Operating Licence. The Government understands that Ofcom is continuing to discuss these proposals with the BBC.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many people were convicted for not paying their TV license under the provisions of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 since 1992.

The requirement to hold, and pay for, a TV Licence is set out in the Communications Act 2003 and the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004.

Parliament approved the BBC assuming the role of the TV Licensing Authority in 1991, and under the Communications Act 2003, the BBC is authorised to collect and enforce the Licence Fee by law on the government's behalf.

The TV licence fee was administered under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 until the passage of the 2003 Act.

The Ministry of Justice currently publishes the number of prosecutions, convictions and sentencing outcomes for the non-payment of TV licence fees annually as part of their criminal justice statistics quarterly publications, which can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/criminal-justice-statistics-quarterly

Figures for each year since 2005 up to 2021 are available in the Outcomes by Offence data tool, and can be found in the following tables:

2017-2021: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1076459/outcomes-by-offence-tool-2021-v2.xlsx
2016: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1063880/outcomes-by-offence-2020-revised.xlsx
2005-2015: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/524326/cjs-outcomes-by-offence.xlsx

To view the relevant figures in these tables, select ‘191A Television licence evasion’ in the Offence filter.

The number of people convicted for TV licence evasion in the years between 1992 and 2004 can be found in the attached tables. Table 1 sets out the number of convictions for television licence evasion in this period under the Communications Act 2003. Table 2 sets out convictions for offences against the Wireless Telegraphy Acts, 1949 to 1967 in the same period. While television licence evasion was an offence under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949, the figures in Table 2 may include other offences under the specified Acts.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions her Department has had with the BBC regarding online harassment of female employees of that organisation.

DCMS ministers and officials have regular meetings with the BBC on a range of issues. Details of ministerial meetings are published on the GOV.UK website.

The Government is committed to helping ensure the safety of journalists in the UK. We have established a National Committee for the Safety of Journalists and published a national action plan setting out the steps that the government, the police, industry and others are taking to address this important issue.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has had discussions with the BBC on online harassment of employees of that company within that organisation in the last 12 months.

DCMS ministers and officials have regular meetings with the BBC on a range of issues. Details of ministerial meetings are published on the GOV.UK website.

The Government is committed to helping ensure the safety of journalists in the UK. We have established a National Committee for the Safety of Journalists and published a national action plan setting out the steps that the government, the police, industry and others are taking to address this important issue.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to protect children from (a) harmful online content and (b) pornography.

Protecting children online is a priority for the government. The strongest protections in the Online Safety Bill are for children. All companies in scope will need to assess whether their service is likely to be accessed by children and if so, deliver additional protections to protect children from harmful content or activity. If they fail to do so, they will be subject to tough enforcement action by the regulator, Ofcom.

The Bill will cover all online sites that offer pornography, including commercial pornography sites, social media, video sharing platforms, forums and search engines. There is also a separate additional duty in the Bill which will require providers who publish pornographic content on their services to prevent children from accessing that content.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the definition of legal but harmful in the Online Safety Bill.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is currently reviewing the adult safety duties and the definition of content that is harmful to adults. This is to ensure that we strike the right balance between protecting users from harmful content online and protecting users’ rights to freedom of expression.

26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to promote and strengthen creative industries in the north of England.

We strongly believe that our booming creative industries can drive growth in towns and cities across our country, including in the north of England.

We have a number of initiatives underway to strengthen those industries, including £17.5m to expand the Creative Scale Up programme, supporting access to finance for high growth creative firms outside London. This builds on the successful pilot that has supported over 200 businesses in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and West of England. I was in Manchester this month to meet some of the alumni from that.

Seven places in the North have received funding from the Cultural Development Fund to support creative initiatives, including Wakefield, Grimsby, Barnsley, Berwick-on-Tweed, Middlesbrough, Rochdale and Stockport.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will take the steps to restrict online content that promotes suicide and self-harm to (a) children under 18, and (b) people of all ages, through the provisions of the Online Safety Bill.

The Online Safety Bill will offer strong protections for users of all ages from content promoting suicide and self-harm. Encouraging or assisting the suicide of another person is named as a priority offence in the Bill. All services in scope of the bill will need to take proportionate steps to prevent users from being exposed to this content.

The strongest protections in the Bill are for children, and providers of services which are likely to be accessed by children will need to protect them from harmful suicide and self-harm content, even if it is not illegal. Category 1 services (high risk, high reach services) will also need to set out in terms and conditions their policies for addressing harmful content to adults.

Search services play a key role in enabling users to encounter harmful content, such as content promoting self-harm and suicide. These services also have duties under the Bill to minimise all users’ exposure to illegal content, and minimise children’s exposure to harmful content in search results.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will take steps to ensure that small and medium media platforms restrict content that promote suicide and self-harm.

All companies in scope of the Online Safety Bill will have duties to proactively prevent the spread of content encouraging or assisting suicide. They will also have to protect children from harmful suicide and self-harm content, even if it is not illegal. While duties are proportionate to the risk of harm and a service’s capacity, these duties apply regardless of the size of the service.

The largest and highest risk services will also need to set out in terms and conditions their policies for addressing harmful content to adults. This will likely include types of legal content promoting self-harm.

This approach reflects the fact that this type of content is likely to cause the most harm on services with the largest audiences and a range of high-risk features, where it can spread quickly and reach large numbers of people.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she is taking steps to ensure that the Online Safety Bill includes a new offence of encouraging serious self-harm with malicious intent.

Under the Online Safety Bill, all in-scope services will need to remove and limit the spread of illegal content and activity online. Companies that are likely to be accessed by children will also need to protect them from harmful content, such as self-harm content. The largest sites will also be required to set out in terms of service their approach to addressing harmful content to adults and enforce these consistently.

The Government asked the Law Commission to review the criminal law for harmful communications. Following the Law Commission’s final report, the government accepted the recommended communications offences and the cyberflashing offence, which are being brought into law through the Online Safety Bill. The Government is considering the remaining recommendations, including a new offence to address the encouragement and assistance of self-harm. We will issue a full response to the Law Commission in due course.

The Government introduced the Online Safety Bill to Parliament on 17 March 2022.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the impact of the reduction in youth service funding in Kirklees on youth crime and anti-social behaviour in that area.

Local Authorities have a statutory duty to allocate funding to youth services in line with local need. This is funded from the Local Government settlement, which was over £12 billion this year. Police recorded incidents show a fall in Antisocial Behaviour since 2013/2014 from around 2.1 million to 1.7 million incidents in September 2021.

The Government recognises the vital role that accessible youth services and activities play in improving the life chances and wellbeing of young people. The Government is investing £560 million over the next 3 years in a new National Youth Guarantee, so that by 2025 every young person will have access to regular clubs and activities, adventures away from home and opportunities to volunteer.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress her Department has made on the Government consultation on whether to privatise Channel 4; and what her timetable is for announcing a decision on that matter.

The Government has consulted on the best ownership model to support Channel 4 for years to come. We have received around 60,000 consultation responses, and we are in the process of carefully considering all the views and evidence we have received to inform the government’s policy-making and final decision.

The Government’s response will be published in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to ensure that children are protected online.

Please refer to the answer for PQ 91839.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the impact on the creative and performing arts sector of the withdrawal of the £20 uplift to the standard allowance of universal credit.

We have not made an assessment on the impact of the removal of the £20 Universal Credit Uplift on the creative and performing arts sector. However, to ensure that work always pays, the government announced a reduction to the taper rate from 63% to 55% at the Spending Review, meaning claimants from sectors across the economy will be able to keep an additional 8p for every £1 of net income they earn.

The government is committed to supporting the creative and performing arts sectors, recently announcing a further £42m of investment in the creative industries at the Spending Review to help grow businesses in the creative industries and provide opportunity for people across the country. Additionally we will be funding the £800 million Live Events Reinsurance Scheme and an extension to the £500 million Film & TV Production Restart Scheme, to enable UK events and productions to thrive and plan with certainty.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps is she taking to ensure that fossil fuel advertisements are properly regulated.

Advertising in the UK is regulated through the Advertising Standards Association (ASA) and Ofcom. There are two main codes of practice for advertisers to uphold in the UK, these are the Committee of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice Codes (CAP and BCAP codes).

The most relevant sections of the code(s) are social responsibility, misleading advertising and offence. Section 11 of the CAP code covers Environmental Claims and cites rules around making sure communications are clear, quantifiable and ​substantive.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of hosting a festival to celebrate the design sector in Britain.

We recognise the important contribution of the design sector and we are working closely with the Design Council and the Design Business Association to explore further showcasing opportunities and their potential merits. The design sector has already had a number of great showcase events, including the Design Council’s recent webinars with industry experts.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help ensure that the creative industries do not suffer from skills shortages.

As the creative sector continues to grow and build back better from the pandemic, this Government understands the importance of ensuring that the creative industries do not suffer from skills shortages. That is why the Government has supported initiatives to boost training and employment opportunities in these sectors.

At this year’s Budget, the Chancellor announced a new £7m pilot fund to test ‘flexi-job’ apprenticeships, which will better suit the working practices of the creative industries and enable more young people to enter the workforce. This builds on the DCMS-funded ScreenSkills Apprenticeship Pilot with Netflix and Warner Media, relaunching this Summer with apprentices working across multiple productions and employers. DCMS also supports the industry-led Creative Careers Programme, which has to date showcased creative career pathways to over 115,000 pupils at over 1500 schools across England, as well as the Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme through which over 8000 creative industry placements are now available to young people across the country. DCMS has also commissioned the British Film Institute to undertake a UK Skills Review this year, into the skills needs of our world-leading screen industries.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support the recovery of the arts and design sector from the impact of the covid-19 pandemic.

The £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) has benefited the arts and design sector by providing support to organisations and businesses of all sizes, allowing them to stay open and continue operating where COVID restrictions permit. Over £1.2 billion has now been allocated to over 5000 organisations and sites across the country.

A further £300 million package, announced by the Chancellor at the Budget in March, represents the final tranche of funding for the CRF, and will focus on supporting organisations in distress due to the pandemic. The fund will be open to new applicants as well as previous CRF recipients.

The package is made up of several strands, including £218 million for an emergency fund for organisations who are at risk of ceasing to trade viably within 12 weeks and have not been supported by the CRF (unless by exception previous recipients require emergency support); a continuity fund offering support for those who have been previous recipients but now may be struggling to survive/reopen; a £35 million heritage stimulus fund to support essential capital projects; and £20 million for the Cultural Asset Fund.

The Government continues to keep all support and policies under review, and is in close contact with these sectors to understand the challenges they face.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of prioritising the arts and design sector as part of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda.

Levelling Up is a priority for this government, and the arts and design sectors are an essential component of this agenda. Investing in locally-led cultural, creative and heritage initiatives is even more important as we recover from the impact of Covid-19 and begin to build back better. We are committed to helping all places across the country to prosper and to unleash their full potential through levelling up those places that have not seen the full benefits of economic growth so far.

For example, we have recently launched the Cultural Investment Fund package, a landmark investment in cultural infrastructure, local museums and neighbourhood libraries. This will make £42 million of much-needed predominantly capital investment available this year across three streams.

Additionally, in March this year, the Government launched a new Levelling Up Fund worth £4bn for England. This will invest in local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities and will support economic recovery. This includes investment in high value local projects, regenerating eyesores, upgrading town centres and community infrastructure, and local arts and culture.

Later this year the Government will publish a Levelling Up White Paper setting out how new policy interventions will improve livelihoods across the country as we recover from the pandemic.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing further financial support to small businesses in the arts and design sector.

The £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) has benefited the arts and design sector by providing support to organisations and businesses of all sizes, allowing them to stay open and continue operating where COVID restrictions permit. Over £1.2 billion has now been allocated to over 5000 organisations and sites across the country.

A further £300 million package, announced by the Chancellor at the Budget in March, represents the final tranche of funding for the CRF, and will focus on supporting organisations through the pandemic. The fund will be open to new applicants as well as previous CRF recipients.

The package is made up of several strands, including £218 million for an emergency fund for organisations who are at risk of ceasing to trade viably within 12 weeks and have not been supported by the CRF (unless by exception previous recipients require emergency support); a continuity fund offering support for those who have been previous recipients but now may be struggling to survive/reopen; a £35 million heritage stimulus fund to support essential capital projects; and £20 million for the Cultural Asset Fund.

The Government continues to keep all support and policies under review, and is in close contact with these sectors to understand the challenges they face.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent estimate his Department has made of the contribution of the arts and design sector to the economy.

The most recent data available from the DCMS Provisional Sector Economic Estimates shows that the arts sub sector contributed £7.9bn GVA in 2019, while the GVA of the design and designer fashion subsector was £3.6bn.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what preparatory steps he is taking in advance of the mid-term review of the Royal Charter for the continuance of the BBC; what timeline has been set out for those preparations over the next 12 months; and whether terms of reference have been drafted for that review which will be made publicly available.

The Royal Charter sets out that the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport must determine the scope and terms of reference (including the timing) of the review following consultation with the BBC, Ofcom, the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers and the Northern Ireland Ministers.

The Mid-Term Review must not be undertaken before 2022 but the government has been clear that preparatory work will begin immediately.

27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the terms of reference for the mid-term review of the Royal Charter for the continuance of the BBC.

The Royal Charter sets out that the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport must determine the scope and terms of reference (including the timing) of the review following consultation with the BBC, Ofcom, the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers and the Northern Ireland Ministers.

The Mid-Term Review must not be undertaken before 2022 but the government has been clear that preparatory work will begin immediately.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to reduce misinformation on social media.

The Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously and DCMS is leading work across Government to tackle it. In response to the harmful disinformation and misinformation relating to Covid-19 we stood up the Cross-Whitehall Counter Disinformation Unit on 5 March 2020, which brings together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities.

We are working with social media platforms to support the introduction of systems and processes that promote authoritative sources of information, and to help them identify and take action to remove misinformation, in line with their terms and conditions.

We have seen positive steps taken by social media platforms to curtail the spread of harmful and misleading narratives related to Covid-19 and promote the Government and NHS messaging on the matter. However, there is clearly more to do, and we will continue to put pressure on platforms to ensure that their policies and enforcement are fit for purpose, whilst still respecting freedom of expression.

The Online Safety Bill will bring in a new legal duty of care on how online companies will work in practice, giving them new responsibilities towards their users. The Bill will tackle dangerous disinformation and misinformation, such as misleading content about coronavirus vaccines, and will help bridge the gap between what companies say they do to address harmful content, and what happens in practice.

30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to decriminalise non-payment of the TV licence fee.

The government believes that it is right to look again at whether the criminal sanction remains appropriate for TV licence fee evasion, given ongoing concerns about whether the criminal sanction is unfair and disproportionate.

On 5 February 2020, the Government launched a public consultation on decriminalising TV licence evasion.

The consultation closed on 1 April, and received over 150,000 responses. We will listen carefully to those that have responded before setting out our next steps.

25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure the transparency of the process by which funds are allocated through the Dormant Accounts Scheme.

Funding unlocked through the Dormant Assets Scheme is distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF). Each nation in the UK directs TNLCF on how to distribute its allocation of the funding to social or environmental causes. In England, it is directed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and must be spent on causes related to youth, financial inclusion, or social investment. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Ministers direct funding to various youth and environmental initiatives. For example, the Welsh government has spent over £2m on a mix of projects focussing on climate change and sustainability.

The Government will soon publish a response to the consultation on expanding the Dormant Assets Scheme to include a wider range of financial assets. This is a long term process, also involving discussion on how potential future dormant assets funding could be spent.

25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of funds from the Dormant Account Scheme has been allocated to environmental causes in each year since that scheme’s creation.

Funding unlocked through the Dormant Assets Scheme is distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF). Each nation in the UK directs TNLCF on how to distribute its allocation of the funding to social or environmental causes. In England, it is directed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and must be spent on causes related to youth, financial inclusion, or social investment. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Ministers direct funding to various youth and environmental initiatives. For example, the Welsh government has spent over £2m on a mix of projects focussing on climate change and sustainability.

The Government will soon publish a response to the consultation on expanding the Dormant Assets Scheme to include a wider range of financial assets. This is a long term process, also involving discussion on how potential future dormant assets funding could be spent.

25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to increase the proportion of funds from the Dormant Account Scheme that are required to be allocated to environmental causes.

Funding unlocked through the Dormant Assets Scheme is distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF). Each nation in the UK directs TNLCF on how to distribute its allocation of the funding to social or environmental causes. In England, it is directed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and must be spent on causes related to youth, financial inclusion, or social investment. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Ministers direct funding to various youth and environmental initiatives. For example, the Welsh government has spent over £2m on a mix of projects focussing on climate change and sustainability.

The Government will soon publish a response to the consultation on expanding the Dormant Assets Scheme to include a wider range of financial assets. This is a long term process, also involving discussion on how potential future dormant assets funding could be spent.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of gambling advertising in football on the wellbeing of young people.

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

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

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

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce gambling-related harm during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

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

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

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the number of people revoking their self-exclusions to gambling during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

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

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

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the accessibility of gambling to people who are under the legal age for that activity.

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

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

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

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of gambling services on the high street in the last 10 years.

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

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

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

Table: Land-based gambling premises numbers

Year to

Total

Arcades

Betting

Bingo

Casino

31/03/2011

12,307

2,396

9,067

695

149

31/03/2012

12,462

2,542

9,128

646

146

31/03/2013

11,957

2,033

9,100

680

144

31/03/2014

11,999

2,031

9,111

710

147

31/03/2015

11,758

1,941

8,995

674

148

31/03/2016

11,615

1,894

8,915

654

152

31/03/2017

11,404

1,819

8,800

635

150

31/03/2018

11,069

1,701

8,559

657

152

31/03/2019

10,781

1,656

8,320

651

154

30/09/2019

9,745

1,633

7,315

642

155

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to reduce the prevalence rate for problem gambling on online slots, casino and bingo games.

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

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

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

Table: Land-based gambling premises numbers

Year to

Total

Arcades

Betting

Bingo

Casino

31/03/2011

12,307

2,396

9,067

695

149

31/03/2012

12,462

2,542

9,128

646

146

31/03/2013

11,957

2,033

9,100

680

144

31/03/2014

11,999

2,031

9,111

710

147

31/03/2015

11,758

1,941

8,995

674

148

31/03/2016

11,615

1,894

8,915

654

152

31/03/2017

11,404

1,819

8,800

635

150

31/03/2018

11,069

1,701

8,559

657

152

31/03/2019

10,781

1,656

8,320

651

154

30/09/2019

9,745

1,633

7,315

642

155

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure clarity on the guidance for choirs and choral societies who wish to meet and rehearse during the covid-19 outbreak.

As of 14 September non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between groups of more than six at any time. If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups of no more than six (including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising) then such non-professional activity should not take place.

We will continue to work with the Performing Arts sector to understand how the new regulations affect those engaging in activity. We have always been clear that the easing of restrictions depends on the prevalence of COVID-19.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to protect jobs in cultural industries.

In March, the Government implemented an unprecedented package to support businesses, charitable organisations, workers and the self-employed through the Coronavirus crisis. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and business rates relief in particular are providing support to organisations across the arts sector. CBILS for example, has made it easier for SMEs with a turnover of up to £45 million to access vital financial support during these difficult times.

The extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was announced in May, which was extended to the end of July, with more flexibility being introduced from August to October.

On 5 July, DCMS announced a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will provide targeted support to organisations across a range of sectors, including performing arts and theatres, museums and galleries, heritage sites, live music venues and independent cinema.

As a result of these grants and loans, organisations will be more able to resume cultural activity, albeit in a socially distanced way. Each organisation that receives money will know what best they can do to support their workforce and keep job losses to a minimum. We recognise the crucial role that individuals play in making our arts and creative industries world-leading, and DCMS are doing everything we can to aid in the protection of jobs, especially as the sector begins to reopen.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what guidance his Department has published on swimming pools reopening during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government recognises the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and we agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by an understanding of the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this in the coming weeks.

The government is actively working towards a safe way to re-open these facilities, with supporting guidance.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will hold discussions with representatives of the BBC on reinstating the TV licence concession for the over-75s.

The Secretary of State has met with the Chairman of the BBC Board and the Director-General of the BBC and asked them to do more to help those affected by its decision

The Government is disappointed with the BBC's decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those aged over 75 and in receipt of Pension Credit.

We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe that they should be funded by the BBC.

2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report entitled Outcomes of the review of the initial teacher training core content framework and early career framework, published in January 2024, whether her Department held discussions with autistic people and their families as part of that review.

The department has reviewed the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework alongside the Early Career Framework (ECF) during 2023, in partnership with the Education Endowment Foundation and groups of sector experts, including Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) specialists. This included a public call for evidence. Following this review, the updated and combined Initial Teacher Training and Early Career Framework (ITTECF) was published on 30 January 2024, for delivery from 2025.

The department’s review of content for the ITTECF paid particular attention to the needs of trainees and Early Career Teachers (ECTs) when supporting pupils with SEND. There is now significantly more content related to adaptive teaching and supporting pupils with SEND, some of which has been adapted from the new National Professional Qualification for Special Educational Needs (SEN) Coordinators to be relevant for trainees and ECTs. The department has also made some edits to existing statements to improve inclusivity for SEND throughout the framework.

Recognising the importance of ensuring trainees and ECTs are confident in supporting pupils with SEND to succeed. The department will also be enhancing the requirements on ECF lead providers when creating SEND exemplification materials.

The ITTECF is based on the best peer-reviewed evidence about what works and is designed to emphasise the importance of high-quality teaching. The framework therefore deliberately does not detail approaches specific to particular additional needs, such as autism, but what makes the most effective teaching. When reviewing the frameworks in 2023, the department tested this approach with SEND educational experts, with the consensus that the approach of ‘quality-first teaching’ would be the best way to improve outcomes for all children, particularly those with SEN.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the recommendations in the Education Report 2023, published by the National Autistic Society on 30 May 2023.

