Charles Walker Portrait

Charles Walker

Conservative - Broxbourne

19,807 (42.4%) majority - 2019 General Election

First elected: 5th May 2005


Committee of Privileges
11th Oct 2022 - 4th Dec 2023
Committee on Standards
11th Oct 2022 - 4th Dec 2023
Liaison Committee (Commons)
6th Nov 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Panel of Chairs
22nd Jun 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Procedure Committee
12th Jul 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
31st Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Liaison Committee Sub-committee on the effectiveness and influence of the select committee system
13th Feb 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
10th Nov 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Liaison Committee (Commons)
10th Sep 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Procedure Committee
18th Jun 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Panel of Chairs
21st Jun 2010 - 3rd May 2017
Procedure Committee
17th Oct 2012 - 30th Mar 2015
Liaison Committee (Commons)
17th Oct 2012 - 30th Mar 2015
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
23rd Jun 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Public Administration Committee
26th Feb 2007 - 9th May 2011
Scottish Affairs Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 6th May 2010
Draft Marine Bill (Joint Committee)
8th May 2008 - 22nd Jul 2008


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Charles Walker has voted in 763 divisions, and 27 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 35 Conservative No votes vs 305 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 29 Conservative Aye votes vs 318 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 300 Noes - 318
22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 26 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 297
10 Feb 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 24 Conservative No votes vs 327 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 526 Noes - 24
9 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 318 Noes - 303
19 Jan 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 34 Conservative No votes vs 319 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 308
6 Jan 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative No votes vs 322 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 524 Noes - 16
1 Dec 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 53 Conservative No votes vs 290 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 291 Noes - 78
4 Nov 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 33 Conservative No votes vs 308 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 516 Noes - 38
21 Oct 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Conservative No votes vs 331 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 333 Noes - 1
21 Oct 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Conservative No votes vs 330 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 332 Noes - 4
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 42 Conservative No votes vs 298 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 82
6 Oct 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative No votes vs 285 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 287 Noes - 17
30 Sep 2020 - Coronavirus Act 2020 (Review of Temporary Provisions) - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 7 Conservative No votes vs 330 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 330 Noes - 24
2 Sep 2020 - Recall of MPs (Change of Party Affiliation) - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 41 Conservative No votes vs 47 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 55 Noes - 52
30 Nov 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 19 Conservative No votes vs 268 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 434 Noes - 23
30 Nov 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 32 Conservative No votes vs 259 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 36
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 38 Conservative No votes vs 271 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 441 Noes - 41
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 97 Conservative No votes vs 224 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 60 Conservative No votes vs 258 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
18 Oct 2022 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 4 Conservative Aye votes vs 282 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 235 Noes - 302
18 Oct 2022 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Conservative No votes vs 276 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 283 Noes - 234
22 Mar 2023 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Conservative No votes vs 288 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 296 Noes - 229
7 Mar 2023 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Conservative No votes vs 269 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 281 Noes - 236
7 Mar 2023 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Conservative No votes vs 271 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 280 Noes - 232
21 Feb 2024 - Ceasefire in Gaza - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 9 Conservative Aye votes vs 24 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 20 Noes - 212
22 May 2024 - Holocaust Memorial Bill - View Vote Context
Charles Walker voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 11 Conservative Aye votes vs 179 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 11 Noes - 182
View All Charles Walker 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
Edward Argar (Conservative)
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
(16 debate interactions)
Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)
(13 debate interactions)
Mark Spencer (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(11 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(62 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(31 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Public Order Act 2023
(1,528 words contributed)
Down Syndrome Act 2022
(1,407 words contributed)
Health and Care Act 2022
(964 words contributed)
Environment Act 2021
(858 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Charles Walker's debates

Broxbourne Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

As Parliament considers the Bill of Rights, the Government must reconsider including abortion rights in this Bill. Rights to abortion must be specifically protected in this legislation, especially as the Government has refused to rule out leaving the European Convention on Human Rights.


Latest EDMs signed by Charles Walker

Charles Walker has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Charles Walker, 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.


Charles Walker has not been granted any Urgent Questions

2 Adjournment Debates led by Charles Walker

Charles Walker has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


Latest 50 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will (a) list the calendar month for each year from 2004 to 2019 in which the most deaths attributed to seasonal flu occurred and (b) provide the figure for the number of flu deaths that fell within each of those months.

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

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government has made on ensuring that UK citizens living overseas retain the right to vote in UK general elections; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the Honourable Gentleman to my answer to PQ133213, published on 11 January 2021.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of the finding of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, published on 9 October 2020, that the average age of death from covid-19 is 82.4 years; and if he will make a statement.

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

24th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to support UK companies to make trade agreements with individual US states; and if she will make a statement.

The UK is strengthening trade ties with US states, including through Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs). We have signed MoUs with Indiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina – which, collectively, imported UK goods worth £4.2bn in 2022. We are engaging with further states – including Oklahoma, Utah, Texas, and California.

