Barry Sheerman Portrait

Barry Sheerman

Labour (Co-op) - Huddersfield

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


Scheduled Event
Tuesday 6th September 2022
Ten Minute Rule Motion - Main Chamber
Criminal Appeal (Amendment)
View calendar
Division Votes
None available
Speeches
Thursday 21st July 2022
Net Zero Strategy: High Court Ruling
I do not recall so much complacency oozing from the Government Front Bench in a very long time. I do …
Written Answers
Friday 15th July 2022
Bank Services: Charities
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will conduct a review of the ability of charities to obtain …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 7th July 2022
Access to bank accounts for charitable organisations
That this House notes the brilliant work of the charitable sector and the positive impact charities have on communities across …
Bills
Tuesday 8th February 2022
Motor Vehicle Tests (Diesel Particulate Filters) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to set standards as to the emissions particulate sensing technology to be used in roadworthiness tests for diesel …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 29th November 2021
8. Miscellaneous
From 9 July 2021, President of the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety (PACTS). Prior to 9 July 2021, I …
EDM signed
Thursday 21st July 2022
Reducing levels of PM2.5 pollution
That this House recognises the danger that high levels of air pollution pose to human health; acknowledges the importance of …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 13th July 2022
Fashion Supply Chain (Code and Adjudicator) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to provide for a Code of Practice to be followed by retailers of fashion clothing, footwear and accessories …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Barry Sheerman has voted in 355 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
Mark Spencer (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(27 debate interactions)
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(24 debate interactions)
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
(22 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(48 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(29 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(29 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Finance Act 2020
(1,605 words contributed)
Environment Act 2021
(836 words contributed)
Agriculture Act 2020
(585 words contributed)
View All Legislation 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

23rd May 2022
Barry Sheerman signed this EDM on Thursday 21st July 2022

Reducing levels of PM2.5 pollution

Tabled by: Angela Eagle (Labour - Wallasey)
That this House recognises the danger that high levels of air pollution pose to human health; acknowledges the importance of reducing air pollution as quickly as possible; and urges the Government to commit to reaching annual levels of fine particulate matter in line with the World Health Organization’s interim target …
23 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 16
Liberal Democrat: 3
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
7th July 2022
Barry Sheerman signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Thursday 7th July 2022

Access to bank accounts for charitable organisations

Tabled by: Barry Sheerman (Labour (Co-op) - Huddersfield)
That this House notes the brilliant work of the charitable sector and the positive impact charities have on communities across the country; recognises that charities must be supported to thrive and the unique role Government plays in creating the conditions by which the third-sector can flourish; further notes that charities …
14 signatures
(Most recent: 20 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 4
Scottish National Party: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Liberal Democrat: 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

4 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.


Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 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.


Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022


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


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

1023 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
18 Other Department Questions
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 steps the Sponsor body is taking to help mitigate road pollution on and around the Parliamentary estate during restoration and renewal works.

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 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 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.

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
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.

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
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.

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
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.

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
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.

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
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.

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
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.

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
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.

Michael Ellis
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)
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.

Heather Wheeler
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
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.

Heather Wheeler
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
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.

Heather Wheeler
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
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.

Heather Wheeler
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
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 in immigration removal centres.

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.

Heather Wheeler
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
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.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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.

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.

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.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
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.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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.
Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

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.

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.

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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
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.


Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.


Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.


Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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 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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

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.

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.

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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

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.

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.

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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

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.

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.

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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

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.

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.

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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

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.

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.

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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

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
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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.

29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions relating to consumption.

All UK domestic and international GHG emissions reduction targets are based on territorial emissions. The UK has driven down territorial emissions by 44% over the past three decades, the fastest reduction of any G7 country and in October 2021 we published our Net Zero Strategy which delivers a comprehensive set of measures to support and capitalise on the UK's transition to net zero by 2050. Nevertheless, measuring consumption-based emissions provides helpful insight and supports policy development, enabling us to keep track of our carbon footprint and informing our efforts to reduce this.

Many of our policies to reduce emissions will help reduce consumption emissions. One example is the Resources and Waste Strategy which sets out steps to improve resource productivity by reducing consumption of raw material. The strong link between material resource efficiency (or resource productivity) and GHG emissions related to consumption, as measured by UK Carbon Footprint, means that measures to improve resource productivity should help reduce our consumption related emissions. The measures in the strategy include reforms to waste collection and packaging, the launch of the Waste Prevention Programme and a commitment to double resource productivity by 2050. Additionally we will continue to monitor levels of raw material consumption (our 'material footprint') and resource productivity via the set of indicators, Monitoring Progress, which was launched under the Strategy.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of publishing levels of both (a) consumption- and (b) territory-based emissions.

As part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process, we report on UK territorial production emissions to an internationally agreed standard. For the purpose of assessing progress towards UK Carbon Budgets, measurement of the country's carbon emissions is on a territorial emissions basis. Although a few countries do publish consumption figures, there is no equivalent internationally agreed methodology for the calculation of, nor the comparison of, consumption emissions. However, we recognise the importance of monitoring the emissions that relate to our consumption, including emissions within the countries we import from.  For this reason Defra has for a number of years published the emissions that relate to our total consumption UK Carbon Footprint.

The carbon footprint published by Defra refers to emissions that are associated with the consumption spending of UK residents on goods and services, wherever in the world these emissions arise along the supply chain.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of requiring changes to tyre manufacturing processes on the levels of toxic particles in the environment.

The Department for Transport commissioned a three-year research project in February 2021, which aims to understand better the measurement techniques, material properties and control parameters of tyre wear emissions. The project will also assess how the composition of tyres affects the emission of pollutants from tyre wear, with the aim of informing any policy or legislation that may be required to reduce these emissions.

Industrial emissions from tyre manufacturing are controlled through the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) 2016 and are categorised as either “Part A2” or “Part B” installations. Local Authorities regulate these sites in accordance with the regulations and current guidance in England. This regulatory framework requires industrial facilities to have an environmental permit and they cannot exceed limits on allowable emissions. These regulatory standards may be updated in future to help further reduce emissions from industry.

16th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that the UK fashion sector reduces its stake in overseas emissions.

The Government’s Net Zero Strategy sets out policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy to meet our net zero target by 2050. The fashion and textiles industry is estimated to account for between 4% and 8% of global emissions. More than 70% of these emissions occur during the production of a garment. Emissions of air pollutants from textiles treatment facilities are controlled through environmental permits, using best available techniques (BAT). Operators must not exceed limits on allowable emissions.

The Government's Resources & Waste Strategy for England identified textiles as a priority sector for action. We fund Textiles 2030, a voluntary partnership with industry to reduce the environmental impact of textiles, with signatories covering over 62% of all clothing put on the UK market. This programme is underpinned by ambitious science-based targets, including halving the carbon footprint of new products and reducing the water footprint by 30%, both by 2030. This initiative is driving forward action on design, circular business models and recycling.

We are considering what wider framework of policy measures could best help reduce the environmental footprint of fashion, potentially using a range of powers from our landmark Environment Act 2021.

16th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he will take to work with COP26 partners to reduce emissions from the global fashion industry.

The Government’s Net Zero Strategy sets out policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy to meet our net zero target by 2050. The fashion and textiles industry is estimated to account for between 4% and 8% of global emissions. More than 70% of these emissions occur during the production of a garment. Emissions of air pollutants from textiles treatment facilities are controlled through environmental permits, using best available techniques (BAT). Operators must not exceed limits on allowable emissions.

The Government's Resources & Waste Strategy for England identified textiles as a priority sector for action. We fund Textiles 2030, a voluntary partnership with industry to reduce the environmental impact of textiles, with signatories covering over 62% of all clothing put on the UK market. This programme is underpinned by ambitious science-based targets, including halving the carbon footprint of new products and reducing the water footprint by 30%, both by 2030. This initiative is driving forward action on design, circular business models and recycling.

We are considering what wider framework of policy measures could best help reduce the environmental footprint of fashion, potentially using a range of powers from our landmark Environment Act 2021.

15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing a requirement for all waste management companies to measure their carbon emissions more accurately beyond just EfW sites.

Defra has made no assessment of the potential merits of establishing a requirement for all waste management companies to measure their carbon emissions.

18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of HVO fuel on levels of air pollution.

Defra's independent Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) published a report entitled: "Road Transport Biofuels: Impact on UK Air Quality" in 2011. AQEG recently reviewed this report and were confident its conclusions were still valid.

28th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he taking to tackle soil degradation.

The Government is developing a Soil Health Action Plan for England that aims to prevent soil degradation and improve soil health. It will deliver a strategic plan for multiple outcomes, encouraging appropriate land management practices that are sensitive to soil health, the environment and food production.

30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much money was raised from the Plastic Bag Charge in the last calendar year; and how much of that amount was directed to charitable causes.

During 2020/21, retailers reported they collected £24.8 million in gross proceeds from the single use carrier bag charge. Despite impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers voluntarily reported that £10.9 million was donated to good causes, contributing to the £190 million donated since the charge was introduced in 2015. Whilst not required by legislation, once retailers have deducted reasonable costs for administration, it is expected they will donate all proceeds to good causes, particularly environmental causes.

30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will reconsider his policy on reversing bans on the import of (a) fur and (b) foie gras.

The Government’s position remains that for both fur and foie gras, we will review the evidence and consider next steps. This has not changed. Fur farming has been banned in England and Wales since 2000 and 2002 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Regarding foie gras, the Government has made clear that the production of force-fed foie gras raises serious welfare concerns. The practice is already prohibited in England and Wales under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. We are now able to consider any further steps that could be taken in relation to foie gras that is produced overseas using force feeding practices, such as restrictions on import and sale. We continue to gather information and speak to a range of interested parties about the issues involved.

29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has had discussions with the Secretary of State for Health for Social Care on implementing a cross-departmental strategy to tackle the impact of poor air quality on people’s health.

Latest published figures show that air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010. However, we absolutely recognise that there is more to do to protect people and the environment from the effects of air pollution, which is why we are working across Government to take the range of action set out in the Clean Air Strategy.

On 16 March my Noble Friend Lord Kamall referenced in a debate on the Health and Care Bill that the next meeting of the Health Promotion Task Force would have a focus on air quality.

I recently held a round table meeting with Ministers and officials from other Government departments to discuss the range of cross-Government policies that affect air quality and its impact on public health, with a particular focus on targeting action where people are most likely to be exposed to poor air quality.

The Government recently launched a consultation on our two proposed targets for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) - a pollutant of significant harm to health:

  • A maximum annual mean concentration of 10 µg/m3 by 2040
  • A population exposure reduction target of 35% by 2040 compared to 2018

This dual-target approach will tackle the highest concentrations and ensure continuous improvement across the country. The population exposure reduction target will drive action even where concentration targets have already been achieved. We plan to set out our pathways to delivering these targets through the Environmental Improvement Plan in January 2023.

The Government has allocated £880 million to tackle nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exceedances under the 2017 NO2 Plan. We are also taking action across transport by supporting the switch to electric vehicles with £2.8 billion of investment, and £2 billion in funding for cycling and walking over this Parliament.

29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to mitigate the impact of high levels of air pollution on the health of people living in affected urban areas.

Latest published figures show that air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010. However, we absolutely recognise that there is more to do to protect people and the environment from the effects of air pollution, which is why we are working across Government to take the range of action set out in the Clean Air Strategy.

