Caroline Lucas Portrait

Caroline Lucas

Green Party - Brighton, Pavilion

Environmental Audit Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Co-Leader of the Green Party
2nd Sep 2016 - 15th Sep 2018
Environmental Audit Committee
20th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Environmental Audit Committee
26th Jul 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Leader of the Green Party
5th Sep 2008 - 5th Sep 2012


Scheduled Event
Friday 10th September 2021
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Climate and Ecology Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Protecting the Public and Justice for Victims
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 1 Green Party Aye votes vs 0 Green Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 223 Noes - 0
Speeches
Thursday 22nd July 2021
COP26 Conference Priorities

It is a pleasure to speak in this debate with you in the Chair, Mr McCabe, and I congratulate the …

Written Answers
Wednesday 28th July 2021
Department of Health and Social Care: Written Questions
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 7785 tabled on …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 14th July 2021
DSEI arms fair 2021
This House notes that the DSEI arms fair 2021 is scheduled to take place from 14 to 17 September at …
Bills
Monday 21st June 2021
Climate and Ecology Bill 2021-22
A Bill to require the United Kingdom to achieve climate and nature targets; to give the Secretary of State a …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 17th May 2021
8. Miscellaneous
Along with the Good Law Project and two other MPs, since 6 October 2020 I have been party to judicial …
EDM signed
Thursday 22nd July 2021
Review of HS2 works in the Chilterns
That this House calls for a review into the work on High Speed Rail 2 in the Chilterns; notes the …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 18th March 2020
Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to repeal the Vagrancy Act 1824.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Caroline Lucas has voted in 253 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Caroline Lucas 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
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(34 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(33 debate interactions)
Steve Barclay (Conservative)
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
(14 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(31 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(29 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(24 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Caroline Lucas's debates

Brighton, Pavilion Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Brighton, Pavilion signature proportion
Petitions with most Brighton, Pavilion signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

The right to peaceful assembly and protest are fundamental principles of any democracy and the proposed part of this bill that gives the police new powers to tackle disruptive peaceful protests should be removed from The Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.

After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.

To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare

Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.


Latest EDMs signed by Caroline Lucas

22nd July 2021
Caroline Lucas signed this EDM as a sponsor on Thursday 22nd July 2021

Nuclear energy policy

Tabled by: Alan Brown (Scottish National Party - Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
That this House urges the Government to review its nuclear policy; notes that Dungeness Power Station stopped generating in June 2021, seven years early due to safety concerns; that Hunterston B will stop generating in 2021, Hinkley B in 2022, Hartlepool and Heysham Power Stations in 2024, that Torness and …
2 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Jul 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 1
Green Party: 1
20th July 2021
Caroline Lucas signed this EDM on Thursday 22nd July 2021

Zimbabwe deportation flight

Tabled by: Navendu Mishra (Labour - Stockport)
That this House notes the widespread violation of political and human rights in Zimbabwe; further notes the harassment and detention of political opponents and journalists; recognises that the International Trade Union Congress places Zimbabwe in the 10 worst countries for working people; condemns the ongoing suppression of trade unions; is …
20 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Jul 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 11
Scottish National Party: 4
Independent: 2
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Caroline Lucas's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Caroline Lucas, 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.


Caroline Lucas has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Caroline Lucas has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

25 Bills introduced by Caroline Lucas


A Bill to require the Secretary of State to provide that Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) be a statutory requirement for all state-funded schools; for PSHE to include Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) and education on ending violence against women and girls; to provide for initial and continuing teacher education and guidance on best practice for delivering and inspecting PSHE and SRE education; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 20th January 2017
(Read Debate)

To re-establish the Secretary of State’s legal duty as to the National Health Service in England and to make provision about the other duties of the Secretary of State in that regard; to make provision about the administration and accountability of the National Health Service in England; to repeal section 1 of the National Health Service (Private Finance) Act 1997 and sections 38 and 39 of the Immigration Act 2014; to make provision about the application of international law in relation to health services in the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 11th March 2016

A Bill to require the United Kingdom to achieve climate and nature targets; to give the Secretary of State a duty to implement a strategy to achieve those targets; to establish a Climate and Nature Assembly to advise the Secretary of State in creating that strategy; to give duties to the Committee on Climate Change and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee regarding the strategy and targets; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Monday 21st June 2021
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 10th September 2021
Order Paper number: 9
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

A Bill to make provision for requiring public bodies to act in pursuit of the United Kingdom’s environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing by meeting wellbeing objectives, publishing future generations impact assessments, accounting for preventative spending, and through public services contracts; to establish a Commissioner for Future Generations for the United Kingdom; to establish a Joint Parliamentary Committee on Future Generations; to require companies to consider the impact of their activities on the United Kingdom’s wellbeing; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 24th March 2020
(Read Debate)

A Bill to require the Prime Minister to achieve climate and ecology objectives; to give the Secretary of State a duty to create and implement a strategy to achieve those objectives; to establish a Citizens’ Assembly to work with the Secretary of State in creating that strategy; to give duties to the Committee on Climate Change regarding the objectives and strategy; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 2nd September 2020

A Bill to place duties on the Secretary of State to decarbonise the United Kingdom economy and to reverse inequality; to establish a ten-year economic and public investment strategy in accordance with those duties which promotes a community- and employee-led transition from high-carbon to low- and zero-carbon industry; to require the Government to report on its adherence to the strategy; to establish higher environmental standards for air, water and green spaces; to make provision to protect and restore natural habitats; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 7th July 2020

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 place duties on the Secretary of State to decarbonise the United Kingdom economy and to eradicate inequality; to establish a ten-year economic and public investment strategy that prioritises decarbonisation, community and employee-led transition from high-carbon to low and zero-carbon industry, and the eradication of inequality; to require the Government to report on its adherence to the strategy; to establish higher environmental standards for air, water and green spaces; to make provision to protect and restore natural habitats; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 26th March 2019

A Bill to establish a Living Rent Commission to conduct research into, and provide proposals for, reducing rent levels in the private rented sector and improving terms and conditions for tenants; to require the Secretary of State to report the recommendations of the Commission to Parliament; to introduce measures to promote long-term tenancies; to establish a mandatory national register of ​landlords and lettings agents; to prohibit the charging of letting or management agent fees to tenants; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 4th July 2016

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to assume control of passenger rail franchises when they come up for renewal; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 4th July 2016

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to provide that Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) be a statutory requirement for all state-funded schools; for PSHE to include Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) and education on ending violence against women and girls; to provide for initial and continuing teacher education and guidance on best practice for delivering and inspecting PSHE and SRE education; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 15th July 2015

A Bill to promote public ownership of public services; to introduce a presumption in favour of service provision by public sector and not-for-profit entities; and to put in place mechanisms to increase the accountability, transparency and public control of public services, including those operated by private companies.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 29th June 2015

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to assume control of passenger rail franchises when they come up for renewal; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 29th June 2015

A Bill to establish an independent commission of inquiry to examine ways of improving parliamentary and other public scrutiny of ministerial mandates and outcomes in relation to European Union institutions, policies and legislation; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 3rd May 2016
(Read Debate)

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to commission a programme of research into reducing rent levels in the private rented sector, improving terms and conditions for tenants, increasing housing supply, and providing a large-scale programme of sustainable council housing in England; to require the Secretary of State to report to Parliament within six months of completion of the research; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 7th July 2014

A Bill to re-establish the Secretary of State’s legal duty as to the National Health Service in England and to make provision about the other duties of the Secretary of State in that regard; to make provision about the administration and accountability of the National Health Service in England; to repeal section 1 of the National Health Service (Private Finance) Act 1997 and sections 38 and 39 of the Immigration Act 2014; to make provision about the application of international law in relation to health services in the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 11th March 2015

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to provide that Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) be a statutory requirement for all state funded schools; for PSHE to include Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) and education on ending violence against women and girls; to provide for initial and continuing teacher education and guidance on best practice for delivering and inspecting PSHE and SRE education; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 7th July 2014

A Bill to promote public ownership of public services; to introduce a presumption in favour of service provision by public sector and not-for-profit entities; and to put in place mechanisms to increase the accountability, transparency and public control of public services, including those operated by private companies.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 7th July 2014

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to assume control of passenger rail franchises when they come up for renewal; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 7th July 2014

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 promote public ownership of public services; to introduce a presumption in favour of service provision by public sector and not-for-profit entities; and to put in place mechanisms to increase the accountability, transparency and public control of public services, including those operated by private companies.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 22nd January 2014

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require the Secretary of State to assume control of passenger rail franchises when they come up for renewal; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 26th June 2013

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A bill to require the Secretary of State to commission a programme of research into the merits of replacing the Council Tax and Non-domestic rates in England with an annual levy on the unimproved value of all land, including transitional arrangements; to report to Parliament within 12 months of completion of the research; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 25th June 2012

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A bill to require local authorities to operate landlord accreditation schemes; to set those schemes according to minimum standards; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 25th June 2012

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A bill to require the Secretary of State to make provision to limit energy contract roll-over for micro businesses to 30 days; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 25th June 2012

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 make it illegal in the United Kingdom for a person or company to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase timber or timber products illegally taken, harvested, possessed, transported, sold or exported from their country of origin; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Thursday 16th September 2010

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A bill to require the Secretary of State to take steps to require banks, corporations and trusts to provide information on their status, income arising and tax payments made in each jurisdiction in which they operate; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Thursday 17th March 2011

27 Bills co-sponsored by Caroline Lucas

Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill 2019-21 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Layla Moran (LDEM)

Trade Agreements (Exclusion of National Health Services) Bill 2019-21 - Private Members' Bill (Ballot Bill)
Sponsor - Peter Grant (SNP)

School Toilets (Access During Lessons) Bill 2019-21 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Layla Moran (LDEM)

Local Electricity Bill 2019-21 - Private Members' Bill (under the Ten Minute Rule)
Sponsor - Peter Aldous (CON)

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Ballot Bill)
Sponsor - Afzal Khan (LAB)

European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Hilary Benn (LAB)

Climate Change (Emissions Targets) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Rachel Reeves (LAB)

Fracking (Measurement and Regulation of Impacts) (Air, Water and Greenhouse Gas Emissions) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Geraint Davies (LAB)

Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Act 2019 - Private Members' Bill (Ballot Bill)
Sponsor - Tim Loughton (CON)

Plastic Pollution Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Alistair Carmichael (LDEM)

Counsellors and Psychotherapists (Regulation) and Conversion Therapy Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Karen Lee (LAB)

Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019 - Private Members' Bill (Ballot Bill)
Sponsor - Geoffrey Robinson (LAB)

Terms of Withdrawal from the EU (Referendum) (No. 2) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Geraint Davies (LAB)

Parental Leave and Pay Arrangements (Publication) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Jo Swinson (LDEM)

European Union Withdrawal (Evaluation of Effects on Health and Social Care Sectors) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Brendan O'Hara (SNP)

Terms of Withdrawal from EU (Referendum) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Geraint Davies (LAB)

Construction (Retention Deposit Schemes) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (under the Ten Minute Rule)
Sponsor - Peter Aldous (CON)

Homelessness (End of Life Care) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (under the Ten Minute Rule)
Sponsor - Ed Davey (LDEM)

Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018 - Private Members' Bill (Ballot Bill)
Sponsor - Steve Reed (LAB)

Local Electricity Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Jeremy Lefroy (CON)

Representation of the People (Young People's Enfranchisement and Education) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Ballot Bill)
Sponsor - Jim McMahon (LAB)

Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Layla Moran (LDEM)

Live Animal Exports (Prohibition) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Theresa Villiers (CON)

Registration of Marriage (No. 2) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Caroline Spelman (CON)

Voyeurism (Offences) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Sponsor - Wera Hobhouse (LDEM)

Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Ballot Bill)
Sponsor - Stewart Malcolm McDonald (SNP)

Refugees (Family Reunion) (No. 2) Bill 2017-19 - Private Members' Bill (Ballot Bill)
Sponsor - Angus Brendan MacNeil (SNP)


1014 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
5 Other Department Questions
8th Jul 2021
To ask the President of COP26, with reference to the Local Government Association motion on Local Government contributions towards national climate action in the year of COP26, published on 7 July 2021, what steps he is taking to ensure the adequate representation of local government at COP26 in order to highlight the progress being made on climate change at a local level.

In the run up to COP26, we are continuing to engage with local authorities and leaders across the UK through the UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council. We also work closely with a number of non-state actor organisations such as the C40 Cities, ICLEI and UK100 to help further engage with local authorities.

BEIS has contributed towards a locally led campaign delivered through the local energy hubs, to highlight work on net zero by Local Authorities, communities and businesses across the UK. This will include running regional Electric Vehicle roadshow events in the run up to COP and hosting events in each region during the COP itself.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2021 to Question 136483 on Remote Divisions, what information the Commission holds on how many hon. Members were (a) unable to use the electronic method of voting and (b) used the back-up system provided for electronic voting during the two weeks that electronic voting was used in the House of Commons in 2020; what discussions the Commission has had with the Leader of the House on electronic voting in the House of Commons during the period of the national covid-19 lockdown that has been in place since January 2021 to help prevent the transmission of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

Electronic voting was used for 10 divisions between 12 May and 20 May inclusive. Members voted using MemberHub. The Public Bill Office operated a back-up system: if a Member could not register their vote using MemberHub, they contacted the Public Bill Office during the division and their vote was recorded. The table below shows how many Members registered their vote using the back-up method, and the total number of votes cast in each division.

Date

Division number

Total votes cast

Votes cast using back-up system

12 May 2020

41

611

2

13 May 2020

42

605

4

43

574

6

44

419

6

45

571

3

18 May 2020

46

603

1

20 May 2020

47

608

3

48

614

2

49

609

2

50

585

2


The Commission received an update on the House Service’s response to the pandemic at its meeting on 11 January, and agreed a number of measures to further improve the safety of people on the Parliamentary estate. Electronic voting was raised at the meeting, and there is a range of views among Commissioners on this issue. However, the means by which Divisions are conducted are ultimately a matter for the House to determine.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, how many times the LGBT Advisory Panel has met in the year from July 2019 to July 2020; whether she has fulfilled the requirement set out in the LGBT Advisory Panel’s terms of reference to meet the Chair of the Panel twice a year; and if she will publish the minutes of any Panel meetings that have taken place.

Between July 2019 and July 2020 the LGBT Advisory Panel has met three times: on 18 July 2019, 4 February 2020 and 1 June 2020. Former Minister for Equalities, Baroness Williams, attended the meeting in February 2020. Minister for Women and Equalities Rt Hon Liz Truss and I attended the meeting in June 2020.

The minutes of the meeting held July 2019 are available on the GEO website and the minutes for the meeting held February 2020 will be published in due course. No minutes were taken for the meeting of June 2020 as this was an introductory meeting between the Panel and new Ministers.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 19 June 2020 to Question 57942 whether he has undertaken (a) polling and (b) other evidence gathering of public opinion to underpin his statement that nobody in Number 10 has done anything to undermine the Government's covid-19 messaging.

I refer the Hon. Member to my Parliamentary statement of 23 June 2020, Official Report, Column 1167 onwards, which outlines how we are working with the public to combat the Covid-19 virus, and to trust in the common sense of the British people. That common sense and the public’s sacrifices have allowed us to get the virus under control and downgrade the Covid Alert Level.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, with reference to the Written Statement of 3 February 2020, HCWS86 on UK/ EU relations, for what reasons that statement did not refer to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The written ministerial statement sets out the Government’s proposed approach to the negotiations with the EU about our future relationship. Leaving the EU does not change our world-leading ambitions on the environment. We have a long history of environmental protection which predates membership of the EU, and we will safeguard and improve on this record.

The UK Government is committed to supporting implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. A comprehensive account of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals setting out how government, business, civil society and others are contributing to them both at home and around the world is available on gov.uk. It also sets out areas of further work and next steps.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uks-voluntary-national-review-of-the-sustainable-development-goals

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to (a) extend the 2017 gender pay reporting framework to include reporting on the (i) ethnicity, (b) disability and (c) LGBT pay gap, (b) extend pay gap reporting requirements to companies with more than 100 employees, (c) mandate horizontal pay reporting and (d) require companies with pay gaps to publish an evidence-based action plan to tackle (A) pay discrimination and (B) any failure to actively recruit under-represented groups to high value roles.

Pay gaps are caused by a range of factors. The Government ran a consultation from October 2018 to January 2019 on Ethnicity Pay Reporting, which received over 300 responses. The Government has met with businesses and representative organisations to understand the barriers towards reporting and what information could be published to allow for meaningful action to be taken. We have also run voluntary methodology testing with a broad range of businesses to better understand the complexities outlined in the consultation using real payroll data and will share next steps in due course.

Calculation and monitoring of disability and LGBT pay gaps raises significant issues of self-reporting and data accuracy and this data is not widely collected by employers. On disability, the Government is committed to reducing the disability employment gap and seeing a million more disabled people in work between 2017 and 2027. We support disabled people to enter employment and stay in work through a range of programmes such as the Work and Health Programme, Access to Work and the Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme. In November 2018 we also published a voluntary reporting framework on public reporting of pay and progression of disabled people. This is aimed at employers (with over 250 employees) but can also be used to support smaller employers who are keen to drive greater transparency.

On LGBT, we are clear that LGBT people should be able to be themselves in the workplace. We are committed to taking action on LGBT sexual harassment in the workplace and are currently in conversation with ACAS about their harassment guidance. We are also taking steps to improve our monitoring data, including introducing questions to the 2021 Census in this area.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will list the Ministers who have conducted Government business using private email accounts since the 2019 General Election.

I refer the hon. Member to my response on 28 June 2021.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant the Answer of 29 March 2021 to Question 172053 on Gender Based Violence: Victim Support Schemes, and with reference to the Green Paper Transforming Public Procurement, if he will publish a White Paper containing criteria setting out when it is appropriate for grant funding to be used for specialist provision for Violence Against Women and Girls services and for procurement rules to not apply.

The government has no plans to legislate in this area and so will not publish a White Paper. The published Grants Functional Standard provides clear guidance, alongside Managing Public Money, on the use of grant funding, and is available to government departments and arm's length bodies. Decisions on the use of grants as a funding mechanism are carefully considered and informed by the purpose and expected outcomes of individual schemes.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the covid-19 risk from wedding ceremonies in (a) permitted places of worship and some public buildings from 12 April 2021 and (b) outdoor wedding ceremony venues.

In the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021, the Government has set out the gradual and cautious approach to reopening different sectors in England, guided by science and the data.

We understand the unique significance that marriages and civil partnerships hold in people’s lives, but we have to take necessary steps to limit transmission of COVID-19. This includes restrictions on wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, as well as other forms of social contact. By their very nature, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are events that bring families and friends together, making them particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19.

Alternative wedding ceremonies are permitted in line with the regular wedding or civil partnership rules, in the same locations, at each step.

From 29 March, wedding and civil partnership ceremonies can take place indoors or outdoors in COVID-Secure venues that are not expressly closed by the Regulations, or where a broader exemption applies. Only six people are permitted to attend until Step 2, when limits will increase to 15. This approach allows couples to marry in legally binding licensed venues for wedding ceremonies (where outdoor options are limited) while remaining in line with the reopening of sectors and venues as set out in the roadmap. Wedding ceremonies should follow government guidance to reduce the risk of transmission.

Receptions (of up to 15 people) can resume from Step 2. The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. That is why receptions are only permitted outdoors at this Step and should be in a COVID-Secure venue.

From Step 3, no earlier than 17 May 2021, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in COVID-Secure venues that are not required to close, or where a broader exemption applies. Receptions can also proceed with up to 30 people in a COVID-Secure indoor venue, or outdoors, which includes private gardens.

Guidance for wedding and civil partnership receptions and celebrations can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-wedding-and-civil-partnership-receptions-and-celebrations

At each step, the limits on the number of attendees includes children of all ages, but not workers.


For further information, please refer to the guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department is taking steps to remove specialist Violence Against Women and Girls services from procurement rules; and if he will make a statement.

The overarching principle in all public procurement is to secure the best value for money for the taxpayer. The Green Paper proposals rightly put value for money at the heart of the new approach for services that are put out to tender. However there is no requirement in the procurement rules for public services to be outsourced.

Where grants are appropriately used to fund these types of specialist provision, procurement rules do not apply: grants are subject to public law and internal government standards, to ensure that the provision is effective and value for money is achieved.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reasons the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions has not lead a daily covid-19 briefing broadcast from Downing Street.

The daily coronavirus press conferences have been led by the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary, and other Cabinet Ministers as required, reflecting the salient topics.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to Question 51836 and with reference to his decision to allow Dominic Cummings to remain in post following his trip to the North East from London during the covid-19 lockdown, whether he has made an assessment of the potential effect of that decision on public attitudes towards cooperating with social distancing and other guidelines to avoid transmission of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

As I said on Monday 25th May, I do not believe that anybody in Number 10 has done anything to undermine our messaging. I am satisfied that Mr Cummings’ actions were in line with the Government’s guidance, and Durham Police have also stated, ‘Durham Constabulary does not consider that by locating himself at his father’s premises, Mr Cummings committed an offence’.

We all have a duty to be clear in our advice to the public throughout this unprecedented pandemic. The Government’s guidance remains clear: we all must stay alert, in order to control the virus and save lives. That means continuing to observe social distancing, limiting contact with others, washing our hands regularly, and self-isolating if we have symptoms.

It is thanks to the common sense of the British public that we have got the R rate beneath 1, and it is only by pulling together in this national effort that we will defeat coronavirus.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much public health and NHS advertising has been placed with (a) members of the Independent Community News Network and (b) other news providers since 23 March 2020.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 46692 on 29 May 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
26th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will take steps to set up a full public inquiry into the Government's response to the covid-19 outbreak with a remit to include (a) who in Government was responsible for preparedness and (b) the quality of the Government's (i) responses and (ii) decisions; if he will undertake preparatory work on that public inquiry so that public hearings can start in 2020; and if he will make a statement.

As the Government has made clear, at some point in the future there will be an opportunity for us to look back, to reflect and to learn lessons. However, at the moment, the important thing is to focus on responding to the current situation. The Government has set out its strategic response to COVID-19 in “Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy”, which is available here.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the press statement by Michel Barnier following the second round of future relationship negotiations with the United Kingdom published on 24 April 2020, what recent (a) social, (b) economic, (c) labour and (d) environmental impact assessments the Government has undertaken of the effect of not reaching a deal with the EU by the end of the transition period.

The UK has struck a deal with the EU and that will form the basis of our relationship with the EU going forwards. There is no danger of the kind of legal rupture and uncertainty that would have occurred if we had left the EU without a deal. The outstanding question is how deep our trading relationship can be in future and what kind of pragmatic collaboration we are looking for in other areas.

It’s in our and the EU’s interests to have a future relationship which keeps goods flowing, services being provided, and business being done. Negotiations with the EU on the form that relationship will take are ongoing. We will continue to keep Parliament informed with appropriate analysis at appropriate times.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his Department's policy is on the rights of EU citizens living in the UK to vote in (a) local, (b) regional and (c) national elections after the UK’s departure from the European Union; and when his Department plans to publish that policy.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer which I gave to PQ 10755 on 10 February 2020, and to relevant legislation, including the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his Department's policy is on the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, to stand for election in (a) local, (b) regional and (c) national elections after the UK’s exit from the European Union; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer which I gave to PQ 10755 on 10 February 2020, and to relevant legislation, including the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to (a) protect and (b) improve the rights of workers in the global information and communications technology sector through its (i) policies on and (ii) processes for procuring that technology throughout the government estate.

This Government is committed to ethical and responsible procurement in all sectors, including the technology sector. This includes working with suppliers to identify and avoid the risk of modern slavery in Government Department’s supply chains, as part of wider Government action to tackle compliance with the Modern Slavery Act.

The Government is taking forward initiatives to tackle modern slavery in supply chains. In September 2019 we published new guidance to help Government departments identify and avoid the risk of modern slavery in their supply chains during procurement processes. It also sets out how existing contracts can be risk assessed and suggests measures to manage the risks identified. The Guidance contains several tools to support this work, including:

  • An online training course on ethical procurement following a partnership between the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), Government Commercial Function and the Home Office.

  • A Modern Slavery Assessment Tool to support public bodies assess their own supply base for modern slavery risks.

In 2019, we also published the updated 'Supplier Code of Conduct v2', which sets the standards and behaviours expected from suppliers (and separately grant recipients), and reiterates the government's approach to working with suppliers.

Crown Commercial Service’s Standard Contract includes a Schedule which sets out the behaviours expected of all government suppliers, including those in the ICT industry. The schedule covers several areas of worker's rights, including equality and accessibility, security of income, working hours and modern slavery.

Additionally, the Crown Commercial Service has partnered with Electronics Watch, a multi-stakeholder initiative, to improve conditions for workers at factory level in government ICT hardware supply chains. Electronics Watch’s work has led to workers in government supply chains being reimbursed for recruitment fees they paid. Government is also piloting a programme to improve responsible recruitment in parts of our health sector supply chains in South East Asia.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Climate Change Committee’s 2021 Progress Report to Parliament, if he will make it his policy ahead of COP26 to commit to phasing out unabated gas generation by 2035.

Following the Climate Change Committee’s advised budget level does not mean that government is agreeing to their specific policy recommendations. We will bring forward our own policies to meet carbon budgets, and the Net Zero Strategy (to be published before COP26) will set out our own vision for transitioning to a net zero economy.

As we transition to net zero emissions by 2050, our record levels of investment in renewables will meet a large part of the increasing electricity demand, alongside technologies such as storage, demand side response, interconnection, CCUS-enabled generation and low carbon hydrogen. However, unabated natural gas generation will continue to provide a critical source of firm and dispatchable electricity, ensuring security of supply whilst we develop and deploy low carbon alternatives that can replicate its role in the electricity system.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the merits of Regionally and Locally Determined Contributions in order to (a) complement and (b) support the delivery of the UK’s Nationally Determined Contributions to reduce at least 68 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

Under the Paris Agreement, parties should communicate nationally determined contributions that represent their highest possible ambition. In line with best practice approach for developed countries, the UK communicated a single economy wide absolute emission reduction commitment which covers all UK regions and local authorities. This is then reflected in our national Carbon Budgets.

The Government recognises that local and regional government can, and do, play an essential role in meeting national net zero ambitions and are delivering significant programmes to support national ambition.

Through our local Energy programme, we support Local Enterprise Partnerships, Local Authorities, and communities to play a leading role in decarbonisation and clean growth. Further details of how we intend to work with local government to reach net zero will be set out in the Net Zero Strategy.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 29 April 2021 to Question 187192 on Aviation and Shipping: Carbon Budgets, whether his Department has plans to bring forward proposals to include aviation and shipping in the UK's sixth carbon budget before COP26.

The UK’s sixth carbon budget puts into law a world-leading target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels – another decisive step towards net zero by 2050 as we build back greener.

CB6 includes emissions from International Aviation and Shipping (IAS) for the first time. We will aim to legislate to include IAS as soon as practicably possible and within one year.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of doses of covid-19 vaccines the UK will take receipt of in (a) 2021 and (b) 2022; and of those does, what estimate he has made of the number that will be needed for domestic use in each of those years.

Vaccines are a precious resource and are in very high demand across the world; therefore, for security reasons it is not possible to provide detail about the size of our supplies or give exact detail about future deliveries.

The UK Government has secured early access to 397 million vaccine doses through supply agreements with six separate vaccine developers, of which four have received regulatory approval and three are currently in deployment. This includes agreements with:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech for 100 million doses
  • University of Oxford/AstraZeneca for 100 million doses
  • Moderna for 17 million doses
  • Novavax for 60 million doses
  • Janssen for 20 million doses
  • Valneva for 100 million doses

In addition, the Government has a reservation agreement with GlaxoSmithKline/Sanofi Pasteur for 60 million doses and a non-binding agreement with CureVac for 50 million doses.

We do not yet know how long vaccines will provide protection against Covid-19. For this reason, the Government is developing a plan for a vaccine booster campaign to protect against a resurgence of the virus in winter 2021/22. The final decision on what a booster programme will look like – and the cohorts included - will depend on the data from ongoing clinical trials, such as the COV-Boost trial, and advice from the independent medical experts at the JCVI. For this reason, we are currently unable to specify final dose numbers that may be required for 2021 and 2022.

However, as announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister ahead of the G7 Summit, the UK has committed to donating 5 million vaccine doses, primarily through COVAX by the end of September 2021, for use in the world’s poorest countries. The Prime Minister has also committed to making a total of 100 million doses available within the next year, including a total of 30 million by the end of 2021.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the total cost of covid-19 vaccines the UK is planning to receive in (a) 2021 and (b)2022 broken down by manufacturer.

We are not able to disclose details of commercially sensitive contracts between the Government and vaccine manufacturers.

At the Comprehensive Spending Review 2020, the Government announced that more than £6 billion has been made available to develop, manufacture, and procure COVID-19 vaccines.

We have secured early access to 397 million vaccine doses through supply agreements with six separate vaccine developers, of which four have received regulatory approval and three are currently in deployment. This includes agreements with:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech for 100 million doses
  • University of Oxford/AstraZeneca for 100 million doses
  • Moderna for 17 million doses
  • Novavax for 60 million doses
  • Janssen for 20 million doses
  • Valneva for 100 million doses

In addition, the Government has a reservation agreement with GlaxoSmithKline/Sanofi Pasteur for 60 million doses and a non-binding agreement with CureVac for 50 million doses.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his timeframe is for the completion of the fourth phase of his Department's investigation of deflagration as a method of unexploded ordnance clearance; what assessment he has made of the potential harm caused by explosions of unexploded ordnance to the marine environment; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognise the potential for significant impact of underwater noise from unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance on vulnerable marine species and is taking active steps to manage and reduce the risk. Two phases of a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funded project to characterise and contrast the acoustic fields generated by UXO clearance using high order detonation and using low-order deflagration have been completed and reported on. A third phase is now almost complete, further improving the information base and assessment of the clearance options.

Further research is now required to determine if the low-order deflagration and similar techniques are transferable to the offshore marine setting where partially-buried and decades-old explosives and variable environmental conditions can pose greater challenges for successful low-order clearance operations. The fourth phase of BEIS funded research is currently planned around several proposed UXO clearance campaigns. The trials at sea aim to characterise the resulting noise and chemical contaminant releases in the marine environment and to determine whether the technologies are safe and effective. This work is scheduled to take place over the summer and autumn of 2021 and is expected to report in Q1/2 2022.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 27 April 2021 to Question 183114, when he plans to publish the details of his Department’s plans for a replacement of the Green Homes Grant Scheme in order to decarbonise homes in line with the Climate Change Committee’s advice on the Sixth Carbon Budget; and if he will take into account the findings of IPSOS Mori’s evaluation of the Green Homes Grant in developing that scheme.

Since the Green Homes Grant Vouchers scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2021, we have refocussed efforts and funding on alternative approaches to maximise the delivery of home retrofits for those most in need.

This is through expanding the funding commitment for both the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and the Local Authority Delivery element of the Green Homes Grant scheme with £300 million of new funding in financial year 21/22.