We are using MoUs to catalyse opportunities for UK businesses, such as helping them to access state government procurement markets.

We are also seeking to reduce state-level trade barriers, including by supporting recognition of professional qualifications – and were proud to host signature of the Architects’ Registration Board’s mutual recognition agreement with their US counterpart.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the cost of delivering an annual covid-19 vaccination programme in pill format and administered by injection; and if he will make statement.

At present the Government is not aware of any Covid-19 vaccines in pill format under consideration for regulatory authorisation by the MHRA.

As such, no such assessment of the cost of a vaccine in pill format has been made.

24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to introduce industry standardised smart meters for gas and electricity consumption; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has already implemented a common standard for smart electricity and gas meters in Great Britain, which is set out in the Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications (SMETS) and embedded within energy supplier licence conditions.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether there are (a) mothballed coal and (b) mothballed oil-fuelled power stations in the UK that could be brought back into emergency use; and if he will make a statement.

The Capacity Market is the government’s main mechanism for ensuring security of electricity supply. It secures the capacity needed to meet peak electricity demand in a range of scenarios through competitive, technology-neutral auctions. National Grid Electricity System Operator is the organisation responsible for balancing electricity supply and demand.

The decision on whether to return mothballed coal- and oil-fuelled power stations back into use is a commercial matter for the companies involved.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of how quickly the UK could increase gas produced and supplied to domestic customers by its offshore fields; and if he will make a statement.

Development of capacity in the upstream gas sector can take some years. The UK’s offshore gas sector is maximising production where possible, with output in recent months running at 90-100% of theoretical capacity, and this is expected to continue in the coming months.

New gas wells recently coming online have contributed to a small increase in UK gas production. Oil and Gas Authority projections suggest a further small increase may be seen in 2022 relative to 2021 levels, largely reflecting a planned maintenance shutdown of the Forties pipeline system in 2021 which temporarily reduced production.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support and invest in medical research charities, as part of the Government's ambition for the UK to be a global science superpower; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is aware of the challenges, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, that medical research charities are currently facing. We appreciate the globally recognised expertise of these charities, and the substantial contributions they make to our world-leading life sciences sector.

BEIS and the Department of Health and Social Care regularly discuss the impacts of Covid-19 on charity-funded research with the Association of Medical Research Charities. We are continuing to engage with them and receive intelligence on the impacts facing the sector, such as the challenges facing fundraising activities.

The Government already provides significant funding to charities’ research, for example through Research England’s Quality Related (QR) charity support funding. This year charity QR will amount to £204m, to support charity funded research in universities in England and equivalent support is provided in Scotland through devolved funding arrangements. Government has demonstrated its ambitions for research by committing £14.6bn to R&D next year.  This funding will support the life sciences sector within which Medical Research Charities operate alongside other research areas.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support the Government is providing to the development of nasal spray vaccines such as (a) the Open Orphan and Codagenix collaboration and (b) SaNOtize; and if he will make a statement.

There are over 300 COVID-19 vaccines in development around the world, in addition to the 7 vaccine candidates already secured for the UK. The Vaccine Taskforce is continuing to monitor vaccines in development globally.

Innovate UK is funding a number of COVID-19 vaccine projects with the aim to identify vaccines with alternative mechanisms of action and delivery, improved utility in low and middle-income countries, and greater scalability for mass manufacture.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance his Department is providing to businesses considering relocating overseas on domestic support that businesses might be able to access which could make remaining in the UK a more attractive option; and if he will make a statement.

The UK is one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business as is shown by our position as a leading destination for foreign direct investment. For example , commenting on the publication of the EY 2020 UK Attractiveness Survey, EY’s UK Chief Economist, Mark Gregory, said “The UK’s performance in attracting FDI in the digital economy in 2019 was impressive. The UK is the stand out digital economy in Europe, while UK R&D projects leapt to a decade-high”. Officials in the Department and across the Government stand ready to assist UK businesses keen to grow and make the most of their investments in the UK. Businesses wishing to do so should contact the Department’s enquiry line on 020 7215 5000 where they will receive assistance in contacting the relevant sector team that leads on their sector - in BEIS or in the correct alternative other government department.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to review the adequacy of the underwriting and risk processes required in advance of an offer being made of a loan under the (a) Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme Loan and (b) Bounce Back Loan Scheme; and if he will make a statement.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) are delegated schemes; meaning the decision to lend to a prospective borrower remains at the discretion of the lender. The rules of the schemes are overseen by the Government in conjunction with the British Business Bank.

CBILS is operated on the same basis as fully commercial loans, with lenders conducting the full range of checks they would usually make, subject to the specific eligibility requirements of the scheme. As part of the BBLS application process lenders undertake fraud checks, including Know Your Customer and Anti Money Laundering checks as required. Lenders do not undertake credit checks for BBLS applications and rely on the information provided by the borrower as part of the application. We continue to review the schemes to consider whether further measures can be introduced to reduce the risk of fraud.

The British Business Bank audits accredited lenders against their compliance with the scheme rules and can take action where lenders are not following the appropriate processes.