On 16 March my Noble Friend Lord Kamall referenced in a debate on the Health and Care Bill that the next meeting of the Health Promotion Task Force would have a focus on air quality.

I recently held a round table meeting with Ministers and officials from other Government departments to discuss the range of cross-Government policies that affect air quality and its impact on public health, with a particular focus on targeting action where people are most likely to be exposed to poor air quality.

The Government recently launched a consultation on our two proposed targets for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) - a pollutant of significant harm to health:

  • A maximum annual mean concentration of 10 µg/m3 by 2040
  • A population exposure reduction target of 35% by 2040 compared to 2018

This dual-target approach will tackle the highest concentrations and ensure continuous improvement across the country. The population exposure reduction target will drive action even where concentration targets have already been achieved. We plan to set out our pathways to delivering these targets through the Environmental Improvement Plan in January 2023.

The Government has allocated £880 million to tackle nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exceedances under the 2017 NO2 Plan. We are also taking action across transport by supporting the switch to electric vehicles with £2.8 billion of investment, and £2 billion in funding for cycling and walking over this Parliament.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the Government's timetable is for making a decision on banning the import of fur and foie gras products.

Now we have left the EU, the Government is able to explore potential action in relation to animal fur, in line with the Government’s commitment to improving animal welfare standards as set out in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare. We are reviewing the evidence gathered both from our Call for Evidence and wider engagement with the fur trade and stakeholders, and a summary of responses will be published soon.

Regarding foie gras, the Government has made clear that the production of force-fed foie gras raises serious welfare concerns. We are now able to consider any further steps that could be taken in relation to foie gras that is produced overseas using force feeding practices, such as restrictions on import and sale. We continue to gather information and speak to a range of interested parties about the issues involved.

We will update members accordingly when this evidence gathering process is concluded for both fur and foie gras.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to rewild white-tailed eagles.

The Government committed in the 25 Year Environment Plan to providing opportunities for the reintroduction of formerly native species where there are clear environment and socio-economic benefits.

Additionally, we will shortly be establishing an England Species Reintroductions Task Force to provide a collective evidence-based view on potential species for conservation translocation and reintroduction in England.

Both Forestry England and Defra have supported The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation project to reintroduce white-tailed eagles to the Isle of Wight. By establishing a population on the south coast, it is hoped that the birds will also connect existing communities in Scotland, France, the Netherlands and Ireland, helping to secure a long-term future of the white-tailed eagle in Europe.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to provide for the supply of (a) healthy and (b) British-produced food to public sector organisations.

The Government is adopting an ambitious and transformational approach to public sector food and catering. We want the public sector to lead by example, championing local food and farmers, and healthy, sustainable produce.

We have a manifesto commitment to encourage the public sector to buy British, to support our farmers and reduce environmental costs. To help meet this commitment, we will soon be consulting on proposed changes to the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services (GBSF). The consultation will seek views on ways to promote local, sustainable, healthier food in the public sector, open public sector procurement to a wider range of businesses and increase the transparency of food supply chains.

Organisations in scope are required to apply the GBSF as per the Procurement Policy Note published in November 2014. The GBSF also includes best practice standards which are recommended but not required. We will consider whether future reforms to regulation are needed to unlock the full potential of public sector food and catering.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a ban on the import of cats which have been declawed.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June and is progressing through Parliament. The Bill includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

In August 2021, the Government launched an 8-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. The consultation proposed to maintain the existing requirements for cats. This is because there is currently limited evidence that there is a significant illegal trade in cats or significant numbers of low welfare movements.

The consultation sought views on whether maintaining the existing requirements in relation to cats was the right approach. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary in due course. This will allow us to take on board the views of the public and interested groups in order to shape our future policy.

We will continue to work closely with stakeholders prior to the introduction of the legislation, to ensure that our final measures are well considered and led by the latest evidence.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a ban on the import of kittens under six months of age.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June and is progressing through Parliament. The Bill includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

In August 2021, the Government launched an 8-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. The consultation proposed to maintain the existing requirements for cats. This is because there is currently limited evidence that there is a significant illegal trade in cats or significant numbers of low welfare movements. The number of non-compliant cats seized at the border is much lower than for dogs, for example, in 2020 we seized and detained 17 kittens (under 15 weeks) compared to 543 puppies.

The consultation sought views on whether maintaining the existing requirements in relation to cats was the right approach. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary in due course. This will allow us to take on board the views of the public and interested groups in order to shape our future policy.

We will continue to work closely with stakeholders prior to the introduction of the legislation, to ensure that our final measures are well considered and led by the latest evidence.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment has he made of the potential merits of a ban on the import of pregnant cats that are more than 42 days pregnant..

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June and is progressing through Parliament. The Bill includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

In August 2021, the Government launched an 8-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. The consultation proposed to maintain the existing requirements for cats. This is because there is currently limited evidence that there is a significant illegal trade in cats or significant numbers of low welfare movements. In 2020 no pregnant cats were seized and detained.

The consultation sought views on whether maintaining the existing requirements in relation to cats was the right approach. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary in due course. This will allow us to take on board the views of the public and interested groups in order to shape our future policy.

We will continue to work closely with stakeholders prior to the introduction of the legislation, to ensure that our final measures are well considered and led by the latest evidence.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure the effective rollout of the Manchester Clean Air Zone.

We have established an £880 million fund to support local authorities implementing measures to address nitrogen dioxide exceedances across England. We have provided a substantial £132 million from this Clean Air Fund to Greater Manchester authorities to help businesses and individuals upgrade to compliant vehicles. This is on top of providing £36 million to enable the implementation of the Clean Air Zone.

Decisions around the introduction of Clean Air Zones are the responsibility of local authorities. The Government has agreed to allow a strict, time limited pause for Greater Manchester to review their CAZ plans in light of COVID-19 impacts. This is under the agreement that they will submit a revised plan to comply with legal air pollution limits in the shortest possible timeframe by July. We have also agreed to share relevant data and to work closely with Greater Manchester authorities during this review.

4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to mitigate the impact of air pollution on new-born children.

The Clean Air Strategy sets out the measures we are taking forward to reduce emissions of air pollutants from many sectors. In line with our duty in our landmark Environment Act, we will set a target to reduce concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) alongside a further long-term population exposure reduction target. This dual-target approach will tackle the highest concentrations and ensure continuous improvement across the country for all citizens, including pregnant women and new-born children.

We continue to work with local authorities to deliver legal levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), supported by £880 million of funding to develop and implement local air quality plans. This Government is also taking action across transport by supporting the switch to electric vehicles with £2.8 billion of investment, and £2 billion in funding for cycling and walking over this Parliament.

We are undertaking a comprehensive review of how we communicate air quality information to ensure that the public and vulnerable groups have what they need protect themselves and understand their impact on air quality.

4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to mitigate the impact of poor air quality on pregnant women.

The Clean Air Strategy sets out the measures we are taking forward to reduce emissions of air pollutants from many sectors. In line with our duty in our landmark Environment Act, we will set a target to reduce concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) alongside a further long-term population exposure reduction target. This dual-target approach will tackle the highest concentrations and ensure continuous improvement across the country for all citizens, including pregnant women and new-born children.

We continue to work with local authorities to deliver legal levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), supported by £880 million of funding to develop and implement local air quality plans. This Government is also taking action across transport by supporting the switch to electric vehicles with £2.8 billion of investment, and £2 billion in funding for cycling and walking over this Parliament.

We are undertaking a comprehensive review of how we communicate air quality information to ensure that the public and vulnerable groups have what they need protect themselves and understand their impact on air quality.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to ensure that Local Nature Recovery Strategies (a) cover the entire country and (b) successfully evolve into a national network.

The Environment Act (section 104:2) requires there to be Local Nature Recovery Strategies covering the whole of England with no gaps and no overlaps. The Government anticipates that there will be around 50 Local Nature Recovery Strategies at roughly county scale. Precise boundaries will be established by the Defra Secretary of State on a case-by-case basis so that every Local Nature Recovery Strategy covers an area that is both large enough to plan for nature recovery effectively and meaningful to local people. We are currently engaged in a process with local stakeholders to appoint responsible authorities to lead the preparation of Local Nature Recovery Strategies.

We recognise the importance of collaboration across Local Nature Recovery Strategy areas, and we are looking at ways to best support them to become a coherent national network to support nature recovery.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the ability of local authorities to deliver their Local Nature Recovery Strategies.

The Government recognises the importance of having sufficient capacity in Local Authorities to prepare and help deliver Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRSs) and has committed to funding all new burdens on local authorities from the Environment Act 2021.

We have undertaken assessments of capacity requirements for LNRSs alongside other key policies, including Biodiversity Net Gain. Our five LNRS pilots especially have informed our understanding of resource requirements for local authorities, the types of skills, as well as the amount of time required to prepare LNRSs. We have published these findings in a lessons learned report.

In addition, we have worked with local authority representative groups, and eNGOs to understand local authorities' current readiness.

LNRSs are intended to inform a number of policy areas and will therefore be delivered through a variety of mechanisms and organisations operating in a complementary way. These could include mandatory biodiversity net gain, environmental land management schemes, the strengthened NERC duty on public bodies, private funding streams and use by local planning authorities, for example, in informing the preparation of local plans.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to implement the national Nature Recovery Network as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan.

The Nature Recovery Network will be a bigger, better and increasingly connected network of places that are richer in wildlife, support the recovery of our species, and are more resilient to climate change and other pressures. The Network will provide wider environmental, economic and social benefits, including carbon capture and recreational enjoyment.

At the core of the Network will be our existing best areas for nature, including protected sites and National Nature Reserves. We will also create or restore 500,000 hectares of additional wildlife-rich habitat beyond these existing areas.

The Environment Act lays the foundation for the Nature Recovery Network. It establishes spatial mapping and planning tools to help inform nature recovery, including Local Nature Recovery Strategies. It also introduces duties and financial incentives to drive change on the ground, which sit alongside our plans for introducing new schemes that reward farmers and land managers for delivering environmental benefits. We have launched a National Delivery Partnership, led by Natural England, to support the delivery of the Network which now has cross-sector representation from over 400 organisations.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which recommendations he plans to implement from the Environmental Audit Committee’s report on Biodiversity in the UK: bloom or bust, HC 75, published on 30 June 2021.

The Government’s response to the Environmental Audit Committee’s report, ‘Biodiversity in the UK: Bloom or Bust’ was published in September 2021 on the Committee’s website: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/448/biodiversity-and-ecosystems/publications/.

Our response set out how we are acting against each of the Committee’s recommendations. Since then, we have brought forward the first Environment Act in over 20 years, with ambitious measures to address the biggest environmental priorities of our age, including restoring and enhancing biodiversity. The Act’s requirement to set a new, historic legally binding target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030, underlines our ambition, on which we continue to act.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to implement the Environmental Audit Committee’s report on Biodiversity in the UK: bloom or bust, HC 75, published on 30 June 2021.

The Government’s response to the Environmental Audit Committee’s report, ‘Biodiversity in the UK: Bloom or Bust’ was published in September 2021 on the Committee’s website: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/448/biodiversity-and-ecosystems/publications/.

Our response set out how we are acting against each of the Committee’s recommendations. Since then, we have brought forward the first Environment Act in over 20 years, with ambitious measures to address the biggest environmental priorities of our age, including restoring and enhancing biodiversity. The Act’s requirement to set a new, historic legally binding target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030, underlines our ambition, on which we continue to act.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the compatibility of Government environmental and planning policies.