The department is aware of the recommendations outlined in the National Autistic Society’s (NAS) Education Report. The department regularly engages with the NAS, for instance testing the reforms set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan.

​​The department’s ambition is for all children and young people, no matter what their SEND, to receive the right support to succeed in their education, and as they move into adult life. The department wants them to achieve well in their early years, at school and in further education, to find employment, lead happy and fulfilled lives, and to experience choice and control.

​​In the SEND and AP Improvement Plan, the department set out its vision to improve mainstream education through setting standards for early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and who is responsible for securing the support. This will give parents confidence and clarity on how their child’s needs will be met.​

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance her Department issues on adapting school environments to support the needs of autistic students.

I refer the hon. Member for Huddersfield to the answer of 12 February 2024 to Question 11638.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made a recent assessment of the impact of relaxing staff to pupil ratios for early years education on children with Special Educational Needs.

The department is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for all children and as part of the ratio consultation it was important for the department to consider the possible impact proposals would have on different groups. Any potential impacts identified by respondents on people who share protected characteristics including children with Special Education Needs were considered.

The government trusts that setting managers know their children and their staff best, and fully supports the judgement of setting managers and practitioners to work at the ratios that are right for the individual needs of their staff and children. The changes to ratios will continue to be a statutory minimum requirement for settings, and there will be no obligation on providers to operate at the statutory minimums.

To support providers in meeting the needs of their children, the department is also investing an additional £204 million in 2023/24 to increase the hourly funding rate to providers, and £4.1 billion by 2027/28 to deliver a significantly expanded free hours offer. This sits alongside offer an Early Years Pupil Premium, through which providers can get up to £342 per year extra funding to support eligible children, including the most disadvantaged.

A full response to the consultation can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1142987/Childcare_regulatory_changes_government_consultation_response.pdf.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with the National Union of Teachers on the notice provided of future levels of funding for physical activity in the last 12 months.

The National Union of Teachers and Association of Teachers and Lecturers amalgamated in 2017 to form the National Education Union (NEU).

Departmental Ministers and officials have had extensive engagement with the NEU and the other teacher and headteacher unions on school funding. Through the primary physical education (PE) and sport premium, the Department has devoted over £2 billion of ringfenced funding to primary schools to improve PE and sport since 2013. On 8 March 2023, the Government announced over £600 million of funding across the next two academic years for the PE and Sport Premium and £22 million to fund the School Games Organiser network. The Department is aware of the importance for schools to have this timely confirmation of funding, which will allow them to effectively plan and implement high quality PE and school sport for pupils.

29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many people are training for a full and relevant qualification in early years and childcare and are due to qualify by September 2025.

During the 2021/22 academic year (the latest year of available data) there were 52,650 students studying Early Years and childcare qualifications.

This was comprised of 48,400 learners studying qualifications at English further education (FE) providers and 4,250 full-person-equivalent entrants to Early Years subject areas at English higher education (HE) providers

For HE, Early Years subjects were defined by the ‘Higher Education Classification of Subject’ (HECOS) codes ‘100457 early childhood studies’, ‘100463 early years education’ and ‘100510 early years teaching’, or any course aim leading to Early Years Teacher Status, such as H12, I12 and I73. For FE, Early Years qualifications were defined as those on the ‘Early Years qualifications achieved in the United Kingdom’ list, which is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-qualifications-achieved-in-england.

The department does not forecast the number of learners predicted to achieve these qualifications by September 2025.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the course completion rate is for people taking full qualifications at (a) NVQ Level 2, (b) NVQ Level 3, (c) T-Level in education and early years, (d) early years apprenticeships, (e) early childhood degree with practitioner competencies and (f) early years Initial Teacher Training.

In the 2021/22 academic year, the adult (19+) education and training achievement rate for learning at National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 2 was 83.4%, and the adult (19+) education and training achievement rate for learning at NVQ Level 3 was 75.7%.

The apprenticeship achievement rate for the Early Years Educator apprenticeship was 53.3%, and the Early Years Practitioner was 42.7% in the 2021/22 academic year. Further information is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/4a09cee3-e95c-43e2-36e4-08db30eaf34e. The early years lead practitioner apprenticeship was introduced in August 2021 and typically takes 24 months to complete, which means achievement rate data is not currently available.

The department’s provisional T Level results publication shows data on the outcomes achieved by T Level students in the 2021/22 academic year and is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/provisional-t-level-results/2021-22. It shows that 450 students on the Education and Childcare T Level subject area received a ‘Pass’ or above, leading to a pass rate of 93.4% for those who took the assessment. Whilst the 2020 T Level Action Plan shows that approximately 650 initially started an Education and Childcare T Level in September 2020, some students moved to different courses after enrolment. This is a reflection of the novel nature of T Levels and of the impact of the pandemic on students’ learning at that time.

T Levels are being rolled out in a phased approach to ensure high quality. The number of providers will increase year on year and the department expects student numbers to grow significantly over the next few years. In September 2022, over 2,000 students started a T Level in Education and Childcare. While the majority are expected to study the Early Years occupational specialism, students do not need to make their final decision until the end of their first year of learning.

For early years initial teacher training, in the 2020/21 academic year, there were 527 final year postgraduate early years teacher trainees, of which 463 (88%) were awarded early years status. Further information is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/initial-teacher-training-performance-profiles.

The department continues to explore how to best support the early years sector to recruit and retain the staff it needs. We will work closely with the sector to develop plans to grow and support the workforce. The department will share further information in due course.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2023 to Question 127698 on Foster Care: Recruitment, whether her Department monitors overall numbers of active foster carers.

The department is closely monitoring the numbers of foster carers and recognises the urgency of action in placement sufficiency. The department published Stable Homes, Built on Love on 2 February 2023, this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/childrens-social-care-stable-homes-built-on-love.

The response to the independent care review can be found here: https://childrenssocialcare.independent-review.uk/.

This sets out a £27 million plan to deliver a fostering recruitment and retention programme so foster care is available for more children who need it.

Finances are often mentioned as a reason for foster carers deregistering. To alleviate this issue, we have increased the National Minimum Allowance by more than inflation to 12.43% this year.

The data on capacity and occupancy of foster places is published annually by Ofsted, with the latest data available at: https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=https%3A%2F%2Fassets.publishing.service.gov.uk%2Fgovernment%2Fuploads%2Fsystem%2Fuploads%2Fattachment_data%2Ffile%2F1115709%2FFostering_in_England_underlying_data_2022_-_FINAL__ODS_.ods&wdOrigin=BROWSELINK.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 19 January 2023 to Question 127698 on Foster Care: Recruitment, whether she has made a recent assessment of the adequacy of retention levels for foster carers; and if she will make an assessment of the impact of retention levels on the number of foster carers in the UK.

The department is closely monitoring the numbers of foster carers and recognises the urgency of action in placement sufficiency. The department published Stable Homes, Built on Love on 2 February 2023, this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/childrens-social-care-stable-homes-built-on-love.

The response to the independent care review can be found here: https://childrenssocialcare.independent-review.uk/.

This sets out a £27 million plan to deliver a fostering recruitment and retention programme so foster care is available for more children who need it.

Finances are often mentioned as a reason for foster carers deregistering. To alleviate this issue, we have increased the National Minimum Allowance by more than inflation to 12.43% this year.

The data on capacity and occupancy of foster places is published annually by Ofsted, with the latest data available at: https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=https%3A%2F%2Fassets.publishing.service.gov.uk%2Fgovernment%2Fuploads%2Fsystem%2Fuploads%2Fattachment_data%2Ffile%2F1115709%2FFostering_in_England_underlying_data_2022_-_FINAL__ODS_.ods&wdOrigin=BROWSELINK.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the National Education Union on the working conditions of teaching and associated staff in the last 12 months.

The Department’s Ministers and officials have been regularly meeting with the National Education Union (NEU), other unions and representative bodies to discuss the working conditions of teachers and associated staff.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education wrote to the NEU, inviting them to build on the constructive discussions that have taken place in recent weeks and move into formal talks on pay, conditions and reform to resolve the current trade dispute.

It is disappointing the NEU has refused this serious offer and has not called off strikes.

1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2022 to Question 37614 on Schools: Buildings, which schools in Huddersfield constituency had at least one construction element in (a) condition grade C and (b) condition grade D when that data was collated; and which of those schools (a) have already received funding from the School Rebuilding Programme and (b) are expected to receive funding from the School Rebuilding Programme in the next two years.

The Condition Data Collection (CDC) is one of the largest and most comprehensive data collection programmes in the UK’s public sector. It collected data on the building condition of government funded schools in England. It provides a robust evidence base to enable the Department to target capital funding for maintaining and rebuilding school buildings.

The key, high level findings of the CDC programme were published in May 2021 in the ‘Condition of School Buildings Survey: Key Findings’ report. This is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/989912/Condition_of_School_Buildings_Survey_CDC1_-_key_findings_report.pdf.

Individual CDC reports have been shared with every school and their responsible body to use alongside their existing condition surveys to plan maintenance schedules and investment plans. The Department plans to publish detailed school level CDC data. The Department is still preparing the data and will publish it as soon as possible.

Well maintained, safe school buildings are a priority for the Department. Our funding is directed both to maintaining the condition of the school estate and rebuilding schools. The Department has allocated over £13 billion for improving the condition of schools since 2015, including £1.8 billion committed this financial year.

The ten year School Rebuilding Programme (SRP) is condition led. 400 of the 500 available places on the programme have been provisionally allocated. A list of these schools and the methodology used to select them is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme-schools-in-the-programme.

The following table shows the constituencies specified that have schools or colleges selected for the SRP:

Parliamentary constituency

Schools selected for SRP

Huddersfield

Greenhead College, announced February 2021

Rochdale

Kingsway Park High School, announced February 2021 Littleborough Community Primary School, announced February 2021

The 239 schools announced in December 2022 will enter delivery at a rate of approximately 50 per year, over a five year period from 2023. The Department is currently undertaking due diligence on these schools prior to scheduling them, with schools prioritised according to the condition of their buildings, readiness to proceed, and efficiency of delivery. The scope and funding for each project will be confirmed following detailed feasibility studies and condition surveys of buildings.

Where a school identifies significant safety issues with a building, that cannot be managed within local resources, the Department considers additional support on a case-by-case basis. This includes applications for Urgent Capital Support (UCS) from eligible institutions. Schools eligible for Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) can apply for UCS where there are urgent health and safety issues that threaten school closure and cannot wait until the next CIF bidding round.

19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she is taking steps to ensure that her Department consults young people who have spent time in Supported Lodgings on all policy developments related to supported lodgings provision.

The department recognises that supported accommodation, which includes supported lodgings, can be the right option for some older children, where it is high quality and where the young person is ready for the level of independence it promotes. We are investing over £140 million to introduce mandatory national standards and Ofsted registration and inspection of providers who accommodate looked-after children and care leavers aged 16 and 17 in supported accommodation.

In developing these vital reforms, the department has consulted young people with experience of care at every step.

The department recently published a consultation aimed directly at care-experienced children and young people, which sought their views on proposed new quality standards for supported accommodation, the proposed new requirements on the providers of this provision, and how Ofsted should register, inspect, and take action against providers. This consultation received 60 responses from care-experienced young people, and the department is carefully considering this input. A response will be published in due course. This consultation document can be accessed at: https://consult.education.gov.uk/regulating-supported-accommodation-team/regulating-supported-accommodation/.

This recent consultation builds on years of engagement with care-experienced young people on these reforms, including focus groups which gathered the views of over 220 care-experienced young people, and a previous public consultation which received 69 responses. This continued engagement with children and young people has been invaluable, and has truly helped the department to develop a set of quality standards and accompanying regulatory model which will ensure that supported accommodation can deliver the absolute best for the 16 and 17-year-olds who are ready for the level of independence it brings.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of equalising access to adoption (a) leave and (b) pay by introducing an adoption allowance for self-employed adoptive parents.

The department recognises that it is crucial to the success of an adoption placement that the adopter has time to care for and bond with their child.

Self-employed adoptive parents may be supported in a range of ways by local authorities, including through financial support where applicable, as set out in the statutory guidance on adoption. This states that local authorities should consider making a payment, equivalent to Maternity Allowance, in cases where adopters do not qualify for any statutory payment because of their self-employment. This payment is discretionary and is means-tested to ensure that resources are targeted at those adopters who need it most, as part of a package of post-adoption support.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of trends in the level of recruitment for foster carers; and if she will take steps to increase the rate of recruitment for foster carers.

The department closely monitors data and research in trends relating to the recruitment of foster carers. Recognising the urgency of action in placement sufficiency, we will prioritise working with local authorities to recruit more foster carers. This will include pathfinder local recruitment campaigns that build towards a national programme, to help ensure that children have access to the right placements at the right time. As the Care Review recommends, the department will focus on providing more support throughout the application process, to improve the conversion rate from expressions of interest to approved foster carers. More information on foster care placements can be found here: https://childrenssocialcare.independent-review.uk/final-report/.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to help ensure that children in Huddersfield receive the necessary nutritional support from educational bodies.

The School Food Standards regulate the food and drink provided by schools. Compliance with the Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools, including academies and free schools.

The Government spends over £1 billion annually delivering free school meals (FSM) to pupils in schools. Around 1.9 million disadvantaged pupils are eligible for FSM, as well as an additional 1.25 million infants who receive a free meal under the Universal Infant Free School Meal (UIFSM) policy. Together, this provides support to over one third of all pupils in schools.

Schools also provide children in Key Stage 1 with a free piece of fruit or vegetable each day through the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme, jointly funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education.

In February 2022, the Levelling Up White Paper outlined what the Department is doing to strengthen adherence with the School Food Standards. This includes piloting work with the Food Standards Agency, investing up to £200,000 in a pilot Governor Training Scheme, and encouraging schools to complete a statement on their school websites which sets out their whole school approach to food.

The Department is investing up to £30 million in the national school breakfast programme until the end of the 2024 summer term. 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. The Department is also investing over £200 million a year in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which provides free holiday club places with healthy meals and enriching activities to children from low income families.

The National Curriculum sets the expectation that pupils are taught about the importance of healthy eating and nutrition. This is covered in the design and technology curriculum in Key Stages 1 to 3. The principles of a healthy and varied diet are also covered in health education, which became compulsory in state funded schools in England from September 2020.

Since September 2015, Ofsted inspectors look at how a school’s curriculum supports pupils’ knowledge on how to keep themselves healthy, including through exercising and healthy eating. The Department has also introduced a new food preparation and nutrition GCSE to teach pupils practical cookery and the underlying scientific concepts of nutrition and healthy eating.

The Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework (EYFS) sets the standards that all early years providers must meet for the learning, development and care of children from birth to age five. There is a requirement within the EYFS that states where children are provided with meals, snacks and drinks, they must be healthy, balanced and nutritious. It is up to early years providers to ensure they are meeting this requirement.

20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of sensory food play for the health of children.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework sets out the standards that all early years providers must meet for the learning, development and care of children from birth to age five.

The department has published an article promoting sensory food education on the ‘Help for early years providers’ online platform, which is a resource for childminders, nursery leaders and pre-school practitioners. This supports practitioners to look at incorporating sensory food education into their practice, while delivering the statutory EYFS requirements. The sensory food education article can be found here: https://help-for-early-years-providers.education.gov.uk/get-help-to-improve-your-practice/sensory-food-education.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
8th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has had discussions with representatives of the University of Huddersfield on (a) staff pay and (b) working conditions in the last 12 months.

Whilst the department has not met specifically with the University of Huddersfield, we have regular meetings with representatives of trade unions that have members in the higher education sector, including the University and College Union, as well as with Universities UK and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association.

These discussions include matters related to industrial disputes, such as use of fixed-term and casual contracts, the health of the Universities Superannuation Scheme pension fund and data on impacts of strikes on students and their learning, but not the industrial disputes themselves.

Universities are autonomous and responsible for the pay and pension provision of their staff.  While the government plays no role in such disputes, we hope all parties can reach an agreement that delivers good value for students, staff and the universities, so that industrial action can be avoided.

The department hopes that all sides can work together so that students do not suffer with further learning loss. Any students worried about the impact of strikes on their education are encouraged to raise this with their university.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to help students make sustainable financial decisions when at university.

The department has worked with the Office for Students (OfS) and Student Minds to provide Student Space, a mental health and wellbeing online platform designed to bridge any gaps in support for students, which will work alongside existing services. Student Space provides advice and information on student finances, including advice on how to budget whilst at university. This service can be found here: https://studentspace.org.uk/wellbeing/how-to-make-a-student-budget.

Student Space is funded with up to £3.6 million by the OfS and the HE Funding Council Wales. It has now received a funding commitment of £262,500 annually for three years to extend this provision of online mental health and wellbeing support to all students in England and Wales until 2026.

This online platform is complemented by a wide range of budgeting advice available directly from Higher Education (HE) providers, as well as other sources online.

The department has also made £261 million of student premium funding available this academic year to support disadvantaged HE students who need additional help. The department has worked with the OfS to ensure universities support students in hardship using both hardship funds and drawing on the student premium.

Living costs support has also been increased by 2.3% for maximum loans and grants for living and other costs for the current academic year, 2022/23. Students who have been awarded a loan for living costs for the 2022/23 academic year that is lower than the maximum, and whose household income for the tax year 2022/23 has dropped by at least 15% compared to the income provided for their original assessment, can apply for their entitlement to be reassessed.

The government is reviewing options for uprating maximum loans and grants for the 2023/24 academic year and an announcement will follow shortly.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to help ensure young people are supported in choosing the type of undergraduate qualification and courses suitable to their needs.

The department is funding careers in schools and colleges through the Careers and Enterprise Company with up to £30.6 million during the financial year 2022/23, to support them to implement the Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Careers Guidance. The Gatsby Benchmarks provide a framework for the delivery of high-quality careers guidance. This includes encounters with further and higher education to help all pupils understand the full range of learning opportunities that are available to them.

Young people aged 13 and above can also access direct careers advice through the National Careers Service via a dedicated helpline and webchat, as well as through a national website. The government is also delivering the ‘Get the Jump’ campaign, designed to promote the full range of post-16 and post-18 education and training opportunities available to young people.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to ensure university league table competition works in the best interests of students.

The department does not have a role in the compiling of university league tables. They are the responsibility of the newspapers that compile and publish them.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to regulate how universities (a) advertise and (b) sell their university courses to prevent mis-selling to students.

Universities are responsible for their own advertising. The Competition and Markets Authority has produced guidance to the sector on their responsibilities under consumer protection law, including what material information about courses they should provide prospective students. A new partnership, announced on 24 November, between the higher education (HE) regulator, the Office for Students (OfS), and National Trading Standards includes tackling misleading precontract information that students rely on when choosing their course. We are also working with the sector to agree ways in which they might incorporate key pieces of data into their course advertising, so that students better understand what outcomes they might expect from courses at the point at which courses are being sold to them.

The department is clear that universities should be transparent about the content of their courses and the likely outcomes that students can expect from them. Discover Uni is a tool, which is owned and operated by the four UK HE funding and regulatory bodies. It is the official, authoritative source of information and guidance to HE courses in the UK and is designed to help prospective students make the right choices about what and where to study, by allowing users to search for and compare information and data for individual undergraduate courses across the UK. The OfS sets the expectation that HE providers will display a link to the Discover Uni website on their course website pages to help prospective students make informed decisions about the courses they sign-up to.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she is taking to help stop the mis-selling of university courses to young people.

Universities are responsible for their own advertising. The Competition and Markets Authority has produced guidance to the sector on their responsibilities under consumer protection law, including what material information about courses they should provide prospective students. A new partnership, announced on 24 November, between the higher education (HE) regulator, the Office for Students (OfS), and National Trading Standards includes tackling misleading precontract information that students rely on when choosing their course. We are also working with the sector to agree ways in which they might incorporate key pieces of data into their course advertising, so that students better understand what outcomes they might expect from courses at the point at which courses are being sold to them.

The department is clear that universities should be transparent about the content of their courses and the likely outcomes that students can expect from them. Discover Uni is a tool, which is owned and operated by the four UK HE funding and regulatory bodies. It is the official, authoritative source of information and guidance to HE courses in the UK and is designed to help prospective students make the right choices about what and where to study, by allowing users to search for and compare information and data for individual undergraduate courses across the UK. The OfS sets the expectation that HE providers will display a link to the Discover Uni website on their course website pages to help prospective students make informed decisions about the courses they sign-up to.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
11th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department plans to increase student finance in line with inflation in the 2023-24 academic year.

The government is reviewing options for uprating maximum loans and grants for the 2023/24 academic year and an announcement will be made in due course.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has held discussions with the National Union of Apprenticeships on raising the apprentice minimum wage to the national living wage in the last 12 months.

The department is committed to supporting more people into high-quality apprenticeships. We want to ensure that apprentice minimum pay rates support learners of all ages and backgrounds to enter and complete apprenticeships.

The independent Low Pay Commission advises the government on minimum pay rates, including the apprentice national minimum wage rate. Its recommendations follow public consultation, which stakeholders are able to feed into.

The Low Pay Commission will shortly set out its recommendations on minimum pay rates from April 2023.

Most employers pay their apprentices more than the minimum. The Apprenticeship Evaluation Learner Survey 2021 data shows that the median basic hourly pay for apprentices in 2021 was £8.23 for Intermediate (Level 2) and £9.09 for Advanced (Level 3) apprentices, £12.51 for Level 4 and 5 apprentices and £14.48 for Level 6 and 7 apprentices.

The department continues to offer bursaries and additional payments to support eligible individuals, such as 16 to 24-year-old care-leavers, into apprenticeships.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had recent discussions with the National Union of Teachers on proposals in the Schools Bill and their potential effect on the membership of that union.

