Daisy Cooper Portrait

Daisy Cooper

Liberal Democrat - St Albans

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

(since September 2020)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Justice)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 21st September 2021
09:25
Building Safety Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
21 Sep 2021, 9:25 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 21st September 2021
14:00
Building Safety Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
21 Sep 2021, 2 p.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 23rd September 2021
11:30
Building Safety Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
23 Sep 2021, 11:30 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 23rd September 2021
14:00
Building Safety Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
23 Sep 2021, 2 p.m. View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Protecting the Public and Justice for Victims
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 11 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 223 Noes - 0
Speeches
Thursday 16th September 2021
Building Safety Bill (Fifth sitting)

While it was reassuring to hear that HSE has been assured by the Government that it will receive the resources …

Written Answers
Friday 17th September 2021
Migrant Workers
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of …
Early Day Motions
Monday 13th September 2021
SATs in the 2021-22 Academic Year
That this House recognises the enormous effect that the covid-19 pandemic has had on pupils' mental health; notes the study …
Bills
Tuesday 6th July 2021
Fire and Building Safety (Public Inquiry) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to establish an independent public inquiry into the Government’s response to concerns about fire and building safety.
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 23rd November 2020
8. Miscellaneous
From 10 March 2020, Vice President (unpaid) of the Local Government Association (LGA), which works with councils to support, promote …
EDM signed
Wednesday 8th September 2021
The Ministerial Code and the conduct of the Prime Minister
That this House believes that trust in the ministerial code has been eroded by the actions of the Prime Minister; …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 3rd March 2020
School Toilets (Access During Lessons) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to publish guidance for state-funded schools on allowing pupil access to toilets …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Daisy Cooper has voted in 271 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Daisy Cooper 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
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(21 debate interactions)
Gavin Williamson (Conservative)
(18 debate interactions)
Mike Amesbury (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Education
(25 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(15 debate contributions)
Home Office
(14 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Daisy Cooper's debates

St Albans 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

A significant number of students will sit their final 2021 examinations. The outcome of which undoubtedly will be their passport, for many of their future life chances and successes. In order for this to be done fairly, it is imperative that the amount of content they are tested on is reduced.

We want the Education Secretary and the Government to step in and review the exam board’s decision on how GCSE and A-Level grades will be calculated and awarded due to the current coronavirus crisis. We want a better solution than just using our previous data to be the basis of our grade.


Latest EDMs signed by Daisy Cooper

13th September 2021
Daisy Cooper signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Saturday 11th September 2021

SATs in the 2021-22 Academic Year

Tabled by: Daisy Cooper (Liberal Democrat - St Albans)
That this House recognises the enormous effect that the covid-19 pandemic has had on pupils' mental health; notes the study by UCL Institute of Education researchers which found that a fear of poor SATs results is driving headteachers to separate pupils by ability despite the impact on children’s self-esteem and …
12 signatures
(Most recent: 16 Sep 2021)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 9
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Labour: 1
Green Party: 1
6th September 2021
Daisy Cooper signed this EDM on Wednesday 8th September 2021

The Ministerial Code and the conduct of the Prime Minister

Tabled by: Dawn Butler (Labour - Brent Central)
That this House believes that trust in the ministerial code has been eroded by the actions of the Prime Minister; further believes that the Prime Minister should no longer be the guardian of the code as he has been shown to lack the moral aptitude needed; and therefore calls for …
89 signatures
(Most recent: 17 Sep 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 36
Labour: 35
Liberal Democrat: 9
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Alliance: 1
Alba Party: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Daisy Cooper's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Daisy Cooper, 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.


1 Urgent Question tabled by Daisy Cooper

Daisy Cooper has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Daisy Cooper


A Bill to establish an independent public inquiry into the Government’s response to concerns about fire and building safety.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 6th July 2021
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 18th March 2022

A Bill to require courts to impose community sentences on women offenders unless they have committed a serious or violent offence and pose a threat to the public; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 3rd March 2020

675 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
10 Other Department Questions
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had on self-identification legislation for trans people with her counterparts in (a) Argentina as co-Chair of the Equal Rights Coalition, (b) Ireland, (c) Malta, (d) Belgium, (e) Portugal, (f) Denmark, and (g) Norway.

The UK is committed to working with our international partners to promote and protect the rights of LGBT people.

We work closely with Equal Rights Coalition (ERC) member states, including Argentina as co-chairs, to share best practice on LGBT rights and plan to launch the Five Year Strategy and Implementation Plan to advance LGBT equality at an ERC conference on 6 and 7 July 2021. The Implementation Plan is based on international best practice and urges ERC member states to “provide legal gender recognition through an accessible, quick, and transparent administrative process and without abusive requirements (including sterilization, divorce, treatment or diagnostic) as a minimum standard.”

We also regularly share best practice on a range of issues with the Council of Europe’s LGBTI Focal Points Network (EFPN) member states.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
21st May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what weighting her Department plans to give to responses from (a) survivors of conversion therapy and (b) organisations that support those survivors to the consultation on draft legislation to ban conversion therapy.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month, we will bring forward legislation to ban conversion therapy. We will also launch a consultation before details of the ban are finalised to hear from a wide range of voices on how best to protect people from conversion therapy while protecting the medical profession, defending freedom of speech and upholding religious freedom. We are considering all options for the scope of a ban and will be engaging the appropriate stakeholders to gather views. We will ensure the action we take to stop this practice is proportionate and effective, with no unintended consequences. We have also undertaken research to understand practices, experiences and impacts associated with conversion therapy and will publish this in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
21st May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make it her policy that there should be no exemption for religious practices when the draft Bill to ban conversion therapy is introduced.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month, we will bring forward legislation to ban conversion therapy. We will also launch a consultation before details of the ban are finalised to hear from a wide range of voices on how best to protect people from conversion therapy while protecting the medical profession, defending freedom of speech and upholding religious freedom. We are considering all options for the scope of a ban and will be engaging the appropriate stakeholders to gather views. We will ensure the action we take to stop this practice is proportionate and effective, with no unintended consequences. We have also undertaken research to understand practices, experiences and impacts associated with conversion therapy and will publish this in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
21st May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when she plans to publish the findings of her Department's research into conversion therapy practices in the UK.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month, we will bring forward legislation to ban conversion therapy. We will also launch a consultation before details of the ban are finalised to hear from a wide range of voices on how best to protect people from conversion therapy while protecting the medical profession, defending freedom of speech and upholding religious freedom. We are considering all options for the scope of a ban and will be engaging the appropriate stakeholders to gather views. We will ensure the action we take to stop this practice is proportionate and effective, with no unintended consequences. We have also undertaken research to understand practices, experiences and impacts associated with conversion therapy and will publish this in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
21st May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the announcement in the Queen's Speech that the Government plans to introduce a Bill to ban conversion therapy, when that draft Bill will be published; and when the consultation on that draft Bill will open.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month, we will bring forward legislation to ban conversion therapy. We will also launch a consultation before details of the ban are finalised to hear from a wide range of voices on how best to protect people from conversion therapy while protecting the medical profession, defending freedom of speech and upholding religious freedom. We are considering all options for the scope of a ban and will be engaging the appropriate stakeholders to gather views. We will ensure the action we take to stop this practice is proportionate and effective, with no unintended consequences. We have also undertaken research to understand practices, experiences and impacts associated with conversion therapy and will publish this in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, whether he sought (a) scientific and (b) other advice when deciding to support the actions of Dominic Cummings in relocating his family to County Durham at the end of March 2020.

I refer the Hon Member to my comments of 27 May 2020 at the Liaison Committee, HC 322. The matter is now closed.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 24 November 2020 to Questions 118113 and 118112, when the evaluation of the programme to support schools in preventing and addressing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, reaching 2,250 schools in England will be completed and published.

Since 2016, we have invested £4m to support schools in preventing and addressing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. This programme concluded in March 2020 and continues to be evaluated, in order to increase our evidence base on what works in schools. We plan to publish the evaluation in due course.

The Government remains committed to helping teachers tackle bullying, including homophobic bullying, and are continuing to fund anti-bullying projects. The Department for Education announced £750k of funding in June 2020 for three charitable organisations, including a project for victims of hate-related bullying.

The Department for Education is also rolling out new inclusive statutory Relationships Education in all primary schools and Relationships and Sex Education in all secondary schools, so that children leave school prepared for life in modern, diverse, Britain.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether her Department has carried out an equality impact assessment on the potential effect on young people of the proposed removal of Government-funded projects that tackle LGBT+ bullying in schools.

We want to ensure that all children, whoever they are, are kept safe in schools. Since 2016, we have invested £4m to support schools in preventing and addressing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, reaching 2,250 schools in England. This programme concluded in March 2020 and we are currently evaluating it.

In our 2019 Manifesto, we made clear our commitment to continuing to help teachers tackle bullying, including homophobic bullying, and the Government is continuing to fund anti-bullying projects. The Department for Education announced £750k of funding in June for three charitable organisations, including a project for victims of hate-related bullying.

We consider the Public Sector Equality Duty in everything we do, including the continuing delivery of our anti-bullying work.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what equality impact assessment his Department has undertaken of defunding the Government-backed projects tackling bullying of LGBT+ students in England's schools on young people.

We want to ensure that all children, whoever they are, are kept safe in schools. Since 2016, we have invested £4m to support schools in preventing and addressing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, reaching 2,250 schools in England. This programme concluded in March 2020 and we are currently evaluating it.

In our 2019 Manifesto, we made clear our commitment to continuing to help teachers tackle bullying, including homophobic bullying, and the Government is continuing to fund anti-bullying projects. The Department for Education announced £750k of funding in June for three charitable organisations, including a project for victims of hate-related bullying.

We consider the Public Sector Equality Duty in everything we do, including the continuing delivery of our anti-bullying work.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when covid-19 guidance for significant life events other than weddings such as (a) christenings and (b) Bar/Bat Mitzvahs will be published.

Guidance on significant life events is available on gov.uk as part of the places of worship guidance, and is kept under continual review.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the advice he has received on the reasons for the disparity between the covid-19 guidance for weddings and receptions and the guidance for the events and hospitality sector.

In the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021, the Government has set out the gradual and cautious approach to reopening different sectors in England, guided by science and the
data. It is important that we take a cautious approach in easing restrictions, so that we can see the impact of the steps we are taking before moving to the next step.

For that reason, we will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation.

On 10 May, the Government announced plans to proceed with Step 3 on 17 May. Based on the data, we have passed the four tests set out in the roadmap, which means that the planned easing of wedding and reception limits can continue as planned and set out in the roadmap.

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in COVID Secure venues that are permitted to open. Receptions can also proceed with up to 30 people in a COVID Secure indoor venue, or outdoors, which includes private gardens.

On 13 May, the Government published further detailed wedding guidance : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil
-partnerships

Guidance will be updated again ahead of Step 4.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to publish updated and detailed guidance for weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions to take place at (a) step 3 and (b) step 4 of the covid-19 roadmap.

In the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021, the Government has set out the gradual and cautious approach to reopening different sectors in England, guided by science and the
data. It is important that we take a cautious approach in easing restrictions, so that we can see the impact of the steps we are taking before moving to the next step.

For that reason, we will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation.

On 10 May, the Government announced plans to proceed with Step 3 on 17 May. Based on the data, we have passed the four tests set out in the roadmap, which means that the planned easing of wedding and reception limits can continue as planned and set out in the roadmap.

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in COVID Secure venues that are permitted to open. Receptions can also proceed with up to 30 people in a COVID Secure indoor venue, or outdoors, which includes private gardens.

On 13 May, the Government published further detailed wedding guidance : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil
-partnerships

Guidance will be updated again ahead of Step 4.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if his Department will launch a public education campaign that would alert consumers to their potential liability for (a) customs charges, (b) import VAT and (c) increased courier handling charges when making purchases from online marketplaces that fulfil orders from within the EU.

The Government is already communicating the practical changes that follow Brexit for citizens and businesses and has been doing so since last year. This public information campaign has reached 99.7% of UK adults.

The Government has worked with the retail industry to ensure that they take the actions necessary to comply with new rules now that the UK has left the EU. This includes ensuring that their customers are aware of any charges if goods are sourced from within the EU or from further afield.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the advice he has received on the reasons for the disparity between the covid-19 guidance for weddings and receptions and the guidance for the events and hospitality sector.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans publish a comprehensive covid-19 roadmap for (a) weddings, (b) civil partnership ceremonies and (c) receptions detailing permitted arrangements at each step including but not limited to (i) the bubbling of households for ceremonies and receptions, (ii) how food can be served and (iii) the use of private land and garden weddings.

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

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

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

From 29 March, wedding and civil partnership ceremonies have been able to take place indoors or outdoors in COVID-Secure venues that are not expressly closed by the Regulations, or where a broader exemption applies. From 12 April, 15 people are permitted to attend. This approach allows couples to marry in legally binding licensed venues for wedding ceremonies (where outdoor options are limited) while remaining in line with the reopening of sectors and venues as set out in the roadmap. Wedding ceremonies should follow government guidance to reduce the risk of transmission.

Receptions (of up to 15 people) can resume from 12 April. The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. That is why receptions are only permitted outdoors at this Step and should be in a COVID-Secure venue.

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

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

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

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

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether children who are five years old or under are included in guest limits given for wedding ceremonies and receptions during the period of covid-19 restrictions.

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

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

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

From 29 March, wedding and civil partnership ceremonies have been able to take place indoors or outdoors in COVID-Secure venues that are not expressly closed by the Regulations, or where a broader exemption applies. From 12 April, 15 people are permitted to attend. This approach allows couples to marry in legally binding licensed venues for wedding ceremonies (where outdoor options are limited) while remaining in line with the reopening of sectors and venues as set out in the roadmap. Wedding ceremonies should follow government guidance to reduce the risk of transmission.

Receptions (of up to 15 people) can resume from 12 April. The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. That is why receptions are only permitted outdoors at this Step and should be in a COVID-Secure venue.

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

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

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

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

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil service widows and widowers have had their survivors pension restored on compassionate grounds.

The data obtained shows a total of 1472, an average of around 114 per year, pensions ceasing on remarriage or cohabitation for the period 2008 to 2020. The split of the data between those whose pension was stopped due to remarriage and cohabitation, and the breakdown between England, Wales and Scotland, and the number of survivor pensions restored on just compassionate grounds, is not available at this point.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil service widows and widowers have had their pensions revoked as a result of (a) remarriage and (b) cohabitation in (i) England and Wales and (ii) Scotland.

The data obtained shows a total of 1472, an average of around 114 per year, pensions ceasing on remarriage or cohabitation for the period 2008 to 2020. The split of the data between those whose pension was stopped due to remarriage and cohabitation, and the breakdown between England, Wales and Scotland, and the number of survivor pensions restored on just compassionate grounds, is not available at this point.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish updates to Procurement Policy Notices (PPN) 02/20 and 04/20: Supplier relief due to coronavirus (COVID-19) - additional sector guidance for state funded schools, which expired on 30 June 2020 and 31 October 2020 respectively.

The guidance was issued to schools to offer support for implementation for PPN 02/20 and 04/20 for the provision of supplier relief. These PPNs have now expired and the Cabinet Office has no plans to issue further PPNs for supplier relief. Contracting Authorities can still make their own arrangements for contractual relief.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether (a) the local elections planned for May 2021 will go ahead as planned and (b) polling stations will be (i) accessible and (ii) covid-19 secure.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral community, including electoral suppliers, and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing.

Measures are planned to support absent voting at short notice. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review. The House will be kept updated.

The Government has also engaged with the Parliamentary Parties Panel to ensure that views from political parties are taken on board.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 9 December 2020 to Question 123698, whilst individuals are not required to give a reason for refusing honours, how many of those who refused and did give a reason cited either (a) anti-imperialism or (b) an unwillingness to be associated with the former British empire in the last five years.

Nominees’ reasons, if any, for declining an award are given in confidence and the Government does not comment on the reasons given.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people who declined an appointment to an Order of the British Empire award cited (a) anti-imperialism and (b) an unwillingness to be associated with the former British empire in each of the last five years.

It has always been the case that a small number of individuals have chosen to decline to receive honours.

The numbers of refusals for the Order of the British Empire broken down by award and honours round in the last five years for the Prime Minister's Lists can be found below. Figures for the British Empire Medal have been included as the award is closely affiliated with the Order of the British Empire.

As the figures show, refusal rates for honours remain extremely low. Individuals are not required to give reasons for refusing honours.

GBE

Kt

DBE

CBE

OBE

MBE

BEM

Total

NY16

-

-

1

-

3

6

2

12

BD16

-

-

-

4

6

5

7

22

NY17

-

2

-

5

6

13

8

34

BD17

-

-

-

3

3

7

7

20

NY18

-

-

-

1

6

8

9

24

BD18

-

-

1

5

6

11

3

26

NY19

-

1

-

3

5

9

8

26

BD19

-

-

-

3

5

9

6

23

NY20

1

-

-

-

5

7

11

24

BD20

-

-

-

3

10

15

15

43

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have declined an appointment to each Order of the British Empire award in each of the last five years.

It has always been the case that a small number of individuals have chosen to decline to receive honours.

The numbers of refusals for the Order of the British Empire broken down by award and honours round in the last five years for the Prime Minister's Lists can be found below. Figures for the British Empire Medal have been included as the award is closely affiliated with the Order of the British Empire.

As the figures show, refusal rates for honours remain extremely low. Individuals are not required to give reasons for refusing honours.

GBE

Kt

DBE

CBE

OBE

MBE

BEM

Total

NY16

-

-

1

-

3

6

2

12

BD16

-

-

-

4

6

5

7

22

NY17

-

2

-

5

6

13

8

34

BD17

-

-

-

3

3

7

7

20

NY18

-

-

-

1

6

8

9

24

BD18

-

-

1

5

6

11

3

26

NY19

-

1

-

3

5

9

8

26

BD19

-

-

-

3

5

9

6

23

NY20

1

-

-

-

5

7

11

24

BD20

-

-

-

3

10

15

15

43

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the tax implications for UK boat owners whose vessels are currently harboured in EU member states in the trade deal negotiations with the EU.

Movements of goods from the EU will be treated the same as movements from the rest of the world after the end of the transition period. This means customs duties, including VAT, will be due, unless any relief or further agreement applies.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing pubs and licensed premises to deliver alcohol sales to customers during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

Pubs and bars are permitted to sell alcohol through delivery or via click and collect where remote ordering has been utilised.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether photographs used in Government public health adverts in newspapers are required to reflect the diversity of the communities in which those adverts are placed.