Defra and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) work closely on planning policy to ensure it aligns with our ambitious environmental commitments. This includes supporting our statutory targets to be set through the Environment Act 2021.

Local Nature Recovery Strategies and biodiversity net gain are just two of the many ways in which we are ensuring greater complementarity. Public bodies, including Local Planning Authorities, will need to have regard to Local Nature Recovery Strategies, a new England-wide system of spatial strategies to drive nature’s recovery and provide wider environmental benefits. Defra and DLUHC are also working closely together on the implementation of biodiversity net gain to ensure it is fully integrated into the new planning system, including in Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential incentives that can be put in place to help encourage retailers to invest revenues from the plastic bag levy into good causes.

The carrier bag charge has been very successful in reducing the number of single-use carrier bags used - which have fallen by 95% for major retailers. Retailers with over 250 staff must keep three years of records, including how many single-use bags have been sold, and how the proceeds have been used. Whilst there is no legal obligation on retailers to donate the charge, Defra encourages doing so and publishes a summary including the amounts of money given to good causes: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carrier-bag-charge-summary-of-data-in-england Retailers have donated nearly £190 million to good causes from the charge since its introduction.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with major retailers regarding the proportion of revenues that they have raised through the plastic bag levy going back into good causes.

The carrier bag charge has been very successful in reducing the number of single-use carrier bags used - which have fallen by 95% for major retailers. Retailers with over 250 staff must keep three years of records, including how many single-use bags have been sold, and how the proceeds have been used. Whilst there is no legal obligation on retailers to donate the charge, Defra encourages doing so and publishes a summary including the amounts of money given to good causes: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carrier-bag-charge-summary-of-data-in-england Retailers have donated nearly £190 million to good causes from the charge since its introduction.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is he taking to help ensure that the plastic bag charge meets its objective to redirect revenue raised into good causes.

The carrier bag charge has been very successful in reducing the number of single-use carrier bags used - which have fallen by 95% for major retailers. Retailers with over 250 staff must keep three years of records, including how many single-use bags have been sold, and how the proceeds have been used. Whilst there is no legal obligation on retailers to donate the charge, Defra encourages doing so and publishes a summary including the amounts of money given to good causes: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carrier-bag-charge-summary-of-data-in-england Retailers have donated nearly £190 million to good causes from the charge since its introduction.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is he taking to ensure transparency in how supermarkets report how revenues raised through the plastic bag charge are spent.

The carrier bag charge has been very successful in reducing the number of single-use carrier bags used - which have fallen by 95% for major retailers. Retailers with over 250 staff must keep three years of records, including how many single-use bags have been sold, and how the proceeds have been used. Whilst there is no legal obligation on retailers to donate the charge, Defra encourages doing so and publishes a summary including the amounts of money given to good causes: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carrier-bag-charge-summary-of-data-in-england Retailers have donated nearly £190 million to good causes from the charge since its introduction.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is he taking to help ensure transparency in how supermarkets report how revenues raised through the plastic bag charge are spent.

The carrier bag charge has been very successful in reducing the number of single-use carrier bags used - which have fallen by 95% for major retailers. Retailers with over 250 staff must keep three years of records, including how many single-use bags have been sold, and how the proceeds have been used. Whilst there is no legal obligation on retailers to donate the charge, Defra encourages doing so and publishes a summary including the amounts of money given to good causes: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carrier-bag-charge-summary-of-data-in-england Retailers have donated nearly £190 million to good causes from the charge since its introduction.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that retailers direct all revenues raised through the plastic bag levy to charitable causes.

The carrier bag charge has been very successful in reducing the number of single-use carrier bags used - which have fallen by 95% for major retailers. Retailers with over 250 staff must keep three years of records, including how many single-use bags have been sold, and how the proceeds have been used. Whilst there is no legal obligation on retailers to donate the charge, Defra encourages doing so and publishes a summary including the amounts of money given to good causes: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carrier-bag-charge-summary-of-data-in-england Retailers have donated nearly £190 million to good causes from the charge since its introduction.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will take steps to strengthen regulations on the import of harmful chemicals and substances of very high concern in in the next five years.

In the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals legislation (UK REACH), we have an effective system for regulating harmful chemicals. It regulates not only the import but also the manufacture and use of potentially harmful chemicals. The system is founded on expert scientific advice, and its future trajectory will evolve alongside this expert advice and our understanding of these substances.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking through discussions with Britain’s major retailers to ensure that the proceeds from the plastic bag levy are redistributed into good causes.

The carrier bag charge has been very successful in reducing the number of single-use carrier bags used - which have fallen by 95% for major retailers. Retailers with over 250 staff must keep three years of records, including how many single-use bags have been sold, and how the proceeds have been used. Whilst there is no legal obligation on retailers to donate the charge, Defra encourages doing so and publishes a summary including the amounts of money given to good causes: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carrier-bag-charge-summary-of-data-in-england Retailers have donated nearly £190 million to good causes from the charge since its introduction.

17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that UK retailers are transparent in their accounting of how they spend revenue raised from the plastic bag levy and demonstrate how the revenue is used to support good causes.

The carrier bag charge has been very successful in reducing the number of single-use carrier bags used - which have fallen by 95% for major retailers. Retailers with over 250 staff must keep three years of records, including how many single-use bags have been sold, and how the proceeds have been used. Whilst there is no legal obligation on retailers to donate the charge, Defra encourages doing so and publishes a summary including the amounts of money given to good causes: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carrier-bag-charge-summary-of-data-in-england Retailers have donated nearly £190 million to good causes from the charge since its introduction.

13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he plans to take to help reduce illegal waste disposal by (a) organisations and (b) people who hire skips.

Waste site operators and anyone who transports waste must hold an appropriate environmental permit or registration, which can impose conditions on operators about how waste is handled. Today we are launching a consultation on the reform and strengthening of the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime, and on introducing mandatory digital waste tracking. Taken together, these two reforms will significantly strengthen the powers available to tackle rogue waste operations.

A detailed breakdown of the flytipping incidents reported by local authorities available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england. While illegal dumping specifically from skips is not separately recorded flytipping incidents can be filtered by size.

More widely we have given the Environment Agency £60 million extra to tackle waste crime since 2014 on top of the wider funding it receives from Defra. We have also set up the Joint Unit for Waste Crime to disrupt serious and organised waste crime and reduce its impact on the economy, the environment and local communities.

13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many incidents of illegal dumping of waste from skips were recorded in 2020-21.

Waste site operators and anyone who transports waste must hold an appropriate environmental permit or registration, which can impose conditions on operators about how waste is handled. Today we are launching a consultation on the reform and strengthening of the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime, and on introducing mandatory digital waste tracking. Taken together, these two reforms will significantly strengthen the powers available to tackle rogue waste operations.

A detailed breakdown of the flytipping incidents reported by local authorities available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england. While illegal dumping specifically from skips is not separately recorded flytipping incidents can be filtered by size.

More widely we have given the Environment Agency £60 million extra to tackle waste crime since 2014 on top of the wider funding it receives from Defra. We have also set up the Joint Unit for Waste Crime to disrupt serious and organised waste crime and reduce its impact on the economy, the environment and local communities.

13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has plans to review and update regulations on the use of skips by organisations and individuals.

Waste site operators and anyone who transports waste must hold an appropriate environmental permit or registration, which can impose conditions on operators about how waste is handled. Today we are launching a consultation on the reform and strengthening of the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime, and on introducing mandatory digital waste tracking. Taken together, these two reforms will significantly strengthen the powers available to tackle rogue waste operations.

A detailed breakdown of the flytipping incidents reported by local authorities available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england. While illegal dumping specifically from skips is not separately recorded flytipping incidents can be filtered by size.

More widely we have given the Environment Agency £60 million extra to tackle waste crime since 2014 on top of the wider funding it receives from Defra. We have also set up the Joint Unit for Waste Crime to disrupt serious and organised waste crime and reduce its impact on the economy, the environment and local communities.

13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how the use and disposal of skips is regulated by his Department.

Waste site operators and anyone who transports waste must hold an appropriate environmental permit or registration, which can impose conditions on operators about how waste is handled. Today we are launching a consultation on the reform and strengthening of the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime, and on introducing mandatory digital waste tracking. Taken together, these two reforms will significantly strengthen the powers available to tackle rogue waste operations.

A detailed breakdown of the flytipping incidents reported by local authorities available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england. While illegal dumping specifically from skips is not separately recorded flytipping incidents can be filtered by size.

More widely we have given the Environment Agency £60 million extra to tackle waste crime since 2014 on top of the wider funding it receives from Defra. We have also set up the Joint Unit for Waste Crime to disrupt serious and organised waste crime and reduce its impact on the economy, the environment and local communities.

13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department takes to monitor (a) the number of skips in operation and (b) where the contents of those skips are disposed.

Waste site operators and anyone who transports waste must hold an appropriate environmental permit or registration, which can impose conditions on operators about how waste is handled. Today we are launching a consultation on the reform and strengthening of the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime, and on introducing mandatory digital waste tracking. Taken together, these two reforms will significantly strengthen the powers available to tackle rogue waste operations.

A detailed breakdown of the flytipping incidents reported by local authorities available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england. While illegal dumping specifically from skips is not separately recorded flytipping incidents can be filtered by size.

More widely we have given the Environment Agency £60 million extra to tackle waste crime since 2014 on top of the wider funding it receives from Defra. We have also set up the Joint Unit for Waste Crime to disrupt serious and organised waste crime and reduce its impact on the economy, the environment and local communities.

13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department takes to help ensure that skips are emptied at official recycling and landfill sites.

Waste site operators and anyone who transports waste must hold an appropriate environmental permit or registration, which can impose conditions on operators about how waste is handled. Today we are launching a consultation on the reform and strengthening of the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime, and on introducing mandatory digital waste tracking. Taken together, these two reforms will significantly strengthen the powers available to tackle rogue waste operations.

A detailed breakdown of the flytipping incidents reported by local authorities available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england. While illegal dumping specifically from skips is not separately recorded flytipping incidents can be filtered by size.

More widely we have given the Environment Agency £60 million extra to tackle waste crime since 2014 on top of the wider funding it receives from Defra. We have also set up the Joint Unit for Waste Crime to disrupt serious and organised waste crime and reduce its impact on the economy, the environment and local communities.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including public access to the countryside in the definition public good as set out in the Agriculture Act 2020.

Section 1(1) of the Agriculture Act 2020 sets out a list of purposes for which the Secretary of State may give financial assistance, and Section 1(1) (b) confirms that the Secretary of State may give financial assistance for, or in connection with supporting public access to, and enjoyment of the countryside, farmland or woodland, and better understanding of the environment.

Support for increasing access into the countryside will be made through existing schemes and support mechanisms already in place. We are still considering our approach of how support for increasing and maintaining access to the countryside in our future schemes including our environmental land management schemes.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has taken to implement the provisions in the Agriculture Act 2020 to deliver public money for public goods.

We are implementing three new schemes that reward farmers and land managers for producing public goods: The Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery. Our approach to environmental land management is the cornerstone of our new agricultural policy and will be realised through a combination of schemes using public money to reward farmers and land managers for delivering environmentally sustainable actions. The schemes are intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and commitment to net zero emissions by 2050, while supporting our rural economy.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive will pay farmers for actions they take, going beyond regulatory requirements, to manage their land in an environmentally sustainable way. In 2021 we launched the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot and received over 900 applications. The first agreements have started and will run until 2024 when the full Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme offer will be available. This year we will start to rollout core elements of that scheme.