The aims of the measures in the Schools Bill are to deliver a stronger and fairer school system that works for every child and to deliver essential safeguarding measures to ensure that more children receive a suitable and safe education. We have had extensive engagement on the provisions in the Schools Bill with many representative bodies and unions, including the National Education Union (NEU). NEU was formed from the amalgamation of the National Union of Teachers and Association of Teachers and Lecturers in 2017.

20th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department is taking steps to encourage schools to install HEPA filters in classrooms.

The department has published guidance, Building Bulletin 101 (BB101), which provides guidelines on indoor and outdoor air quality in new and refurbished schools. More information on BB101 can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-bulletin-101-ventilation-for-school-buildings.

To support schools, the department provided over 8,000 air cleaning units with HEPA filters as a temporary measure while any identified, underlying ventilation issues were addressed. More information can be found at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/delivery-of-air-cleaning-units.

Indoor air pollutants can be managed using mechanical or natural ventilation systems. Air cleaning units are not a substitute for ventilation and should never be used as a reason to reduce ventilation. They are not necessary in spaces that are adequately ventilated.

7th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with her Ukrainian counterpart on the Ukrainian Books for Ukrainian Children scheme.

The department stands with Ukraine and continues to work across government to ensure we are supporting all Ukrainians in the UK to give them the same access to education and childcare as a UK citizen.

The scheme referred to is known as the Books Without Borders project. Backed by the First Lady of Ukraine, it is led by the Ukrainian Embassy, Publishers Association and Publishers’ Licensing Services. The purpose is to publish Ukrainian books in the UK which can be freely given to Ukrainian children and young people. Department officials are working closely with all involved to ensure the initiative is as successful as possible.


7th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make enquiries with officials in his Department on how his Department might support the Ukrainian Books for Ukrainian Children scheme to transfer children's books from Ukraine to the UK.

The department stands with Ukraine and continues to work across government to ensure we are supporting all Ukrainians in the UK to give them the same access to education and childcare as a UK citizen.

The scheme referred to is known as the Books Without Borders project. Backed by the First Lady of Ukraine, it is led by the Ukrainian Embassy, Publishers Association and Publishers’ Licensing Services. The purpose is to publish Ukrainian books in the UK which can be freely given to Ukrainian children and young people. Department officials are working closely with all involved to ensure the initiative is as successful as possible.


7th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to support the Ukrainian Books for Ukrainian Children initiative that seeks to transfer children's books from Ukraine to the UK.

The department stands with Ukraine and continues to work across government to ensure we are supporting all Ukrainians in the UK to give them the same access to education and childcare as a UK citizen.

The scheme referred to is known as the Books Without Borders project. Backed by the First Lady of Ukraine, it is led by the Ukrainian Embassy, Publishers Association and Publishers’ Licensing Services. The purpose is to publish Ukrainian books in the UK which can be freely given to Ukrainian children and young people. Department officials are working closely with all involved to ensure the initiative is as successful as possible.


22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of current routes into the teaching profession.

Following the department’s commitment to review the initial teacher training (ITT) market in the 2019 Teacher Recruitment and Retention strategy, we welcomed the expert advisory group’s recommendations to define all ITT that leads to qualified teacher status within three core routes of undergraduate, postgraduate fee-funded, and postgraduate employment-based.

By 2024, a reformed ITT provider market will be delivering quality-assured training that places a greater emphasis than ever before on embedding structured practice into courses, ensuring trainees are ready to thrive in the classroom in their early careers. The department is also working with stakeholders as part of the scheduled review of the employment-based postgraduate teacher apprenticeship route.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of current routes into the teaching profession for teaching assistants without a university degree.

The department is committed to supporting teaching assistants to become qualified teachers, including through providing accessible routes into the teaching profession.

Teaching assistants that have a degree can choose from various routes, including the School Direct (tuition fees) placement or School Direct (salaried places). Both routes carry the award of qualified teacher status (QTS) and some may lead to the award of a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).

An alternative route into teaching is through an apprenticeship.

Currently, schools have access to a range of apprenticeship standards, including the level three teaching assistant apprenticeship and level six postgraduate teacher apprenticeship (PGTA). The level six PGTA is only available to those with a degree. The department is working with all interested parties to improve the PGTA for providers, employers, and candidates as part of its scheduled review.

There are a range of other routes into teaching, including PGCE or postgraduate diploma in education (PGDE) for those with an undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification. Additionally, qualified teacher learning and skills status (QTLS) allows those without degrees to teach in schools, providing they meet the eligibility criteria. Those without a degree can also train to teach through an undergraduate degree. Unlike the apprenticeships and School Direct routes, these routes do not allow teaching assistants to train within a school they may already be employed in.

While teaching is a graduate profession, the department is working with interested parties to consider how teaching assistants and others working in schools can attain the relevant qualifications to become teachers.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to provide support to teaching assistants in transitioning to become fully qualified teachers.

The department is committed to supporting teaching assistants to become qualified teachers, including through providing accessible routes into the teaching profession.

Teaching assistants that have a degree can choose from various routes, including the School Direct (tuition fees) placement or School Direct (salaried places). Both routes carry the award of qualified teacher status (QTS) and some may lead to the award of a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).

An alternative route into teaching is through an apprenticeship.

Currently, schools have access to a range of apprenticeship standards, including the level three teaching assistant apprenticeship and level six postgraduate teacher apprenticeship (PGTA). The level six PGTA is only available to those with a degree. The department is working with all interested parties to improve the PGTA for providers, employers, and candidates as part of its scheduled review.

There are a range of other routes into teaching, including PGCE or postgraduate diploma in education (PGDE) for those with an undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification. Additionally, qualified teacher learning and skills status (QTLS) allows those without degrees to teach in schools, providing they meet the eligibility criteria. Those without a degree can also train to teach through an undergraduate degree. Unlike the apprenticeships and School Direct routes, these routes do not allow teaching assistants to train within a school they may already be employed in.

While teaching is a graduate profession, the department is working with interested parties to consider how teaching assistants and others working in schools can attain the relevant qualifications to become teachers.

16th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to include details of the global fashion industry and supply chains in the National Curriculum.

The department will not be making any changes to the national curriculum for the remainder of this Parliament to provide stability for schools, and enable them to remain focused on recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and teaching the broad and rich curriculum.

Over the past decade, the department has reformed the national curriculum to set world-class standards across all subjects. Programmes of study are flexible enough for teachers to be able to add their own content – including taking account of new developments, societal changes, or topical issues, such as global fashion and supply chains – without there being a need for the department to review the national curriculum.

An example of this could be the teaching of textiles in design and technology (D&T). D&T is compulsory in state-maintained schools from key stage 1 to 3 and pupils in maintained schools also have an entitlement to study D&T in key stage 4. The national curriculum is a framework, designed to give teachers the freedom and flexibility to go into greater depth and cover additional topics, such as details of the global fashion industry and supply chains, as they wish, according to the needs of their pupils. The use of textiles is encouraged in the D&T programme of study, though this is non-statutory guidance.

The department believes it vital that young people are taught about global issues such as sustainability and climate change. Topics related to these are covered in the national curriculum, which are mandatory in all state-maintained school, such as the science and geography curricula and GCSEs. For example, secondary geography includes the study of the climate, how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate. Citizenship education, which has been a compulsory subject in maintained schools since 2002, also covers contents on global issues, such as the environment. Furthermore, the department introduced a new environmental science A level in 2017. This will enable pupils to study topics that will support their understanding of the global issues, such as climate change.

30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a new multi-sensory impairment education fund to support children with multi-sensory impairment.

I refer the hon. Member for Huddersfield to the answer I gave on 8 March 2022 to Question 133247 and to the answer I gave on 22 March to Question 138327.

24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had recent discussions with the leadership of United Learning on waiting times for assessments of children with special education needs within their schools and academies.

The department closely monitors the timeliness of local authority assessments of education, health and care (EHC) plans. In the calendar year 2020, national special educational needs (SEN) 2 data showed that the proportion of plans completed within 20 weeks was 58% (in Kirklees it was 83.4%). The department recognises there is variation across local authorities in assessment and that delays may have an effect on the delivery of provision that is needed by children and young people. That is why local authorities can make provision and placements available during an assessment, rather than waiting for the final plan to be issued.

The department is committed to supporting and monitoring local authorities and their partners to improve special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services, including providing direct support and challenge to individual areas, and delivering regular training programmes on statutory EHC plan duties. Additionally, the department works with SEND and National Health Service England (NHSE) Advisers on improvement work with local areas where significant performance issues are identified in an Ofsted/Care Quality Commission (CQC) joint area SEND inspection. We are currently working with partners on a new area SEND inspection framework.

The SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper was published on 29 March 2022. These set out a suite of proposed reforms that seek to create a coherent education, health and care system that works in the interests of all children in England and levels up opportunities. The department is providing opportunities for children, parents, carers and those working across the SEND system to provide feedback during the 13-week consultation period.

In the 2022/23 financial year, local authorities will have access to £54.1 billion core spending power (£3.7 billion more than this financial year and a 4.5% growth in real terms) to deliver their services, including for children and young people with SEND. As part of this, the government also boosted the social care grant, increasing it to over £2.3 billion.

United Learning consists of two charities, which are responsible for the operation of the Group’s schools. The Schools White Paper sets out the vision for a stronger and fairer school system that works for every child, encouraging the growth of the best school trusts as the collaborative structure best suited to supporting quality teaching. This will be delivered in close alignment with the findings of the SEND Review.

24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the leadership of United Learning and other groupings of state-funded and fee-paying independent schools regarding their provision for children with special educational needs.

The department closely monitors the timeliness of local authority assessments of education, health and care (EHC) plans. In the calendar year 2020, national special educational needs (SEN) 2 data showed that the proportion of plans completed within 20 weeks was 58% (in Kirklees it was 83.4%). The department recognises there is variation across local authorities in assessment and that delays may have an effect on the delivery of provision that is needed by children and young people. That is why local authorities can make provision and placements available during an assessment, rather than waiting for the final plan to be issued.

The department is committed to supporting and monitoring local authorities and their partners to improve special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services, including providing direct support and challenge to individual areas, and delivering regular training programmes on statutory EHC plan duties. Additionally, the department works with SEND and National Health Service England (NHSE) Advisers on improvement work with local areas where significant performance issues are identified in an Ofsted/Care Quality Commission (CQC) joint area SEND inspection. We are currently working with partners on a new area SEND inspection framework.

The SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper was published on 29 March 2022. These set out a suite of proposed reforms that seek to create a coherent education, health and care system that works in the interests of all children in England and levels up opportunities. The department is providing opportunities for children, parents, carers and those working across the SEND system to provide feedback during the 13-week consultation period.

In the 2022/23 financial year, local authorities will have access to £54.1 billion core spending power (£3.7 billion more than this financial year and a 4.5% growth in real terms) to deliver their services, including for children and young people with SEND. As part of this, the government also boosted the social care grant, increasing it to over £2.3 billion.

United Learning consists of two charities, which are responsible for the operation of the Group’s schools. The Schools White Paper sets out the vision for a stronger and fairer school system that works for every child, encouraging the growth of the best school trusts as the collaborative structure best suited to supporting quality teaching. This will be delivered in close alignment with the findings of the SEND Review.

24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to monitor and track the progress of assessments for children with special educational needs for the purposes of ensuring that assessments are (a) carried out in a timely manner and (b) effective in determining the needs of each child.

The department closely monitors the timeliness of local authority assessments of education, health and care (EHC) plans. In the calendar year 2020, national special educational needs (SEN) 2 data showed that the proportion of plans completed within 20 weeks was 58% (in Kirklees it was 83.4%). The department recognises there is variation across local authorities in assessment and that delays may have an effect on the delivery of provision that is needed by children and young people. That is why local authorities can make provision and placements available during an assessment, rather than waiting for the final plan to be issued.

The department is committed to supporting and monitoring local authorities and their partners to improve special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services, including providing direct support and challenge to individual areas, and delivering regular training programmes on statutory EHC plan duties. Additionally, the department works with SEND and National Health Service England (NHSE) Advisers on improvement work with local areas where significant performance issues are identified in an Ofsted/Care Quality Commission (CQC) joint area SEND inspection. We are currently working with partners on a new area SEND inspection framework.

The SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper was published on 29 March 2022. These set out a suite of proposed reforms that seek to create a coherent education, health and care system that works in the interests of all children in England and levels up opportunities. The department is providing opportunities for children, parents, carers and those working across the SEND system to provide feedback during the 13-week consultation period.

In the 2022/23 financial year, local authorities will have access to £54.1 billion core spending power (£3.7 billion more than this financial year and a 4.5% growth in real terms) to deliver their services, including for children and young people with SEND. As part of this, the government also boosted the social care grant, increasing it to over £2.3 billion.

United Learning consists of two charities, which are responsible for the operation of the Group’s schools. The Schools White Paper sets out the vision for a stronger and fairer school system that works for every child, encouraging the growth of the best school trusts as the collaborative structure best suited to supporting quality teaching. This will be delivered in close alignment with the findings of the SEND Review.

24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on cross-departmental approaches to ensuring that local authorities have adequate resources to minimise waiting times for assessments for children and young people with special educational needs.

The department closely monitors the timeliness of local authority assessments of education, health and care (EHC) plans. In the calendar year 2020, national special educational needs (SEN) 2 data showed that the proportion of plans completed within 20 weeks was 58% (in Kirklees it was 83.4%). The department recognises there is variation across local authorities in assessment and that delays may have an effect on the delivery of provision that is needed by children and young people. That is why local authorities can make provision and placements available during an assessment, rather than waiting for the final plan to be issued.

The department is committed to supporting and monitoring local authorities and their partners to improve special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services, including providing direct support and challenge to individual areas, and delivering regular training programmes on statutory EHC plan duties. Additionally, the department works with SEND and National Health Service England (NHSE) Advisers on improvement work with local areas where significant performance issues are identified in an Ofsted/Care Quality Commission (CQC) joint area SEND inspection. We are currently working with partners on a new area SEND inspection framework.

The SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper was published on 29 March 2022. These set out a suite of proposed reforms that seek to create a coherent education, health and care system that works in the interests of all children in England and levels up opportunities. The department is providing opportunities for children, parents, carers and those working across the SEND system to provide feedback during the 13-week consultation period.

In the 2022/23 financial year, local authorities will have access to £54.1 billion core spending power (£3.7 billion more than this financial year and a 4.5% growth in real terms) to deliver their services, including for children and young people with SEND. As part of this, the government also boosted the social care grant, increasing it to over £2.3 billion.

United Learning consists of two charities, which are responsible for the operation of the Group’s schools. The Schools White Paper sets out the vision for a stronger and fairer school system that works for every child, encouraging the growth of the best school trusts as the collaborative structure best suited to supporting quality teaching. This will be delivered in close alignment with the findings of the SEND Review.

24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to empower local educational authorities and children’s services across England to help ensure minimal waiting times for assessments of children and young people with special educational needs.

The department closely monitors the timeliness of local authority assessments of education, health and care (EHC) plans. In the calendar year 2020, national special educational needs (SEN) 2 data showed that the proportion of plans completed within 20 weeks was 58% (in Kirklees it was 83.4%). The department recognises there is variation across local authorities in assessment and that delays may have an effect on the delivery of provision that is needed by children and young people. That is why local authorities can make provision and placements available during an assessment, rather than waiting for the final plan to be issued.

The department is committed to supporting and monitoring local authorities and their partners to improve special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services, including providing direct support and challenge to individual areas, and delivering regular training programmes on statutory EHC plan duties. Additionally, the department works with SEND and National Health Service England (NHSE) Advisers on improvement work with local areas where significant performance issues are identified in an Ofsted/Care Quality Commission (CQC) joint area SEND inspection. We are currently working with partners on a new area SEND inspection framework.

The SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper was published on 29 March 2022. These set out a suite of proposed reforms that seek to create a coherent education, health and care system that works in the interests of all children in England and levels up opportunities. The department is providing opportunities for children, parents, carers and those working across the SEND system to provide feedback during the 13-week consultation period.

In the 2022/23 financial year, local authorities will have access to £54.1 billion core spending power (£3.7 billion more than this financial year and a 4.5% growth in real terms) to deliver their services, including for children and young people with SEND. As part of this, the government also boosted the social care grant, increasing it to over £2.3 billion.

United Learning consists of two charities, which are responsible for the operation of the Group’s schools. The Schools White Paper sets out the vision for a stronger and fairer school system that works for every child, encouraging the growth of the best school trusts as the collaborative structure best suited to supporting quality teaching. This will be delivered in close alignment with the findings of the SEND Review.

24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps is he taking to help ensure that children with autism receive timely assessments to determine their educational needs.

The government’s national strategy for improving the lives of autistic people and their families and carers, published in 2021, has been extended to children and young people, as well as adults, in recognition of the importance of ensuring that they are diagnosed and receive the right support as early as possible and across their lifetime. It is backed by funding of over £74 million in the first year alone to improve understanding in society, reduce diagnosis waiting times, and improve access to and the quality of health, social care, and education for autistic people.

On 1 February 2022, the department announced more than £45 million of continued targeted support for families and parents of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) over the next three financial years. These programmes will target support to improve monitoring, support and intervention for local authorities and local health and care partners’ delivery of statutory SEND services. They will improve participation and access for parents and young people for high quality advice and support and directly support schools and colleges to effectively work with pupils with SEND, for example through training on specific needs like autism.

The department recognises that the current SEND system, established through the Children and Families Act 2014, does not consistently deliver the services needed by children and young people and their families. The department has undertaken a comprehensive review of how the system has evolved since 2014 and how it can be made to work best for all families, ensuring quality of provision is the same across the country. The SEND review will be published in the form of a green paper that will be made available imminently.

24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking taken together with local authorities and other Government departments to increase the (a) quality and (b) pace of children’s special educational needs assessments across England.

The government is determined to level up opportunities for all children and young people without exception. The department is just as ambitious for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) as it is for every other child.

This week, the department published the SEND and alternative provision (AP) green paper, setting out proposals for a system that offers children and young people the opportunity to thrive, with access to the right support, in the right place and at the right time, so they can fulfil their potential and lead happy, healthy and productive adult lives.

The green paper includes proposals to establish a new national SEND and AP system that will set new standards for how needs are identified and met across education, health and care, including proposals to introduce a standardised and digitised education, health and care plan process, and a template to minimise bureaucracy and deliver consistency.

The new standards will mean that, in future, parents and carers can be confident that their child’s needs will be met effectively in the most appropriate local education provider, without having to fight to secure the appropriate support for their child’s needs. Parents will be clear about what support their child is receiving and they will be engaged in decision-making at every stage.

24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government's levelling up agenda includes improvements in provision for children with special educational needs.

The government is determined to level up opportunities for all children and young people without exception. The department is just as ambitious for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) as it is for every other child.

This week, the department published the SEND and alternative provision (AP) green paper, setting out proposals for a system that offers children and young people the opportunity to thrive, with access to the right support, in the right place and at the right time, so they can fulfil their potential and lead happy, healthy and productive adult lives.

The green paper includes proposals to establish a new national SEND and AP system that will set new standards for how needs are identified and met across education, health and care, including proposals to introduce a standardised and digitised education, health and care plan process, and a template to minimise bureaucracy and deliver consistency.

The new standards will mean that, in future, parents and carers can be confident that their child’s needs will be met effectively in the most appropriate local education provider, without having to fight to secure the appropriate support for their child’s needs. Parents will be clear about what support their child is receiving and they will be engaged in decision-making at every stage.

24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many teachers resigned from their positions after two years of starting their job in the year 2020-21.

Information on the reason teachers leave and move positions, including resignation for another position, is not routinely analysed by the department.

Information on the school workforce in state-funded schools in England, including the retention of qualified teachers, is published in the annual ‘School Workforce in England’ national statistic release at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england. The latest information is as of November 2020. Figures for November 2021 will be published in June 2022.

In total, 80.5%, or 20,965 full-time equivalents (FTE), of deferred and newly qualified entrants to teaching in 2018 were still teaching in state-funded schools in England two years after qualification. The remaining 19.5%, or 5,076 FTE, were no longer teaching in state-funded schools.

For contextual information, 34,116 FTE qualified teachers left state-funded schools in England between November 2019 and November 2020, and 43,516 FTE qualified teachers were new entrants during the period. Note that this is not limited to those that joined service in the previous two years.

Table 1: Qualified leavers from teaching, by leaver type, full-time equivalent numbers

November 2020

Leaver type

Teachers

Out of service

29,524

Retired

4,462

Deceased

130

Total

34,116

Source: School Workforce Census 2020.

22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) adequacy of waiting times for special educational needs assessments and (b) potential effect of those waiting times on the education of affected young people.

The department closely monitors the timeliness of local authority assessments of education, health and care (EHC) plans. In the calendar year 2020, national special educational needs (SEN) 2 data showed that the proportion of plans completed within 20 weeks was 58% (in Kirklees it was 83.4%). The department recognises there is variation across local authorities in assessment and that delays may have an effect on the delivery of provision that is needed by children and young people. That is why local authorities can make provision and placements available during an assessment, rather than waiting for the final plan to be issued.

The department is committed to supporting and monitoring local authorities and their partners to improve special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services, including providing direct support and challenge to individual areas, and delivering regular training programmes on statutory EHC plan duties. Additionally, the department works with SEND and National Health Service England (NHSE) Advisers on improvement work with local areas where significant performance issues are identified in an Ofsted/Care Quality Commission (CQC) joint area SEND inspection. We are currently working with partners on a new area SEND inspection framework.

The SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper was published on 29 March 2022. These set out a suite of proposed reforms that seek to create a coherent education, health and care system that works in the interests of all children in England and levels up opportunities. The department is providing opportunities for children, parents, carers and those working across the SEND system to provide feedback during the 13-week consultation period.

In the 2022/23 financial year, local authorities will have access to £54.1 billion core spending power (£3.7 billion more than this financial year and a 4.5% growth in real terms) to deliver their services, including for children and young people with SEND. As part of this, the government also boosted the social care grant, increasing it to over £2.3 billion.