The Government’s public health advertising is reflective of the UK’s diverse communities. We work with marketing agencies to address barriers by targeting audiences with bespoke communications, including providing translations of core campaign materials. This ensures our public health messaging reaches as many people as possible.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants received severance packages in (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020 to date.

Departments publish details in their Annual Report and Accounts each year.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many letters Government Ministers have (a) received from MPs and (b) replied to since 1 May 2020.

This information is not held centrally. Each department is responsible for its correspondence.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will place in the Library a list of the publishers who have participated in the All in, All together advertising campaign to date.

The Government has developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public about COVID-19. As part of this, we have utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A list of participating publishers will be placed in the Commons Library.

As with any media planning approach, titles are selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level.

Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the budget is for the All in, All together advertising campaign; how much has been spent to date; and if he will place in the Library the amount agreed to be paid to each recipient publisher.

The Government has developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public about COVID-19. As part of this, we have utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A list of participating publishers will be placed in the Commons Library.

As with any media planning approach, titles are selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level.

Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will place in the Library the criteria which the Government used to select which publishers would be included in the All in, All together advertising campaign.

The Government has developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public about COVID-19. As part of this, we have utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A list of participating publishers will be placed in the Commons Library.

As with any media planning approach, titles are selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level.

Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many requests the Government has received for the provision of a British Sign Language interpreter at the televised daily covid-19 briefings from Hon Members (a) on the daily conference calls with his Department and (b) through all forms of communication with his Department.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQs 39766 and 41529 on 4 May 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, on what date Lord Agnew assumed responsibility for the procurement and supply chain of personal protective equipment.

Ministers in the Department for Health and Social Care have overall responsibility for PPE supply. However, other ministers and officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Cabinet Office, the Department for International Trade, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are closely involved in many aspects of the work. The Cabinet Office involvement includes providing a web portal for businesses offering medical and non-medical support and seconding commercial staff to support the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS officials carrying out procurement.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing the recommendations of the fourth Grimsey Review, published July 2021.

The Government is fully committed to supporting the independent businesses and communities that make our town centres successful as the nation responds to the impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak. Our package of support for businesses through this period totals over £352 billion including business grants, the coronavirus loan schemes and Job Retention Scheme, as well as deferral of income tax payments. This builds on major investment and action from Government to level up opportunity and prosperity across all areas of the country, including through the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, the £220 million UK-wide Community Renewal Fund and the £3.6 billion Towns Fund.

The retail, hospitality and leisure business rates relief in England is worth over £6bn to eligible businesses in 2021/22 alone. We extended the moratorium on commercial landlords’ right to forfeiture for the non-payment of rent to March 2022, and we will introduce legislation to help landlords and tenants resolve historic Covid-19 rent debt through binding arbitration if necessary.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the draft Employment Bill will be published; and if he will reconsider the potential merits of introducing a pilot scheme on neonatal leave and pay as recommended by the Petitions Committee in its report, The impact of Covid-19 on maternity and parental leave, published 6 July 2020.

The Government is committed to ensuring that all workers can participate and progress in the labour market and building back better as we recover from COVID-19.

We will bring forward the Employment Bill in due course, and in the meantime we will continue to take necessary action to support businesses and protect jobs.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what rights furloughed workers have to the accrual of holiday pay.

Employment rights remain unchanged under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (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.

If a furloughed worker takes holiday, the employer should pay them their full holiday pay, calculated in accordance with BEIS guidance. Employers will be obliged to fund any additional amounts over the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) grant.

Further guidance to help employers manage holiday pay during Coronavirus is available on GOV.UK.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether periods when schools are closed to all but vulnerable pupils and children of key workers during the covid-19 outbreak are counted as pauses under the Agency Workers Regulation.

An agency worker can qualify for equal treatment after working for 12 weeks in the same role with the same hirer.

The working patterns of agency workers can be irregular. The regulations set out the effect of different types of absence or breaks on the 12-week qualifying period and provide for several circumstances in which breaks do not prevent agency workers from completing the qualifying period or cause the qualifying clock to pause.

The qualifying clock will pause if there is a break in service for any reason, where the break is no longer than six calendar weeks and the agency worker returns to the same role with the same hirer.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to reduce the cost to people of disconnecting from gas supplies as part of decarbonising their homes.

The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out the immediate actions we will take for reducing emissions from buildings. In the meantime, BEIS believes in a strong independent economic regulatory environment and support Ofgem in the core priority (amongst others) to help achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050 while maximising value for money for consumers.

As part of our commitment to the Future Homes Standard, which will ensure new build homes are future-proofed with low carbon heating and world leading levels of energy efficiency, we will consult on the feasibility of ending connections to the gas grid in new build homes.

We need to ensure the right legislation is in place to support the heating market through the transition to net zero. We will, therefore, review the overarching regulatory framework set out in the Gas Act 1995 to ensure the appropriate powers and responsibilities are in place to facilitate a decarbonised gas future that does not risk our energy security or lead to disproportionate impacts on consumers across the UK.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Restart Grant Guidance for Local Authorities, updated 4 May 2021, for what reason animal boarding kennels are excluded from accessing support grants; and if he will reconsider that policy.

The Restart Grant scheme aimed to support businesses in specific sectors to reopen as coronavirus restrictions eased across the country. One-off grants were given to eligible businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors.

The Restart Grant scheme closed on 30 June. There are no plans to retrospectively change the eligibility criteria for this scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Energy White Paper: Powering our Net Zero Future published December 2020, what steps he has taken to progress the planned consultation on opt-out tariff switching for energy customers.

The Government intends to publish its planned consultation on opt-in switching and testing of opt-out switching soon.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring UK-facing online marketplaces to warn consumers before accepting payment that orders fulfilled from EU countries may be subject to (a) customs charges, (b) import VAT and (c) increased courier handling charges; and if he will ensure that those charges are made clear to the consumer at the point of order.

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 requires traders to provide information on the total price of goods or services, inclusive of any applicable or additional taxes or delivery charges, at the point of sale. Where the total price of the goods or services, including any additional taxes or delivery charges cannot reasonably be calculated in advance, such as cross-border transactions, the manner in which the price is to be calculated must instead be communicated. This information must be given to the consumer in a clear and comprehensible manner, along with the right to cancel if this exists.

Any information that the trader gives the consumer as required by these requirements are to be treated as included as a term of the contract. Changes to any of this information, made before entering into the contract or later, are not effective unless expressly agreed between the consumer and the trader.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2021 to Question 148866 on the hospitality sector, if he will make it his policy to provide financial assistance to invoice factoring schemes for suppliers in the hospitality sector.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic the Government has provided a package of financial support to businesses, including those in the hospitality sector and suppliers to the sector. The total financial support package is over £407 billion.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will establish a Government-backed pandemic insurance scheme for wedding (a) businesses and (b) consumers.

Since March of last year we have provided an unprecedented package of financial support to the economy, including the wedding sector, which we keep under regular review.

The Government recognises the essential role of the insurance industry in providing the cover businesses need to operate. We are working closely with insurers, trade bodies and regulators to understand what more the industry can do to support individuals and businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether financial institutions are permitted to refuse offers of employment to people who have a poor credit history where that poor credit history is as a result of a period of ill health or a newly acquired disability.

Employers should treat all job applicants courteously as well as being fair and objective in their selection of successful candidates.

The Government does not impose requirement on employers as to how they carry out recruitment. However, the law is clear that they must not discriminate unlawfully, for example on grounds of race, sex or disability.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what requirements there are for online marketplaces to check the safety of the products that are sold via their platforms.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe consumer products can be sold in the UK. Product safety legislation places obligations on distributors to act with due care to ensure products they are selling are safe. This includes online retailers selling goods via marketplaces. The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has recently taken action to ensure that a number of non-compliant products being sold by overseas third-party sellers have been removed from sale and are recalled, including toys.

The OPSS is also engaging proactively with major online marketplaces to ensure that they are playing their part in protecting UK consumers from unsafe products. This includes developing a new voluntary commitment for online marketplaces to agree actions they will take to reduce the risks from unsafe products being sold online, enabling them to publicly demonstrate their commitment to the safety of their consumers in the UK.

In order to ensure that the UK’s Product Safety framework is flexible and fit for the future, the OPSS is conducting a review. The review will ensure we have a framework that delivers safety for consumers while supporting businesses to innovate and grow and will consider the impact on product safety of non-traditional business models, including third-party sales.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to protect children from dangerous toys being sold by third-party sellers in online marketplaces.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe consumer products can be sold in the UK. Product safety legislation places obligations on distributors to act with due care to ensure products they are selling are safe. This includes online retailers selling goods via marketplaces. The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has recently taken action to ensure that a number of non-compliant products being sold by overseas third-party sellers have been removed from sale and are recalled, including toys.

The OPSS is also engaging proactively with major online marketplaces to ensure that they are playing their part in protecting UK consumers from unsafe products. This includes developing a new voluntary commitment for online marketplaces to agree actions they will take to reduce the risks from unsafe products being sold online, enabling them to publicly demonstrate their commitment to the safety of their consumers in the UK.

In order to ensure that the UK’s Product Safety framework is flexible and fit for the future, the OPSS is conducting a review. The review will ensure we have a framework that delivers safety for consumers while supporting businesses to innovate and grow and will consider the impact on product safety of non-traditional business models, including third-party sales.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to Cabinet Office's guidance, Reopening businesses and venues in England, published on 24 February 2021, whether pubs opening for outdoor trade at step 2 of the covid-19 reopening roadmap are also permitted to provide outdoor live music performances ancillary to the service of food and drinks.

If a pub wishes to provide complementary live music for their seated food and/or drink customers, they can do this outdoors at Step 2. However, if a pub charges for admission, or admits an audience in addition to seated food and/or drink customers, this would be considered to be a live music event, which should only take place at Step 3. Any live music should adhere to safer working guidelines for pubs and restaurants, which includes the need to ensure that background music should be kept at a low volume and that customers should not be singing or dancing.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will extend business grant funding via the Local Restrictions Grant scheme beyond 15 February 2021 for the duration of the covid-19 restrictions.

Yes. Businesses that are required by law to close will continue to be able to access grant support via the Local Restrictions Support Grant.

The current payment cycle will be for a 44-day period up to the end of the financial year, covering 16 February – 31 March 2021. It follows on directly from the first payment cycle, which covered 5 January – 15 February 2021.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what impact assessment he has conducted of the effects of no longer recognising the CE product mark for GB market access from 1 January 2022; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the use of the CE product mark alongside the UKCA product mark indefinitely.

The introduction of the UKCA mark on 1 January 2021 and the end of the UK's recognition of the CE mark is a consequence of the UK leaving the EU.

In order to help businesses to transition, products with the CE marking will be accepted on the GB market until 1 January 2022 (and longer in some cases). An assessment of the impact of introducing an end date to recognition of the CE marking on the GB market was published as part of recent secondary legislation. This found the change was likely to impose costs of around £36m over a 10-year period. It estimated that between 10,000 and 17,000 UK manufacturers and up to 135,000 UK wholesalers and retailers might be affected.

There are no plans to extend the recognition of CE marking on the GB market, as this would mean recognising EU regulations, even where there is divergence.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to reply to the letters from the hon. Member for St Albans of (a) 28 September 2020, (b) 4 November 2020 and (c) 30 November on calls for (i) grant funding for hospitality businesses that is commensurate with their fixed costs, (ii) an extension to the reduced 5 per cent rate of VAT for drinks sales in hospitality businesses, (iii) the extension of the business rates holiday beyond April 2021 and (iv) a cut to excise duty on draught beers to protect the hospitality industry.

The Hon. Member’s letter of 28 September was transferred to HM Treasury and I understand a reply was sent from there on 3 November. I replied to the Hon. Member’s letters of 4 and 30 November on 21 January, outlining the package of support measures that are available to hospitality businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of the letter dated 17 December 2020 from the hon Member for St Albans on (a) grant funding for hospitality businesses that is commensurate with their fixed costs, (b) an extension to the reduced 5 per cent rate of VAT for drinks sales in hospitality businesses, (c) the extension of the business rates holiday beyond April 2021 and (d) a cut to excise duty on draught beers to support the hospitality industry.

I replied to the Hon. Member on 21 January outlining the package of support measures that are available to hospitality businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing EEA and UK practitioners to have reciprocal rights of representation across (a) the UK Intellectual Property Office and (b) EU Intellectual Property Office after the transition period.

Rights of representation, whether before domestic courts in Member States or EU institutions, are the preserve of the Single Market and so do not form part of the UK approach to negotiations with the EU.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on UK Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys in the event that EEA attorneys continue to have access to both the UK and EU markets and UK attorneys have access to just the domestic market after the transition period.

The Government is aware that this is an important issue for stake holders, in particular UK-based trade mark attorneys.

Consistent with its overall approach to the UK’s exit from the EU, the government has laid legislation to change the ‘address for service’ requirement at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) from EEA-wide to UK-only. Subject to legislative implementation, following the transition period only a UK address for service will be accepted for new trade mark applications and other IP rights. This change will also apply to registered rights when certain proceedings are brought before the IPO.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when further (a) guidance and (b) funding will be provided to local authorities to enable them to pay the £1,000 grant to wet-led pubs in tier 2 and 3 local covid alert level areas.

Officials are working closely with local authorities to deliver the Christmas Support Payment for ‘wet-led’ pubs in Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions.

Guidance for the Christmas Support Payment for ‘wet-led’ pubs is now available on GOV.UK:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/942452/christmas-support-payment-la-guidance.pdf.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to provide local authorities with additional guidance on support schemes for the (a) leisure and (b) hospitality sector in tier 2 local covid alert level areas.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) scheme provides Local Authorities with discretionary funding to support businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors who have been severely affected by local restrictions but are not required to close. Local Authorities will be eligible for this scheme when under Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions. The updated guidance for the period from 2nd December has been published on GOV.UK:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-restrictions-support-grants-lrsg-and-additional-restrictions-grant-arg-guidance-for-local-authorities.

For those businesses mandated to close on a sector basis, regardless of the local restriction in place, such as nightclubs, the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Sector) will provide grants of up to £3000 per 28-day period. This guidance is also available on GOV.UK.

The Christmas Support Payment for ‘wet-led’ pubs is a one-off £1,000 grant to support the wet-led pubs during the festive period in Tier 2 and Tier 3. This guidance is also available on gov.uk.

Businesses mandated to close under Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions will be eligible for Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) payments of up to £3,000 per 28-day period. This guidance is also available on gov.uk.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 4 November to Question 109692, whether wet-led pubs are able to engage outside catering contractors under tier 2 rules as they did under tier 3 rules on 4 November 2020.

From 2 December pubs in Tier 2 areas may only provide alcohol for consumption on their premises with a substantial meal. A wet-led pub may partner with outside caterers or local food businesses to enable them to provide substantial meals, subject to any conditions contained in their licence.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 7 September 2020 to Question 78468 on Mozambique: Liquefied Natural Gas, if he will publish the most recent conclusions relating to his Department from the Government's ongoing review of its support for the fossil fuel industry.

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

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the role of the China General Nuclear Power Group in Britain's nuclear power plants on UK security.

All investment involving critical infrastructure is subject to thorough scrutiny and needs to satisfy our robust legal, regulatory, and national security requirements.

The Government conducted a comprehensive review of the Hinkley Point C project in 2016. The conclusions of the review were set out in a statement made by the then Secretary of State on 15th September 2016, Official Report, Column 1066. We regularly review our assessments to ensure that they remain accurate.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding the Government has allocated to the research and development of fourth generation nuclear reactors to date.

At the Spending Review in 2015, the Government committed to invest around £460m in nuclear research and innovation between 2016 to 2021.

As part of this commitment BEIS expects to invest around £180 million on the Nuclear Innovation Programme. This includes up to £46m which directly supports “fourth generation” advanced modular reactor R&D and upskilling of the nuclear regulators. The remainder of the funding includes projects and programmes that support both the development of these reactors as well as “third and third+ generation” reactor technologies.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s recent Ten Point Plan included a commitment of £170m for Advanced Modular Reactor R&D under the £385m Advanced Nuclear Fund.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance he is providing to universities on allowing PhD students whose projects have been affected by the covid-19 lockdown to apply for extensions to their funding.

PhD students are funded from a variety of sources, whether that is a research funder, their host institution, or if they are self-funded. Government funds PhD students through UKRI, which funds around 25% of the total PhD population in the UK.

UKRI have already taken steps to support PhD extensions working to ensure that all the students it funds would continue to receive their maintenance stipend during the lockdown and would not have to suspend their studies. UKRI-funded students in receipt of a costed extension will continue to receive this stipend during their extension period. UKRI announced on 11 November £19m of further support, making a total of over £60m of financial support available to students most impacted by the pandemic.

We encourage all PhD students to discuss with their supervisors how projects can be adjusted to complete their doctoral education to a satisfactory standard. Decisions on extensions are the responsibility of individual funders, and we expect research institutions to act flexibly based on what funding is available. We will continue to monitor how the pandemic is affecting PhD students and the wider research system.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether hospitality businesses can facilitate the sale of sundry grocery items alongside food for consumption off the premises from (a) inside their existing premises and (b) from outside spaces under their control in a covid-secure way during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown in England.

Under the new national restrictions, hospitality businesses can remain open for takeaway (before 10pm and excluding alcohol), delivery and click and collect. Non-essential retail businesses can also continue to sell goods online for delivery and through click and collect. If a hospitality business is able to trade goods in a COVID-secure manner while following the new national restrictions and all other trade requirements, they may do so.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the requirement for hospitality businesses to only use click and collect to sell alcohol applies to the sale of non-alcoholic items from those same premises.

During the new national restrictions, hospitality venues may continue to offer food and non-alcoholic drink through delivery, takeaway prior to 10pm, and click and collect. Alcohol should only be sold from these venues via delivery or click and collect.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of amending the guidance on Bounce Back Loans to permit businesses, that have chosen to accept less than the total loan offered to them, to increase the borrowed amount up to the maximum they are eligible for.

As part of the broader package of support measures announced on 2 November, we announced that we will change the Bounce Back Loan Scheme rules to allow those businesses who have borrowed less than their maximum to top-up their existing loan.