The Local Nature Recovery scheme will pay for actions that support local nature recovery and deliver local environmental priorities; making sure the right things are delivered in the right places. We plan to make an early version of the scheme available to a limited number of people in 2023 as part of our plans for testing and rolling out the scheme. We will then roll out the scheme across the whole country by the end of 2024.

Landscape Recovery will support the delivery of landscape and ecosystem recovery through long-term, large-scale projects, including projects to restore wilder landscapes in places where that’s appropriate, large-scale tree planting and peatland restoration projects. We will pilot Landscape Recovery between 2022-24 through initiating at least 10 large-scale projects.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that illegal fox hunting does not occur on Government-owned land.

The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs, except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions in the Act. Those found guilty under the Act are subject to the full force of the law and enforcement is an operational matter for the police.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of illegal fox hunts that have taken place on Government land in each the last three years.

The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions in the Act.

Those found guilty under the Act are subject to the full force of the law, and enforcement is an operational matter for the police.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure that local authorities have the capacity to accurately monitor levels of air pollution in their area to inform local clean air strategies.

Through the statutory Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) framework, local authorities are required to review and assess air quality in their area and provide a summary of their assessment in an Annual Status Report. Defra provides technical and policy guidance to local authorities to assist them in meeting these LAQM responsibilities. Defra also provides a dedicated local air quality management Helpdesk (phone, email and webpage) and calculation tools to support local authorities in their monitoring efforts.

Local authorities receive grant-in-aid to cover their LAQM duties. In addition, Defra’s Air Quality Grant scheme provides funding to local authorities and supports schemes which help councils monitor and implement measures to improve air quality in local communities. We have increased the funding pot available to local authorities in this year’s Air Quality Grant by £6 million.

Defra also fund the UK Automatic Urban and Rural Network, which is comprised of 171 monitoring sites and provides data to measure compliance with the Air Quality Standards Regulations (2010). The number and location of these sites have been carefully selected to minimise uncertainty and to be representative of the whole of the UK. Defra’s UK-Air website displays near real time measurements from these monitoring sites (https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/networks/network-info?view=aurn).

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is he taking to enshrine World Health Organisation targets for air pollution levels into UK legislation.

The Government will be launching a consultation on our new air quality targets in early 2022. These will be appropriate for our national circumstances and stretching, but achievable.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what powers the Office of Environmental Protection will have to (a) monitor, (b) regulate and (c) mitigate harmful levels of air pollution.

The Environment Act 2021 gives powers to the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) to hold public authorities to account on their environmental commitments. The Government will set at least one legally binding, long-term target on air quality as one of its four priority areas and a target in respect of the annual mean level of PM2.5 particulate matter in ambient air. The OEP will play a key role in monitoring the Government’s progress towards these targets and any other air quality targets set out in the Government’s Environment Improvement Plan (EIP). Each year, it will comment on the progress set out in the Government’s EIP report, providing the opportunity for the OEP to highlight, early on, where it believes there is a risk the Government may not meet its legally binding targets or how progress could be improved.

The OEP will also receive complaints from members of the public about alleged failures by public authorities to comply with environmental law. The OEP will have the power to investigate and bring legal proceedings where necessary if Government breaches its environmental law duties.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on mitigating levels of air pollution emitted by heavy goods vehicles.

I have regular meetings with Department for Transport (DfT) Parliamentary Under Secretary, Trudy Harrison, as part of our collective oversight of the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU).

JAQU was established in 2016 as a joint Defra/ DfT unit to deliver compliance with roadside nitrogen dioxide concentration limit values via the UK NO2 Plan.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on mitigating levels of air pollution emitted by vehicles.

I have regular meetings with Department for Transport (DfT) Parliamentary Under Secretary, Trudy Harrison, as part of our collective oversight of the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU).

JAQU was established in 2016 as a joint Defra/ DfT unit to deliver compliance with roadside nitrogen dioxide concentration limit values via the UK NO2 Plan.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on steps that can be taken to enable local authorities to develop clean air strategies.

The Environment Act 2021 introduces a number of measures to improve local air quality management. In line with commitments in the Act, we are also currently reviewing the National Air Quality Strategy and will publish a revised Strategy in 2023. Through the Strategy we aim to strengthen our existing support and capability-building framework to ensure local authorities have the necessary tools to take local action and to clarify the powers and levers available to them. We are working across government on this Strategy, including with officials at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment has he made of the effectiveness of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in providing a framework for towns, cities, and communities in the UK to become more sustainable in policy areas for which his Department is responsible.

The Environment Act 2021 provides a framework for local authorities to support their towns, cities and communities by improving air and water quality, tackling waste, increasing recycling, halting the decline of species, and improving our natural environment. These will contribute significantly to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the UK and our aims to level up the country. The Environment Act will deliver long-term targets to improve air quality, biodiversity (to halt the decline of nature by 2030), water, and waste reduction and resource efficiency. These will in turn support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 15 (Life on Land), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), 13 (Climate Action), as well as 14 (Life Below Water). This work is further supported by the UK’s Net Zero Strategy and the Resources and Waste Strategy.

6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support sustainable towns and communities initiatives that bring together local stakeholders to reduce food waste across their locality.

We support the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the Courtauld 2030 commitment which aims to halve UK food waste by 2030. This will be achieved through consumer campaigns, such as Love Food Hate Waste, as well as by working with businesses on helping consumers to waste less through best practice labelling advice and guidance, for instance on freezing and chilling foods.

WRAP has also developed a new online learning programme called Guardians of Grub to help UK hospitality and food service businesses put food waste reduction and associated cost savings right at the heart of their operations, including supporting consumers to reduce food waste when eating out of home.

Since 2017, Defra has made a series of grants available to help the redistribution sector. In total nearly £12 million has been awarded to over 250 large and small redistribution organisations across the country for the provision of for example warehousing, vehicles, fridges and freezers to get more surplus food to those who have a need.

17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of vaccinating the UK’s badger population to reduce the spread of bovine tuberculosis in England.

In its response to the Godfray Review[1], the Government set out its ambition to move from widespread badger culling to wider deployment of vaccination, with epidemiology-driven culling remaining as an option where epidemiological assessment indicates that it is needed.

We have clear evidence that badger vaccination reduces disease burden in the badger population. Logically, as badgers cause a proportion of cattle breakdowns, badger vaccination would very likely result in a reduction in cattle incidence where badgers are infecting cattle[2].

Modelling of the potential badger control options for post-cull areas was carried out by APHA[3]. Vaccination was found to reduce the number of infected badgers per social group and was comparable with continued culling, indicating that vaccination could be used as an exit strategy from culling to maintain reductions in cattle bTB incidence.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-strategy-for-achieving-bovine-tuberculosis-free-status-for-england-2018-review-government-response

[2] https://tbhub.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/TB_hub_badger_vaccination_powerpoint_Sept_2021.pdf

[3] Smith, G. C., & Budgey, R. (2021). Simulating the next steps in badger control for bovine tuberculosis in England. PloSone, 16(3), e0248426. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0248426

17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many rivers in England his Department has assessed as having a poor (a) ecological and (b) chemical status; and what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that those rivers are safe for public use.

The Environment Agency's most recent water body classification results taken in 2019 can be found at:

https://environment.data.gov.uk/catchment-planning/England/classifications.

The Government remains committed to bringing at least three quarters of our water to as close as possible to its natural state as soon as is practicable, supported by at least one legally binding water target in the Environment Act.

Rivers are currently managed for ecological quality rather than public health (bacterial) standards. Where a site is designated as a bathing water, these waters are managed to protect the public’s health. The Environment Agency will regularly take samples from these waters to measure bacteria levels and will assess what action is needed to improve water quality to meet the standards set by the Bathing Water Regulations.

28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has for implementing a ban on the export of live animals for slaughter.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which received its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 25 October, will ban live exports of livestock and equines for slaughter and fattening from Great Britain. We plan to adapt the existing journey log approval system and will be engaging with industry on the implementation of the ban before introducing regulations.

25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of amending the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to make dog on dog attacks a criminal offence.

The Government takes the issue of dog attacks extremely seriously and is determined to crack down on irresponsible dog ownership.

Under section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, it is an offence to allow a dog to be dangerously out of control in any place. The law does not specifically exclude an attack by a dog on another animal from the offence of allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control. In March 2018, the Government wrote to all police forces and local authorities about the range of powers and measures available in relation to dangerous dogs, specifically reminding all parties that it applied to attacks on animals as well as people

Additionally, Section 2 of the Dogs Act 1871 also allows for a complaint to be made to a magistrates' court by any individual or authority that a dog is "dangerous and not kept under proper control". The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 includes specific measures to enable the police and local authorities to tackle irresponsible dog ownership before a dog attack occurs. The main tool to tackle irresponsible dog ownership is the Community Protection Notice (CPN). These notices can be issued by local authority officers or the police on dog owners, or anyone temporarily in charge of the dog at the time, whose dogs are behaving in an unruly way. To breach a CPN is a criminal offence and could lead to a significant penalty. To that end we are encouraging police forces across the country to use these tools.

Defra has also commissioned research in collaboration with Middlesex University into ways to reduce dog attacks and promote responsible ownership among dog owners. The research considers different approaches and the effectiveness of current dog control measures. Defra is giving careful consideration to the report and its recommendations. The report will be published later this year.

25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals to penalise dangerous dog owners in the event that their animals cause harm to other pets.

The Government takes the issue of dog attacks extremely seriously and is determined to crack down on irresponsible dog ownership.

Under section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, it is an offence to allow a dog to be dangerously out of control in any place. The law does not specifically exclude an attack by a dog on another animal from the offence of allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control. In March 2018, the Government wrote to all police forces and local authorities about the range of powers and measures available in relation to dangerous dogs, specifically reminding all parties that it applied to attacks on animals as well as people

Additionally, Section 2 of the Dogs Act 1871 also allows for a complaint to be made to a magistrates' court by any individual or authority that a dog is "dangerous and not kept under proper control". The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 includes specific measures to enable the police and local authorities to tackle irresponsible dog ownership before a dog attack occurs. The main tool to tackle irresponsible dog ownership is the Community Protection Notice (CPN). These notices can be issued by local authority officers or the police on dog owners, or anyone temporarily in charge of the dog at the time, whose dogs are behaving in an unruly way. To breach a CPN is a criminal offence and could lead to a significant penalty. To that end we are encouraging police forces across the country to use these tools.

Defra has also commissioned research in collaboration with Middlesex University into ways to reduce dog attacks and promote responsible ownership among dog owners. The research considers different approaches and the effectiveness of current dog control measures. Defra is giving careful consideration to the report and its recommendations. The report will be published later this year.

25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to make dog on dog attacks a criminal offence.

The Government takes the issue of dog attacks extremely seriously and is determined to crack down on irresponsible dog ownership.