United Learning consists of two charities, which are responsible for the operation of the Group’s schools. The Schools White Paper sets out the vision for a stronger and fairer school system that works for every child, encouraging the growth of the best school trusts as the collaborative structure best suited to supporting quality teaching. This will be delivered in close alignment with the findings of the SEND Review.

17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Community Safety Trust’s Antisemitic Incidents Report January-June 2021 which reported a 491 per cent rise in antisemitic hate incidents in schools compared to the same period the previous year, what steps his Department is taking to tackle rising levels of antisemitism in schools

The government is clear that antisemitism, as with all forms of bullying and hatred, is abhorrent and has no place in our schools.

In response to the reported increase in such incidents during an escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in May 2021, the former Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend for South Staffordshire, wrote to schools to remind them of their responsibilities to deal with antisemitic incidents with due seriousness as well as their legal duties regarding political impartiality. On 17 February 2022, the department published further guidance on political impartiality in schools that helps to ensure educational initiatives in schools are not politically biased or one-sided. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/political-impartiality-in-schools/political-impartiality-in-schools.

The government continues to take action to support schools tackle all forms of bullying, including antisemitism. Our preventing and tackling bullying guidance sets out that schools should develop a consistent approach to monitoring bullying incidents and evaluating the effectiveness of their approaches. It also directs schools to organisations who can provide support with tackling bullying related to race, religion and nationality, as well as sexual harassment and sexual bullying. Between August 2021 and March 2022, the department provided over £1.1 million of funding to five anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying.

The government has also supported Holocaust education for many years and is fully committed to continuing this support. In recognition of its importance, the Holocaust is the only historic event which is compulsory within the national curriculum for history at key stage 3. Effective teaching about the Holocaust can support pupils to learn about the possible consequences of antisemitism and extremism, to understand how society can prevent the repeat of such a catastrophe. The department provides funding for several programmes to support school pupils’ and teachers’ understanding of the Holocaust.

The department continues to publish information, guidance and support for teachers and school leaders on how to challenge radical views, including racist and discriminatory beliefs, on Educate Against Hate.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment has he made of requiring vegan meals to be provided in schools in England.

The standards for school food are set out in the Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014. These ensure that schools provide children with healthy food and drink options, and to make sure that children get the energy and nutrition they need during the school day.

The government encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and to provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with school food standards is mandatory for all maintained schools, including academies and free schools.

The department believes that head teachers, school governors, and caterers are best placed to make decisions about their school food policies, particularly by considering local circumstances and the needs of their pupils. In doing so, the department expects schools to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with particular requirements. For example, this includes reflecting dietary and cultural needs. School food policies work best when schools discuss them with parents and pupils, so that parents can raise pupils’ particular dietary needs.

The government also recognises the valuable contribution plant-based foods and drinks make to the diet, alongside the contribution that fish and animal-based foods and drinks can have. For example, plant-based foods including beans, pulses, and meat and plant-based drinks are included in the government’s Eatwell Guide, accessible here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-eatwell-guide. These foods are highlighted within the food groups of the guide, as they can be considered more environmentally sustainable and promote a diet that is lower in saturated fat and higher in fibre.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason guidance states that childminders cannot operate if they have a positive or suspected covid-19 case in their household, despite the removal of legal self-isolation requirements on 24 February 2022.

Since 17 March 2022, if someone in a childminder’s household has tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms, childminders can continue to operate at home.

Childminders are advised to follow the steps below to reduce the risk of onward transmission:

  • The person who has tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms should avoid contact with the children being cared for in the home.
  • Where possible, use separate toilets and handwashing facilities. If this is not possible, maintain extra cleaning and hygiene routines, particularly after the person has used the facilities.
  • Notify parents, carers, and any assistants that someone has tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms, as soon as reasonably possible and maintain open communication with them throughout.
  • Consider the need to reduce the spread of COVID-19 with mitigations, such as ventilation and extra cleaning and hygiene routines. They should be applied where practical and safe to do so. Additional information on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 is available in the guidance published by the Cabinet Office, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae?utm_source=17%20March%202022%20C19&utm_medium=Daily%20Email%20C19&utm_campaign=DfE%20C19.
  • Comply with health and safety law by reviewing risk assessments in place. The risk assessment must demonstrate that the provision of childcare in the home is safe, and how any additional but proportionate measures will be put into place.

Childminders can also consider using alternative places to operate, such as other childminders’ houses, where possible.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure all children are taught about healthy diets and how to cook nutritious food in school.

Cooking and nutrition are a discrete strand of the national curriculum for design and technology. This was introduced as part of the 2014 design and technology curriculum and is compulsory for key stages 1 to 3. The curriculum aims to teach children how to cook, with an emphasis on savoury dishes, and how to apply the principles of healthy eating and nutrition. It recognises that cooking is an important life skill that will help children to feed themselves, and others, healthy and affordable food.

A food preparation and nutrition GCSE was introduced in September 2016. It requires pupils to understand and apply the principles of food science, nutrition, and healthy eating when preparing and cooking food. The first exams in this new qualification were taken in summer 2018.

Healthy eating is also covered in health education, as part of the relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) curriculum. The RSHE statutory guidance states that by the end of primary school, pupils should know what constitutes a healthy diet (including understanding calories and other nutritional content), the principles of planning and preparing a range of healthy meals, the characteristics of a poor diet, and risks associated with unhealthy eating, (for example, obesity and tooth decay) and other behaviours (for example, the impact of alcohol on diet or health).

The importance of a healthy diet is also included in the science curriculum. The primary and secondary science curriculum require pupils in maintained schools to be taught about nutrition, including what constitutes a healthy diet, the impact of diet on the way our bodies work and the consequences of an imbalanced diet. By the end of secondary school, pupils should know how to maintain healthy eating and the links between a poor diet and health risks.

Furthermore, the Levelling Up White Paper confirmed the department’s focus on school food quality and food education, including a commitment to launch a £5 million pilot to launch a school cooking revolution. This includes enriching the curriculum and providing bursaries for teacher training and leadership.

23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice were made to employers for apprentices who started apprenticeship training between 1 April and 30 November 2021.

Our apprentice incentive payments of up to £3,000 have helped employers of all sizes to build back better from the COVID-19 outbreak. The net total of incentive payments made to employers for apprentices who started apprenticeship training between 1 April and 30 November 2021, was 62,419 (as of 24 February 2022). Incentive payments have also supported over 170,000 new apprentices into work between August 2020 and January 2022 (as of 7 February 2022).

It should be noted these totals are not static. They may change as and when we receive new Individualised Learner Record data from training providers and employer updates.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps is he taking to help ensure that the genocide of Roma and Sinti peoples during the Holocaust is taught as part of the national curriculum.

The department is fully committed to Holocaust education. In recognition of its importance, the Holocaust is the only historic event which is compulsory within the national curriculum for history at key stage 3. The curriculum gives teachers and schools the freedom to decide how to teach the subject and what resources to use to support an understanding of the Holocaust, and the experiences of non-Jewish victims of Nazi persecution.

The department supports school pupils’ and teachers’ understanding of the Holocaust by providing funding for several programmes. This includes £500,000 in the 2021/22 financial year for University College London’s Centre for Holocaust Education, which is match funded by the Pears Foundation, and £2.1 million in the 2021/22 financial year for the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project.

As part of Holocaust education, a wide range of resources are available to help teachers explain the Nazi persecution of different groups of people. The Lessons from Auschwitz project and the knowledge and training provided by the Centre for Holocaust Education both include information and resources to support an understanding of the Holocaust, including Nazi persecution of non-Jewish groups.

23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many apprentices were (a) added to and (b) went live on the Apprenticeship Service between 1 April 2021 and 30 November 2021.

As of 7 February 2022, the number of commitments reported on the apprenticeship service with planned training start dates between 01 April 2021 and 30 November 2021 was 255,000.

The number of apprenticeships with start dates between 01 April 2021 and 30 November 2021 was 251,400, as confirmed by providers reporting on the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) in January.

It should be noted, commitments on the apprenticeship service are where potential apprentices, who are expected to go on to start an apprenticeship, have been recorded on the apprenticeship service system. Commitments may be recorded or amended on the apprenticeship service system after the training start date has passed and therefore data should be treated as provisional.

Providers may not record learners immediately on the ILR, so a lag may occur between a commitment being recorded in the apprenticeship service and the corresponding commitment being recorded as a start on the ILR.

Apprenticeship service commitments and monthly apprenticeship starts figures are published in the ‘Apprenticeship Service and monthly transparency data’ section of the apprenticeships and traineeships statistics publication, found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that there is sufficient provision of technical and practical education in green skills to meet the future demands of the economy.

​​The government is committed to supporting green skills across the country. At the recent Spending Review, we set out investment of £3.8 billion in further education and skills over the course of the Parliament as a whole, to ensure people can access high quality training and education that leads to good jobs, addresses skills gaps, boosts productivity and supports levelling up. This includes funding for programmes to support green skills crucial to the net zero transition.

Building on the skills for jobs white paper, the Net Zero Strategy (published in October 2021) sets out how the government’s skills reforms will strengthen links between employers and providers, support workers in high carbon sectors with the transition, and help to build a pipeline of future talent.

Through the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, we are supporting workers to gain the skills they need to transition to the green economy, including through targeted support for retraining. As part of this and through the National Skills Fund investment, we are delivering Skills Bootcamps, which are short, flexible courses covering digital, technical and green skills. Green Skills Bootcamps are available in areas such as housing retrofit, solar, nuclear energy and vehicle electrification.

The Free Courses for Jobs offer has, since April 2021, been supporting adults who do not have a qualification at level 3 or higher to access over 400 level 3 courses for free. The offer currently includes qualifications linked to green sectors such as agriculture, building and construction, engineering, environmental conservation, horticulture and forestry and science. This offer replaces loan funding with grant funding for any adult over the age of 23 looking to achieve their first level 3 qualification. In addition, we have recently announced that, from April this year, any adult in England who is earning under the National Living Wage annually (£18,525), or is unemployed, will also be able to access these qualifications for free, regardless of their prior qualification level.

At post-16 level, we will continue to build on our apprenticeship reforms, to align the majority of post-16 technical education and training with employer-led standards by 2030. A strengthened system of employer-led standards, underpinning apprenticeships, T Levels and new higher technical qualifications will ensure employers, including in low carbon sectors, have a central role in designing and developing qualifications and training.

High quality apprenticeships give students of all ages the practical skills, knowledge, and behaviours to make an immediate impact across all industries. The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) has convened a Green Apprenticeships Advisory Panel (GAAP) to work with employers to align apprenticeships to net zero objectives. Work is underway to map existing apprenticeship standards against green occupations and identify opportunities to create new standards in areas including retrofit, agri-tech and renewable energy and the GAAP has endorsed existing apprenticeships which support green career pathways.

In 2021, we introduced the first occupational traineeships, in collaboration with sector bodies, to provide a clear, planned transition to an apprenticeship at level 2 to 3 for young people aged 16 to 24. They allow young people to continue in learning with a work-based programme of training. Going forward, we will consider the potential to develop and introduce other occupational traineeships, including in priority and green sectors to ensure that young people secure the jobs of the future.

We are continuing to roll out T Levels that support green careers, providing high quality technical qualifications as an alternative to A levels which are underpinned by the same employer-led approach as apprenticeships. The building services engineering for construction T Level, launched in September 2021, will cover housing retrofit and heat pump installation. From September 2022, new T Levels will be available in engineering, manufacturing, processing and control, with agriculture, land management and production available by September 2023. The Institute is exploring the suitability of potential future T Levels and occupational specialisms, focusing on areas to support green skills.

Our network of Institutes of Technology (IoT) across England specialise in delivering higher technical education and are utilising their state of the art facilities to offer training in green skills. This includes the East London IoT which offers training in green and zero carbon energy production, and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull IoT which focuses on sustainable engineering. The network is supporting increased participation from underrepresented groups, including women, helping to grow the pipeline of individuals with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills needed for green jobs. We are investing £120 million in the second wave of IoTs, to be up and running this year.

Working alongside industry, we will continue to ensure that our existing skills programmes can be directed to support the net zero agenda, and where appropriate identify further opportunities to flex key skills programmes to support green sectors and occupations.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that local agencies have the required powers to (a) visit, (b) check and (c) close unsafe schools.

The Department for Education is the regulator for independent schools in England and sets the Independent School Standards (ISS) that registered schools must meet, including those in the important area of safeguarding. The department commissions Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) to carry out inspections of registered schools on a regular cycle to assess their compliance with the ISS. Where an inspection finds that a school has not met the ISS, the department may issue a statutory notice requiring an action plan to bring about rapid improvement. It also has powers to take enforcement action. Enforcement action is the strongest step the department can take to achieve compliance with the ISS. This can take one of two forms. The department can either impose a ‘relevant restriction’ on the proprietor of the school, or where appropriate, remove a school from the register of independent schools. This has the effect of requiring it to cease operating as a school.

There are approximately 2,500 registered independent schools in England of which, 143 are currently failing to meet the legal requirements set out in the ISS. Of the 143 schools, 135 are in regulatory action and the remaining 8 are under enforcement action.

It is a criminal offence under section 96 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 to conduct an unregistered independent school. All unregistered schools are unsafe since they are not regulated or subject to regular inspection against agreed standards. The department and Ofsted continue to investigate schools believed to be operating as unregistered schools. As set out in section 97 of the Education and Skills Act 2008, Ofsted can carry out inspections without notice where it has reasonable cause to believe that an unregistered school is being operated on the premises. Evidence gathered through these investigations is used to support the prosecution of those responsible for running such schools.

The department has committed to introducing legislation to bring measures to make it easier for Ofsted to investigate and gather evidence of breaches of section 96 of the 2008 Act and prosecute those responsible for running unregistered schools.

5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the current number of schools that fail to meet legal standards is.

The Department for Education is the regulator for independent schools in England and sets the Independent School Standards (ISS) that registered schools must meet, including those in the important area of safeguarding. The department commissions Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) to carry out inspections of registered schools on a regular cycle to assess their compliance with the ISS. Where an inspection finds that a school has not met the ISS, the department may issue a statutory notice requiring an action plan to bring about rapid improvement. It also has powers to take enforcement action. Enforcement action is the strongest step the department can take to achieve compliance with the ISS. This can take one of two forms. The department can either impose a ‘relevant restriction’ on the proprietor of the school, or where appropriate, remove a school from the register of independent schools. This has the effect of requiring it to cease operating as a school.

There are approximately 2,500 registered independent schools in England of which, 143 are currently failing to meet the legal requirements set out in the ISS. Of the 143 schools, 135 are in regulatory action and the remaining 8 are under enforcement action.

It is a criminal offence under section 96 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 to conduct an unregistered independent school. All unregistered schools are unsafe since they are not regulated or subject to regular inspection against agreed standards. The department and Ofsted continue to investigate schools believed to be operating as unregistered schools. As set out in section 97 of the Education and Skills Act 2008, Ofsted can carry out inspections without notice where it has reasonable cause to believe that an unregistered school is being operated on the premises. Evidence gathered through these investigations is used to support the prosecution of those responsible for running such schools.

The department has committed to introducing legislation to bring measures to make it easier for Ofsted to investigate and gather evidence of breaches of section 96 of the 2008 Act and prosecute those responsible for running unregistered schools.

6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that new Family Hubs are located in areas of the country affected by closures of Sure Start Centres.

At Budget, the government announced £82 million to create a network of family hubs. This is part of a wider £300 million package to transform services for parents, carers, babies and children in half of council areas across England.

It is critical that this investment benefits families most in need. We will set out more detail in due course.

17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, (a) what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Government's steps to end child food poverty and (b) if he will make it his policy to expand free school meals eligibility to include more children.

This government is committed to supporting those on low incomes and continues to do so through many measures, such as spending over £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22.

As our recovery gathers pace and with record vacancies, our focus is now on continuing to support parents progressing into work. This is because we know that work, particularly where it is full-time, substantially reduces the risks of child poverty and improves long-term outcomes for families and children. Our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has recently been expanded by £500 million, will help people across the UK to find work and to boost their wages and prospects.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we enter the final stages of recovery, which is why vulnerable households across the country will be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund will provide £421 million to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41 million for the Scottish Government, £25 million for the Welsh Government and £14 million for the Northern Ireland Executive), for a total of £500 million.

To support low income families further, we have increased the value of Healthy Start food vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins. We are also investing over £200 million a year from 2022 to continue our Holiday Activities and Food programme which is already providing enriching activities and healthy meals to children in all English local authorities.

We support over 1.7 million pupils from the lowest income families to concentrate, learn, and achieve in the classroom through the provision of free school meals. An additional 1.3 million infants receive a free meal under the universal infant free school meals policy

Under this government, eligibility for free school meals (FSM) has been extended several times.

In 2018, the government introduced new eligibility criteria for families on Universal Credit, following a consultation in 2017. It was estimated that this will be more generous in its reach by 2022, in comparison to the legacy benefit system. We included generous protections, which mean any family eligible for FSM transitioning to Universal Credit from a legacy benefit will continue to have access to FSM even if they move above the earnings threshold.

25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what current academic qualifications will lose funding following the proposed introduction of T-Level qualifications.

We will continue to fund high quality qualifications that can be taken alongside, or as alternatives to, T Levels and A levels, where there is a clear need for skills and knowledge that T Levels and A levels cannot provide.

We have not pre-judged which subject areas will be funded in future, but our plans for reform published in July listed a number of areas where we see a clear role for academic qualifications to sit alongside A levels. These include performing and creative arts, sport and STEM subjects.

Funding approval criteria for academic qualifications to be approved for delivery from 2024 and beyond will be published in 2022.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with experts in curriculum development and pedagogy in designing T-Level qualifications; and what experience the panels designing T-Levels have in working with 14 to 19-year-old learners at further education colleges.

T Levels have been designed to give young people the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to progress directly to skilled employment or further technical study. The learning needs of 16-19 year olds and the skills needs of employers have played a central role at every stage of T Level development.

T Levels are based on the same standards as apprenticeships and the outline content was designed by panels of experts in collaboration with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute). The T Level panels consist of employers, industry experts and education providers, including some further education colleges. A list of panel members for each T Level can be accessed on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/t-level-panels-membership.

In developing the outline content, T Level panels received support and advice from education experts who have significant experience and expertise in curriculum and assessment design and in pedagogy.

A single awarding organisation is contracted by the Institute to develop the technical qualification for each T Level on the basis of the outline content. Awarding organisations are required to evidence engagement with a range of education providers and employers throughout the development process.

T Level technical qualifications are quality assured by the Institute and Ofqual. Both organisations work together to ensure that T Levels are high quality and continue to meet the needs of learners and employers.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the National Education Union in the development of T-Level qualifications.

Collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders has been central to the development of T Levels and contributed to their successful launch in September last year.

Employers and other experts have designed the content of the qualifications, and we consulted extensively on the design, implementation and funding arrangements for T Levels, to which we received responses from the National Education Union. We have also engaged relevant stakeholders, including the National Union of Students, on an ongoing basis through advisory groups.

We have had no recent discussions with the National Education Union about T Levels and would welcome their input should they wish to meet.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that children who have been absent from school as a result of illness from covid-19 are not penalised in applications to further education institutions that have a fixed attendance requirement for enrolment.

We recognise that extended restrictions on attendance at school and colleges have had an impact on children and young people’s learning, but decisions about admissions by further education (FE) institutions are a matter for providers themselves and are not specified by the government.

The department does, however, expect FE providers to be mindful of the impact of COVID-19 when considering any entry requirements for young people entering FE.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential short-term effect on students’ educational prospects of replacing current applied general qualifications with T-Level qualifications; and what steps he plans to take to ensure that students across the country can continue to access a wide variety of educational pathways following the proposed rollout of T-Levels.

Plans for the reform of level 3 qualifications were published in July. Students will continue to access a wide variety of high-quality level 3 pathways in future. They will continue to be able to study applied general qualifications (AGQs) as part of mixed programmes alongside A levels, where they meet new quality standards. Students will also be able to study AGQs as their full programme of study where there is no T Level and are in areas less well served by A levels.

There will be a range of technical qualifications that will be offered alongside T Levels. The first will be qualifications supporting entry to occupations where there is no T Level. The second will be ‘specialist’ qualifications that develop more specialist skills and knowledge than could be acquired through a T Level alone.

The accompanying impact assessment did not distinguish between short and long term impacts of change but set out our expectation that the educational impact of the reforms will be positive for most students. This is because students will have access to higher quality qualifications in future, including new T Levels. This will put them in a stronger position to progress onto further study or skilled employment.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding and investment he plans to make available to ensure the success of proposed T-Level qualifications.

We have an extensive programme of support in place for T Levels, which will be backed by £500 million per year in revenue funding once fully rolled out. We have already invested over £165 million in capacity building funding to ensure providers can work with employers to deliver Industry Placements. An Employer Incentive Scheme has also been introduced, where employers can receive a £1,000 payment for hosting a T Level industry placement.

To ensure that T Level students benefit from high quality facilities and cutting-edge equipment, we have made £268 million capital funding available for T Levels starting in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Every teacher offering T Levels has been able to take advantage of the T Level Professional Development offer, for which we have committed over £15 million in the 2021-22 financial year.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that those studying clinical psychology qualifications are able to provide feedback on how their courses are (a) structured and (b) weighted.

English higher education (HE) providers are autonomous institutions, which means that they have the freedom to determine the way their courses are taught, supervised, and assessed. However, all registered providers must continue to meet the Office for Students (OfS) registration conditions in relation to the quality of HE.