If a business has already received a Bounce Back Loan of less than 25% of the turnover they stated on their last application form, they will be able to apply to their existing lender to top up their existing loan to 25% of turnover or £50,000, whichever is lower.

The top-up will be on the terms of the original loan, that is, the term for the top-up will finish on the same date as for the original, as will the repayment holiday.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the financial detriment to (a) licensed premises and (b) cask beer producers of the restriction on the sale of takeaway alcohol during the covid-19 lockdown.

During the new national restrictions in place from 5 November, pubs and bars are permitted to sell alcohol through delivery or via click and collect where remote ordering has been utilised.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the potential effects on the marine environment of synthetic and plastic fibre pollution at the Cleve Hill solar farm site.

The deemed Marine Licence, which was granted by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 28 May 2020 as part of the Cleve Hill Solar Park Order 2020 (SI 2020/547), sets out the measures the developer of the Cleve Hill Solar Park must take to prevent pollution in the marine environment. The monitoring and enforcement of the conditions in the deemed Marine Licence are matters for the Marine Management Organisation.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether pubs in areas of Tier 3 local covid alert level restrictions, that do not normally serve food, can serve substantial meals by engaging an outside catering contractor.

Under the tiered system of Local Alert Levels, that applies until 5 November, pubs and bars in tier 3 (very high) areas can partner with outside caterers or local food businesses to enable them to provide substantial meals alongside alcohol, subject to any conditions to the contrary contained in their licence.

From 5 November, new national restrictions will replace the tiered system of local restrictions. Under these new national restrictions hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the proportion of hospitality sales that occur after 10.00pm.

No assessment has been made, but we will be working with the sector to understand the impact over the coming weeks.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the vouchers for green home improvements announced on 7 July 2020 can be backdated to avoid customers cancelling planned work between now and the introduction of the vouchers in September 2020.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes.

Further detail on eligibility will be announced in due course, before the full launch.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to publish in full the scientific advice underpinning the Government's policy on which businesses can and cannot currently reopen following their closure due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Ministerial Taskforces have been getting scientific input from Public Health England (PHE), who have been directly involved in the taskforce meetings, helping to resolve scientific issues as they draft the guidance. Each individual working group which produced the guidance published on 11 May had active PHE presence, and each set of guidance was produced in collaboration with them, the Health and Safety Executive and other Departments. That model was followed for both the pubs and restaurants, close contact services, and non-essential retail taskforces. The PHE staff who have supported the BEIS taskforces are in regular direct contact with those attending SAGE and have access to the PHE SAGE read-outs. They have endeavoured to reflect closely the SAGE recommendations and have also been responsible for putting some subjects pertinent to BEIS discussions to SAGE, such as persistence of COVID-19 on surfaces, and consideration of social distancing requirements under different scenarios. SAGE information is shared on its website: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish (a) a timetable and (b) guidance for the re-opening of (i) beauty salons, (ii) nail bars, (iii) tanning salons,(iv) massage studios, (v) reflexology centres, (vi) complementary therapy centres, (vii) photography studios, (viii) tattoo studios, (ix) swimming pools, (x) gyms, (xi) soft play centre, (xii) bowling alleys, (xiii) sports halls and (xiv) dance schools that are currently unable to reopen following their closure due to the covid-19 outbreak.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in his speech on 3rd July, stated that a timetable for the reopening of closed sectors would be set out this week. The Prime Minister was clear he can only lift those remaining, national restrictions as and when it is safe to do so.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has now provided close contact services in England, except Leicester, with the certainty they need to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has released new guidance to enable competitive grassroots sport to be played – starting with cricket from 11 July. DCMS also stated that outdoor pools can reopen to the public from 11 July followed by indoor gyms, pools and leisure centres on 25 July.

The Government will continue to work with those industries that are still closed to understand how best to reopen them safely, at the right time, guided by science.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support the Government plans to provide to those businesses that cannot currently reopen following their closure due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government’s priority has been to act to reduce the high levels of Covid-19 infection and this is the best way to support businesses. The sooner the spread of the virus is controlled, the sooner businesses and communities can move towards reopening.

The Government has introduced a comprehensive package of support to help businesses during this difficult period. These include the small business grants, the coronavirus loan schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, deferral of VAT and income tax payment, and more.

As of 5 July, 1.1 million employers have taken advantage of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), totalling claims of £27.4 billion and safeguarding 9.4 million jobs. The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been accessed by 2.7 million individuals .

Over 867,600 businesses have claimed £10.65 billion through the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF), and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

As of 5 July, 1.1 million businesses have accessed over £45 billion worth of coronavirus loans, backed by Government guarantees. These range from loans of £,2000, to £200 million.

There has been significant support to date, and there is still funding to be disbursed. BEIS will continue to work closely with local authorities, businesses, and business representative organisations to understand whether there is additional need. Ultimately it is only by controlling the virus that the lockdown can be lifted, allowing businesses to re-open and operate more normally.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the annual value of the Artist's Resale Right to visual artists.

The Government has made no recent assessment. Like other copyright licensing schemes run in the UK, the collection of artist’s resale right is managed by collective management organisations on behalf of artists. These organisations are mandated by artists to collect on their behalf, and are responsible for publishing information on artist income generated from the resale right in annual transparency reports.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the guidance entitled, Keeping workers and customers safe during covid-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, published on 23 June 2020, restricts the number of customers permitted to be present in hospitality premises to a maximum of 30.

Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to have more than 30 people on the premises provided COVID-19 secure guidelines are being followed and other social distancing measures are still in place. This includes limiting those at a table to groups from a maximum of two households. These types of venues are not subject to the 30-person limit because of the way a gathering is defined in law. These types of venues can be thought of as being comprised of many smaller gatherings.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the financial ability of (a) pubs and (b) hospitality businesses to re-stock ahead of their re-opening.

The Government have engaged with hospitality businesses to discuss various issues around reopening, including financial issues. This Department’s ministerial team are in regular contact with the industry. Work is ongoing to develop guidance with the assistance of representatives from the industry in order to get the sector reopened safely, in line with our approach with other businesses and sectors.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the support package for research and development intensive small and medium size firms announced by the Government on 20 April 2020, if he will publish the amount of funding allocated under that scheme once it has gone live, on a (a) weekly and (b) monthly basis.

Further details on the £750m package of support for R&D intensive small and medium sized firms, to be delivered through Innovate UK, are now available on their website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-coronovirus-business-innovation-support-package

This includes guidelines on eligibility requirements and the full scope of competitions. In building this package Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, worked closely with BEIS and HMT to identify those organisations that it could offer effective support to, that would have struggled to access the wider packages of support my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer had already announced. As part of the exercise Innovate UK will be funding projects that have not previously had Innovate UK funding. This will be subject to a competitive process and will initially aim to fund around 1200 companies.

Innovate UK transparency data is published on a monthly basis on the Gov.uk website and includes information on all funded projects. Additionally information on projects can be found online at Gateway to Research.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will provide additional information on the 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding, who are eligible for the support package for research and development intensive small and medium size firms announced by the Government on 20 April 2020.

Further details on the £750m package of support for R&D intensive small and medium sized firms, to be delivered through Innovate UK, are now available on their website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-coronovirus-business-innovation-support-package

This includes guidelines on eligibility requirements and the full scope of competitions. In building this package Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, worked closely with BEIS and HMT to identify those organisations that it could offer effective support to, that would have struggled to access the wider packages of support my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer had already announced. As part of the exercise Innovate UK will be funding projects that have not previously had Innovate UK funding. This will be subject to a competitive process and will initially aim to fund around 1200 companies.

Innovate UK transparency data is published on a monthly basis on the Gov.uk website and includes information on all funded projects. Additionally information on projects can be found online at Gateway to Research.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether firms that have pending applications with Innovate UK are eligible for the support package for research and development intensive small and medium size firms announced by the Government on 20 April 2020.

Further details on the £750m package of support for R&D intensive small and medium sized firms, to be delivered through Innovate UK, are now available on their website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-coronovirus-business-innovation-support-package

This includes guidelines on eligibility requirements and the full scope of competitions. In building this package Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, worked closely with BEIS and HMT to identify those organisations that it could offer effective support to, that would have struggled to access the wider packages of support my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer had already announced. As part of the exercise Innovate UK will be funding projects that have not previously had Innovate UK funding. This will be subject to a competitive process and will initially aim to fund around 1200 companies.

Innovate UK transparency data is published on a monthly basis on the Gov.uk website and includes information on all funded projects. Additionally information on projects can be found online at Gateway to Research.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how Innovate UK customers are defined in the eligibility criteria for the support package for research and development intensive small and medium size firms announced by the Government on 20 April 2020.

Further details on the £750m package of support for R&D intensive small and medium sized firms, to be delivered through Innovate UK, are now available on their website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-coronovirus-business-innovation-support-package

This includes guidelines on eligibility requirements and the full scope of competitions. In building this package Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, worked closely with BEIS and HMT to identify those organisations that it could offer effective support to, that would have struggled to access the wider packages of support my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer had already announced. As part of the exercise Innovate UK will be funding projects that have not previously had Innovate UK funding. This will be subject to a competitive process and will initially aim to fund around 1200 companies.

Innovate UK transparency data is published on a monthly basis on the Gov.uk website and includes information on all funded projects. Additionally information on projects can be found online at Gateway to Research.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons limited companies that have been trading for more than three years are excluded from the Bounce Back Loan Scheme on the grounds that their last annual accounts showed a loss greater than half of their share capital.

It is not the case that limited companies that have been trading for more than three years, whose last annual accounts showed a loss greater than half of their share capital, are necessarily excluded from the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

The scheme is open to most businesses, regardless of turnover, who meet the eligibility criteria and who were established on or before 1 March 2020.

As part of the application form, borrowers are required to declare either that the business was not a business in difficulty on 31 December 2019; or if it was a business in difficulty [on 31 December 2019], that the business does not breach de minimis State aid restrictions. A business in difficulty is also required to declare it does not meet the temporary framework aid limits.

A business is considered in difficulty if it met any one of the following criteria on 31 December 2019:

  • Individuals or companies that have entered into collective insolvency proceedings;
  • Limited companies which have accumulated losses greater than half of their share capital in their last annual accounts (this does not apply to SMEs less than 3 years old);
  • Partnerships, limited partnerships or unlimited liability companies which have accumulated losses greater than half of their capital in their latest annual accounts (this does not apply to SMEs less than 3 years old);
  • Where the undertaking has received rescue aid and has not yet reimbursed the loan or terminated the guarantee, or has received restructuring aid and is still subject to a restructuring plan;
  • A company which is not an SME where, for each of the last two accounting years: i) your book debt to equity ratio has been greater than 7.5; and ii) your EBITDA interest coverage ratio has been below 1.0.
Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that small businesses that have rateable values above the cap for the Small Business Grant Fund have fair access to covid-19 related grant funding.

The Small Business Grant Fund is targeted support for small and rural businesses that have potentially been hit hardest by the measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The scheme has been tied to the existing business rates system to enable Local Authorities to make payments as quickly as possible. Businesses that are eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief are eligible for support under the Small Business Grants Fund.

We continue to look at the issues of businesses that aren’t in-scope of the existing grants schemes and how best to provide support. Where business operate from premises with a rateable value in excess of £15,000, other schemes including the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant or the recently announced Bounce Back Loan scheme might be more appropriate.

On the 1 May 2020 the Business Secretary announced that a further up to £617 million is being made available to local authorities as a discretionary fund so that they can address cases that are out-of-scope from the Small Business Grants Fund and Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund and this could allow local authorities to make grants to businesses above the rateable value cap of £15,000 subject to them meeting the eligibility criteria of the discretionary fund.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses (a) registered and (b) operating in Hertfordshire have applied for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan; and how many of those businesses have been awarded funding from that loan scheme.

As of 21 April, over £2.8bn worth of loans have been issued under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, to over 16,600 businesses. We are working with the British Business Bank, HM Treasury and lenders on regular and transparent data publication going forward.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will extend the deadline in the Feed-in Tariffs (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Order 2020 for commissioning new hydropower generating stations by an additional six months to reflect the seasonal nature of their construction.

The recent Feed-in Tariffs (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Order 2020 gives developers of a range of small-scale renewable energy projects an extra six months to complete the accreditation process to benefit from the Feed-in Tariffs scheme, reducing the impact of the Coronavirus on developers and community groups that have invested in low-carbon energy, but who could have been unable complete their construction and commissioning before the final deadline.

This emergency legislation was focussed on the projects most immediately affected by the Coronavirus, with deadlines between March and September 2020. The government is keeping the situation under review, including in relation to projects with deadlines beyond 30 September 2020.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with Historic England on the preservation of significant Roman ruins including those at Eastfield in North Yorkshire.

Roman ruins of national importance may be protected by the Secretary of State as Scheduled Monuments. Before doing so, he consults Historic England.

In the case of the currently unscheduled ruins discovered at Eastfield, Historic England has negotiated with Keepmoat Homes, the developer, to secure their short-term preservation as part of public open space within the ‘Capella’ housing scheme. Once the core area of the ruins is clearly defined and reburied, the Secretary of State will consider the case for designating them as a Scheduled Monument in order to help secure their protection and long-term preservation.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to publish proposals to tackle the online advertising of products that are high in fat, sugar and salt to ensure equivalence between traditional broadcasting platforms and online content providers.

The Government published on 24 June 2021 its response to the 2019 and 2020 consultations on introducing restrictions for high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) advertising across TV and online. The response outlined our intentions to introduce a 9pm TV watershed for HFSS products and a restriction of paid-for HFSS advertising online. These restrictions are being legislated for in the Health and Care Bill currently in Parliament. The restrictions are intended to come into force at the end of 2022.

The Government will appoint Ofcom as the statutory regulatory authority who will then be able to appoint a day-to-day regulator to carry out frontline regulation. Enforcement of advertising standards by front-line and statutory regulators is an arrangement already established for broadcast advertising. In order to ensure that HFSS advertising policy is proportionate and there is parity across media, we will introduce the same enforcement arrangement online.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether it is his policy to require all user generated content on social media that has been filtered or altered to be identifiable as such.

The government does not require all filtered or altered content to be identifiable as such on social media.

However, the Online Safety Bill will impose new duties on social media companies to address the harm that may be caused by user-generated content, including altered or filtered content, on their services. These duties will apply to illegal content and other content that may have a serious adverse physical or psychological impact on children and, in the case of the largest social media companies, on adults.

The Government has committed to publishing the Online Media Literacy Strategy which will complement the regulatory regime to support online safety. The Strategy will empower users with the skills and knowledge they need to make safer and more informed decisions online. This will include promoting critical thinking skills, and understanding that the online environment is not always reflective of reality.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Advertising Standards Agency on making digitally altered images of a human body or body part in advertisements clearly labelled as such for consumers.

The ASA’s existing rules on social responsibility and misleading advertising are already applied to advertising of cosmetic interventions and advertising featuring digitally altered images.

The ASA held a public consultation on cosmetic interventions in 2020 and are following this up with a call for evidence on body image this year. The Government will remain closely in touch with the ASA as they undertake this consultation. The government will be launching the Online Advertising Programme (OAP) later this year which will explore how to address harms in the content and placement of advertising online, and to ensure the regulatory regime for the online advertising ecosystem is coherent, clear and effective. As part of this work, the Government will be considering whether any additional measures should be brought forward to address body image concerns.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the legal position is that informed the decision to exclude fans who were (a) under 18 years old, (b) vulnerable adults and (c) pregnant from the World Snooker Championship that took place at Sheffield Crucible Theatre from 17 April to 3 May 2021.

The Ministerial Direction for the World Snooker Championships relaxed a number of Covid restrictions, including rules on capacity limits culminating in up to 4,000 people at an indoor seated venue for the Final.

For each pilot event a Public Sector Equality Duty impact assessment was carried out to consider the impact of this scientific study on groups with protected characteristics, including under 18s, those with disabilities, and pregnant people.

Under 18s were excluded from the World Snooker Championship as participants were asked to consent on the basis of the increased risk of COVID 19 transmission due to the relaxation of some risk mitigation factors (social distancing and capacity limits). It was considered that the disproportionate impact on under 18s not attending was justified.

It was considered that those defined as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, including those who are disabled or pregnant may have been more at risk where the restrictions on social distancing and capacity limits were removed. The Science Board agreed that given the nature of the pilot programme it would not be possible to permit clinically vulnerable people to safely participate. The disproportionate impact of clinically vulnerable people not attending was considered justified on the basis that the policy only applies to pilot events in the programme.

Throughout the Events Research Programme (ERP) processes have been reviewed and adapted. After the World Snooker Championship, following stakeholder consultation and feedback from a number of disability groups, the ERP Science Board reviewed the approach of the ERP with respect to Clinically Extremely Vulnerable individuals attending pilot events. The current position is that the decision to attend an ERP pilot event lies with the individual. All attendees are required to fill out a consent form as part of the sign up process for the research programme. This takes into account the increased risk of COVID 19 transmission due to the relaxation of some risk mitigation factors (including removing social distancing).

Although those under the age of 16 may be competent to agree to provide consent to medical treatment (known as Gillick competence), the Programme's Science Board has recommended that most ERP events will not allow under 16s.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many site owners who lease their land to telecommunications companies for infrastructure have seen their rents reduced by more than 40 per cent as proposed by the Government's Impact Assessment accompanying the 2017 Electronic Communications Code.

The Impact Assessment that accompanied the 2017 reforms did not propose a 40% reduction in rents. The 40% figure estimate referred to in the Impact Assessment was drawn from a report by independent economic analysts (Nordicity). The Impact Assessment made clear the difficulty of predicting the exact amount by which rents would fall, given the fact that the price paid for rights to install digital infrastructure is, in the first instance, a matter for private negotiation between operators and site providers.

Government’s aim was to reduce the cost of deployment, including the amounts paid for access to land, overall. We have not completed a formal assessment on average rent reductions since the 2017 reforms came into effect and therefore cannot comment on what the average rent reductions have been.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with representatives of (a) the British Tenpin Bowling Association and (b) other stakeholders on the financial viability of bowling alleys.

DCMS officials have engaged extensively with visitor economy stakeholders throughout the pandemic and will continue to meet with representatives from across the sector. I met with representatives of the Tenpin Bowling Proprietors Association on 28 January to discuss the financial impact on bowling alleys.