Under section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, it is an offence to allow a dog to be dangerously out of control in any place. The law does not specifically exclude an attack by a dog on another animal from the offence of allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control. In March 2018, the Government wrote to all police forces and local authorities about the range of powers and measures available in relation to dangerous dogs, specifically reminding all parties that it applied to attacks on animals as well as people

Additionally, Section 2 of the Dogs Act 1871 also allows for a complaint to be made to a magistrates' court by any individual or authority that a dog is "dangerous and not kept under proper control". The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 includes specific measures to enable the police and local authorities to tackle irresponsible dog ownership before a dog attack occurs. The main tool to tackle irresponsible dog ownership is the Community Protection Notice (CPN). These notices can be issued by local authority officers or the police on dog owners, or anyone temporarily in charge of the dog at the time, whose dogs are behaving in an unruly way. To breach a CPN is a criminal offence and could lead to a significant penalty. To that end we are encouraging police forces across the country to use these tools.

Defra has also commissioned research in collaboration with Middlesex University into ways to reduce dog attacks and promote responsible ownership among dog owners. The research considers different approaches and the effectiveness of current dog control measures. Defra is giving careful consideration to the report and its recommendations. The report will be published later this year.

25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the (a) Home Secretary and (b) Secretary of State for Justice on any plans to review and update the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

The Government is concerned about any dog that is not under control and that poses a threat to public safety, and we are determined to crack down on irresponsible dog ownership. Therefore, Defra commissioned Middlesex University to examine measures to reduce dog attacks and promote responsible ownership of all breeds of dogs and produce a report of their findings. Defra is giving careful consideration to the report and its recommendations, and will engage with the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice as necessary. The report will be published later this year.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help protect crustaceans and ensure that their use in seafood is ethical.

The Fisheries Act 2020 enshrines in law the Government's commitment to sustainable fishing - through its objectives and fisheries statements, and through the new legal commitment to produce Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) to ensure our stocks are being fished sustainably and the marine environment is protected. Our key commercial crustacean species will be covered by FMPs.

The Government is also committed to further strengthening our world-leading animal welfare standards. Defra has commissioned an independent external review on sentience in decapod crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters, as well as sentience in the cephalopod class, which includes octopus, cuttlefish and squid. The review will be published before the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill's Report stage in the House of Lords. Any future actions in this area will be led by evidence and informed by engagement with industry.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help prevent illegal ivory entering UK markets.

Since 2016, Defra and the Home Office have contributed £300K per year to the running of the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU). The NWCU helps prevent and detect wildlife crime, including illegal imports of ivory, by obtaining and disseminating intelligence, undertaking analysis which highlights local or national threats and directly assisting law enforcers in their investigations.

In addition to this, once commenced, the Ivory Act will introduce one of the toughest bans on elephant ivory sales in the world by banning the dealing in items made of or containing elephant ivory, regardless of their age, unless they fall within one of the narrow and carefully defined exemptions. We intend the ban to come into force in spring 2022.

7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is he taking to ensure effective oversight of the plastic bag charge to ensure that proceeds are allocated to environmental causes.

Since 5 October 2015, large retailers (250 or more employees) in England have been required by law to charge 5p for all single use plastic carrier bags. The charge was increased from 5p to 10p and extended to all retailers from 21 May 2021. Large retailers are also required by law to report certain information to Defra every year including what they did with the proceeds from the charge.

While it is strongly encouraged that the net proceeds from the charge should be donated to good causes, especially environmental ones, this is not a legal requirement. Therefore, if retailers do choose to donate to charity, any decisions about this will be personal each individual business. Since the introduction of the charge in 2015, retailers that have reported their proceeds to us have donated nearly £190 million to their chosen good causes.

In the last reporting year of 2020 to 2021, 38% of retailers who reported gave additional information on how they chose to donate their proceeds from the carrier bag charge. These retailers donated a total of £10.9 million to good causes. Out of the total amount donated by retailers to good causes:

  • £0.1 million (1%) went to health, environment and heritage
  • £0.3 million (3%) went to charity or volunteering sectors
  • £3.0 million (27%) went to causes just chosen by customers or staff
  • £7.5 million (69%) went to a combination of more than one good cause (relating to education, arts, heritage, sports, environment, health, charity or volunteering sectors and causes chosen by customers or staff)

It is important to note that this data cannot be directly compared with that of previous years, due to unique circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legal obligation for retailers to charge for single use plastic carrier bags supplied with online grocery deliveries was removed from 21 March 2020 to 21 September 2020, and during this exemption period the reporting requirement for large retailers was also removed.

The information is available on the most recent publication Single-use plastic carrier bags charge: data for England 2020 to 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), which summarises all data collected by Defra for the reporting year from 7 April 2020 to 6 April 2021, including the donation information. We have previously published summaries for earlier years and published the full datasets on data.gov.uk, this includes all reporting details provided by each retailer.

14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many homes in Kirklees were damaged by flooding in each of the last 11 years.

The numbers in the table below are derived from the number of homes that fall within the Environment Agency’s Recorded Flood Outline which is reviewed following each major flood. This data set records homes affected by flooding, rather than damaged by flooding, and includes homes where the flooding was restricted to gardens as well as those that flooded internally. This is the best available information held by the Environment Agency.

Number of Properties Affected by Fluvial Flooding (Rivers)

Number of Properties affected by Other Sources of Flooding (can be assumed to be from Surface Water)

2010

0

0

2011

0

0

2012

0

0

2013

0

0

2014

0

0

2015

203

0

2016

0

0

2017

0

0

2018

0

0

2019

1

1

2020

12

0

There may be additional homes that flooded during smaller flood events that the Environment Agency is not aware of, particularly where the flooding is due to surface water. The Local Authority may hold more information about these events.

14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much household waste (a) in kilograms has been produced per person, (b) has been sent to landfill in tonnes and (c) has been recycled in tonnes in Kirklees in each of the last 11 years.

Figures for Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council are calculated from data held in the WasteDataFlow web portal and are shown below. From 2015/16 disposal and treatment data was reported under a new question structure and figures for earlier years may contain inconsistencies. The tonnage of waste sent for energy recovery has also been shown in the table to add context to the figures.

Kirklees MBC

Collected household waste per person (kg) (Ex BVPI 84a)

Household waste recycled (tonnes)

Household waste landfilled (tonnes)

Household waste sent for energy recovery (tonnes)

2009-10

434.3

54,168

17,188

101,981

2010-11

420.9

57,757

7,783

103,256

2011-12

405.3

56,550

8,175

100,765

2012-13

383.5

53,055

8,500

99,374

2013-14

398.1

52,530

11,067

103,382

2014-15

400.0

47,378

15,677

104,637

2015-16

399.9

49,678

19,860

101,848

2016-17

382.8

50,549

9,842

106,069

2017-18

366.8

43,709

4,411

112,867

2018-19

360.2

38,443

12,758

106,516

2019-20

366.0

43,024

4,855

110,948

Household waste sent for energy recovery (EfW) does not include waste sent for non EfW incineration.

12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to minimise the levels of pollution in the River Thames.

The Environment Agency is the primary regulatory authority to minimise pollution of the River Thames.

The Environment Agency regulates water companies, industry, business and farming activities through permitting of discharges which may directly or indirectly impact the river. Regulated water discharge activities include discharges from sewage treatment works and permits place restrictions on the quality and quantity of effluent discharged to the environment. The Environment Agency carries out compliance checks including data audits of permitted discharges. The Environment Agency continues to hold water companies to account, and has prosecuted Thames Water 10 times since 2017 with fines totalling £28.4 million.

The construction of the Lee Tunnel, completed in 2016, conveys storm sewage from the largest pumping station to the newly extended Beckton Sewage Treatment Works in West Ham. The construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel, which will be connected to the Lee Tunnel, will operate as the London Tideway Tunnels and will capture the majority of flows from CSOs through London between Acton and Beckton. The completion of the London Tideway Tunnels will remove the majority of storm sewage discharges, resulting in better water quality, which the EA will monitor.

Thames Water's five sewage treatment works along the tidal Thames were enlarged by between 40-60% between 2010 and 2020. New discharge permits with tighter limits were issued and came into force in 2013. This has resulted in improvements in year-round water quality, which has encouraged aquatic life and made the river more resilient to polluting discharges.

12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking with local authorities in London to mitigate the levels of water and air pollution in and around the River Thames.

My Rt Hon Friends the Environment Secretary and the Secretary of State for Transport work closely together on issues related to air pollution, which poses the biggest environmental threat to public health. Defra officials also have regular discussions with their counterparts in the Department for Transport.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital and, through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) are strategic plans for England’s waters and set statutory objectives for water bodies and how to achieve them. In London, the Environment Agency is working in partnerships, updating RBMPs and flood risk management plans together, for a more integrated approach to improving water quality in London, including the Thames.

The London Tideway Tunnels are being built to intercept the 39 million tonnes of diluted sewage that would otherwise spill into the River Thames from storm overflows in a typical year. The Tideway tunnel will start to intercept sewage overflows by 2023 and be fully completed by 2025, resulting in further significant improvements to water quality in the tidal Thames. At a community level, the Environment Agency works with Thames Water and local authorities on combined flood and water quality projects, including Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on ensuring that craft operating on the River Thames do not adversely affect the air quality of the surrounding area.

My Rt Hon Friends the Environment Secretary and the Secretary of State for Transport work closely together on issues related to air pollution, which poses the biggest environmental threat to public health. Defra officials also have regular discussions with their counterparts in the Department for Transport.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital and, through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) are strategic plans for England’s waters and set statutory objectives for water bodies and how to achieve them. In London, the Environment Agency is working in partnerships, updating RBMPs and flood risk management plans together, for a more integrated approach to improving water quality in London, including the Thames.

The London Tideway Tunnels are being built to intercept the 39 million tonnes of diluted sewage that would otherwise spill into the River Thames from storm overflows in a typical year. The Tideway tunnel will start to intercept sewage overflows by 2023 and be fully completed by 2025, resulting in further significant improvements to water quality in the tidal Thames. At a community level, the Environment Agency works with Thames Water and local authorities on combined flood and water quality projects, including Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that people with long-term asthma are not impacted by high levels of air pollution.

We know air pollution is a particular threat to vulnerable groups, including the elderly, the very young and those with existing health conditions such as asthma. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources.

The Environment Bill will establish a duty to set two legally binding targets on PM 2.5: a minimum concentration limit and a new population exposure reduction target. We will consult on these targets in early 2022. These two targets will drive action at the local level, as well as nationally, to improve air quality for everyone.

In addition, we have committed to reviewing the National Air Quality Strategy (including the Local Air Quality Management Framework) with a key objective of promoting and supporting greater local action to identify and address air pollution inequalities, targeting action at vulnerable groups and communities.

The Government is also committed to improving public awareness of air pollution and to improve the provision of air quality data and information on the UK Air website. We have started a comprehensive review of the Daily Air Quality Index, to enhance the advice when pollution levels are elevated.

The Department of Health and Social Care continues to engage with organisations such as Health Education England and the Royal Colleges to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to provide information and advice to those vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution. This will allow patients and their carers to take steps to reduce their exposure to air pollution and give them greater power to manage their condition. The Chief Medical Officer has also discussed this matter with the Royal Colleges. Furthermore, the NHS has a Long Term Plan to improve asthma outcomes for children and young people. The Children and Young People's Transformation Programme has asked local systems to prioritise local improvements in asthma care. This will include supporting clinicians to discuss the short- and long-term adverse effects of air pollution on children with asthma and any mitigation strategies.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to mitigate the impact of air pollution on people who are suffering from long-term asthma.