We plan to publish the Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out our approach for reducing emissions from buildings, both in terms of action over the coming decade and our longer-term strategic approach to 2050.

Any decisions about future funding are a matter for the spending review. We will, of course reflect on lessons learned from the closure of Green Homes Grant Vouchers.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the (a) membership, (b) terms of reference and (c) future dates of meetings of the Net Zero Expert Group.

The Net Zero Expert Group is an informal group of experts helping advise government on driving forward net zero, particularly on taking a whole systems approach to net zero and delivery of my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister's 10 point plan. It includes a wide range of leading experts in climate, economic sectors, science, systems thinking, and links to industries that can help in the transition to net zero. Attendance for the roundtable held on the 26th May will be published through the usual quarterly ministerial transparency reporting. Future meeting dates have yet to be set.

Achieving net zero is a top priority for the government. Government has met and continues to talk to a wide range of individuals and organisations to get the best advice possible.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on (a) new exploration licenses for UK oil and gas (b) existing oil and gas reserves of the International Energy Agency (IEA)'s energy scenario aligned with the 1.5C goal of the Paris climate agreement published on 18 May 2021.

The International Energy Agency (IEA)’s recent report sets out a global pathway for achieving net zero. While the report acknowledges that continued investment in existing sources of oil and gas will be required to meet the world’s energy demands, it also states that no new oil or gas fields are necessary.

The UK Continental Shelf is a mature oil and gas basin that is declining. We expect this rate of decline to be broadly in line with our domestic demand, and even with continued licensing for oil and gas in the UK, we expect the UK to remain a net importer of both oil and gas. This means that any reduction in the UK’s own production would simply result in the UK importing more oil and gas from other countries.

In March, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced that a new climate compatibility checkpoint will be introduced into the oil and gas licensing regime. This checkpoint will help ensure that any future licenses are only awarded on the basis that they are aligned with the Government’s broad climate change ambitions, including the UK’s target of reaching net zero by 2050. This checkpoint will be designed by the end of 2021.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the extent to which materials being bought and sold in the UK are via labour from people held in the camps of Xinjiang, China; and if he will make a statement

Businesses can have complex, multi-tiered global supply chains which create significant challenges in having visibility over working conditions throughout the supply chain. This means that companies need to be constantly vigilant in assessing and addressing their risk exposure.

In January, the Foreign Secretary announced a comprehensive package of measures to help ensure no UK organisations are complicit in the serious human rights violations being perpetrated against the Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang.

Revised, detailed Overseas Business Risk guidance was published on 12 January and, based on this new guidance, the Government has embarked on a comprehensive programme of engagement with businesses and UK trade bodies. Businesses should take heed of the updated guidance on Xinjiang to understand the human rights risks associated with sourcing from that region and take appropriate remedial action based on their circumstances.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to support the UK solar industry's trade associations to verify the complex supply chains for solar panel to establish whether materials come via labour from people held in the camps in Xinjiang, China; what estimate he has made of the proportion of the solar panel market in the UK that sources basic materials from Xinjiang; and if he will make a statement.

We are thoroughly investigating reports of forced labour in the global solar panel supply chain. In January, we announced a comprehensive package of measures to help ensure no UK organisations are complicit in the serious human rights violations being perpetrated against the Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang.

We have provided detailed and specific guidance to UK businesses, and we will continue to engage businesses, including on these latest allegations.

We are working with the UK solar sector as a matter of urgency to ensure companies are aware of the relevant legislation and international frameworks on human rights. Solar Energy UK has issued an industry statement committing to support the development of a supply chain traceability protocol.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 29 April 2021 to Question 185847 on increasing support for community energy, whether the Government has undertaken a cost-benefit analysis to inform the Net Zero Strategy of the potential merits of increasing support to community energy groups in (a) urban and (b) rural areas to (i) develop renewable energy projects, (ii) provide economic and social benefits and (iii) act as catalysts for raising awareness and promoting behaviour change.

We continue to monitor the cost effectiveness of local and community energy solutions in the context of developing policy options for the Net Zero Strategy. The Government will be considering a wide range of proposals to support climate change action at the local and community level in that Strategy.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to publicly consult on an extension to UK Seabed Resources’ exploration licences for deep sea mining beyond their initial 10 years.

We do not have plans to publicly consult on an extension. The two licences issued to UK Seabed Resources in 2012 and 2013 are for exploration, and not exploitation (mining) activity. The licences are granted subject to periodic review, and so would not be extended beyond 10 years without a review by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State, which is in line with the relevant legislation. Exploitation is not currently permitted to be conducted, and the International Seabed Authority is still working towards exploitation regulations that would need to be in place. A full Environmental Impact Assessment – subject to public consultation – would be required before any mining could be conducted by UK Seabed Resources or any other operator.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will update the UK’s licences with UK Seabed Resources for deep sea mining exploration in order to extend the conditions for sponsoring a future exploitation contract to cover the precautionary principle.

The UK is playing a crucial role in ensuring that strong environmental standards are upheld in the growing deep sea mining industry.

We have agreed not to sponsor or support the issuing of any exploitation licences for deep sea mining projects until there is sufficient scientific evidence about the potential impact on deep sea ecosystems, and strong and enforceable environmental standards have been developed and put in place by the International Seabed Authority.

The licences issued to UK Seabed Resources Ltd (UKSR) already include significant conditions in relation to environmental considerations, including sections on protection of the environment and environmental monitoring & reporting. In addition, the licences are issued in line with prevailing legislation which provides further environmental safeguards. The licences (which are published on UKSR’s website) also include explicit reference to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the International Seabed Authority (ISA). The conditions for the UK acting as a sponsor state for an exploitation contract include that “the Licensee has completed exploration activities pursuant to the plan of work…” and that “the Licensee makes an application for, and satisfies the requirements for, an exploitation licence…”. These conditions would not be met without detailed evidence, including in relation to environmental assessments, and an exploitation licence would not be granted by the International Seabed Authority until strong and enforceable environmental standards have been developed and are in place.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with representatives of the night time economy on the possible introduction of covid-19 passports for access to night time venues; what assessment he has made of the potential effect of such passports on the number of people attending night time venues; if he will make it his policy to provide that sector with (a) clear guidance, (b) adequate notice and (c) a time table setting out Government plans to introduce such passports as a requirement to enter a night time venue; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has previously set out that it believes that COVID-status Certification could play an important role domestically and as a temporary measure. We have not taken any final decisions but have committed to set out the conclusions of the Review ahead of Step 4 of the Roadmap.

Ministers have engaged regularly with businesses throughout the pandemic including nightclub representatives.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of global facilitation of knowledge and technology transfers from pharmaceutical companies that have developed vaccines on the ability of vaccine manufacturers around the world to (a) begin production and (b) increase production of covid-19 vaccines; and if he will make a statement.

The UK has been and will continue to be a global leader exploring every opportunity to achieve the goal of getting vaccines to everyone across the world as quickly as possible. The UK provided funding for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being produced at cost to low- and middle- income countries. AstraZeneca has also announced a licencing agreement for the Serum Institute India (SII) to produce 1 billion doses of the vaccine candidate for low- and middle-income countries. The UK is also working to encourage partnerships between the manufacturing sector and other multinational pharmaceutical companies to transfer their technology where required, this enables an increase in overall production, to date 280 such partnerships.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to support global non-exclusive licensing facilitated by the World Health Organisation's Covid-19 Technology Access Pool in order to increase production of and access to covid-19 vaccines; and if he will make a statement.

Since the World Health Organisation (WHO) provided initial details on the COVID-19 technology access pool (C-TAP) in October 2020, the UK has, and will continue to engage extensively with all interested parties. We are in ongoing, constructive discussions with the WHO as it refines both governance structures and the operating model for C-TAP.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the effects of the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station on (a) coastal processes affecting the Minsmere-Walberswick designated wildlife sites, (b) water quality and water movement affecting the Minsmere-Walberswick designated wildlife sites and the Sizewell Marshes SSSI, (c) noise and visual disturbance affecting marsh harriers and waterbirds of the Minsmere-Walberswick designated wildlife sites, (d) loss of designated wildlife sites in the area and (e) thermal and chemical discharges and disturbance from shipping affecting red-throated divers and terns from the Outer Thames Estuary SPA; and if he will make a statement.

The Planning Inspectorate is currently examining the application for development consent for the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station. The Planning Inspectorate will thoroughly assess all relevant issues before providing its recommendations to the Secretary of State.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State must undertake a Habitats Regulations Assessment of potential impacts on designated sites as required under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and consider a robust Environmental Impact Assessment under the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 before making his consenting decision.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of intellectual property rights on the ability of vaccine manufacturers around the world to increase production of covid-19 vaccines; and if he will make a statement.

We have seen little evidence that intellectual property rights are hindering the ability of vaccine manufacturers to increase vaccine production. However, we recognise that vaccine production and distribution need to be scaled up. That is why the UK is proud to be playing a leading role in the global effort to develop and distribute vaccines. Our contribution to the development of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is well known. The UK has also been one of the most generous nations and has provided £548m to COVAX. Using £250m of matched funding the UK mobilised $1bn that will supply 1.3 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to up to 92 lower- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021. The UK is also the single largest country donor to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance (£1.65bn) and the single largest country donor to the Centre for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).We will continue to explore every opportunity to get vaccines to everyone across the world as quickly as possible.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to support the recent decision of the United States Administration to support a temporary suspension of intellectual property rights for covid-19 vaccines; and if he will make a statement.

We are engaging constructively with the US and other WTO members on the TRIPS waiver issue. Any negotiations in the WTO on a waiver will require unanimous support, which could take a significant amount of time. Whilst we engage in the IP discussions, we must continue to push ahead with action such as voluntary licensing agreements for vaccines and support for COVAX.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government’s acceptance of the Climate Change Committee’s recommendation on the Sixth Carbon Budget to reduce emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to include international aviation and shipping in that target under the Climate Change Act 2008.

The Government has laid legislation for the UK’s sixth carbon budget and this marks a decisive step towards net zero by 2050. It builds on the series of ambitious plans we have announced since committing to net zero emissions in law, including through my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan and our new UN climate target to reduce emissions in 2030 by at least 68% compared to 1990 levels – the highest reduction target made by a major economy to date. We have committed to include international aviation and shipping emissions in the Sixth Carbon Budget and will bring forward legislative proposals in due course.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what cost benefit assessment his Department has made on the potential merits of increasing support to community energy projects to (a) engage the public in the net zero transition and (b) deliver social and community benefits.

The Government recognises the valuable role that community and locally owned renewable energy projects can play in reaching our net zero targets. Community energy groups can act as catalysts for raising awareness and promoting behaviour change, both of which are vital if we are to achieve our 2050 goals.

BEIS is funding the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) a £10 million programme, delivered through the 5 Local Energy Hubs in England in the North East (Yorkshire & Humber), the North West, the Midlands, Greater South East, and the South West.

This scheme supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects, explicitly to provide economic and social benefits back to the community. Over 90 communities have received support so far.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with Ofgem on the potential effect on electricity bills of voltage optimisation.

Voltage limits are set by law to protect, and help ensure the efficient operation of, the electricity system. Any change to voltage levels requires careful consideration of all the potential impacts including on consumer appliances, the wider electricity system, and consumer electricity bills. The Department commissioned an independent review of electrical engineering standards, which included recommendations concerning voltage limits when it reported in December 2020[1]. We are engaging with Ofgem as we consider the recommendations and will provide a response in due course.

Ofgem has also provided funding to distribution network operators for voltage optimisation innovation trials and the Energy Networks Association is examining the case for extending statutory voltage limits. These activities are providing evidence of the impacts of voltage optimisation.

[1] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/943700/electricity-engineering-standards-review-technical-analysis-topic-areas.pdf

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Carbon Budget Order 2021 laid on 21 April 2021, what plans he has publish a statement to fulfil legislative requirements; and what his timescale is for publishing that statement.

On 21 April we laid legislation for the UK’s sixth carbon budget, proposing a world-leading target which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. This is in line with the latest science as the level recommended by our expert advisers at the Climate Change Committee.

The statutory instrument can be found here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2021/9780348222616/introduction,

alongside a full impact assessment here:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2021/9780348222616/impacts.

We will publish our policies and proposals to meet the sixth carbon budget, and existing carbon budgets, in due course, as required by the Climate Change Act.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 10 March to Question 161735 on fossil fuels, what estimate he has made of the additional greenhouse gases emitted from the 10 to 20 billion barrels or more of oil equivalent that are (a) discovered and (b) undiscovered; what his policy is on how much of those oil and gas reserves can be extracted while adhering to the UK’s commitments under the Paris climate agreement; and if he will make a statement.

In 2018, upstream oil and gas activities in the UK generated 19 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e): around four per cent of total UK greenhouse gas emissions.

Through the North Sea Transition Deal, the oil and gas sector has committed to ambitious emissions reductions targets, including halving emissions by 2030, on a trajectory to becoming a net zero basin by 2050. This means an absolute reduction in greenhouse gases to 0.5MtCO2e in that timeframe. In order to help meet this objective, government, the sector and regulators will work together over the next decade and beyond to deliver the investment, innovation and infrastructure required to decarbonise North Sea production.

Emissions from end-use depend on whether petroleum products are combusted or used for other purposes. Emissions generated in the UK are factored into our 2050 net zero target.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 10 March to Question 161735 on fossil fuels, what proportion of the 10 to 20 billion barrels or more of oil equivalent is classed in the category of (a) 2C contingent reserves and (b) 2P proven and probable reserves; if the Government will make all data on North Sea oil and gas reserves available in the public domain on a field-level basis to support the development of a Global Registry of Fossil Fuels; and if he will make a statement.

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) estimate for proven and probable (2P) UK reserves as at end 2019 is 5.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, and the estimate for the UK’s contingent (2C) resources as at end 2019 is 7.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The OGA does not publish individual field reserves as they are commercially sensitive.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on (a) jobs and (b) businesses of the decision to cancel the Green Homes Grant; and if he will place a copy of that assessment in the Library.

An evaluation of the effectiveness of the voucher scheme, including a comprehensive analysis of scheme outcomes and evidence collected from scheme applicants and other stakeholders is being undertaken. Ipsos MORI, an independent research organisation, was contracted in December 2020 to undertake the evaluation.

The review will include an assessment of the effect of the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme on jobs, with initial findings delivered later this year.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support his Department has provided to local authorities to enable them to undertake the new requirements for pre-application checks for Restart Grants so that local authorities can make timely payments to eligible businesses to fulfil the aims of the scheme; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to carrying out a full New Burdens assessment and to provide funding to local authorities that is commensurate with the additional tasks they are being asked to carry out in order to deliver Restart Grants.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support demonstration trials of hydrogen-based steelmaking as part of the commitment to near-zero steelmaking by 2035.

The Government recognises the importance of research and development in helping to transform the steel sector so that it can play a vital role in developing a cleaner, greener economy in the UK.

The Government has announced the £250m Clean Steel Fund to help the sector transition to lower carbon iron and steel production, and this could potentially include supporting hydrogen-based steelmaking. It is also providing up to £66m as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, to help key foundation industries, such as steel, develop innovative technology to reduce energy and resource use.

The Government also plans to establish a Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (previously Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund): with £240m of capital co-investment out to 2024/25. This will support at-scale hydrogen production projects, allowing steel producers the potential to access to secure supplies of lower cost hydrogen.

More broadly the £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio provides funding for low carbon technologies and systems to support decarbonising our power, homes and industry as set out in the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of restricting wedding ceremonies to places of places of worship and some public buildings during the covid-19 outbreak from 12 April 2021 on (a) cancellation and postponement rates and (b) jobs throughout the supply chain.

Wedding or civil partnership ceremonies can take place in licensed venues that are not expressly required to close under the COVID-19 Regulations. From Step 2, which will be no earlier than 12 April, ceremonies may also take place in venues which are permitted to open for the purposes of providing unrestricted services. This includes any purpose-built wedding venue where that is its sole purpose, and it is not also a hospitality venue or visitor attraction.

Further information can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships.

I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce, established to represent a wide range of interests in the weddings sector in England, to understand the impact of the pandemic on jobs and businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his Budget 2021 statement on 3 March 2021, what his funding plans are for the Green Homes Grant for the financial years (a) 2021-2022, (b) 2022-2023 and (c) 2023-2024.

In his Spending Review in November 2020, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced £320 million for the scheme in the next financial year 2021-2022, as part of funding to make homes and public buildings more energy efficient.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government has taken to encourage Directors to have regard to the (a) workers, (b) customers, (c) communities and the (d) environment when making decisions.

The Government introduced new obligations under the Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018 effective from 1 January 2020. These included new reporting requirements designed to give shareholders and stakeholders more information with which to hold boards of directors to account and more visibility for good boardroom practice.

The UK Corporate Governance Code was also revised to include methods of engagement that boards should use to engage with their workforce. These include a director appointed from the workforce, a formal workforce advisory panel and/or a designated non-executive director. Companies are also able to explain what alternative arrangements they use and demonstrate that these are effective. Some information as to how companies have responded so far can be found in the Financial Reporting Council’s November 2020 report on the Corporate Governance Code. The FRC has also commissioned research on this aspect of the Code which will be published shortly. We will continue to monitor progress and consider any further changes needed.

Climate change is one of the biggest risks to both our society and our economy, and the Government is working both for a ‘green recovery’ from the pandemic and to achieve the target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Government, as part of its approach, plans to introduce mandatory disclosure requirements for large businesses of financially relevant information related to climate change. This will allow investors and businesses to better understand the material financial impacts of their exposure to climate change, price climate-related risks more accurately, and support the greening of the UK economy. The UK will become the first country in the world to make Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) aligned disclosures fully mandatory across the economy by 2025, with many of these requirements coming into force over the next three years.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Section 172(1) Statements in encouraging directors to discharge their duties with regard to their broader stakeholder community.

The Government introduced new obligations under the Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018 effective from 1 January 2020. These included new reporting requirements which give shareholders and stakeholders more information with which to hold boards of directors to account and more visibility for good boardroom practice. Alongside the regulations, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) amended the UK Corporate Governance Code (the Code) to ensure coherence with the Section 172 statement. The Department also worked with the GC100, which issued guidance on the practical application of Section 172 to help companies, available on the GC100 website.

Whilst it is still relatively early days for these changes, the Department and the FRC continue to monitor their effectiveness. Early indications are that provision of this information is helping shareholders and stakeholders but more can and should be done. The FRC continues to report annually on the Code.

The Regulations provide for a review after five years. This will include an assessment of the impact of increased transparency on the quality of engagement between companies, shareholders and wider stakeholders and the extent to which large private companies have adopted good corporate governance principles.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006 in providing incentives for directors to act in a way that considers seriously the interests of stakeholders other than shareholders.

The Government introduced new obligations under the Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018 effective from 1 January 2020. These included new reporting requirements which give shareholders and stakeholders more information with which to hold boards of directors to account and more visibility for good boardroom practice. Alongside the regulations, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) amended the UK Corporate Governance Code (the Code) to ensure coherence with the Section 172 statement. The Department also worked with the GC100, which issued guidance on the practical application of Section 172 to help companies, available on the GC100 website.

Whilst it is still relatively early days for these changes, the Department and the FRC continue to monitor their effectiveness. Early indications are that provision of this information is helping shareholders and stakeholders but more can and should be done. The FRC continues to report annually on the Code.

The Regulations provide for a review after five years. This will include an assessment of the impact of increased transparency on the quality of engagement between companies, shareholders and wider stakeholders and the extent to which large private companies have adopted good corporate governance principles.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018, whether he has made an assessment of the potential effect of broadening the scope of companies that those regulations apply to.

As reporting under the requirement only started from 1 January 2020, and covers all companies required to produce a strategic report, we do not consider it would be proportionate to expand the scope at this time. We will continue to review whether this needs to change in the future.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018, what assessment he has made of the number of in-scope companies that failed to comply with provisions mandating reporting on matters in section 172(1) of the Companies Act 2006.

As reporting under the requirement was required for accounting years beginning on or after 1 January 2020, we are only now seeing the results of the first year of reporting. Many companies within scope of these requirements benefited from an extension to filing requirements as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic. We will consider the results of ongoing monitoring to identify any shortfalls in compliance and will consider what action is needed on the basis of the findings.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the proposals for a Global Registry of Fossil Fuels; published by the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty campaign and being developed by Carbon Tracker and Global Energy Monitor; and if he will make a statement.

We are aware of this proposal and have engaged with the relevant Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on the concept.

For the UK, as of June 2020, the Coal Authority estimates that overall, there are 3,906 million tonnes of coal resources, including prospects.

The Oil and Gas Authority estimate remaining UK Continental Shelf recoverable petroleum resources are in the range of 10 to 20 billion barrels or more of oil equivalent. This includes discovered and undiscovered petroleum resources and takes into account the wide range of possibilities for prospective resources which are not yet discovered. Proposals for a Global Registry will need to address this, given the high degree of uncertainty about recoverable resources.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many COVAX covid-19 vaccination doses the Government has (a) purchased to date and (b) plans to purchase in the next 12 months.

The Government is a strong champion of COVAX – the international initiative to procure and distribute Covid vaccines equitably, including to both higher and lower income countries.

The UK has invested £71 million in the Self-Financing Facility of COVAX, which enables high and upper-middle income countries to pool investments in potential vaccine candidates. This gives us the option to buy vaccines for up to 20% of the UK population - approximately 27 million doses.

We are committed to purchasing approximately 0.5 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine through COVAX.

The Government has separately committed £548 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, which will distribute 1.3 billion doses of vaccines to developing countries this year as part of COVAX’s overall objective of procuring and delivering 2 billion doses globally.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to establish a right to local energy supply.

The right to local energy supply already exists under the Electricity Act 1989. One of Ofgem’s key strategic priorities is increasing flexibility across the electricity system to support the delivery of net zero and ensuring that consumers benefit from these innovative changes.

Ofgem’s Innovation Link helps innovators navigate the sector’s arrangements and the Energy Regulation Sandbox enables trials and rollout of new products, services, business models and methodologies. There are a range of options available that Ofgem has developed to support alternative and local supply arrangements. This includes awarding supply licences that are restricted to a geographical area. Ofgem’s Licence Lite regime is another arrangement that removes many of the burdens from a prospective supplier, reducing the cost and complexity of entering and operating in the market. Small scale generators can also apply for a license exemption in some cases to reduce the regulatory burdens of operating at a community level.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 25 November 2020 to Question 116678 on Astra Zeneca: Oxford University, and the Answer of 3 August 2020 to Question 73084 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, if the Government will publish the terms of the agreement between the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca; and if he will make a statement.

We are unable to disclose the terms of the agreement between the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca as this would be for the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca to comment on.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the CCC’s assessment that the UK’s fifth carbon budget is not aligned with its recommendation for (a) the sixth carbon budget or (b) the UK’s NDC submitted to the UNFCCC process, what plans his Department has to bring forward legislation to align the fifth carbon budget with emissions reductions necessary to achieve (i) net zero by 2050 and (ii) the UK’s 2030 NDC.

The Government will consider carefully the Climate Change Committee’s advice in their report “The Sixth Carbon Budget: The UK’s path to Net Zero”. Through the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan and our Energy White Paper, we have set out concrete steps we will take to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Over the coming months, we will bring forward further bold proposals, including a Net Zero Strategy, to continue to reduce our emissions in line with our climate obligations. These will be critical steps towards ensuring the UK meets its 5th Carbon Budget.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 19 January 2021 to Question 135888 on Contact Tracing: Computer Software, if he will make it his policy to update the safer working guidance section on supporting NHS Test and Trace, to include guidance that employers should not instruct employees to turn off the NHS track and trace app when in work, unless there are health and safety grounds for doing so; and if he will make a statement.

Whilst the NHS track and trace app is not mandatory, employers should not discourage their employees from using it in the workplace. There are, however, some scenarios where the contact tracing feature should be turned off. These are when:

  • someone is working behind a Perspex (or equivalent) screen;
  • a phone is in storage, such as in a work locker;
  • working in a clinical setting practising infection prevention and control.

As set out in the Safer Working Guidance, in order to ensure workplaces are Covid-19 secure, employers must have an alternative system in place for people who either do not have a smartphone or do who not want to use the NHS Covid-19 app.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he will publish the Government's response to the consultation on ethnicity pay reporting, which closed on 11 January 2019; and if he will make a statement.

In 2018/19 the Government consulted on options for employer-level ethnicity pay reporting. Following the consultation, the Government met with businesses and representative organisations to understand the barriers to reporting and explore what information could be published to allow for meaningful action to be taken. We also ran a voluntary methodology testing exercise with a broad range of businesses to better understand the complexities outlined in the consultation using real payroll data. The Government is continuing to analyse this data and will respond to the consultation as soon as we can.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish guidance for employers on employees' use of the NHS Test and Trace app at work; and if he will make a statement.

The safer working guidance includes a section about supporting the NHS Test and Trace. Workplaces must display an official NHS QR code poster and have an alternative system in place for people who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the NHS Covid-19 app.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what insurance cover the UK holds in respect of nuclear accidents involving nuclear-powered civilian or military vessels passing through or close to the UK exclusive economic zone, territorial waters or coastal waters.

The public purse is uniquely able to finance restitution of damaged assets or deal with other risks. The Ministry of Defence maintains arrangements to respond to any defence-related nuclear incidents, no matter how unlikely. The UK does not operate any nuclear-powered civilian vessels.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what duties a coastal local authority has in the event that a nuclear-powered vessel is granted safe haven on its coast.

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and Radiation (emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2019 place duties on Local Authorities in relation to radiation emergencies. In the event that a nuclear-powered vessel is granted safe haven on its coast, a Local Authority would be responsible for assessing the risk and putting in place plans to respond to a radiation emergency involving the nuclear-powered vessel.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will issue guidance on the response of coastal local authorities in relation to (a) public health, (b) marine, shoreline and coastal zone pollution and (c) other matters in the event of a nuclear accident involving a nuclear-powered vessel off their coastlines; and if he will make a statement.

Part 1 of the Civil Contingencies Act (CCA) 2004 defines the roles and responsibilities for those organisations (including Local Authorities) that would be involved in emergency preparation and response at the local level. It is the responsibility of Local Authorities to put in place emergency preparedness and response plans for different emergency types within its jurisdiction. These plans should be proportionate and commensurate to the consequences and to the likelihood of the risk occurring. In addition, Regulation 22 of the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2019 (REPPIR19) places a duty on all Local Authorities to have arrangements to provide information about any kind of emergency involving ionising radiation and is not limited to emergencies occurring on nuclear or radiological premises. As part of their emergency arrangements, Local Authorities would convene a Strategic Coordinating Group (SCG) which would take overall responsibility for the multi-agency management of the emergency.

BEIS is available to support Local Authorities in the development of emergency plans through participation in local resilience fora such as the Local Authority Nuclear Working Group (LANWG).

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his ministerial statement on the Energy White Paper, on 14 December 2020, if he will publish the modelling for the statement that regulated asset base funding model for new nuclear power could drive down costs for consumers in the long run.

The RAB model shares the cost with consumers from the start of construction, reducing the amount of interest owed on loans and return owed on equity, which could cut the cost for consumers over the lifetime of the plant. The House will be kept informed as we progress the options for funding and financing new nuclear projects in the UK.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will place in the Library the Terms of Reference of the COP26 Youth and Civil Society Advisory Council.

The Department is working closely with the Cabinet Office Central COP26 Unit. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and COP President Designate set up a Civil Society and Youth Advisory council to support the UK’s efforts as the incoming COP26 presidency to achieve greater climate action and deliver an inclusive summit.

We have already committed to depositing the minutes from each of these meetings in the Libraries of the House as part of our wider commitment to ensure transparent engagement. The second meeting took place on 16 December and we will place these minutes, along with the Terms of Reference for the group, in the Libraries in due course.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to (a) ensure gender equality in the COP26 leadership team and (b) facilitate women’s equal participation at COP26.

The UK has committed to championing diversity and inclusion throughout our COP26 Presidency and all civil servants in the Cabinet Office COP26 unit have been appointed in line with civil service guidance and rules. In the COP Unit, 45% of the senior management team in the COP26 unit are women. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister recently appointed my Hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Anne-Marie Treveylan MP) as the COP26 Adaptation and Resilience Champion. Working alongside the COP26 leadership team is a wider global network of around 120 climate and energy Attaches. All ambassadors have a COP26 objective, ensuring that a diverse group of leading diplomats are engaging internationally around COP26.

Visible and diverse leadership is just one part of the picture however. Championing women’s roles as decision-makers, educators and climate leaders is essential if we are to deliver effective, long-term solutions to climate change and ensure that women and girls are empowered as agents of change, including at COP26. This means working closely with civil society, amplifying the voices of those most affected by climate changes and facilitating the meaningful contribution of female negotiators. We see women’s rights organisations, amongst others, as essential partners in effectively tackling climate change and are also supporting a ‘Women Negotiator Mentoring Initiative’ through the European Capacity-building Initiative and our Climate Ambition Support Alliance. This initiative will level the playing field not only in terms of developed and developing countries but also between men and women, ultimately strengthening capacity and professional development of both current and future climate leaders.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Minister for Business and Industry’s appointment as Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment on 28 November 2020, what the updated ministerial responsibilities in his Department are; and if he will make a statement.

The responsibilities of the Minister for Business and Industry can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/people/nadhim-zahawi.

The Minister’s previous responsibilities will now be held by other Ministers in the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, for the duration of his new role as Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment. All ministers’ portfolios can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-energy-and-industrial-strategy

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of facilitating biodiversity net gain for energy projects progressed through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime, as part of his Department’s plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

The Government was clear in its 25 Year Environment Plan that its commitment to seek to embed a principle of environmental net gain for development applies to energy infrastructure as well as housing. However, it is important that any strengthening of biodiversity net gain requirements for the nationally significant infrastructure regime is done at the right time and in the right way.

There are a number of ways in which this could be implemented and it is important that time is taken to work with stakeholders to develop an appropriate approach. The Government will be consulting on further details in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to help ensure workers receive paid time off for covid-19 vaccination appointments; and if he will make a statement.

The roll-out of Covid-19 vaccinations is very positive news for the country.

We would strongly encourage employers to ensure their staff are able to take time away from work to receive a vaccination. Employers and employees already manage the need to accommodate work and medical and other appointments pragmatically between themselves, and we would expect that to continue to be the case for people seeking time away from work to receive Covid-19 vaccinations.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure funds available via the Additional Restrictions Grant scheme are adequate to meet local demand; if he will make it his policy to (a) amend the terms of the that grant scheme to cover 5 November to 2 December 2020 and (b) allocate new funding through business support grants during local covid-19 lockdown restrictions; and if he will make a statement.

We have been clear that the Additional Restrictions Grant is a one-off payment to local authorities, providing them with funding to provide discretionary support to businesses.

Local authorities have the discretion to use their Additional Restrictions Grant allocation as they see fit, at any point up to the end of financial year 2021/22. We will continue to monitor the support needs of businesses and the local economy.

During the recent period of national lockdown in England, local authorities have also been provided with funding to support closed businesses, with grants of up to £3000 via the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed).