16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to review his decision on reopening beauty salons to ensure that facial services for women are provided on an equal footing to grooming services for men.

As set out in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement on 17 July, close contact services including treatments to the face are allowed to resume as of 1 August, as long as they operate in a COVID-secure way.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when (a) nail bars, (b) tanning salons, (c) beauticians and (d) tattoo parlours will re-open as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased; and if he will make a statement.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister made a statement to the House on 23 June where he announce that hairdressers and barbers in England will be able to reopen from 4 July, once they are following the COVID-secure guidelines.

Other close contact services, like tanning salons, beauticians, and tattoo parlours remain closed until further notice.

We are taking a phased, cautious approach to reopening our economy, working with businesses, trade associations and medical experts on the safest way to reopen close contact services like beauty salons, where there is often greater risk of transmission due to prolonged periods of face-to-face contact and close proximity between staff and customers.

We appreciate that this is difficult for some businesses, and we intend to allow close contact services, such as nail bars, to re-open as soon as it is safe to do so. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and every step is weighed against the evidence.

19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with so-called umbrella employment companies about waiving the obligation to fund the additional 12 per cent entitlement to holiday pay, to enable contractors of those companies to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Department has talked to a number of different groups and organisations in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), including representatives of umbrella companies.

Employment rights remain unchanged under the CJRS. Therefore, all workers’ right to holiday accrues to the extent and in the same way it did prior to being placed on to furlough under the CJRS, as provided by the individual’s statutory and contractual rights.

Employers are able to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant to cover wages paid to their workers, up to 80% of the worker’s usual pay. This includes payments made to a worker on annual leave, but where holiday pay owed exceeds the amount in the grant, the employer is required to make up the difference.

Further guidance to help employers manage holiday pay during Coronavirus is available on gov.uk.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government plans to compensate people who lost money as a result of the collapse of Football Index; and if she will make a statement.

The Government appreciates the significant impact that the collapse of the novel gambling product Football Index had on former customers. BetIndex, the company which operated Football Index, went into liquidation on 5 November. The process is continuing and it is likely that this will result in some amounts being reimbursed to creditors. There is no compensation scheme for losses caused by a gambling firm ceasing to operate and the government does not think it would be appropriate to use public funds for these purposes.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will extend the support available to the events and exhibition industry due to the ongoing impact of the covid-19 outbreak on that sector.

The government recognises the important contribution that events and exhibitions make to the UK’s culture and economy, and the significant challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented. We have engaged closely with the sectors affected and listened to their concerns throughout the pandemic. We continue to engage with Her Majesty's Treasury to ensure that support for the events sector remains a focus.

This government has provided significant financial support throughout the pandemic including extending the £1.57 billion package of support for the Culture Recovery Fund with £300 million of additional funding for 21/22, the biggest arts funding package in history. To date, over £1.2 billion has been allocated from the £2 billion Fund, reaching over 5,000 individual organisations and sites.

We would encourage businesses in the events sector to review the initiatives in the government’s support package. Information on the government’s support for businesses and employees can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many pieces of content his Department's Rapid Response Unit flagged to social media platforms in 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been vitally important that the public has accurate information and DCMS is leading work across Government to tackle disinformation.

The Counter Disinformation Unit brings together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities. The Unit’s primary function is to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and impact of disinformation and misinformation regarding COVID-19 and to work with partners to ensure appropriate action is taken. It would not be appropriate for the Unit to provide a running commentary on the volume of content flagged with social media platforms.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been working closely with social media platforms to quickly identify and help them respond to potentially harmful content on their platforms, including removing harmful content in line with their terms and conditions, and promoting authoritative sources of information.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many pieces of content the Counter Disinformation Cell flagged to social media platforms in 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been vitally important that the public has accurate information and DCMS is leading work across Government to tackle disinformation.

The Counter Disinformation Unit brings together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities. The Unit’s primary function is to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and impact of disinformation and misinformation regarding COVID-19 and to work with partners to ensure appropriate action is taken. It would not be appropriate for the Unit to provide a running commentary on the volume of content flagged with social media platforms.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been working closely with social media platforms to quickly identify and help them respond to potentially harmful content on their platforms, including removing harmful content in line with their terms and conditions, and promoting authoritative sources of information.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to reopen the conference, events and exhibitions industry as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased; and what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the safe reopening of that industry of the ability of conferences, exhibitions and events to use effective tracking and tracing as a result of the high proportion of pre-registered attendees at those events; and if he will make a statement.

The events industry and its suppliers have been severely affected by the current situation. I fully understand their desire for a reopening date.

Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are now allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate that it has followed the Covid-19 guidance.

From 1 August, exhibition and conference centres are allowed to show small groups (of up to 30 people with social distancing requirements) around to view the facilities and plan future events and to enable government-backed pilots to take place. They should not be open fully to host events more widely.

