Chris Loder

Conservative - West Dorset

First elected: 12th December 2019


Transport Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 17th Jul 2023
Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill
1st Mar 2023 - 8th Mar 2023


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Chris Loder has voted in 858 divisions, and 9 times against the majority of their Party.

1 Dec 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Chris Loder 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
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Chris Loder 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
2 Sep 2020 - Recall of MPs (Change of Party Affiliation) - View Vote Context
Chris Loder 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
24 Jun 2020 - Demonstrations (Abortion Clinics) - View Vote Context
Chris Loder voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 43 Conservative No votes vs 56 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 213 Noes - 47
13 May 2020 - Remote Division result: New Clause 2 - View Vote Context
Chris Loder voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Conservative Aye votes vs 326 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 277 Noes - 328
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Chris Loder 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
Chris Loder 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
Chris Loder voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 103 Conservative No votes vs 113 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 297 Noes - 110
7 Mar 2023 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Chris Loder voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 107 Conservative Aye votes vs 109 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 116 Noes - 299
View All Chris Loder 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
Andrew Selous (Conservative)
Second Church Estates Commissioner
(14 debate interactions)
Gavin Newlands (Scottish National Party)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport)
(10 debate interactions)
Neil O'Brien (Conservative)
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Legislation Debates
Environment Act 2021
(1,084 words contributed)
Agriculture Act 2020
(1,024 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Chris Loder's debates

West Dorset 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

Hundreds of thousands of people signed numerous petitions calling for actions that the Government has included in the Kept Animals Bill. The Government should urgently find time to allow the Bill to complete its journey through Parliament and become law.

Shooting of Badgers is licensed by Natural England as part of the DEFRA Badger cull. 24,000+ Badgers were shot in 2019.

EU law recognises animals as sentient beings, aware of their feelings and emotions. Animals are at risk of losing these vital legal protections, post-Brexit. We want a BetterDealForAnimals: a law that creates a duty for all Ministers in the UK to fully regard animal welfare in policy making.


Latest EDMs signed by Chris Loder

18th August 2021
Chris Loder signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Wednesday 18th August 2021

Legislative Reform (Church Commissioners) Order 2021 (S.I. 2021 No. 842)

Tabled by: Chris Loder (Conservative - West Dorset)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Legislative Reform (Church Commissioners) Order 2021 (S.I. 2021 No. 842), dated 13 July 2021, a copy of which was laid before this House on 27 July 2021, be annulled.
6 signatures
(Most recent: 18 Aug 2021)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 5
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Chris Loder's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Chris Loder, 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.


Chris Loder has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Chris Loder has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Chris Loder


A Bill to make provision about the mode of trial and maximum penalty for certain offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 29th April 2021 and was enacted into law.


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
5 Other Department Questions
10th Jan 2024
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what role Paula Vennells had in advising the Commissioners after 2019; and which committees she attended.

In the spring of 2019 the House of Bishops discussed why some of the recommendations of the Church Buildings Review, which was approved by the General Synod in November 2015, had not been implemented. Paula Vennells was subsequently asked by the Archbishops to undertake a lessons learnt review. During the course of the review its remit was expanded to look at the wider working together of the National Church Institutions (NCIs), including issues around organisational governance, leadership and culture. The report, ‘Church Buildings Review- Lessons Learnt’, was completed in October 2019 and Paula Vennells attended a meeting of the House of Bishops in December 2019 at which it was presented.

In February 2020 Paula Vennells was invited to attend the Church Commissioners Board of Governors for a discussion of the Lessons Learnt report, but she was unable to attend and the report was considered in her absence. The Lessons Learnt report was considered by the Archbishops’ Council in March 2020, again in the absence of Paula Vennells, who was invited but unable to attend.

In March 2020 the Archbishops established a Coordinating Group, to continue the work of the Triennium Funding Working Group, and to coordinate certain strands of national work for the Church during the Covid 19 pandemic. Paula Vennells was invited to join the Coordinating Group and to lead on the part focusing on Governance. She attended three meetings of the Group, in April, May and June 2020 and sent apologies to two further meetings in June and July, before withdrawing from the work. The Coordinating Group became what is now the Emerging Church Steering Group. A Governance Review group under the Chairmanship of the Bishop of Leeds proceeded from August 2020, without the involvement of Paula Vennells.

The Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) is convened and funded by the three National Investment Bodies, to whom it provides ethical investment advice. Paula Vennells was appointed to the EIAG by its Nominations Committee and was a member between March 2019 and April 2021. She attended two meetings, in March and October 2019, and sent apologies for meetings thereafter until she took leave of absence from the Group from June 2020, lasting until her resignation in April 2021. More information about the EIAG can be found here: Ethical Investment Advisory Group | The Church of England

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2022 to Question 101841 on Church of England: Public Relations, how much Lambeth Palace spent on public affairs in the financial year 2020-2021.

It is not possible to disaggregate expenditure on all public affairs activity from the overall total working costs for the Archbishop of Canterbury in the financial year 2020-21 without incurring disproportionate cost. During this period the public affairs team at Lambeth Palace comprised a social and public affairs adviser, research officer and a PA. The PA role will be reduced to half time in 2022.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, how much the Church of England spent on (a) public affairs and (b) reputation management organisations in financial year 2020-21.

It is not possible to give a cumulative figure for expenditure on public affairs for the Church of England, as each National Church Institution, diocese and parish is a separate charity and this information is not collected.

At a national level public affairs functions are not limited to a specific branch of the National Church Institutions. The Faith and Public Life team of the Archbishop’s Council (formerly MPA: the Mission and Public Affairs Division) handles much of the Church of England’s national engagement with Government, Parliament and policymakers but also has responsibility for work that is not public affairs. In the transition from MPA to the Faith and Public Life team under the Transforming Effectiveness process, the total number of NCI staff working in those public affairs roles has been cut.

The Archbishops’ Council Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2020 can be seen here: GS 2211 AC_annual_report_and_financial_statements_for_year_ended_31_December_2020.pdf (churchofengland.org)

The Church Commissioners for England Annual Report 2020 can be seen here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-06/Church%20Commissioners%20Annual%20Report%202020.pdf

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, how many services the Church of England has conducted specifically for the purposes of Baptising people seeking asylum in each of the last five years.

Data are not kept on the nationality or migration status of those who seek Baptism. The content of the rite of Baptism remains the same for all.
Clergy are required by canon law to ensure that all who come to Baptism as adults are given appropriate teaching on the tenets of the faith and in encouragement to private spiritual devotion. Therefore, the preparation process may require specific, lengthier input and instruction of some groups of candidates before the clergyperson is confident of the independent faith of each individual.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, how many clergy have taken their own lives in the last five years.

Records are not held centrally on the causes of death of clergy. The Church of England provides resources for those experiencing stress and signposts to other resources from charities and organisations able to help. Some more information is available here: Supporting clergy health and wellbeing | The Church of England As chief pastors in their dioceses, diocesan bishops ensure pastoral care is available to clergy and is provided when needed.

The Church of England is committed to supporting those individuals and organisations working to help those at risk of self-harm and suicide. At a parish level many clergy play a key role themselves in providing counselling, comfort and support to those at risk. All suicides are tragedies, and whilst causes will vary, the death of any member of the clergy through suicide will be a matter of profound concern and deep sadness for all in the church, their community and all who have a responsibility for their pastoral care.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of moving some of the civil service functions to West Dorset constituency.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster set out in his Ditchley Speech, the Government is determined to ensure the Civil Service is better distributed across the country. The Places for Growth Programme is working with departments and public bodies to firm up relocation plans and further details will be announced in due course. The Places for Growth programme is exploring opportunities across the whole of the UK.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
5th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of launching a consultation on the introduction of a social energy tariff.

A social tariff is fundamentally about supporting the most vulnerable with the cost of energy and this is what we have delivered. Between 2022-25 we are delivering a package of support worth £108 billion, or £3,800 per household on average.

In 2023-24 we have supported millions of vulnerable households with up to £900 in further cost-of-living payments. Despite the Quarter 2 2024 Ofgem price cap falling nearly 60% since its 2023 peak, we have committed to supporting households past April, by cutting National Insurance, and increasing benefits and the National Living Wage.

We have also been working with Ofgem on their new involuntary prepayment meter rules and a long-term solution to end the prepayment meter premium. I met with suppliers at the end of last year to outline my expectation that they support vulnerable customers and improve their customer service.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many UK citizens are currently imprisoned having been convicted of crimes in relation to the Post Office Horizon system.

Post Office has not prosecuted any cases relating to its Horizon system since 2015. According to Post Office’s records, no-one is currently imprisoned as a result of its historical prosecutions.