This support for closed businesses will continue when the local restrictions start on 2nd December. Local authorities in Tiers 2 and 3 will be provided funding to allow them to continue their support to closed businesses.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) will provide further discretionary funding to local authorities in Tiers 2 and 3 after the period of national restrictions to allow them to support businesses that are not required to close, but which will have their trade affected by the restrictions.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle the risks that may arise from the concurrence of covid-19 and cold homes.

Improving energy efficiency is the best long-term solution to tackle fuel poverty. The Energy Company Obligation, worth £640m per year, is focused on low-income and vulnerable households and the Green Homes Grant, launched in September 2020, is a £2 billion programme which will help improve the energy efficiency of homes in England. Of this, £1 billion is specifically for low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households.

In addition to the available funding to support low-income households with improving the energy efficiency of their homes, we recognise that some households may need more immediate support and so also assist with energy bills for low income and vulnerable consumers through the Warm Homes Discount, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.

We have also successfully negotiated an agreement with energy suppliers to support customers impacted by COVID-19. Based on the circumstances, this could include reassessing, reducing, or pausing debt repayments for households in financial distress and support for prepayment meter customers to stay on supply.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy for the Government to end the public financing of fossil fuels projects overseas by COP26.

At the UK-Africa Investment Summit in January we announced an end to Government support for thermal coal mining and coal power plants overseas, and we continue to keep our approach to other fossil fuel investments and financing overseas under review.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his Department’s latest Transparency Data release on ministerial meetings, April to June 2020, if he will (a) set out the criteria for deciding whether to meet with interested energy production companies or organisations and (b) publish copies of minutes and any other documents from each of the meetings listed.

Ministers meet with many different organisations, as set out in the transparency data release. There are a range of factors which influence whether a Minister meets with an organisation, including relevance to Government policy and ministerial availability. Minutes of ministerial meetings are not routinely published.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will (a) publish the full list of names of members of the COP26 Presidency’s Youth and Civil Society Advisory Council and (b) place a copy of the minutes from the first meeting of that Council in the Library.

The first meeting of the COP26 Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council took place on 16 October and a copy of the minutes, which contain details of the members, will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward legislative proposals in the forthcoming Employment Bill to establish bereavement leave as a universal statutory employment right for workers who have experienced the death of a close relative; and if he will make a statement.

We recognise that the death of a close family member, friend, or colleague can be deeply upsetting. The Government believes that individuals are best placed to understand their own specific needs and we encourage their employers to respond in an appropriate and sensitive way.

In April this year we introduced a new statutory entitlement to Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay for parents who lose a child under the age of 18. Whilst this entitlement is not available to employees who suffer a bereavement in other circumstances, all employees have a ‘day 1’ right to take unpaid time off work for an emergency involving a dependant.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the closure of IT repair shops under November 2020 covid-19 lockdown restrictions on the ability of people to work from home in line with Government guidelines; if he will make the safe re-opening of those businesses a priority; and if he will make a statement.

Some retail shops are required to close, but all are able to provide Click and Collect services if they operate in a COVID-secure manner. The Cabinet Office guidance states that businesses that provide services (rather than goods) are not required to close, unless listed in section 2 of the guide: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/closing-certain-businesses-and-venues-in-england.

As my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has said, the regulations will expire on 2 December and we plan to move back to a tiered approach. The safe reopening of all workplaces has been a priority since the initial phase of the pandemic.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his review of National Policy Statements for energy, which Statements will be reviewed; whether the Statements under review will be active during the review; what his timescale is for that review; and if he will make a statement.

My Rt Honourable friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will confirm his intention and the timeframe for any review as part of the forthcoming energy white paper.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much Government funding has been spent on subsidising (a) offshore wind, (b) onshore wind and (c) solar for electricity generation in each of the last three years; and what volume of electricity was generated by each of those modes of generation as a result of those subsidies.

Subsidies for generating electricity from wind and solar PV are paid under three low carbon electricity schemes: the Renewables Obligation (RO), the Feed-in Tariffs (FIT), and Contracts for Difference (CfD) schemes. The Renewables Obligation does not pay a direct subsidy but instead support is provided through tradeable certificates.

The table below provides a breakdown of payments made to wind and solar PV electricity generators under the RO and CfD schemes in the last three financial years where figures are available[1].

The figures in the tables below refer to Great Britain only. CfD and FIT are not available in Northern Ireland.

Table 1: Breakdown of payments made to offshore wind, onshore wind and solar PV electricity generators by low carbon electricity support scheme:

Scheme

2017-18 (£m)

2018-19 (£m)

2019-20[2] (£m)

Offshore wind

RO2 [3]

2,009

2,221

2,212

CfD[4]

295.8

587.6

1,275.9

Onshore wind

RO2

1,256

1,335

1,271

CfD4

0.0

11.3

88.7

Solar PV

RO2

471

549

460

CfD4

0.8

0.8

1.4

In addition, the following amounts have been spent in total on FITs. The breakdown for wind and solar PV is not available but solar PV accounts for around 79% of total FIT capacity and onshore wind accounts for around 14%[5].

Table 2: Total spending on FITs:

2017-18 (£m)

2018-19 (£m)

2019-20 (£m)

Total FIT spending – all technologies

1,375.1

1,409.0

1,414.7

The amount of electricity generated by these schemes is given in the table below.

Table 3: Generation supported by RO, CfD and FIT for offshore wind, onshore wind and solar PV in Great Britain:

Generation (GWh)

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

Offshore wind

RO2

20,661

21,381

24,150

CfD4

2,621

5,359

9,952

FIT[6]

-

-

-

Total

23,281

26,739

34,101

Onshore wind

RO2

25,409

25,379

27,599

CfD4

-

279

1,539

FIT6

1,851

1,720

1,920

Total

27,260

27,377

31,058

Solar PV

RO2

6,409

7,003

6,710

CfD4

20

28

28

FIT6

4,407

4,983

4,952

Total

10,836

12,015

11,689

Total generation for all renewable technologies is published by BEIS in Energy Trends in 6.1 at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-trends-section-6-renewables

[1] Figures are not available broken down by technology for the FITs scheme.

[2] RO figures for 2019/20 are provisional as not all the certificates have been issued yet and the full notional value of each certificate is not yet known.

[3] RO figures are based on Ofgem’s certificate report as at 4 August 2020 from their Renewables and CHP Register.

[4] CfD figures are taken from the Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC) CfD dashboard, which is available on LCCC’s website.

[5] Taken from OFGEM’s annual report: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes/fit/contacts-guidance-and-resources/public-reports-and-data-fit/annual-reports

[6] Estimated

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many staff in his Department are working primarily on (a) fossil fuels, (b) renewables, (c) energy efficiency and (d) nuclear energy.

The Department currently employs the following numbers of staff working primarily in these areas:

Upstream oil and gas policy

26 FTE

Downstream oil resilience

15 FTE

Gas policy

23 FTE

Coal policy (including staff working on the domestic & international transition away from coal)

6 FTE

Liabilities from the former nationalised coal industry

7.4 FTE

The Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning, based in Aberdeen

90.5 FTE

Renewable energy

104.6 FTE

Renewable heat

79 FTE

Energy efficiency

237 FTE

Nuclear energy

201.1 FTE

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the decisions in Symrise AG, 18 August 2020, by the Board of Appeal of the European Chemicals Agency on requiring animal testing under REACH of ingredients solely and already used in cosmetics, and the incorporation of Article 18 of Regulation (EC) No. 2009/1223 via the Product Safety and Metrology (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, whether (a) all animal testing for ingredients used predominantly in cosmetics will be prohibited in the UK after 31 December 2020 and (b) there will be a prohibition on the sale in the UK of cosmetics ingredients tested on animals after March 2013 irrespective of where the testing was carried out or under which regulatory regime.

Following the end of the Transition Period, under the EU Withdrawal Act, existing EU legislation will be carried over into UK law. This includes both the REACH Regulation and the Cosmetics Regulation.

The use of animal testing to demonstrate the compliance of the final formulation of cosmetic products or their ingredients with the Cosmetics Regulation will remain prohibited in the UK after 31 December 2020. No animal testing of finished cosmetic products or their ingredients or combinations of ingredients in order to meet the requirements of the Cosmetics Regulation is allowed to take place in the UK.

The sale of cosmetics where the safety of ingredients is demonstrated through animal tests after March 2013 will remain prohibited in the UK after 31 December 2020

The safety of chemicals is regulated by DEFRA. In the case referred to, these tests were required under REACH in order to assess the risks to workers involved in the formulation of the substances.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his plans are for the future of the Nuclear Liabilities Financing Assurance Board; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is prepared to support new nuclear projects in the years ahead, if these projects can be delivered at a competitive price that represents value for money for the taxpayer. If we were to take a new nuclear project forward, we would look at appropriate methods to scrutinise proposals for the Funded Decommissioning Programme submitted by the prospective operator.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the incident reported at Sellafield on 14 August 2020, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the implementation of the findings and recommendations of the Sellafield Limited Board of Inquiry report into an incident involving inappropriately managed toxic chemicals discovered on 3 October 2017 at the Sellafield Analytical Services Laboratory (ASL), which was reported in February 2018.

Following the incident in 2017, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) issued an enforcement letter to Sellafield Ltd. The letter required the organisation to review and improve their arrangements for managing waste chemicals across the site, including implementing a plan for their disposal or safe storage. Given the large quantity and variety of chemicals held on the site, this has been a significant and complex undertaking.

The Board of Inquiry into the events of October 2017 made several recommendations, which Sellafield Ltd undertook to implement. The ONR have maintained oversight of Sellafield Ltd’s progress against the identified actions and improvement plan, through ongoing regulatory activity. The ONR are content with the progress that is continuing to be made on this matter and will maintain their activities and oversight to ensure that Sellafield Ltd’s improvements in chemical management on the site are fully realised.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the incident reported at Sellafield on 14 August 2020, what reports his Department has received of the effectiveness of the implementation of the safety changes proposed in the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) Assessment of the Sellafield Ltd Analytical Services Second Cycle Long Term Periodic Review, Project Assessment Report ONR-SDFW-PAR-2017-007, dated June 2017; and what matters remain outstanding.

Following the incident in 2017, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) issued an enforcement letter to Sellafield Ltd. The letter required the regulator to review and improve their arrangements for managing waste chemicals across the site, including implementing a plan for their disposal or safe storage. Given the large quantity and variety of chemicals held on the site, this has been a significant and complex undertaking.

The ONR have maintained oversight of Sellafield Ltd’s progress against the identified actions and its improvement plan through a Regulatory Issue. They are currently content with the progress being made on this matter and will continue with their work to ensure that Sellafield Ltd’s improvements in chemical management on the site are realised fully.

As a result of the increased focus on chemicals by Sellafield Ltd, during a routine inspection a potentially unstable chemical was identified. Action was taken to make the site safe and ultimately remove the chemical from the site. The potential exists for further such chemicals to be identified while Sellafield Ltd implements its improvement plan.

The ONR are satisfied that Sellafield Ltd’s response to this event was appropriate. The ONR’s inspectors are following up on this incident to determine if any further regulatory action is needed, in accordance with their established arrangements.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) reported this incident and the subsequent regulatory activity to the Department as part of its regular monthly and quarterly reporting requirements pertaining to regulatory activity and safety at Sellafield. This reporting is regularly reviewed by officials and is further enhanced by regular engagement between the Department, the ONR and the NDA.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the incident reported at Sellafield on 14 August 2020 that involved Sellafield Ltd management calling in experts from Explosive Ordinance Disposal to stabilise toxic chemicals discovered inappropriately stored near the Magnox reprocessing line; what danger was posed to the (a) licensed nuclear site workforce and (b) community near to Sellafield outside the security fence; and what steps he is taking to ensure that Sellafield Ltd improves the safety of the on-site management of toxic and potentially explosive chemicals as a consequence of that incident.

As part of routine inspection of chemicals being stored inside a dedicated store (within the Magnox Reprocessing Facility) at Sellafield, a chemical was found to have changed in appearance. The UK’s independent regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), were in regular contact with the site as they managed this incident and safely disposed of the materials, in accordance with their established procedures.

At no point were workers at the site, or the community near to Sellafield, at any risk as a result of this material or the manner in which it was disposed of. The Magnox Reprocessing Facility was evacuated as a precaution during disposal.

The ONR were content with Sellafield Ltd’s actions in response and will continue to monitor progress with arrangements for managing waste chemicals across the site, including inspecting the operator’s plans for their disposal or safe storage.

The ONR’s inspectors are following up on this incident and will determine if further regulatory action is required.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 1 October 2019 to Question 291441 on Carbon Emissions: British Overseas Territories and with reference to the UK's hosting of the UN Climate Summit in 2021, which UK Overseas Territories have now requested to participate in the Paris Agreement; and what procedures will be used for carbon emissions accounting and reporting for those territories.

The Department continues to consult with UK Overseas Territories on whether they would like to have UK ratification of the Paris Agreement extended to them. For any that so choose, the extension process would ensure that UK Overseas Territories are able to contribute to UK Paris Agreement reporting to the UNFCCC as set out by the guidelines contained in the Enhanced Transparency Framework of the Paris Rulebook, agreed at COP24, Katowice.

UK Overseas Territories that have previously had UK ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) extended to them, including those who have had UK ratification of the Kyoto Protocol extended to them, are already included in the UK’s annual GHG inventory submission to the UNFCCC, National Inventory Report and Common Reporting Format tables. These publications are made available on the UNFCCC website and the National Atmospheric and Emissions Inventory website.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to publish the advice his Department is receiving from the Committee on Climate Change on the Government’s planned Nationally Determined Contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

We expect the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to include advice on the Nationally Determined Contribution when they publish advice on the Sixth Carbon Budget in December. The CCC will make this publicly available.

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, what assessment he has made of the Internal Review prepared for the EDF Board in 2015 conducted by Yannick d’Escatha on the economic viability of the European Pressurised Reactor being built at Hinkley; and when he first became aware of that report.

The Internal Review was a matter for EDF and was widely known about at the time; for example, it was referred to in a press release issued by EDF on 12 March 2016.

The Government conducted due diligence on the project before entering into the contractual agreements. EDF, as the lead investor in Hinkley Point C, is responsible for the project’s funding and construction schedule. Any additional costs incurred are the responsibility of EDF, and its fellow shareholders in the project, and will not fall on taxpayers or consumers.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the recently released report on European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) by the French Court of Audit (Cours des Comptes); what assessment he has made of the implications for the financial underwriting provided by the Government to EDF for the Hinkley C EPR project of the Court of Audit finding that the project represents a high financial risk; and what discussions he has held with EDF officials on the future costing of the Hinkley C project.

The Government is aware of the report on European Pressurised Reactors, which was published on the Cour des Comptes webpage on 9 July 2020. EDF, as the lead investor in Hinkley Point C, is responsible for the project’s funding and construction schedule. Any additional costs incurred are the responsibility of EDF and its fellow shareholders in the project, and will not fall on taxpayers or consumers.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish additional conditions that will need to be met by spas, nail bars, beauty salons and tanning salons, massage therapists, tattoo and piercing parlours before such business are allowed to reopen during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will publish the scientific evidence that such businesses pose a greater public health risk than pubs, bars and restaurants if personal protection equipment is worn and social distancing rules are applied.

There is clearly a risk of greater transmission in close proximity services. That is why we have had to phase their introduction. We had to make difficult choices to keep the R rate below 1. We appreciate that this is difficult for some businesses. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and every step is weighed against the evidence, remembering that the more we open up the more vigilant we will need to be.

SAGE has already confirmed that they will publish all past minutes and supporting documents. SAGE information is shared on its website: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what representation his recovery roundtables include from (a) trade unions and (b) civil society organisations; and if he will publish the membership of those roundtables.

The Economic Recovery roundtables have brought together businesses, business representative groups and leading academics to consider the measures needed to support the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19. They also explore key domestic and global challenges, including how to support a green and resilient recovery, and ensure the UK is at the forefront of new and emerging industries.

The Department is engaging with a range of stakeholders to ensure we elicit a broad range of views on the UK’s economic recovery and continues to engage extensively with Trades Unions on its response to Covid-19.

Civil society was represented on all of the Economic Recovery roundtables, including from NGOs and academics who had published notable research relevant to the questions discussed.

We have published a list of the roundtable attendees on GOV.UK. The attendees come from across business sectors, regions and devolved nations, business representative groups, research bodies, partner organisations, and academia. The business attendees represent over a third of the UK economy. This list does not encompass the full range of stakeholders that BEIS Ministers and officials are engaging with. We have been welcoming comments from anyone that wishes to share their views by 17th June. We also continue to hold extensive engagement that will feed into this important work with stakeholders from across the economy, including small business networks and trades unions

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure the advice of the recovery roundtables on the themes of (a) the future of industry, (b) backing new businesses, (c) increasing opportunity and (d) the UK open for business, is compatible with the UK's role in delivering the Paris Agreement.

The insight gathered through these roundtables will help identify ways in which government can work together with business and other stakeholders to support a clean and resilient recovery and ensure the UK is at the forefront of new and emerging industries.

In order to seize the opportunities of growing low carbon markets around the world, deliver our commitments under the Paris Agreement, and put ourselves on course for our legally binding carbon budgets and net zero target, we need to accelerate the rate of emission reduction and ensure UK businesses are well placed to maximise the growth opportunities of net zero. Many of the actions we need to take to reach our UK climate targets - net zero - can also support our economy to recover from Covid-19.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with lenders accredited under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme; and what recent assessment he has made of the timeliness of those lenders in (a) approving and (b) releasing funds to small businesses that meet the eligibility criteria for that scheme.

The Government continues to hold a regular dialogue with the largest Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) lenders to monitor its implementation.

There are now over 80 accredited lenders of the CBILS and individual lending decisions remain at the discretion of these lenders. There has been significant demand for the Scheme and lenders are fully aware of the current urgency, so we expect them to respond appropriately to their customers’ needs.

Since the CBILS was introduced, Government has made several improvements to speed up the application process and ensure businesses are getting the support they need. These include:

  • Clarifying that all lenders should use automated, rather than manual, credit checks when assessing the viability of a business;
  • Removing the forward-looking viability test;
  • Removing the per lender portfolio cap; and
  • Removing any requirement for the main lenders to interact with the British Business Bank systems before issuing loans.

As of 14 June, facilities have been issued to 49,247 businesses, with a value of £10.11 billion.

We have also introduced the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS). This scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. To apply, businesses need to complete a simple online form which can be processed by their lender in a matter of days. As of 14 June, 863,584 loans have been issued, worth £26.34 billion.

We continue to receive feedback on all our support for businesses and will seek to identify any areas for improvement.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with representatives of publican tenants in tied pubs on the support those tenants require during the covid-19 outbreak; whether he is in touch with the #nopubnorent campaign; and if he will make it his policy to include a representative of The Forum of British Pubs on the Pubs and Restaurant taskforce to develop new covid-19 secure guidelines.

The Department has had discussions with a broad range of stakeholders from across the pubs sector on the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, including support to pub tenants.

The Pubs and Restaurants Taskforce has already convened to develop guidance that will allow restaurants, bars and cafes to reopen at the earliest point it is considered safe to do so. The taskforce comprised stakeholders from a cross-section of the sector, with representation from trade bodies to small and medium sized operators, unions, as well as the supply chain. We consulted these stakeholders due to their expertise and real-life knowledge and experience of the challenges faced by the industry during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that UK banks and financial institutions are not involved in the financing of companies whose operations contribute to deforestation or habitat destruction in (a) Brazil and (b) other countries; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to better understanding and addressing this issue. We are working with financiers and partners to take action in a number of ways.

In 2018 BEIS, DFID and DEFRA ministers commissioned the UK’s Global Resource Initiative (GRI), an independent taskforce through which over 200 leading UK companies, NGOs and financiers, on 30th March, published recommendations for how the UK can mitigate the environmental footprint of its deforestation-risk supply chains and investments. The Government is now considering these recommendations as a matter of priority

The Government’s Green Finance Strategy also included an expectation that listed companies and large asset owners should, by 2022, disclose information on the climate impact of their activities in line with recommendations from the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). The government has established a process with the relevant regulators to explore the most effective way to approach climate-related financial disclosure in the UK, and this includes considering whether it would be appropriate to make reporting mandatory

In order to help financiers and supply chains actors better understand their role in global deforestation and habitat loss, the UK directly funds and supports technological solutions to bring greater transparency to deforestation-risk investments such as the Global Canopy’s Forest 500 Report and TRASE tools. We also support efforts to find new ways of accounting for the risks and value of natural capital, which is a key focus for the Treasury’s Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity

We recognise that this is a global problem which requires strong partnership with other countries. The UK has committed over £200m in climate finance to Brazil to date (2016-2021), including to support community, business and local-government-led initiatives to tackle deforestation and prevent habitat destruction. These initiatives help strengthen forest governance, increase the value of Brazil’s standing forest, incubate forest friendly business models, and harness sustainable forms of private sector investment. On Friday 5th June, we announced a further £64m of support to protect tropical rainforests in Colombia against deforestation

As COP26 President we are also working with our international partners to green local and international supply chains for foodstuffs and key commodities and increase the alignment of financial flows with net-zero and the Paris Agreement objectives.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which (a) Departmental and (b) cross-Departmental initiatives are ensuring that the Government’s economic response to the covid-19 outbreak contributes to the achievement of the UK's climate and environmental goals; and if he will make a statement.

As we recover from COVID-19, the Government intends to deliver a UK economy which is stronger, greener, more sustainable and more resilient.

The UK was the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050 while showing that growing our economy and cutting emissions can be achieved in parallel - growing our economy by 75% while cutting emissions by 43% over the past three decades. The UK has over 460,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains, and many of the actions we need to take to reach our net zero target will support the future growth of our economy.

Already we have announced that onshore wind and solar projects can bid for contracts in the next Contracts for Difference allocation round and a £2 billion package for cycling and walking. On 8 June, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced a Green Recovery working group, one of five new ‘recovery roundtables’ bringing together businesses, business representative groups and leading academics, to unleash Britain’s growth potential and help the economy recover from the pandemic. This group will explore how to capture the economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero emissions.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the GMB Union April 2020 statistics citing that 3 million key workers do not earn the Real Living Wage; and if he will take steps to ensure that all key workers earn the Real Living Wage as determined by the Living Wage Foundation.

This Government is committed to building an economy that works for everyone. Through the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and the National Living Wage (NLW) the Government protects the lowest paid workers and ensures they are fairly rewarded for their contribution to the economy.

The NMW and NLW rates are legal minimum thresholds. These are different from the Living Wage, which is a voluntary minimum rate of pay. The Government commends the work of the Living Wage Foundation and those employers who commit to paying the voluntary Living Wage when they can afford to do so.

A substantial number of key workers are paid at or just above the National Minimum Wage. It is right that we support these workers as they are supporting the country during this crisis. This is why the Government 2020 increased the National Living Wage on 1 April.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 5 May to Question 39769, which paragraph of the Government guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme specifies that pregnant employees can be furloughed under that Scheme (a) if they and their employer agree and (b) they meet the normal eligibility requirements.

The Job Retention Scheme has been designed to help employers retain staff during the coronavirus outbreak. The guidance explains that anyone who meets the eligibility requirements can be considered for the Scheme - where the employee and employer agree. That includes pregnant women. The limited number of exclusions are explicitly set out in the guidance.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has held discussions with his EU counterparts on the Government’s decision to prevent companies in CVA from benefitting from the coronavirus small business grants schemes; and for what reasons that decision was made in relation state aid rules.

There are a number of Coronavirus small business grant schemes available, including Small Business grants and Retail and Hospitality and Leisure grants. These grant schemes are intended to support companies struggling as a consequence of Coronavirus, to allow them to re-open on the other side of the lockdown. The guidance on these grants therefore excludes from eligibility businesses which were in liquidation or dissolved as of 11 March.

Although the UK has left the EU, under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU State aid rules continue to apply in the UK until the end of the Transition Period. A Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) is a type of insolvency procedure. Small Business grants are paid under the existing State aid de minimis rules and can be given notwithstanding a CVA.

Retail Hospitality and Leisure grants are provided under the UK Covid-19 Temporary Framework. Businesses receiving this grant must confirm they were not an Undertaking in Difficulty on 31 December 2019. Under the Temporary Framework, if the business became an undertaking in difficulty after 31 December 2019 it can still receive aid under the Temporary Framework.

As companies in CVA are not prevented from receiving Small Business grants, the Government has not discussed this issue with the European Commission.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th May 2020
If he will seek representations from self-employed workers on the effectiveness of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

We have prioritised helping the greatest number of people as quickly as possible and it is difficult to come up with reliable criteria that apply to all the relevant sectors of the economy. We are aware some people will not be eligible for the scheme, but they may still benefit from a number of other support schemes available.

The Department is engaging a wide range of stakeholders in relation to Covid-19, and in addition to the Business Secretary’s regular meeting with business representative organisations, I recently hosted a call with stakeholders on support for the self-employed and will continue to engage on the issue.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his UN speech of 6 March 2020, whether his statement that green growth is absolutely possible is based on evidence (a) that absolute decoupling of gross domestic product growth from greenhouse gas emissions has occurred in relation to (a) consumption-based emissions incorporating the overseas impacts of UK economic activity and (b) the UK’s equitable contribution to the 1.5 degree temperature goal of the Paris climate agreement; and if he will make a statement.

Green Growth is absolutely possible. Between 1990 and 2018, the UK reduced emissions by 43% while growing our economy by 75% – decarbonising our economy faster than any other G20 country since 2000. The latest statistics show that UK emissions on a consumption basis (including emissions embedded in imports) also fell by 21 per cent between 2007 and 2017. Last year, the UK became the first major economy to legislate to achieve net zero emissions. This will continue to enable us to meet our climate change obligations, including those made under the Paris Agreement, and – as stated by the Committee on Climate Change – goes beyond the reduction needed globally to hold the expected rise in global average temperature to well below 2°C.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the guidance on Making staff redundant on gov.uk, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the requirement for a 90 day consultation where more than 20 staff are being made redundant on the ability of businesses to operate during the covid-19 outbreak; whether he has any plans to (a) amend that guidance and (b) provide financial support to businesses to meet the costs of temporary redundancy during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption. In order to help firms to continue to keep people in employment, the Government has introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Businesses can put workers on temporary leave and the government will pay them cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, providing they keep the worker employed. They will receive the grant from HMRC, and all UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme can self-certify that it has furloughed employees. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st.

The scheme will help businesses to retain staff and reduce the need for full redundancies. The Government is continually reviewing what further support can be offered to business and whether amended guidance is appropriate

Businesses and employees can get advice on individual employment issues by visiting the Acas website. Businesses can also ring the BEIS Business Support Line for further advice on support for business.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the level of need of solo self-employed people without access to human resources support during the covid-19 outbreak; what steps he is taking to support people in that position; and if he will make a statement.

Government is clear that we must support people in work to do the right thing during a Covid-19 outbreak. The Government has already made it easier for those who are sick or self-isolating to access support through Universal Credit and contributory Employment and Support Allowance. We want to make sure our welfare system works quickly and effectively to provide security for people. We are also supporting the self-employed through the tax system, with the next self-assessment payments deferred until the end of the year.

The Government recognises that those who are self-employed might not have HR support, but they can get advice on individual employment issues by calling Acas. They can also ring the BEIS Business Support Line for further advice on support for business.

HMRC have also set up a dedicated helpline for self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time?To?Pay service.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to include aviation and shipping emissions in the UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution in advance of COP26 in November 2020; if he will advocate for other countries to do the same; and if he will make a statement.

As part of our incoming COP Presidency, we are urging all countries to come forward with ambitious new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which represent their highest possible ambition. The UK will play a key part and come forward with an enhanced NDC well ahead of COP26.

The UK continues to lead international efforts on cost-effective emissions reduction in the international aviation and shipping sectors, working through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ?Emissions from domestic flights and shipping are already covered by our domestic legislation and the CCC account for international flights and shipping in their advice on setting our carbon budgets.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2020 to Question 6620 on Copyright: EU Law, whether the Government plans to make changes to the UK copyright framework as part of the usual domestic policy process.

The Government takes decisions on whether or not to legislate after consideration of the evidence. In areas where the evidence demonstrates that the current copyright framework is not effective, the Government may propose changes to it. Any future changes to the copyright framework would be subject to a full public consultation and impact assessment.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress has been made by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in establishing Nucleus, the national nuclear archive, at Wick; what proportion of the known documentation destined for Nucleus has been shipped to the site to date; what plans there are to digitise the archive contents to facilitate remote searching and access; and what use has been made of Nucleus by outside interested parties since it was opened.

The Nucleus nuclear archive building in Wick opened in February 2017. Since, an estimated 20% of the relevant records held at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) sites have been transferred there, while transfer of off-site records is approximately 40% complete. Dounreay’s records were the first to be transferred, including over 300,000 photographs and 200 tonnes of documents. Material from 16 other sites will be moved gradually over the next five years.

In the longer term, a searchable Archive Management System will provide online access to the material; security restrictions will apply to certain records. A digitisation programme to prepare a specification and scope of work began last year.

The facility has been primarily used by the local community and international nuclear community. It has hosted events for various international organisations, such as the Nuclear Energy Agency and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Most local visitors access the Caithness Archives, which is located at Wick alongside the nuclear collection.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the written statement of 3 February 2020, HCWS86 on UK-EU relations, and the EU draft negotiating directives published on 3 February 2020, whether she plans to make tackling climate change a priority for a future trade agreement between the EU and the UK.

We want a relationship with the EU which is based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals, and centred on free trade. We will have a relationship with our European friends inspired by our shared history and values.

The UK is committed to delivering our world-leading commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions and end the UK’s contribution to global warming by 2050. As my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister set out in his speech in Greenwich on the 3 February: “Britain was the first major economy in the world – let alone the EU – to place upon our own shoulders a legal obligation to be carbon neutral by 2050.”

As we prepare to host the crucial 2020 UN climate negotiations, COP26, in Glasgow in November, we will push for ambitious action from all countries to deliver the 2015 Paris Agreement, and showcase the UK’s climate leadership.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 21 January 2020 to Question 3164 on Employment Tribunals Service: Fines, how many individual, previously unpaid awards are represented by (a) the total sum of £1,343,941.96 recovered as a result of only issuing a warning letter, and (b) the total sum of £1,222,472.23 recovered as a result of issuing both a warning letter and a penalty notice; and how many of the 2,067 warning letters and 1,302 penalty notices were issued in (i) 2016-17 (ii) 2017-18 (iii) 2018-19 and (iv) 2019-20 to date.

Under this government a total of £2,566,414.19 in previously unpaid awards has been secured for workers since April 2016. A total of £1,343,941.96 was recovered for 231 workers after only issuing a warning notice. A total of £1,222,472.23 was recovered for 225 workers after issuing a penalty notice.