From 1 October, it is expected that events of all types (such as trade shows, consumer shows, exhibitions and conferences) will be allowed at a capacity allowing for compliance with social distancing. As with all aspects of the Government’s response to COVID-19, our decisions have been and will continue to be based on scientific evidence and public health assessments.

We have worked closely with events stakeholders through both the Visitor Economy and Events & Entertainment Working Groups to develop Covid-19 Secure reopening guidance for the business events industry. We continue to meet with the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel to discuss the specific issues facing the industry.

Since 11 July, a range of outdoor events have been able to take place - including agricultural shows, literary fairs and car boot sales.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to publish guidance on the opening of dance studios and other providers of activity for young and school-aged children; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister has set out a clear roadmap through which we can begin to resume normal activities safely. The content and timing of future steps, however, will be dependent on the risk posed by the virus.

We recognise that organisations need time to plan and implement guidance. As such, DCMS remains in close contact with its sectors and, as part of that, has launched the Recreation and Leisure taskforce which will support plans for recovery across DCMS sectors. This will be informed by eight working groups, including an Entertainment and Events Working Group and a Sport Working Group that will bring together representatives from the sector as well as medical advisors to develop advice and guidance on reopenings.

7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department collects data on the amount spent by local authorities on taxis used to transport children with an education, health and care plan to and from school.

The government does not collect the specific information requested. The legal responsibility for providing free home-to-school travel for eligible pupils sits with local authorities, who will hold any data available on the amount spent on taxis for children with an Education, Health and Care plan.

However, the government does publish local authority expenditure data based on Section 251 outturn returns, which includes total expenditure on home-to-school travel for children of compulsory school age where the travel is agreed for reasons of the child’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Local authorities spent a total of £1.25 billion in the 2022/23 financial year on this type of home-to-school travel. The data is available via the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/la-and-school-expenditure.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will review the financial support provided to foster carers in the context of the increases to the cost of living; and if he will make a statement.

The ‘Fostering Services: National Minimum Standards’, issued by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, under the Care Standards Act 2000, set out the expectations that are placed on foster parents and their agencies. We are clear that no one should be ‘out of pocket’ because of their fostering role and we expect all foster parents to receive at least the national minimum allowance (NMA) plus any agreed expenses to cover the full cost of caring for each child placed with them (standard 28).

The NMA is uprated annually, most recently in April 2022.

Foster carers also receive qualifying care relief that is made up of two parts: tax exemption on the first £10,000 shared equally among any foster carers in the same household and tax relief for every week a child is in their care.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether training organisations other than Further Education colleges offering English as an additional language (EAL) and LCL accredited qualifications can deliver courses under the Lifetime Skills Guarantee; and what guidance his Department has produced explaining how eligible training organisations register as a provider of courses through that Guarantee.

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee which my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced in September 2020, promises to help people across England get the skills they need at every stage of their life as we build back better from COVID-19. We know that now, more than ever, we need to invest in adult skills and training.

As part of this, the Free Courses for Jobs offer gives an estimated 11 million adults in England who are 24 and over and do not yet have A levels or equivalent qualifications the opportunity to take their first level 3 qualification for free. The courses available offer good wage outcomes and address skills needs in the economy, empowering adults with the tools they need to secure a better job.

Providers delivering to adult learners resident in areas not devolved to Mayoral Combined Authorities or the Greater London Authority can deliver level 3 qualifications included in the Lifetime Skills Guarantee if they have received funding for this offer via the recent Adult Education Budget (AEB) procurement, or if they have received funding for the offer via an Education and Skills Funding Agency grant. Any providers with an AEB grant, who did not receive funding for the offer due to a lack of historic delivery, have been able to request funding for first time delivery.

Providers seeking to deliver the qualifications in areas with devolved or delegated adult education functions should contact the relevant Mayoral Combined Authority.

Further details about the performance management and funding arrangements for this policy can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1010290/AEB_2021_to_2022_funding_rules_v2_FINALAugust2021.pdf.

Also under the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer.

In January 2021, we launched a procurement process for a second wave of Skills Bootcamps to be delivered through the 2021/22 financial year. This was open until 12 February to further education providers, employers, and other sector bodies across England. We have carefully evaluated the bids submitted through this competitive process and selected the highest-quality projects to be awarded funding. The list of Skills Bootcamps is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/free-courses-for-jobs. We will continue to update it as new Skills Bootcamps become available.

For learners requiring English for Speakers of Other Languages provision, we fully fund or co-fund adults through the AEB for courses and qualifications from pre-entry through to level 2. Full funding is also available through the AEB for learners who need English and maths skills (and have not previously attained a GCSE grade 4 or higher) to undertake a range of courses from entry level to level 2; and for adult learners with no or low digital skills to undertake new Essential Digital Skills qualifications at entry level and level 1.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether FE and apprenticeship training providers are (a) required to close and (b) may open in specific circumstances during the national covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021; and if he will make a statement.

Further education (FE) providers will remain open for on-site attendance to vulnerable students and the children of critical workers.