These registration conditions make clear the need to ensure that courses are high-quality, and that students are properly supported to achieve good outcomes. Registered HE providers must deliver well-designed courses that provide a high-quality academic experience for all students and enable a student’s achievement to be reliably assessed. Providers must also meet the requirements of the professional bodies, where the course delivers professional recognition as well as a degree. As set out in the OfS’ Regulatory Framework, behaviours that may indicate compliance include actively engaging students, individually and collectively, in the quality of their educational experience. Details of the Framework are available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/1406/ofs2018_01.pdf.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that students can continue to undertake BTEC qualifications.

Employers are facing a skills shortage that we must act to address. It is vital in a fast moving and high-tech economy that technical education closes the gap between what people study and the needs of employers. This is why we are introducing over 20 T Levels, developed with 250 leading employers, and reviewing the wider post-16 qualifications system at level 3 and below.

The department’s plans for reform of level 3 qualifications were published on 14 July 2021. We will continue to fund high quality qualifications that can be taken alongside or as alternatives to T Levels and A levels where there is a clear need for skills and knowledge that T Levels and A levels cannot provide. This may include some Pearson BTECs, provided they meet the new quality criteria for funding approval.

The impact assessment published alongside the consultation response recognised that some students may find it more difficult to achieve level 3 qualifications in future. However, the assessment stated that the changes will generally be positive as students will have access to higher quality qualifications in the future, including new T Levels. This will put students in a stronger position to progress onto further study or skilled employment. The assessment acknowledged that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to take qualifications that could have their funding approval removed. These students should gain the most from these changes because they are the most likely to be taking qualifications that do not deliver the skills employers need. We are committed to ensuring that T Levels are accessible to all young people and have introduced flexibilities for students with special educational needs and disabilities. The T Level Transition Programme will support young people who are not yet ready to progress to a T Level but have the potential to succeed on it after some further preparation.

All qualifications will need to meet new quality criteria to be approved for funding in future. Technical qualifications will need to be approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) in order to be considered for funding approval. For academic qualifications, the department will set criteria to ensure all qualifications approved for funding are necessary alongside A levels. Ofqual will provide advice about quality to both the Institute and the department. This will ensure that all qualifications are high quality and provide the skills needed to support progression either into skilled employment or further study.

Alongside our reforms to level 3 qualifications, the department wants to improve study at level 2 and below, which has been neglected for too long. Improving level 2 and below is key to making sure that every student has a clear progression route – whether that is to high quality level 3 qualifications, apprenticeships, traineeships, or directly into skilled employment at level 2. The department is considering feedback to the call for evidence, which ran from 10 November 2020 to 14 February 2021, and there will be consultation on reform proposals later this year.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a compulsory sustainability component to the national curriculum.

Topics related to sustainability and the environment are covered in the National Curriculum. This National Curriculum is mandatory in all state maintained schools, whilst academies are required to follow a broad and balanced curriculum as exemplified by the National Curriculum. Teachers have the flexibility and freedom to determine how they deliver the content in the way that best meets the needs of their pupils and can choose to cover particular topics in greater depth if they wish.

Topics related to the climate, the environment and sustainability issues are covered in the science and geography curricula and GCSEs. In both subjects, at Key Stages 1 and 2, pupils are taught about seasons and habitats, as well as covering climate zones and how environments can change. Secondary geography includes study of the climate, how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate. In science at Key Stages 3 and 4, pupils study climate and ecosystems in biology and chemistry, including how human interaction with ecosystems impacts on biodiversity.

In 2017, the Department introduced a new environmental science A level. This will enable pupils to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled.

Pupils also cover content on the environment in citizenship education which has been a compulsory subject in maintained schools since 2002. Pupils are taught what improves and harms the environment, and how economic choices affect sustainability.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage universities to introduce air health education into relevant degree programmes.

Education regarding air quality is a very important matter, and I expect our world leading higher education (HE) providers to respond to student interest and consider potential demand from employers for skills and knowledge, given the increasing importance of this issue. HE providers are autonomous and independent bodies, and it is the decision of providers what they teach.

The English Higher Education regulator, the Office for Students (OfS), provides grant funding to support the teaching of high-cost subjects, which includes medical and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Further details can be found here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/skills-and-employment/supporting-stem-subjects/.

The Strategic Priorities Grant (formerly the HE Teaching Grant) will play an important role in supporting providers and students to develop the skills and knowledge needed locally, regionally, and nationally to support the economy. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has asked the OfS to reform the grant for the 2021-22 financial year, to ensure more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting higher education provision which aligns with national priorities, such as healthcare, STEM and other subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing further support to fund apprenticeship placements in the arts and design sector.

We are committed to supporting employers of all sizes to offer apprenticeships, including in the arts and design sectors. In the 2021-22 financial year, we are making available £2.5 billion to support apprenticeships in all employers, irrespective of their size.

There are over 50, employer-designed, apprenticeship standards in the creative and design industry available for employers to use, ranging from a level 3 Costume Performance Technician, to level 4 Media Production co-ordinator and level 7 Storyboard Artists. To support employers in the arts and design and other sectors to offer new apprenticeships, we have increased the incentive payments for employers to £3,000 for each new apprentice they hire as a new employee between 1 April and 30 September 2021.

We are making it easier for employers to make full use of their levy funds. Levy-paying employers can transfer up to 25% of their annual funds to help support apprenticeship starts in their supply chain or to meet local skills needs. In August 2021 we are launching a new online service to match levy payers with small to medium-sized enterprises to simplify the process for employers who pay the levy to be able to pledge funds.

We are also working closely with the creative industries to make apprenticeships more flexible. In July we are launching a £7 million fund to support flexi-job apprenticeships schemes which will help sectors with flexible employment patterns and short-term roles, such as arts and design, to benefit from the high-quality training that apprenticeships can offer its workforce.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of increased funding for arts and design in the Higher Education sector.

This government values and supports the arts throughout the education system. For example, we have invested over £620 million from 2016-21 in a diverse portfolio of arts and music education programmes to ensure all children, whatever their background, have access to a high-quality education in arts and music.

This government also supports substantial provision for creative arts in the higher education sector. In 2020-21, £690 million of Strategic Priorities Grant funding (then referred to as the Teaching Grant) was provided, via the Office for Students (OfS), for high-cost subject funding which includes art and design courses. A further £43 million of Strategic Priorities Grant funding was provided to specialist providers including top music and arts institutions. Further information on provider-level allocations can be found within the OfS’s guide to funding for 2020-21, available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guide-to-funding-2020-21/ and https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/funding-for-providers/annual-funding/technical-guidance-and-funding-data/ in the document '2020-21 Sector tables (October 2020)'.

The government has asked the OfS to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for 2021-22. These reforms include the reallocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology and engineering subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs. We have considered the impact of the reforms, which can be found in the annex in the guidance letter, sent by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, to the OfS on 19 January. The OfS had also published their modelling of impacts alongside their recent consultation document on 2021-22 funding.

One of our proposals is for a 50% reduction in the rate of high-cost subject funding, which is one element of the wider Strategic Priorities Grant, for some subjects in order to enable this reprioritisation. It is important to note that the Strategic Priorities Grant accounts for a relatively small proportion of the total income of higher education providers today. For the providers losing funding due to this reallocation, the income lost would account for approximately 0.05% of their estimated total income, based on the latest data available.

As part of the same reform programme, we have asked the OfS to invest an additional £10 million in our world-leading specialist providers, many of which specialise in arts provision. We want to ensure that our specialist providers receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

The OfS have publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on 2021-22 allocations are made. Decisions on future funding will be made in light of the Spending Review.

Higher education providers are autonomous bodies, independent from government. As such, they are responsible for their own admissions decisions. They are also responsible for their own decisions on staffing. They should make these decisions according to their own operational needs and the needs of their wider staff and student community.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an estimate of the potential impact of the planned reduction in funding for arts and design courses on student intake numbers for those courses in the Higher Education sector in the next five years.

This government values and supports the arts throughout the education system. For example, we have invested over £620 million from 2016-21 in a diverse portfolio of arts and music education programmes to ensure all children, whatever their background, have access to a high-quality education in arts and music.

This government also supports substantial provision for creative arts in the higher education sector. In 2020-21, £690 million of Strategic Priorities Grant funding (then referred to as the Teaching Grant) was provided, via the Office for Students (OfS), for high-cost subject funding which includes art and design courses. A further £43 million of Strategic Priorities Grant funding was provided to specialist providers including top music and arts institutions. Further information on provider-level allocations can be found within the OfS’s guide to funding for 2020-21, available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guide-to-funding-2020-21/ and https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/funding-for-providers/annual-funding/technical-guidance-and-funding-data/ in the document '2020-21 Sector tables (October 2020)'.

The government has asked the OfS to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for 2021-22. These reforms include the reallocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology and engineering subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs. We have considered the impact of the reforms, which can be found in the annex in the guidance letter, sent by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, to the OfS on 19 January. The OfS had also published their modelling of impacts alongside their recent consultation document on 2021-22 funding.

One of our proposals is for a 50% reduction in the rate of high-cost subject funding, which is one element of the wider Strategic Priorities Grant, for some subjects in order to enable this reprioritisation. It is important to note that the Strategic Priorities Grant accounts for a relatively small proportion of the total income of higher education providers today. For the providers losing funding due to this reallocation, the income lost would account for approximately 0.05% of their estimated total income, based on the latest data available.

As part of the same reform programme, we have asked the OfS to invest an additional £10 million in our world-leading specialist providers, many of which specialise in arts provision. We want to ensure that our specialist providers receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

The OfS have publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on 2021-22 allocations are made. Decisions on future funding will be made in light of the Spending Review.

Higher education providers are autonomous bodies, independent from government. As such, they are responsible for their own admissions decisions. They are also responsible for their own decisions on staffing. They should make these decisions according to their own operational needs and the needs of their wider staff and student community.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of his Department’s budget is spent on supporting the arts and design sector.

This government values and supports the arts throughout the education system. For example, we have invested over £620 million from 2016-21 in a diverse portfolio of arts and music education programmes to ensure all children, whatever their background, have access to a high-quality education in arts and music.

This government also supports substantial provision for creative arts in the higher education sector. In 2020-21, £690 million of Strategic Priorities Grant funding (then referred to as the Teaching Grant) was provided, via the Office for Students (OfS), for high-cost subject funding which includes art and design courses. A further £43 million of Strategic Priorities Grant funding was provided to specialist providers including top music and arts institutions. Further information on provider-level allocations can be found within the OfS’s guide to funding for 2020-21, available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guide-to-funding-2020-21/ and https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/funding-for-providers/annual-funding/technical-guidance-and-funding-data/ in the document '2020-21 Sector tables (October 2020)'.

The government has asked the OfS to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for 2021-22. These reforms include the reallocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology and engineering subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs. We have considered the impact of the reforms, which can be found in the annex in the guidance letter, sent by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, to the OfS on 19 January. The OfS had also published their modelling of impacts alongside their recent consultation document on 2021-22 funding.

One of our proposals is for a 50% reduction in the rate of high-cost subject funding, which is one element of the wider Strategic Priorities Grant, for some subjects in order to enable this reprioritisation. It is important to note that the Strategic Priorities Grant accounts for a relatively small proportion of the total income of higher education providers today. For the providers losing funding due to this reallocation, the income lost would account for approximately 0.05% of their estimated total income, based on the latest data available.

As part of the same reform programme, we have asked the OfS to invest an additional £10 million in our world-leading specialist providers, many of which specialise in arts provision. We want to ensure that our specialist providers receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

The OfS have publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on 2021-22 allocations are made. Decisions on future funding will be made in light of the Spending Review.

Higher education providers are autonomous bodies, independent from government. As such, they are responsible for their own admissions decisions. They are also responsible for their own decisions on staffing. They should make these decisions according to their own operational needs and the needs of their wider staff and student community.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an estimate of the projected number of educators teaching arts and design courses employed in the Higher Education sector in the next five years.

This government values and supports the arts throughout the education system. For example, we have invested over £620 million from 2016-21 in a diverse portfolio of arts and music education programmes to ensure all children, whatever their background, have access to a high-quality education in arts and music.

This government also supports substantial provision for creative arts in the higher education sector. In 2020-21, £690 million of Strategic Priorities Grant funding (then referred to as the Teaching Grant) was provided, via the Office for Students (OfS), for high-cost subject funding which includes art and design courses. A further £43 million of Strategic Priorities Grant funding was provided to specialist providers including top music and arts institutions. Further information on provider-level allocations can be found within the OfS’s guide to funding for 2020-21, available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guide-to-funding-2020-21/ and https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/funding-for-providers/annual-funding/technical-guidance-and-funding-data/ in the document '2020-21 Sector tables (October 2020)'.

The government has asked the OfS to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for 2021-22. These reforms include the reallocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology and engineering subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs. We have considered the impact of the reforms, which can be found in the annex in the guidance letter, sent by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, to the OfS on 19 January. The OfS had also published their modelling of impacts alongside their recent consultation document on 2021-22 funding.

One of our proposals is for a 50% reduction in the rate of high-cost subject funding, which is one element of the wider Strategic Priorities Grant, for some subjects in order to enable this reprioritisation. It is important to note that the Strategic Priorities Grant accounts for a relatively small proportion of the total income of higher education providers today. For the providers losing funding due to this reallocation, the income lost would account for approximately 0.05% of their estimated total income, based on the latest data available.

As part of the same reform programme, we have asked the OfS to invest an additional £10 million in our world-leading specialist providers, many of which specialise in arts provision. We want to ensure that our specialist providers receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

The OfS have publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on 2021-22 allocations are made. Decisions on future funding will be made in light of the Spending Review.

Higher education providers are autonomous bodies, independent from government. As such, they are responsible for their own admissions decisions. They are also responsible for their own decisions on staffing. They should make these decisions according to their own operational needs and the needs of their wider staff and student community.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage secondary school students to pursue careers in the creative arts sector.

The National Careers Service provides independent, impartial, professional advice on careers, skills and the labour market. This includes around 800 job profiles, including roles in the creative arts sector, that tell users what different careers entail and the different routes to enter those careers. In addition, the Careers & Enterprise Company is ensuring that every young person has access to work placements, work experience and other employer-based activities.

The Government is committed to high quality education for all pupils, including in the arts, and this supports pupils’ choices in terms of further study and careers. Schools are required to teach a broad and balanced curriculum, and this includes promoting pupils' cultural development. The Department has spent over £620 million between 2016 and 2021 on a range of cultural education programmes, which we continue to fund this year. This includes the Model Music Curriculum which supports teachers in delivering high quality music education.

The Department’s programmes support curricular and extra-curricular arts and music education and most have a focus on enabling access and participation in the arts for disadvantaged pupils. For example, this can be achieved through opportunity areas as well as through the pupil premium targeted at disadvantaged pupils across the country. The Government’s flagship Music and Dance Scheme and Dance and Drama Awards also help to ensure that talented musicians and performers can access the world-class training they need to succeed in acting and dance careers, irrespective of background.

Finally, the Department works closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to support careers in the creative arts. As part of the Creative Industries Sector Deal, DCMS committed £2 million to the Creative Careers Programme in partnership with industry, designed to inspire young people from across the UK to be taught about the range of career opportunities available to them in our world-leading creative industries. Activity is targeted at schools in Opportunity Areas and has reached over 115,000 students at 1,500 state schools across England to date. These schools have also been supported to meet Gatsby benchmarks, enabling them to provide their pupils with high quality careers information, advice and guidance.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of the availability of (a) drama, (b) art, (c) music and (d) performing arts GCSEs for secondary school students throughout the country.

The Government is committed to high quality education for all pupils including in the arts. Art & design and music are included in the National Curriculum and remain compulsory in all maintained schools from the age of 5 to 14. Requirements relating to drama are set out within the English curriculum, where all pupils should be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Post-14, all pupils in maintained schools must be offered the opportunity to study at least one subject in the arts. All state funded schools must teach a broad and balanced curriculum, and this includes promoting the cultural development of their pupils.

The Department has provided over £620 million of funding between 2016 and 2021 on a diverse range of music and arts education programmes. This includes the Model Music Curriculum which supports teachers in delivering high quality music education. We have committed £79 million in the 2021/22 financial year for Music Education Hubs which provide pupils with instruments to play in class, and £1 million for charities which teach pupils about different styles of music and the Department continues to fund a diverse range of cultural education programmes.

Since 2010, the proportion of pupils in state funded schools taking at least one arts subject has fluctuated across years but remained broadly stable.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department is taking steps to increase the proportion of students opting to study (a) drama, (b) art, (c) music and (d) performing arts GCSEs at secondary school.

The Government is committed to high quality education for all pupils including in the arts. Art & design and music are included in the National Curriculum and remain compulsory in all maintained schools from the age of 5 to 14. Requirements relating to drama are set out within the English curriculum, where all pupils should be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Post-14, all pupils in maintained schools must be offered the opportunity to study at least one subject in the arts. All state funded schools must teach a broad and balanced curriculum, and this includes promoting the cultural development of their pupils.

The Department has provided over £620 million of funding between 2016 and 2021 on a diverse range of music and arts education programmes. This includes the Model Music Curriculum which supports teachers in delivering high quality music education. We have committed £79 million in the 2021/22 financial year for Music Education Hubs which provide pupils with instruments to play in class, and £1 million for charities which teach pupils about different styles of music and the Department continues to fund a diverse range of cultural education programmes.

Since 2010, the proportion of pupils in state funded schools taking at least one arts subject has fluctuated across years but remained broadly stable.

10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many post-16 skills training places have been supported by his Department in (a) Huddersfield and (b) West Yorkshire since 2019.

The attached file contains the number of learners participating on adult (19+) further education and skills, and all age apprenticeships, in the West Yorkshire combined authority and the Huddersfield parliamentary constituency from the 2018/19 academic year onwards. These figures are as published in our further education and skills statistics publication: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/further-education-and-skills.

Data are not available for 16-18 non-apprenticeship learners in the West Yorkshire combined authority and the Huddersfield parliamentary constituency. We publish an overall estimate for the number of 16-18 year olds participating in Education and training in England, which can be found in the attached file. The latest data published is for the academic year 2019/20 with the 2020/21 data scheduled for publication on 24 June 2021.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of his Department’s budget has been spent on providing post-16 skills training in each of the last three years.

14% of the department’s total resource budget has been spent on post-16 education and skills training in each of the financial years 2020-21, 2019-20 and 2018-19. This includes spending on core 16-19 funding, the Adult Education Budget, apprenticeships and other measures to support post-16 education and skills. It excludes spending on higher education and funding for post-16 pupils in schools.

In relation to capital funding, the department is increasing its investment in post-16 education and skills over the next few years. In 2020-21, the department provided £200 million to all further education (FE) colleges to allow them to tackle their remedial condition improvement projects. The FE Capital Transformation Programme will follow up this initial investment over the coming 5 years, investing an additional £1.3 billion in upgrading the FE college estate.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that school leavers have adequate opportunities to undertake post-16 skills training.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to identify and support young people who are not in education, employment and training (NEET).

The September Guarantee places a further duty on local authorities to ensure that all year 11 pupils, and year 12 pupils on one-year courses, receive an offer of a place in education or training for the following September. It aims to ensure that all young people, regardless of what they achieved in school, understand that there are opportunities that will help them to progress, and to ensure that they receive the advice and support they need to find a suitable place.

The government plans to invest over £7 billion during the 2020/21 academic year, to ensure there is a place in education or training for every 16 to 19-year-old who wants one. This includes spend on apprenticeships.

The apprenticeship support and knowledge for schools and further education colleges programme (ASK) provides targeted local and regional support on NEET prevention to raise aspirations of cohorts of young people in areas of disadvantage and support their post-education progression. The ASK provides information on a variety of post-16 options including apprenticeships, traineeships and T Levels.

Traineeships prepare for young people for apprenticeships and work through a combination of sector-focused skills development and work experience. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, confirmed an additional £126 million for the 2021/22 academic year to fund a further 40,000 traineeship places.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) schools, (b) colleges and (c) universities have sufficient resources to provide effective mental healthcare to students.

Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is a priority for this government. While education settings cannot provide specialist clinical care, the support schools and colleges are providing to their pupils following the return to face-to-face education should include time devoted to supporting mental health and wellbeing, which will play a fundamental part in supporting recovery. We want schools to have the freedom to decide what wider pastoral and extra-curricular activity to put in place, based on the needs of their pupils and drawing on evidence of effective practice.

We are supporting recovery action with significant additional funding. In June 2021, we announced £1.4 billion of additional funding for education recovery. This is in addition to the £1.7 billion already committed, bringing total investment announced for education recovery over the past year to over £3 billion. The package provides support to children aged 2 to 19 in schools, 16-19 providers and early years. It will expand our reforms in two areas where the evidence is clear our investment will have significant impact: high quality tutoring targeted at those that need it most and high quality training for teachers. The one-off Recovery Premium for state-funded schools will help schools to provide their disadvantaged pupils with a boost to the support, both academic and pastoral, that has been proved most effective in helping them recover from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is in addition to the £650 million catch-up premium shared across state-funded schools over the 2020/21 academic year, which is also supporting education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place. The Education Endowment Foundation have published a COVID-19 support guide to support schools, which includes further information about interventions to support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.

Our Mental Health in Education Action Group has been looking further at what more can to be done to help education settings support mental wellbeing as part of recovery. The department has recently brought together all its sources of advice or schools and colleges into a single site, which includes signposting to external sources of mental health and wellbeing support for teachers, school staff and school leaders, as well as guidance to support relationships, sex and health education curriculum planning, covering of the key issues children and young people have been concerned about throughout the COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mental-health-and-wellbeing-support-in-schools-and-colleges#mental-health-and-wellbeing-resources and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing.

On 10 May, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we announced more than £17 million of mental health funding to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges. This includes £9.5 million for up to 7,800 schools to train a senior mental health lead in the next academic year, and £7 million in additional funding for local authorities to deliver the Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme. This builds on Wellbeing for Education Return in the 2020/21 academic year, which offered schools in every local authority and reached up to 15,000 schools with free expert training, support and resources for staff dealing with children and young people experiencing additional pressures from the last year, including trauma, anxiety, or grief.