Records of cases prosecuted by the UK’s public prosecution agencies which may also relate to Horizon will be kept by the Crown Prosecution Service, Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service and the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland respectively.

Post Office has made those agencies aware of the concerns relating to Horizon and Judge Fraser’s findings in the recent Horizon court case.

14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what mechanism Ofcom use to test the accuracy of information reported to them by mobile operators in relation to Universal Service Obligations.

When determining whether a premises is eligible for the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO), Ofcom takes into account data from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) on the provision of a fixed wireless service over their networks. Broader mobile coverage is not taken into account.

As part of Ofcom’s Connected Nations report MNOs are formally asked to provide a list of the premises where they are able to offer a service that meets the broadband USO specification, excluding any premises where they do not have sufficient capacity to serve Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) users. Ofcom’s analysis is based on this list of premises. MNOs are required to provide data that is as accurate as possible, but individual circumstances may mean actual availability is unable to match the prediction.

Ofcom does not include Vodafone and O2 in this analysis. Vodafone has not provided an estimate of premise level coverage which factors in the capacity available for FWA users, and O2 currently does not offer a fixed wireless service.

In terms of accuracy of this data, Ofcom tested whether fixed wireless could deliver decent broadband. It measured and published FWA performance service on the EE 4G network as part of its USO work programme (Annex 1 Page 84).

Where a premises is indicated to have an available fixed wireless service that meets the USO specification but this turns out not to be the case, the customer is eligible to apply for the broadband USO.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the impact of lack of broadband and mobile connectivity on the ability to work remotely during the outbreak of covid-19.

The government understands that digital connectivity is more important than ever in light of Covid-19 and the need to work from home. Superfast broadband (speeds greater than 30 Mbps) is now available to 97% of UK homes and businesses, up from 50% in 2010 as a result of the government’s £2 billion Superfast Broadband Programme. This means the vast majority of premises already have access to speeds far in excess of those required for home-working.

In order to ensure all remaining premises are able to access the connectivity they need, the government has launched the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) in order to give every premises the legal right to request a decent, affordable broadband connection, providing download speeds of at least 10Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps. Ofcom has stated that a 10Mbps connection will allow multiple users to simultaneously use the internet, including web browsing, video streaming, video calling and gaming, and should be sufficient for home working requirements. According to Ofcom’s latest figures, just 0.4% premises in the UK are still without access to a decent broadband connection when taking into account both fixed and fixed wireless access.

The government is also committed to delivering nationwide gigabit connectivity as soon as possible to make sure UK citizens have access to the connectivity they will require in future. Since the initial lockdown began in March 2020, UK Gigabit coverage has risen from 18% to 65% today. By 2025, the Government’s goal is for at least 85% premises to have access to gigabit-capable networks and we are investing £5 billion to ensure hard-to-reach areas are not left behind in the digital revolution.

DCMS continues to work alongside Ofcom to encourage Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to go further to support low-income families. Following our discussions with the telecoms sector, affordable social tariffs are now available from BT, Virgin Media, Hyperoptic, Community Fibre and KCOM for £15 per month to those on Universal Credit as well as other means-tested benefits. These ISPs operate in 99% of the UK. We continue to encourage all operators to introduce affordable tariffs.

In terms of mobile coverage, 99% of premises in the UK have indoor 4G coverage from at least one mobile network operator (MNO), with 81% of premises covered by all four operators.

To ensure all corners of the country are connected, the government’s £1 billion deal with the MNOs to deliver the Shared Rural Network, will see operators collectively increase mobile phone coverage throughout the UK to 95% of the UK landmass by the end of the programme, underpinned by legally binding coverage commitments. The programme will also provide guaranteed extra coverage to 280,000 premises, with further indirect improvements over time, including better indoor coverage in around 1.2m business premises and homes.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential redundancy of broadband infrastructure following 5G rollout.

The government does not think the extensive deployment of 5G infrastructure will result in fixed broadband becoming redundant.

As set out in 2017’s Future Technology Infrastructure Review, the government wants to ensure the UK has access to world-class digital connectivity in order to meet the growing demands of the consumers of the future. Both 5G and gigabit-capable fixed broadband infrastructure is essential to ensuring this, and that is why we have committed to delivering nationwide gigabit connectivity as soon as possible, with at least 85% connectivity by 2025.