A small number of FE students and apprentices who would otherwise be completing their courses or apprenticeships in January, February or March are able to attend where it is not possible for their training or assessment to be completed remotely.

This includes:

  • Those who are due to do a licence to practise, or other occupational competence, assessment in January, February or March.
  • Those training for some critical worker roles, for example, engineering, health and social care, manufacturing technologies, nursing and subjects and vocations allied to medicine, transportation operations and maintenance, agriculture, education and training and building and construction (where this is connected to utilities and communications) that are due to complete in the next 3 months.

All other students will continue to learn remotely.

We will continue to review restrictions and will ensure that remaining students and apprentices return to face-to-face education as soon as possible.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking during the covid-19 outbreak to (a) help schools cover the additional costs incurred and (b) provide additional emergency funding to help meet exceptional costs that would otherwise have been met from schools' reserves where these have been exhausted during the covid-2019 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has provided a range of additional support to schools, on top of existing budgets, in relation the COVID-19 outbreak.

To cover unavoidable costs incurred between March and July 2020, schools have been eligible to claim for funding for three specific categories of spend:

  • 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 were not in school, where schools were 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 paid schools £102 million for all claims in the first claims window within the published scope of the fund, and we will shortly process claims made in the second window that was open in December.

In addition, last term the Department announced a COVID-19 Workforce Fund for schools and colleges, to help those with high staff absences and facing significant financial pressures to stay open. This has funded the costs of teacher absences over a threshold between 1 November 2020 until the end of the autumn term. We expect the schools claims form to be launched in spring 2021.

The Department will fund school and colleges which have remained open for costs relating to testing. We will publish a replacement workforce planning tool which will illustrate the levels of funding available.

In addition, the Department has provided schools with extensive support for online education during the COVID-19 outbreak, and will spend £1 billion over the 2020/21 academic year so that schools can support pupils to catch up.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, regardless of any periods of full or partial closure, with this year marking the first year of a three-year increase to core funding - the biggest in a decade. This will ensure they can continue to pay their staff and meet other regular financial commitments. Schools should use these existing resources when making arrangements for this academic year.

Ministers and officials continue to engage regularly with school leaders and their representatives on a wide range of issues around COVID-19, including discussions in relation to costs faced by schools at this time.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) steps he is taking and (b) guidance he has issued to ensure that drama schools that provide training as part of a recognised qualification can open for the teaching of coursework during the November 2020 period of covid-19 lockdown restrictions; and if he will make a statement.

On Saturday 31 October 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister announced New National Restrictions from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December to control the spread of COVID-19. On 4 November, the Department for Education published guidance for education and childcare settings on the impact of these restrictions. The guidance can be found through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-and-childcare-settings-new-national-restrictions-from-5-november-2020.

Schools that provide a full-time education should continue to remain open for all children and young people, as they have since the start of the autumn term, for the duration of the New National Restrictions. This includes schools that specialise in in drama, music and/or performing arts, such as Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Hertfordshire or the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology in Croydon.

Where provision is taking place outside of school, this provision should only operate where the provision is reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, search for work, or attend education or training, or where the provision is used for the purposes of respite care, including for vulnerable children. This includes provision by supplementary schools offering drama, music or performing arts activities for children and young people on a part-time basis.

Out-of-school activities that are primarily used by home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education (which can include supplementary schools, tuition centres or private tutors) may also continue to operate.

All other out of school activities, not being primarily used by parents for these purposes, should close for face-to-face provision but can offer remote education for the duration of the New National Restrictions.

Exams and other assessments for regulated qualifications, including regulated qualifications in the performing arts, can go ahead during the restrictions, so long as they are conducted in line with the public health guidance on autumn exams and the guidance specified by the relevant awarding organisation. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/responsibility-for-autumn-gcse-as-and-a-level-exam-series/public-health-arrangements-for-autumn-exams.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing people who have lost their job during the covid-19 pandemic to access Further Education foundation courses at the start of the January 2021 term; and if he will make a statement.

We want to ensure that a wide range of opportunities are available to people of all ages to meet their future skills needs. We have introduced a number of additional measures this year to support that ambition, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In April, we introduced the Skills Toolkit, an online platform which is already providing free courses to help individuals build the skills that are most sought after by employers. We have recently expanded the platform so that people can now choose from over 70 courses, covering digital, adult numeracy, employability and work readiness skills, which have been identified as the skills employers need the most. These courses will help people stay in work, or take up new jobs and opportunities.

In July, the Plan for Jobs was announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which includes incentives for employers to take on new apprentices, including those over 25, and an additional £17 million to triple the number of sector-based work academy programme (SWAP) placements in 2020/21, enough funding to support an extra 40,000 job seekers with additional training opportunities and the chance of a job.

In September, the Lifetime Skills Guarantee was announced by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister. It is aimed at adults, including those that have become unemployed, and measures include fully funding adults’ first full level 3 qualification and new digital bootcamps which will be available in 6 areas across the country from January. The bootcamp training courses will provide valuable skills based on employer demand and are linked to real job opportunities, helping participants to land jobs and employers to fill much-needed vacancies. We are planning to expand the bootcamps to more of the country from spring 2021 and we want to extend this model to include other technical skills training.