Bowling centre operators can continue to access the Government’s comprehensive support package - including the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes, new grant schemes, as well as various government-backed loans.

Alongside a range of other measures to support leisure and hospitality, the Government will continue to provide eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England with 100% business rates relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. This will be followed by 66% business rates relief for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring telecoms suppliers to offer their best value tariffs to existing customers when they reach the end of introductory fixed price deals.

The Government has recently strengthened Ofcom’s telecoms consumer protection powers. In February 2020, Ofcom introduced new rules to ensure that customers receive important information about their communications service when their contract is due to end.

As the contract end date approaches, providers must inform their customers on: the date their contract ends; the services currently provided and the price paid; any changes to the service and price paid at the end of this period; and information about the notice period required to terminate the contract. Providers must also include information on prices available to other customers, such as new customers. This is to ensure that customers do not have to negotiate in order to find out what their provider’s best price is, and means people can see if they are losing out and whether to switch provider.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which of the 139 recommendations identified in the Information Commissioner's Office audit of Government departments will be included as part of the National Data Strategy.

The audit referred to in the question was a specific audit by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of the Department for Education (DfE). The DfE has been working closely with the ICO since the audit was undertaken in February 2020 to address all the recommendations and published its formal response in January 2021 in the House Library, paper reference DEP2021-0072.

The work being done by DfE in partnership with the ICO to address the audit recommendations, particularly around data sharing policy and strategy, will support good practice across the public, private and third sectors, in line with the aims of the National Data Strategy.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that Society of Antiquaries can remain at Burlingham House; and what plans he has to support the Society in the future.

Officials from my Department are working closely with colleagues in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to explore whether there is a solution that can deliver public value and help the Society of Antiquaries and other Learned Societies to remain in situ at New Burlington House.

We do recognise the importance of the Society of Antiquaries, its collections and the historic site it is located in, but equally the government has a duty to maximise return to the public purse so we must explore options which balance the landlord and heritage interests in the situation.

This government is committed to supporting culture and heritage. The Society of Antiquaries recently received Culture Recovery Fund grant funding to support them during the pandemic and have been in receipt of National Heritage Lottery Fund project grants in recent years.

12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to guidance, Covid-19 Response - Spring 2021, at what stage the Government plans that travelling showpeople will be able to proceed with (a) fairground rides and (b) other services at (i) events and (ii) festivals.

Outdoor funfairs and fairgrounds operated by travelling showpeople can reopen in Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April. These events will be subject to local authority approval. The rules on social contact outdoors will apply in these settings. For Step 2, this means groups must be limited to up to 6 people or 2 households.

Outdoor funfairs and fairgrounds will also need to be organised by a business, charity or similar organisation; comply with COVID-Secure guidance with reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission and the completion of a risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits (unless another exemption exists, such as for work purposes, or supervised activities for children).

Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres, cinemas (except drive-in) and circuses, will reopen in Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May, and at least five weeks after Step 2, following a further review of the data and the four tests.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many cultural organisations met all of the criteria for funding from the Culture Recovery Fund but were not awarded that funding as a result of an oversubscription for those grants in their area.

For the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund, in order to deliver the fund in time to support the sector, the Arts Council delegated fixed budgets to regional assessment panels to make decisions on the smallest applications.

When those panels were oversubscribed, and there were more organisations which met the criteria than could be funded, organisations were considered against the published Balancing Criteria and prioritised for funding accordingly. As such, a very small number of organisations (94) that applied to Arts Council England and met the primary criteria were not awarded funding on the basis of over-subscription, and how they compared to the Balancing Criteria. All of these applications were for less than £1m.

In general, success rates across Round 1 of the Fund were high, averaging 67% in the latest data we have.

Any unspent funds across the Arms Length Bodies will be allocated to the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund, which will deliver further support for cultural organisations during Spring and Summer 2021.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to what extent his Department assessed (a) the size of an organisation's cash reserves and (b) combined wealth of individual backers, when awarding funds from the Cultural Recovery Fund.

For the first round of funding in the Culture Recovery Fund, all organisations applying were asked to detail sources of income and levels of restricted and unrestricted reserves, to help the delivery bodies understand the financial position of each applicant up to 31 March.

Applicants were also asked in their application to detail how Covid-19 had impacted financial viability (including how they had exhausted all other reasonable options such as viable alternative options for commercial, contributed and philanthropic income, and using their reserves/resources), and therefore why a grant was necessary.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his timescale is for his Department's review of the Gambling Act 2005.

The government has committed to reviewing the Gambling Act 2005 to ensure that it is fit for the digital age. Further details will be announced in due course.

As set out in the answer to Question 118541, ministers have met with a range of stakeholders ahead of the Gambling Act Review. Details of ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the government’s website at: https://www.gov.uk/search/transparency-and-freedom-of-information-releases?content_store_document_type=transparency&organisations%5B%5D=department-for-digital-culture-media-sport.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport engages regularly with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s independent regulator of advertising, including on matters relating to gambling advertising. The ASA is currently consulting on proposed changes to the advertising codes aimed at further restricting the potential for gambling adverts to appeal to children or vulnerable people.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress he has made on data protection arrangements with Japan; and when he plans to reach an adequacy decision on allowing digital trade to continue with Japan after the end of the transition period.

The UK–Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is the UK’s first major trade deal as an independent trading nation.

CEPA seeks to remove unjustified barriers to data flows to strengthen trade between our two countries. It requires both parties to maintain comprehensive legal frameworks that protect personal information.

CEPA does not alter the UK’s existing data protection framework, enshrined in the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR. Under CEPA, the UK may adopt measures restricting data flows to achieve a legitimate public policy objective, including personal data protection and the ability to maintain an independent international data transfers regime. From the end of the transition period, the UK will preserve the effect of the EU's adequacy decision for Japan on a transitional basis, that will continue to provide robust protections for the international transfer of personal data.

6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to Regulations 16(1), 16(3), 17(6) and Schedule 2 Part 2 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020, if he will revise the Government's performing arts guidance of 5 November 2020 so that theatres that (a) are businesses and (b) operate within a designated theatre can continue to hold covid-secure rehearsals regardless of the professional status of the performers.

Since Thursday 5 November, new national restrictions have been in force in England to control the spread of coronavirus and to limit contacts between households.

The Health Protection Regulation 5(1) states that no person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse. The exceptions to the restrictions enables people to leave their homes for the purposes of work where it is not possible for them to work from home.

This exception extends to professionals within the performing arts who are unable to train, rehearse or take part in performances for broadcasting or recording purposes at home. Other than for this purpose, theatres, concert halls and entertainment venues must close.This exemption does not apply to non professional activity within the performing arts in accordance with the wider restrictions.



3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of permitting socially-distanced outdoor singles tennis games to be played during the period of new national covid-19 lockdown from 5 November 2020.

Sport and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus.

Nobody wanted to be in the position of having to introduce further National Restrictions. However as the Prime Minister said, with the virus spreading faster than expected we cannot allow our health system to be overwhelmed. Therefore, from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December indoor and outdoor leisure including tennis courts will need to close. The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions.

In order for these measures to have the greatest impact, we will all need to sacrifice doing some things that we would otherwise like to do, for a short period of time. As soon as we're in a position to start lifting restrictions, grassroots sports will be one of the first to return.

People are still allowed to leave their homes for exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own, or with one person from another household or support bubble.The gravity of the situation has meant that we have been forced to take some tough choices. That meant having to deny extremely worthy candidates exemptions to the rules, including grassroots sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of permitting socially-distanced outdoor archery as a form of exercise during the period of new national covid-19 lockdown from 5 November 2020.

Sport and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus.

Nobody wanted to be in the position of having to introduce further National Restrictions. However as the Prime Minister said, with the virus spreading faster than expected we cannot allow our health system to be overwhelmed. Therefore, from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December indoor and outdoor leisure including tennis courts will need to close. The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions.

In order for these measures to have the greatest impact, we will all need to sacrifice doing some things that we would otherwise like to do, for a short period of time. As soon as we're in a position to start lifting restrictions, grassroots sports will be one of the first to return.

People are still allowed to leave their homes for exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own, or with one person from another household or support bubble.The gravity of the situation has meant that we have been forced to take some tough choices. That meant having to deny extremely worthy candidates exemptions to the rules, including grassroots sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he is taking steps to support the BBFC in securing greater coverage for their trusted age ratings on video-on-demand platforms; what video-on-demand platforms carry BBFC age ratings; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of linking those ratings to parental filters.

While adoption of the British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) best practice age ratings by online platforms is currently voluntary, we welcome Netflix’s commitment to work towards complete coverage of its content under the BBFC’s ratings and support the BBFC’s drive to encourage other Video On Demand platforms to follow suit. By doing so, this will provide consumers, especially parents, with well recognised age ratings and consumer advice.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of online content being age-rated and labelled using trusted BBFC classifications which reflect UK national sensitives as a result of large-scale consultation of all four UK nations.

It is vital that children are protected from accessing age-inappropriate, harmful content online. The government’s Online Harms legislation will establish in law a new ‘duty of care’ on companies towards their users. The ‘duty of care’ will ensure companies have robust systems and processes in place to keep their users safe and will deliver a higher level of protection for children than for the typical adult user. Details of how the online harms legislation will protect children from harmful content will be published later this year in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation.

Over the past year we have been working with the BBFC and industry to drive the voluntary adoption of the BBFC’s age rating symbols to Video On Demand platforms. Doing so will provide consumers with well recognised age ratings and consumer advice.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward proposals for family friendly WiFi which use the default filters imposed by mobile network operators, based on BBFC guidelines and regulated by the BBFC.

Protecting children is at the heart of our online harms agenda, and wider government priorities. The government has worked hard to ensure content is filtered in public places where children are likely to be, as well as at home. The major providers of public WiFi are committed to providing family friendly public WiFi wherever children are likely to be. A Friendly WiFi Logo was launched in 2014 to help parents identify the safest places to browse the internet.

The BBFC provides an independent framework for mobile network operators and defines content that is unsuitable for customers under the age of 18 based on their Classification Guidelines for film and video. There are no plans to require other internet providers who provide family friendly filters to use the BBFC’s framework.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to make the 2018 BBFC AV Guidance approved by Parliament the basis for future Government online harms proposals to protect children from harmful content.

As we announced on 16 October last year, we will not be commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act (DEA) 2017 and its provisions on age verification for online pornography as originally intended. Instead the online harms regime will include provisions to protect children from age-inappropriate content, including online pornography. Our Online Harms proposals will go further than the DEA’s focus on online pornography on commercial adult sites and provide a higher level of protection for children.

Details of how the online harms legislation will protect children from harmful content, including online pornography, will be published later this year in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the Government plans to publish the online media literacy strategy connected with the Online Harms Bill.

The Online Harms White Paper set out the Government’s intention to publish an online Media Literacy Strategy to ensure a coordinated and strategic approach to media literacy education for all UK citizens. The Strategy is due to be published in spring 2021.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with Ofcom on the role of the proposed online harms regulator to promote education and raise awareness of online safety.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with Ofcom on a variety of issues, including online media literacy education. Information about Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the gov.uk website. The forthcoming Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper Consultation will set out more detail about the online harms regulator’s role in promoting media literacy education.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government will pursue mutual recognition of regimes in respect of online harms and protections in trade negotiations with the US.

The UK’s negotiating objectives set out that our aim is to promote appropriate protections for consumers online and ensure the Government maintains its ability to protect users from emerging online harms. We will continue to carefully consider any interaction between trade policy and online harms policy.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what representations he has received from experts in the education sector on the Online Harms Bill.

Ministers and officials are engaging with a wide range of stakeholders, in developing the Online Harms Bill. This includes discussions with experts from the education sector. We will publish a Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year, which will include more detailed proposals on online harms regulation. We will continue to engage with stakeholders from the education sector, as well as industry, academia and civil society, as we develop proposals and move towards legislation.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing the events and exhibitions sector to reopen with reduced capacity during the covid-19 outbreak.

My Department, working with the events sector and Public Health England, has carried out three pilot business events to ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help the sector reopen when it is safe to do so. However, we needed to pause the planned 1st October reopening of larger conferences and events as part of our response to the recent rise in Covid-19 cases.

Meetings of up to 30 can still take place in permitted venues, as per the Covid-19 Secure guidance for the visitor economy. Since 11 July, a range of outdoor events have been able to take place.

We continue to engage with stakeholders, including through the Visitor Economy Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to monitor the situation facing companies across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the statement by the Prime Minister on 22 September setting out further covid-19 lockdown restrictions, whether non-league football clubs can begin playing games from 1 October 2020 without fans present.

Decisions on whether to start playing competitive fixtures is a matter for the leagues themselves.

The FA have defined non-elite football as the leagues below the National Leagues North and South. Those leagues continue to be able to admit spectators in line with government’s overall framework on the Return to recreational team sport framework and the FA’s supplementary guidance.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make financial support available to (a) St Albans City FC and (b) other non-league football clubs during the covid-19 outbreak.

Football clubs, at all levels, form the bedrock of our local communities. There have been countless examples during the pandemic of football clubs across the country demonstrating their importance to their local area, volunteering both time and money during these difficult times.

The Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses throughout the pandemic, including a comprehensive and sizable package of direct fiscal support for business through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support. Many football clubs have benefited from these measures.

Where it can, we will expect the top tiers of professional sport to look at ways in which it can support itself, with government focusing on those most in need. I also welcomed the Premier League announcement to advance funds of £125 million to the EFL and National League to help clubs throughout the football pyramid.

As the Prime Minister said on 22 September, the government recognises the implications of being able to admit spectators on sports clubs and is working urgently on what the government can do to support them.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Government's guidance, last updated on 11 September 2020, entitled Working safely during coronavirus, Performing arts, whether that guidance applies to recreational choirs.

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

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

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to issue guidance on the safe reopening of open air theatres as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

On 9 July, the Government published guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants which will help people understand how they can work and take part in the performing arts safely, and keep their audiences safe.

Organisers of all events including open air theatres will always need to go through the relevant approvals. Where required, they will need to be granted licences from local authorities and be set up to be COVID-secure adhering to social distancing guidelines and regulations.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, following his confirmation at the daily press conference on 17 June, that all but 5 countries worldwide broadcast the restart of the Premier League on 17 June 2020, whether Premier League football was legally aired by any broadcaster in Saudi Arabia on that date.

beIN Media Group own the rights to broadcast Premier League football in the Middle East and North Africa. beIN Media is currently unable to operate in Saudi Arabia, so Premier League football cannot be viewed legally in Saudi Arabia at this time.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the financial effect of the covid-19 outbreak on National Portfolio Organisations; and what support his Department is providing to those organisations.

In order to support the sustainability of the Arts sector, including the National Portfolio, DCMS has worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to provide a tailored package of financial support. In March, ACE announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

This package includes £90 million of support for National Portfolio Organisations so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. There is no upper limit for the amount of funding National Portfolio Organisations can apply for, and decisions on funding will be made on 30 June 2020.

In keeping with the arms-length principle, Arts Council England will determine whether and to what extent organisations receive funding.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult organisations within the Art sector, including National Portfolio Organisations, extensively to ensure we fully understand the impacts of Covid-19 and remain well placed to respond as it develops.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his Department's policy is on allocating the second tranche of Arts Council England funding to National Portfolio Organisations.

In order to support the sustainability of the Arts sector, including the National Portfolio, DCMS has worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to provide a tailored package of financial support. In March, ACE announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

This package includes £90 million of support for National Portfolio Organisations so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. There is no upper limit for the amount of funding National Portfolio Organisations can apply for, and decisions on funding will be made on 30 June 2020.

In keeping with the arms-length principle, Arts Council England will determine whether and to what extent organisations receive funding.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult organisations within the Art sector, including National Portfolio Organisations, extensively to ensure we fully understand the impacts of Covid-19 and remain well placed to respond as it develops.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of underwriting zero interest rate loans for fixed periods for members of the English Football League during the covid-19 outbreak.

Football clubs are the heart of local communities and have unique social value.

The Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses throughout this period, including a comprehensive and sizable package of direct fiscal support for business through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support. Many football clubs have benefited from these measures.

The Government is in regular dialogue with all the football authorities to understand their financial position - but has been absolutely clear that it expects football to look first at how it can support itself through these difficult times. To this end I welcomed the Premier League announcement to advance funds of £125 million to the EFL and National League to help clubs throughout the football pyramid. The EFL has also announced a £50m relief fund to help their clubs enduring immediate cash flow problems because of the coronavirus crisis.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department made of the sustainability of local commercial radio as a result of the announcement by Bauer to reorganise 50 regional outlets into a national radio network.

We have made no such assessment. The local programming and content requirements for holders of local analogue commercial radio licenses are set by Ofcom under the relevant legislative framework – primarily the Broadcasting Act 1990 and the Communications Act 2003. These are matters for Ofcom.

In particular, Ofcom is required under section 314 of the Communications Act 2003 to publish and keep under review guidance for commercial radio licensees setting out the detailed local programming requirements that they consider it to be appropriate for local stations to carry.

The relevant guidelines were updated by Ofcom in 2018 to give local FM licensees greater flexibility in how and where local stations produce their programmes, while ensuring that listeners’ expectations for high quality local news and other content continue to be met. In drawing up the current guidance, Ofcom took account of the changing patterns of radio and audio listening and the views of radio listeners. The revised guidelines are published on Ofcom's website, and it will be for Bauer to make decisions about how to organise their services while still meeting their regulatory requirements - in particular, the requirements to produce local news and news programming.

The Government has long-term plans to legislate to reduce other burdens on commercial radio while maintaining protections for the provision on local news and extending these requirements to digital radio, where there are currently no such protections in place. We consulted on changes in 2017, and will bring forward legislation when Parliamentary time is available.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that Arqiva provides commercial radio broadcasters with equitable financial support to tackle high fixed transmission costs during the economic downturn.

We have discussed with Arqiva a possible package financial support for commercial radio broadcasters in relation to transmission fees. Discussions are continuing with Arqiva and we hope discussions will conclude shortly. Our priority, in raising these issues directly with Arqiva, is to ensure that the interests of small commercial radio stations are reflected in any agreements.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will publish the criteria used in negotiations with Arqiva to determine the level of financial support for transmission fees allocated to commercial radio broadcasters during the economic downturn.