We know air pollution is a particular threat to vulnerable groups, including the elderly, the very young and those with existing health conditions such as asthma. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources.

The Environment Bill will establish a duty to set two legally binding targets on PM 2.5: a minimum concentration limit and a new population exposure reduction target. We will consult on these targets in early 2022. These two targets will drive action at the local level, as well as nationally, to improve air quality for everyone.

In addition, we have committed to reviewing the National Air Quality Strategy (including the Local Air Quality Management Framework) with a key objective of promoting and supporting greater local action to identify and address air pollution inequalities, targeting action at vulnerable groups and communities.

The Government is also committed to improving public awareness of air pollution and to improve the provision of air quality data and information on the UK Air website. We have started a comprehensive review of the Daily Air Quality Index, to enhance the advice when pollution levels are elevated.

The Department of Health and Social Care continues to engage with organisations such as Health Education England and the Royal Colleges to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to provide information and advice to those vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution. This will allow patients and their carers to take steps to reduce their exposure to air pollution and give them greater power to manage their condition. The Chief Medical Officer has also discussed this matter with the Royal Colleges. Furthermore, the NHS has a Long Term Plan to improve asthma outcomes for children and young people. The Children and Young People's Transformation Programme has asked local systems to prioritise local improvements in asthma care. This will include supporting clinicians to discuss the short- and long-term adverse effects of air pollution on children with asthma and any mitigation strategies.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to minimise the impact of air pollution on children’s development.

We know air pollution is a particular threat to vulnerable groups, including the elderly, the very young and those with existing health conditions such as asthma. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources.

The Environment Bill will establish a duty to set two legally binding targets on PM 2.5: a minimum concentration limit and a new population exposure reduction target. We will consult on these targets in early 2022. These two targets will drive action at the local level, as well as nationally, to improve air quality for everyone.

In addition, we have committed to reviewing the National Air Quality Strategy (including the Local Air Quality Management Framework) with a key objective of promoting and supporting greater local action to identify and address air pollution inequalities, targeting action at vulnerable groups and communities.

The Government is also committed to improving public awareness of air pollution and to improve the provision of air quality data and information on the UK Air website. We have started a comprehensive review of the Daily Air Quality Index, to enhance the advice when pollution levels are elevated.

The Department of Health and Social Care continues to engage with organisations such as Health Education England and the Royal Colleges to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to provide information and advice to those vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution. This will allow patients and their carers to take steps to reduce their exposure to air pollution and give them greater power to manage their condition. The Chief Medical Officer has also discussed this matter with the Royal Colleges. Furthermore, the NHS has a Long Term Plan to improve asthma outcomes for children and young people. The Children and Young People's Transformation Programme has asked local systems to prioritise local improvements in asthma care. This will include supporting clinicians to discuss the short- and long-term adverse effects of air pollution on children with asthma and any mitigation strategies.

10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that game farms are compliant with the keeping gamebirds Codes of Practice.

We are committed to maintaining our position as world leaders in farm animal welfare and want to improve and build upon that record, working in partnership with farmers to support healthier, higher welfare animals. As referenced in the recently published Action Plan for Animal Welfare we are actively exploring options for strengthening the UK system moving forward and are examining the evidence around the use of cages in farming, including their use for breeding pheasants and partridges.

The welfare of gamebirds is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal. The Statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes offers additional protection and provides keepers with guidance on how to meet the welfare needs of their gamebirds as required by the 2006 Act. It recommends that barren cages for breeding pheasants and small barren cages for breeding partridges should not be used and that any system should be appropriately enriched.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) carry out targeted inspections on gamebird farms. Advice on compliance with the gamebird code and welfare legislation is a key component of all APHA inspections. Appropriate action is taken against anyone who breaks the law.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase tree planting in the UK.

We are committed to increasing tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament. We published our ambitious England Trees Action Plan on 18 May which sets out our plans to at least treble tree planting rates in England as a key contribution to that 30,000ha UK commitment – this represents an unprecedented increase in woodland creation in England, supported by £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund.

The England Trees Action Plan sets out a framework for a range of new incentive which will be launched through the course of this year, providing significant support for 2021/22 planting season. This includes launching a new £15.9 million England Woodland Creation Offer where landowners, land managers and public bodies can apply for support to create new woodland to boost more traditional methods of tree establishment as well as natural colonisation, agroforestry, and riparian plating. We’ve also extended our Urban Tree Challenge Fund, delivering trees in areas of low tree cover and social deprivation, and have launched a new £2.7 million Local Authority Treescape Fund, aimed at establishing more trees in non-woodland settings such as riverbanks or hedgerows.

For the last planting season (2020/21) we kick-started tree planting efforts through a number of initiatives including, £12.1 million investment in expanding England's ten Community Forests; £1.4 million of planting along rivers through the Environment Agency; Support from the £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund for a range of charity projects to protect and plant trees.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with fleet delivery companies on minimising the environmental impact of fleet delivery vehicles.

This Government is committed to tackling climate change, delivering our net zero commitment and improving our air quality across the UK.

Over the past year we have engaged with a broad range of stakeholders, including delivery companies, via multiple channels to seek views and evidence in support of the development of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP). The TDP will be published this Spring and will take a holistic and cross-modal approach to decarbonising the entire transport system, setting out a credible and ambitious pathway to cut emissions. One of the strategic priorities in the Plan will be to examine how we get our goods and the decarbonisation of “last mile” deliveries.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of supermarkets on supporting community organisations to reduce littering in their local communities.

Although the Secretary of State is in regular communication with supermarket retailers, Defra has had no specific conversations with representatives of supermarkets on supporting community organisations to reduce littering.

The Government continues to use its influence to support national clear-up days, which help to empower and engage communities in tackling litter and to change attitudes towards littering. We have also recently updated the Countryside Code, reminding people to respect the outdoors and take their litter home with them.

I recently spoke at the launch of the 2021 Great British Spring Clean, urging as many people and businesses as possible to participate, and have committed to volunteer during the event. By taking part, we can all set the tone for the summer ahead, by showing that litter is not acceptable, and that people care deeply about protecting their local environment.

Many retailers choose to support these events, and local stores often encourage staff and customers to take part. We understand that in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic some retailers are, quite reasonably, focusing much of their charitable efforts on the food redistribution and supply sector at present.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the environment of fleet vehicles fitted with industrial refrigeration units.

Tailpipe emissions from vehicles which power transport refrigeration units are recorded as road traffic emissions in the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory. The data for road transport emissions is published annually and has been reported since 1990 onwards. The Government does not estimate emissions from transport refrigeration unit auxiliary engines as the available data are limited.

Defra commissioned research and is working with industry and sector experts to improve the evidence base on emissions from non-road mobile machinery emissions, including transport refrigeration units. As set out in the Clean Air Strategy, the Government is considering the options to reduce emissions from non-road mobile machinery, and this research will help ensure that we have a robust and accurate evidence base to consider policy options from.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that there is a sufficient volume of refuse space for use in public parks.

Principal Litter Authorities such as local councils or crown authorities are responsible for keeping their relevant land clear of litter and refuse. This includes public parks, national parks and royal parks. It is up to the respective authorities to decide how best to meet this statutory duty.

Litter authorities may choose to install bins in public places and have a duty to make arrangements for the regular emptying and cleansing of any litter bins that they provide or maintain.

On behalf of Defra and MHCLG, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) have recently published guidance for local authorities and Business Improvement Districts in England on the provision of litter bins. The Right Bin in the Right Place guidance is available at https://wrap.org.uk/content/binfrastructure-right-bin-right-place

In support of this guidance, the Litter Binfrastructure Grant scheme provided local authorities in England with the opportunity to apply for capital grants of £10,000-£25,000 to support the purchase of new litter bins. The scheme, which is being managed by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and funded by Defra, was open from 17th December 2020 until 10th March 2021. In total 77 applications were received, with £983,000 being awarded to local authorities across 44 grants.

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

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

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent environmental impact assessment his Department has undertaken on increases in portion sizes of food sold by supermarkets.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP) evidence suggests that having a wider range of pack-sizes / formats at the right price could be one of the key solutions to reduce food waste and the associated negative impacts on the environment. They estimate that helping customers buy the right pack size for their needs could prevent more than 200,000 tonnes/year of food waste across key packaged perishable categories annually.

We work closely with WRAP and their work with retailers and manufacturers to push for pack sizes that meet the needs of single-person households, or homes in which householders eat as individuals, rather than together, and that these are available at the right price point; that there is clear communication on portion or servings size. We also support WRAP work in testing and rolling out product innovations such as split-packs or resealable packaging where it increases product life. A regular retail survey ensures we can monitor progress and share best practice across the sector.

The Government’s reduction and reformulation programme includes reducing portion size as one of three mechanisms for action to be used by all sectors of the food industry to reduce intakes of calories, sugar and salt.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce overfishing in UK waters.

Our ambition is world-class fisheries management to achieve sustainable fisheries, safeguarding stocks and the environment for the long term.

The Government is fully committed to sustainable fishing and the principle of Maximum Sustainable Yield as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan and our Fisheries White Paper. The objectives in the Fisheries Act, the Joint Fisheries Statement and Fisheries Management Plans collectively reaffirm our commitment to achieving sustainable fishing and protecting the marine environment while tailoring our approach to our unique seas and the needs of our fishing industry.

In our international negotiations, we continue to encourage other coastal States to agree quotas within sustainable limits. We will work closely with neighbouring countries to ensure our seas are managed sustainably, to secure a fair share of quota for UK fishers, and to enable a thriving industry for current and future generations.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support his Department is providing to organisations that aim to tackle food (a) waste and (b) poverty in West Yorkshire.

(a) Waste

Since 2018, over £11 million of grants have been awarded to the surplus food redistribution sector to make sure more surplus food goes to those who have a need in the months and the years to come. In Yorkshire alone, sixteen projects worth over £2.3 million were funded. Hundreds of the grants that make up the £11 million are providing the infrastructure such as vehicles, freezers and fridges to redistributors both large and small across the country.


Through the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) we continue to work closely with the redistribution sector and the across the food chain to tackle any barriers to increasing redistribution including through the provision of tools and guidance.

(b) Poverty in West Yorkshire

The Government has built on the significant support given to the most vulnerable during the initial months of the pandemic, by delivering a winter support package to help the economically vulnerable. This package included increasing the value of Healthy Start Vouchers, the national rollout of the Holiday Activities and Food programme, and a £170 million Covid Winter Support Grant to local authorities which started in December to support households with food and other essential costs.

The winter package also included £16 million of funding for Defra to support food charities with the purchasing and distribution of food to the vulnerable over a 16-week period starting from the beginning of December. This funding stream was managed by the food redistributor FareShare and helped to support a number of areas across England, including West Yorkshire.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect the wild badger population in England.

In England, The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 restricts the killing, injuring or taking of badgers or interference with their setts. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provides protection against certain methods of killing or taking.

This domestic legislation fulfils our obligations under the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (the Bern Convention) to protect badgers and their populations.