Of the 2,067 warning letters and 1,302 penalty notices issued:

(i) 244 warning notices and 124 penalty notices were issued in 2016-17;

(ii) 390 warning notices and 277 penalty notices were issued in 2017-18;

(iii) 736 warning notices and 471 penalty notices were issued in 2018-19 and

(iv) 697 warning notices and 430 penalty notices have been issued in 2019-20 to date.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department has taken to support self-employed (a) EU, (b) EEA, (c) Swiss and (d) Turkish citizens to (i) understand and (ii) comply with the Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 ahead of the 31 December 2020.

Self-employed EU, EEA EFTA, Swiss and Turkish nationals will not be required to take any actions to comply with the Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. UK law currently imposes no restrictions on the ability of these nationals to establish or run a business, or to provide services in the UK. The Regulations, which come into force at the end of the Implementation Period, will not change this.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to inform (a) EU, (b) EEA, (c) Swiss and (d) Turkish citizens of changes to the law on self-employment after the passing of the Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.

Self-employed EU, EEA EFTA, Swiss and Turkish nationals will not be required to take any actions to comply with the Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. UK law currently imposes no restrictions on the ability of these nationals to establish or run a business, or to provide services in the UK. The Regulations, which come into force at the end of the Implementation Period, will not change this.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the oral contribution of 21 October 2019 of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy at the third delegated legislation committee on the draft Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, whether self-employed (a) EU, (b) EEA, (c) Swiss and (d) Turkish citizens need to take steps prior to 31 December 2020 to comply with those regulations.

Self-employed EU, EEA EFTA, Swiss and Turkish nationals will not be required to take any actions to comply with the Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. UK law currently imposes no restrictions on the ability of these nationals to establish or run a business, or to provide services in the UK. The Regulations, which come into force at the end of the Implementation Period, will not change this.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what her timetable is for publishing the UK’s increased Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as required by the Paris Agreement; where she plans to publish the NDCs; and how she plans to consult (a) hon. Members and (b) the public in advance of publishing that information.

At the UN Climate Action Summit in September, my rt. hon. Friend the Prime Minister called on all countries to raise the ambition of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The UK will play its part and come forward with an increased NDC this year, in good time ahead of COP26. The UK’s NDC will be communicated to the UNFCCC and published on the UNFCCC NDC registry, in line with our commitments under the Paris Agreement. The Government will keep Parliament informed.

The Government consults on its policies and proposals to reduce emissions through the process of setting carbon budgets and in preparing published plans for meeting them, most recently the Clean Growth Strategy. As the policies and proposals in the Clean Growth Strategy are developed and implemented over time, they too will be subject to public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny as part of the normal regulatory process.

We will use the opportunity of hosting the COP26 negotiations to shine a spotlight on ambitious action by governments, businesses and people around the world, and to continue to drive greater global climate ambition. This follows the UK becoming the first major economy to set a date for ending our contribution to global warming, enshrining in legislation in June 2019 a commitment to meet net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 11 January 2017 to Question 58968 on Employment Tribunals Service: Fines, how many (a) warning notices and (b) financial penalty notices have been issued to respondent employers to date under section 150 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 for failure to pay an employment tribunal award; how many of those financial penalties (i) have been paid and (ii) remain unpaid; how many previously unpaid awards have been recovered by his Department following (A) the issuing of a warning notice only and (B) the issuing of both a warning notice and a financial penalty notice; and how much money was recovered in each category.

Under this government a total of £2,566,414.19 in previously unpaid awards has been secured for workers since April 2016. £1,343,941.96 has been recovered as a result of only issuing a warning letter. A further £1,222,472.23 has been recovered as a result of issuing both a warning letter and a penalty notice. The Employment Tribunals penalty regime promotes and secures prompt payment of unpaid employment tribunal awards and Acas settlements.

The penalty regime for failure to pay employment tribunal awards started in April 2016. Since then 2,067 warning letters and 1,302 penalty notices have been issued.

Of the 2,067 warning letters that have been issued:

  • 157 are being pursued through a debt collection agency;
  • 459 have been pursued through a debt collection agency but the penalty has not been recovered;
  • 509 were withdrawn because the employment tribunal award was paid;
  • 647 are not enforceable due to liquidation and/or insolvency;
  • 258 are currently within the payment period; and
  • 37 financial penalties have been paid.
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on what date he plans to publish updated covid-19 guidance on the (a) number of people allowed to attend memorial services and (b) rules for singing indoors; and if he will make a statement.

The government’s Roadmap set out four steps out of lockdown in England. From Step 4, there will be no limits on the number of people who can sing indoors or outdoors. This includes choirs and congregational singing. The government will remove outstanding legal restrictions on social contact and life events, and open the remaining closed settings. The government will instead enable people to use personal judgement to manage the risk to themselves and others.


We will assess the four tests again on 12 July to decide whether to proceed to step 4 on 19 July. Once that decision has been made, all government guidance will be amended in light of the decision taken.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the scientific basis for his Department’s policy on the use of single-use beverage containers in its draft guidance for Covid-19 safety at UK events; and if he will make it his policy that reusable containers should be used in those contexts.

The Department has supported a number of stakeholders to produce guidance for specific sectors to allow them to reopen at the appropriate time and ensure that their activities are Covid secure. The guidance for Covid-19 safety at outdoor events in the UK was published by the Events Industry Forum and is stakeholder-led guidance. Therefore, we are unable to publish the scientific basis on single use containers for events.

The Government has now published new guidance for local authorities on organised events which has been designed to assist local authorities in ensuring that events are able to go ahead safely and in accordance with what is permitted at each step of the Roadmap. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-organised-events-guidance-for-local-authorities/coronavirus-covid-19-organised-events-guidance-for-local-authorities.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Live Comedy Association on (a) the level of funding required to protect the 77 per cent of live comedy venues that are reported to be at risk of closure in the next 12 months and (b) ensuring the needs of live comedy performances are reflected in plans the Government is developing to support the arts sector reopen after the covid-19 lockdown.

a) The Live Comedy Association attends the regular ministerially-chaired roundtables that ensure we are assisting all our Creative Industries sectors as effectively as possible. In addition, officials are in regular contact with the Live Comedy Association, ensuring that the needs of the comedy industry are fully understood. We will continue to work with the Live Comedy Association to understand the difficulties the comedy industry faces and help it access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

On Sunday 5 July 2020, the Secretary of State announced a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. Live comedy is a much loved part of the British cultural landscape. Comedy venues and organisations will be eligible to apply for support through the package, just like other performing art forms. Detailed eligibility criteria will be set out as soon as possible in July.

b) The Live Comedy Association is a member of the ministerially-chaired Events and Entertainment Working Group, that is focused on developing covid-19 secure guidance to enable the safe reopening of the entertainment sector.

We have worked closely with the industry on a clear roadmap for the return of the performing arts and live entertainment sectors providing detailed guidance. We are pleased that, subject to the success of pilots, which include a number of comedy events, from August indoor performances with socially distanced audiences will be able to take place.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the scientific evidence he has received in support of the Government’s decision not to allow the reopening of outdoor and open air theatres yet; and whether he has made an assessment of the risks of covid-19 transmission at outdoor and open air theatres enforcing 2m social distancing compared with those at theme parks, open air gyms and outdoor markets.

We are committed to getting the performing arts sector fully back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so. It is a priority of my department to work with the arts and cultural sectors to address the challenges of reopening.

The Secretary of State recently revealed a five stage roadmap that the government will work through to get the performing arts sectors back up and running as soon as possible:

  • Stage One - Rehearsal and training (no audiences)

  • Stage Two - Performances for broadcast and recording purposes

  • Stage Three - Performances outdoors with an audience and pilots for indoor performances with a limited socially-distanced audience

  • Stage Four - Performances allowed indoors and outdoors (but with a limited socially-distanced audience indoors)

  • Stage Five - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)

On the 11th July, we moved to Stage Three. This means that performances outdoors can take place in line with this guidance. DCMS will work with sector representative bodies to select a number of pilots for indoor performances with a socially distanced audience, as we look to move into Stage Four.

Capacity will be based on a risk management approach, and decided on by event organisations in consultation with local authorities. It will be limited to ensure social distancing guidelines can be adhered to. Venues should ensure that the government guidance on social distancing is followed at outdoor performances, including the limits on social mixing.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many meetings (a) he and (b) his officials have had with representatives from (i) the News Media Association, (ii) the Independent Community News Network and (iii) the Public Interest News Foundation since 23 March 2020; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have held a number of roundtables and bilateral meetings with representatives from across the Press sector, including the News Media Association (NMA), the Independent Community News Network (ICNN) and the Public Interest News Foundation (PINF) since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.

Officials at the DCMS have also been in regular contact with representatives from all three organisations, as well as with stakeholders from the wider sector, as part of the government’s increased engagement to best understand the impacts of Covid-19 on the sector, and ensure interventions are as effective as possible.

The Minister for Media and Data met with the Independent Community News Network and the Public Interest News Foundation on 6 May to discuss government support to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19 for the independent news publishing sector in particular. This meeting included a discussion about the Government's national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public about Covid-19 and how the independent sector may be used to reach underserved audiences.

Since the week commencing 23 March, the Minister for Media and Data has also held fortnightly roundtable meetings with representatives from across the sector, including the NMA and the ICNN.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Independent Community News Network on (a) the viability of and (b) Government support for independent local media during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The need for independent, verifiable news and information is more important than ever, given the current crisis caused by the outbreak of Covid-19. The news publishing sector’s sustainability and the continued provision of reliable, high-quality information is therefore a priority for the Government. Ministers in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are actively engaging with stakeholders across the media industry, including local and independent news publishing outlets, to understand the challenges posed by the current crisis and to establish the most effective means of supporting the whole of the industry.


Several measures have already been put in place as part of an unprecedented package of support. The Business Interruption Loan, designed for small and medium enterprises, could be helpful to local news publishers. Additionally, the Government is supporting business through the Job Retention Scheme, VAT and tax deferrals, and through covering the cost of statutory sick pay. We are committed to ensuring that firms whose business models were viable before this crisis remain viable once it is over.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will issue guidance on covid-19 safety measures for recent 18 year olds who are (a) due to go to University in autumn 2021 and (b) all other recent 18 year olds; what discussions he has had with (i) Directors of Public Health and (ii) relevant higher education and health stakeholders on provision of covid-19 vaccinations at universities; and if he will make a statement.

On 14 July 2021, we updated the higher education (HE) operational guidance for the sector on how HE settings can manage the risks of transmission and outbreaks as students return to campus. This is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

This includes advice on testing prior to arrival at university and measures on ventilation and outbreak management.

We routinely engage stakeholders in our plans including via the HE Task Force, involving representatives from across government and the HE sector, which meets to explore the challenges currently facing the sector as it continues to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We also regularly engage with the Department of Health and Social Care, and we are working with them to ensure students have easy access to vaccinations at university if needed. We expect universities to work closely with their directors of health, especially for the development of outbreak management plans.

The COVID-19 vaccination is now being offered to everyone aged 18 and over, and we strongly encourage all students to take up the opportunity to be vaccinated as soon as possible, to protect themselves and those around them.

Students should register with a GP to be actively invited for a vaccination, though they can easily request to book a COVID-19 vaccine as an unregistered patient. More information on accessing vaccines can be found on the NHS published student frequently asked questions. HE providers should encourage students to consult with this advice, which are available here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2021/06/C1317-COVID-19-vaccination-FAQs-students-in-Higher-Education-Institutions-.pdf.

Students and staff should continue to test twice a week, either using home test kits or at an on-site facility throughout the summer break where settings remain open. Testing will pause in settings that are closed.

Students should expect to test before they travel back to university, by ordering a free test online or collection from their local pharmacy. On arrival at university, students should take two lateral flow device tests – either using home test kits or at an on-site testing facility – 3 to 4 days apart. This is to reduce the risk of transmission following the movement of students across the country. Final decisions about testing on return and ongoing regular asymptomatic testing in the autumn term will take into account public health advice. The position will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 9 June 2021 to Question 8570 on primary education: assessments, when the Information Commissioner's Office approved the Government's proposals; and if he place in the Library the Information Commissioner's Office correspondence on that matter.

The Department consulted the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) when developing the data processing and data protection aspects of the Reception Baseline Assessment. Documents relating to the consultation with the ICO, including paperwork relating to the Data Protection Impact Assessment, will be available in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to review his decision not to update the Schools Foods Standards during the covid-19 outbreak when covid-19 restrictions in England are lifted; and if he will make a statement.

We are aware of the Climate Change Committee recommendation of January 2020. The issue of balancing meat and plant-based meals was discussed by the expert advisory group in place for the school food standards update. Due to the priority of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and the pressures on schools this presents, and considering the robustness of the existing standards, the government will not be taking further action during the course of the COVID-19 outbreak on updating the school food standards. We do however keep this position under review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 27 April 2021 to Question 186003 and to the Answer of 26 April 2021 to Question 914739, whether he took into account the Climate Change Committee recommendation of January 2020 for a reduction in beef, lamb and dairy consumption to tackle the climate crisis, following the advisory group discussions in 2019 of key stakeholders in the school food, nutrition and health sectors on updates to the School Food Standards; if he will make it his policy to publish a clarification in the existing School Food Standards for lunches in schools to highlight that the Standards allow schools the flexibility to provide plant-based food and drink options to pupils, in place of meat and dairy options, if there is a demand for them; and if he will make a statement.

We are aware of the Climate Change Committee recommendation of January 2020. The issue of balancing meat and plant-based meals was discussed by the expert advisory group in place for the school food standards update. Due to the priority of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and the pressures on schools this presents, and considering the robustness of the existing standards, the government will not be taking further action during the course of the COVID-19 outbreak on updating the school food standards. We do however keep this position under review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to (a) collect information on whether incoming international students starting at university in the UK in September 2020 have (i) been vaccinated against covid-19 before arrival and (ii) require a second dose and (b) ensure those students have effective and timely access to vaccination appointments as required.

Students can book vaccination appointments via the National Booking Service and will have the option to book their second vaccination appointment at a different location to that of their first. This includes students who receive their first vaccination via their GP practice. The National Booking Service allows individuals to view, cancel and rebook their appointments. This is also the case for students who receive their first dose through a GP in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, but who reside in England at the time of their second dose.

Information about the National Booking Service can be found here: https://digital.nhs.uk/coronavirus/vaccinations/national-booking-service.

Vaccination is not currently a requirement for entry into the UK. However, we encourage all international students to receive a vaccine, either in a different country before arriving for term, or in the UK once they arrive.

International students in the UK are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status. International students in England can receive the COVID-19 vaccine when they become eligible.

While students are encouraged to register with a GP to access the vaccine, they can request to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice.

When students have entered the UK having had their first vaccination they should receive the same vaccine for their second dose, if this is available and provided that they are eligible. If the vaccine they received for their first dose is not available in the UK, the most similar alternative should be offered.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Information Commissioner's Office has approved the Government's proposals for the collection and management of pupil data gathered through the Reception Baseline Assessment; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has regularly consulted with the Information Commissioner’s Office when developing the data processing aspects of the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA). We are confident that we are taking the right approach with the RBA data.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with (a) university leaders and (b) other relevant stakeholders following the announcement by some universities that they plan to continue with lectures online in the Autumn term 2021; and if he will make a statement.

As autonomous institutions, it is for universities to determine their own provision, including their learning approach, taking account of any government guidance. We understand that a number of universities have announced plans on teaching in the next academic year: some will retain an element of blended learning. We know that the COVID-19 outbreak has enabled many providers to identify new and innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and students will continue to benefit from these alongside in person provision. We expect all universities to act in the interest of students and provide them with a full experience and in accordance with Office for Students guidance, which can be found here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guidance-for-providers-about-student-and-consumer-protection-during-the-pandemic/. Higher Education (HE) providers should communicate clearly to their students what they can expect from planned teaching and learning so that they are able to make informed choices.

We are working with universities to identify a number of scenarios we should consider in planning for the autumn term, taking account of the latest public health advice. We intend to update the HE guidance in due course to support the return of students for the new academic year.

As outlined in guidance, we expect providers to continue to organise provision in a way that minimises the risk of outbreaks at the start of the new term.

The government’s clear and stated expectation is that universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students regardless of their background have the resources to study remotely. The Office for Students (OfS), as regulator for English HE providers, has made it clear that HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and academic standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high-quality, that students are supported and achieve good outcomes and that standards are protected.

I am confident that universities will continue to deliver high-quality provision, as they have done throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and continue to ensure risks are managed appropriately. Students will still be able to expect a rich, rounded experience from their HE provider.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the SAGE Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, Operational sub-group SPI-M-O: Consensus Statement on COVID-19, 21 April 2021, and the statement in para.19 highlighting the importance of maintaining mask wearing in schools in the coming months, for what reason he changed the Government guidance on 10 May to state that face coverings would be no longer required in schools and colleges from 17 May; if he will make it his policy to revise that guidance in line with the advice from the SAGE SPIMO subgroup; and if he will make a statement.

From 17 May, in line with Step 3 of the roadmap, face coverings are no longer recommended for pupils in classrooms or communal areas in schools. Face coverings are also no longer recommended for staff in classrooms. This is supported by Public Health England (PHE).

In all schools the Department continues to recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of classrooms where social distancing is not possible.

When the policy was introduced, it was an appropriate additional safety measure while rates of infection were high in the community. Since then, the epidemiological position improved, and vaccine rates have increased, shifting the balance of risks. As the four tests for easing restrictions in Step 3 of the roadmap were met, it was an appropriate time to remove the recommendation for pupils to wear face coverings and staff in communal areas.

Our policy on face coverings and the system of controls is kept under review and is informed by the latest scientific and medical advice from PHE. Further information on the use and effectiveness of face coverings can be found at: https://phe.koha-ptfs.co.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-retrieve-file.pl?id=9adedb17d5622f9cd7e42febcadb19ad and https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963639/DfE_Evidence_summary_COVID-19_-_children__young_people_and_education_settings.pdf.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the impact of the covid-19 pandemic restrictions on families with children and young people who have SEND; what information he holds on the number and proportion of (a) children and young people with (i) SEND (ii) EHCPs who were not able to: (A)attend school, (B) access the internet and online learning opportunities, (C) access therapies and health treatments, D) access social care services and (b) families who have not able to access respite provision and support since the start of the pandemic; what plans he has to set out and implement a covid-19 recovery plan for disabled children and their families; and if he will make a statement.

Supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families is a priority for this government, and their educational, physical and mental wellbeing remains central to our cross-government response to the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why we kept schools open for vulnerable children, including those with an education, health and care plan (EHCP), during periods of national lockdown and why we continued to allow families to access respite services and other social care support throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. We have encouraged local authorities to consider flexible and pragmatic options to deliver social care support including using direct payments and carrying out activities virtually.

The department collects daily data on the attendance of pupils with EHCPs and publishes this on a weekly basis here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The latest data shows that 87% of pupils with EHCPs in state-funded schools were in attendance on 20 May.

We are clear that education settings should continue to work collaboratively with families so that pupils and students with SEND can successfully access remote education when necessary. The department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy, including specialist content for pupils with SEND. Since the start of the spring term 2021, over 94 million Oak National Academy lessons have been viewed, including over 21,000 specialist lessons.

We know how important access to therapy services are for disabled children which is why we make it clear in our guidance that specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff for pupils and students with SEND should provide interventions as usual. The guidance can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

We do not collect data at a national level on the number or proportion of children and young people with SEND or EHCPs who can access the internet and online learning, therapies and health treatments or social care services.

The department will continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and is committed to helping all pupils, including those with SEND, make up for lost learning. We have already committed £1.7 billion to education recovery and Sir Kevan Collins in his role as the Education Recovery Commissioner is further considering how schools and the system can more effectively target resources and support at pupils in greatest need. This includes prioritising the needs of those with SEND and EHCPs within our response.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the prioritisation for covid-19 vaccination of university students ahead of the 2021-22 academic year; and if he will make a statement.

The department regularly reviews advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and Public Health England to ensure that our policies are guided by the most up-to-date scientific evidence.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the government on which vaccines the UK should use. The JCVI also provide advice on who should be offered the vaccines.

The JCVI have advised that the second phase of vaccine prioritisation should continue to be based on age. They advise that an age-based approach remains the most effective way of reducing death and hospitalisation from COVID-19 and of ensuring that more people are protected quickly.

Everyone in the top 9 priority cohorts (those aged 50 and over, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and frontline health and social care workers) has now been offered a first dose of the vaccine. Our target remains to offer a vaccine to all adults aged 18 and over by 31 July.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2021 to Question 140273, on Postgraduate Education: Coronavirus, whether the Minister of State for Universities plans to make a financial support package of similar value available to PhD students who are not funded through UK Research and Innovation; and if he will make a statement.

Providers have flexibility in how they distribute hardship funding to students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. Support can include help for students facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location, assistance to help students access teaching remotely or help for students that have already applied for hardship funding previously but need additional support. The funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including postgraduates (whether taught or research-based) and international students. In addition, we have provided £11 million of quality-related funding provided for universities to support their PhD community, including those not funded via UK Research and Innovation.

English students are also eligible for the doctoral degree loan and can access one loan up to the maximum amount that was available when they started their course.

There are no plans to create a financial support package specifically for PhD students who are not funded through UK Research and Innovation, other than the available funding mentioned above.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish details of the review that took place over the Easter holidays to assess the evidence on whether the covid-19 advice on the wearing of face coverings in secondary schools can be eased.

It is vital that all pupils can attend school to minimise the long-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on their education, wellbeing, and wider development, which is why enabling face-to-face education for all pupils remains a national priority.

To support the return to full attendance on 8 March, the Department published updated guidance for schools, which included updated advice on face coverings. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

As the guidance outlines, where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, we recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

Since 8 March and following an ongoing review of the available evidence and in line with public health advice, we also continue to recommend that face coverings should be worn in classrooms by staff and those in Year 7 and above unless social distancing can be maintained.

The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of COVID-19 droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.

We have worked closely with Public Health England to consider a range of evidence, balancing both the health and educational considerations. This includes the latest public health advice, the most recent scientific evidence, as well as stakeholder intelligence gathered by the Department on the experiences of face covering use in classrooms.

The latest data on testing, outbreaks in schools and Office for National Statistics data on COVID-19 infections and population prevalence that was considered is information that is publicly available and can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/973176/Weekly_COVID-19_and_Influenza_Surveillance_Graphs_W12.pdf https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/covid19schoolsinfectionsurveyround2england/december2020

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/26march2021#age-analysis-of-the-number-of-people-who-had-covid-19

The decision to continue with this additional measure is a cautious approach that will help limit the risk of transmission. The Department will seek to remove face coverings at the first safe opportunity given the negative impact they may have on communication in the classroom.

It is expected that face coverings will no longer be required to be worn in classrooms, or by pupils in other communal areas, at step 3 of the roadmap, which will be no earlier than 17 May. At this point, the next stage of easements, including increased social contact indoors, will be confirmed following a review of the latest data on infection and vaccination rates.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 8 March 2021 to Question 158900, how data that is collected via Reception Baseline Assessments for four year olds will be used to measure whether children have caught up on expected learning during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The reception baseline assessment (RBA) will assess all children on entry to primary school to enable a new progress measure to be created at the end of Key Stage 2 that takes into account the progress made by pupils throughout their time in primary school.

Data from the RBA is intended to be used solely for analysis concerned with the primary accountability progress measure and will not be used to measure whether children have caught up on education lost during the COVID-19 outbreak. The new progress measure will, however, recognise more clearly schools doing well with a challenging intake, including those who have been more affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following the RBA, teachers will receive a series of short, narrative statements on how each child performed, which will assist them in understanding where pupils are starting from and can be used to inform teaching alongside other in-school assessments.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, from which date all university students will be able to return to campus and resume in-person teaching; what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the provision of home covid-19 testing for university students using the type of testing system that is used by secondary school pupils; and if he will make a statement.

Following the review into when the remaining higher education students can return to in-person teaching and learning, the government has announced that the remaining students should return to in-person teaching no earlier than 17 May 2021, alongside Step 3 of the roadmap. Students and institutions will be given at least a week’s notice of any further return in accordance with the timing of Step 3 of the roadmap.

The government roadmap is designed to maintain a cautious approach to the easing of restrictions to reduce public health risks and ensure that we can maintain progress towards full reopening. However, the government recognises the difficulties and disruption that this may cause for many students and their families and that is why the government is making a further £15 million of additional student hardship funding available for this academic year 2020/21. In total we have made an additional £85 million of funding available for student hardship.

We are supporting universities to provide regular twice weekly asymptomatic testing for all students and staff on-site and, from May, at home. This will help break chains of transmission of the virus.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Disabled Children's Partnership’s report, The Longest Lockdown, published in February 2021, if she will make it her policy to work with Cabinet colleagues to implement a cross-departmental covid-19 catch-up plan for disabled children and their families to implement the recommendations from that report to deliver (a) a therapies catch-up plan to address where children have regressed or plateaued in their development, (b) respite for families of disabled children suffering from exhaustion, (c) flexibility to extend or allow repeat funding for disabled young people in further education and (d) additional support for disabled children and young people at key transition points; and if she will make a statement.

Supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families is a priority for this government, and their educational, physical and mental wellbeing remains central to our cross-government response to the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why education settings have remained open for those children and young people with an education, health and care (EHC) plan throughout.

Regarding therapies, our guidance is clear that where children and young people with an EHC plan are in receipt of health provision, settings should be working collaboratively with their local authority, clinical commissioning group and health providers to agree appropriate support in view of the latest and current local public health guidance. Therapists and other professionals may continue to visit education settings to provide therapies and support, where this is reasonably necessary. However, we recognise that the COVID-19 outbreak has been particularly challenging for these families and children and young people with SEND will need targeted support as part of the recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Regarding wider education recovery, Sir Kevan Collins has been appointed as the Education Recovery Commissioner. He is considering how schools and the system can more effectively target resources and support at pupils in greatest need.

Already, the government has announced specific targeted support for children and young people with SEND, which includes a new one-off Recovery Premium for state primary and secondary schools, building on the £650 million catch-up premium for the 2020/21 academic year, which will be provided to schools to use as they see best to support disadvantaged students. This can include, for example, speech and language therapies or pastoral support for mental wellbeing. This funding can also be used to lay on additional clubs or activities or for other evidence-based approaches for supporting the most disadvantaged pupils, including those with SEND. The Recovery Premium will be allocated to schools based on the same methodology as the pupil premium, including an additional weighting to specialist settings, recognising the significantly higher per pupil costs they face.

The National Tutoring Programme has been expanded, which will increase access to high-quality tuition for disadvantaged pupils, helping to accelerate their progress and tackling the attainment gap between them and their peers. In addition, 16-19 tuition fund providers are asked to have regard to the needs of students with SEND when prioritising students that would benefit most from small group tuition.

Furthermore, the proposals to support early language and literacy catch up will benefit all children including those with SEND. The Reception Year Nuffield Early Language Intervention catch-up programme is suitable for many children with SEND. It is not designed as specialist provision to replace Speech and Language Therapy interventions, but can supplement these.

£200 million will also be available to all secondary schools, including specialist settings, to deliver face-to-face summer schools. Schools will be able to target provision based on pupils’ needs, such as those at key transition points. The size and shape of the summer schools will be decided by school leaders who know best what a most effective summer school will look like for their pupils, allowing them to tailor support for pupils with SEND.

Regarding respite support, we also recognise the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on families raising disabled children. We continue to encourage local authorities to prioritise respite support for disabled children, and to consider flexible and pragmatic options to deliver that support including using Direct Payments. The government provided £4.6 billion of funding to support councils through the COVID-19 outbreak, including to deliver services to support vulnerable children.

In addition, we have expanded the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has provided healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children since 2018. From 2021, the programme will cover the Easter, Summer and Christmas school holidays at a cost of up to £220 million. It will be available to children in every local authority in England, building on previous programmes and we are working to ensure that the programme is fully inclusive and accessible for children with SEND.

Regarding flexibility around transition support and additional funding for those in Further Education, arrangements under an EHC plan can continue up to age 25 for those young people who need to take longer to complete their education or training. Local authorities will need to make a judgement, in consultation with parents and the young person, about whether or not agreed outcomes have been met, and the young person has been prepared and enabled to make a successful transition to adulthood. However, in every case the local authority needs to consider whether it is in the best interests of an individual to stay in education.

We have recently agreed that those young people with an EHC plan on a supported internship (a work-focused study programme for those with complex needs) who were not able to meet the core aim of their internship in the 2020-21 academic year may continue their internship into the 2021-22 academic year. It is not envisaged that all supported interns will need to extend their internship for a full year. Providers should determine the length of time that a learner will require based on the needs of the individual, and in agreement with the local authority, noting that the legislative and funding arrangements for EHC plans do not allow for a plan to be extended beyond the age of 25.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the minimum skills and knowledge pupils should have by the end of the 2020-21 school year on Relationships and sex education and health education taking into account lost teaching time for lessons as a result of covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement.

We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe and to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society.

Given the circumstances faced by schools during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department clarified that the statutory requirement for relationships, sex and health education allows schools flexibility over when to discharge their duty in teaching the new curriculum within the first year of compulsory teaching.

Schools are required to provide some relationships, sex and health education to all secondary age pupils in the academic year 2020-21, and to provide some relationships and health education to all primary age pupils. We expect schools to adjust the curriculum to prioritise topics which support pupils to re-engage with their peers in school. These might include mental wellbeing, physical health and fitness, respectful relationships and being safe.

The Department invested up to £2 million in the financial year 2019-20 and is investing up to £2.4 million in the current financial year to fund a support programme of work to help schools in their preparations. The support programme includes online training modules to train non-specialist teachers, an implementation guide published in September 2020, and grant funding to 21 lead Teaching Schools covering all eight regions to deliver a train the trainer and peer support programme to primary and secondary schools in their region. This programme has supported over 2,000 schools since May 2020, and we expect around a further 1500 schools to be helped by spring 2021. Additionally, we have made lessons available on the Oak National Academy for pupils to access at online.

Given that some schools may have only just begun teaching the new statutory curriculum, we do not believe now is the right time to ask Ofsted to undertake a review of relationships, sex and health education. The subjects are covered in the Ofsted framework and when routine inspections resume, Ofsted will monitor the quality of education, including the quality of teaching and how assessment is used to embed knowledge. Specific content on consent and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender+ (LGBT+) rights and relationships are embedded in the curriculum and the teacher training modules available on GOV.UK.

The Department is monitoring the confidence of teachers to deliver the new curriculum through school surveys.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial support his Department is providing schools to compensate for lost teaching time for Relationships and sex education and health education lessons as a result of covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement.

We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe and to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society.

Given the circumstances faced by schools during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department clarified that the statutory requirement for relationships, sex and health education allows schools flexibility over when to discharge their duty in teaching the new curriculum within the first year of compulsory teaching.

Schools are required to provide some relationships, sex and health education to all secondary age pupils in the academic year 2020-21, and to provide some relationships and health education to all primary age pupils. We expect schools to adjust the curriculum to prioritise topics which support pupils to re-engage with their peers in school. These might include mental wellbeing, physical health and fitness, respectful relationships and being safe.