We have discussed with Arqiva a possible package financial support for commercial radio broadcasters in relation to transmission fees. Discussions are continuing with Arqiva and we hope discussions will conclude shortly. Our priority, in raising these issues directly with Arqiva, is to ensure that the interests of small commercial radio stations are reflected in any agreements.

27th Apr 2020
If he will convene a virtual forum for representatives of (a) the creative industries and (b) political parties in Parliament to discuss Government support for the creative industries during the covid-19 outbreak.

We hold frequent virtual forums and roundtables with representatives across all creative industries, including the Creative Industries Council, the Creative Industries Federation and many trade bodies, to help identify ways to support them through the crisis - most recently on Wednesday 22 April.

I would happily listen to any suggestions from honourable members across this House on how to support one the UK’s most successful industries.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how the Government plans to tackle online harms committed by publishers of news media and information websites.

The government is committed to a free and independent press. This is vital to a strong and fully functioning democracy where the powerful can be held to account without fear. For this reason, the government does not intervene in what the press can and cannot publish, including on their websites.

The Online Harms White Paper does not seek to prohibit press freedom. The regulator will not be responsible for policing truth and accuracy online. Where services are already well regulated, regulation will not be duplicated.


Officials are currently working with stakeholders to ensure online harms proposals protect journalistic content. Further details will be published in the full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the EU’s Creative Europe programme on the growth of creative industries in the UK.

The Political Declaration stated that the UK is open to participation in certain EU programmes if it is in our interest to do so. While the Government has made the decision not to seek participation in Creative Europe’s 2021-27 programme, the Government is committed to supporting the UK’s thriving cultural and creative economy, and will continue to invest in the UK's cultural and creative sectors to support their world-class activity on the international stage. Domestic alternatives to Creative Europe will be considered in the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to negotiate the UK's continued membership of Creative Europe from 2021.

The Government is committed to supporting the UK’s thriving cultural and creative economy, and will continue to invest in the UK's cultural and creative sectors to support their world-class activity on the international stage. While the Government has made the decision not to seek participation in Creative Europe’s 2021-27 programme, we will consider domestic alternatives in the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review. It should be noted that current UK beneficiaries will continue to benefit from EU programmes for the lifetime of the project, which in some cases goes beyond 2020.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to review and update the list of digital platforms that are included in his Department’s Constituency framework: education and childcare setting (excluding universities) guidance.

The updated Contingency Framework sets out the expectation that schools and colleges should offer remote education to any pupils unable to attend in person. It does not refer to specific platforms but does signpost the Department’s ‘Get help with remote education’ service which provides information, guidance and support on setting up remote education.

This includes the Department’s continued work with Google and Microsoft providers to deliver the Digital Education Platforms programme. The programme provides Government funded support for schools and colleges to get set up on one of two free to use digital platforms, which includes G Suite for Education (Google Classroom), and Office 365 Education (Microsoft Teams). The Microsoft and Google platforms were chosen as they are free to use to the education sector and had the unified technology and support to set up and deliver effective remote education provision.

The funding covers the technical set up of the platform including all staff and pupil accounts.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what framework he used to determine which digital platforms are included in his Department’s Constituency framework: education and childcare setting (excluding universities) guidance.

The updated Contingency Framework sets out the expectation that schools and colleges should offer remote education to any pupils unable to attend in person. It does not refer to specific platforms but does signpost the Department’s ‘Get help with remote education’ service which provides information, guidance and support on setting up remote education.

This includes the Department’s continued work with Google and Microsoft providers to deliver the Digital Education Platforms programme. The programme provides Government funded support for schools and colleges to get set up on one of two free to use digital platforms, which includes G Suite for Education (Google Classroom), and Office 365 Education (Microsoft Teams). The Microsoft and Google platforms were chosen as they are free to use to the education sector and had the unified technology and support to set up and deliver effective remote education provision.

The funding covers the technical set up of the platform including all staff and pupil accounts.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of germicidal ultraviolet air disinfection on tackling the spread of covid-19 in schools and other educational settings.

A trial of air cleaning devices in 30 schools in Bradford has recently been launched. It includes upper room ultraviolet and high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) devices to help understand their effectiveness. The Department for Education will monitor the outcomes from the trial.

Additionally, the Department has announced that CO2 monitors will be provided this term to state-funded nurseries, schools and colleges, backed by £25 million in government funding.

The new monitors will enable staff to identify areas where ventilation needs to be improved and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, helping balance the need for good ventilation with keeping classrooms warm.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of classrooms had ventilation equipment in place on the first day of the autumn term 2021.

Health and safety law states that employers, including schools, colleges, and nurseries, must make sure that there is an adequate supply of fresh air in enclosed areas of the workplace. This has not changed during the COVID-19 outbreak. This can be provided by natural means, mechanical ventilation, or a combination of both. Most schools, colleges, and nurseries are likely to have adequate ventilation already, including those that were built or refurbished using 'Building Bulletin 101: Guidelines on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality in schools'.

From 6 September, the Department for Education started to dispatch CO2 monitors to schools, colleges, and nurseries. The monitors will allow schools, colleges, and nurseries to assess how well ventilated spaces are and to encourage them to take action to improve ventilation where necessary. The Department has committed to supplying around 300,000 CO2 monitors to schools, colleges, and nurseries across England in the autumn term.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy that pregnant teachers can choose to be medically suspended at 28 weeks gestation to protect them from potential harm while covid-19 is a significant workplace risk.

There is a long standing requirement for employers to put in place measures to ensure workplace safety where a significant health and safety risk is identified for a new or expectant mother. Pregnant staff and their employers should follow the advice set out in our operational guidance, and in the Department of Health and Social Care and the Health and Safety Executive COVID-19 advice for pregnant employees.

The COVID-19 advice for pregnant employees provides recommendations for pregnant women beyond 28 weeks and those who have underlying health conditions that may place them at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19, where a more precautionary approach is recommended.

If employers cannot put the necessary control measures in place, such as workplace adjustments or working from home, they should suspend the pregnant worker on paid leave. This is in line with normal requirements under regulation 16(3) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The Department would expect employers to manage this at a local level.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing students to study British Sign Language as a language option in Key Stage 3.

The Government has recognised British Sign Language (BSL) as a language since 2003. BSL is not a compulsory part of the National Curriculum, although schools are free to offer BSL as part of their wider school curriculum or as part of a varied programme of extra-curricular activities. Some schools may also offer accredited BSL qualifications to support pupils' achievements in the language. ​

The Department is aiming to introduce a GCSE in BSL as soon as possible, provided it meets the rigorous requirements that apply to all GCSEs. Officials are currently working closely with subject experts and Ofqual to develop draft subject content. The Department plans to consult publicly in due course. Officials are also engaging with Ofqual to ensure the subject content can be assessed appropriately and will be working with stakeholders to ensure that a wide range of views is reflected.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many supply teachers have taken maintained schools to Employment Tribunal for breach of Agency Workers Regulations in each of the last five years.

The requested information is not held by the Department. The Department does not have an employer-employee relationship with the school workforce and does not collect information on employment tribunal cases.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are responsible for the Agency Worker Regulations. An individual claiming an employer is in breach of those regulations may take their employer to an employment tribunal.

16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what provision the Government is making for specialist post-16 institutions to access the Post-16 Capacity Fund.

£83 million was announced in the Spending Review for 2021-22 to ensure that post-16 providers can accommodate the upcoming demographic increase in 16 to 19-year-olds from 2022 and 2023. On 18 May, we launched a bidding round to which eligible providers could bid for funding. Providers eligible to bid for this funding were 16–19 academies, 16–19 free schools (inclusive of university technical colleges and maths schools), sixth form colleges and further education colleges. The bidding round closed on 21 June. Specialist post-16 institutions were not eligible to bid.

We are investing £300 million in 2021-22 via High Needs Provision Capital Allocations to support local authorities to deliver new school places and improve existing provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities, almost four times the amount provided to local authorities in 2020-21. It is for local authorities to determine how to best use this funding to address their local priorities, and in doing so they can work with any appropriate institution in their area, including specialist post-16 institutions.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to support specialist post-16 institutions to access the Condition Improvement Fund.

The Department allocates condition funding each year to schools and those responsible for school buildings to maintain and improve the condition of their estates. We have allocated £11.3 billion in condition funding since 2015, including £1.8 billion committed in the financial year 2021/22.

Schools and other eligible institutions access funding through different routes depending on their size and type. The per pupil amount of funding available is calculated using the same funding formula.

Local authorities, larger multi-academy trusts and large voluntary-aided (VA) school bodies receive an annual School Condition Allocation (SCA) to invest in capital maintenance and upgrades across the schools for which they are responsible.

Smaller multi-academy, or stand-alone trusts, VA schools not part of large VA school bodies, and sixth form colleges are instead able to bid to the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) each year.

Special post-16 institutions (SPIs), with students funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, are eligible for condition funding, which they access through an annual SCA, rather than bidding to the CIF.

All schools, including eligible SPIs, also receive funding to spend on their capital priorities through an annual Devolved Formula Capital allocation.

Capital allocations are published on GOV.UK.

16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Government will make sharia-compliant Takaful finance available for student loans.

The government has been considering Alternative Student Finance carefully, alongside its other priorities, as it concludes the Post-18 Review of Education and Funding and responds to the detailed recommendations of the independent panel chaired by Sir Philip Augar.

We will provide an update on this matter when we conclude the Post-18 Review.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to provide SEND pupils with (a) respite, (b) social opportunities and (c) family support over the 2021 summer holiday.

Respite care services (also known as ‘short breaks’) for disabled children are provided on the basis of an individual assessment of each child and family’s needs. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have ensured that respite care services for disabled children and their families have been allowed to continue to operate. This applies to services which care for children in and away from home.

To support local areas, the government has given over £6 billion in un-ringfenced funding directly to councils to support them with the immediate and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 spending pressures, including children’s services.

In addition to statutory services, we are providing £27.3 million to the Family Fund in the 2021-22 financial year to support over 60,000 families on low incomes raising children and young people with disabilities or serious illnesses. Grants can be used for a range of purposes, including family breaks.

We are also providing £200 million for all secondary schools, including specialist settings, to deliver face-to-face summer schools. Schools are being encouraged to target provision at pupils who are most likely to benefit from increased support, which may include disabled children and those with special educational needs.

This is alongside wider support funded through our Holiday Activities and Food Programme across the country which provides healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children. This has been expanded to every local authority across England this year – backed by up to £220 million. It builds on previous programmes, including last summer’s, which supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities. Our guidance is clear that the provision should be inclusive and accessible.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to support SEND pupils with (a) educational skills catch-up and (b) health and wellbeing needs due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is a priority for this government. We are committed to helping all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in all education settings, make up education lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Since June 2020, we have announced more than £3 billion of additional funding to support education recovery in schools, colleges and early years settings – this will have a material impact in closing gaps that have emerged. Schools will continue to be able to access a package of support from September 2021. The package provides support to children aged 2-19 in schools, 16-19 providers and early years. It expands our reforms in two areas where the evidence is clear that our investment will have significant impact: high quality tutoring targeted at those that need it most and high-quality training for teachers. The one-off Recovery Premium for state-funded schools for 2021/22 will further help schools to provide their disadvantaged pupils with a boost to academic and pastoral support. This is in addition to the £650 million catch-up premium shared across state-funded schools over the 2020/21 academic year, to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place. While education settings cannot provide specialist clinical care, the support schools and colleges are providing to their pupils following the return to face-to-face education should include time devoted to supporting mental health and wellbeing, which will play a fundamental part in supporting recovery.

We have consistently prioritised children who attend specialist settings by providing additional uplifts both in the Catch-up Premium this academic year and the Recovery Premium for the next academic year, in recognition of the significantly higher per pupil costs they face. In addition, special schools will receive additional funding to ensure these settings can provide 1:1 tutoring for their pupils. Children will further benefit from additional funding to ensure that teachers in schools and early years settings are able to access high quality training and professional development. We know that high quality teaching is the best way to support all students, including those with SEND.

We are working with education settings, the relevant Royal Colleges and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to ensure that health and wellbeing issues for SEND pupils are prioritised. DHSC have identified provision for children and young people with SEND in their NHS recovery planning. The COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing recovery action plan, published in March 2021, references various areas of support. £31 million will be used to address particular challenges faced by individuals, including £3 million for community respite services.

The Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food programme, which provides healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children, has been expanded to every local authority across England this year – backed by up to £220 million. Our guidance is clear that the provision should be inclusive and accessible. We will continue to support local authorities to deliver services that meet the needs of children and young people with SEND. Education, health and care plan quality and timeliness is something we have been monitoring through the COVID-19 outbreak and continue to do so, and we provided £40.8 million for the Family Fund in 2020-21 to support over 90,000 families on low incomes raising children with disabilities or serious illnesses. This included £13.5 million to specifically respond to needs arising from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his timeframe is for making changes to the safeguarding framework in response to the Review of Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges published by Ofsted on 10 June 2021.

Amended statutory guidance for schools in respect of safeguarding titled ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (KCSIE) was published on 6 July 2021, alongside revised departmental advice on sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in school: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/999348/Keeping_children_safe_in_education_2021.pdf.

The guidance has been strengthened and updated following the consultation on proposed changes to KCSIE and the departmental advice, as well as findings from the Ofsted review into sexual abuse in schools and colleges. We will continue to consider what further changes are needed for KCSIE 2022, following a further consultation later this year.

The statutory guidance for inter-agency working titled ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ received a technical update in December 2020. We are currently assessing what changes may be needed following the publication of the Ofsted review. Working Together guidance will also need to be consulted upon and we will provide a date for this in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to amend the safeguarding framework in response to the Review of Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges published by Ofsted on 10 June 2021.

Amended statutory guidance for schools in respect of safeguarding titled ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (KCSIE) was published on 6 July 2021, alongside revised departmental advice on sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in school: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/999348/Keeping_children_safe_in_education_2021.pdf.

The guidance has been strengthened and updated following the consultation on proposed changes to KCSIE and the departmental advice, as well as findings from the Ofsted review into sexual abuse in schools and colleges. We will continue to consider what further changes are needed for KCSIE 2022, following a further consultation later this year.

The statutory guidance for inter-agency working titled ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ received a technical update in December 2020. We are currently assessing what changes may be needed following the publication of the Ofsted review. Working Together guidance will also need to be consulted upon and we will provide a date for this in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much and what proportion of the funding for subsidised tuition under the National Tutoring Programme has been taken up by schools.

In summer 2020, the Department announced a £1 billion catch-up package to help tackle the effect of lost teaching time as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, including a £350 million National Tutoring Programme (NTP) for disadvantaged pupils.

The NTP for 5 to 16 year olds has two pillars:

  • Schools can access high quality, subsidised tuition support from approved Tuition Partners.
  • Schools in the most disadvantaged areas have been supported to employ in-house Academic Mentors to provide tuition to their pupils.

Schools have not directly received funding to access the NTP. Through approved Tuition Partners, they will have access to high quality tuition, with the cost to schools subsidised by 75%. The core salary for Academic Mentors employed through the NTP will also be covered by the Department (£19,000 pro-rata). Schools are free to use additional catch-up funding to pay the remaining cost of both NTP Partners and Academic Mentors should they wish to do so.

Since the launch of the programme in November 2020, over 240,000 pupils have been enrolled to receive tutoring across over 5,000 schools. Of those enrolled, over 195,000 have already commenced tutoring.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that students who are entitled to free school meals and are transitioning from secondary school to further education continue to receive that provision during the summer 2021 holidays.

Schools provide free school meals for eligible pupils during term time. Beyond that, billions of pounds of welfare assistance is in place to support families, young people and children.

The COVID Local Support Grant, established by the Department for Work and Pensions and operated through local authorities in England, is there to support the hardest hit families and individuals with food and essential utility costs. This grant has been extended for a final time, with a further investment of £160 million, to cover the period up to 30 September 2021.

This grant is further to the £269 million invested since the scheme (previously known as the COVID Winter Grant Scheme) launched in December 2020.

The funding remains ring-fenced, with at least 80% targeted to assist with food and bills, and at least 80% for families with children. Local authorities have discretion to decide how to allocate government funding in their areas, recognising that they are best placed to understand local needs.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many tutors within the National Tutoring Programme are based outside of the UK.

The Department has recently laid out quality and accreditation standards for tutoring providers to be accredited in delivering tutoring through the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). We will be publishing the quality and accreditation standard as part of the launch of open access, where tutoring organisations will then be able to apply to be accredited. The Department is still finalising the website, and this will be released in due course.

There are currently over 26,000 tutors supporting over 186,000 pupils across England access tutoring provision.

The Department does not hold data on how many tutors we have outside the UK. Ensuring that tutors are suitably qualified, knowledgeable, and trained is key to the delivery of high quality tuition, and it is the responsibility of individual tuition partners to set their own suitability and eligibility criteria for tutors working on the NTP. There is an expectation that stringent suitability criteria are in place across all tuition partners which not only appropriately reflects the provision offered but also meets schools’ expectations.

The Department sets high standards for the NTP. Tuition partners must follow all applicable laws and regulations, pay their tutors fairly, and make sure high minimum standards of tutor qualifications are in place. Ongoing monitoring of all organisations involved in the programme is in place to make sure tutoring is of high quality.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's recent announcement that Randstad will be the new supplier of the National Tutoring Programme from September 2021, if he will publish the guidance his Department has provided to Randstad on tutoring partner quality standards and accreditation standards.

The Department has recently laid out quality and accreditation standards for tutoring providers to be accredited in delivering tutoring through the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). We will be publishing the quality and accreditation standard as part of the launch of open access, where tutoring organisations will then be able to apply to be accredited. The Department is still finalising the website, and this will be released in due course.

There are currently over 26,000 tutors supporting over 186,000 pupils across England access tutoring provision.

The Department does not hold data on how many tutors we have outside the UK. Ensuring that tutors are suitably qualified, knowledgeable, and trained is key to the delivery of high quality tuition, and it is the responsibility of individual tuition partners to set their own suitability and eligibility criteria for tutors working on the NTP. There is an expectation that stringent suitability criteria are in place across all tuition partners which not only appropriately reflects the provision offered but also meets schools’ expectations.