For further education, the College Collaboration Fund (CCF), a £5.4 million national programme of competitive grant funding delivered in the 2020/21 financial year, is helping to support learner and staff mental health and wellbeing through online programmes and remote support. One of the funded projects was Weston College’s ‘Let’s Chat’ programme, which delivered a number of wellbeing support packages accessible at any time to keep staff, students and their families safe and well during lockdown. We are now assessing bids for the CCF 2 for the 2021/22 financial year.

​With regards to higher education (HE), student mental health and suicide prevention are key priorities for this government. We continue to work closely with the HE sector to promote good practice. We recognise that many students are facing additional mental health challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. My hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, has engaged with universities on this issue, and has written to Vice Chancellors on numerous occasions during the past year outlining that student welfare should remain a priority. She has also convened a working group of representatives from the HE and health sectors to specifically address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Universities are not only experts in their student population, but also best placed to identify the needs of their student body. The Department for Health and Social Care has overall policy responsibility for young people’s mental health. We continue to work closely with them to take steps to develop mental health and wellbeing support.

We have also increased funding to specialist services. In March, we announced a £79 million boost to children and young people’s mental health support, which will include increasing the number of Mental Health Support Teams. The support teams - which provide early intervention on mental health and emotional wellbeing issues in schools and colleges - will grow from the 59 set up by last March to around 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children. This increase means that millions of children and young people will have access to significantly expanded mental health services. In total, £13 million will be used to accelerate progress to support young adults aged 18 to 25. This group includes university students and those not in education or training, who have reported the worst mental health outcomes during the COVID-19 outbreak, and who sometimes fall through the gap between children and adult services.

While it is for HE providers to determine what welfare and counselling services they need to provide to their students to offer that support, the government is proactive in promoting good practice in this area. We continue to work closely with Universities UK on embedding the Stepchange programme within the sector. Stepchange calls on HE leaders to adopt mental health as a strategic priority and to take a whole-institution approach, embedding it across all policies, cultures, curricula, and practice. The Stepchange programme relaunched in March 2020 as the Mentally Healthy Universities programme. Further information on the programme is available here: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/stepchange.

The University Mental Health Charter, announced in June 2018, is backed by the government and led by the HE sector. The charter, developed in collaboration with students, staff and partner organisations, aims to drive up standards of practice, including leadership, early intervention, and data collection. Further information on the charter is available here: https://www.studentminds.org.uk/charter.html.

The department has also worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to provide Student Space, a dedicated mental health and wellbeing platform for students. Student Space has been funded by up to £3 million from the OfS in the 2020/21 academic year. We have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/22 through proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable and hard to reach groups.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that private candidates taking A-levels are not disadvantaged by the use of centre assessed grades.

The Department and Ofqual have ensured there is a clear and accessible route for private candidates to receive a grade this year, at the same time as other candidates. On 31 March, the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) issued guidance to support centres assessing candidates this year, including specific guidance for private candidates.

Private candidates will work with a centre to be assessed on a range of evidence, as other candidates will be. This evidence could include the use of board-provided assessment materials or evidence created with another established education provider. They will have the same opportunity as other students to be assessed on what they were taught, and centres can conduct assessments remotely if needed. In all cases, the Head of Centre will make sure they have collected sufficient evidence to ensure that they are able to confirm that the grades are a true representation of student performance.

The Department is working with the sector to ensure there are enough centres available to support private candidates. The JCQ have published a list of available centres, giving private candidates the opportunity to find a centre at a similar cost to a normal year.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools have sufficient resources to support students who are suffering from poor mental health as a result of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The support schools provide to their pupils as they return to face-to-face education should include time devoted to supporting mental health and wellbeing, which will play a fundamental part in supporting children and young people’s recovery. The return to education settings is being supported by a £700 million package, which includes a new one-off Recovery Premium for state primary, secondary and special schools to use as they see best to support disadvantaged students. This will help schools to provide their disadvantaged pupils with a one-off boost to the support, both academic and pastoral, that has been proved most effective in helping them recover from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and can be used for mental health and wellbeing support.

This funding follows our £1 billion COVID “catch-up” package which includes £650 million shared across early years, schools and 16-19 providers over the 2020/21 academic year to support education settings to put the right support in place. This is already being used by schools to put in place additional mental health and wellbeing support.

In addition to this, the department worked with our partners including, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Health Education England and Public Health England to deliver the £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return project, which helped education staff to support the wellbeing and resilience of pupils, students, staff, parents and carers, responding to the immediate pressures of the COVID-19 outbreak. Over 90% of local authority areas have told us how they are delivering additional training and support as a result of Wellbeing for Education Return resources and funding.

We have also recently announced a £79 million boost to children and young people’s mental health support, including through Mental Health Support Teams. The support teams – which provide early intervention on mental health and emotional wellbeing issues in schools and colleges – will grow from the 59 set up by last March to around 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children. This increase means that millions of children and young people will have access to significantly expanded mental health services.

The department has convened its Mental Health in Education Action Group, to look at the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities. It is bringing together partners to take additional action to support mental wellbeing of children and young people with the return to education settings and with transitions between education settings in September 2021. This will include looking at what more we can do to help schools to make the most effective use of recovery premium to support mental health and wellbeing.

On 4 February, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, appointed Dr Alex George as Youth Mental Health Ambassador to advise the government and raise the profile of mental health education and wellbeing in schools, colleges and universities. As Youth Mental Health Ambassador, he will use his clinical expertise as an A&E doctor, as well as personal experience, to champion the government’s work on children’s and young people’s mental health.

We also remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with DHSC and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams for all schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that an attainment gap does not form, as a result of school closures, during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to helping children and young people make up education lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We recognise that disruption to education will have been felt differently by individual students, depending on their circumstances.

As an immediate step, we have made available £1.7 billion in funding to support education recovery for pupils across nurseries, schools, and colleges.

In June 2020, the Department announced an initial package of support worth £1 billion, including a £650 million ‘Catch Up Premium’ to support schools to make up for lost teaching time and £350 million for the National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. This will increase access to high quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people, helping to accelerate their academic progress and tackling the attainment gap between them and their peers.

In February 2021, the Department committed to further funding of £700 million to fund summer schools, expansions of tutoring programmes and a recovery premium for the next academic year.

The Government has appointed Sir Kevan Collins as the Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on the approach for education recovery and the development of a long term plan to help pupils make up their learning over the course of this Parliament. The objectives of the Education Recovery Commissioner as outlined in the terms of reference are to advise on the design and implementation of potential interventions that will help students catch up education lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This will be informed by evidence so that schools can more effectively target resources and support at pupils and areas in greatest need. Academic and non academic factors in supporting attainment will form a part of this work.

The terms of reference for the Education Recovery Commissioner are published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/960070/Terms_of_reference.pdf#:~:text=Education%20Recovery%20Commissioner%3A%20role%20specification%20and%20terms%20of,approach%20for%20education%20recovery%2C%20with%20a%20particular%20focus.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of issuing guidance to schools on the use of clear face masks which may improve the educational outcomes of children with disabilities.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government Departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. We continue to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, to continue to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

The Department has recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March, which includes updated advice on face coverings. The guidance can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964351/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

The system of controls as outlined in our guidance have been developed with PHE to reduce risk in schools, colleges, and nurseries. Implementing the system of controls creates a safer environment for staff and pupils where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced. The use of face coverings in recommended circumstances is one element of the system of controls and should be implemented alongside other measures, including maintaining social distancing wherever possible and regular hand washing.

As the guidance outlines, where pupils and students in Year 7 and above are educated, the Department recommends that face coverings should be worn by adults, pupils and students when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

In addition, from 8 March, the Department now also recommends that in schools where pupils and students in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained.

In primary schools, face coverings should be worn by staff and adult visitors where social distancing between adults is not possible (for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas). Children in primary schools do not need to wear a face covering.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes people who cannot put on, wear, or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness, impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate. The same legal exemptions that apply to the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport also apply in schools, colleges and nurseries.

Transparent face coverings, which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn. There is currently very limited evidence regarding the effectiveness or safety of transparent face coverings, but they may be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

We are recommending these additional precautionary measures for a for a time limited period until Easter. As with all measures, we will keep this under review and update guidance as necessary.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with refence to the announcement of a national covid-19 national lockdown from January 2021, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the financial stability of pre-school providers.

The early years sector has benefitted from the continuation of early years entitlement funding during the during the summer and autumn terms in 2020, and providers have been able to furlough their staff via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme. As long as the staff meet the other criteria for the scheme, early years providers are able to furlough their staff if they have experienced a drop in either their income from parents or government. 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.

Whilst we recognise childcare attendance has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, we saw attendance rise over the autumn term from 482,000 on 10 September 2020 to 759,000 on 17 December 2020. On 17 December, the government therefore announced a return to funding early years settings for the spring term on the basis on attendance as measured by the January 2021 census.

The early years census count has gone ahead as expected with the census guidance unchanged. To support local authorities, we issued some technical advice on how that guidance can be applied this year. In summary, children who are ill or self-isolating can be counted, as can those whose parents have temporarily withdrawn their children from open nurseries and childminders out of caution, and so long as the parent/guardian has not altered their parental declaration relating to expected hours with the provider. Children should not be counted in the census where a setting has closed or restricted attendance, unless as a result of situations as set out in the supporting technical advice, for example staff sickness, COVID-19 isolation and staff shielding.

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.

The government will continue to support families with their childcare costs. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 25 November 2020 an extra £44 million for the 2021-22 financial year, for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers for the government’s free childcare entitlement offers.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the national covid-19 lockdown commenced in January 2021, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the financial stability of childminding providers.

We have provided unprecedented support to early years providers throughout the COVID-19 outbreak through block-buying childcare places and schemes including furlough. Childminders are also eligible to receive support from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme which has been extended until the end of April 2021. Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme.

Whilst we recognise childcare attendance has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, we saw attendance rise over the autumn term from 482,000 on 10 September 2020 to 759,000 on 17 December 2020. On 17 December, the government therefore announced a return to funding early years settings for the spring term on the basis on attendance as measured by the January 2021 census.

The early years census count has gone ahead as expected with the census guidance unchanged. To support local authorities, we have issued some technical advice on how that guidance can be applied this year. In summary, children who are ill or self-isolating can be counted, as can those whose parents have temporarily withdrawn their children from open nurseries and childminders out of caution, and so long as the parent/guardian has not altered their parental declaration relating to expected hours with the provider. Children should not be counted in the census where a setting has closed or restricted attendance, unless as a result of situations as set out in the supporting technical advice, for example staff sickness, COVID-19 isolation, staff shielding.

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.

The government will continue to support families with their childcare costs. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced on 25 November 2020 an extra £44 million for the 2021-22 financial year, for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers for the government’s free childcare entitlement offers.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support the Government will provide to (a) early years and (b) other childcare settings that have to close for safety reasons during the covid-19 outbreak; and what data his Department has collected on whether parents are withdrawing children from early years settings due to safety concerns.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have provided unprecedented support to the early years sector and other childcare settings by continuing to fund the free childcare entitlements, making grants and loans available, ensuring early years providers can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for their non-government funded income and ensuring that childminders can access the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). We continue to ensure that providers can access the support available.

On 17 December 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that both the CJRS and SEISS will be extended to April 2021. We have also updated the CJRS guidance for early years so that all providers who have seen a drop in their overall income are able to furlough any staff (who were on payroll on or before 30 October) and who are not required for delivering the government’s funded entitlements: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

Where early years providers are struggling financially, they may be eligible to access support for the Additional Restrictions Grant (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-additional-restrictions-grant) if not eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant schemes (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-local-restrictions-support-grant-for-open-businesses).

We have worked in consultation with the early years sector in developing advice to support settings. Advice from Public Health England remains that the risk of transmission and infection is low if early years settings follow the system of controls, which reduce risks and create inherently safer environments.

The department is working closely with the Department for Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure rapid asymptomatic testing for all early years staff, to support the announcement made by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, on 4 January 2021 for early years settings to remain fully open during the current lockdown.

We regularly commission parent polls, conducted via Ipsos MORI, to assess parental intentions with regard to the use of early years childcare, the latest published parent poll stats from wave 5 in September 2020 are published here: https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/childcare-and-home-learning-families-0-4-year-olds-during-covid-19-0. Our most recent poll was conducted during the second lockdown in November and early December 2020. A further parent poll is due to be conducted in coming weeks. We will publish the results of these in due course.

We also stay in regular contact with the early years sector and regularly and closely monitor attendance within settings. We will keep under constant review whether further action is needed.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that school children are not affected by poor air quality; and what steps his Department has taken to deploy air quality monitors in primary schools.

Local authorities are responsible for air quality in their area and must ensure that it meets the standards set in local air quality action plans. If there was concern about the air quality in a school building, it would fall to the body responsible for the school to check that and establish what measures need to be taken to improve air quality, including whether to deploy air quality monitors in primary schools.

In 2018, the Department published Building Bulletin 101 (BB101), which is guidance for school design on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality. This guidance sets out the World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines and Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010 for indoor air quality. BB101 requires the indoor environment of new or refurbished school buildings to be monitored by recording temperature and levels of carbon dioxide.

The Department is collaborating with other government departments and a number of academic institutions on air quality projects. The findings from these projects will, in due course, inform our guidance and standards for school buildings.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the importance of (a) air quality and (b) the associated health effects of air pollution are being taught in schools.

There is scope within the geography and science curriculums, and within PSHE, for teachers and schools to teach these topics.

In geography, the purpose of study is to equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, and at Key Stage 3, pupils should be taught to “understand how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate” and also the topic of “population and urbanisation”. This is further built upon at GCSE.

In science, pupils in primary schools are taught topics such as changing environments, plants, and different sorts of materials, which will enable them to understand about pollution later on. In the biology content at Key Stage 3, pupils should be taught about “Relationships in an ecosystem” and “how organisms affect, and are affected by, their environment, including the accumulation of toxic materials”. At GCSE, teaching in the sciences continues with the process of building upon and deepening scientific knowledge and the understanding of ideas developed in earlier key stages in the subject disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Within chemistry, pupils should be taught about “potential effects of, and mitigation of, increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane on the Earth’s climate; and common atmospheric pollutants: sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, particulates and their sources”.

The Government wants to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe and has introduced compulsory health education in all primary and secondary state funded schools. The focus of health education is on teaching the characteristics of good physical health and mental wellbeing. The Department has published a package of support to help all teachers increase their confidence and quality of teaching, including in relation to teaching health and prevention and physical health and fitness. The support is available on a one stop page for teachers on GOV.UK and includes access to training delivered through regional Teaching School networks: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that people working in (a) early years and (b) other childcare settings are a priority for covid-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the government on which vaccine(s) the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them.

The JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age. This prioritisation captures almost all preventable deaths from COVID-19.

In the next phase of the vaccine rollout, the JCVI have asked that the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other government departments. The Department for Education is working with DHSC and Public Health England to ensure that the education and childcare workforce is considered for prioritisation in the roll out of the vaccine.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that parents and carers of children in receipt of Government funded laptops for remote learning during the covid-19 outbreak have access to support to protect those children from online harms.

As part of over £400 million invested to support access to remote education and online social care, over 1.3 million laptops and tablets are being secured for disadvantaged children and young people. This figure includes over 700,000 that have already been delivered since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have been clear throughout the COVID-19 outbreak that schools and colleges must continue to pay regard to the statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, both online and offline. Since 1 September 2020, this guidance has included additional information to help schools and colleges keep children safe online. It includes, for the first time, resources on safe remote education, virtual lessons and live streaming and information on online safety for parents and carers. Relevant training and guidance from the EdTech Demonstrator Network are also available for all schools.

In addition, the Department has provided guidance on safeguarding and remote education to support schools and colleges plan lessons safely, including helpful resources for parents and carers on online safety. Relevant guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-and-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Department’s guidance for full opening schools also includes signposting to resources to support the delivery of safe remote education, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

More information on keeping children safe in education can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that teachers have access to (a) information and (b) support on (i) identifying and (ii) resolving risks of exposure to online harms in children working remotely during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of over £400 million invested to support access to remote education and online social care, over 1.3 million laptops and tablets are being secured for disadvantaged children and young people. This figure includes over 700,000 that have already been delivered since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have been clear throughout the COVID-19 outbreak that schools and colleges must continue to pay regard to the statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, both online and offline. Since 1 September 2020, this guidance has included additional information to help schools and colleges keep children safe online. It includes, for the first time, resources on safe remote education, virtual lessons and live streaming and information on online safety for parents and carers. Relevant training and guidance from the EdTech Demonstrator Network are also available for all schools.

In addition, the Department has provided guidance on safeguarding and remote education to support schools and colleges plan lessons safely, including helpful resources for parents and carers on online safety. Relevant guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-and-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Department’s guidance for full opening schools also includes signposting to resources to support the delivery of safe remote education, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

More information on keeping children safe in education can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that the GCSE exams are (a) fair and (b) accessible to students in 2021 in the context of the covid-19 outbreak.

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

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 demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of a subject in exams. A link to this package of measures 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 adaptations to exams (for example, 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.

The Department has also confirmed the launch of an expert advisory group to consider the differential impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on students and to recommend mitigations for these impacts, in support of the measures already announced. To ensure a successful delivery of the 2021 exams, and to ensure exams are accessible to all pupils, we are consulting with key stakeholders such as unions, schools and exam centres to discuss the logistics around this series and we will provide additional detail in the New Year.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help support an increase in the number of early-years childcare providers in England.

Data from Ofsted, shows that the number of providers on the early years register has remained broadly stable since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak until the end of November 2020 and that current parental demand for childcare places is being met by the market. The government recognises the importance of supporting the early years sector financially during the COVID-19 outbreak and recognises the risk to providers’ financial viability caused by changing levels of use of childcare.

Early years settings will continue to benefit from a planned £3.6 billion funding in the 2020-21 financial year to create free early education and childcare places. On 25 November, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £44 million investment in 2021-22. We can now also confirm that in 2021-22 we will increase the hourly funding rates for all local authorities by 8p an hour for the 2 year old entitlement and, for the vast majority of areas, by 6p an hour for the 3 and 4 year old entitlement. This will pay for a rate increase that is higher than the costs nurseries may face from the uplift to the national living wage in April. Funding beyond 2021-22 will be considered in the round at future spending reviews.

In addition to this, the government has provided a package of support for individuals and businesses which are directly benefitting providers of childcare. This includes business rates relief and grants, the extended Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will remain open until April 2021, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

We continue to work with local authorities and the early years sector to monitor the childcare market, including sufficiency of provision, and to understand how they can best be supported.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Vice-Chancellor of the Open University on virtual teaching in schools in England.

Department for Education Ministers and officials have had meetings with a wide variety of organisations and individuals in the past year, including the Open University, to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on education. We welcome the Open University’s positive contribution to these discussions. For many years, UK higher education (HE) providers have delivered education online successfully and effectively, with the Open University a leading proponent of this.

We recognise that, for some pupils and students, remote education will be an essential component in the delivery of the school curriculum this year, alongside on-site teaching. Schools have been working extremely hard to develop remote education contingency plans and put these into practice.

To help schools meet the expectations for remote education set out in the schools guidance for full opening, the Government has invested in a remote education support package. This includes helping schools to access technology that supports remote education, as well as peer-to-peer training and guidance on how to use technology effectively. It also includes practical tools, a good practice guide and school-led webinars to support effective delivery of the curriculum, as well as information on issues such as safeguarding and statutory duties and expectations. The support package can be accessed through our Get Help with Remote Education page at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-remote-education.

Details of Ministerial and Permanent Secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dfe-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings-2020.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what risk assessment on potential exposure to online harms his Department conducted in relation to the provision of Government-funded laptops for remote learning during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of over £195 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, over 340,000 laptops and tablets are being made available this term to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 whose face-to-face education may be disrupted.

This supplements over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers, which have already been delivered during the summer term. This represents an injection of over 500,000 laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Where Windows laptops and tablets are ordered with a Department for Education build, they will come with content filtering and device management software, just as with the laptops and tablets we distributed earlier this year. This filters out web content that might be inappropriate or illegal for children. The Department took advice from the Chief Information Security Officer, external security consultants and the National Cyber Security Centre, ensuring devices are safe and secure for children.

Schools can choose to order a Windows device without a Department for Education build. If this option is selected it is the responsibility of the local authority, academy trust or school to ensure appropriate safeguarding, security and privacy of the device before it is lent to the child. In addition, links to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection website and advice on using the internet safely are pre-loaded onto the laptops and tablets.

The 4G wireless routers provided include active content filtering services, which prevent users of the laptops and tablets from accessing types of content that pose risks to children.

Keeping children safe online is essential and we all must play our part as we continue our response to COVID-19. Schools and colleges must continue to pay regard to the statutory safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children – both online and offline. The revised Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance, which came into force on 1 September, includes additional information and support to help schools and colleges keep children safe online. It includes for the first time a dedicated collection of resources to support safe remote education, virtual lessons and live streaming. It also includes support for schools and colleges to signpost parents and carers to help them keep their children safe online. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2?utm_source=936e83f0-b458-4d7d-82cd-3ce68cde0fdf&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate.

The Department’s guidance for full opening of schools includes signposting to resources to support the delivery of safe remote education and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Training and guidance from the EdTech Demonstrator Network on ways to keep pupils safe online is also available for all schools.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussion he had had with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on joint departmental action to reduce the risk of online harm to recipients of Government-funded laptops for remote learning during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of over £195 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, over 340,000 laptops and tablets are being made available this term to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 whose face-to-face education may be disrupted.