The Department invested up to £2 million in the financial year 2019-20 and is investing up to £2.4 million in the current financial year to fund a support programme of work to help schools in their preparations. The support programme includes online training modules to train non-specialist teachers, an implementation guide published in September 2020, and grant funding to 21 lead Teaching Schools covering all eight regions to deliver a train the trainer and peer support programme to primary and secondary schools in their region. This programme has supported over 2,000 schools since May 2020, and we expect around a further 1500 schools to be helped by spring 2021. Additionally, we have made lessons available on the Oak National Academy for pupils to access at online.

Given that some schools may have only just begun teaching the new statutory curriculum, we do not believe now is the right time to ask Ofsted to undertake a review of relationships, sex and health education. The subjects are covered in the Ofsted framework and when routine inspections resume, Ofsted will monitor the quality of education, including the quality of teaching and how assessment is used to embed knowledge. Specific content on consent and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender+ (LGBT+) rights and relationships are embedded in the curriculum and the teacher training modules available on GOV.UK.

The Department is monitoring the confidence of teachers to deliver the new curriculum through school surveys.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to monitor the (a) quality of the teaching of (i) consent and (ii) LGBT+ rights and relationships in schools and (b) the skills and knowledge gained by pupils; and if he will make a statement.

We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe and to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society.

Given the circumstances faced by schools during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department clarified that the statutory requirement for relationships, sex and health education allows schools flexibility over when to discharge their duty in teaching the new curriculum within the first year of compulsory teaching.

Schools are required to provide some relationships, sex and health education to all secondary age pupils in the academic year 2020-21, and to provide some relationships and health education to all primary age pupils. We expect schools to adjust the curriculum to prioritise topics which support pupils to re-engage with their peers in school. These might include mental wellbeing, physical health and fitness, respectful relationships and being safe.

The Department invested up to £2 million in the financial year 2019-20 and is investing up to £2.4 million in the current financial year to fund a support programme of work to help schools in their preparations. The support programme includes online training modules to train non-specialist teachers, an implementation guide published in September 2020, and grant funding to 21 lead Teaching Schools covering all eight regions to deliver a train the trainer and peer support programme to primary and secondary schools in their region. This programme has supported over 2,000 schools since May 2020, and we expect around a further 1500 schools to be helped by spring 2021. Additionally, we have made lessons available on the Oak National Academy for pupils to access at online.

Given that some schools may have only just begun teaching the new statutory curriculum, we do not believe now is the right time to ask Ofsted to undertake a review of relationships, sex and health education. The subjects are covered in the Ofsted framework and when routine inspections resume, Ofsted will monitor the quality of education, including the quality of teaching and how assessment is used to embed knowledge. Specific content on consent and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender+ (LGBT+) rights and relationships are embedded in the curriculum and the teacher training modules available on GOV.UK.

The Department is monitoring the confidence of teachers to deliver the new curriculum through school surveys.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will commission Ofsted to undertake a subject review of Relationship Education, Health Education, Sex and Relationship Education; and if he will make a statement.

We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe and to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society.

Given the circumstances faced by schools during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department clarified that the statutory requirement for relationships, sex and health education allows schools flexibility over when to discharge their duty in teaching the new curriculum within the first year of compulsory teaching.

Schools are required to provide some relationships, sex and health education to all secondary age pupils in the academic year 2020-21, and to provide some relationships and health education to all primary age pupils. We expect schools to adjust the curriculum to prioritise topics which support pupils to re-engage with their peers in school. These might include mental wellbeing, physical health and fitness, respectful relationships and being safe.

The Department invested up to £2 million in the financial year 2019-20 and is investing up to £2.4 million in the current financial year to fund a support programme of work to help schools in their preparations. The support programme includes online training modules to train non-specialist teachers, an implementation guide published in September 2020, and grant funding to 21 lead Teaching Schools covering all eight regions to deliver a train the trainer and peer support programme to primary and secondary schools in their region. This programme has supported over 2,000 schools since May 2020, and we expect around a further 1500 schools to be helped by spring 2021. Additionally, we have made lessons available on the Oak National Academy for pupils to access at online.

Given that some schools may have only just begun teaching the new statutory curriculum, we do not believe now is the right time to ask Ofsted to undertake a review of relationships, sex and health education. The subjects are covered in the Ofsted framework and when routine inspections resume, Ofsted will monitor the quality of education, including the quality of teaching and how assessment is used to embed knowledge. Specific content on consent and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender+ (LGBT+) rights and relationships are embedded in the curriculum and the teacher training modules available on GOV.UK.

The Department is monitoring the confidence of teachers to deliver the new curriculum through school surveys.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will introduce a minimum statutory requirement for Relationships and Sex Education provision to young people aged 16-19 including in college and university settings; and if he will make a statement.

Further Education and Higher Education Institutions are autonomous bodies, and as such it is for them to determine the type of course content and provision for students.

Sixth form colleges, 16-19 academies, and further education providers do not follow the national or basic curriculum, which goes up to age 16 only. Instead, all 16-19 year olds in school and further education follow study programmes which combine qualifications with other activities to help prepare students for adult life.

The statutory guidance on Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) encourages post 16 settings to support students by offering RSHE subjects where appropriate. These settings may find the principles helpful, especially in supporting students in the transition to further education.

There is already a strong emphasis within the new inspection arrangements that Further Education, Skills providers and schools ensure that students and pupils access a broad and balanced curriculum. This includes requirements around the new RSHE subjects, and a new judgement on individual personal development. This is set out in Ofsted’s Further Education and Skills Inspection Handbook.

As part of the judgement on personal development, Ofsted will look at how providers support learners in “developing an age-appropriate understanding of healthy relationships through appropriate relationship and sex education".

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make Relationships Education, Sex and Relationships Education and Health Education available as a free teacher subject specialism training course; and if he will make a statement.

The Department is committed to supporting schools to deliver high quality relationships education in primary schools, relationships and sex education in secondary schools, and health education in all state-funded schools. To support schools in their preparations, the Department is investing in a central support package to help all schools to build their subject knowledge, increase their confidence and the quality of their teaching practice .

The Department has published advice for teachers on how to implement the relationships, sex and health education curriculum, alongside teacher training modules to help all teachers increase their confidence and quality of teaching. Thirteen training modules and one further module to support pupils with special educational needs and disability are now published on GOV.UK. These can be accessed via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health. These materials are freely available to all teachers.

The Department is grant funding 20 Teaching Schools, covering all eight Regional School Commissioner regions, to deliver a Train the Trainer / Peer Support cascade training programme to schools in their regions. All Teaching Schools have plans in place to deliver training until March 2021. The training support can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health#training-support-for-schools.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the reopening of the Home Office consultation on Violence Against Women and Girls call for evidence, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the effect of good quality Relationship and Sex Education and Relationship Education on tackling some of the underlying causes of male violence against women; whether any new joint work between his Department and the Home Office is planned as part of the development of the Government’s next Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, meets regularly with Cabinet colleagues to discuss the Department's agenda.

Tackling violence against women is a top priority for this Government and we are determined to step-up our response to prevent these crimes and improve support and outcomes for victims.

The Department welcomes the reopening of the Home Office’s consultation on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and would encourage everyone to take part, if they have not already done so. Officials will continue to work closely with the Home Office on the development of the Government’s forthcoming Tackling VAWG Strategy, which will be informed by the responses received to the call for evidence. The new VAWG Strategy will focus on prevention, drive forward improvements in the effort to target perpetrators, respond to the changing nature of crimes against women and girls and, most importantly, will continue to put victims at the heart of our approach.

The Department is supporting teachers to deliver the statutory relationships, sex and health education curriculum through a support programme which consists of an implementation guide, online teacher training modules and virtual training led by teaching schools. The newly published ‘Being Safe’ module covers issues such as rape, harassment and abuse.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding his Department will allocate to support schools to deliver Relationships and sex education and health education in the financial year 2021-22; and if he will make a statement.

The Department is committed to supporting schools to deliver high quality teaching of relationships education, relationships and sex education and health education. We anticipate spending up to £2.4 million in this financial year to develop a programme of support for schools. Further funding beyond this financial year is to be confirmed.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many teachers have accessed training as part of the £6 million in funding allocated to implementation support for Relationships and sex education and health education in financial year 2019-20; and how many hours of training in that subject those teachers have received.

The Department is committed to supporting schools to deliver high quality teaching of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education. We anticipate spending up to £2.4 million in this financial year to develop a programme of support for schools. Further funding beyond this financial year is to be confirmed.

The Department has published training materials to help teachers to build their subject knowledge, increase their confidence and the quality of their teaching practice. Thirteen training modules and one further module to support pupils with special educational needs and disability are now published on GOV.UK. These can be freely accessed and downloaded via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health. The Department is also grant funding 20 Teaching Schools, covering all eight Regional School Commissioner regions, to deliver a Train the Trainer / Peer Support cascade training programme to schools in their regions. The training support can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health#training-support-for-schools.

The Department’s training materials and programme of training and support are designed to support schools to train other teachers within their own settings. We are unable to confirm the total number of teachers that have accessed the training or how many hours of training have been received. As a broad indication of the take-up so far, our modules have been downloaded 35,536 times in the past 12 months and we anticipate that by the end of March 2021, around 3,500 schools will have accessed the Train the Trainer / Peer Support training, which they are then expected to cascade within their own schools.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether funding for the Wellbeing in Education Return Programme is planned to continue after March 2021.

Our £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return project funded until the end of March has provided support, advice and resources for schools and colleges. Programme estimates suggest that training and support has already reached up to 15,000 schools giving schools across the country information and strategies to help them to respond to the mental wellbeing issues that children and young people are facing. Webinar content covering wellbeing and resilience, bereavement and loss, trauma, anxiety, stress and low mood will remain freely available on the MindEd platform for all education settings to use and adapt to their particular setting: https://www.minded.org.uk/Component/Details/662137.

We are considering how we can build on this to provide further support for children, young people, and staff as they return to education. The department’s Mental Health in Education Action Group has identified 5 areas where we can look to make use of health provision and expertise to support education settings further in the short term, including:

  • clear advice and sources of support for the issues that education staff find the most difficult to deal with
  • good information and materials on specific issues that children and young people are seeking help with to inform pastoral support
  • bringing together sources of online/text/app support and setting out how this can complement school and college pastoral support and face-to-face provision
  • clear advice to schools on how to use catch-up and recovery premium most effectively pastoral support, linking them to evidence-based local and national provision
  • providing wellbeing support for students who are making the transition into secondary school and post-16 education, especially those who have been out of education for a significant time to support them to stay in learning.

The department will bring together specific groups of partners and stakeholders, including education representatives, to take action on each making the best use of existing support in the immediate term and identifying opportunities to strengthen support further. The department will also continue to engage with education stakeholders, including staff and leadership unions, to further understand the issues and put other action in place.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the proposals relating to education in Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity commissioned by HM Treasury, what plans his Department has to introduce nature studies in the education system at primary, secondary and tertiary level; if he will make an assessment of whether the teaching of economics adequately integrates nature and biodiversity; and if he will make a statement.

The Government will examine the Review’s findings and respond formally in due course.

Topics related to the environment are included within the science and geography National Curriculum. At primary level (Key Stages 1 and 2), pupils are taught how environments can change, including positive and negative impacts of human action, weather, and climate zones.

In secondary science (Key Stage 3 and 4), pupils are taught about the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the effect that this has on the climate. At GCSE, pupils consider the evidence, and uncertainties in evidence, for anthropogenic causes of climate change. They also study the impact of increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane and how this can be mitigated.

In secondary geography (Key Stage 3), pupils are taught about the climate through topics such as change in climate from the Ice Age to the present. Pupils are also taught about how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments, and the climate. At GCSE, teaching covers changing weather and climate, including the causes, consequences of, and responses to, extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards.

In 2017, the Department introduced a new environmental science A level. This enables pupils to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled.

We are exploring the option of introducing a new GCSE in Natural History after receiving a proposal from exam board OCR, but have made no commitment at this stage. It will need to meet our robust criteria for new GCSEs.

Economics A level also requires the study of the allocation of scarce resources, which could include the effects of economic decisions and activity on the environment. The details of this are for schools and colleges to determine.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish a timetable for the resumption of (a) domestic and (b) overseas educational visits by schools during the covid-19 outbreak.

Schools are advised against all educational visits at this time. The Department will issue advice to schools and colleges on the planning and booking of residential trips when it is safe to do so and in line with the Government’s roadmap to recovery, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to ensure that data collected from the Reception Baseline Assessment will be adjusted to allow for children’s differing learning experiences in pre-school settings as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, as well as for the individual rates at which they may catch up; and if he will make a statement.

The purpose of the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) is to act as the starting point to enable the Department to measure the progress schools make with their pupils. The assessment will assess all children on-entry, accounting for any impact on their education up to this point. This is important so that we can acknowledge and give credit to schools that have successfully helped their pupils to catch up, and it would therefore be inappropriate to adjust these scores.

The Department believes that it is important to have an accountability system that is fair, inclusive, and properly reflects the work done by teachers to ensure all pupils fulfil their potential, including those with additional needs. The new progress measure ensures schools are recognised for the work they do with their pupils, in particular for those with a challenging intake and those who have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department is planning for a full programme of primary assessments to take place in the 2021/22 academic year, including the introduction of the statutory RBA as previously announced. We will confirm full details for 2021/22 primary assessments in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of nursery school attendance rates since September 2020 on plans to introduce Reception Baseline Assessment in September 2021; and if he will make it his policy to delay formal testing of four year olds in English and maths.

The purpose of the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) is to act as the starting point to enable the Department to measure the progress schools make with their pupils. Whilst nurseries remained largely open during the COVID-19 outbreak, the attendance rates of nursery pupils do not impact on the RBA as an assessment. The assessment will assess all children on-entry, accounting for any impact on their learning up to this point. It is important for us to understand where children are starting from so that we can acknowledge and give credit to those schools that have successfully helped their pupils to catch up.

The Department is planning for a full programme of primary assessments to take place in the 2021/22 academic year. This will include the introduction of the statutory RBA as previously announced. We will confirm full details for 2021/22 primary assessments in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his policy is on how data collected from the Reception Baseline Assessment will be used by the Government; whether that data is planned to be sold to third party organisations; and whether he plans that parents will have the right to object to the collection and retention of their children’s data.

The data from the reception baseline assessment (RBA) will be used at the end of Key Stage 2 to create a baseline for a school level progress measure for the Year 6 cohorts. Data collected and produced from the assessment will be stored in the National Pupil Database (NPD). The NPD can be used to provide evidence on educational performance to inform independent research, as well as to support studies commissioned by the Department. The Department has no plans, however, to make the data from the RBA available externally or internally for research purposes. It is intended to be used solely for analysis concerned with the primary accountability progress measure. The data, including numerical scores, will not be shared with external bodies, including schools, teachers, pupils, or parents/carers. Teachers will receive a series of short, narrative statements on how each child did at that time, which can be used to inform teaching.

The Department and the National Foundation for Educational Research, who are contracted by the Department to deliver the RBA, will handle personal data in accordance with the rights given to individuals under data protection legislation, including parents/carers. The privacy notice related to the statutory RBA will be published in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is his policy that data collected from the Reception Baseline Assessment will (a) be black-boxed for seven years for the purposes of demonstrating whole-school progress from Reception to the end of year 6 and (b) be used as a diagnostic tool to assess the effects of covid-19 on young children.

The purpose of the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) is to measure the progress schools make with their pupils. The data from the assessment is intended to be used solely for analysis concerned with the primary accountability progress measure. The data, including numerical scores, will not be made available to external bodies, including schools, teachers, pupils or parents/carers. Teachers will receive a series of short, narrative statements on how each child did at that time, which can be used to inform teaching.

The Department has always been clear that the RBA is not a diagnostic assessment and should not be used to track or group individual children or hold early years settings to account, including in the context of COVID-19.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the logistics required to facilitate testing of older pupils for covid-19 before they attend their first on-site lesson on Monday 8 March 2021; whether schools will have to cancel lessons to administer those tests; what logistical support will be provided to enable head teachers to recruit volunteers and staff to provide adequate testing capacity; whether he has taken steps to provide schools with staffing to provide mental health support for children and young people who experience stress or anxiety about testing for covid-19 in mass testing conditions; and if he will make a statement.

Schools and colleges will have received all test kit deliveries before opening on 8 March 2021. Schools and Colleges have been running on site tests for staff and students since they returned from the Christmas holidays. Additionally, the Department has issued three guidance documents clearly setting out the instructions required to set up Asymptomatic Test Sites and deliver three tests to each student on site. The Department encourages Headteachers to review all updated material prior to schools opening on 8 March 2021.

From 8 March, all pupils should attend school. During the week commencing 8 March, pupils and students will be offered asymptomatic testing on site in secondary schools and colleges. Pupils and students who consent to testing should return to face-to-face education following their first negative test result. Pupils and students not undergoing testing should attend school and college in line with the institution’s phased return arrangements. Schools/colleges may start testing students/pupils before 8 March if they would like to do so to help manage the return. This is voluntary and at the discretion of each school. Asymptomatic testing is an important tool for helping to stem the transmission of the virus and so students/pupils may go to school/college specifically for a test before 8 March if their school/college offers to test them.

The Department will provide funding for schools, colleges and specialist settings, for reasonable workforce costs incurred in on-site testing.

We recognise that undertaking COVID-19 testing may cause concerns for some pupils. We encourage parents and staff to discuss such concerns with pupils, agree strategies to help reduce anxiety, and put in place any reasonable adjustments. We ask that positive test results are communicated to pupils in private wherever possible to avoid any stigma.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has worked with Ministers for Education in the devolved Administrations to co-ordinate the teaching of climate education across the UK.

It is vital that young people are taught about climate change. For this reason, climate change and related topics such as sustainability are included throughout both the science and geography curricula and GCSEs. In primary science and geography, pupils are given a firm foundation for the further study of the environment in secondary school. For example, in primary science pupils are taught about how environments can change as a result of human actions. They will learn about animals’ habitats, including that changes to the environment may pose dangers to living things. In geography at primary, pupils will be taught about seasonal and daily weather patterns, climate zones and human geography, including land use, economic activity and the distribution of natural resources.

In secondary science, pupils are taught about the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the effect this has on the climate. This is expanded on in GCSE science where pupils will consider the evidence for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change. In secondary geography pupils will look at how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments, and the climate. As part of GCSE geography pupils will look at the causes, consequences of and responses to extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards. In 2017, the Department also introduced a new environmental science A level. This will enable students to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled. Schools and teachers can go beyond the topics set out in the national curriculum, or do more in-depth teaching of these topic areas, if they so wish.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking through the education system to deliver target 13.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals to Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning ahead of COP26.

It is vital that young people are taught about climate change. For this reason, climate change and related topics such as sustainability are included throughout both the science and geography curricula and GCSEs. In primary science and geography, pupils are given a firm foundation for the further study of the environment in secondary school. For example, in primary science pupils are taught about how environments can change as a result of human actions. They will learn about animals’ habitats, including that changes to the environment may pose dangers to living things. In geography at primary, pupils will be taught about seasonal and daily weather patterns, climate zones and human geography, including land use, economic activity and the distribution of natural resources.

In secondary science, pupils are taught about the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the effect this has on the climate. This is expanded on in GCSE science where pupils will consider the evidence for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change. In secondary geography pupils will look at how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments, and the climate. As part of GCSE geography pupils will look at the causes, consequences of and responses to extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards. In 2017, the Department also introduced a new environmental science A level. This will enable students to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled. Schools and teachers can go beyond the topics set out in the national curriculum, or do more in-depth teaching of these topic areas, if they so wish.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to engage with global partners to improve climate education internationally ahead of COP26.

It is vital that young people are taught about climate change. For this reason, climate change and related topics such as sustainability are included throughout both the science and geography curricula and GCSEs. In primary science and geography, pupils are given a firm foundation for the further study of the environment in secondary school. For example, in primary science pupils are taught about how environments can change as a result of human actions. They will learn about animals’ habitats, including that changes to the environment may pose dangers to living things. In geography at primary, pupils will be taught about seasonal and daily weather patterns, climate zones and human geography, including land use, economic activity and the distribution of natural resources.

In secondary science, pupils are taught about the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the effect this has on the climate. This is expanded on in GCSE science where pupils will consider the evidence for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change. In secondary geography pupils will look at how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments, and the climate. As part of GCSE geography pupils will look at the causes, consequences of and responses to extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards. In 2017, the Department also introduced a new environmental science A level. This will enable students to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled. Schools and teachers can go beyond the topics set out in the national curriculum, or do more in-depth teaching of these topic areas, if they so wish.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 4 June 2020 to Question 51682, on Schools: Food, if he will set out a timetable for the (a) delivery of the planned update of the School Food Standards and (b) publication of linked guidance to school caterers; and if he will make a statement.

Due to the priority of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and the pressures on schools that this presents, and considering the robustness of the existing school food standards, the government will not be taking further action during the course of the COVID-19 outbreak on updating the school food standards.

We have robust school food standards set in legislation. These standards require school caterers to serve healthy and nutritious food and drinks which make sure that school pupils get the energy and nutrition they need across the school day.

I wrote to schools in October 2020 to thank them for the hard work on getting their meals services up and running in the autumn term, supporting all children with healthy food as well as to remind them of the importance of the school food standards. The guidance in relation to free school meals during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of covid-19 infection rates at schools for children with special educational needs and disabilities; what discussions he has had with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on the prioritisation of teaching staff working with children with special educational needs and disabilities for vaccination against covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

The current national restrictions limiting attendance are about reducing the number of contacts that people have with other households, given the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and the intense pressure on the NHS. For those pupils and staff still attending school, the system of protective measures that we have asked schools to implement continues to mean that any risks are well managed and controlled. We are not seeing significant pressure from COVID-19 in paediatrics across the UK.

Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) endorsed system of controls sets out the measures that school leaders and all staff should follow. Where schools implement the system of controls, in line with their own workplace risk assessment, PHE and DHSC confirm that these measures create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced.

The department collects daily data from schools and colleges via the educational setting status form, which was set-up to help the government monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on schools and colleges. This data is as reported directly by schools via the department’s daily education settings survey. It is not the primary source of data on infection, incidence and COVID-19 cases overall.

The department has published the number and proportion of pupils absent due to a confirmed case of COVID-19, a suspected case of COVID-19 or self-isolation in state-funded schools in England on each Thursday between 15 October and 17 December 2020, excluding the October half term period. The department has published the number and proportion of i) teachers and school leaders and ii) teaching assistants and other staff absent due to a confirmed case of COVID-19, a suspected case of COVID-19 or self-isolation in state-funded schools in England on each day between 12 October and 17 December 2020, excluding the October half term period.

The department has also published this data for all local authorities in England, broken down by school type. This is available in Table 1C of the ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’ statistical publication, which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2021-week-4.

On prioritisation of vaccines, frontline social care workers directly working with people clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 who need care and support, irrespective of where they work and whether they care for adults or children, will be prioritised as part of Phase 1 of vaccine rollout. This includes some staff who work in special schools.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and the government, including the Department for Education, are considering essential workers, such as the education, childcare and the wider children’s social care workforce in the next phase of vaccine rollout.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the evidential basis for requiring early years private, voluntary and independent providers that have restricted opening to children who are vulnerable or are cared for by critical workers to meet their statutory requirement to ensure safe early education and childcare during covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021 to not count (a) a child where the staff member who would be required to deliver the child’s place has been furloughed and (b) children who are temporarily not receiving their funded entitlements, when submitting their Early Years Census 2021 return; if he will make it his policy for funding entitlement to be adjusted to allow for those reporting exclusions; what steps he is taking to ensure that children are not disadvantaged by reduced local authority funding for early years provision in future as a result of the Early Years Census 2021 taking place during a pandemic; and if he will make a statement.

On 17 December 2020, the government announced a return to funding early years settings for the spring term on the basis of attendance, as measured by the January 2021 census. The early years census count has gone ahead as expected and the census guidance is 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 eg. staff sickness, COVID-19 isolation, staff shielding.

We will fund local authorities in the 2021 spring term based on their January 2021 census. If attendance rises after the census is taken, we will top-up councils to up to 85% of their January 2020 census level, where a local authority can provide evidence for increased attendance during the spring term. This will give local authorities additional financial confidence to pay providers for increasing attendance later in the spring term.

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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with internet providers on provision of free internet data to children without internet access for online learning during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are partnering with the UK’s leading mobile network operators to provide free data to disadvantaged families, which will support access to education resources, including Oak National Academy, and other websites.

We are grateful to Three, EE, Tesco Mobile, Smarty, Sky Mobile, Virgin Mobile, O2 and Vodafone for their collaboration. We continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

The country’s major telecommunications providers are also working to make it easier for families to access selected educational resources by temporarily exempting them from data charges.

We have also provided over 54,000 4G wireless routers, with free data for the academic year, and continue to provide 4G wireless routers where children need to access remote education.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on the prioritisation of providers of nursery and early years care for vaccination against covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

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.

JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme 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.

Regarding the next phase of vaccine rollout, JCVI have asked that the Department of Health and Social Care consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other Government departments. The Department for Education will input into this cross governmental exercise, and I hope that educational staff, including in early years settings, will be vaccinated as soon as possible.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will set out guidance on what schools should do in the event that they have more vulnerable and critical worker children than their covid-19-secure risk assessments allow for; and if he will make a statement.

During this period of national lockdown, schools should only allow vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend face-to-face education. Limiting attendance does not suggest that schools and colleges have become less safe; limiting attendance is about supporting the reduction of the overall number of social contacts in our communities. In the face of the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and intense pressure on the NHS, we now need to use every lever to reduce all our social contacts wherever possible.

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 and EU transition response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors. Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required. Schools should speak to parents and carers to identify who needs to go to school, and parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can. Schools are expected to allow and strongly encourage vulnerable children and young people to attend during this period. Parents and carers of vulnerable children and young people are strongly encouraged to take up the place.

We know that every school will have a different number of children of critical workers who need to attend. It is important that on-site provision is provided for these pupils. Schools should not limit attendance of these groups. This is because we are reducing overall social contact across areas and the country rather than individually by each institution.

For those who continue to go into schools, our priority is the safety and wellbeing of staff and pupils.

On 7 January we published further guidance, ‘Restricting attendance during the national lockdown: schools’, which sets out what all schools will need to do during the COVID-19 outbreak from January 2021. This guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf.

Schools will be familiar with much of this guidance, including the system of controls, which they have been implementing since the start of the autumn term.

The Department will continue to keep its plans under review and ensure our position is informed by the latest evidence.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide funding to enable private early years nurseries to close to all but vulnerable children and those of key workers during the national lockdown.

On 4 January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced all early years settings will remain open to all children despite the national lockdown and will continue to allow all children to attend full time or their usual timetable hours. This includes early years registered nurseries and childminders, maintained nursery schools and nursery classes in schools and other pre-reception provision on school sites. Only vulnerable children and children of critical workers should attend on-site reception classes.

Early years settings have been open to all children since 1 June 2020 and current evidence suggests that pre-school children (0 to 5 years of age) are less susceptible to infection and are unlikely to be playing a driving role in transmission.

Early years settings were one of the first sectors to have restrictions lifted last summer, in recognition of the key role they play in society. Childminders and nursery staff across the country have worked hard to keep settings open through the COVID-19 outbreak so that young children can be educated, and parents can work. The earliest years are the most crucial point of child development and attending early education lays the foundation for lifelong learning and supports children’s social and emotional development. We continue to prioritise keeping early years settings open in full because of the clear benefits to children’s education and wellbeing and to support working parents. Caring for the youngest age group is not something that can be done remotely.

The national lockdown announced by the Prime Minister on 4 January 2021 means the number of children attending childcare will be lower even though early years settings may welcome all children.

Under these arrangements local authorities should ensure that providers are not penalised for short-term absences of children (for example sickness, arriving late or leaving early, or a family emergency) through withdrawing funding but use their discretion where absence is recurring or for extended periods, taking into account the reason for the absence and the impact on the provider.

We stay in regular contact with the early years sector and have heard from them already on this subject. We publish regular official statistics on attendance in early years settings here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. This will next be updated on 19 January 2021. We will be closely monitoring both parental take-up of places and the capacity and responses of providers and will keep the need for further action under constant review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to (a) enable and (b) encourage university students who go home for the Christmas 2020 holiday to get a covid-19 test before they return to university for the following term; and if he will make a statement.

Following the end of term break, our top priority for January will be the welfare of students, staff and the communities around higher education providers. We are looking to utilise mass testing to make the return to higher education as safe as possible, and will provide further guidance in due course, considering future developments and the relevant scientific advice.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on the prioritisation of teachers and university staff for vaccination against covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

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’s current advice is that, once available, the vaccine for COVID-19 should be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80, and health and social workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk.

The JCVI have not, as of yet, made any further recommendations on what professions should be prioritised in vaccine roll out.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to (a) consult with (i) representatives of universities and (ii) local Directors of Public Health before the 2020 Christmas holidays on what basic principles should be applied for the covid-safe return of students to universities in January 2020 and (b) ensure that plans for that return of students includes the time required for those bodies to put the relevant measures in place to reflect those principles; and if he will make a statement.

Following the end of term break, the department’s priority for January will be the welfare of students as well as staff and the communities around higher education (HE) providers. We are looking to utilise mass testing to make the return to HE as safe as possible, and will provide further guidance in due course as we recognise the importance of clarity for students, staff and parents.

The department regularly engages with representatives from the HE sector – at both official and ministerial level – including on matters relating to the COVID-19 response. We also liaise with health experts such as local Directors of Public Health and will continue to do so on future planning.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children are currently being schooled at home on a permanent basis because they are not permitted to attend school for medical or other reasons; if he will make it his policy to provide Free School Meal vouchers to families of children who would qualify for FSM support if their children were permitted to attend school.

The department does not hold information on the number of children who are currently being schooled at home on a permanent basis because they are not permitted to attend school for medical or other reasons.

If a child is attending alternative provision in the form of home tuition and is currently a registered pupil at a school maintained by a local authority, the local authority has an obligation to provide free school meals to any child who is eligible for and has submitted a claim for free school meals.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chief Inspector for Ofsted on ensuring that assessments of the financial performance of state (a) schools, (b) nurseries and (c) colleges are not detrimentally affected by spending on additional (i) cleaning required by covid-19 risk assessments and (ii) classroom based staff to facilitate flexible deployment for clinically vulnerable staff, (iii) technical equipment and assistance for digitally excluded children without a centrally funded laptop and (iv) other demonstrable costs incurred as a result of following covid-19 guidance; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and I, have regular discussions with Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector about the issues which are facing education and areas of concerns within Ofsted’s remit. The Secretary of State’s latest meeting took place on 30 September 2020.

Ofsted’s routine inspections of early years, schools and further education colleges are currently suspended to enable them to focus on the challenge of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and welcoming all children back to education. Routine Ofsted inspections will remain suspended for the autumn term, although inspectors will visit a sample of schools and colleges to discuss how they are managing the return to education of all their students. It is intended that routine Ofsted inspections will restart from January 2021, with the exact timing being kept under review.