Our ambition is for the majority of the population to have access to a 5G signal by 2027, and we also want to ensure that UK businesses reap the full benefits of 5G. All four mobile network operators have launched their 5G networks and our internal analysis suggests that 5G services are available in more than 385 locations across the UK.

Through the Wireless Infrastructure Strategy we want to set out the development, deployment and adoption of 5G and future wireless networks in the UK. The government recognises the importance of ensuring that our wireless connectivity ambitions are technology neutral, and will complement other technologies including fixed broadband infrastructure.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of people have access to reliable 4G coverage in (a) London and (b) Dorset.

Ofcom is responsible for measuring 4G coverage through its Connected Nations reports and reports at a local authority level.

Ofcom’s Connected Nations 2021 Annual Report, published on 16th December 2021, shows that 81.3% of the Dorset Unitary Authority area had good quality 4G geographic coverage from all four mobile network operators (MNOs), with 99% from at least one operator. This compares to 4G geographic coverage in London Boroughs ranging from 94.3% to 100% from all four operators.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of people in Dorset who live in areas without 4G mobile network coverage.

Ofcom is responsible for measuring 4G coverage through its Connected Nations reports and reports at a local authority level.

Ofcom’s Connected Nations 2021 Annual Report, published on 16th December 2021, shows that 81.3% of the Dorset Unitary Authority area had good quality 4G geographic coverage from all four mobile network operators (MNOs), with 99% from at least one operator. This compares to 4G geographic coverage in London Boroughs ranging from 94.3% to 100% from all four operators.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what comparative assessment her Department has made of the disparity of earnings between areas with fast and reliable mobile connectivity and areas with slow and unreliable mobile connectivity.

My Department has not made a comparative assessment of the disparity of earnings between areas with fast and reliable mobile connectivity and areas with slow and unreliable mobile connectivity. In Ofcom’s Connected Nations 2021 report published on 16 December 2021, 92% of the UK landmass is covered by a good 4G signal from at least one operator with 69% of the country covered by all four operators.

Rural coverage continues to improve but remains less extensive than in urban areas; 91% of the UK’s rural landmass has 4G coverage from at least one mobile network operator, compared to almost 100% of the urban landmass.

The Government has a commitment to extend mobile 4G coverage to 95% of the UK landmass through the Shared Rural Network programme. There are a number of significant benefits that widespread mobile coverage will enable, including positive impacts on GDP, employment and productivity, alongside facilitating access to online public services, and wider wellbeing benefits, that will allow rural communities and businesses to thrive.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he is putting in place to celebrate VJ day in August 2020.

On 15 July, the Government launched its website to help the public mark the 75th anniversary of Victory Over Japan Day on 15 August. Further information on how to get involved will be made available shortly at https://ve-vjday75.gov.uk/

4th Jun 2020
What steps he is taking to ensure that BT Openreach delivers improved broadband to rural areas.

My department works with a number of network operators to deliver improved broadband to rural areas. This includes Openreach and their work in West Dorset.

We are also working closely with Openreach and other operators to prepare our £5 billion “Outside In” programme, as announced in the Spring Budget.

This programme will focus on delivering gigabit-capable broadband to the hardest to reach premises in the UK, which are mainly in rural areas.

11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to strengthen the regulatory framework for multi-academy trusts.

The Department provides multi-academy trusts with a high level of autonomy to drive improvement in the school sector. This approach ensures trust leaders are accountable to their trustees.

Inspection of individual schools and financial oversight from the Education and Skills Funding Agency are the two primary levers in the Department’s regulation of trusts. We publish performance information on multi-academy trusts and have powers to intervene in the event of failures of governance.

In March, the Department published the Academies Regulatory and Commissioning Review. This sets out how we will revise and consolidate our regulatory approach, so it is more proportionate, effective and risk-based, delivering regulatory oversight in a more strategic manner. It also details how the Department will support the continued transition to a self-improving system by sharing best practice and supporting trust improvement.

Finally, the Review sets out how we will reform our approach to commissioning multi-academy trusts to grow. It was followed in July by the publication of the ‘Commissioning high-quality trusts’ guidance. Together, these documents set out new, high expectations on trusts that want to grow which we will apply consistently and transparently. The result will be that standards in the trust sector will continue to rise.