Badger persecution is also one of seven UK wildlife crime priorities. Priority areas are those which are assessed as posing the greatest current threat to either the conservation status of a species or which show the highest volume of crime and therefore they are assessed as requiring an immediate UK-wide tactical response. Each priority area has an implementation plan with plan owners and with leads identified for the prevention of, and enforcement action against crimes.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to improve air quality in the UK.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010. Emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by 33% and are at their lowest level since records began. Defra Ministers regularly hold discussions with Ministers and officials across Government, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Significant funding has been made available to address air pollution. In particular, we have put in place a £3.8 billion plan to improve air quality and deliver cleaner transport. This includes:

  • £1.5 billion in funding to support charge point infrastructure and grants to support uptake of ultra-low emissions vehicles, which has now risen to £2.8 billion following subsequent funding announcements;
  • £1.2 billion for the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy to increase cycling and walking and make our roads safer for vulnerable users;
  • £880 million to help local authorities develop and implement local air quality plans and to support those impacted by these plans.

We have also provided over £16 million since 2016 directly to local authorities through our LA grants programme to fund innovative projects that tackle localised air pollution more generally.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to reduce the occurrence of animal abuse in the UK.

This Government is committed to animal welfare and the provision of tougher sentencing to deter acts of animal cruelty. The Government supports increasing the maximum custodial sentences for animal cruelty offences from six months to five years. This will enable courts to take a firmer approach to cases such as dog fighting, abuse of puppies and kittens, or gross neglect of farm animals. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill was introduced into the House of Commons by Chris Loder MP on 5 February and Committee stage took place on 3 February. Report stage and third reading of the Bill have now been scheduled for Friday 12 March. The Government will continue to support the Bill as it makes its way through Parliament.

A new maximum penalty of five years is in line with campaigns by key stakeholders such as Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Dogs Trust and the RSPCA. This is a positive step forward in improving animal welfare and will act as a serious deterrent against cruelty and neglect. Northern Ireland has already set the maximum penalty for animal cruelty offences at five years' imprisonment, as has the Scottish Government through its Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act. The Welsh Government has confirmed that the new maximum penalty we are proposing should apply in Wales.

The increase to five years' imprisonment will provide one of the toughest sanctions in Europe, strengthening the UK's position as a global leader on animal welfare.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to phase out the use of farrowing crates for sows that are pregnant.

We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and a strong track record for raising the bar when it comes to welfare measures, such as banning battery cages for laying hens, sow stalls and veal crates - and introducing CCTV in all slaughterhouses in England.

We want to continue to build on this, and are currently examining the evidence around the use of cages for farm animals. Defra’s new pig welfare code of practice, which came into force in March last year, states that the aim is for farrowing crates to no longer be necessary and for any new system to protect the welfare of the sow, as well as her piglets.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has taken to assess in which areas of the UK roadside air pollution is most prevalent and dangerous; and what steps he is taking with local authorities to tackle air pollution in those areas.

The 2017 UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations outlines how local authorities with persistent NO2 exceedances, identified using national modelling, must take robust action to improve air quality. We are working closely with these local authorities and making £880m of funding available to deliver compliance with NO2 levels as soon as possible.

Local authorities are also required to review and assess local air quality. If their assessment shows that local pollution levels exceed local air quality objectives they must declare an Air Quality Management Area and develop an Air Quality Action Plan with the aim of reducing air pollution to within statutory limits.

Local authorities have a range of powers to take action to reduce pollution from road vehicles, such as restricting car access around schools and enforcing anti-idling laws. In addition, Defra’s Air Quality Grant programme provides funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution. The Government has awarded over £64 million in funding since the air quality grant started in 1997.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on providing support to primary schools for air quality level monitoring.

In delivering against our ambitious air quality commitments, Defra regularly holds discussions with Ministers and officials across Government departments.

Local authorities have statutory duties to review and assess local air quality and, where appropriate, declare Air Quality Management Areas and put in place action plans to address local pollution issues. Defra provides guidance and support to local authorities on local monitoring.

Positioning of local monitors is determined by local authorities and expected to be in line with national and local priorities, which may include schools and other locations where there is high risk of public exposure to air pollutants.

Local authorities are expected to cover the costs of their monitoring through their Grant in Aid funding allocation. In addition, over £1 million of Defra’s 2018/19 Air Quality Grant was reserved for local authorities to pilot and evaluate low cost sensors, including £180,000 which was awarded to Islington Borough Council, Slough Borough Council and Wakefield Metropolitan District Council to undertake projects focused on monitoring air quality in and around schools.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to provide support to local authorities for ensuring that air quality on the routes of refuse collectors across local authorities is monitored; and what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on further support for local authorities with refuse fleets with air quality monitors.

The Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) regime requires that local authorities assess air quality in their area and take appropriate steps when an issue is identified.

The siting of air quality monitors is determined by local authorities in light of local conditions and in line with our statutory guidance. Defra provides guidance and support to local authorities to assist them in meeting these LAQM responsibilities. In addition, Defra has a national network of air quality monitors, the ‘Automatic Urban and Rural Network’ (AURN), currently comprising 270 sites across the UK. The number and positioning of AURN monitoring sites is in accordance with criteria set out in Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010.

Local authorities receive grant in aid to cover their local air quality management duties. Defra's air quality grant programme provides additional funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution.

In delivering against our ambitious air quality commitments, we regularly hold discussions with Ministers and officials across Government departments, including the Department for Transport.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is he taking to ensure that local authorities are prioritising the elimination of air pollution.

We are continuing to deliver our ambitious plans to improve air quality. To tackle local NO2 exceedances, we are providing £880 million to help local authorities develop and implement local air quality plans and to support those impacted by these plans. We have supported the retrofit of over 3,000 buses with cleaner engines and agreed go live dates for clean air zones in Bath and Birmingham. We are committed to ensuring that local authorities have access to a wide range of options as they develop plans to address roadside pollution in a way that meets the needs of their communities.

In addition, through the Environment Bill we are improving cooperation within the Local Air Quality Management framework to widen the range of bodies that play a role in improving local air quality, including neighbouring local authorities and relevant public bodies, ensuring action is taken by all key players to tackle pollution sources and to improve air quality locally.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that climate crisis resolutions passed by local authorities are followed by action across communities to make them more sustainable in terms of air quality.

It is for local authorities to determine the specific actions they take in the context of climate crisis resolutions they have made. However, in our Local Air Quality Management statutory guidance we are clear that local authorities should ensure that all parts of a local authority are working effectively together to improve air quality. Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to review and assess local air quality, and to take action where a local exceedance of statutory local air quality standards and objectives is identified. Where no such exceedance has been identified we nonetheless recommend local authorities develop local air quality strategies.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the air quality in each local authority area; and whether his Department prioritises funding for mitigation of poor air quality based on that assessment.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality. If their assessment shows that local pollution levels exceed, or are likely to exceed, local air quality objectives they must declare an Air Quality Management Area and develop an Air Quality Action Plan with the aim of reducing air pollution to within statutory limits.

Local authorities receive grant in aid to cover their local air quality management duties. Defra’s air quality grant programme provides funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution. Particular consideration is given to applications that can demonstrate they will benefit local areas where there are, or are projected to be, pollutant exceedances. The Government has awarded over £64 million in funding since the air quality grant started in 1997.

The Government has put in place a £3.8 billion plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions. Clean Air Zones will deliver targeted action in air pollution hot spots to improve air quality, to improve health and support economic growth in the urban environment, encouraging the replacement of old, polluting vehicles with modern, cleaner technologies, such as ultra-low emission vehicles.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce the proportion of untreated sewage that flows into rivers and streams.

Water companies are committed in the 5-year business planning period (2020-2025) to a significant programme of improvements to the monitoring and management of storm overflows at a cost of around £1.1 billion. However, I recognise that there is more to do. I met water company CEOs in September and made clear that the volumes of sewage discharged into rivers and other waterways in extreme weather must be reduced. To achieve this, I have set up a new Taskforce bringing together Government, the water industry, regulators and environmental NGOs. This Taskforce will set out clear proposals to address the volumes of sewage discharged into our rivers. The Taskforce is also exploring further short-term actions water companies can take to accelerate progress on storm overflows.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support local community organisations that aim to clean inland waters.

Defra and its partner organisations support and encourage action by local communities in improving the water environment. The Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) is a framework for co-ordinating partnership action between the public, private and third sectors with a specific focus on water. Since its launch in 2012, CaBA has grown from 25 pilots to include over 100 Catchment Partnerships consisting of 2,500 organisations covering England and cross border areas with Wales. They engage and empower local communities and help them to bring their local knowledge, resource and expertise to reduce flood risk, improve sustainable management of water resources and resilience to climate change.

Defra and the Environment Agency supports this local action by funding via CaBA Catchment Hosts, a central National Support Group and, in addition, £27 million of Government investment over three years has supported local projects through the Water Environment Grant scheme.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of inland waters in (a) Huddersfield, (b) Kirklees and (c) England are safe for (a) wild swimming and (b) other human leisure activities.

The physical safety of swimmers and other water users at inland waters is a matter for the local management of the site. The Bathing Water Regulations 2013 are designed to protect water quality and public health insofar as it relates to pollution and have no provision for physical safety.

The numbers of inland designated bathing waters in the areas requested are:

  1. Huddersfield: 0
  2. Kirklees: 0
  3. England: 12

Areas used for other water-based leisure activities are not designated as bathing waters because bathing water monitoring focuses on a single sampling point so is not directly relevant to water-sport participants, who cover a greater distance in the water than bathers.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of explosions on the sea floor on the (a) health and (b) quality of marine life in British waters.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is responsible for licensing marine activities in the seas around England, including the removal of Unexploded Ordnance from the seabed. In determining any application for a marine licence, the MMO considers all relevant matters including the need to protect the marine environment. This involves assessing any potential impacts on marine life under an environmental assessment. Such assessments are made on the specifics of each case and involve consultation with the MMO’s primary advisors, including Natural England.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Greenwich Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Kingston Council to conduct their most recent environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Hammersmith and Fulham Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Tower Hamlets Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Havering and Bexley Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Lambeth Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Wandsworth Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Lewisham Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Newham Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Barking and Dagenham Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Kensington and Chelsea Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Westminster City Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is providing support to Southwark Council to conduct an environmental impact analysis of the River Thames on their local communities.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategy in the capital, and through Transport for London, is also responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network, and for managing traffic on the river.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to take action where there are high levels of air pollution. Defra provides support for local authorities through statutory guidance, a dedicated helpline and assessment tools. In London the Mayor provides this support.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to prevent microplastics from tyre degradation from flowing into rivers and seas.

A Defra-funded study concluded that particles released from vehicle tyres during use could be a significant and previously unrecorded source of microplastics in the marine environment. This research advanced understanding of ways in which microplastics enter the marine environment and highlighted the complex problem of microplastic pollution to the marine environment from various sources and pathways.

The Department for Transport is currently commissioning research to better understand tyre and brake wear emissions from road vehicles. It is anticipated that the knowledge developed in this project will lay the foundation for improved ways to assess and control these emissions.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of tyre degradation on air pollution.

At Defra’s request, the Air Quality Expert Group produced a report considering the whole range of non-exhaust emissions resulting from road vehicles, i.e. tyre degradation, road surface wear and brake wear.

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/assets/documents/reports/cat09/1907101151_20190709_Non_Exhaust_Emissions_typeset_Final.pdf

Particulate emissions from non-exhaust emissions are estimated to make up 7.4% of total UK emissions of fine particulates (PM2.5) according to the 2016 National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and tyre wear comprises approximately 2.5% of this.

Regarding emission reduction from tyre wear, tyre design and formulation is an important option for reducing emissions and we will continue to work with international partners seeking to develop new international regulations for particulate emissions from tyres and brakes through the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, as well as with other international initiatives.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the effect on air quality of (a) road surface wear and (b) road dust resuspension.