These measures will be funded by the £2.5 billion investment (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations), for the National Skills Fund to help adults learn valuable skills and prepare for the economy of the future. The guarantee also includes a Lifelong Loan Entitlement to provide individuals with an entitlement to 4 years of loan funding to use over their lifetime.

Anyone who becomes unemployed for whatever reason, is able to access a range of provision to meet their future skills needs, and funding for this will depend on age and prior attainment.

Our funding rules allow for flexibility in course delivery and it is up to individual colleges to determine enrolment times for students accessing their provision.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of restricting the exam curriculum for (a) GCSE and (b) A-Levels taken in Summer 2021 to reflect the attendance levels during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

It is a priority for the Department that there is a consistent approach to what is taught and will be assessed across schools. We know schools will be making every effort, including in areas where there is a high prevalence of COVID-19, to deliver high quality teaching, including through remote education. All schools are expected to plan to ensure any pupils educated at home for some of the time are given the support they need to master the curriculum and make good progress.

Changes to assessments in certain subjects, announced by Ofqual over the summer, will give schools and colleges extra time to plan teaching, and pupils extra time to study. The outcome of Ofqual’s consultation on summer 2021 exams is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposed-changes-to-the-assessment-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2021.

The Department will continue to work with Ofqual and engage widely with the education sector to identify risks to examinations at a national, local, and individual student level, and to consider measures needed to address any potential disruption. This could, for example, be a student unable to sit examinations, or schools affected by a local outbreak. More details will be published shortly.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will amend the guidance on the teaching of music in private homes during the covid-19 outbreak to ensure that it includes the private home of the (a) student and (b) teacher, and if he will make a statement.

Music teachers providing one-to-one tuition outside of a school or college setting are advised to provide tutoring online where possible. Where online lessons are not reasonably possible, face-to-face provision is permitted in specific circumstances.

As outlined in the guidance for education and childcare settings on new national restrictions from 5 November, out of school activities such as private tuition may continue to operate during the period of national restrictions, whether in a student’s home or a teacher’s home. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-and-childcare-settings-new-national-restrictions-from-5-november-2020#ooss. Teachers who are operating out of their own homes or private studios should ensure they are only being accessed for face to face provision by parents if their primary purpose is registered childcare, or where they are providing other activities for children, where it is reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, search for work, undertake training or education, or for the purposes of respite care.

Tutoring that is primarily used by home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education (which could include, for example, private tutors) may also continue to operate for face to face provision for the duration of the national restrictions.

Tutors that continue to operate face-to-face provision during this period should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in the protective measures for holiday clubs and after-school clubs and other out-of-school clubs for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak guidance, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. Providers operating out of other people’s homes should also implement the guidance on working safely in other people’s homes, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to inform schools of the outcome of their Condition Improvement Fund bid; and if he will make statement.

The outcome of the Condition Improvement Fund 2020-21 bidding round was announced on Monday 29 June. The list of successful applications can be found on here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/condition-improvement-fund-2020-to-2021-outcome

23rd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps in his Department's forthcoming national deer management strategy to help ensure the adequacy of (a) capacity to process deer carcasses if culling levels increase and (b) the supply of venison to the (i) private and (ii) public sector in the next five years.

Defra is working with stakeholders including Grown in Britain, game dealers and shooting and conservation associations to support development of the wild venison supply chain.

This includes facilitating an industry GB Wild Venison Working Group to improve sector resilience, develop branding, traceability and promote the British Quality Wild Venison Standard and exploring opportunities for more public procurement of wild venison, with the aim of increasing overall demand for wild venison. We are also providing funding towards wild venison related projects in a number of our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, through the Farming in Protected Landscapes scheme.

The forthcoming deer management strategy will set out actions that will go further in supporting domestic wild venison.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact of increased culling of wild deer on the capacity of the food processing sector.

We are working with the British Wild Venison Working Group, and others involved in the venison supply chain, to keep the situation under review to ensure that capacity to process deer carcases and increase supply of venison aligns with an increased effort to manage deer and reduce their impact on food crops, forestry and biodiversity.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of an (a) partial and (b) full exemption for (i) charter boats and (ii) recreational anglers of a future ban on pollock fishing following the recommendation of such a ban by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas.

On 30th June 2023 the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) issued zero-catch advice for pollack 6 and 7 for the first time. In the annual UK-EU negotiations on fishing opportunities, our approach to negotiating catch limits is based on the best available scientific advice, balanced with commitments to economic sustainability and providing opportunities for the UK fleet, consistent with the objectives of the Fisheries Act and Joint Fisheries Statement.

We are aware of the significant potential implications of a zero-catch fishery for pollack. In line with our approach to other zero-advice stocks, we negotiated an allocation of pollack to address unavoidable bycatch by the UK fleet, to avoid choking related fisheries.