Multi-academy trusts continue to improve standards in schools with poor Ofsted ratings, with 88% of schools now rated good or outstanding compared to 68% in 2010. This reflects the ability of high quality trusts to introduce effective approaches to raising standards, and to deploy the capacity and capability of the trust to target underperformance.

11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of unlicensed schools operating in (a) West Dorset constituency, (b) Dorset and (c) England.

Any education institution which provides full-time provision to 5 or more pupils of compulsory school age (or one or more pupils of compulsory school age who is ‘looked after’ or who has an education, health and care plan) is required to register with the Secretary of State for Education. It is a criminal offence under section 96 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 to conduct an independent educational institution unless it is registered.

Since those conducting an unregistered school are committing a criminal offence, they do not generally inform the Department for Education about the school’s operation. It is not therefore possible to accurately estimate the number of unregistered schools operating in (a) West Dorset constituency, (b) Dorset, and (c) England.

The Department for Education and Ofsted continue to investigate any institution where intelligence or evidence suggest the operation of an unregistered school. Section 97 of the 2008 Act permits the Chief Inspector to investigate, and conduct no-notice inspections of, institutions believed to be operating in breach of the registration requirement.

Ofsted publishes statistics on the number and outcomes of investigations carried out into unregistered schools. Statistics have been published online for the period 1 January 2016 to 31 August 2021. The statistics up to 31 August 2021 showing the investigations and inspections which have taken place both nationally and in the south-west are in the table attached.

14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the provision of services for children with special educational needs and disabilities in (a) Dorset and (b) West Dorset constituency.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carry out local area special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) inspections. Inspectors will look for evidence of how children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (or both) are identified and how their needs are assessed and met. They also look for evidence of how they are supported to move on to their next stage of education, the world of work and wider preparations for adulthood.

Dorset, which includes the district of West Dorset, had a local area SEND inspection in January 2017 and were required to produce a Written Statement of Action to improve in four areas of significant weakness. They were revisited by Ofsted and the CQC in February 2019 and were found to have improved in two of the four areas. An Accelerated Progress Plan to address the two areas that had not made sufficient progress was then put in place, with the department and NHS England providing challenge and support to make the required improvements. By January 2021, the department and NHS England judged that Dorset had made sufficient progress in both areas.

The department is currently working with Ofsted and the CQC on an amended SEND inspection framework. Dorset’s SEND services will be inspected again as part of this.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of pupils being educated in illegal schools; and what steps he is taking to prevent those schools from operating.

Any educational institution which provides full-time provision to five or more pupils of compulsory school age (or one or more pupils of compulsory school age who is ‘looked after’ or has an education, health and care plan) is required to register with the Secretary of State for Education as a school. It is a criminal offence under Section 96 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 to conduct an independent educational institution unless it is registered.

The department has not made any estimate of the number of pupils in unregistered schools. Those conducting an unregistered school are committing a criminal offence and they do not generally inform the department about the school’s operation. It is not therefore possible to accurately estimate the number of children attending an unregistered school.

The department and Ofsted continue to investigate any institutions where intelligence or evidence suggest the operation of an unregistered school. Section 97 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 permits no-notice inspections of institutions believed to be operating in breach of the registration requirement.

Between 1 January 2016 and 31 August 2021, 119 settings subject to a Section 97 inspection were identified as operating as an unregistered independent school. Joint work between the department and Ofsted has led to 101 of these settings changing their provision to operate lawfully, and no longer in breach of the 2008 Act. In that time, five successful prosecutions have been brought against those responsible for conducting illegal settings.

The department consulted in 2020 on extending the registration requirement to education institutions that operate full time but only offer a very narrow curriculum, which are currently allowed to operate without registration. The department will respond to this consultation soon, setting out next steps. The department has also committed to taking forward measures to make it easier to investigate and prosecute unregistered schools, including in the 2019 Integrated Communities Action Plan. The department intends to take forward such measures when a suitable legislative opportunity arises.

27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to ensure Military Preparation Diplomas continue to receive adequate funding.

Education providers use their government funding on qualifications that are approved by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). The list of qualifications approved for funding includes 18 qualifications that involve preparation for uniformed service (sometimes referred to as Military Preparation Diplomas).

The funding providers receive for qualifications approved by the ESFA is based on a range of factors detailed in our guidance published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/funding-rates-and-formula.