This supplements over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers, which have already been delivered during the summer term. This represents an injection of over 500,000 laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Where Windows laptops and tablets are ordered with a Department for Education build, they will come with content filtering and device management software, just as with the laptops and tablets we distributed earlier this year. This filters out web content that might be inappropriate or illegal for children. The Department took advice from the Chief Information Security Officer, external security consultants and the National Cyber Security Centre, ensuring devices are safe and secure for children.

Schools can choose to order a Windows device without a Department for Education build. If this option is selected it is the responsibility of the local authority, academy trust or school to ensure appropriate safeguarding, security and privacy of the device before it is lent to the child. In addition, links to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection website and advice on using the internet safely are pre-loaded onto the laptops and tablets.

The 4G wireless routers provided include active content filtering services, which prevent users of the laptops and tablets from accessing types of content that pose risks to children.

Keeping children safe online is essential and we all must play our part as we continue our response to COVID-19. Schools and colleges must continue to pay regard to the statutory safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children – both online and offline. The revised Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance, which came into force on 1 September, includes additional information and support to help schools and colleges keep children safe online. It includes for the first time a dedicated collection of resources to support safe remote education, virtual lessons and live streaming. It also includes support for schools and colleges to signpost parents and carers to help them keep their children safe online. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2?utm_source=936e83f0-b458-4d7d-82cd-3ce68cde0fdf&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate.

The Department’s guidance for full opening of schools includes signposting to resources to support the delivery of safe remote education and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Training and guidance from the EdTech Demonstrator Network on ways to keep pupils safe online is also available for all schools.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps he has taken with School leaders on ensuring that children are not able to access harmful content on the internet using Government-funded laptops for remote learning during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of over £195 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, over 340,000 laptops and tablets are being made available this term to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 whose face-to-face education may be disrupted.

This supplements over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers, which have already been delivered during the summer term. This represents an injection of over 500,000 laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Where Windows laptops and tablets are ordered with a Department for Education build, they will come with content filtering and device management software, just as with the laptops and tablets we distributed earlier this year. This filters out web content that might be inappropriate or illegal for children. The Department took advice from the Chief Information Security Officer, external security consultants and the National Cyber Security Centre, ensuring devices are safe and secure for children.

Schools can choose to order a Windows device without a Department for Education build. If this option is selected it is the responsibility of the local authority, academy trust or school to ensure appropriate safeguarding, security and privacy of the device before it is lent to the child. In addition, links to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection website and advice on using the internet safely are pre-loaded onto the laptops and tablets.

The 4G wireless routers provided include active content filtering services, which prevent users of the laptops and tablets from accessing types of content that pose risks to children.

Keeping children safe online is essential and we all must play our part as we continue our response to COVID-19. Schools and colleges must continue to pay regard to the statutory safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children – both online and offline. The revised Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance, which came into force on 1 September, includes additional information and support to help schools and colleges keep children safe online. It includes for the first time a dedicated collection of resources to support safe remote education, virtual lessons and live streaming. It also includes support for schools and colleges to signpost parents and carers to help them keep their children safe online. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2?utm_source=936e83f0-b458-4d7d-82cd-3ce68cde0fdf&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate.

The Department’s guidance for full opening of schools includes signposting to resources to support the delivery of safe remote education and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Training and guidance from the EdTech Demonstrator Network on ways to keep pupils safe online is also available for all schools.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the quality of education delivered virtually.

The Department published expectations on remote education for schools on 2 July as part of our guidance for the full opening of schools, and for further education (FE) providers in the autumn term guidance published in August. On 1 October, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, made a temporary continuity direction to clarify that schools have a duty to provide remote education for state funded, school aged children who are unable to attend school due to COVID-19, in line with our guidance and the law. The direction requires schools to adhere to existing remote education guidance on the quality of remote education expected. It also provides clarity and removes uncertainty about what parents can expect from schools, whilst ensuring that schools are clear about what is expected of them. More information about the temporary continuity direction can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/remote-education-temporary-continuity-direction-explanatory-note.

Levelling up digital capability across the education sector is crucial to ensuring equity of access to high quality remote education for all pupils across the country. To support schools and FE colleges in meeting the remote education expectations as set out in the Department’s guidance, we announced a further remote education support package on 1 October. The support package includes access to the right technology to deliver remote education, peer to peer training on how to use this effectively, and practical tools, guidance and webinars. This support has been co-designed with schools. A good practice guide for school leaders, accompanying school-led webinars, annotated lesson plans for remote teaching and case studies are available now. Further materials will be available later in the autumn term, including more webinars, case studies on curriculum sequencing, and a resources signposting package designed to help teachers and leaders select the right resources for their school. The Department’s remote education good practice guide is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/remote-education-good-practice/remote-education-good-practice#effective-remote-teaching-provision.

The Department launched the Demonstrator schools and colleges programme – a peer support network offering fully funded advice and training on the ways that technology can be used to meet the remote education temporary continuity direction and the remote education good practice guide. This includes ways to deliver the curriculum remotely, foster better links between teachers and their pupils, track pupil progress and promote wellbeing and protect teacher time. More information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/edtech-demonstrator-schools-and-colleges-successful-applicants/about-the-programme.

Ofsted’s routine inspections are currently suspended but inspectors are carrying out a programme of visits to a sample of schools and FE colleges. The visits are based around collaborative discussions about how the school or college is returning to full education for all its pupils or students, including through any remote provision. When routine inspections resume, inspectors will take account of remote education as part of its assessments. Schools are held accountable for the outcomes they achieve by governors and trustees.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to incentivise schools to install air quality monitors.

Local authorities are responsible for air quality in their area and must ensure that it meets the standards set in local air quality action plans. If there was concern about the air quality in a school building, it would fall to the body responsible for the school to check that and establish what measures needed to be taken to improve air quality.

In 2018, the Department for Education published Building Bulletin 101 (BB101), which is guidance for school design on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality. This guidance sets out the World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines and Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010 for indoor air quality. BB101 requires the indoor environment of new or refurbished school buildings to be monitored by recording temperature and levels of carbon dioxide.

The Department is collaborating with other government departments and a number of academic institutions on air quality projects. The findings from these projects will, in due course, inform our guidance and standards for school buildings.

The Department does not hold data on the proportion of primary or secondary schools with air quality monitors installed.

We will be considering with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether and how schools might be encouraged to take part in Clean Air Day in future years.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of (a) primary and (b) secondary schools that have air quality monitors installed.

Local authorities are responsible for air quality in their area and must ensure that it meets the standards set in local air quality action plans. If there was concern about the air quality in a school building, it would fall to the body responsible for the school to check that and establish what measures needed to be taken to improve air quality.

In 2018, the Department for Education published Building Bulletin 101 (BB101), which is guidance for school design on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality. This guidance sets out the World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines and Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010 for indoor air quality. BB101 requires the indoor environment of new or refurbished school buildings to be monitored by recording temperature and levels of carbon dioxide.

The Department is collaborating with other government departments and a number of academic institutions on air quality projects. The findings from these projects will, in due course, inform our guidance and standards for school buildings.

The Department does not hold data on the proportion of primary or secondary schools with air quality monitors installed.

We will be considering with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether and how schools might be encouraged to take part in Clean Air Day in future years.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage (a) primary and (b) secondary schools to take part in Clean Air Day in future years.

Local authorities are responsible for air quality in their area and must ensure that it meets the standards set in local air quality action plans. If there was concern about the air quality in a school building, it would fall to the body responsible for the school to check that and establish what measures needed to be taken to improve air quality.

In 2018, the Department for Education published Building Bulletin 101 (BB101), which is guidance for school design on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality. This guidance sets out the World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines and Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010 for indoor air quality. BB101 requires the indoor environment of new or refurbished school buildings to be monitored by recording temperature and levels of carbon dioxide.

The Department is collaborating with other government departments and a number of academic institutions on air quality projects. The findings from these projects will, in due course, inform our guidance and standards for school buildings.

The Department does not hold data on the proportion of primary or secondary schools with air quality monitors installed.

We will be considering with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether and how schools might be encouraged to take part in Clean Air Day in future years.

18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to protect learners against fraudulent remote-learning training providers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is committed to the continuation of high-quality education for all pupils during this difficult time. Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. We have asked schools to monitor engagement with this activity, which should align as closely as possible with in-school provision.

The Department has provided a range of resources to support schools in delivering remote education. This includes our work with sector-led initiatives such as Oak National Academy. The Department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy both for the summer term of the academic year 2019-20, and then for the 2020-21 academic year to provide video lessons for reception up to year 11. This includes specialist content for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. Oak National Academy will remain a free optional resource for 2020-21.

COVID-19 guidance for schools is clear that it is crucial for remote education provision to be set up so that it is safe for pupils. Schools have been encouraged to share online safety information and best practice with parents and carers. The Government has published support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online which can be accessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-keeping-children-safe-online.

Initial Teacher Training (ITT) is controlled and regulated by the Department. In order to undertake training leading to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in England, a person must train at an accredited ITT provider in England. ITT providers can only be accredited by the Secretary of State consistent with the relevant Regulation.

The process by which a person may access and apply for a teacher training place at an accredited provider is clearly set out on the Department’s dedicated ‘Get Into Teaching’ web pages at:

https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/.

A person will only be able to access tuition fees for a place at a provider that is accredited by the Department and is designated for student support. A person will only be able to access any bursary payments for which they might be eligible if they are on a course leading to QTS at an accredited ITT provider in England.

9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that levels of intakes for apprenticeships nationally does not decline due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow following the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have introduced a range of flexibilities to support apprentices and employers to continue with and complete their apprenticeships. These include encouraging the remote delivery of training, introducing flexibilities to end-point assessments, and allowing furloughed apprentices to continue their apprenticeships and end-point assessments.

We recognise that employers face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices. The government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ will help to kickstart the nation’s economic recovery by offering employers payments for recruiting new apprentices. Businesses will be able to claim £1,500 for every apprentice they hire as a new employee from 1 August 2020 until 31 January 2021, rising to £2,000 if they hire a new apprentice under the age of 25.

In addition, to support smaller employers, we are ensuring sufficient funding is available for those wanting to take on an apprentice this year

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of forming a cross-party parliamentary task force to return young people safely to schools in September 2020.

All pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. On 2 July, the Government published guidance for the full opening of schools, including the Public Health England endorsed system of controls which, when implemented alongside the school’s own risk assessment, create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. This guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Ministers are engaging with hon. Members across the House regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. Ministers and officials continue to work closely with a wide range of stakeholders on supporting the full opening of schools at the start of the autumn term. The Department’s guidance for schools has been prepared with input from school leaders, unions and sector bodies and in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of his Department's announcement of 6 July 2020 on (a) changes to the Disabled Students' Allowance and (b) the introduction of a maximum allowance of £25,000 applying to both full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate recipients of that allowance on those students with the highest needs.

Regulations will be laid in Parliament to effect this policy change along with the other elements of the student finance package for the 2021-22 academic year. An equality analysis will be published alongside that. The date that these regulations will be laid is yet to be confirmed.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's announcement of 6 July 2020 on changes to the Disabled Students' Allowance, whether he plans to continue to publish figures on the number of students in receipt of assistive technology (a) hardware and (b) software through the Disabled Students' Allowance.

The Student Loans Company publishes official statistics about financial support received by higher education students. Figures are published for each of the 4 existing Disabled Students’ Allowances (equipment, non-medical help, general, travel). These figures will continue to be published.

The published figures for the equipment allowance are not disaggregated further into hardware and software and there are no plans to do so.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students have received funding through the Disabled Students’ Allowance greater than the value of £25,000 in each of the last three academic years.

The attached table details management information from the Student Loans Company on the number of students in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) greater than the value of £25,000. These figures cover students who received funding as English-domiciled students studying in the UK. For the vast majority of students receiving DSA funding greater than £25,000, this was driven by funding for the DSA travel grant, which will continue to remain uncapped. Recent changes to DSA will provide undergraduate students with the flexibility to access more of the support they need, as expenditure on particular types of support is no longer subject to a specific financial limit.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on support for 18 year olds, who are facing unemployment in July 2020 after formally leaving school, with further training opportunities.

The government is actively considering ways to help young people continue to develop the skills they will need for the future.?We want to give young people the best chance to succeed, despite these challenging and unsettling times.

The department is exploring options for boosting skills to help the labour market recover from the economic effects of COVID-19, including the vital role that our work based offers such as apprenticeships and traineeships can play in securing young people a high quality place in the labour market. This will be particularly important for young people. Training will be crucial for those without work, so that they maintain their work-readiness and gain new skills and quickly move into a high-quality job. We are considering our skills offer, as well as working with the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure a strong partnership with Jobcentre Plus. Jobcentre Plus have already started to re-engage with new and existing claimants and are signposting them to appropriate support.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Student Loans Company tender for assistive technology services (ATSP Equipment & Training / 2019-SLC-002) is planned to be completed.

Due to a number of pressures on the Student Loans Company (SLC), it has not been possible to progress with the tender approval process.

The tender approval process has therefore been paused until 31 July, by which time the SLC should be able to provide a revised timeline for the tender.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure there will not be a gap in provision due to the delay in the tender for assistive technology services (ATSP Equipment & Training / 2019-SLC-002); and if he will make a statement.

Whilst the tender process is ongoing, the current arrangements for the provision of assistive technology remain in place. The Student Loans Company is continuing to fund assistive technology via Disabled Students Allowances and there should be no interruption to assistive technology provision to students.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that tendering processes run by the Student Loans Company are delivered within the advertised time scale.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) is one of the department’s main arm’s length bodies.

The department continues to offer commercial support and advice to the SLC to help ensure that tendering processes run by the SLC are delivered within the advertised time scale.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people who work for examination boards are able to access support under the (a) Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and (b) Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

Examination boards are independent organisations. As such, they are responsible for deciding on payment arrangements and discussing with HMRC as appropriate. The situation is complex given the status of different examiners, but we know that the boards are providing information and updates to those involved.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing school summer holidays forwards, given that routine teaching will most likely be more viable in August than it is now.

We want to get all children back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn and it is good for children’s mental wellbeing to have social interactions with other children, carers and teachers.

As a result of the huge efforts everyone has made to adhere to strict social distancing measures, the transmission rate of coronavirus has decreased and the Government’s five tests have been met. Based on all the evidence, the Department has asked primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers), from 1 June. From 15 June, secondary schools can invite year 10 and 12 pupils (years 10 and 11 for alternative provision schools) back into school for some face-to-face support with their teachers, to supplement their remote education, which will remain the predominant mode of education for these pupils this term. Priority groups can continue to attend full-time.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education,what steps he is taking to ensure that children from lower income families are in receipt of (a) laptops and (b) other necessary educational aides to prevent disruption to their education during the covid-19 lockdown.

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.

The Department is providing laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in Year 10, are receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets and is working to provide these devices in the shortest possible timeframe.

To support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education, 40 teachers have come together to develop the brand-new Oak National Academy, launched on Monday 20 April. Oak Academy provides 180 video lessons for free each week, across a broad range of subjects, for every year group from Reception through to Year 10.

Schools and families will also be 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, which disadvantaged pupils without digital devices or connectivity will still be able to access.

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.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support teachers to ensure minimal disruption to the education and attainment of children from all backgrounds and irrespective of economic circumstances during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has provided a range of information, guidance and support for teachers and leaders on educating children during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

As well as recommended resources, it includes approaches and case studies for teachers to help them adapt their curriculum and teaching practices for remote education, and keep pupils motivated and engaged.

To enable all children to continue learning whilst at home, the Department will provide digital devices and internet access for some disadvantaged children and young people who do not currently have access to them from other sources.

The Department has asked schools to prepare to welcome back more children from 1 June at the earliest. We want to get children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to be back with their friends and teachers. Planning advice for primary schools, including advice on what to prioritise is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools#planning-what-to-teach-and-how.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) food parcels, (b) national vouchers, (c) local vouchers and (d) cash payments in respect of free school meals are accessible to all children.

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that food parcel arrangements may not always be possible and so at the end of March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option. This provides schools with additional flexibility to decide what is best for families in their schools.

Schools are best placed to determine the most appropriate and accessible local arrangements for their eligible pupils. We understand that alternative approaches to the national voucher scheme, such as providing food parcels or purchasing vouchers for local shops not in the national scheme, may mean that schools incur additional costs. We have published guidance on the financial support available for schools who incur these additional costs in this way. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

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

As schools prepare to open more widely, they should speak to their school catering team or food providers to ensure that they are supported to return to school to provide meals for those children attending.

Our latest guidance for schools on free school meals provision during this period is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

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

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he plans to take to extend the free school meals 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.

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. However, we recognise that food parcel arrangements may not always be possible and so at the end of March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option. This provides schools with additional flexibility to decide what is best for families in their schools.

Schools are best placed to determine the most appropriate and accessible local arrangements for their eligible pupils. We understand that alternative approaches to the national voucher scheme, such as providing food parcels or purchasing vouchers for local shops not in the national scheme, may mean that schools incur additional costs. We have published guidance on the financial support available for schools who incur these additional costs in this way. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

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

As schools prepare to open more widely, they should speak to their school catering team or food providers to ensure that they are supported to return to school to provide meals for those children attending.

Our latest guidance for schools on free school meals provision during this period is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

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

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has made to support universities in the event that there is a significant decrease in student numbers in 2020-21.

The government recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak will have an unparalleled impact on all elements of the global and UK economy. The higher education (HE) sector, including student recruitment, is no exception. We have been working closely with the sector to monitor the likely impacts of COVID-19 on student numbers in 2020-21. We understand that the COVID-19 outbreak, and a possible reduction in overall student numbers, poses significant challenges.

In response to this and calls from the sector, on 4 May my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a package of measures to stabilise university admissions this autumn and ensure sustainability in HE at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

Temporary student number controls will be put in place for domestic and EU students for academic year 2020/21 to ensure a fair, structured distribution of students across providers. Provider-level student number controls will be determined based on provider forecasts and allow for 5% growth above this. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, will also have the discretion to allocate an additional 10,000 places on top of the controls, of which 5,000 will be allocated to students studying nursing or allied health courses, to ensure growing numbers that will support our vital public services. This measure will only apply to full-time UK or EU-domiciled undergraduate students, with certain specified exemptions. These controls will not apply to international (non-EU) students.

The Office for Students (OfS), the regulator in England, will also consult on a new temporary condition of registration. The OfS’ proposed condition would prohibit registered providers from engaging in any form of conduct which, in the opinion of the OfS, could reasonably have a material negative effect on the stability or integrity of the English HE sector.

The government has also reprofiled tuition fee payments, expected to be worth £2.6 billion, for providers so that they receive more cash in the first term of academic year 2020/21. The government has also announced that £100 million of public funding will be brought forward to the current academic year to help protect vital university research activities in England. Confirmed providers are also eligible to apply for the government’s financial support schemes, which are estimated by the OfS to be worth at least £700 million to the sector.

Universities have an integral part to play in our economy, society and culture, which is highlighted now more than ever through their leading role in the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why we have introduced a package of measures to boost support for university students, stabilise the admissions system and ease the pressures on universities’ finances.

I have written to all Honourable Members, with full details of the package, which have also been published on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-support-package-for-universities-and-students.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the role of the further education sector in supporting economic recovery following the covid-19 outbreak.

The further education (FE) sector is vital to providing the highly skilled workforce that we need to support economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have therefore provided an extensive range of support to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and retain capacity within the FE sector. This is in addition to the series of wider measures to support employers and employees set out by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on 3 April.

Our latest guidance on COVID-19 for the FE sector and all other educational settings is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the (a) employment opportunities for disabled students and (b) ability of disabled students to pay the required £200 contribution towards the cost of assistive technology via the disabled students' allowance; and if he will make a statement.

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) provide for the additional costs that disabled students may face in higher education because of their disability. A basic computer is a mainstream cost of study and students are therefore expected to make a £200 contribution towards the cost of any computer recommended as part of their needs assessment. The contribution is for computer hardware only; students are not expected to fund recommended specialist software or training in how to use it.

There are currently no plans to suspend the requirement for disabled students to contribute £200 towards the purchase of a computer.

The department has not received any representations from disabled students on access to assistive technology through DSA support in relation to the economic effect of the Covid-19 outbreak.

It is too early to assess the effect of the Covid-19 outbreak on the employment opportunities for disabled students.

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

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what representations he has received from disabled students on access to assistive technology via the disabled students' allowance due to the economic effect of the covid-19 outbreak; and if will make a statement.

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) provide for the additional costs that disabled students may face in higher education because of their disability. A basic computer is a mainstream cost of study and students are therefore expected to make a £200 contribution towards the cost of any computer recommended as part of their needs assessment. The contribution is for computer hardware only; students are not expected to fund recommended specialist software or training in how to use it.

There are currently no plans to suspend the requirement for disabled students to contribute £200 towards the purchase of a computer.

The department has not received any representations from disabled students on access to assistive technology through DSA support in relation to the economic effect of the Covid-19 outbreak.

It is too early to assess the effect of the Covid-19 outbreak on the employment opportunities for disabled students.

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

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of suspending the requirement for disabled students to contribute £200 towards the purchase of assistive technology through the disabled students’ allowance during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) provide for the additional costs that disabled students may face in higher education because of their disability. A basic computer is a mainstream cost of study and students are therefore expected to make a £200 contribution towards the cost of any computer recommended as part of their needs assessment. The contribution is for computer hardware only; students are not expected to fund recommended specialist software or training in how to use it.

There are currently no plans to suspend the requirement for disabled students to contribute £200 towards the purchase of a computer.

The department has not received any representations from disabled students on access to assistive technology through DSA support in relation to the economic effect of the Covid-19 outbreak.

It is too early to assess the effect of the Covid-19 outbreak on the employment opportunities for disabled students.