The Department sets high standards for the NTP. Tuition partners must follow all applicable laws and regulations, pay their tutors fairly, and make sure high minimum standards of tutor qualifications are in place. Ongoing monitoring of all organisations involved in the programme is in place to make sure tutoring is of high quality.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of qualified supply teachers currently not working in the education sector.

The requested information is not available.

The Department collects details of teachers working in state funded schools in England through the annual School Workforce Census. The census does identify those teachers who are employed via a service agreement, but not whether they are a supply teacher.

Teachers not currently working in state funded schools in England are not specifically identified as supply teachers. A teacher who has left a state funded school having been a supply teacher may subsequently return to employment as a permanent contracted teacher, and vice versa.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with universities on the resumption of face-to-face lectures in September 2021.

We have regularly discussed a range of COVID-19 related issues with representatives from the higher education (HE) sector, through the Higher Education Taskforce, which was established in August 2020, and through meetings with representatives of the HE sector, including University Vice Chancellors, the National Union of Students, the Union for Colleges and Universities and the devolved administrations. This has included discussions on the approach to planning for the new academic year in September 2021.

From step 4 of the roadmap, we can confirm there will no longer be restrictions on the approach to teaching and learning in HE settings as a result of COVID-19. There will be no requirement for social distancing or other measures. Providers are, therefore, able to shape their courses without restrictions to face-to-face provision.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, many providers have developed their digital offering and, as autonomous institutions, some might choose to retain elements of this approach. However, they will not have to do this because of COVID-19 restrictions, and our expectations are very clear: universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and ensure it is accessible to all students.

We expect providers to have contingency plans to deal with any identified positive cases of COVID-19 or outbreaks. HE providers should communicate clearly to their students what they can expect from planned teaching and learning under different circumstances and scenarios, so that they are able to make informed choices.

The Office for Students, as the regulator for English HE providers, has made it clear that they must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and academic standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high-quality, that students are supported and achieve good outcomes and that standards are protected.

We have updated our HE guidance to support the return of students for the new academic year, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

We will continue to keep these measures under review, informed by the latest scientific evidence and advice.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government's announcement that the pupil premium will be calculated based on eligible pupils recorded by schools in October 2020, when his Department plans to publish the new pupil premium rates for each local education authority in England.

On 24 June 2021, the Department published the annual pupil premium allocations, which shows how much pupil premium funding each school and local authority will receive in the 2021/22 financial year. This is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2021-to-2022.

Total pupil premium funding is increasing to more than £2.5 billion in 2021/22 financial year, up by £60 million from the previous financial year. This reflects an increase in funding in approximately two thirds of schools, as more children have become eligible for free school meals (FSM). The increase is spread across the country, with pupil premium funding increasing in 87% of local authorities. For comparison, 77% of local authorities saw an increase in their total pupil premium funding last year.

The pupil premium rates for the 2021/22 financial year will be the same as in the 2020/21 financial year:

  1. £1,345 per head for the number of primary aged pupils recorded as claiming free school meals at any point in the last six years (“Ever6-FSM”)
  2. £955 per head for the number of eligible secondary-aged pupils (Ever6-FSM)
  3. £2,345 per head for ‘Pupil Premium Plus’, which supports the needs of Looked After children (paid to local authorities) and those who left care in England and Wales through adoption or other court orders (paid to schools).

For mainstream and special schools, the Department has based pupil premium funding for the 2021/22 financial year on the October 2020 census data, instead of using the January census. Alongside the annual pupil premium publication, we have also published the financial impact of moving to using the October census which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pupil-premium-effective-use-and-accountability.

The move to using the October census brings the pupil premium in line with how the rest of the core schools’ budget is calculated. The change also provides earlier clarity for schools on their allocations. From next year, the annual pupil premium allocations will be published in March.

The effect of the census change should not be viewed in isolation. We are investing in an ambitious education recovery programme worth £3 billion. This includes £302 million for the Recovery Premium, to further support disadvantaged pupils with their attainment. This is on top of the £14 billion additional school funding we are providing over three years. The additional funding schools will receive through the Recovery Premium alone will far exceed the financial effect of the census change.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 179576 on Department for Education: Data Protection, on what date he plans to publish an update on the Information Commissioner's Office’s audit on his Department.

The Department published its formal response in January 2021 in the House Library, paper reference DEP2021-0072. This contained an undertaking to publish an update in June.

A further update to the original publication detailing progress and the recommendations that have been successfully met will now be placed in the Libraries of both Houses on or before 22 July 2021.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students with registered neurodiverse conditions there are in higher or further education.

This government believes it is important that all students, including those with neurodiverse conditions and/or disabilities receive an appropriate level of support wherever and whatever they choose to study, and is committed to ensuring that all students receive the support they need to enable them to study alongside their fellow students on an equal basis.

We do not hold information on whether a further education and skills learner has a registered neurodiverse condition. Adult (19+) further education and skills learner participation (which includes apprenticeships) in the 2019/20 academic year by primary learning difficulty and/or disability and/or health problem as self-declared by the learner can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/a87f0184-c377-46df-b8d7-8c73d7aca865.

This government expects all higher education (HE) providers to fulfil their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to be making reasonable adjustments for all students, including students with neurodiverse conditions, and disabled higher education students, not just those in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

In terms of funding, DSA is available in addition to the standard support package to help students with the additional costs they may face in HE because of their disability, including long-term health conditions, mental health conditions or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

DSA is not means tested and does not have to be repaid. It is available to full-time and part-time students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, alongside support available from HE providers, and in line with the recommendations of the student’s DSA Needs Assessment. There is no list of approved disabilities; to receive DSA, any student must be eligible for the main support package and disabled in line with the definition contained in the Equality Act 2010.

Disabled students and students with neurodiverse conditions should expect to have their needs met through inclusive learning practices and individual reasonable adjustments made by their HE providers. DSA is available in addition to these for the provision of more specialist support (for example, British Sign Language interpretation).

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional funding is available to students in further or higher education with neurodiverse conditions.

This government believes it is important that all students, including those with neurodiverse conditions and/or disabilities receive an appropriate level of support wherever and whatever they choose to study, and is committed to ensuring that all students receive the support they need to enable them to study alongside their fellow students on an equal basis.

We do not hold information on whether a further education and skills learner has a registered neurodiverse condition. Adult (19+) further education and skills learner participation (which includes apprenticeships) in the 2019/20 academic year by primary learning difficulty and/or disability and/or health problem as self-declared by the learner can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/a87f0184-c377-46df-b8d7-8c73d7aca865.

This government expects all higher education (HE) providers to fulfil their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to be making reasonable adjustments for all students, including students with neurodiverse conditions, and disabled higher education students, not just those in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

In terms of funding, DSA is available in addition to the standard support package to help students with the additional costs they may face in HE because of their disability, including long-term health conditions, mental health conditions or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

DSA is not means tested and does not have to be repaid. It is available to full-time and part-time students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, alongside support available from HE providers, and in line with the recommendations of the student’s DSA Needs Assessment. There is no list of approved disabilities; to receive DSA, any student must be eligible for the main support package and disabled in line with the definition contained in the Equality Act 2010.

Disabled students and students with neurodiverse conditions should expect to have their needs met through inclusive learning practices and individual reasonable adjustments made by their HE providers. DSA is available in addition to these for the provision of more specialist support (for example, British Sign Language interpretation).

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what provisions are in place to ensure that neurodiverse students are able to access all aspects of further and higher education courses, including work experience.

This government believes it is important that all students, including those with neurodiverse conditions and/or disabilities receive an appropriate level of support wherever and whatever they choose to study, and is committed to ensuring that all students receive the support they need to enable them to study alongside their fellow students on an equal basis.

We do not hold information on whether a further education and skills learner has a registered neurodiverse condition. Adult (19+) further education and skills learner participation (which includes apprenticeships) in the 2019/20 academic year by primary learning difficulty and/or disability and/or health problem as self-declared by the learner can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/a87f0184-c377-46df-b8d7-8c73d7aca865.

This government expects all higher education (HE) providers to fulfil their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to be making reasonable adjustments for all students, including students with neurodiverse conditions, and disabled higher education students, not just those in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

In terms of funding, DSA is available in addition to the standard support package to help students with the additional costs they may face in HE because of their disability, including long-term health conditions, mental health conditions or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

DSA is not means tested and does not have to be repaid. It is available to full-time and part-time students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, alongside support available from HE providers, and in line with the recommendations of the student’s DSA Needs Assessment. There is no list of approved disabilities; to receive DSA, any student must be eligible for the main support package and disabled in line with the definition contained in the Equality Act 2010.

Disabled students and students with neurodiverse conditions should expect to have their needs met through inclusive learning practices and individual reasonable adjustments made by their HE providers. DSA is available in addition to these for the provision of more specialist support (for example, British Sign Language interpretation).

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to improve the experience of further and higher education for neurodiverse people.

This government believes it is important that all students, including those with neurodiverse conditions and/or disabilities receive an appropriate level of support wherever and whatever they choose to study, and is committed to ensuring that all students receive the support they need to enable them to study alongside their fellow students on an equal basis.

We do not hold information on whether a further education and skills learner has a registered neurodiverse condition. Adult (19+) further education and skills learner participation (which includes apprenticeships) in the 2019/20 academic year by primary learning difficulty and/or disability and/or health problem as self-declared by the learner can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/a87f0184-c377-46df-b8d7-8c73d7aca865.

This government expects all higher education (HE) providers to fulfil their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to be making reasonable adjustments for all students, including students with neurodiverse conditions, and disabled higher education students, not just those in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

In terms of funding, DSA is available in addition to the standard support package to help students with the additional costs they may face in HE because of their disability, including long-term health conditions, mental health conditions or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

DSA is not means tested and does not have to be repaid. It is available to full-time and part-time students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, alongside support available from HE providers, and in line with the recommendations of the student’s DSA Needs Assessment. There is no list of approved disabilities; to receive DSA, any student must be eligible for the main support package and disabled in line with the definition contained in the Equality Act 2010.

Disabled students and students with neurodiverse conditions should expect to have their needs met through inclusive learning practices and individual reasonable adjustments made by their HE providers. DSA is available in addition to these for the provision of more specialist support (for example, British Sign Language interpretation).

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the finding of Ofsted's report on sexual abuse in schools and colleges published 10 June 2021, that LGBT+ children and young people reported a big gap between staff’s knowledge of incidents and their daily experience of harmful sexual behaviour, what steps he is taking to close that gap; and what support is being provided to LGBTQ+ young people experiencing that harmful behaviour.

The government’s guidance to schools is clear that, whilst anyone can be a victim of abuse, schools and colleges should recognise that some groups of children, including LGBTQ+, are potentially more at risk than others from child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment. Therefore, when we developed the relationships, sex, and health education (RSHE) curriculum, we worked with a wide range of stakeholders and representative groups. We made sure that care and attention were taken when developing the support and guidance for LGBTQ+ pupils and their teachers. The RSHE curriculum teaches pupils how to recognise and report abuse, including emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Pupils are taught how to report concerns and seek advice when they suspect or know that something is wrong.

Part 1 of the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ guidance provides advice on peer-on-peer abuse, including the indicators and signs to look for, how to identify it, and how to respond to reports. Part 5 of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ provides detailed guidance on managing reports of child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment. The Department for Education’s ‘Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Between Children’ advice includes more detailed information on what sexual violence and sexual harassment look like, important context, legal duties, and advice on a whole-school approach to preventing abuse.

We have asked schools to dedicate time from INSET days to focus on training and preparations for delivering the RSHE curriculum and safeguarding. We are also extending our designated safeguarding lead support and supervision programme, with a specific focus on sexual harassment and abuse, and will share the learning from that work with all schools. We have also set up a specific National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children ‘Reporting Abuse in Education’ helpline to offer advice and make referrals when necessary. The number is 0800 136 663.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that there is sufficient hotel quarantine accommodation for students arriving from countries on the covid-19 travel red list.

International students are a vital and valued part of our higher education sector. I speak regularly with my counterparts across the government about how various COVID-19 policies may affect students, with a view to minimising burdens for students while maintaining public health. I remain in close contact with Department for Health and Social Care Ministers responsible for the Managed Quarantine Service.

Quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel is a necessary measure taken in order to stop the spread of potentially harmful variants of COVID-19 into the UK. International students on the ‘red list’ are still able to enter the UK if they have been in or transited through a 'red list’ country in the last 10 days, but they are required to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel on arrival for ten days as set out in the guidance.

The government recently published an update to the International Education Strategy, stressing the UK’s commitment to international students. The strategy contains a number of specific commitments to improve the international student journey, prioritising international student experience.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will require exam boards to publish details of the costs they have incurred in the assessment of pupils in summer 2021; and how that amount compares to the amount which has been billed to schools.

The Department has encouraged examination boards to set their fees appropriately based on the costs involved with alternative arrangements in 2021. The Department worked at pace with Ofqual to provide clarity to examination boards, and the wider sector, on how alternative arrangements to examinations in 2021 would work.

Examination boards are responsible for setting their examination fees. Although examinations did not take place this summer, examination boards are incurring a range of costs as part of their processes that will lead to the awarding of qualifications. Examination boards need to cover these costs, and they will make commercial decisions on fees and refunds on that basis.

Examination boards have stated that they do not intend to profit from any reduction in their costs this year. Statements from individual examination boards can be accessed on their websites. Given the unusual circumstances this year, it is not possible for them to have certainty about their 2021 costs in advance. It is for individual examination boards to publish any details on costings and rebate arrangements.

18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with exam boards on the appropriate level of rebate which schools and colleges should receive in light of changes to assessments in summer 2021.

The Department has encouraged examination boards to set their fees appropriately based on the costs involved with alternative arrangements in 2021. The Department worked at pace with Ofqual to provide clarity to examination boards, and the wider sector, on how alternative arrangements to examinations in 2021 would work.

Examination boards are responsible for setting their examination fees. Although examinations did not take place this summer, examination boards are incurring a range of costs as part of their processes that will lead to the awarding of qualifications. Examination boards need to cover these costs, and they will make commercial decisions on fees and refunds on that basis.

Examination boards have stated that they do not intend to profit from any reduction in their costs this year. Statements from individual examination boards can be accessed on their websites. Given the unusual circumstances this year, it is not possible for them to have certainty about their 2021 costs in advance. It is for individual examination boards to publish any details on costings and rebate arrangements.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of requiring students to wear face coverings in schools following the increase in cases of the covid-19 variant originating in India.

When a variant of COVID-19 is classed as a variant of concern, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) will increase targeted testing in that area to help suppress and control any possible new cases and better understand the new variants.

The reintroduction of face coverings for pupils, students or staff, may be advised for a temporary period in response to particular localised outbreaks, including variants of concern. In all cases, any educational drawbacks should be balanced with the benefits of managing transmission.

In Enhanced Response Areas, Directors of Public Health have discretion to recommend supervised in-school testing, or that secondary schools reintroduce face coverings in indoor communal areas including classrooms, subject to an assessment of the educational impact against public health benefit.

The Strengthened Support Packages are now the process for escalating any education-based interventions. NHS Test and Trace has set up Regional Partnership Teams (RPTs) made up of Public Health England (PHE) Regional Directors; Contain Regional Convenors; and Joint Biosecurity Centre Regional Leads to support local areas in managing outbreaks. Local Authorities or Directors of Public Health who are concerned about the impact of variants of concern on nurseries, schools and colleges should first and foremost engage with their RPTs. We continue to work closely with other government departments throughout the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including PHE and DHSC, as well as stakeholders across the sector.

Our policy on the system of controls is kept under review and based on the latest scientific and medical advice including in the context of prevalence, new variants and progress of the vaccination programme. We will continue to develop comprehensive guidance and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, pupils, students and parents.

17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many respondents to the Office for Students consultation on recurrent funding for 2021-22 (a) supported and (b) opposed the removal of London weighting from the student premium allocations.

We have asked the Office for Students (OfS) to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for the 2021-22 financial year. These reforms include the re-allocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology, mathematics and engineering subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs, as well as the removal of the London Weighting element of the Strategic Priorities Grant.

The OfS has publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on allocations are made.

The OfS is analysing the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many respondents to the Office for Students consultation on recurrent funding for 2021-22 (a) supported and (b) opposed the withdrawal of the targeted allocation for students attending courses in London.

We have asked the Office for Students (OfS) to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for the 2021-22 financial year. These reforms include the re-allocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology, mathematics and engineering subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs, as well as the removal of the London Weighting element of the Strategic Priorities Grant.

The OfS has publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on allocations are made.

The OfS is analysing the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many respondents to the Office for Students consultation on recurrent funding for 2021-22 (a) supported and (b) opposed the reduction by half to the rate of high-cost subject funding for courses in (i) performing and creative arts, (ii) media studies and (iii) archaeology.

We have asked the Office for Students (OfS) to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for the 2021-22 financial year. These reforms include the re-allocation of high-cost subject funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology, mathematics and engineering subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs, as well as the removal of the London Weighting element of the Strategic Priorities Grant.

The OfS has publicly consulted on these proposals, and responses from universities, students and others will be taken into account before any final decisions on allocations are made.

The OfS is analysing the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy that (a) international students at UK universities and (b) foreign language students on placements abroad will not have to pay for the cost of covid-19 hotel quarantine on entering the UK.

Hotel quarantine is in place to prevent the spread of potentially harmful COVID-19 variants in the UK. There is a need to have strict rules in place to prevent the vaccine effort from being undermined. As is the case for any international arrival, the costs of quarantine are borne by the traveller, and the costs are the same for any individual arriving in the UK from (or via) a red list country.

However, the department’s officials have worked closely with the higher education (HE) sector and colleagues across the government to ensure that UK residents who are facing significant financial hardship (including international students, due to their visa status) will have the opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking their managed quarantine hotel room. Travellers who are eligible will be referred to a government debt collection agency (“Qualco”), who will perform an independent financial assessment and determine an appropriate payment plan. Information on the deferred repayment plan can be found on GOV.UK.

In addition, students experiencing financial hardship should speak to their HE provider about the support available. The government has made an additional £85 million of student hardship funding available to HE providers in the 2020/21 academic year. This is in addition to the £256 million of government-funded student premium funding already available to HE providers to draw on for the 2021/21 academic year. This support can be used to help all students, including postgraduates and international students, who can be confident in expressing concerns about hardship to their provider without any impact on their immigration status.


Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional resources will be provided to schools and colleges to allow teachers the capacity during the summer 2021 term to carry out the assessments and quality assurance necessary for students to receive grades in GCSEs, A-Levels and vocational qualifications.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional training his Department has offered to teachers on (a) assessing and (b) moderating (i) GCSE and (ii) A-Level exam papers in the 2020-21 academic year.

The Joint Council for Qualifications has published clear guidance for centres to support them to determine teacher assessed grades. The guidance provides detailed information to schools and colleges on the grading process and the different factors that need to be accounted for. Teachers have the flexibility to use a range of evidence to determine students’ grades, including the use of optional questions provided by exam boards.

The sets of questions with mark schemes were provided to centres on 31 March 2021. Exemplar responses were provided to centres on 12 April, to assist teachers with marking these questions and making fair, objective, and consistent judgements of the standard of a student’s performance. The sets of questions were made openly available on 19 April.

In addition to the guidance and the assessment materials, exam boards have provided grade descriptors and exemplification materials to support teachers in making an evidence-based judgement of the grade at which each student is performing. This will ensure that there is a common basis to all teacher assessed grades.

To ensure qualifications are fair, students will be assessed only on what they have been taught. Centres can draw on a range of evidence to make their assessment. This range and flexibility in the assessment approach means that qualifications cannot be moderated in the way, for example, that non-examined assessments can be in normal years. We trust teachers to make judgements of the grades reflected by their students’ evidence. They are best placed to understand their students’ performance. To support teachers, exam boards will check centres’ approaches to assessment and provide external quality assurance, including the review of a sample of grades. Head teachers will also have to sign a head of centre declaration form to confirm they support the grades submitted. Parents and pupils can have confidence in the grades awarded this summer. As set out in the guidance, this year’s quality assurance process is not designed to moderate grades but will support teachers to do what is needed and ensure centres adhere to the exam boards’ requirements, in order to ensure outcomes are as consistent as possible.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his article entitled There is nothing Dickensian about a well-ordered, disciplined classroom published in the Telegraph newspaper on 6 April 2021, what (a) assessment his department made and (b) research his Department commissioned on the effect of lack of regular structure and discipline while schools were closed during the covid-19 outbreak on classroom behaviour.

All schools should be calm and orderly environments. The Government is pursuing an ambitious programme of work to improve behaviour in schools. Earlier this month we commenced the Behaviour Hubs programme, investing £10 million to help schools develop and sustain a culture where good behaviour is the norm. We are reforming training as part of the Early Career Framework, so that all new teachers will be shown how to effectively manage behaviour in their first two years in the profession from September 2021. We will be consulting on how we can help head teachers remove phones from the school day and other revisions to the Department’s behaviour and discipline and expulsions guidance later in the year.

The Department’s programme of work to improve behaviour is in response to Ofsted judgements, Department for Education teacher surveys and wider research conducted prior to the COVID-19 outbreak which consistently show that managing pupil behaviour has been a longstanding and serious challenge for some schools, and particularly so in a secondary context.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish in full (a) the audit by the Information Commissioner's Office on his Department and (b) his Department's plans to implement the recommended improvements of that audit.

The Department has been working closely with the Information Commissioner’s Office since the audit was undertaken in February 2020 to address all the recommendations and published its formal response in January 2021 in the House Library, paper reference DEP2021-0072.

The Department has undertaken to publish an update to the audit in June 2021 and further details regarding the release mechanism of the full audit report will be contained in this update.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the aims of the Turn on the Subtitles campaign that encourages television companies to provide subtitles on children's TV programmes as a default to help improve child literacy rates.

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards, ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding. By ensuring high quality phonics teaching, the Government wants to improve literacy levels to give all children a solid base upon which to build as they progress through school and help children to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.

Turn on the Subtitles (TOTS) is a campaign to persuade broadcasters to turn on same language subtitles by default for children’s television (Key Stage 2 and 3). The Department has recently made an assessment of the evidence behind the TOTS campaign and the current evidence is inconclusive over whether turning on the subtitles improves children’s reading.

It is the choice of parents and guardians whether their child watches television with subtitles on.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the guidance, Covid-19 Response - Spring 2021, at what stage the Government plans to re-open outdoor education facilities for overnight school trips; and when he plans to publish relevant guidance.

Schools are advised against all educational visits at this time. The Department has updated its advice to schools on the planning and booking of educational day and residential visits: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#educational-visits.

It is in line with the Government’s roadmap to recovery, as set out in: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a Nature Premium for children to help tackle inequalities of access to nature.

We recognise that outdoor activity and access to nature is a fundamental part of childhood which supports children’s mental health and wellbeing and understanding of the importance of the natural world. We also know that some children have good access to natural spaces whilst others do not, such as those living in areas of high urban disadvantage.

The national curriculum includes content in different subjects which promotes understanding of the natural world. Primary science and geography give pupils a firm foundation for the further study of the natural environment in secondary school, through teaching about climate, the habitats of plants and animals and how environments can change, which can include positive and negative impacts of human actions. In secondary school, pupils continue to study ecosystems, including positive and negative human interactions with ecosystems and their impact on biodiversity, and are taught about how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments, and the climate. The teaching of this content can be supported by direct contact with the natural environments.

We want headteachers to have as much discretion as possible over how they use their funding. It is for schools to decide how to teach the curriculum and what wider pastoral and extra-curricular activity to put in place, based on the needs of their pupils and drawing on evidence of effective practice. Schools’ core funding is rising per financial year by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20 funding levels.

To support children from disadvantaged backgrounds to have better access to natural environments, the department has provided funding for the ‘Children and Nature Programme’, working alongside Natural England and the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. The programme is supporting three delivery projects which aim to demonstrate and improve understanding of the effectiveness of interventions in nature, particularly for schools with the highest proportions of disadvantaged pupils in England.

We also recognise the important role wraparound childcare and other out-of-school activities, such as outdoor education, can play in providing enriching activities which support children’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. That is why we have ensured, for the duration of the national lockdown, that these activities have been able to stay open for all children eligible to attend school on site, where it is to support certain essential purposes, and for vulnerable children and young people under any circumstance.

As of 8 March 2021, in line with the wider return of pupils to school, these settings are now able to open for all children. Vulnerable children and young people can continue to attend under any circumstance, with parents of other children able to access this provision for their children where it is:

  • Reasonably necessary to support them work, seek work, undertake education or training, address a medical need or to attend a support group.
  • Being used as part of their child’s efforts to obtain a regulated qualification, meet the entry requirements for an education institution, or to undertake exams and assessments.
  • Being used by electively home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education.

As set out in the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ guidance, we have also committed to ensure all children will be able to access outdoor education and activity provision under any circumstance, from 29 March, in line with when schools close for the Easter holidays. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021.

We are also exploring the option of introducing a new GCSE in Natural History after receiving a proposal from the exam board OCR. We have had an initial discussion on the proposal with OCR. We have made no commitment to introduce the GCSE at this stage. We, and the independent qualifications regulator Ofqual, will determine whether the proposal meets all the necessary conditions to sit alongside our rigorous suite of reformed GCSE qualifications.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the methodology used by his Department to determine the level of teaching bursaries allocated to different subjects in England from 2021.

The bursaries offered by the Department for initial teacher training (ITT) are intended to incentivise applications to ITT courses. The Department does not use a fixed methodology to decide bursaries but does take account of a number of factors when considering the bursary offer in each subject, including historic recruitment, forecast economic conditions, and teacher supply need. The Department also prioritises English Baccalaureate subjects to provide young people with a strong academic foundation that keeps options open for work and further study.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of reducing the levels of teaching bursaries to zero for some subjects on the diversity of applicants from (a) lower socio-economic groups and (b) other groups under-represented in those teaching cohorts.

The bursaries offered for initial teacher training (ITT) are reviewed before the start of the annual recruitment cycle. In doing this, the Department considers factors such as historic recruitment, forecast economic conditions, and teacher supply need. Being able to change bursary amounts gives flexibility in responding to the need to attract new teachers and ensures money is spent where it is needed most.

It remains the case that all trainee teachers on tuition fee-funded ITT routes can apply for a tuition fee loan, so they do not have to pay the fee up-front. They can also apply for a means-tested maintenance loan of up to £12,382 to support their living costs. Additional means-tested funding is available from Student Finance England for trainees in particular circumstances, including those with children, adult dependants or those who have a disability.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, who is responsible for the provision of lateral flow testing for supply teachers; and what steps he is taking to ensure the ongoing covid-19 testing of supply teachers not directly employed or on an ongoing assignment at a school.

Rapid testing is a vital part of the Government’s plan to supress COVID-19. Since January 2021, we have been delivering the programme of rapid asymptomatic testing for the primary school, secondary school and further education college workforce, and this includes supply teachers and support staff.

The school workforce includes all staff who are school based, including those in maintained nursery schools and schools-based nurseries.

Schools and colleges should offer testing to teaching and non-teaching staff members, such as support staff, clinical practitioners and therapists. Non-permanent members of staff should also be offered testing, such as trainee teachers on placement in school and the supply workforce.

In addition to testing in schools, employment agencies who employ over 50 staff and are registered in England can also register to order tests for employees who cannot work from home: https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests.

Lateral flow testing may also be available through local councils. Rapid lateral flow test sites can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/find-covid-19-lateral-flow-test-site.

The Department has recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March, which includes updated advice on testing. The guidance can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/966866/210224_Schools_guidance.pdf.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether qualified teachers who are not currently employed by a school, but operating as a private tutor, can submit teacher assessments for private candidates in lieu of cancelled GCSE and A level exams.

There is a clear and accessible route for private candidates to receive a grade this year, at the same time as other candidates. Private candidates will be expected to work with a centre to be assessed on a range of evidence, as other candidates will be. Ofqual and the exam boards will issue guidance to support centres assessing private candidates. This evidence could include evidence created with another established education provider.

Regarding evidence gathered externally, subject to consultation, Ofqual’s head of centre guidance states: Centres should bear in mind when making judgements… authentic evidence from other centres or established educational providers where a student might have studied during the course or such evidence from where a student has studied with the support of a specialist teacher or tutor. Exam boards will provide further guidance to support centres in how they can determine whether evidence is likely to be authentic, including where they may normally rely on evidence that has been produced with certain types of provider without the need for detailed checks.” Further guidance will be provided by exam boards shortly. Further information regarding Ofqual’s head of centre guidance can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/965648/6749-3_Summer_2021_GQs_-_Info_for_Heads_of_Centre.pdf.

Centres will be expected to provide to private candidates a description of the main elements of their approach to assessment before they register with them. This means that private candidates have the opportunity to choose a centre and approach that is suitable for the evidence they are able to provide.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that International Baccalaureate grading will rely on teacher assessments using pupils' coursework to form part of that assessment.

The Department conducted a two week consultation with Ofqual, starting on 15 January 2021, which sought the views of students, parents, schools and colleges and employers on the proposals for examinations and assessments for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) and other general qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate, and the alternative arrangements that would be used where examinations do not take place.

As part of the consultation, the Department engaged with a number of stakeholders including awarding organisations, such as the International Baccalaureate, to discuss their views on the proposals.

On 25 February 2021, the Department announced that, to achieve fairness for students, other general qualifications that are not GCSEs, AS or A levels, such as the International Baccalaureate, should not be subject to examinations and will be awarded in a similar way to GCSE, AS and A levels. Alongside this, the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) has also confirmed to its UK schools that examinations will not take place this summer.

Ofqual are currently undertaking a consultation on the regulatory framework that will allow awarding organisations including the IBO to award VTQs and other general qualifications this year. The response to this consultation will be published as soon as possible to allow final arrangements to be communicated to students, schools, and colleges.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department has had with the International Baccalaureate Organisation since 14 January 2021.

The Department conducted a two week consultation with Ofqual, starting on 15 January 2021, which sought the views of students, parents, schools and colleges and employers on the proposals for examinations and assessments for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) and other general qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate, and the alternative arrangements that would be used where examinations do not take place.

As part of the consultation, the Department engaged with a number of stakeholders including awarding organisations, such as the International Baccalaureate, to discuss their views on the proposals.

On 25 February 2021, the Department announced that, to achieve fairness for students, other general qualifications that are not GCSEs, AS or A levels, such as the International Baccalaureate, should not be subject to examinations and will be awarded in a similar way to GCSE, AS and A levels. Alongside this, the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) has also confirmed to its UK schools that examinations will not take place this summer.

Ofqual are currently undertaking a consultation on the regulatory framework that will allow awarding organisations including the IBO to award VTQs and other general qualifications this year. The response to this consultation will be published as soon as possible to allow final arrangements to be communicated to students, schools, and colleges.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish details on how the grades of pupils taking the International Baccalaureate will be determined in the 2020-21 academic year.

The Department conducted a two week consultation with Ofqual, starting on 15 January 2021, which sought the views of students, parents, schools and colleges and employers on the proposals for examinations and assessments for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) and other general qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate, and the alternative arrangements that would be used where examinations do not take place.

As part of the consultation, the Department engaged with a number of stakeholders including awarding organisations, such as the International Baccalaureate, to discuss their views on the proposals.

On 25 February 2021, the Department announced that, to achieve fairness for students, other general qualifications that are not GCSEs, AS or A levels, such as the International Baccalaureate, should not be subject to examinations and will be awarded in a similar way to GCSE, AS and A levels. Alongside this, the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) has also confirmed to its UK schools that examinations will not take place this summer.

Ofqual are currently undertaking a consultation on the regulatory framework that will allow awarding organisations including the IBO to award VTQs and other general qualifications this year. The response to this consultation will be published as soon as possible to allow final arrangements to be communicated to students, schools, and colleges.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the reorganisation of local government on the provision of (a) children's care and (b) education services.

In October 2020, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) invited local areas to submit proposals for reorganising local government in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset. In December 2020, MHCLG received four proposals for Cumbria, two for North Yorkshire and two for Somerset. These proposals are currently being consulted on, and MHCLG are planning for a decision on the final outcome of the proposals received to be made by summer 2021.

The government will assess each proposal on its respective merits and the Department for Education will be contributing its assessment of the impact on children’s services and education to MHCLG’s overall assessment. Each proposal will be assessed against three criteria, which are: whether the proposal would improve local government and service delivery across the area of the proposal; how much local support it commands across the area of the proposal; and whether the area of any new unitary council would cover a credible geography. All of these proposals will be considered after the consultation and before a decision is made on which option, if any, to implement. The eventual decision would also be subject to Parliamentary approval.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the publication of the Government’s Roadmap out of Lockdown, if he will take steps to ensure that from 8 March 2021 school pupil transport will not carry pupils from more than one school.

The Department has published guidance on transport to schools and other places of education to help those responsible for the provision of dedicated transport to put in place proportionate safeguards to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transport-to-school-and-other-places-of-education-autumn-term-2020/transport-to-school-and-other-places-of-education-autumn-term-2020.

Dedicated transport to schools and other places of education often carries the same group of children or young people on a regular basis. They do not mix with the general public on those journeys which helps to limit the number of other people with whom they come into contact.

Those involved in the provision of home to school transport must do all that is reasonably practicable to maximise social distancing where possible and minimise the risk of transmission. What is practicable is likely to vary according to local circumstances.

Wherever possible it is recommended that children and young people from different schools do not travel at the same time or, if they do, the children from each school should sit together as group. However, the Department acknowledges that distancing and grouping may sometimes not be possible. Where this is the case, other measures become even more important such as increased cleaning of vehicles, washing of hands and opening windows for ventilation.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the publication of the Government’s Roadmap out of Lockdown, if his Department will provide ventilation units for every classroom.

At each stage of the Department's response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have listened to the latest medical and scientific advice. The Department has worked closely with other Government departments, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector, to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, and to continue to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

The Department also works closely with the NHS Track and Trace and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and following their research the Department issued guidance on keeping spaces well ventilated. There are a number of tools, beyond ventilation, to reduce airborne transmission of COVID-19 (including engineering interventions), and research on these technologies is ongoing.

The findings from all this developing work will, in due course, inform our guidance and standards for school buildings.

Current evidence recommends that the way to control COVID-19 is the same, even with the current new variants. The PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ which have been in use throughout the COVID-19 outbreak set out in our published guidance, which includes ventilation, continue to be the right measures to take. These measures create an inherently safer environment for children, young people, and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. PHE keeps all these controls under review, based on the latest evidence. Schools therefore need to continue to implement these controls to the fullest extent. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Our guidance signposts to further advice from the health and safety executive on air conditioning and ventilation during the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance can be found here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation.htm.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that there is no reduction in the number of university places available to international students in 2021 compared to 2020.

The government does not impose a limit on the number of university places available to international students.

The government remains clear that our world-leading universities, which thrive on being global institutions, are, and will always be open to international students. On 6 February 2021, the government published an update to the International Education Strategy. At the heart of this update, we reaffirmed our commitment to the ambitions of the 2019 strategy to increase the number of international students hosted in the UK to at least 600,000 per year by 2030. These ambitions will be supported through the efforts of our International Education Champion, Sir Steve Smith.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the department has worked closely with partners across the education sector, and with higher education (HE) providers, to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and the disruption it has caused to students’ education, including for those who will be applying to university for the 2021 admissions cycle. This has included introducing a number of flexibilities to assist visa holders in the UK who have been impacted by global travel and health restrictions, including: the ability to engage via distance/blended learning for the duration of the 2020/21 academic year; offering extensions of visas for those whose leave expired; relaxing the rules on visa switching in the UK; and confirming that existing international students who have been studying by distance/blended learning will remain eligible to apply for the new Graduate route, provided they meet the other requirements of the route.

We encourage universities to be flexible when making offers to students whose education has been disproportionally and adversely impacted from the COVID-19 outbreak, to ensure they are able to receive fair offers for 2021. The department will continue to work closely with universities to ensure that places are available for everyone with the talent and ability to succeed in higher education.

As a result of flexibility shown so far, the UK remains an attractive study destination with the number of international students at UK HE providers reaching a record high of 560,000 in the 2019/20 academic year, an increase of 12% from the previous year. While these recent figures are encouraging, we are not complacent and will continue to do our utmost to continue to attract and support international students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government’s roadmap on easing lockdown restrictions announced on 22 February 2021, what steps his Department plans to take to help protect vulnerable teachers who haven’t yet received covid-19 vaccinations.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the UK should use and who should be offered them. JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.