All qualifications at level 3 and below (excluding A levels, T Levels, GCSEs and Functional Skills) are subject to a review in which we will decide which qualifications will be available for public funding in future. As part of the review, we have recently published a consultation and call for evidence. Respondents are welcome to give views on the role and purpose of specific qualifications, including those designed to prepare students for the military.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether Natural England has invited the Dorset National Park team to be involved in the further assessment of the Dorset proposal.

Natural England is undertaking a strategic England landscape assessment to identify areas which may have potential for future National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designation, as well as places for alternative landscape action. This assessment is providing an opportunity to gather a wide range of views including those of local stakeholders, including groups such as the Dorset National Park team. All designation orders made by Natural England are subject to the Secretary of State’s confirmation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she (a) has taken and (b) will take to protect the UK fishing industry from cheaper imports of seafood from countries with which the UK (i) has agreed and (b) seeks to agree a trade deal with during trade negotiations with those countries.

The UK is a nation that trades seafood internationally. The majority of UK fleet landings are exported, whilst most of the fish we consume is imported.

Through direct engagement with industry and by working in partnership with Seafish and other organisations, Defra works closely with seafood businesses to inform our negotiating positions in Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

Defra will always champion UK seafood producers. In line with the government’s manifesto commitment to build markets for British produce at home and abroad, we are committed to increasing domestic consumption of locally sourced seafood and expanding opportunities for the UK seafood sector overseas.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of farmers who will benefit from the Farming Investment Fund in West Dorset.

The Farming Investment Fund is not geographically targeted. I would encourage farmers, growers, foresters and contractors in all areas, including those in West Dorset, to consider what equipment, technology and infrastructure would most improve their business and to take this opportunity to invest to help their businesses to prosper.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will commission the Foods Standards Agency to undertake a survey on methods of slaughter earlier than 2022 as planned.

Defra has been working with the Food Standards Agency on the design of a slaughter survey to take place in February 2022. The timing of the survey has been carefully selected to represent a typical week for the meat processing industry, avoiding religious festivals, and for consistency with the previous survey.

This timescale also reflects the intention to build bespoke data collection and analysis software to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the survey. It is our plan to collect data on a more regular basis in future and the new software will enable us to do this.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will release the method of slaughter statistics for (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The last method of slaughter survey was undertaken by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in 2018 and the results were published in February 2019 - Farm animals: survey of slaughter methods 2018 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

The survey is not conducted annually and we are planning for it to be carried out again by the FSA in early 2022.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of payments made by the Rural Payments Agency are received on time.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has a number of schemes which provide financial support to the rural economy. The three main land schemes, which offer an annual payment, are Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), Countryside Stewardship (CS) and the Environmental Stewardship Scheme (ES).

Famers submitting a valid claim under these schemes will normally receive a payment between 1 December and 30 June the following year.

For 2019 we released by 30 June:

o BPS 2019 – 84,225 (99.9%) payments worth £1.79bn

o CS 2019 – 10,899 (94.2%) worth £88.46m

o ES 2019 – 12,020 (97.7%) worth £182.22m

There are several reasons for why payments may be delayed beyond the 30 June such as ongoing discussions with claimants, the resolution of probate, or ongoing fraud investigations.

Payments for 2020 claims began in December and are ongoing. The RPA delivered its best ever December payment performance, paying around 98% of BPS claims by the end of the year, despite the challenges caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many farmers have received support from the Coronavirus Hardship Fund for Dairy Farmers.

The new dairy response fund opened for applications on 18 June 2020. Full details of the application process can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/dairy-response-fund-2020. The funding will provide eligible dairy farmers in England with up to £10,000. Payments will commence from 6 July 2020. The scheme will help those dairy farmers most in need of support to sustain their businesses by maintaining production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what estimate she has made of the number of UK jobs created each time the UK signs a new free trade agreement.

HM Government publishes scoping assessments to provide a preliminary assessment of a free trade agreement (FTA) in advance of negotiations. Following the conclusion of negotiations, a full Impact Assessment is published.

These set out HM Government’s current assessment of a new FTA, including the impact on wages and composition of employment across sectors.

30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the UK's membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership on (a) the local economy and (b) job creation in Dorset.

Accession could see 99.9% of British exports being eligible for tariff-free trade with members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP/TPP-11). £1.8bn worth of goods were exported to CPTPP countries by over 1,300 businesses in the South West of England last year.