Defra is supporting work on how air quality is affected by road surface wear and road dust resuspension by gathering evidence needed and feeding in views to inform effective policies. In July 2018 we published a call for evidence[1] to improve our understanding of the extent and impact of emissions from brake, tyre and road wear and potential ways to address them, to inform future policy development on air quality. This evidence also informed a review led by the Air Quality Expert Group which was published in July 2019[2].

The Department for Transport will shortly commence a research project to understand better the measurement techniques, materials properties and control parameters of non-exhaust emissions from road vehicles. The knowledge developed in this project will inform what policy and legislation may be required to control and reduce these emissions. We will also continue our work with international partners to develop procedures to test and evaluate emissions from tyre and brake wear, with the potential to produce future regulatory standards.

[1] www.gov.uk/government/consultations/air-quality-brake-tyre-and-road-surface-wear-call-for-evidence/outcome/brake-tyre-and-road-surface-wear-call-for-evidence-summary-of-responses

[2] uk-air.defra.gov.uk/assets/documents/reports/cat09/1907101151_20190709_Non_Exhaust_Emissions_typeset_Final.pdf

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Sainsbury’s on making their organisation more sustainable.

All large retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco Plc, Asda Stores Ltd, Waitrose and Partners and Marks and Spencer are signed up to a series of resource efficiency programmes we support through our work with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Courtauld 2025 is a voluntary agreement which works across the food chain with the target to, over ten years, cut carbon and waste in the food sector by one fifth by 2025. By collaborating with WRAP and using its tools, guidance and research, retailers can support their supply chains to be more resource efficient, encourage consumers to reduce their waste, and support third-sector organisations to redistribute more surplus food to those in need.

We are also working with WRAP to encourage efforts to reduce other forms of waste.

The UK Plastics Pact is a collaborative initiative to create a circular system that keeps plastic in the economy and out of the natural environment. Led by WRAP and set up in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in April 2018, it is a coalition whose members cover the entire plastics value chain, and all of the major supermarkets are members. The Pact brings these organisations together with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated, which includes action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging items. Our ambitious reforms to overhaul the waste system will support supermarkets in achieving those targets. This includes making producers more responsible for the products they put on the market, starting with reforming the packaging waste regulations, and making recycling simpler for households and businesses.

We also support WRAP with its industry-led voluntary agreement the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020. This focuses on improving the environmental footprint of the clothing sector, with targets on reducing water and carbon footprints, reducing textiles to landfill and reducing waste produced over whole product lifecycle. A new programme, Textiles 2030, was announced on 10 November and has ambitious targets in line with global goals on carbon, water and resource circularity and aims to drive the shift to a more resource-efficient textiles sector in the UK.

We cannot afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. We must work together to protect our planet and people and ensure a greener, more resilient future for us all. The UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26 with our partners Italy in November 2021 to bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action. We are encouraging all businesses across the UK to play their part and sign up to the Race to Zero.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Tesco Plc on making their organisation more sustainable.

All large retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco Plc, Asda Stores Ltd, Waitrose and Partners and Marks and Spencer are signed up to a series of resource efficiency programmes we support through our work with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Courtauld 2025 is a voluntary agreement which works across the food chain with the target to, over ten years, cut carbon and waste in the food sector by one fifth by 2025. By collaborating with WRAP and using its tools, guidance and research, retailers can support their supply chains to be more resource efficient, encourage consumers to reduce their waste, and support third-sector organisations to redistribute more surplus food to those in need.

We are also working with WRAP to encourage efforts to reduce other forms of waste.

The UK Plastics Pact is a collaborative initiative to create a circular system that keeps plastic in the economy and out of the natural environment. Led by WRAP and set up in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in April 2018, it is a coalition whose members cover the entire plastics value chain, and all of the major supermarkets are members. The Pact brings these organisations together with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated, which includes action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging items. Our ambitious reforms to overhaul the waste system will support supermarkets in achieving those targets. This includes making producers more responsible for the products they put on the market, starting with reforming the packaging waste regulations, and making recycling simpler for households and businesses.

We also support WRAP with its industry-led voluntary agreement the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020. This focuses on improving the environmental footprint of the clothing sector, with targets on reducing water and carbon footprints, reducing textiles to landfill and reducing waste produced over whole product lifecycle. A new programme, Textiles 2030, was announced on 10 November and has ambitious targets in line with global goals on carbon, water and resource circularity and aims to drive the shift to a more resource-efficient textiles sector in the UK.

We cannot afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. We must work together to protect our planet and people and ensure a greener, more resilient future for us all. The UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26 with our partners Italy in November 2021 to bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action. We are encouraging all businesses across the UK to play their part and sign up to the Race to Zero.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Waitrose and Partners on making their organisation more sustainable.

All large retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco Plc, Asda Stores Ltd, Waitrose and Partners and Marks and Spencer are signed up to a series of resource efficiency programmes we support through our work with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Courtauld 2025 is a voluntary agreement which works across the food chain with the target to, over ten years, cut carbon and waste in the food sector by one fifth by 2025. By collaborating with WRAP and using its tools, guidance and research, retailers can support their supply chains to be more resource efficient, encourage consumers to reduce their waste, and support third-sector organisations to redistribute more surplus food to those in need.

We are also working with WRAP to encourage efforts to reduce other forms of waste.

The UK Plastics Pact is a collaborative initiative to create a circular system that keeps plastic in the economy and out of the natural environment. Led by WRAP and set up in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in April 2018, it is a coalition whose members cover the entire plastics value chain, and all of the major supermarkets are members. The Pact brings these organisations together with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated, which includes action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging items. Our ambitious reforms to overhaul the waste system will support supermarkets in achieving those targets. This includes making producers more responsible for the products they put on the market, starting with reforming the packaging waste regulations, and making recycling simpler for households and businesses.

We also support WRAP with its industry-led voluntary agreement the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020. This focuses on improving the environmental footprint of the clothing sector, with targets on reducing water and carbon footprints, reducing textiles to landfill and reducing waste produced over whole product lifecycle. A new programme, Textiles 2030, was announced on 10 November and has ambitious targets in line with global goals on carbon, water and resource circularity and aims to drive the shift to a more resource-efficient textiles sector in the UK.

We cannot afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. We must work together to protect our planet and people and ensure a greener, more resilient future for us all. The UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26 with our partners Italy in November 2021 to bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action. We are encouraging all businesses across the UK to play their part and sign up to the Race to Zero.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Marks and Spencer on making their organisation more sustainable.

All large retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco Plc, Asda Stores Ltd, Waitrose and Partners and Marks and Spencer are signed up to a series of resource efficiency programmes we support through our work with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Courtauld 2025 is a voluntary agreement which works across the food chain with the target to, over ten years, cut carbon and waste in the food sector by one fifth by 2025. By collaborating with WRAP and using its tools, guidance and research, retailers can support their supply chains to be more resource efficient, encourage consumers to reduce their waste, and support third-sector organisations to redistribute more surplus food to those in need.

We are also working with WRAP to encourage efforts to reduce other forms of waste.

The UK Plastics Pact is a collaborative initiative to create a circular system that keeps plastic in the economy and out of the natural environment. Led by WRAP and set up in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in April 2018, it is a coalition whose members cover the entire plastics value chain, and all of the major supermarkets are members. The Pact brings these organisations together with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated, which includes action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging items. Our ambitious reforms to overhaul the waste system will support supermarkets in achieving those targets. This includes making producers more responsible for the products they put on the market, starting with reforming the packaging waste regulations, and making recycling simpler for households and businesses.

We also support WRAP with its industry-led voluntary agreement the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020. This focuses on improving the environmental footprint of the clothing sector, with targets on reducing water and carbon footprints, reducing textiles to landfill and reducing waste produced over whole product lifecycle. A new programme, Textiles 2030, was announced on 10 November and has ambitious targets in line with global goals on carbon, water and resource circularity and aims to drive the shift to a more resource-efficient textiles sector in the UK.

We cannot afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. We must work together to protect our planet and people and ensure a greener, more resilient future for us all. The UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26 with our partners Italy in November 2021 to bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action. We are encouraging all businesses across the UK to play their part and sign up to the Race to Zero.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Asda Stores Ltd on making their organisation more sustainable.

All large retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco Plc, Asda Stores Ltd, Waitrose and Partners and Marks and Spencer are signed up to a series of resource efficiency programmes we support through our work with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Courtauld 2025 is a voluntary agreement which works across the food chain with the target to, over ten years, cut carbon and waste in the food sector by one fifth by 2025. By collaborating with WRAP and using its tools, guidance and research, retailers can support their supply chains to be more resource efficient, encourage consumers to reduce their waste, and support third-sector organisations to redistribute more surplus food to those in need.

We are also working with WRAP to encourage efforts to reduce other forms of waste.

The UK Plastics Pact is a collaborative initiative to create a circular system that keeps plastic in the economy and out of the natural environment. Led by WRAP and set up in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in April 2018, it is a coalition whose members cover the entire plastics value chain, and all of the major supermarkets are members. The Pact brings these organisations together with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated, which includes action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging items. Our ambitious reforms to overhaul the waste system will support supermarkets in achieving those targets. This includes making producers more responsible for the products they put on the market, starting with reforming the packaging waste regulations, and making recycling simpler for households and businesses.

We also support WRAP with its industry-led voluntary agreement the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020. This focuses on improving the environmental footprint of the clothing sector, with targets on reducing water and carbon footprints, reducing textiles to landfill and reducing waste produced over whole product lifecycle. A new programme, Textiles 2030, was announced on 10 November and has ambitious targets in line with global goals on carbon, water and resource circularity and aims to drive the shift to a more resource-efficient textiles sector in the UK.

We cannot afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. We must work together to protect our planet and people and ensure a greener, more resilient future for us all. The UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26 with our partners Italy in November 2021 to bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action. We are encouraging all businesses across the UK to play their part and sign up to the Race to Zero.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent environmental assessments his Department has carried out on water quality in lakes and rivers throughout the UK.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Environment Agency recently published updated results for the ecological status and potential classification for all waters in England from source to sea on the Catchment Data Explorer. This is available at the link below. In addition, the Environment Agency carries out assessments for a range of purposes including for bathing waters, water resource planning, flood risk management, the status of salmon and other fisheries and monitoring known and emerging chemical risks. The assessments are to target and understand the effectiveness of programmes of measures and to inform regulatory and enforcement work and decisions on specific schemes or permits.

The Environment Agency reports on the state of the environment in a number of different ways, including releasing data and analysis to meet specific statutory requirements and producing State of Environment (SoE) reports to provide a balanced picture of environmental state in England that go beyond these specific statutory requirements. A Water Quality report (Feb 2018) and a Water Resources report (May 2018) were produced as part of a rolling programme of SoE reports. These are available at the link below.

http://environment.data.gov.uk/catchment-planning/

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/state-of-the-environment

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce pollution in rivers and lakes throughout the UK.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Stockport on 1 October 2020, PQ UIN 94575.

[questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-23/94575(opens in a new tab)]

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the incorporation of air quality within the national curriculum.

Air pollution poses the biggest environmental threat to public health and improving air quality remains a top priority for the Government. In delivering against our challenging air quality commitments, we regularly hold discussions with Ministers and officials across Government departm