Routine Ofsted inspections, under the Education Inspection Framework, consider whether resources are managed well, as part of the Leadership and Management judgement. They do not include an assessment of the financial performance of the nursery, school or college.

All nurseries and childminders (including maintained nursery schools) have benefitted from the continuation of early years entitlement funding during the COVID-19 outbreak. Schools and colleges have also continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout.

Schools have been able to claim additional funding for exceptional costs incurred due to COVID-19, between March and July 2020, such as additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases and increased premises costs to keep schools open for priority groups during the Easter and summer half term holidays. Following last year’s Spending Round, pre-16 school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20, while funding for 16-19 year olds in colleges and school sixth forms is rising by £400 million in 2020-21.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 15 July 2020 to Question 70379 on Schools and Nurseries: Coronavirus, if he will make it his policy to provide further additional funding for state (a) schools, (b) nurseries and (c) other education institutions to fund (i) monies spent and (ii) planned spending on additional (A) cleaning required by covid-19 risk assessments and (B) classroom based staff to facilitate flexible deployment for clinically vulnerable staff and (C) other demonstrable costs incurred as a result of following covid-19 guidance.

The Department is providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred between March to July due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources.

Schools have been eligible to claim for: increased premises related costs associated with keeping schools open over the Easter and summer half term holidays; support for free school meals for eligible children who are not in school, where schools are not using the national voucher scheme; and additional cleaning costs required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements. The Department has published detailed guidance on the fund at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

The first claims window for the fund closed on 21 July. All claims for funding within the specified cost categories and maximum limit have already been paid. The Department is assessing all other claims, which will be paid later in the autumn if approved.

There will also be a further opportunity in autumn for schools to claim for exceptional costs they faced between March to July. This second claims window will be available for schools who were unable to claim in the summer and will be for the same eligible cost categories.

As set out in the Department’s reopening guidance, schools should use their existing resources when planning to welcome all children back for the autumn. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures#funding.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of partial or complete closure. That will ensure that they are able to continue to pay their staff and meet their other regular financial commitments.

All nurseries and childminders (including maintained nursery schools) have benefitted from the continuation of early years entitlement funding during the COVID-19 outbreak, and as they typically rely on private income for a significant proportion of their income, they have also been able to access support to furlough their staff via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme.

Nurseries and childminders cannot claim for specific costs incurred due to increased premises costs needed to keep schools open during school holidays, or over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements as a result of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases. The Department continues to look at the costs associated with COVID-19 to secure the best and most appropriate support for nurseries and childminders.

The Department also expects colleges and universities to prioritise the health and safety of their staff and students and put in place measures that apply to their individual circumstances. The Department has provided £256 million of additional funding for academic year 2020-21 starting from August for student hardship funds and mental health support. In addition, further education providers have been able to use their 16-19 Bursary Fund to purchase devices for students to support remote education.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide an update on (a) the uptake of free period products in schools and (b) that uptake for each region of England; and if he will make a statement.

On 20 January 2020, the department launched a new scheme which makes free period products available for state-funded primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in England.

Our delivery partner, phs Group, reported that since the scheme launched, almost 40% of eligible organisations have placed orders for period products and we are continuing to monitor the scheme closely. We have not released information on uptake at a regional level, but we continue to monitor this closely.

The scheme remained in operation during partial school and college closures, and these organisations are still able to order a range of period products and distribute them to learners.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish a strategy for schools setting out his plan for pupils in the event of (a) local and (b) national lockdown to prevent the transmission of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has been clear that our intention is for all children to return to school from September. On 2 July we published guidance to help schools prepare for this, including advice for contingency planning in the event of a lockdown.

If a local area sees a spike in infection rates that is resulting in localised community spread, appropriate authorities will decide which measures to implement to help contain the spread. The Department will be involved in decisions at a local and national level affecting a geographical area and will support appropriate authorities and individual settings to follow the health advice. In the event of a local outbreak, the Public Health England health protection team or local authority may advise a school or number of schools to close temporarily to help control transmission.

Schools are expected to have a contingency plan in place for this eventuality. This may involve a return to remaining open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers and providing remote education for all other pupils. The Department has issued guidance and best practice on remote education and is working with Oak National Academy and others to provide further support. This guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools

A 'COVID-19 contain framework: a guide for local decision-makers' has been published which sets out how national and local partners will work with the public at a local level to prevent, contain and manage outbreaks. This can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/containing-and-managing-local-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreaks/covid-19-contain-framework-a-guide-for-local-decision-makers.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is the Government's policy that state-funded schools and nurseries should plan to pay for the additional (a) cleaning required by covid-19 risk assessments and (b) classroom based staff required in schools to allow school leaders to be flexible in how clinically vulnerable members of staff are deployed from (i) existing budgets and (ii) new Government money; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has been clear that our plan is for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term and on 2 July we published guidance to help schools prepare for this. The measures set out in this guidance provide a framework for school leaders to put in place proportionate protective measures for children and staff, including information on cleaning and workforce.

Individuals who were clinically extremely vulnerable and received a letter advising them to shield are now advised that they can return to work from 1 August as long as they maintain social distancing.

Schools and local authorities have continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20. We are planning to spend over £3.6 billion on early years education entitlements in 2020-21.

As stated in our guidance, schools should use their existing resources when planning to welcome all children back for the autumn. Early years settings should do the same.

The guidance can be viewed at the links bellow:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures#funding.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of the £6 million in funding allocated to implementation support for compulsory Relationship, Sex and Health Education in financial year 2019-20 has been spent on SEND accessibility.

The Department is committed to supporting schools to deliver high quality teaching of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education to all pupils.

In light of the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and following engagement with the sector, the Department is reassuring schools that although the subjects will still be compulsory from 1 September 2020, schools have flexibility over how they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching. For further information, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 June to Question 55660.

The Department does not collect data on the numbers of pupils who are withdrawn from sex education. Schools will be required to have in place a written policy for Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education, which should provide an explanation of the right to withdraw from sex education. Before granting a request for a pupil to be withdrawn, headteachers will be expected to discuss the request with parents and to document the decision-making process.

Schools must ensure the subject content of RSHE is an age and developmentally appropriate and the subjects must be taught sensitively and inclusively to meet the needs and backgrounds of their pupils. The statutory guidance states that all pupils should receive teaching on LGBT relationships during their school years and when LGBT content is taught, the guidance recommends it is integrated fully into a school’s programme of study for this area of the curriculum.

RSHE must be accessible for all pupils. This is particularly important when planning teaching for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. As with all curriculum subjects, lessons should be planned to address potential areas of difficulty and to remove barriers to pupil achievement, enabling pupils with SEND to engage with the RSHE curriculum.

The Department’s central programme of support will help all schools in their preparation to deliver these subjects. It will cover all the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance and is inclusive of all pupils.

The Department is working with SEND experts to support the development of teacher training materials. Consideration of the needs of pupils with SEND is integrated into the RSHE implementation programme and it is therefore not possible to specify the amount spent in financial year 2019-20 on SEND accessibility.

Regarding the monitoring of the implementation of RSHE, Ofsted will consider the provision for these subjects and how a school is meeting its obligations when judging the effectiveness of the school’s support for pupils’ personal development.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he will take to monitor (a) the number of parents who withdraw children from sex education at (i) primary and (ii) secondary schools, (b) the extent to which schools implement an LGBT+ integrated and inclusive approach to RSHE and (c) whether schools fulfil their legal obligation to make RSHE curriculum SEND accessible.

The Department is committed to supporting schools to deliver high quality teaching of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education to all pupils.

In light of the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and following engagement with the sector, the Department is reassuring schools that although the subjects will still be compulsory from 1 September 2020, schools have flexibility over how they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching. For further information, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 June to Question 55660.

The Department does not collect data on the numbers of pupils who are withdrawn from sex education. Schools will be required to have in place a written policy for Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education, which should provide an explanation of the right to withdraw from sex education. Before granting a request for a pupil to be withdrawn, headteachers will be expected to discuss the request with parents and to document the decision-making process.

Schools must ensure the subject content of RSHE is an age and developmentally appropriate and the subjects must be taught sensitively and inclusively to meet the needs and backgrounds of their pupils. The statutory guidance states that all pupils should receive teaching on LGBT relationships during their school years and when LGBT content is taught, the guidance recommends it is integrated fully into a school’s programme of study for this area of the curriculum.

RSHE must be accessible for all pupils. This is particularly important when planning teaching for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. As with all curriculum subjects, lessons should be planned to address potential areas of difficulty and to remove barriers to pupil achievement, enabling pupils with SEND to engage with the RSHE curriculum.

The Department’s central programme of support will help all schools in their preparation to deliver these subjects. It will cover all the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance and is inclusive of all pupils.

The Department is working with SEND experts to support the development of teacher training materials. Consideration of the needs of pupils with SEND is integrated into the RSHE implementation programme and it is therefore not possible to specify the amount spent in financial year 2019-20 on SEND accessibility.

Regarding the monitoring of the implementation of RSHE, Ofsted will consider the provision for these subjects and how a school is meeting its obligations when judging the effectiveness of the school’s support for pupils’ personal development.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish a breakdown of how the £6 million allocated for financial year 2019-20 in support for compulsory Relationship, Sex and Health Education has been spent.

The Department is committed to supporting schools to deliver high quality teaching of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education.

In light of the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and following engagement with the sector, the Department is reassuring schools that although the subjects will still be compulsory from 1 September 2020, schools have flexibility over how they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching. For further information, I refer the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion to the answer I gave on 5 June to Question 55660.

The Department invested up to £2 million in the financial year 2019-20 and is investing up to £4 million in the current financial year to fund a support programme of work to help schools in their preparations to implement the new curriculum. The support programme will include online training modules to enable subjects leads to train non-specialist teachers in their schools, an implementation guide, and case studies from early adopter schools. This support will cover all of the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance and will be inclusive to all pupils. The first training module for teachers, covering mental wellbeing, is now available on GOV.UK, and additional content will be added in the coming months.

As part of the support programme, the Department has agreed grant funding with 21 Teaching Schools covering all 8 regions to deliver a train the trainer and peer support programme to schools in their regions.

In managing the immediate and long-term impact of COVID-19 on education delivery, Teaching Schools are able to deliver online training between June and August. All Teaching Schools have plans in place to deliver training between September 2020 and March 2021. The number of schools that access this training will be available after each term.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding has been allocated to implementation support for compulsory Relationship, Sex and Health Education in the 2020-21 financial year.

The Department is committed to supporting schools to deliver high quality teaching of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education.

In light of the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and following engagement with the sector, the Department is reassuring schools that although the subjects will still be compulsory from 1 September 2020, schools have flexibility over how they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching. For further information, I refer the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion to the answer I gave on 5 June to Question 55660.

The Department invested up to £2 million in the financial year 2019-20 and is investing up to £4 million in the current financial year to fund a support programme of work to help schools in their preparations to implement the new curriculum. The support programme will include online training modules to enable subjects leads to train non-specialist teachers in their schools, an implementation guide, and case studies from early adopter schools. This support will cover all of the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance and will be inclusive to all pupils. The first training module for teachers, covering mental wellbeing, is now available on GOV.UK, and additional content will be added in the coming months.

As part of the support programme, the Department has agreed grant funding with 21 Teaching Schools covering all 8 regions to deliver a train the trainer and peer support programme to schools in their regions.

In managing the immediate and long-term impact of COVID-19 on education delivery, Teaching Schools are able to deliver online training between June and August. All Teaching Schools have plans in place to deliver training between September 2020 and March 2021. The number of schools that access this training will be available after each term.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools are receiving training tendered by his Department on the roll out of the face-to-face Relationship, Sex and Health Education; and when does that training start.

The Department is committed to supporting schools to deliver high quality teaching of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education.

In light of the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and following engagement with the sector, the Department is reassuring schools that although the subjects will still be compulsory from 1 September 2020, schools have flexibility over how they discharge their duty within the first year of compulsory teaching. For further information, I refer the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion to the answer I gave on 5 June to Question 55660.

The Department invested up to £2 million in the financial year 2019-20 and is investing up to £4 million in the current financial year to fund a support programme of work to help schools in their preparations to implement the new curriculum. The support programme will include online training modules to enable subjects leads to train non-specialist teachers in their schools, an implementation guide, and case studies from early adopter schools. This support will cover all of the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance and will be inclusive to all pupils. The first training module for teachers, covering mental wellbeing, is now available on GOV.UK, and additional content will be added in the coming months.

As part of the support programme, the Department has agreed grant funding with 21 Teaching Schools covering all 8 regions to deliver a train the trainer and peer support programme to schools in their regions.

In managing the immediate and long-term impact of COVID-19 on education delivery, Teaching Schools are able to deliver online training between June and August. All Teaching Schools have plans in place to deliver training between September 2020 and March 2021. The number of schools that access this training will be available after each term.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his letter to the honorable Member for righton, Pavillion dated April 7 2020, reference 2020-0008728POGibb, if he will publish the basis on which he determined that the Information Commissioner’s Office was content with the proposals for the reception baseline assessment’s use of data; what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the contents of that letter with the statement made by the Information Commissioner on 14 May 2020 that its r review of the Reception Baseline Assessment's use of data was still ongoing and that it had not made a definitive decision or made a comment whether we are content or not with this”; and if he will make a statement.

The Department submitted an Article 36(4) consultation with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in December 2019, where it was confirmed that the ICO would continue to monitor the reception baseline assessment (RBA) through its relationship with the officials working on the national pupil database (NPD). The Department is unaware of any statement made by the Information Commissioner on 14 May 2020 and we have confirmed with the ICO that no statement about the RBA was made on this date. No comment can therefore be made on this. Information on the RBA and the RBA privacy notices can be found here: https://www.nfer.ac.uk/for-schools/participate-in-research/information-about-the-201920-reception-baseline-assessment-pilot/.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to publish guidance for schools on how to support children and young people’s mental health as a result of the covid-19 pandemic as those schools reopen in the coming months.

The government remains committed to promoting and supporting the mental health of children and young people. Access to mental health support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS services remain open, and leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund.

All NHS mental health trusts have been asked to ensure that there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. Public Health England and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

The department has signposted resources on supporting and promoting mental wellbeing among the list of resources to help children to learn at home, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

BBC Bitesize has also worked with the department to provide content with substantial focus on mental health, wellbeing and pastoral care.

The return to school will, in itself, be part of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils, as attendance enables social interaction with peers, carers and teachers. Pupil wellbeing is an important consideration within our guidance on actions for educational and childcare settings as they begin to open in June 2020, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020.

Children and young people can access free confidential support anytime from government-backed voluntary and community sector organisations either by texting SHOUT to 85258, or by calling Childline on 0800 1111 or The Mix on 0808 808 4994. Children and young people can also find online information on COVID-19 and mental health on the Young Minds website, which is available here:
https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/reports/coronavirus-impact-on-young-people-with-mental-health-needs/.

We are putting in place further support for children and teachers on mental health and wellbeing in response to COVID-19. This includes training for teachers, such as a new module developed with clinical experts on how to teach about mental health in health education and more details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing.

The support also includes advice seminars, £750,000 to three organisations extend support and advice to schools on tackling bullying, and grants to the Education Support Partnership and Timewise to support teachers’ mental health and flexible working.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government's announcement New major package to support online learning announced on 19 April 2020, what plans his Department has to extend the digital support package to university students for (a) free laptops and (b) access to 4G internet routers, to ensure that digitally excluded university students are able to continue their studies throughout the covid-19 pandemic.

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

Higher Education (HE) providers take their responsibilities seriously and are best placed to identify the needs of their student body as well as how to develop the services needed to support it. When making changes to the delivery of their courses, providers need to consider how they support all students, particularly the most vulnerable, to achieve successful academic and professional outcomes. Where students do not have access to the Internet, a computer at home or cannot afford to purchase it, the expectation is that HE providers will provide support through their own hardship funds.

The government has worked closely with the Office for Students to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. Providers are able to use the funding, worth around £23 million per month for June and July, towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the plan for a phased wider opening of schools and nurseries after 1 June 2020 includes the regular testing for covid-19 of asymptomatic (a) children and (b) staff; and how he plans to make an assessment of the effect on the R rate of infection of the wider opening of education institutions; and if he will make a statement.

On 18 May 2020, the Government announced that with immediate effect, all UK citizens over the age of 5 who experience symptoms are eligible to be tested.

The plan for a phased wider opening of settings and nurseries does not include regular testing for asymptomatic children or staff. The test is most effective for those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

As my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, set out in his announcement on 11 May 2020, progress on infection rates will be monitored every day. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) provides regular estimates of R, which will continue to be monitored both before and after schools open more widely. We will continue to receive advice from the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, the Chief Medical Officer and SAGE.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of (a) local authorities and (b) health bodies are using the (i) statutory guidance set out in the Children and Families Act 2014 to meet SEND children’s educational and health care and (b) reasonable endeavours duty set out in the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Since 20 March, the majority of children and young people have not been attending education settings. Children with education, health and care (EHC) plans have only been attending education settings where a risk assessment has determined that their needs cannot safely be met at home. This means it may not be possible for local authorities and commissioning health bodies to deliver the special educational provision that would normally be delivered in an education setting (for example, social skills training in small groups, or the delivery of a personalised curriculum with 1-1 support from a teaching assistant).

Because of these exceptional circumstances, some aspects of the law on EHC needs assessments and plans have changed temporarily to strike the right balance between:

  • the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to be protected and receive the right support in a timely way
  • managing the demands on local authorities and health bodies to respond to the outbreak

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has issued a notice to modify temporarily the duty on local authorities and health commissioning bodies to secure or arrange the provision specified in EHC plans so that they can discharge this by using their ‘reasonable endeavours’. The modified duty applies to all local authorities and health commissioning bodies in England.

The modified duty relates to the provision for each individual child and young person. Local authorities and health commissioning bodies must not apply blanket policies about the provision to be secured or arranged. Instead, in deciding what provision must be secured or arranged in discharge of its modified duty, the local authority and health commissioning body should consider: specific local circumstances; the needs of and circumstances specific to each child and young person with an EHC plan and the views of children, young people and their parents as to what might be appropriate.

We are continuing to monitor local authorities and health commissioning bodies, including the ways in which they are discharging this modified duty. We know that there are some excellent examples of where local authorities and health commissioning bodies have put alternative arrangements in place to support children and young people with EHC plans – for example, through arranging for therapy sessions to be delivered over video, or providing sensory kits for children with the most profound needs.

We are committed to ceasing this temporary change to the duty on local authorities and health commissioning bodies to secure or arrange the provision specified in EHC plans at the earliest opportunity and will keep these measures under close review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the proposals by the National Education Union for provision of personal protective equipment to staff working in SEND settings where pupil behaviour poses a risk of airborne transmission of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, education, childcare and children’s social care settings must use a range of protective measures to reduce the risk of transmission of infection. This includes:

  • making sure that pupils do not attend if they or a member of their household has symptoms
  • promoting high standards of hand and respiratory hygiene
  • cleaning touched surfaces more frequently
  • minimising contact and mixing as much as possible
  • using (Personal Protective Equipment) PPE where appropriate

Where PPE is recommended, this means that:

  • a facemask should be worn if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained from someone with symptoms of coronavirus
  • if contact is necessary, then gloves, an apron and a facemask should be worn
  • if a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of fluids entering the eye from, for example, coughing, spitting or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn

The majority of staff in education, childcare and children’s social care settings will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not always able to maintain distance of 2 metres from others. Additional PPE is only needed if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained from any child, young person or other learner displaying coronavirus symptoms.

There are a small number of medical procedures which increase the risk of transmission through aerosols (tiny droplets) being transferred from the patient to the care giver. These are known as aerosol generating procedures (AGPs). These are undertaken for a very small number of children with complex needs, such as those receiving tracheostomy care. Staff performing AGPs should follow Public Health England’s personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance on aerosol generating procedures, and wear the correct PPE which is:

  • a FFP 2/3 respirator
  • gloves
  • a long-sleeved fluid repellent gown
  • eye protection

The respirator required for AGPs must be fitted correctly (known as ‘fit testing’) by an individual trained to do this. Staff in education and children’s social care settings that need support with fit testing should contact the appropriate health lead for the child/young person. This could be either via the Designated Clinical Officer for special educational needs and disabilities for support from the local Clinical Commissioning Group, or via the lead nursing team in the health provider. The full guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control/covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe#ppe-guidance-by-healthcare-context.

The department has worked with Public Health England to develop further guidance on safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of PPE. This guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the loss of access to public library computer terminals during the covid-19 outbreak on the (a) education and (b) mental wellbeing of autistic children and young dependent adults from households with no access to a computer or smartphones.

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, access to a digital device is important to enable children and young people to access education provision and support. We recognise that they can also be an important means of young people maintaining connections with others, accessing sources of support and for maintaining wellbeing. Access to a digital device can often be particularly valuable for autistic children and young people and we appreciate the challenges for those who usually access a device in the community or at their education setting.

The government has announced measures to provide laptops and tablets and connectivity support for disadvantaged children and young people who do not currently have access to them. This includes disadvantaged Year 10 pupils, care leavers, and children with a social worker. People aged 16 to 19 without a suitable device for education will be eligible for support through the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund. Further detail on these measures can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-technology-for-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he made of the effect on the viability of the early years sector of his decision to place entitlement restrictions on early years education and childcare settings under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; and if he will make it his policy to remove those restrictions.

HM Revenue & Customs’ guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has always been clear that “where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, we expect employers to use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion – and correspondingly not furlough them”.

The guidance published by the Department for Education on 17 April confirms that early years providers remain eligible for the CJRS while continuing to receive early entitlement funding via local authorities. This guidance sets out that early years providers can access the CJRS to cover up to the proportion of their pay bill which could be considered to have been paid for from their private income.

This is a complex situation involving schemes which must be fair and work for all sectors. This approach is vital to support providers whilst ensuring that staff are not furloughed if staff costs are paid for by public sector funding.

Further information is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether (a) his Department and (b) the Student Loans Company plan to provide support to (i) current and (ii) prospective students whose parents have lost their jobs as a result of the covid-19 outbreak by (A) facilitating access to full maintenance loans and (B) reinstating maintenance grants.

Many higher education providers will have hardship funds to support students in times of need, including emergencies. The expectation is that where any student requires additional support, providers will support them through their own hardship funds. Contact details are available on university websites.

In addition, students will continue to receive payments of maintenance loans for the remainder of the current academic year, 2019/20. Students who need to undertake additional weeks of study on their course in the current academic year may also qualify for additional long courses loan to help with their living costs.

Parents who have lost their jobs and whose income has dropped by 15% or more in the current financial year will be able to apply to Student Finance England to have their children’s living costs support reassessed for the 2020/21 academic year from 1 August 2020 onwards. This will increase the amount of support students and prospective students are entitled to in 2020/21.

Information for parents on how to apply for a current year assessment is available on the Student Finance England website at: https://media.slc.co.uk/sfe/currentyearincome/index.html.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will set up a national scheme to provide additional funding for schools to provide meals or vouchers for pupils eligible for free school meals; and if he will make a statement.

The continuing provision of free school meals to children from out of work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government. No child who would ordinarily receive a free school meal should go without due to school closures or having to self-isolate at home.

We are encouraging schools to speak to their catering team or provider to see if they can prepare meals or food parcels that could be delivered to or collected by families, ensuring they are distributed in line with social distancing guidelines.

If that is not possible, the department has launched a centrally-funded national voucher scheme to support schools. Guidance is available at the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

We understand that other approaches, such as providing food parcels or purchasing vouchers for shops currently not included in the national scheme, may mean that schools incur additional expenses.

Further guidance is available setting out how we will compensate schools who incur these additional costs: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy for student loans, bursaries, grants and other student finance to be increased to reflect geographic variations in the cost of living.

The government has announced that maximum grants and loans for living and other costs will increase by 2.9% for the 2020/21 academic year starting in August 2020.

Means-tested grants and loans for living and other costs are a contribution towards a student’s costs while attending university.

The current system bases the amount of support a student is entitled to on the student’s household income rather than on family outgoings. It ensures that the most support is targeted consistently at families from the lowest income backgrounds who need it most. It also ensures that information on income for individual applicants can be effectively processed by Student Finance England who deal with more than one million applications for student support in time for the start of an academic year.

Maximum loans for living costs for the lowest income students living away from their parents’ home and studying at a university in London are set at a higher level than for students studying outside London or living in their parents’ home. This reflects the higher living costs that students attending courses in London may incur

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many people have travelled to (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland under the Erasmus+ programme in each year since 2015.

The European Commission (EC) publishes statistics on Erasmus+. The latest available data is from 2018, published in January 2020. The EC records the number of incoming mobilities to the UK under the Erasmus+ programme, but this is not broken down by sub-national levels.

The table below summarises the number of incoming higher education students, trainees and staff to the UK on the Erasmus+ programme from 2014/15 to 2017/18. The EC publishes more data on Erasmus+ in their statistical annexes, which is available from: https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/about/statistics_en.

Incoming HE students, trainees and staff to the UK on the Erasmus+ program

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

Students & Trainees

30,235

31,362

31,727

31,877

Staff

3,436

4,406

4,786

4,970

Source: UK factsheet: https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/about/factsheets_en.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to ensure that universities use universally accessible (a) student surveys and (b) data collection processes to monitor university compliance with equality charters; and if he will make a statement.

Higher education providers (HEPs) are independent and autonomous institutions. While we recognise the work of Advance HE and the value that both the Race Equality and Athena Swan charters bring to the sector the government does not compel HEPs to participate in equality charters.

However, progress on addressing both gender and racial equality in HE has been unacceptably slow, particularly for minority ethnic staff securing senior university leadership positions. It is essential that HEPs urgently address those institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of women and minority ethnic staff and students so that everyone who has the potential to thrive at university, does so.

The government has brought forward sweeping reforms of higher education to tackle equality of opportunity through the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA). This includes a mandatory condition of registration which, for the first time, requires all higher education providers registered with the Office for Students (OfS) to publish data including the number of applications for admissions, offers made and acceptance rates broken down by gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background. The OfS has issued guidance to higher education providers on how to comply with the transparency condition.

The OfS has also made available online an interactive dashboard of data, which will help to evaluate access and participation at specific universities and colleges. The dashboard can be used to compare different student groups (for example, disabled students or students by their ethnic background) and their peers, and reveal gaps in access, continuation, success and progression. More information is available at the link:

https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/access-and-participation-data-dashboard/guide-to-the-access-and-participation-data-resources.

20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing non-repayable maintenance grant funding in (a) further and (b) higher education.

​The independent panel’s report on the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding was published in May 2019. The government is considering the recommendations made in the report, including those relating to maintenance support for higher education and further education students. The government will conclude the review alongside the next spending review.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to increase funding for sixth form students to at least £4,760 per year; and if he will make a statement.

We are investing an extra £400 million in 16 to 19 education next year to ensure we are building the skills that our country needs. We will increase the base rate of funding by 4.7%, from £4,000 to £4,188 for the academic year 2020/21. Over and above the base rate rise, this extra spending also includes new resources for high value and high cost courses and funding to support those on level 3 programmes to continue to study English and maths where needed. This is the biggest injection of new money into 16 to 19 education in a single year since 2010, with funding increasing faster for 16 to 19 than in 5 to 16 schooling and will mean a significant increase in the average level of funding per student. We will continue to look at the needs of 16 to 19 education in future Spending Reviews.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 28 October 2019 to Question 2798 on Educational Institutions: Sanitary Protection, which of the products to be made available to schools and 16-19 institutions (a) contain (i) plastic, (ii) plastic applicators and (iii) no plastic and (b) are reusable; and what steps he is taking to promote the use of sustainable products under that scheme.

The scheme will provide a wide range of period products for schools and 16-19 organisations to choose from. This will include environmentally friendly pads, reusable pads, organic non-applicator tampons and menstrual cups. The ingredients for each product will be provided on the ordering portal and in the scheme’s guidance.

Schools and colleges know their learners best and will have the freedom to select the most suitable products for their learners, considering cost and type of product. We will be monitoring product choice closely and will continue to seek opportunities to encourage the use of sustainable products as the scheme develops.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has in place to enable early adopter schools of Relationships and Sex Education to feed back to his Department on (a) the effectiveness of its implementation and (b) whether further assistance is required to enable the teaching of high-quality lessons; and if he will make a statement.

​The Department is working with over 1600 schools who are acting as early adopters of Relationships Education; Relationships and Sex Education (RSE); and Health Education, and began teaching the new requirements from September 2019. We have been working with these early adopter schools to develop a programme of support. Recently four national conferences took place to help early adopters plan for delivery of the new subjects, and to learn about their current practices.

This engagement with early adopter schools is helping the Department develop its programme of support for the new subjects, which will be available to all teachers from spring 2020. The programme will focus on tools that improve schools’ practice and will offer opportunities for teachers to improve subject knowledge, build confidence and share best practice. This support will be accessed through a new online service and will include an implementation guide, which will accompany the statutory guidance, case studies from early adopter schools, and innovative materials to support staff training. The Department will continue to test this package with early adopter schools.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the report to Parliament in 2021 on food security required under Section 19 of the Agriculture Act 2020 will include analysis of statistical data relating to the food security of (a) children, (b) disabled people, (c) people with no recourse to public funds and (d) households below the poverty line of 60 per cent of median UK household income.

The UK Food Security Report 2021 will provide a comprehensive analysis into a range of current issues relevant to food security. The key themes set out in the Agriculture Act include Global Food Availability, Supply Sources for Food, the Resilience of the Supply Chain for Food, Household Expenditure on Food, and Food Safety and Consumer Confidence in Food. The section on Household Expenditure on Food will include an assessment of food poverty in terms of economic and physical access to food, along with the ability to afford nutritious food.

The Government agrees that robust official data is required to understand the full scope of the food security picture and to support future policy making. Therefore, this report will bring together regularly reported and publicly available data on the subject of food security, including for the Household Expenditure on Food theme. All relevant data sources are being considered to reflect the full picture of each theme. Analysis is limited by the granularity of available data, which may not be sufficient to report at Local Authority level. The 2021 report will identify gaps and limitations of our data, which will be re-examined in subsequent reports.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the report to Parliament in 2021 on food security required under section 19 of the Agriculture Act 2020 will contain an analysis of statistical data by local authority.

The UK Food Security Report 2021 will provide a comprehensive analysis into a range of current issues relevant to food security. The key themes set out in the Agriculture Act include Global Food Availability, Supply Sources for Food, the Resilience of the Supply Chain for Food, Household Expenditure on Food, and Food Safety and Consumer Confidence in Food. The section on Household Expenditure on Food will include an assessment of food poverty in terms of economic and physical access to food, along with the ability to afford nutritious food.