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

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support he is providing to (a) childminders and (b) families that rely on childminding services during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have asked parents to keep their children at home wherever possible, and, like all early years providers, childminders should remain open only for children who are vulnerable and for those children of workers critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

Our guidance for early years settings, including childminders, about childcare provision following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), including funding support, is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that students who will miss (a) examinations and (b) assessments due to the covid-19 outbreak have clear information on what teacher assessments for their final GCSE grades will comprise; and what the status is of GCSE exams taken in year 10 is in that assessment.

Our latest guidance on GCSEs and A levels is set out below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

The independent qualifications regulator Ofqual is working very closely with exam boards to develop and implement a system for awarding grades this summer that is as fair as possible. Ofqual is consulting until 29 April on a range of aspects of that system, including the issues raised. The consultation is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/exceptional-arrangements-for-exam-grading-and-assessment-in-2020.

Ofqual will be responding on those issues as soon as possible after the consultation has closed.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to provide financial support to supply teachers in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

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

Our latest school workforce guidance on COVID-19, including supply teachers, is set out below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-school-closures/guidance-for-schools-about-temporarily-closing#supply-teachers-and-other-contingent-workers.

Further guidance on financial support for all education institutions is set out below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

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

24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that parents that are required to pay childcare fees while caring for their children at home do not face financial hardship as a result of paying those fees and losing income due to the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working hard to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on all parts of our society, including individuals and business. Childcare providers have individual agreements with parents and therefore we urge all childcare providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents, given the great uncertainty they will be facing too.

We have announced that we will continue to pay funding to local authorities for the early years entitlements for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds, and private nurseries are eligible for a business rates holiday for one year from 1 April. Childcare providers will also be eligible for wider support measures announced by the government.

Guidance for early years settings can be found at the following links:

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

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of school closures during the covid-19 outbreak on the educational attainment of pupils in the long term.

The Department is committed to ensuring that children can continue to learn in these very difficult circumstances. We issued guidance on 7 April which signposts to an initial list of free online resources for schools and parents to help children to learn at home. This is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

In addition, some leading state schools have collaborated to open The Oak National Academy, which was launched online on 20 April. This new initiative is led by 40 teachers who have assembled video lessons and resources for any teacher in the country to make use of if they wish to do so. 180 video lessons will be provided each week, across a broad range of subjects, for every year group from Reception through to Year 10. The BBC has also developed resources for families as part of a comprehensive new education package, which are now available on TV and online.

On 19 April, the Department issued information, guidance and support to parents and carers of children who are continuing their education from home, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/supporting-your-childrens-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

On the same day, we also published information on the Department’s work in partnership with suppliers to provide technology to support remote education, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-technology-for-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Devices will be ordered for the most disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in Year 10, for those who receive support from a social worker, and for care leavers.

Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are working to provide 4G connectivity to them so that they can learn at home.

18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to (a) international and (b) British students on the covid-19 outbreak and the disruption that outbreak has caused to tuition.

The department is acutely aware of the stress and anxiety the current climate will be causing all students – international and British alike. This is why we have been doing all we can to ensure students, both in the UK and overseas, have as much information as possible to help them make informed decisions at this challenging time.

Health advice for both international and British students in the UK is the same; they should continue to monitor Public Health England guidance, and adhere to the latest social distancing guidance for recommendations on how to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

Many universities and other higher education providers are already taking necessary steps to keep their staff and students safe and, where possible, continue providing education. For many students, this now means avoiding face-to-face tuition and participating in online learning instead – we understand that the majority of universities have now moved learning online, with others following suit.

If international students have specific questions about their visa status, the Home Office has established a dedicated Coronavirus Immigration helpline: 0800 678 1767.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) advice and (b) support he is providing to (i) further education and (ii) sixth form colleges on the covid-19 outbreak.

We are providing a range of advice and support to further education (FE) and sixth form colleges on the Covid-19 outbreak. We recognise that this situation carries financial implications for many institutions, and we are working to mitigate the impact as much as we can.

To help manage this pressure, we can confirm that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will continue to pay grant funded providers their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019/20 funding year.

ESFA allocations for 2020/21 were confirmed at the end of March, and payments will be made in line with the national profile which will be confirmed in the 2020/21 Funding Rules.

Officials in the ESFA FE territorial teams are in regular contact with colleges to update them and answer questions that they may have. In addition, through the FE Commissioner and his team and our pool of National Leaders of Governance, we have a range of experienced FE leaders and governors who are able to offer advice and support.

In addition, we know that colleges are looking at moving more learning on-line to allow students to continue with studies remotely. Jisc is providing practical advice to college staff and the Education and Training Foundation is running webinars for FE providers on how to make the most of online learning.

We are working hard to provide support to mitigate impact on the FE sector and we know that rules and funding arrangements will need to be adapted. We have set out more information in the operational guidance that is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision. We have also published apprenticeship guidance, which is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has also announced a series of wider measures to support employers and employees, recognising the significant impacts caused by COVID-19.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the implementation of the Relationships and Sex Education curriculum does not lose schools the trust of parents who may disagree with the content or timing of it.

The Department is committed to supporting all schools in their preparations to introduce relationships education (primary school pupils), relationships and sex education (secondary school pupils), and health education (all state-funded school pupils) from September 2020.

All schools will be required to have in place a written policy for relationships education, and relationships and sex education. Schools must consult parents in developing and reviewing their policy. Schools should ensure that the policy meets the needs of pupils and parents and reflects the community they serve. Schools should also consider how they can adopt a whole school approach to teaching the content of the statutory guidance.

The statutory guidance is clear that schools should ensure that when they consult parents, they provide examples of the resources they plan to use. They should also allow parents time and space to provide input, ask questions and share any concerns.

The Department has published parent guides explaining the subjects. They set out parents’ rights and how they can engage positively in the development of their schools’ policy. The guidance has advice, tips and case studies on how to carry out effective parental engagement, including where to go for help, and it sets out the role governors and trustees can play in the engagement process. The parent guides are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-sex-and-health-education-guides-for-schools.

A thorough engagement process has informed the key decisions and implementation of these subjects, including responses from parents, schools, leading charities, teaching unions and subject associations.

20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps his Department has taken to support effective interventions to give pupils at risk of exclusion the best chance to remain in schools.

The Government backs head teachers and teachers to create calm and safe schools by giving them the powers they need to enforce discipline. The Department is taking forward an ambitious programme of action on behaviour, exclusion and Alternative Provision which will respect head teachers’ powers to use exclusion, enable schools to support children at risk of exclusion, and ensure that excluded children continue to receive support and a good education. This includes the launch of a £10 million ‘behaviour hubs’ programme this September. The programme will enable schools with exemplary positive behaviour cultures to work closely with schools that need to turn around their behaviour, alongside a central offer of support and a taskforce of advisers, to improve their culture and spread good practice across the country.


20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to publish guidance for schools on the use of (a) in-school units and (b) managed moves.

The Department is taking forward an ambitious programme of reform which backs heads and teachers to enforce discipline and, where appropriate, to use exclusion, while equipping schools to support children at risk of exclusion and ensuring excluded children continue to receive support and a good education.

The Government previously committed to revising guidance on exclusions and behaviour, including producing guidance on the use of in-school units and ‘managed moves’. We will provide an update on plans to publish revised guidance in due course.

20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to (a) update and (b) consult on guidance for head teachers on their powers to exclude.

The Department is taking forward an ambitious programme of reform which backs heads and teachers to enforce discipline and, where appropriate, to use exclusion, while equipping schools to support children at risk of exclusion and ensuring excluded children continue to receive support and a good education.

The Government previously committed to revising guidance on exclusions and behaviour, including producing guidance on the use of in-school units and ‘managed moves’. We will provide an update on plans to publish revised guidance in due course.

20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to (a) revise and (b) consult on the SEND Code of Practice.

We will set out our plans for reviewing the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice later in the year. Any proposed changes to the Code will be subject to further consultation.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
23rd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding his Department has provided to support farmers whose lands have been flooded in each of the last five years.

The Farming Recovery Fund was activated in 2019 for farmers who suffered uninsurable damage to their land and were affected by exceptional flooding incidents as a result of significant rainfall. £1.4m was allocated towards reinstatement costs. £519,000 of this was claimed in 2020, £884,200 in 2021, and £750 in 2022. The fund was also announced on Saturday 6th January 2024 following Storm Henk, as part of the wider Flood Recovery Framework, but there is no claims data to report yet.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to protect access to (a) green spaces and (b) Greenways in (i) Huddersfield constituency and (ii) West Yorkshire.

The Government recognises the importance of providing access to the outdoors for people’s health and wellbeing and is working to ensure this is safe and appropriate. We committed in our Environmental Improvement Plan to work across government to help ensure that everyone lives within 15 minutes’ walk of a green or blue space.

The Government is delivering a number of policies to protect access to green spaces including in urban areas. Examples of these include:

  • Delivering the £9 million Levelling Up Parks Fund to improve green space in more than 100 disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the UK.
  • The launch of the Green Infrastructure Framework: Principles and Standards for England in January 2023 which shows what good green infrastructure looks like and will help local authorities, developers and communities to improve provision in their area
  • Local Nature Recovery Strategies will identify locations where action for nature recovery would be particularly beneficial, encouraging the creation of more green spaces, including in urban areas
  • Implementing a number of rights of way reforms which will streamline the process for adding new or lost footpaths to the rights of way network.

Local highway authorities are responsible for the management and maintenance of existing public rights of way and are required to keep a Rights of Way Improvement Plan to plan improvements to the rights of way network in their area. This must include an assessment of the local rights of way including the condition of the network.

In the West Yorkshire area specifically, as part of its work to deliver England’s Nature Recovery Network, Natural England is working with a range of partners in the iconic upland, rural and urban landscapes in West Yorkshire to create a shared vision for nature recovery that will underline the cultural and environmental links between the industrial heartland of West Yorkshire and the moors that help to define them.

In the South Pennine Moors Natural England is working with public and private finance, stakeholders and landowners with the aim of creating more habitat mosaics and dynamic sites, helping to build resilience for species that are likely to be impacted by climate change and improve natural flood management, ensuring that environmental and economic sustainability go hand in hand.

Utilising Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity Net Gain opportunities, Natural England is also aiming to build in green corridors and steppingstones leading into Bradford. Local communities are being engaged in the project, providing opportunities to connect the people of Bradford and West Yorkshire with their surrounding wild places, and encouraging greater sustainable access.

9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with representatives of the RSPCA on preventing the practice of ear cropping.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence in England and Wales to carry out a non-exempted mutilation (e.g., where it is not carried out for medical purposes) including the cropping of a dog's ears. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has not met with representatives of the RSPCA to discuss the cropping of dogs’ ears

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of including public access to the countryside in the definition public good in the Agriculture Act 2020.

The public goods supported by the Agriculture Act 2020 are listed under Section 1 of the Act. Section 1 allows financial assistance to be given for or in connection with any one or more of a range of purposes, including supporting public access to and enjoyment of the countryside, farmland or woodland and better understanding of the environment. We have confirmed in a recent publication that we will continue to pay for access to the countryside.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made on the impact of light pollution on the environment in areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and surrounding areas.

Our National Parks (NP) and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) have some of the best dark skies across Great Britain and attained some of the earliest dark sky designations in Europe. 53% of our darkest skies are in NPs and AONBs, demonstrating the vital role these places play, and seven of our NPs and AONBs have been internationally recognised for their dark skies and are managed in ways that conserve dark skies for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Defra has worked with other government departments to ensure that the National Planning Policy Framework is clear that policies and decisions should limit the impact of light pollution on local amenities, dark landscapes and nature conservation. We continue to work with partners including leading scientists to review the latest studies and ensure we continue to address key threats to biodiversity.

13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether sufficient data is available to monitor domestic food production across all agricultural sectors.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.

Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains. We speak regularly with food industry figures, who remain confident in the food supply chain.

We continue to keep the market situation under review through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments. Defra has requested weekly data from supermarkets on supplies of the foods to ensure we have the latest available data. Defra’s view is that the most effective response to food supply disruption is industry-led, with appropriate support and enablement from HM Government.

Recognising the importance of food security, in the Agriculture Act 2020, the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report was published in December 2021. This report will serve as an evidence base for future policy work.

In recent weeks some supermarkets applied item limits to a small number of fruit and vegetables due to poor weather affecting the harvest in Spain and North Africa, where a high proportion of produce consumed in UK at this time of year is grown.

Defra is closely monitoring markets and supply chains to explore the factors that have contributed to ongoing supply chain pressures and is considering how government and industry can work together to mitigate them, in the short and longer term.

Defra has requested weekly data from supermarkets on supplies of the foods affected to ensure we have the latest available data.

Supermarkets are confident that supply will be back to normal by the end of this month.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department takes to routinely monitor the range of food products available to consumers.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.

Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains. We speak regularly with food industry figures, who remain confident in the food supply chain.

We continue to keep the market situation under review through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments. Defra has requested weekly data from supermarkets on supplies of the foods to ensure we have the latest available data. Defra’s view is that the most effective response to food supply disruption is industry-led, with appropriate support and enablement from HM Government.

Recognising the importance of food security, in the Agriculture Act 2020, the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report was published in December 2021. This report will serve as an evidence base for future policy work.

In recent weeks some supermarkets applied item limits to a small number of fruit and vegetables due to poor weather affecting the harvest in Spain and North Africa, where a high proportion of produce consumed in UK at this time of year is grown.

Defra is closely monitoring markets and supply chains to explore the factors that have contributed to ongoing supply chain pressures and is considering how government and industry can work together to mitigate them, in the short and longer term.

Defra has requested weekly data from supermarkets on supplies of the foods affected to ensure we have the latest available data.

Supermarkets are confident that supply will be back to normal by the end of this month.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what indicators her Department uses to determine the threshold for intervention in the food supply chain.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.

Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains. We speak regularly with food industry figures, who remain confident in the food supply chain.

We continue to keep the market situation under review through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments. Defra has requested weekly data from supermarkets on supplies of the foods to ensure we have the latest available data. Defra’s view is that the most effective response to food supply disruption is industry-led, with appropriate support and enablement from HM Government.

Recognising the importance of food security, in the Agriculture Act 2020, the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report was published in December 2021. This report will serve as an evidence base for future policy work.

In recent weeks some supermarkets applied item limits to a small number of fruit and vegetables due to poor weather affecting the harvest in Spain and North Africa, where a high proportion of produce consumed in UK at this time of year is grown.

Defra is closely monitoring markets and supply chains to explore the factors that have contributed to ongoing supply chain pressures and is considering how government and industry can work together to mitigate them, in the short and longer term.

Defra has requested weekly data from supermarkets on supplies of the foods affected to ensure we have the latest available data.

Supermarkets are confident that supply will be back to normal by the end of this month.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to monitor data from retail supply chains to understand the impact on food supply and consumer choice.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.

Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains. We speak regularly with food industry figures, who remain confident in the food supply chain.

We continue to keep the market situation under review through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments. Defra has requested weekly data from supermarkets on supplies of the foods to ensure we have the latest available data. Defra’s view is that the most effective response to food supply disruption is industry-led, with appropriate support and enablement from HM Government.

Recognising the importance of food security, in the Agriculture Act 2020, the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report was published in December 2021. This report will serve as an evidence base for future policy work.

In recent weeks some supermarkets applied item limits to a small number of fruit and vegetables due to poor weather affecting the harvest in Spain and North Africa, where a high proportion of produce consumed in UK at this time of year is grown.

Defra is closely monitoring markets and supply chains to explore the factors that have contributed to ongoing supply chain pressures and is considering how government and industry can work together to mitigate them, in the short and longer term.

Defra has requested weekly data from supermarkets on supplies of the foods affected to ensure we have the latest available data.

Supermarkets are confident that supply will be back to normal by the end of this month.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the (a) affordability and (b) availability of food in the UK; and what assessment she has made of trends in the level of those matters compared to prior to the covid-19 pandemic.

The December 2021 UK Food Security Report examined past, current, and predicted trends relevant to food security, with chapters on UK Food Supply and Food Security at Household Level. This report serves as an evidence base for future policy work, and the Government is committing to producing such an assessment at least once every three years.

We know that rising food prices are a big contributor to the high levels of inflation that people are currently experiencing. However, we have seen a slight fall in the official food price inflation figures for January and we will watch to see if this is the start of a sustained fall in food price inflation.

Given the impact of high food prices, tackling inflation is this government’s number one priority, with a plan to more than halve inflation this year, and we’re monitoring all key agricultural commodities so that we can work with the food industry to address the challenges they face.

Low-income households are the most affected by high food and energy prices. This is why we have provided a package of support to help people with the rising cost of food. This includes £37 billion the government has committed to support households with the cost of living. £1 billion of this has gone towards help with the cost of household essentials.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.

Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains. We speak regularly with food industry figures, who remain confident in the food supply chain.

We continue to keep the market situation under review through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has made a recent assessment of the potential benefits for vulnerable animals of introducing firework control zones.

Defra has not made an assessment of the benefits of introducing firework control zones. However, the Government takes the issues associated with the sale and use of fireworks seriously. There is a comprehensive regulatory framework already in place for fireworks which aims to strike the right balance for people to enjoy fireworks, while aiming to reduce risks and disturbances to the welfare of animals.

It is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to cause an animal unnecessary suffering - and this includes through the misuse of fireworks. Users of fireworks need to use them responsibly and be aware of animals close by, and those found guilty of causing animals unnecessary suffering can face up to five years’ imprisonment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of levels of air particulate matter (PM10) pollution at drive-thru points in (a) Huddersfield and (b) West Yorkshire.

Defra has not made an assessment of the levels of air particulate matter (PM10) pollution at drive-thru points in Huddersfield or West Yorkshire. Data on the location of monitoring sites, as well as the air pollutant concentrations recorded by these sites, is available on the UK Air website.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of levels of air particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution at drive-thru points in (a) Huddersfield and (b) West Yorkshire.

Defra has not made an assessment of the levels of air particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution at drive-thru points in Huddersfield or West Yorkshire. Data on the location of monitoring sites, as well as the air pollutant concentrations recorded by these sites, is available on the UK Air website.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made on the impact of tyre wear on water pollution in (a) West Yorkshire and (b) England.

No assessment has been being carried out specifically in West Yorkshire. However, more widely in 2020, Defra published the findings from research (Tyre particles reach rivers and ocean - Defra in the media (blog.gov.uk) it has funded with Plymouth University and others investigating the sources and pathways of synthetic fibre and vehicle tyre wear contamination into the marine and river environment. Researchers are also currently undertaking work for Defra to develop and test a new methodology to analyse vehicle tyre ware products in river sediments.


In addition, the Environment Agency contributed to research (First phase of research paves the way for further studies on microplastics pollution - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)) undertaken by Highways England and industry experts on the extent of microplastic pollution from run-off from the major road network.


The outcomes from these research projects will be used in the development of policy options to help mitigate the impact of microplastics on the aquatic environment and provide design guidance for the major road network.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of allocating funds for research on the relationship between air and water pollution.

Defra continue to keep our research needs under review to ensure a robust, evidence-based approach to policy. At present Defra has not made an assessment of the potential merits of allocating funds for further research on the relationship between air and water pollution.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will consider the potential merits of establishing a commission on (a) air pollution, (b) water pollution and (c) potential relationships between different types of pollution.

Defra takes an evidence-led approach to policy development, and engages with the academic community on an ongoing basis. This includes Defra’s Air Quality Expert Group and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Defra does not consider that a commission on air and water pollution is necessary at this time.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has conducted any research into (a) air pollution, (b) water pollution and (c) potential relationships between different types of pollution in West Yorkshire in the past five years.

Defra assesses the relationship between air and water pollution pathways across a range of policy areas. For example, the impact assessment for the proposed Environment Act targets on water quality took into account possible air quality benefits and the newly launched slurry infrastructure grant schemes considered the impact on both water and air quality in the targeting of the scheme. Moreover, Defra has supported projects that improve the evidence base on these pollution pathways. This includes Defra funding for the Uplands Water Monitoring network which delivers a long-term data set on water quality and biodiversity in upland water bodies threatened by air pollution, climate change and land use, and the development of and updates to the Farmscoper tool which has the ability to look at impacts on both water and air quality as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

We annually publish emissions data for all key air pollutants on a 1km grid square for all the UK in our National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI). We also assess the concentrations of air pollutants across the whole UK and publish this information in our Air Pollution in the UK report (https://naei.beis.gov.uk/https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/annualreport/viewonline?year=2021_issue_1#report_pdf).

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has conducted any research into the relationship between air and water pollution in the last 12 months.

Defra assesses the relationship between air and water pollution pathways across a range of policy areas. For example, the impact assessment for the proposed Environment Act targets on water quality took into account possible air quality benefits and the newly launched slurry infrastructure grant schemes considered the impact on both water and air quality in the targeting of the scheme. Moreover, Defra has supported projects that improve the evidence base on these pollution pathways. This includes Defra funding for the Uplands Water Monitoring network which delivers a long-term data set on water quality and biodiversity in upland water bodies threatened by air pollution, climate change and land use, and the development of and updates to the Farmscoper tool which has the ability to look at impacts on both water and air quality as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

We annually publish emissions data for all key air pollutants on a 1km grid square for all the UK in our National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI). We also assess the concentrations of air pollutants across the whole UK and publish this information in our Air Pollution in the UK report (https://naei.beis.gov.uk/https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/annualreport/viewonline?year=2021_issue_1#report_pdf).

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made with Cabinet colleagues of the potential merits of introducing new anaerobic digestion plants to create energy from food waste.

The Environment Act will require all local authorities in England to arrange for the collection of food waste for recycling. Our preference is for food waste to be separately collected for treatment by anaerobic digestion as this presents the best environmental outcome for the treatment of unavoidable food waste.

In 2021 the Department for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy launched the Green Gas Support Scheme (GGSS) to support the construction of new anaerobic digestion plants that inject biomethane to the gas grid. Developers must ensure that at least 50% of all biomethane by energy content is produced using waste or residue feedstocks. This will ensure that energy is reclaimed from food w