HM Government published a scoping assessment in June 2021 that showed accession could result in a gross value added benefit to the South West of England of £106m, and increase real wages across the United Kingdom by £800m in the long run, compared to 2019 levels.

30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she has taken to ensure that free trade agreements protect and support British (a) agriculture and (b) agricultural exports.

HM Government will always consider the opportunities and other impacts on the agricultural industry of any trade agreement we negotiate. In addition, the independent Trade and Agriculture Commission will scrutinise new free trade agreements once they are signed, providing an additional layer of independent scrutiny.

Our trade agreements unlock new opportunities for our agriculture, food and drink sector and we will continue to work with producers and suppliers to make sure the sector is represented in future free trade agreements.

30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the effect on Dorset of free trade agreements signed by the UK since leaving the EU.

We have secured trade agreements with 70 countries, plus the EU, covering trade worth £766 billion last year, delivering benefits for communities across the country.

An impact assessment is published when the text of a new free trade agreement is laid in Parliament, which presents the economic benefits of the deal. For example, compared to the United Kingdom not having an agreement with Japan, output in the South West of England is expected to be £90 million higher in the long run (in 2017 terms).

10th Jun 2021
What steps she is taking to support UK farmers during negotiations on a future trade deal with Australia.

A UK-Australia deal will open up new opportunities for British farming. British beef and lamb are the best in the world and a deal with Australia is a first step to joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and opening up new opportunities for our agri-food exports in growing CPTPP markets across four continents. Any deal we sign with Australia will also include protections for UK agriculture and will not undercut UK farmers or compromise our high standards.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has set targets for train operating companies to reduce operational costs for rail stations.

This is an industry-led process. The outcomes of the consultations will not be known until the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement process has been concluded.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Mar 2023
What assessment he has made of the potential impact of extending the South Western Railway contract on customers.

The impact on customers is the primary consideration in the award of National Rail Contracts. Having considered all options available to us, this extension provides the best outcome for customers in the South West of England and provides a bridge towards future Passenger Service Contracts under GBR.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the performance of train services on the Salisbury to Exeter line.

Department officials are challenging South Western Railway (SWR) over the performance of the West of England Line where performance has fallen below the standards required recently. The South Western Railway National Rail Contract contains provisions to incentivise the operator to ensure services are run to the agreed timetable and where this is not the case, actions be taken to rectify any causation factors.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department plans to produce an Integrated Plan for Rail for the South West.

There are currently no plans to produce an Integrated Plan for Rail for the South West.

However, the Government continues to support rail in the South West, as seen by the recent reopening of the Dartmoor Line from Exeter to Okehampton, and our investment of £120 million in the South West Rail Resilience Programme.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department's policy is on resolving universal credit overpayments in the event that the overpayment is due to an error by her Department.

Where Official Error overpayments do occur in a very small number of cases, the introduction of the 2012 Welfare Reform Act means that all overpayments of Universal Credit are recoverable.

Where recovery is made by deduction from Universal Credit, there is a limit placed on the overall amount that can be deducted which is currently 25% of the Standard Allowance. Moreover, a priority order is applied, which determines the order in which deductions can be made, with ‘last resort’ deductions, such as rent or fuel costs, taking precedence.

Anyone with overpayment deductions who does experience financial hardship is encouraged to contact the Department’s Debt Management unit. Where a person cannot afford the proposed rate, a lower amount can be negotiated.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to support unpaid carers during the covid-19 outbreak; and what plans she has to support unpaid carers in the future.

This Government recognises and values the vital contribution made by carers each and every day in supporting some of the most vulnerable in society including pensioners and those with disabilities. The support that carers provide has been even more vital during the Covid-19 pandemic when other support services may have been reduced or even closed and the caring role became even harder due to the need to self-isolate or shield the person they care for.

Unpaid carers may be able to apply for Carer’s Allowance if they meet the qualifying conditions, such as providing 35 hours of care a week. To ensure that carers already in receipt of Carer’s Allowance do not inadvertently stop receiving it because of changes to patterns of care, we have allowed emotional support to count towards the 35 hours of care being provided by the carer as well as relaxing the rules around breaks in care. We have extended these provisions until 12 May 2021 in recognition that carers need extra flexibility in the way they provide care during the current emergency.

Between 2020/21 and 2025/26 real terms expenditure on Carer’s Allowance is forecast to increase by nearly a third (around £1 billion). By 2025/26, the Government is forecast to spend just over £4bn a year on Carer’s Allowance.