The Government agrees that robust official data is required to understand the full scope of the food security picture and to support future policy making. Therefore, this report will bring together regularly reported and publicly available data on the subject of food security, including for the Household Expenditure on Food theme. All relevant data sources are being considered to reflect the full picture of each theme. Analysis is limited by the granularity of available data, which may not be sufficient to report at Local Authority level. The 2021 report will identify gaps and limitations of our data, which will be re-examined in subsequent reports.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government’s plan to introduce management measures in 40 English offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPA) over the next three years, what assessment his Department has made of the benefits to mobile fish stocks of banning supertrawlers from the offshore MPA network.

We are reviewing our policy on supertrawlers, and their impact on fish stocks, and this will be driven by evidence. We will need to consider how any measures fit with our obligations under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the blue carbon climate benefits of banning bottom trawling in Marine Protected Areas.

The UK recognises the important role that blue carbon habitats can play to prevent biodiversity loss and support adaptation and resilience to climate change, alongside carbon sequestration benefits. The Government understands that marine carbon stores in sediments can be released due to human activities such as bottom trawling. However, the magnitude of change in these carbon stores following trawling impacts remains uncertain, and difficult to quantify accurately based on the current knowledge.

To support our work here, we recently published a report from Cefas scientists that provides us with the evidence base to help understand the carbon stocks and fluxes of marine blue carbon habitats in UK waters. We continue to build the evidence base on blue carbon habitats in the UK.

The UK Government has a clear, long-standing ambition to implement measures which protect the marine environment, both internationally and domestically. This is set out in our 25 Year Environment Plan, which includes commitments to protect the UK 'Blue Belt' network of Marine Protected Areas and to support the protection of 30% of the global ocean by 2030.

England already has 40% of our waters in Marine Protected Areas (MPA), covering the majority of saltmarsh and seagrass blue carbon habitats. 98 sites in our inshore waters now have management measures in place to protect sensitive features from bottom-towed fishing gears. All existing MPAs in our offshore waters will be protected from fishing activities which could prevent them achieving their conservation objectives through a three-year by-law programme being undertaken by the Marine Management Organisation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the activity of (a) supertrawlers, (b) bottom trawlers and (c) fly shooting in UK Marine Protected Areas with the Government’s aim to protect 30 per cent of UK oceans by 2030.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a devolved competency and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities assess on a site by site basis which fishing activities could prevent them from achieving their conservation objectives and determine what management is required to meet the site conservation objectives.

'Supertrawlers' generally target pelagic species of fish within the water column and are unlikely to interact with the seabed habitats, such as reef and sediment habitats, for which most MPAs are designated. Both bottom trawlers and fly-shooters interact with the seabed and are therefore likely to impact seabed habitats. The compatibility of these activities will depend on the features protected in each site. If the site assessments conclude that this type of fishing poses a risk to the conservation objectives of a MPA, the relevant regulator would implement management measures.

Management measures will be introduced on a site by site basis to ensure that measures can be tailored to meet the conservation objectives of each site, without unnecessarily restricting fishing activity. We believe using byelaws, rather than fishing vessel licences, to manage fishing in MPAs is the best approach to further site conservation objectives. All existing MPAs in our offshore waters will be protected from fishing activities which could prevent them from achieving their conservation objectives through a three-year byelaw programme being undertaken by the MMO.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government’s new powers in the Fisheries Act 2020, if he will make it his policy to restrict the fishing licences of (a) supertrawlers, (b) bottom trawlers and (c) fly-shooters so that they cannot operate in offshore UK Marine Protected Areas.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a devolved competency and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities assess on a site by site basis which fishing activities could prevent them from achieving their conservation objectives and determine what management is required to meet the site conservation objectives.

'Supertrawlers' generally target pelagic species of fish within the water column and are unlikely to interact with the seabed habitats, such as reef and sediment habitats, for which most MPAs are designated. Both bottom trawlers and fly-shooters interact with the seabed and are therefore likely to impact seabed habitats. The compatibility of these activities will depend on the features protected in each site. If the site assessments conclude that this type of fishing poses a risk to the conservation objectives of a MPA, the relevant regulator would implement management measures.

Management measures will be introduced on a site by site basis to ensure that measures can be tailored to meet the conservation objectives of each site, without unnecessarily restricting fishing activity. We believe using byelaws, rather than fishing vessel licences, to manage fishing in MPAs is the best approach to further site conservation objectives. All existing MPAs in our offshore waters will be protected from fishing activities which could prevent them from achieving their conservation objectives through a three-year byelaw programme being undertaken by the MMO.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government’s plans to introduce management measures in 40 English offshore Marine Protected Areas over the next three years, if he will make it his policy for those plans to include site-wide bans on (a) bottom trawlers, (b) supertrawlers and (c) fly-shooting.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a devolved competency and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities assess on a site by site basis which fishing activities could prevent them from achieving their conservation objectives and determine what management is required to meet the site conservation objectives.

'Supertrawlers' generally target pelagic species of fish within the water column and are unlikely to interact with the seabed habitats, such as reef and sediment habitats, for which most MPAs are designated. Both bottom trawlers and fly-shooters interact with the seabed and are therefore likely to impact seabed habitats. The compatibility of these activities will depend on the features protected in each site. If the site assessments conclude that this type of fishing poses a risk to the conservation objectives of a MPA, the relevant regulator would implement management measures.

Management measures will be introduced on a site by site basis to ensure that measures can be tailored to meet the conservation objectives of each site, without unnecessarily restricting fishing activity. We believe using byelaws, rather than fishing vessel licences, to manage fishing in MPAs is the best approach to further site conservation objectives. All existing MPAs in our offshore waters will be protected from fishing activities which could prevent them from achieving their conservation objectives through a three-year byelaw programme being undertaken by the MMO.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason the ring-fenced budget for the Office for Environmental Protection has been reduced from five to three years; when that decision was made; and for what reason that decision was not communicated to Parliament.

The Government is committed to establishing the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) as soon as possible after Royal Assent with sufficient funding to fulfil its statutory advice, scrutiny, and enforcement functions. The intention, subject to finalising parliamentary passage, is to provide the OEP with a five year indicative budget, with a ringfenced budget for each spending review period. Defra has agreed this approach with HM Treasury to give the OEP the greatest possible certainty over its finances for the coming years. The OEP will then be required to report annually on whether it has sufficient funding to carry out its functions, and we will share this information with Parliament. Defra have discussed this approach with the OEP who welcome this commitment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to set obligations for water companies and peatland owners in SSSI's to restore peatland on land they own, as recommended by the Climate Change Committee in their Policies for the Sixth Carbon Budget and Net Zero.

The England Peat Action Plan was published in May and provides an ambitious framework to improve the management and protection of peatlands, to ensure they are functioning healthily for the needs of wildlife, people and planet. We will work to ensure all our peatlands, not just deep or protected peat, are responsibly managed, or under restoration management.

In April we launched the Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme which intends to invest over £50 million by 2025 to fund the restoration of at least 35,000 hectares of degraded peatlands across England, including in Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The scheme is open to a range of groups and organisations, such as Non-Governmental Organisations, national parks and water companies. In Sites of Special Scientific Interest, landowners are required to manage the land effectively and appropriately to conserve the special features of the site.

In the England Peat Action Plan, we committed to continue to work with water companies to encourage their investment in peat restoration as a solution to water quality issues, and to meet the industry's net zero goals.

We will also publish a comprehensive Net Zero Strategy ahead of COP26, setting out the Government’s vision for transitioning to a net zero economy. This will outline our path to meet net zero by 2050, our Carbon Budgets and Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will set out the Government’s (a) roadmap and (b) timeframe for bringing forward legislative proposals to ban the (i) import and (ii) sale of foie gras made by force-feeding.

The Government has made clear that the production of foie gras from ducks or geese using force feeding raises serious welfare concerns. The production of foie gras by force feeding has been banned in the UK for over 15 years following the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. It is a legal requirement to provide for an animal’s welfare needs, such as supplying a suitable diet and protecting the animal from injury and disease. Under this legislation, it is a criminal offence to allow an animal to suffer unnecessarily, which clearly reflects the UK public’s attitudes to welfare standards.

Whilst a member of the EU, we were subject to rules regarding the movement of goods within the EU market. Now that our future relationship with the EU has been established, we are able to take further steps where there is clear evidence of low welfare standards. We are now considering 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 are gathering information and will continue to speak to a range of interested parties about the issues involved. This is in line with the Government’s commitment to improving animal welfare standards as set out in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare which was published on 12 May, and will be used to inform any future action taken regarding foie gras produced from force feeding practices.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what information he holds on the proportion of waste from household (ex NI-192) recorded by local authorities as collected and sent for reuse, recycling, composting or treatment by anaerobic digestion that is successfully reused, recycled, composted or treated by anaerobic digestion.

Defra publishes an annual national statistics release and datasets relating to the collection and disposal of local authority collected waste. The most recent statistics show that 45.5 per cent of ‘waste from households’ in England was sent for recycling, reuse, composting or anaerobic digestion in 2019.

The (ex-192) performance indicator measure of recycling (including reuse, composting, and anaerobic digestion) relates specifically to the ‘household’ waste definition. Figures for 2019/20 are available within Table 3a of the published dataset.

‘Waste from households’ has a slightly different definition to ‘household’ waste and details of these differences can be found in the Glossary of Terms section of the statistical notice.

‘Household’ waste collected for recycling, reuse, composting or anaerobic digestion, which was then rejected by sorting facilities or at the gates of a reprocessor was estimated to be around 525 thousand tonnes (5 per cent) of all material collected for recycling, reuse, composting or anaerobic digestion in 2019/20. This rejected material is diverted to the residual waste stream and does not count towards recycling rates. Defra does not publish this figure on a ‘waste from households’ basis.

The Environment Bill stipulates that all local authorities in England must make arrangements for a core set of materials to be collected for recycling from households. This will help to improve the quality and recycling value of the materials collected and, alongside reforms on labelling, will reduce confusion over the materials that can and cannot be recycled.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether (a) meat is slaughtered in Australian slaughterhouses to standards equivalent to those in the UK and (b) Australian meat would comply with Schedule 5 of The Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015; and if he will place a copy of that assessment in the Library.

Any imports of meat from Australian slaughterhouses into the UK must come from an establishment that has been assessed by the competent authority in Australia to supply goods that are at least equivalent to UK standards as required under Article 127(3)(e) of Retained Regulation 2017/625.

Meat imported from trading partners, including Australia, must also comply with Article 12 of Retained Regulation 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. Schedule 5 of The Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015 provides for the enforcement of this requirement.

At the end of the transition period, existing EU legislation and standards on food safety and animal health and welfare were enshrined in UK law, including existing approvals and restrictions for Australia to import meat into Great Britain. Prior to this, the competent authority in Australia was assessed by the European Commission in 2019 for the import of meat products, including for welfare at slaughter, and was found to be compliant.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is aware of the fishing method of fly shooting in UK waters; whether his Department has made an assessment of the environmental impacts of fly shooting; and if his Department will make an assessment of the compatibility of fly shooting with the Government's ambition to protect 30 per cent of UK waters by 2030.

Fly shooting, also known as Scottish seining, has been evaluated by Seafish - the public body supporting the UK seafood industry - as having a lower environmental impact than other gear types because it can be operated from lower powered vessels with lower fuel consumption. Details can be found at: SSC - Scottish Seine — Seafish.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that nature recovery opportunities identified by Local Nature Recovery Strategies can be delivered on the ground.

Local Nature Recovery Strategies will be delivered in several ways, including through biodiversity net gain and the strengthened biodiversity duty introduced in the Environment Bill. Future schemes that reward farmers and other land managers for producing environmental benefits, including Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery, will also be key mechanisms for delivering the opportunities for nature recovery identified in the Local Nature Recovery Strategies.

Local Nature Recovery Strategies have been piloted in five areas across England. They have tested how Local Nature Recovery Strategies and environmental land management priorities can be developed concurrently, maximising the benefit for the environment and people.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the press release of the 6th carbon budget, UK enshrines new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035, published on 20 April 2021, for what reasons the Government does not plan to implement the advice of the Committee on Climate Change for low-cost, low-regret actions for a 20 per cent shift away from meat and dairy products by 2030 as part of the balanced net zero pathway as part of its policy position on diet change; and if he will make a statement.

We recognise the contribution to greenhouse gas emissions made by the livestock and dairy sectors. In 2019 - the most recent year for which emissions data is available - livestock emissions represented 60% of agricultural emissions (27.9Mt CO2e). Evidence shows that plant-based food products are generally less carbon intensive to produce than livestock products. While food choices and improved farming practices have an impact on these emissions, well-managed livestock can also provide environmental benefits such as contributing to protection of soil carbon in existing pastures, supporting biodiversity, protecting the character of the countryside and creating employment for rural communities. We recognise the delicate balance between these outcomes and the potential environmental trade-offs, and will ensure decision-making is evidence led.

Achieving the net zero target is a priority for the Government, and we are developing a range of measures through the Agriculture Act, our future farming policy, our forthcoming Food Strategy White Paper and the 25 Year Environment Plan, all with the aim of enabling farmers to optimise sustainable food production, reduce emissions from agriculture and allow consumer choices to drive those changes.

Part Two of Henry Dimbleby’s independent review of the food system will be published in July 2021. It will include a root and branch examination of the food system as it is today and the forces that shape it. The Government has committed to responding to the Review’s recommendations in the form of a Food Strategy White Paper within six months of the release of the final report. The Government is committed to developing a food strategy that will support the development of a food system that is sustainable, resilient and affordable, that will support people to live healthy lives, and that will protect animal health and welfare.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 18 December 2021 to question 127521, when the planned consultation on implementing biodiversity net gain through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime will be published.

The Government is exploring how a biodiversity net gain approach for major infrastructure projects could best be delivered, and how other policy or legislative levers could be used to support this. To ensure that projects in the pipeline are able to progress and take advantage of the benefits a net gain approach can offer, the Government intends to consult further in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his plans are for protecting the environment from intentionally and non-intentionally added microplastics.

Our priority is preventing plastic from entering the environment in the first place, be that the freshwater, marine or terrestrial environment. In 2018 the UK launched one the world’s toughest bans on the sale and manufacture of microbeads in rinse-off personal care products, helping to prevent billions of tiny plastic pieces from entering the ocean every year. This ban was developed based on evidence of harm to the marine environment from microplastics, and specifically evidence of microbeads directly entering the marine environment through the water treatment process. It aimed to create a level playing field between businesses that had already taken voluntary action and those that continued to use microbeads.

Pre-production plastic pellets are another major source of microplastics with between 5-53 billion pellets lost every year during the production of plastic in the UK. We support Operation Clean Sweep, an international initiative coordinated in the UK by the British Plastics Federation which aims to reduce plastic pellet loss to the environment. At the British-Irish Council Marine Litter Symposium in 2019, Ministers from all Administrations recognised the need to reduce the loss of pre-production plastic pellets and committed to learn from a trial supply-chain approach in Scotland which was completed in 2020 and can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/preventing-plastic-pollution-pellet-loss-taking-supply-chain-approach-reduce-pollution-waste/

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to eliminate bycatch of (a) dolphins, (b) porpoises (c) whales and (d) other sensitive species; and if he will set out annual targets to reduce bycatch.

The UK Government funds Clean Catch UK which is a collaborative research programme dedicated to better monitoring and mitigation of sensitive marine species bycatch in UK fisheries.

We also fund a comprehensive and well-respected bycatch monitoring programme which helps to reduce any potential fisheries impacts on sensitive marine species, including cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises and whales).

In addition, we have recently let a ten-year contract for the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, which conducts research on threats facing sensitive marine species. This research contributes to better monitoring and mitigating of such threats, including bycatch.

The Fisheries Act's ecosystems objective contains a requirement to "minimise, and where possible eliminate bycatch of sensitive marine species". We will set out policies that will help to achieve this objective in the Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS) which is a UK-wide policy document. The JFS will be published 24 months after the Fisheries Act received Royal Assent, in late 2022.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to support Regional Fisheries Management Organisations to conserve marine biodiversity and tackle climate change pressures on the oceans.

As a new, independent member of five RFMOs, the UK is expanding and enhancing our efforts to sustainably manage fisheries, protect ecosystems and combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing at an international scale. These efforts, through our engagement in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, other international organisations such as the FAO, and directly with individual States, will include supporting RFMOs in conserving marine biodiversity and tackling climate change pressures on the ocean.

Our work in RFMOs is complemented by the UK’s support of a target to protect at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030 and through our support to conclude negotiations on a new implementing Agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the ability of (a) Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and (b) sectoral bodies to deliver the management of global Marine Protected Areas in line with protecting 30 per cent of the world's oceans by 2030.

The UK is championing a target to protect at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030 (the ‘30by30’ target) through its leadership of the Global Ocean Alliance and as ocean co-chair of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People.

Importantly, the UK supports the conclusion of negotiations on a new implementing Agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement), which will have provisions that allow for the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in these areas, a key mechanism to deliver ‘30by30’.

Recognising the important role that Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) play in effective ocean governance, the UK has already joined five and is playing an active role in each of them. RFMOs and other sectoral bodies will be crucial to delivering some of the conservation objectives of the MPAs established under the BBNJ Agreement. This will require a positive relationship, including enhanced cooperation and coordination, between the new Agreement and these bodies.

To support this, the UK is in favour of a strong obligation on Parties to the new BBNJ Agreement to work within relevant bodies to deliver measures for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to implement the policy statement on environmental principles published in December 2018.

It is our intention to share the draft policy statement on the environmental principles through public consultation this March. We will ensure awareness, and support understanding of the duty across government through workshops, training and integration within relevant guidance documents.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government’s policy statement on environmental principles published in December 2018, what plans the Government has to publish a public consultation on those principles.

It is our intention to launch a 12-week consultation this March on a draft policy statement on environmental principles. This will outline how to interpret and proportionately apply the five internationally recognised environmental principles, plus a new duty which will embed these principles in policy making across government. We welcome feedback on the draft statement once published.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with devolved Administrations on chemical industry proposals to curtail provision of chemical safety data for UK REACH.

UK REACH retains both the fundamental approach and key principles of REACH with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. These principles include the "no data, no market" principle, the "last resort" principle on animal testing, access to information for workers and the precautionary principle.

Now we have left the EU we have the freedom to take our own independent regulatory decisions that respond quickly to the circumstances in the UK and globally. For example, we have the ability to take proactive action on the levels of exposure or environmental conditions in the UK. Under UK REACH the ongoing responsibility to demonstrate understanding of hazards and risks and effective risk management lies with industry.

A number of organisations in the chemicals and downstream user sectors have recently written to us about the data provision requirements of UK REACH given the potential costs involved. We are looking into the detail of that proposal very carefully. In doing so we will take account of the benefits and risks of making any changes to the arrangements that are in place now, including the impact it would have in our commitment to maintaining high standards of protection for public health and the environment. We will also consider the impact on our international obligations.

We will involve the devolved administrations in this work as competence for the environment and public health is devolved. As well as discussing the proposal with industry we will also want to hear the views of other interested parties, including public health and environmental organisations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with public health and environmental organisations on chemical industry proposals to curtail provision of chemical safety data for UK REACH.

UK REACH retains both the fundamental approach and key principles of REACH with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. These principles include the "no data, no market" principle, the "last resort" principle on animal testing, access to information for workers and the precautionary principle.

Now we have left the EU we have the freedom to take our own independent regulatory decisions that respond quickly to the circumstances in the UK and globally. For example, we have the ability to take proactive action on the levels of exposure or environmental conditions in the UK. Under UK REACH the ongoing responsibility to demonstrate understanding of hazards and risks and effective risk management lies with industry.

A number of organisations in the chemicals and downstream user sectors have recently written to us about the data provision requirements of UK REACH given the potential costs involved. We are looking into the detail of that proposal very carefully. In doing so we will take account of the benefits and risks of making any changes to the arrangements that are in place now, including the impact it would have in our commitment to maintaining high standards of protection for public health and the environment. We will also consider the impact on our international obligations.

We will involve the devolved administrations in this work as competence for the environment and public health is devolved. As well as discussing the proposal with industry we will also want to hear the views of other interested parties, including public health and environmental organisations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to undertake public consultation on chemical industry proposals to curtail provision of chemical safety data for UK REACH.

UK REACH retains both the fundamental approach and key principles of REACH with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. These principles include the "no data, no market" principle, the "last resort" principle on animal testing, access to information for workers and the precautionary principle.

Now we have left the EU we have the freedom to take our own independent regulatory decisions that respond quickly to the circumstances in the UK and globally. For example, we have the ability to take proactive action on the levels of exposure or environmental conditions in the UK. Under UK REACH the ongoing responsibility to demonstrate understanding of hazards and risks and effective risk management lies with industry.

A number of organisations in the chemicals and downstream user sectors have recently written to us about the data provision requirements of UK REACH given the potential costs involved. We are looking into the detail of that proposal very carefully. In doing so we will take account of the benefits and risks of making any changes to the arrangements that are in place now, including the impact it would have in our commitment to maintaining high standards of protection for public health and the environment. We will also consider the impact on our international obligations.

We will involve the devolved administrations in this work as competence for the environment and public health is devolved. As well as discussing the proposal with industry we will also want to hear the views of other interested parties, including public health and environmental organisations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what criteria his Department will use to assess chemical industry proposals to curtail provision of chemical safety data for UK REACH.

UK REACH retains both the fundamental approach and key principles of REACH with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. These principles include the "no data, no market" principle, the "last resort" principle on animal testing, access to information for workers and the precautionary principle.

Now we have left the EU we have the freedom to take our own independent regulatory decisions that respond quickly to the circumstances in the UK and globally. For example, we have the ability to take proactive action on the levels of exposure or environmental conditions in the UK. Under UK REACH the ongoing responsibility to demonstrate understanding of hazards and risks and effective risk management lies with industry.

A number of organisations in the chemicals and downstream user sectors have recently written to us about the data provision requirements of UK REACH given the potential costs involved. We are looking into the detail of that proposal very carefully. In doing so we will take account of the benefits and risks of making any changes to the arrangements that are in place now, including the impact it would have in our commitment to maintaining high standards of protection for public health and the environment. We will also consider the impact on our international obligations.

We will involve the devolved administrations in this work as competence for the environment and public health is devolved. As well as discussing the proposal with industry we will also want to hear the views of other interested parties, including public health and environmental organisations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of chemical industry proposals to curtail provision of chemical safety data for UK REACH with the Government’s commitment to maintain high environmental standards.

UK REACH retains both the fundamental approach and key principles of REACH with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. These principles include the "no data, no market" principle, the "last resort" principle on animal testing, access to information for workers and the precautionary principle.

Now we have left the EU we have the freedom to take our own independent regulatory decisions that respond quickly to the circumstances in the UK and globally. For example, we have the ability to take proactive action on the levels of exposure or environmental conditions in the UK. Under UK REACH the ongoing responsibility to demonstrate understanding of hazards and risks and effective risk management lies with industry.

A number of organisations in the chemicals and downstream user sectors have recently written to us about the data provision requirements of UK REACH given the potential costs involved. We are looking into the detail of that proposal very carefully. In doing so we will take account of the benefits and risks of making any changes to the arrangements that are in place now, including the impact it would have in our commitment to maintaining high standards of protection for public health and the environment. We will also consider the impact on our international obligations.

We will involve the devolved administrations in this work as competence for the environment and public health is devolved. As well as discussing the proposal with industry we will also want to hear the views of other interested parties, including public health and environmental organisations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the UK REACH chemicals regulation complies with the terms of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

UK REACH retains both the fundamental approach and key principles of REACH with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. These principles include the "no data, no market" principle, the "last resort" principle on animal testing, access to information for workers and the precautionary principle.

Now we have left the EU we have the freedom to take our own independent regulatory decisions that respond quickly to the circumstances in the UK and globally. For example, we have the ability to take proactive action on the levels of exposure or environmental conditions in the UK. Under UK REACH the ongoing responsibility to demonstrate understanding of hazards and risks and effective risk management lies with industry.

A number of organisations in the chemicals and downstream user sectors have recently written to us about the data provision requirements of UK REACH given the potential costs involved. We are looking into the detail of that proposal very carefully. In doing so we will take account of the benefits and risks of making any changes to the arrangements that are in place now, including the impact it would have in our commitment to maintaining high standards of protection for public health and the environment. We will also consider the impact on our international obligations.

We will involve the devolved administrations in this work as competence for the environment and public health is devolved. As well as discussing the proposal with industry we will also want to hear the views of other interested parties, including public health and environmental organisations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to reply to the letter from Beyond GM, dated 26 January 2021, raising concerns about the process of his Department’s Consultation on the Regulation of Genetic Technologies that ends on 17 March 2021.

I apologise for the delay in responding to the hon. Member. A reply has been prepared and will be issued very shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the Government’s latest assessment is of the role of dietary change in contributing to (a) the objectives of the UN food systems summit and (b) the UK's policy goals on (i) public health, (ii) biodiversity protection, (iii) climate and (iv) animal welfare.

The UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) presents an excellent opportunity to showcase the UK's thought leadership on food systems and serves as a valuable platform to exert our influence internationally. Defra and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) are working closely to ensure that the UK makes a valuable contribution on all aspects of the food system, including diets.

The Government fully supports consumer choice. Our priority is to support British farming and encourage sustainable food production to ensure we have a secure, environmentally sustainable and healthy supply of food with improved standards of animal welfare. The Government's obesity strategy is designed to reshape the food environment by providing people with a healthier choice and encouraging them to take it.

We recognise the contribution to greenhouse gas emissions made by agricultural sectors. Evidence shows that plant-based food products are generally less carbon intensive to produce than livestock products. However, while food choices can have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions, well managed livestock also provide environmental benefits such as supporting biodiversity and protecting the character of the countryside.

The Independent Review of the food system being led by Henry Dimbleby will help the Government to further understand how dietary changes can deliver public policy goals on health and sustainability.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the Government’s priorities are for the UN food systems summit in September; and what activities are taking place (a) across Departments and (b) with civil society to prepare for that summit.

Defra and FCDO are working closely to ensure that the UK makes a valuable contribution to the UN Food Systems Summit. The UNFSS presents an excellent opportunity to showcase the UK’s thought leadership on food systems and serves as a valuable platform to exert our influence internationally.

In particular, the UK is taking a leading role on Action Track 5 on 'Building resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stresses' and we are inputting heavily into Action Track 3 focused on 'Building nature positive production at sufficient scales' where we see clear linkages with our ambitions for COP26.

We are keen to build on the successes of the high-quality engagement with civil society which was done as part of the National Food Strategy and we are consulting colleagues in the Devolved Administrations to ensure that their voice is captured.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for International Trade on the alignment of the Government’s trade policy objectives with the objectives of the UN food systems summit in September 2021.

Defra works closely with the Department for International Trade to ensure the Government’s trade policy objectives are aligned with our sustainability and environment goals.

Resilience and sustainability should be at the heart of global food production and trade, reflecting the key concerns of the UN Food Systems Summit and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the combined effect of the zoo animals fund, furlough, VAT deferral, business rates relief, the business interruption loan schemes, the option to reclaim the costs of statutory sick pay, and ordinary hospitality and leisure grant funding on the financial stability of zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums; what representations he has received from zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums on the need for further Government support for the sector because of covid-19; if he will make it his policy to create a dedicated zoo recovery fund; and if he will make a statement.

I fully understand the pressure that the current coronavirus restrictions are placing on zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums. We know many of these organisations have been able to access the funding schemes the Government has provided to support businesses during the covid-19 pandemic, including the Job Retention Scheme, VAT deferral, Business Rates Relief, the Business Interruption Loan, the option to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay and grant funding. Feedback from the sector is that these have provided very welcome relief. We have received positive feedback from recipients of the Zoo Animals Fund on how the funding has supported organisations and their animals through this difficult time allowing them to continue to provide the best care for their animals and operate safely in these challenging times. The Zoo Animals Fund has been a lifeline for many organisations and small, medium and large zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums have been successful in securing funding under this scheme.

We keep all aspects of the Zoo Animals Fund constantly under review to ensure that it is meeting its aims to ensure the sector can deliver the best possible care for its animals. The application deadline for the Zoo Animals Fund is 26 February 2021 and funding is provided until the end of March 2021. Following feedback from stakeholders, changes were made to the Fund include extending the criteria to include maintenance costs, introducing the ability to apply ahead of reaching 12 weeks reserves and most recently extending the application deadline. Defra officials are in close, regular contact with BIAZA (British and Irish Association for Zoos and Aquariums) and the CEOs of the largest charitable zoos to enable us to fully understand the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on the sector and any asks on future support. We will continue to engage with the sector and provide updates as situations change.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on improving the natural environment of the findings of the Final Report, The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review, published by HMT on 2 February 2021.

The Government thanks Professor Dasgupta for his independent Review on the Economics of Biodiversity, and its considerable contribution to the important issue of global biodiversity loss. Protecting and enhancing our natural assets, and the biodiversity that underpins them, is crucial to achieving a sustainable, resilient economy. The Government will draw on the strong intellectual basis provided by the Review to drive the ambitious change and investment needed to protect and enhance the natural environment.

The UK Government has recently taken numerous actions to address biodiversity loss including: announcing support for a global target to protect 30% of the world’s land and ocean by 2030; committing to protect 30% of the UK’s land by 2030; committing to invest at least £3 billion over five years in climate change solutions that protect and restore nature and biodiversity; launching the £640 million Nature for Climate Fund to plant more than 40 million trees and restore 35,000 hectares of peatland in England; legislating to prevent illegal deforestation in the supply chains of large UK companies; pioneering the Leaders Pledge for Nature, which has now been signed by 82 countries; and strengthening Government guidelines for policy appraisal to ensure environmental impacts are taken into account.

The Government will examine the Review’s findings closely and respond formally in due course on the ways in which the government intends to draw and build on the Review, both domestically and internationally.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Prime Minister’s answer to oral question 911441 on 27 January 2021, what the timetable is for the Government to ban all plastic waste exports to non-OECD countries.

The UK Government stated its ambition to ban exports of plastic waste to non-OECD countries in its manifesto, published in November 2019. The Government has committed to consult on this measure and work is underway to make this happen. Defra has commissioned research to better understand plastic waste recycling capacity in the UK and OECD member countries and this research will be key to the development of policy options to implement the manifesto commitment. We currently plan to consult before the end of 2022 on options to deliver the proposed ban.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the capacity of natural systems in (a) the UK and (b) globally to deliver the objectives of the Paris Agreement through permanently absorbing CO2 emissions while (i) enhancing biodiversity and (ii) respecting land rights.

Land use is a devolved matter and the information on nature, land and biodiversity policy relates to England only. Trade and overseas aid are not devolved.

The UK Government’s environmental strategy is defined in a set of goals within the 25 Year Environment Plan (YEP). Mitigating and adapting to climate change are one of the ten goals in the 25 YEP, and are embedded into other goals, such as thriving plants and wildlife. The Government also committed to climate change mitigation and adaptation through its 2050 Net Zero Target, Clean Growth strategy, and the National Adaptation Programme within the UK Climate Change Act.

The Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP26 provide excellent opportunities to drive ambition on taking an integrated approach to tackling the interlinked crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. This will be hugely important if we are to deliver the step-change needed to tackle these global issues. By making ‘nature’ a key focus of COP26 in Glasgow, we hope to demonstrate that Nature Based Solutions (NBS) can deliver multiple benefits for climate, biodiversity, and people, and can therefore play a critical role in tackling these interrelated crises in an integrated way.