While the evidence base is limited, the ICES advice for pollack in area 6 and 7 notes that recreational catch is likely to be a large component of the total catch. Further work is needed to explore the potential to reduce pressure on the stock through management of the recreational fishery, underpinned by data and the best available scientific evidence. This is in line with our commitments under the Joint Fisheries Statement, including ensuring that recreational sea fishing is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

As this is a jointly managed stock with the EU, we have committed to take forward work on this important issue in the Specialised Committee on Fisheries as a matter of urgency in 2024. We will work closely with the recreational sector throughout this process.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential impact of the Asian hornet on (a) the bee population and (b) the level of crop pollination.

The Government recognises the essential role played by honey bees and wild pollinators in our environment, acknowledging their contribution to crop pollination. All pollinators collectively contribute over £500 million annually to UK agriculture and food production by enhancing crop quality and quantity. Additionally, pollinators play a vital role in supporting the natural ecosystem.

Asian hornets prey on honey bees and other pollinators so pose a significant threat to the pollination services that these insects provide. To date rapid action has been taken in the UK to find and destroy Asian hornet nests. We would expect that there has been a localised impact on honey bee colonies and other pollinators. The Government remains committed to taking swift and effective contingency action in response to all credible sightings of Asian hornet.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has considered the potential merits of increasing the resources available to the National Bee Unit to support the (a) identification and (b) elimination of Asian hornet nests in 2024.

Recognising the invaluable role that the general beekeeping community and the public play in spotting Asian hornets, we ask everyone to look out for Asian hornets and to report any sightings through the Asian hornet app or online. This is a significant resource and supports the work of the National Bee Unit (NBU) in finding and destroying Asian hornet nests.

In 2023, the National Bee Unit (NBU) responded to credible sightings of Asian hornet, resulting in the location and destruction of 72 nests. During the peak period, operating as part of the broader Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), the NBU was able to utilise APHA resources to bolster its capacity as needed.

Looking ahead to 2024, it is difficult to predict the number of nests, but arrangements will be made to ensure that the NBU has access to wider resources.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate she has made of the size of England's deer herd; and if her Department will publish its projections for the size of England's deer herd in (a) 2024 and (b) 2025.

Natural England published A Review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals in 2018 that provides comprehensive review of the status of British mammal populations, including the six species of deer that exist in the wild in the UK, and gives estimates of their numbers: A Review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals - JP025 (naturalengland.org.uk)

There are no current plans to produce projections for the size of England's deer herd in 2024 or 2025. Sufficient evidence for increasing deer numbers comes from past surveys, the expansion of their geographic range, and the impact they have on our woodlands, crops and vehicles. Defra’s agencies and wider stakeholders consider that deer are more abundant and widespread now than at any time in the past 1,000 years.

13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to her Department's publication entitled Deer management strategy, published on 4 August 2022, what her Department's expected timescale is for responding to the consultation.

Consultation responses have been collated, analysed and fed into the development of the deer management strategy. I cannot provide an exact date for the publication of the Government response to the consultation, but I can reassure the Hon Member that it is being progressed and it is our intention to publish as soon as we are in a position to do so.

23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps she has taken to ensure that (a) publicly and (b) privately owned water and sewerage companies fulfil the duty to provide details of water abstraction and sewerage discharges to the public upon request; and if she will make a statement.

All data held by the Environment Agency on water abstractions, sewage treatment effluents or sewage related discharges is Environmental Information and available on request or in some cases is published on GOV.UK.

Water and sewerage companies have published Event and Duration Monitoring (EDM) data relating to sewage discharges annually since 2020 that can be found here. The 2022 data will be published at the end of March 2023.

Defra also publish a summary of water abstraction statistics. The most recent update was published in July 2022, including data up until 2018: Water abstraction statistics: England, 2000 to 2018 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the oral contribution of 2 February 2023 by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Official Report columns 543-544, when he plans to meet the Chief Executive of the Country Food Trust.

I would be happy to meet the Chief Executive of the Country Food Trust. I will ask my office to make the arrangements.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2021
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 work being undertaken by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation on (a) promoting lead free and environmentally sustainable shotgun and rifle ammunition and (b) the eventual voluntary phase out of lead ammunition in the next four years; and if he will make a statement.

I continue to welcome the British Association for Shooting and Conservation’s decision to promote the use of lead-free ammunition and its ambition to see an end to lead and single-use plastics in ammunition for taking live quarry within the next four years.

Lead is highly toxic and the majority of its potential uses are regulated to control exposure to humans and the environment. A large volume of lead ammunition is discharged every year over the countryside and research suggests up to a hundred thousand wildfowl die annually in the UK by lead poisoning from spent gunshot.

During debates on the Environment Bill, Defra Ministers recognised the importance of restricting the use of lead shot, and asked officials to look further into the most effective options for tackling the issue.