As of May 2020, there were 1008 carers in the West Dorset constituency that were receiving Carer’s Allowance and in 2019/20 we spent approximately £3.6 million on Carer’s Allowance there. A further 673 carers had a claim to an underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance.

Carers have access to the full range of social security benefits according to their circumstances. Income replacement benefits help people and households on lower incomes, and can include a carer premium, currently £37.50 a week. An equivalent additional amount applies in Pension Credit. Universal Credit also includes a carer element at the rate of £162.92 per monthly assessment period. These amounts recognise the additional contribution and responsibilities associated with caring and mean that lower-income carers can receive more money than others who receive these benefits. Between the existing carer-specific support, and the temporary Covid-19 uplift, 270,000 carer households receiving Universal Credit have benefitted from up to an extra £2,990 this financial year.

During the pandemic, the Government has also, for example:

  • provided funding to Carers UK to extend their support phoneline;
  • provided funding to Carers Trust to make onward grants to provide support to unpaid carers experiencing loneliness during the pandemic;
  • produced a leaflet to help carers identify themselves on discharge from hospital;
  • published guidance specifically for carers and young carers, which includes further information about sources of support including looking after their own health and wellbeing;
  • under the current lockdown restrictions carers can arrange for another family member or friend to provide respite care so that they can take a break where this is reasonably necessary. Certain households can also form a support bubble with another household. This includes one person of any age living with one or more disabled persons of any age who require continuous care. This also includes a similar household but with other non-disabled persons also living in the household as long as there is no more than one non-disabled adult in the household. Further, one or more adults living with a child under 5 with a disability requiring constant care can also form a support bubble.

25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to re-open the Abbotsbury Road GP surgery in Chickerell.

Abbotsbury Road Surgery closed to patients in March 2019 and the contract was returned. Registered patients were assigned to local practices to ensure the continuity of care. Since the closure of Abbotsbury Road surgery, there have been discussions on a potential new building at Chickerell, although this is currently on hold.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential benefits to SEND children from Integrated Care Systems under the proposed legislative framework of the Health and Care Bill.

The Health and Care Bill proposes to put integrated care systems on a statutory footing. This represents a significant opportunity to improve the local planning and provision of services to better meet the needs of babies, children, young people and families, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Statutory functions regarding children and young people with SEND would transfer from clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to integrated care boards (ICBs) from April 2022. This would include a responsibility for the ICB to agree joint commissioning arrangements for the provision of education, health and social care required by children and young people with SEND. We are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement on bespoke guidance for ICBs to clearly set out the statutory functions that will transfer from CCGs to ICBs on SEND.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of unpaid carers living in West Dorset.

The Department does not collect information about the number of unpaid carers, including those living in West Dorset.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS dentists his Department plans to recruit in (a) England and (b) Dorset over the next 12 months.

As independent providers of NHS services, general dental practices are responsible for the recruitment of staff to meet the conditions of their National Health Service contract. No formal assessment has been made of the adequacy of the number of NHS dentists in West Dorset.

However, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with Health Education England and Bristol and Peninsula Dental schools as part of the South West Dental Reform programme to address the challenges facing NHS dentistry in the region. The programme will be look at innovative ways to attract dental staff to areas including Dorset.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of number of NHS dentists required in West Dorset.

As independent providers of NHS services, general dental practices are responsible for the recruitment of staff to meet the conditions of their National Health Service contract. No formal assessment has been made of the adequacy of the number of NHS dentists in West Dorset.

However, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with Health Education England and Bristol and Peninsula Dental schools as part of the South West Dental Reform programme to address the challenges facing NHS dentistry in the region. The programme will be look at innovative ways to attract dental staff to areas including Dorset.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the capacity of the booster vaccination programme in West Dorset.

In Dorset, larger vaccination centres extended their opening hours to 8am to 8pm, including at Vespasian House in Dorchester and walk-in appointments have been available.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the primary care networks in Dorset in delivering the booster vaccination programme.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement monitor the booster vaccine programme to ensure its effectiveness, including the Primary Care Networks (PCNs) delivering vaccinations in Dorset. There is a high demand for booster doses, with all 18 PCNs in Dorset delivering the service across 31 vaccinations sites. Additional provisions are also in place for those who are housebound, elderly, or in care, to ensure they can receive their booster dose.