The UK is also a member of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

Domestic NBS

NBS can also play a role domestically in achieving our carbon reduction targets and in helping us adapt to climate change. Our assessment is that on land: restoring degraded peatlands; appropriately implementing multi-purpose woodlands and protecting them; and restoring or recreating wetland and coastal habitats will offer the greatest benefits for tackling climate change, whilst also benefitting biodiversity and livelihoods. More information can be found in the report titled ‘Implementation of an Emissions Inventory for UK Peatlands’ (2017) and in the package of measures to protect England's landscapes and nature-based solutions the Government will be setting out this year.

The Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) projections for the UK and England (UK National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory) provide estimates of LULUCF greenhouse gas (GHG) removals to 2050 from existing policy and alternative, stretching scenarios. The assumptions underlying the scenarios were developed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with input from the Forestry Commission, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Devolved Administrations (DAs) and LULUCF experts. The scenarios are designed to explore the magnitude of the changes in net emissions that could potentially be produced by LULUCF activities in the future, taking into account current land use policies and/or aspirations.


In December, the Government issued a call for evidence to strengthen the evidence base on the role of greenhouse gas removal (GGR) methods, including NBS, in meeting net zero. This call for evidence closes on 26 February 2021.

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NBS globally

NBS offer a mechanism by which biodiversity loss, climate change and poverty can be addressed in a sustainable way and are therefore central to the delivery of the global Sustainable Development Goals.

The UK recognises the crucial role of NBS for climate mitigation and adaptation. They have the potential to cost-effectively deliver up to one third of global climate mitigation required by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals, while also providing adaptation benefits and delivering wins for biodiversity and sustainable development.

The UK is already contributing to NBS internationally through its Official Development Assistance, including through its International Climate Finance. The Prime Minister committed in 2019 to double the UK’s public ICF to at least £11.6 billion between 2021 and 2025 to help developing countries tackle climate change.

The UK committed to spending at least £3bn of our International Climate Finance on climate change solutions that protect and restore nature and biodiversity over the next five years.

The Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Regulation establishes a licensing scheme to improve the supply of legal timber. The regulation is underpinned by Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), which are bilateral trade agreements between the UK and a timber-exporting country. The benefits of a VPA can include reduced corruption, strengthened forest sector governance, support for forest-dependent people’s livelihoods, avoided deforestation and associated greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss, and avoided loss of Government revenues through illegal activity. Whilst VPAs are voluntary for timber-exporting countries, a VPA is legally binding on both sides once it has entered into force.

Permanence

Due to the reversibility of carbon stored within growing and harvested biomass, Defra notes that NBS for climate mitigation purposes are not a replacement for reducing carbon emissions at source and that both carbon emissions reductions and nature-based solutions for climate change should be pursued. This is because carbon in natural systems can be released either purposefully or through unplanned disturbances such as fire, flooding and disease. As such, Defra is particularly interested in developing policies which look to protect existing carbon stocks and prevent reversal of stored carbon.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how the process for taking the decision to approve an emergency authorisation of neonicotinoid thiamethoxam for the treatment of sugar beet seed in 2021 complies with the Aarhus Convention requirements to (a) make environmental information available to the public in a way that is transparent and accessible and (b) inform the public early in the decision making process and provide for their adequate participation in the decision making process; and if he will make a statement.

The decision followed the normal process for emergency authorisations, as provided for in Regulation (EC) 1107/2009. The regulation provides a comprehensive framework for the assessment of applications for emergency authorisation, including mechanisms for the assessment of risks to human or animal health, or the environment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to enable the independent review of emergency authorisations of pesticide use following the conclusion of the transition period.

All applications for emergency authorisation follow the same process within the legal framework. Each application for emergency authorisation is assessed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), with independent scientific advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP). Pesticides regulation is devolved and so each of the four UK administrations may take a decision on applications for emergency authorisation within their territory or may leave the decision with HSE. There are no plans to alter these arrangements following the end of the transition period.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to (a) attach conditions limiting vessel size on fishing vessel licenses to 100m in length in the UK’s Marine Protected Areas and (b) publish a timeline for implementing those conditions.

As an independent Coastal State, we can now review which vessels, including supertrawlers, can access and fish our waters. The new licensing framework within the Fisheries Act allows us to apply conditions to the activities of all fishing vessels in our waters - regardless of their nationality – and will need to abide by UK rules around sustainability and access to our ‘Blue Belt’ of protected waters.

The activity of ‘supertrawlers’ is managed in the same way as all fishing vessels. The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) closely monitors vessels, including large trawlers, when fishing in English waters. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are set up to protect specific seabed habitats and species. Supertrawlers are pelagic trawlers whose nets do not touch the seabed, so generally don’t cause damage to seabed features. MPAs, being protection of specific locations, usually aren’t a suitable conservation mechanism for the highly mobile fish which supertrawlers are catching. Measures that will work to protect those fish need to apply across their full range, such as quotas.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential environmental effect of Cruiser SB neonicotinoid dressed seed on sugar beet in the UK in spring 2021; what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect on (a) bees, (b) birds and mammals and (c) aquatic organisms of that neonicotinoid; and whether he asked for the advice of the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides on the use of that neonicotinoid.

Article 53 of Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 allows countries, under certain circumstances, to consider authorising the use of a plant protection product for a period not exceeding 120 days, for a limited and controlled use where such a measure is necessary because of a danger which cannot be contained by any other means.

An application has recently been made under this legislation for an emergency authorisation for Cruiser SB as a seed treatment for use on sugar beet. As is normal for emergency authorisation applications, a full assessment, including an assessment of environmental risks, has been carried out by the Health and Safety Executive and advice has been sought from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides. A decision will be taken by Ministers shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has received information on the decision by Facebook and Twitter to ban social media platforms financed by Safari Club International on the grounds that they were seeking to influence the outcome of his Department’s consultation on controls on the import and export of hunting trophies; whether he plans to take steps to ensure that that consultation process has not been compromised; and if he will make a statement.

My department is aware of the action taken by some social media platforms relating to the spread of misinformation in respect to trophy hunting. Trophy hunting is a topic that provokes strong views, reflected by the fact we received a large number of responses from members of the public and stakeholders. Our consultation and call for evidence process is robust and Defra follows best practice guidelines. We have considered all views expressed and evidence submitted in response to the consultation and call for evidence and we have no reason to suspect the process has been compromised. We will respond to the consultation and outline the next steps as soon as possible.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the National Farmers Union on the use of Cruiser SB neonicotinoid dressed seed on sugar beet in the UK in spring 2021.

Defra meets regularly with the National Farmers Union, as we do with other major stakeholders. These meetings cover topics of current interest including, on occasion, issues faced by sugar beet growers. This is separate from the documented regulatory process of assessment and decision-making, led by the Health and Safety Executive, for the application for an emergency authorisation for the use of Cruiser SB.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 enable the Forestry Commission to reverse a decision on a tree planting project (a) that has been made incorrectly and (b) where previously withheld evidence has come to light; and if he will make a statement.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 do not provide for Opinions or Assessments made by the Forestry Commissioners to be amended or repealed.

A proposer’s application for a relevant forestry project to the Forestry Commissioners for their Opinion, or the proposer’s Notification of the project, once assessed, may result in a decision that consent under the regulations is not required. This decision is based on evaluating all the evidence available at the time.

Where an assessment of a relevant forestry project results in a decision that consent under the regulations is required the applicant must provide an Environmental Statement before the project is determined.

An applicant for consent may appeal the decision where consent has been refused or additional conditions have been imposed. Anyone aggrieved by the granting of consent can make an application to the High Court to have the consent quashed in specific circumstances.

To help ensure that all relevant evidence is available when decisions are made on tree planting projects, the Forestry Commission has recently published a new Priority Habitat Identification Booklet, which makes clear the onus on developers of woodland creation proposals to identify priority habitats, is training staff on this, and is appointing three new ecologists who will help to ensure that biodiversity interests are identified. Natural England is also working with the Botanical Society of the British Isles and the Woodland Trust on a method which uses more up-to-date and comprehensive plant data to identify high-quality habitats to inform woodland planning decisions.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what role (a) his Department (b) the Forestry Commission (c) Natural England (d) any other relevant bodies play in ensuring (a) deep peat and (b) other valuable wildlife habitats are not damaged by tree planting.

The Forestry Commission is the lead department for the approval of woodland creation projects. It assesses forestry projects under the Environmental Impact Assessment Forestry Regulations to determine if they require consent under these regulations. Forestry Commission’s approval of forestry schemes is underpinned by the UK Forestry Standard. This states that there will be no new afforestation on peat that is deeper than 50cm and that the minimum amount of soil disturbance should be made during cultivation and site preparation for tree planting, particularly on organic rich soils. There is also a presumption against woodland creation on priority non-woodland habitat because of the value of those non-woodland habitats in their own right.

Woodland creation schemes above a certain threshold assessed by the Forestry Commission also require applicants to gather evidence as part of scheme development from relevant environmental bodies, such as Natural England and Wildlife Trusts. These organisations can consider proposals against their own knowledge and data sets. As the statutory nature conservation adviser, Natural England provides expert ecological advice to Forestry Commission on the likely significance of impacts associated with woodland creation affecting Protected Sites and on priority habitats and species, including those dependent on peatlands. The Forestry Commission also places all woodland creation schemes on their ‘Public Register’ which offers interested parties an opportunity to identify special features such as important habitats that may not have been identified at any previous point in the approval process.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reasons Natural England has the power under the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations to require a site to be restored if environmental damage has been caused by agricultural expansion but the Forestry Commission does not have that power if environmental damage is caused by forestry expansion.

The Forestry Commission does have powers under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Forestry Regulations to require site restoration in cases where activities that required consent have been undertaken without the required consent.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of Forestry Commission’s Forester GIS online mapping system to identify areas of non-designated but high wildlife, habitat or environmental value when assessing applications for tree planting.

The Forestry Commission (FC) is working with Natural England to ensure that those proposing forestry projects such as woodland creation do have access to the appropriate environmental data to help inform their proposals. The FC’s online map browser and Land Information Search (LIS) focusses on data more relevant to forestry activity, whereas the Defra Multi Agency Geographic Information [for the] Countryside (MAGIC) is a more general rural environment Geographic Information System portal. The FC’s map browser and LIS is currently being reviewed to ensure that it is able to access as many of the relevant publicly available datasets as possible, particularly those related to soils, valuable habitats and important wildlife populations.

The FC is also working with other bodies across Defra to provide new data on issues that regularly affect forestry projects and woodland activity, such as on water catchments.

Geographical Information datasets can only ever be indicative. There is no substitute for field visits and assessments of extant biodiversity interests by qualified ecologists. To that end, the FC has published a new priority habitat identification booklet and is appointing additional ecologists.

Natural England are currently working with key data holders, including the Botanical Society of the British Isles, on methods to ensure important natural habitats are better identified and protected. They are also working with the FC to ensure all future woodland creation applications are subject to the necessary scrutiny.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the (a) adequacy and (b) comprehensiveness of the priority habitat inventory on the Multi-Agency Geographic Information for the Countryside website.

The Priority Habitats Inventory, published on the MAGIC website, describes the distribution of 24 habitats of nature conservation importance identified in Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (2006). The data underpinning the mapping have been compiled over a 40-year period from multiple sources including:

  • Targeted field surveys;
  • Habitat data captured to support the designation and management of protected Sites of Special Scientific Interest;
  • Farm Environmental Audits completed to support delivery of Environmental Land Management Schemes and associated Scheme monitoring work;
  • Data supplied by environmental stakeholder and partner organisations, where made available under appropriate license.

The Priority Habitats Inventory provides the best representation we have on an England-wide scale of the location and extent of the priority habitats, produced using openly available data. As a compilation of data, gathered from many sources over a lengthy timescale, it is not comprehensive.

To support Defra's objectives set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan and address these issues, Defra has set up the Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment pilot. This is working across the Defra group to develop and improve our natural capital, habitat and ecosystem mapping and evidence. It includes work to produce Living England, a new comprehensive map of England's habitats, produced from interpretation of satellite data, which we will be able to be updated on a regular basis. It also includes work to enhance the existing Priority Habitats Inventory by improving the update process, collecting new priority habitat data, sourcing and adding additional habitat datasets held by partner organisations, and updating the Ancient Woodland Inventory.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the (a) analysis and (b) recommendations of the Global Biodiversity Outlook Report 5, published on 15 September 2020, (i) on biodiversity loss, (ii) on human encroachment and destruction of ecosystems, as increasing the risk of emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases and (iii) on a biodiversity-inclusive One Health transition.

The GBO5 report is being used to inform our work both internationally and domestically. It provides a comprehensive assessment of progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and its findings will be fully considered by all Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the 24th meeting of Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice. This in turn will inform the ongoing development of post 2020 biodiversity targets which are due to be agreed at CBD CoP15 next year. The UK is committed to the adoption of ambitious post 2020 biodiversity targets that will address the destruction of ecosystems as a driver of biodiversity loss and a contribution to the emergence zoonotic diseases. The GBO5 will also be one of a number of reports which will assist in bringing nature to the forefront of discussions at UNFCCC COP26, which we will host in November next year.

At home the report points to the need for enhanced implementation. In England, the 25 Year Environment Plan marked a step-change in our ambition, and we are already taking action to implement that. We are putting in place the legislative framework for nature recovery through the Environment Bill, including provisions for legally binding targets on biodiversity and the wider environment. We are increasing funding for nature's recovery, investing in green jobs, woodland expansion and peatland restoration. We are developing a new Environmental Land Management scheme that will reward farmers and land managers for delivering environmental public goods, including thriving plants and wildlife.

Our support for international action to address the causes of the current pandemic and minimise future zoonotic disease emergence and spill over, along with the need for the One Health approach to take proper account of environmental health, will be informed by the report and many other scientific reviews.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect on job creation of investment in nature restoration in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

The department considers a range of potential impacts of its policies relating to the natural environment, including the anticipated economic impacts, on a case by case basis.

We recently launched the Green Recovery Challenge Fund to invest in a range of nature projects across England as part of our green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has now confirmed that it will double the size of the fund by making an additional £40 million available. This could create and retain thousands of jobs, depending on the projects chosen.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of the number of hectares of new wildlife habitat that will be created under the £40 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund will kick-start a pipeline of nature-based projects across England. This will include the creation of new wildlife habitat, in addition to a range of other outcomes such as species protection, nature-based solutions to climate change, connecting people with nature, and creating and retaining jobs.

We cannot yet confirm the successful projects and the outputs they will deliver. However, following the success of the first round, an additional £40 million is being invested in the fund, increasing the contribution the fund will make to the creation of new wildlife habitat across England.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of the number of jobs in the UK conservation sector (a) (i) safeguarded and (ii) created through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund and (b) (i) at risk and (ii) lost as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

My department keeps under review the financial health of Defra-related sectors, including the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on jobs in these sectors.

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund will create and retain jobs in the conservation sector in England, while also delivering against a range of environmental outcomes.

The Government has recently confirmed that it will double the size of the fund by making an additional £40 million available. This could create and retain thousands of jobs, depending on the projects chosen for grant awards.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the £40 million allocated to the Green Recovery Challenge Fund to support that fund achieve its objectives in relation to (a) safeguarding current conservation jobs, (b) creating new jobs and training opportunities and (c) rolling out new projects to restore nature; and if he will make a statement.

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is part of the Government's wider green economic recovery, jobs and skills package. It brings forward funding for environmental charities and their partners to start work on projects across England to restore nature, tackle climate change and connect people with the natural environment.

I am very pleased that the fund has received a high-level of interest, and the Government has now confirmed that it will double the size of the fund by making an additional £40 million available. The projects funded will create and retain thousands of green jobs while delivering against the goals of the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan. We anticipate that we will be able to announce the first round of grant awards by the end of this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what safeguards he plans to put in place to ensure that the interim environmental governance arrangements required before the Office for Environmental Protection becomes legally operational are independent of Government.

The Interim Environmental Governance Secretariat will be hosted in Defra and will operate from the start of next year until the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) can begin its statutory functions. The interim arrangements will support the OEP Chair once the chair has been identified following a regulated public appointments process; and the interim arrangements will be under the guidance of both the Chair and the non-executive Board members once they have been confirmed in place as designates until Royal Assent. There will be staff designated to the Secretariat for this purpose and we are planning for them to work with propriety in handling public complaints that can then be handed to the OEP once it is live.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) staff resources and (b) funding he plans to make available to the interim environmental governance arrangements required before the Office for Environmental Protection becomes legally operational.

The Secretary of State has asked officials to assemble a team of staff from within Defra group, funded from the department’s budget, to receive and validate complaints against the criteria for complaining to the Office for Environmental Protection.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether members of the public will be able to submit complaints on potential breaches of environmental law via a complaints management system that will be operational from 1 January 2021 and operated independently from GOV.UK.

The interim arrangements will allow individuals to submit complaints from the end of the transition period, and we are developing a robust system to handle these complaints. We anticipate providing information about the interim arrangements and the complaints system through GOV.UK.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2020 Question 57161, what assessment he has made of the effect of the (a) timetable for the Environment Bill and (b) covid-19 outbreak on the public appointments timescales for the board of the proposed Office for Environmental Protection.

The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) Chair and Non-Executive Director (NED) campaigns have accounted for potential changes to the timetable of the Environment Bill. The published Chair candidate pack outlined that should there be a delay to Royal Assent, then the chair would be appointed to Defra as the “OEP Chair Designate.” They would then transfer to the OEP as Chair upon Royal Assent. This arrangement will also be mirrored in the NED campaign pack. The Chair Designate (and subsequently NED Designates) would therefore be available to be involved in activities to support the OEP and any interim arrangements. We do not anticipate that COVID-19 will have any further impact on the OEP public appointment timescales.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to publish the full, open public consultation on the Government’s policy statement on environmental principles that his Department committed to in December 2018.

We plan to publish a draft version of the Environmental Principles Policy Statement for consultation in late 2020. We expect this consultation to last 12 weeks.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how serious breaches of environmental law will be enforced in the time period between the end of the transition period and the Office for Environmental Protection becoming legally operational.

Members of the public will be able to submit complaints about alleged failures of public authorities to comply with environmental law from the start of next year to Defra’s Interim Environmental Governance Secretariat, which will be passed to the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) once established. The OEP will then be able to use its legal powers to investigate complaints reported to the interim arrangements from 1 January 2021, and could take enforcement action against serious failures if necessary. It will therefore be possible for the OEP to hold public authorities to account in relation to any failures alleged to have occurred after the end of the transition period.

The role of the interim arrangements is to provide this continuity, not take legal decisions. These will then be matters for the OEP to determine, as an independent legal entity, in accordance with its legal powers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 14 February 2019 to Question 218781 on Animal welfare sentencing and recognition of sentience, what his timetable is for the introduction of legislative requirements relating to animal sentience and to increasing the maximum penalties for animal cruelty; what the outcome was of engagement with stakeholders to further refine the Government's proposals on animal sentience; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to further strengthening our world-leading animal welfare standards and fully supports increasing the maximum custodial sentences for animal cruelty offences from six months to five years. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill was introduced into the House of Commons by Chris Loder MP on 5 February. Second Reading is due on 23 October. The Government will continue to support it as it makes its way through Parliament.

We have committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in an effective and credible way and will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows. In the meantime, Defra is continuing to engage closely with stakeholders to further refine the Government's proposals on animal sentience.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to Answer of 25 September to Written Question 90996, if he will place a copy of the correspondence dated 9th June 2020 from the Committee on Climate Change in the Library of the House of Commons.

A copy of my correspondence with the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) shall be placed in the Library of the House of Commons.

The correspondence states the following:

The Government welcomes CCC support. We have always been clear of the need to phase out burning of protected blanket bog to conserve these vulnerable habitats. We are currently looking at how legislation could achieve this and considering next steps.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether badger culling is (a) permitted to take place and (b) taking place on Forestry Commission land; and if he will make a statement.

For security reasons we do not comment on specific activities or licences for licensed badger control. Natural England has published this year’s badger control licenses on gov.uk which can be accessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/bovine-tb-controlling-the-risk-of-bovine-tb-from-badgers

The Forestry Commission would handle requests for access from applicants for a Natural England licence in the same way they do for all other requests to access. If access permission was given it would not automatically mean badger disease control activity would be carried out on land they manage.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential effects of ending the one-out-all-out rule for rivers for (a) ecosystems and wildlife and (b) people who use rivers for leisure purposes.

We have not made such an assessment as there are no plans to end the one-out-all-out principle which forms part of the current regulatory framework. However, we are willing to consider further methods to overcome any shortcomings associated with using only one composite assessment in our work on improving the water environment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to introduce new metrics to measure improvements in individual aspects of water quality in (a) rivers and (b) other inland freshwater bodies.

Last year, the Government published an indicator framework designed to describe and measure progress towards the 10 goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan, including the goal of clean and plentiful water and the target to return 75% of our surface water to as close as possible to its natural condition, as soon as is practicable. Seven of the 66 indicators, such as pollution loads entering water, specifically cover changes to the water environment. There is always room to refine environmental metrics. The indicator framework serves as a new basis to improve metrics to monitor changes in the natural environment and ensure that we are taking appropriate action.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a long-term target to improve quality of freshwater that includes (a) the extent of waters achieving high ecological status, (b) an inland bathing standard, (c) small waters such as headwater streams, small lakes, ponds and ditches and wetland habitats that are not currently covered by the Water Framework Directive; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has introduced a long-term target to bring three quarters of England’s rivers and other surface water to as close as possible to their natural condition, as soon as is practicable. This equates to good ecological status.

Inland bathing waters are currenty assessed to the standards set out in the Bathing Water Regulations (2013). They apply where bathing water designations are made following applications from interested parties using the established process. To date only a small number of inland lakes have been designated as bathing waters although Defra is currently consulting on an application for bathing water status in a stretch of the River Wharfe at Ilkley.

We recognise that small water bodies are an important component of the aquatic environment. Whilst headwaters should broadly be in as good a condition as the rivers they feed into, the science is not developed enough to allow target setting for the diverse range of headwaters, nor the other types of small water bodies. The Environment Agency is planning to start wider monitoring in some headwater and smaller streams next year as part of its new River Surveillance Network.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 64285 on chemicals: regulation, by when she plans that (a) the Health & Safety Executive and (b) the Environment Agency will be fully staffed to deliver the post-transition Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals.

We have been working closely with the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency and are confident that they will have the right resources in place to carry out their responsibilities in relation to REACH from 1 January 2021. Further recruitment is planned after the end of the Transition Period to ensure both organisations have the right capability and capacity for anticipated increase in work load over the coming years. We will keep this situation under review and make further resources available as needed subject to the outcome of the Spending Review.

Training for staff recruited over the past 18 months has been ongoing and planning for new recruitment includes training time ahead of peaks in workload. There will be a comprehensive training plan for new recruits. The length of time to train individual new recruits will depend on the nature of the role and the background and skills of the successful candidates.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 64285 on Chemicals: Regulation, how many how many full-time equivalent staff the Government is recruiting; and how long it will take to train new recruits.

We have been working closely with the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency and are confident that they will have the right resources in place to carry out their responsibilities in relation to REACH from 1 January 2021. Further recruitment is planned after the end of the Transition Period to ensure both organisations have the right capability and capacity for anticipated increase in work load over the coming years. We will keep this situation under review and make further resources available as needed subject to the outcome of the Spending Review.

Training for staff recruited over the past 18 months has been ongoing and planning for new recruitment includes training time ahead of peaks in workload. There will be a comprehensive training plan for new recruits. The length of time to train individual new recruits will depend on the nature of the role and the background and skills of the successful candidates.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which (a) external organisations and (b) agencies have provided his Department with analysis on the effect on the UK farming sector of importing food with lower (i) animal welfare (ii) environmental or (iii) safety standards.

We have a very clear manifesto commitment that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental, animal welfare and food standards. In all trade agreements we negotiate, we will stand up for British farming and aim to secure new opportunities for the industry. We will always ensure that UK free trade agreements (FTAs) are fair and reciprocal, and that any ‘opening up’ does not cause an unwanted downturn for domestic producers.

We’ve been undertaking an extensive range of research and analysis to support our negotiations in all areas. There has been no specific assessment commissioned on the effect on the UK farming sector of importing food with lower animal welfare, environmental or safety standards. Defra is considering the interests of all farmers, producers and consumers in its future FTAs. The Government has undertaken engagement with individuals and businesses across the UK when designing its future trade policy, including public consultations on the UK Global Tariff and on future FTAs. Respondents included businesses, civil society and the general public.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 retains our standards on environmental protections, animal welfare, animal and plant health and food safety at the end of the transition period. This provides a firm basis for maintaining the same high level of protection for both domestic and imported products.

In July the Government established the Trade and Agriculture Commission, which brings together stakeholders across the industry, and the four UK nations, using their expertise to advise on how best the UK can seize new export opportunities, while ensuring animal welfare, food safety, and environmental standards in food production are not undermined.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what analysis his Department has commissioned on the effect on the UK farming sector of importing food with lower (a) animal welfare (b) environmental or (c) safety standards.

We have a very clear manifesto commitment that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental, animal welfare and food standards. In all trade agreements we negotiate, we will stand up for British farming and aim to secure new opportunities for the industry. We will always ensure that UK free trade agreements (FTAs) are fair and reciprocal, and that any ‘opening up’ does not cause an unwanted downturn for domestic producers.

We’ve been undertaking an extensive range of research and analysis to support our negotiations in all areas. There has been no specific assessment commissioned on the effect on the UK farming sector of importing food with lower animal welfare, environmental or safety standards. Defra is considering the interests of all farmers, producers and consumers in its future FTAs. The Government has undertaken engagement with individuals and businesses across the UK when designing its future trade policy, including public consultations on the UK Global Tariff and on future FTAs. Respondents included businesses, civil society and the general public.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 retains our standards on environmental protections, animal welfare, animal and plant health and food safety at the end of the transition period. This provides a firm basis for maintaining the same high level of protection for both domestic and imported products.

In July the Government established the Trade and Agriculture Commission, which brings together stakeholders across the industry, and the four UK nations, using their expertise to advise on how best the UK can seize new export opportunities, while ensuring animal welfare, food safety, and environmental standards in food production are not undermined.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish any correspondence he has had with the Committee on Climate Change in 2020 on the burning of peatland in the UK.

I am pleased to provide the hon. Member with a copy of my correspondence with the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) that I have forwarded to the hon. Member’s office.

The correspondence states the following:

The Government welcomes CCC support. We have always been clear of the need to phase out burning of protected blanket bog to conserve these vulnerable habitats. We are currently looking at how legislation could achieve this and considering next steps.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to implement the recommendation of the Committee on Climate Change on the UK’s planned Nationally Determined Contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The UK has committed to coming forward with an increased Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) well ahead of COP26. In setting the NDC the Government will take into account a range of factors and be informed by advice from the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 30 June 2020 to Question 63295 on Economic Growth: Environment Protection, and with reference to the Prime Minister’s speech of 30 June 2020, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of Project Speed on (a) regulations and (b) environmental protections; and what recent discussions he has had with the (i) Prime Minister and (ii) Chancellor of the Exchequer on amending (A) regulations and (B) environmental protections.

Project Speed provides an opportunity to achieve better outcomes for nature, in line with our manifesto and the 25 Year Environment Plan, while speeding up infrastructure delivery.

The Project is in the early stages. There has therefore been no specific assessment yet on the effect of amendments to environmental regulations; we will conduct such assessments as part of the usual policy-making process.

The Secretary of State frequently discusses a range of issues with the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to amend regulations and environmental protections in order to stimulate economic activity; what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on those plans; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has no current plans to amend regulations and environmental protections in order to stimulate economic activity.

However, as we rebuild our economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are working to deliver a fairer, greener and more resilient future. We will ramp up our world-leading work on our ambitious legislative agenda through our landmark Environment and Agricultural Bills. These bills will work hand in hand to protect and recover our precious natural environment and diverse ecosystems in line with our 25 Year Environment Plan to leave the environment in a better place than we have inherited it.

The net zero challenge remains and we need to transform our economy over the next three decades to end our contribution to climate change. In the UK we’ve already shown how to grow the economy while cutting emissions and we will continue to lead the world as we respond to the economic impacts of COVID-19 and develop our net zero strategy in advance of COP26.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that changes to regulations and environmental protections designed to stimulate economic activity do not undermine environmental targets set out in (a) the 25-Year Environment Plan, (b) the Environment Bill, (c) the Agriculture Bill and (d) net zero legislation.

The Government has no current plans to amend regulations and environmental protections in order to stimulate economic activity.

However, as we rebuild our economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are working to deliver a fairer, greener and more resilient future. We will ramp up our world-leading work on our ambitious legislative agenda through our landmark Environment and Agricultural Bills. These bills will work hand in hand to protect and recover our precious natural environment and diverse ecosystems in line with our 25 Year Environment Plan to leave the environment in a better place than we have inherited it.

The 25 Year Environment Plan will be adopted as the first statutory Environmental Improvement Plan under the Bill. The Environment Bill also creates a power to set long-term, legally-binding environmental targets. It requires Government to set, and achieve, at least one long-term target in four priority areas: air quality, biodiversity, water, and resource efficiency and waste reduction. We want them to be ambitious, credible, and supported by society. As a first step we expect to publish a Target Policy Paper over the coming months which will include further details about the target-setting process that we will be implementing.

The net zero challenge remains and we need to transform our economy over the next three decades to end our contribution to climate change. In the UK we’ve already shown how to grow the economy while cutting emissions and we will continue to lead the world as we respond to the economic impacts of COVID-19 and develop our net zero strategy in advance of COP26.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate his Department has made of the total area of farmland (a) in the UK and (b) abroad used to grow (i) fruit and vegetables for UK consumption, (ii) animal feed crops for UK use and (iii) bioenergy crops for UK use; and if he will make a statement.

The latest available areas of crops grown in the UK are in the table below. We do not collect any information on the end use of the crops so we are unable to quantify how much of this area is used for UK consumption. Similarly, we have no information on the areas grown abroad that are used for UK consumption (trade data is only based on volumes).

Year

Crop

Area (thousand hectares)

2019

Fruit and vegetables

149

2019

Animal feed crops(1)

412

2018

Bioenergy crops

94

Source: June 2019 Agricultural and Horticultural Survey, United Kingdom. Department for Transport Renewable Fuels Transport Obligation data.

Notes: (1) Animal feed crops include forage maize (England only), field beans and peas for harvesting dry, root crops, brassicas, fodder beet and all other crops for stockfeeding. Cereals are excluded as we are unable to split between animal feed and human uses.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the timetable for the consultation on the proposed policy statement on environmental principles as set out in the Environment Bill.

It is our intention to publish the timetable for the consultation on the proposed policy statement on environmental principles. In the meantime, the Explanatory Note published alongside the Environment Bill sets out the initial approach to the policy statement.

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