As a result, Defra has asked the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA) to prepare a UK REACH restriction dossier for lead ammunition. HSE and EA will examine the evidence of risks posed by it on human health and the environment and consider the case for introducing a restriction on lead in ammunition. The process will take approximately two years after which the Secretary of State (with the consent of Scottish and Welsh Ministers) will, on the basis of this review, make a decision on whether to further restrict the use of lead ammunition. These restrictions will explore a ban on the sale of lead shot as well as its use.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2021 to Question 25745 on Animal Products: Imports, what plans he has to incorporate the 2016 CITES resolution that well managed and sustainable trophy hunting is consistent with and contributes to species conservation, in any future domestic legislation on trophy hunting.

We are mindful of the importance of protecting our most threatened and endangered species and aware of the recommendations contained in CITES Resolution 17.9 on trade in hunting trophies of endangered species.

This Government is committed to halting and reversing global biodiversity loss and that is why we will ensure that our approach on hunting trophies will be comprehensive, robust and effective and will deliver the change we promised to help protect thousands of species worldwide. We will set out our plans soon.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to ensure that trophy hunting does not limit the ability of (a) private and (b) public landowners to engage in the culling of domestic deer stocks; and if he will make a statement.

Deer management in England and Wales is covered by the Deer Act (1991) which sets out, for example, close seasons and prohibited methods of control. This legislation aims to manage wild deer to achieve the best combination of benefits for the economy, environment, people and communities for now and for future generations. In addition, as set out in the recent English Tree Action Plan, we will develop a national deer management strategy for England.

This Government has also committed to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered species. Our approach will be comprehensive, robust and effective and will deliver the change we promised to help protect thousands of species worldwide. This action will not prevent landowners from culling deer in the UK. We will be setting out plans soon

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made for the implications of his policies of the 2016 CITES resolution that well managed and sustainable trophy hunting is consistent with and contributes to species conservation; and if he will make a statement.

This Government takes the conservation of endangered species very seriously, which is why we will be banning the import of hunting trophies from endangered species. Our approach will be comprehensive, robust and effective and will deliver the change we promised to help protect thousands of species worldwide. We held a consultation on this issue between 2 November 2019 and 25 February 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the publication of the Government response. We will be setting out our plans soon.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will provide a definition of sustainable abstraction in respect of removing water from chalk steam (a) aquifers and (b) rivers; and what criterion his Department takes into account in protecting such water environments from environmental damage.

Restoring England’s internationally important chalk streams is a Government priority.

The Environment Agency (EA) regulates abstraction from chalk streams and aquifers in the same way as from any other source. It set out its approach in a recent policy paper, Managing Water Abstraction.

An abstraction licence is unsustainable if:

  • the River Basin Management Plan actions cannot be achieved because:
    • it contributes to a reason for not achieving the water body flow objective
    • it has caused or contributed to deterioration against the current RBMP baseline
    • increasing abstraction within the limits of the licence risks deterioration
  • it is affecting or could affect a site designated under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017
  • it is affecting or could affect a site designated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (Sites of Special Scientific Interest)
  • it could compromise Biodiversity 2020 objectives

For rivers, the EA uses the Environmental Flow Indicator as the default flow required to support Good Ecological Status in water bodies and to prevent deterioration. For existing abstraction, local ecological evidence is used to show whether an abstraction is causing environmental damage.

For groundwater, the EA uses 4 tests to assess groundwater bodies:

  1. Groundwater balance - a numerical quantification based on fully licensed abstraction, recent actual abstraction and recharge.
  2. Check of the water resource availability of any rivers fed by the groundwater body.
  3. Assessment of any saline or other intrusions occurring within the unit because of groundwater abstraction.
  4. Check of the quality of any wetlands fed by the groundwater body.

The EA is developing long term plans to reduce our reliance on chalk streams. The publication of the CaBA Chalk Stream Restoration Strategy later this year will set out recommendations on how to restore and protect England’s chalk streams. The EA is committed to working with all chalk stream stakeholders to better understand what more it can do in both the short and long term to make a difference on the ground.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to secure guide dogs and other assistance dogs part one listed status under the Pet Passport Scheme to facilitate travel with dogs between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and across the EU; and if he will make a statement.

The health and documentary requirements for pet travel to the EU are set out under the EU Pet Travel Regulations. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, EU rules also apply to the non-commercial movements of pets into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. There are no derogations for assistance dogs under the legal framework of the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

I have previously stated that we will continue to press the EU Commission in relation to securing Part 1 listed status, recognising that achieving this would alleviate some of the new requirements for pet owners and assistance dog users travelling to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We are clear that we meet all the animal health requirements for this and we have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity.

Regarding pet travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Government is working with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) on a permanent solution which respects the rights of assistance dog users and pet owners to travel with the minimum of friction. Guidance on pet travel to Northern Ireland is available on the DAERA’s NIDirect website.

We are proactively engaging with the assistance dog community and relevant stakeholders on the impacts on dog movements from Great Britain to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We will continue to work closely with assistance dog organisations to share the latest advice and guidance (in accessible formats) with their members on pet travel requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General