For phase 1, this will capture all those over 50 years of age, and all those 16 years of age and over who are clinically extremely vulnerable or have certain underlying health conditions. This captures almost all preventable deaths from COVID-19 and will include thousands of staff in the education, childcare and children’s social care workforce.

For phase 2, the JCVI have advised that prioritisation should continue to be based on age. They advise that an age-based approach remains the most effective way of reducing death and hospitalisation from COVID-19 and will ensure more people are protected more quickly. The second phase of the vaccine rollout will begin from mid-April and will aim to offer every adult aged 18 and over a first dose of the vaccine by 31 July.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to harmonise university entry requirements across the devolved nations as a result of the alternative assessment and grading systems being used for A-level students in 2021.

The government is working closely with partners across the education sector to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and the disruption it has caused to young people’s education, including for those who will be applying to university for the 2021 admissions cycle.

Higher education providers in England, as autonomous bodies, independent from government, are responsible for their own recruitment decisions. We have discussed this year’s arrangements with the devolved administrations, where different approaches are always taken to exams, for example in Scotland where students take Scottish Highers rather than A levels.

On 25 February, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced that students in England will receive grades determined by teachers, with pupils only assessed on what they have been taught. There have been frequent and ongoing discussions with devolved administrations to discuss various matters relating to aligning processes where possible. This has included discussion affecting transition to university for students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government’s roadmap on easing lockdown restrictions announced on 22 February 2021, what assessment his Department made prior to that announcement of the potential merits of incorporating into the Government's policy on school reopening of the advice of the Eightieth SAGE meeting on Covid-19 on 11 February 2021 that A phased reopening would allow the effects to be assessed which would be particularly valuable if schools were one of the first things to reopen, as there will be more uncertainties in the early stages of releasing measures (e.g. around the impact of vaccines).

At every stage since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, decisions have been informed by the scientific and medical evidence, both on the risks of COVID-19 infection, transmission, and illness, and on the known risks to children and young people not attending school and college, balancing public health and education considerations.

The overwhelming evidence is that the risk to children and young people from SARSCoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is low, but the risks to children and young people of being out of school and college are high and increase the longer restrictions on education are in force. Whilst schools and colleges can be places where transmission occurs, there is no strong evidence of them driving largescale community transmission. Rather, case rates within schools and colleges have been shown to reflect those in the local community, and risks are reduced further in such a controlled environment by having appropriate mitigations and systems of control in place. Based on the recent data from the Office for National Statistics, the risks to education staff are similar to those for most other occupations.

That is why the Government’s priority has been keeping education and nurseries fully open, with a consistent message that schools, colleges and nurseries should be considered last when implementing restrictions, and first when restrictions can be lifted. As such the Government has taken, and continues to take, other steps across society and the economy to manage the spread of the virus, to allow restrictions on education to be lifted.

The Government’s Roadmap is a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously, starting with schools and colleges, taking into consideration the scientific evidence, now published by Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-scientific-evidence-supporting-the-uk-government-response. The Roadmap sets out indicative, “no earlier than” dates for the steps which are five weeks apart. These dates are wholly contingent on the data; before taking each further step, the Government will review the latest data on the impact of the previous step against four tests. This is a cautious approach to easing lockdown, which is guided by the data, in order to avoid a surge in cases which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS and claim more lives before people have the chance to receive a vaccine. This approach maximises the value in breaks in the easing of measures to allow this assessment and help maintain control, including around school holidays, which the Chief Medical Officer has said is a natural firebreak at Easter. Even as restrictions are lifted, adherence to the nonpharmaceutical interventions that are still in place to reduce transmission remains essential.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will allow schools to spend their allocation of the Coronavirus catch up premium funding beyond the 2020-21 school year, given that schools have been closed for the spring term to date.

Schools are able to choose to use a proportion of their catch up premium to support catch up in the next academic year.

The Department recognises that it may be challenging for schools to deliver effective catch up measures during school closures. We have asked for schools to strategically plan the catch up support required for their pupils when schools reopen fully. The Education Endowment Foundation has published resources to help schools implement a catch up strategy using evidence based approaches. These resources are available here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/guide-to-supporting-schools-planning/.

In January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, committed to working with parents, teachers and pupils to develop a long term plan to help pupils make up their learning over the course of this Parliament. As an immediate step to support early years, schools, and colleges, on 24 February 2021 the Department committed an additional £700 million to support summer schools, tutoring, early language interventions, and a new one-off recovery premium. Further detail on this support and funding will be shared in due course.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government’s roadmap on easing lockdown restrictions announced on 22 February 2021, what authority he plans to give (a) Headteachers and (b) local Public Health Directors on deciding how their schools should re-open on 8 March 2021.

Based on the Government’s assessment of the current data against its four tests for relaxing COVID-19 restrictions, the Department will no longer be asking schools to limit attendance and from 8 March all year groups should be allowed to attend school. The latest data suggests that infection rates have fallen across all ages, including in children and young people.

From 8 March, all primary pupils should attend school. All secondary pupils will be offered testing and those who consent to testing should return to face-to-face education following their first negative test result. Testing is voluntary but strongly encouraged. Pupils not undergoing testing should attend school in line with the phased return arrangements in their school. Head teachers in secondary schools can phase the return of their pupils during the first week as they carry out on-site asymptomatic testing. Where secondary schools are operating a phased return to allow for testing, the Department expects schools to provide remote education.

School attendance will be mandatory for all pupils and the usual rules on school attendance will apply again from 8 March, including parents’ duty to secure their child’s regular attendance at school.

The Department has published updated guidance which outlines the actions school leaders should take to minimise the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in their school from 8 March. The guidance can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963541/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the 30 hours of free childcare a week to full-time graduate students.

30 hours free childcare is an entitlement for working parents of three and four-year-olds. It aims to help working parents with the costs of childcare so they can take up paid work if they want to or can work additional hours.

The Childcare Bill policy statement, published in December 2015, is clear that students will not qualify for 30 hours free childcare. However, students who undertake paid work in addition to their studies and meet the income requirements will be eligible for the additional hours. This means they do not have to physically work 16 hours a week but need to earn the equivalent of a week of 16 hours at national minimum wage or national living wage (currently just over £7,250 a year).

Students with children aged three and four will qualify for the universal 15 hours free childcare entitlement in England, regardless of the income or employment status of the parent, allowing them to access 15 hours per week of high-quality early education for their child.

Those undertaking a master’s degree are able to apply for a postgraduate master’s loan of up to £11,222 for help with course fees and living costs, which may include childcare.

Students starting a doctoral degree on or after 1 August 2020, can apply for a postgraduate doctoral loan of up to £26,445 which can also help with course fees and living costs, including childcare.

In cases where full-time students have additional needs that are not met through the student support system, support already available to them from their education institutions, they may be able to apply for help through Universal Credit. It remains the case that to be eligible for 85% reimbursement of childcare costs through Universal Credit Childcare a claimant must be in employment.

Further details on claiming Universal Credit, and Universal Credit Childcare, as a student can be found on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/universal-credit-and-students.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on support for paramedic students with health conditions to ensure they can complete their studies during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is keen to minimise disruption and has put in place specific measures for allied health profession students, like paramedicine, that includes ensuring that students on placement have access to broadly equitable support as for NHS staff, such as being classed as essential workers for the purpose of testing and access to travel, school and childcare places, and having access to appropriate Personal Protective Equipment for placement duties.

Health Education England (HEE) is working with system partners to ensure any impact on training and placements is minimised; including supporting universities to rearrange interrupted clinical placements and finding alternatives such as using simulation where that is appropriate.

We know that the health and wellbeing needs of students must be prioritised and NHS England & Improvement and HEE have been working closely with universities and placement providers to ensure students have the support they need, including access to NHS mental health support.

Ministers and officials from the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care have regular discussions on these issues.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department will be providing to Local Education Authorities and schools on the safeguarding checks required following the announcement that from 1 January 2021 professional regulators in the EEA will no longer share information on sanctions imposed on EEA teachers with the Teaching Regulation Agency.

The Department updated part three, the safer recruitment section, of our statutory safeguarding guidance ‘keeping children safe in education 2020’ on 18 January 2021 to reflect legal changes following the UK’s exit from the European Union, including guidance on checking the past conduct of individuals who have lived or worked overseas. Further details on this statutory safeguarding guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will bring the 11-plus in line with other exams by linking test results to the National Pupil Database.

Selection tests are part of the admission arrangements of individual grammar and partially selective schools, and it is for the admission authorities of those schools to decide the content of the test, in line with the School Admissions Code. Different tests are therefore used by different schools or within different local authority areas. Selection tests are administered locally, and the Department does not routinely collect information on individual test results. The Department does not intend to undertake such a data collection exercise at this time.

There are protections within the system to ensure admission arrangements are fair, including consultation duties and rights of objection to the independent school’s adjudicator.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure university students who are required to extend finishing their studies to autumn 2021 as a result of the covid-19 outbreak receive additional financial support for tuition and living expenses.

It is a key priority of the government to ensure that as many students graduate on time this year and we are working closely with other government departments including the Department of Health and Social Care, to ensure this.

We also recognise that this is a difficult and uncertain time for students, but we are working with the higher education (HE) sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies. If providers are unable to facilitate good online or in-person tuition, they should seek to avoid charging students for any additional terms they may need to undergo as a consequence – avoiding effectively charging them twice.

Eligible full-time undergraduate students whose universities require them to extend their studies in the current 2020/21 academic year up until 31 August 2021 will qualify for means-tested long courses loans for the additional period of study to help them with their living costs.

Eligible full-time students who will need to retake either all or part of a year of study in the academic year 2021/22 from September 2021 onwards, may qualify for additional tuition fee loan support for their repeat study in the academic year 2021/22. Full-time undergraduate students qualify for fee loan support for the length of the course, plus one extra year if needed, less any years of previous study. A further year of fee loan support in addition to the standard entitlement can be paid in certain circumstances where students need to repeat a year of their current course for compelling personal reasons (which may include reasons associated with the COVID-19 outbreak). In addition, eligible students will qualify for partially-means tested loans for living costs for a repeat year or part-year of study.

Universities and other HE providers are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees within maximum fee limits set by regulations. In deciding to keep charging full fees, HE providers will of course want to ensure that they can continue to deliver courses which are fit for purpose and help students progress their qualifications.

It is a registration condition of the Office for Students (OfS) that HE providers must deliver well-designed courses that provide a high-quality academic experience for all students and enable a student’s achievement to be reliably assessed. If HE providers are unable to facilitate good online or in-person tuition, they should seek to avoid charging students for any additional terms they may need to undergo as a consequence, avoiding effectively charging them twice. Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of fees will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the HE provider and student.

The government has been clear that universities are expected to maintain quality and academic standards and the quantity of tuition should not drop. Universities should seek to ensure all students, regardless of their background, can access their studies remotely. The OfS monitors online teaching to ensure standards are met, and there is an established process in place for students with concerns about their education.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will introduce a national register of children of school age who do not have access to a school place as a result of (a) exclusion, (b) moving to a new local authority area and (c) lack of appropriate local provision; and if he will publish those statistics on an annual basis by (i) length of time without a placement, (ii) age group and (iii) whether those children have identified special education needs.

In the spring of 2019, a consultation was held on proposals for a mandatory register of children not attending state or registered independent schools to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to children not in school.

The consultation sought views on a range of questions linked to the implementation of a system of registration, including what data it would be appropriate to collect. The consultation closed in June of 2019. Responses to the consultation have been considered and further details will be set out in a formal Government response document, expected later this year.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January to Question 134593, when he plans to provide updated modelling for early years settings, in the context of the increased (a) transmissibility and (b) death rates attributed to the new covid-19 variant.

The wider significant restrictions in place as part of the national lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the community enable us to continue prioritising keeping nurseries and childminders open, supporting parents and delivering the crucial care and education needed for our youngest children.

We continue to prioritise keeping early years settings open in full because of the clear benefits to children’s education and wellbeing and to support families. Caring for the youngest age group is not something that can be done remotely.

Early years settings remain low risk environments for children and staff. Current evidence suggests that pre-school children (0 to 5 years) are less susceptible to infection and are unlikely to be playing a driving role in transmission.

There is no evidence that the new variant of COVID-19 disproportionately affects young children. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has recently made clear that the overwhelming majority of children still have no symptoms or very mild illness only.

Modelling carried out by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling last spring in the context of relaxing school closures following the initial lockdown period suggested that resuming early years provision has a smaller relative impact than primary school, which in turn has a smaller relative impact than resuming secondary schooling. Further information can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/886994/s0257-sage-sub-group-modelling-behavioural-science-relaxing-school-closures-sage30.pdf.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the department has made decisions informed by data, analysis and advice from a number of different sources including the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), Public Health England, the Office for National Statistics, and the Joint Biosecurity Centre to ensure our policies are guided by the most up to date scientific evidence.

The scientific evidence papers from SAGE meetings are published in tranches and are available by following the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether schools will be closed to all children in the February 2021 half term.

Schools will close as usual over February half term and are not expected to remain open to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers during that week.

Early years provision should remain open and continue to allow all children to attend full time or their usual hours.

Ensuring continued access to childcare for parents and carers remains a priority for the government. We have ensured that all before and after-school clubs, holiday clubs, and other out-of-school settings have been able to continue to stay open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers, during the national lockdown, including the February half term, in line with the protective measures guidance for the sector.

People can also continue existing arrangements for childcare bubbles, and for contact between parents and children where they live apart.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's guidance, Coronavirus (COVID-19): financial support for education, early years and children’s social care and Cabinet Office guidance, PPNs 2/20 and 4/20: Supplier relief due to coronavirus (COVID-19), updated on 21 January, whether schools are expected to pay for ongoing supply staff engagements and not terminate those engagements early and require those staff to seek state funded support.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. Schools have autonomy over these budgets and their employment arrangements and decisions on staffing are made at the local level.

Schools can continue to engage supply teachers and other supply staff during this lockdown period and schools may want to consider how supply teachers, and other temporary staff, can assist in delivering face to face education to pupils who continue to attend school, and to deliver remote education for those who are not attending.

If supply staff employed via employment agencies are unable to work due to COVID-19, their employment agency can place them on furlough and use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to claim for 80% of their wages, including during school holiday periods, provided that the eligibility criteria are met. Information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme. Information on eligibility criteria is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to recent reports of supply teachers in England being ineligible to access financial support through the Government schemes set up in response to the covid-19 outbreak, if he will review the employment practices applying to supply teachers to help resolve those eligibility issues.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. Schools have autonomy over these budgets and their employment arrangements and decisions on staffing are made at the local level.

If supply staff employed via employment agencies are unable to work due to COVID-19, their employment agency can place them on furlough and use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to claim for 80% of their wages, including during school holiday periods, provided that the eligibility criteria are met. Further information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme. The eligibility criteria is available to view her: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

Employers can now flexibly furlough their employees for the hours the employee would usually have worked in that period, whilst also being able to work outside of the hours they are furloughed. Employees can work for any amount of time, and any work pattern but they cannot do any work for their employer during hours that employers record them as being on furlough. Information on this is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#flexible-furlough-agreements.

The decision to furlough an employee, fully or flexibly, is entirely at the employer's discretion as it is dependent on a range of factors that the employer is best placed to determine, for example, the amount of work available for employees.

Further guidance on workforce planning can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of his Department funding local education authorities to directly employ supply teachers for the duration of the covid-19 outbreak to ensure teaching capacity shortfalls can be quickly addressed.

A key principle behind the Government's education reforms is to give teachers and school leaders the freedom to use their professional judgement to decide the structure of their workforce to best meet the needs of their pupils. This autonomy extends to employment arrangements with temporary staff, including supply teachers.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure and they can continue to engage supply teachers to assist with the delivery of face-to-face and remote education during the period of national lockdown.

Where schools choose to use employment agencies to source supply staff, we recommend that schools consider using the agency supply deal, operated by the Department in conjunction with Crown Commercial Services, as this offers a list of preferred suppliers that must be transparent about the rates they charge. Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/deal-for-schools-hiring-supply-teachers-and-agency-workers.

Schools can access further guidance on other workforce planning options within our guidance on restricting attendance within the national lockdown here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952443/210114_School_national_restrictions_guidance_FINAL_14012021.pdf.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Guidance on Use of free early education entitlements funding during coronavirus (COVID-19), published by his Department on 17 December 2020, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of determining local authority early years entitlements on the basis of their January 2020 census count.

Whilst we recognise childcare attendance has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, we saw attendance rise over the autumn term from 482,000 on 10 September to 759,000 on 17 December 2020. On 17 December the government therefore announced a return to funding early years settings for the spring term on the basis on attendance, as measured by the January 2021 census.

The early years census count has gone ahead as expected with the census guidance unchanged. To support local authorities, we issued some technical advice on how that guidance can be applied this year. In summary, children who are ill or self-isolating can be counted, as can those whose parents have temporarily withdrawn their children from open nurseries and childminders out of caution, and so long as the parent/guardian has not altered their parental declaration relating to expected hours with the provider. Children should not be counted in the census where a setting has closed or restricted attendance, unless as a result of situations as set out in the supporting technical advice, for example staff sickness, COVID-19 isolation and staff shielding.

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

In line with the existing and unchanged statutory guidance local authorities should ensure that providers are not penalised for short-term absences of children, for example sickness, arriving late or leaving early, or a family emergency through withdrawing funding, but use their discretion where absence is recurring or for extended periods, taking into account the reason for the absence and the impact on the provider. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/use-of-free-early-education-entitlements-funding-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/use-of-free-early-education-entitlements-funding-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

We continue to work with the early years sector to understand how they can best be supported to ensure that sufficient safe, appropriate and affordable childcare is available to those who need it now, and for all families who need it in the longer term.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will issue guidance to local authorities to continue funding early years providers based on the January 2020 census count so a provider's funding is not reduced as a result of children not attending due to the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that childcare attendance has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. However, we saw attendance rise over the autumn term from 482,000 on 10 September to 759,000 on 17 December. On 17 December, the government therefore announced a return to funding early years settings on the basis of attendance. Under these arrangements, local authorities should ensure that providers are not penalised for short-term absences of children (for example sickness, arriving late or leaving early, or a family emergency through withdrawing funding), but use their discretion where absence is recurring or for extended periods, taking into account the reason for the absence and the impact on the provider.

While early years settings remain open for all children, we know that attendance was lower in the first week of January than it was before Christmas. We are looking at the attendance data and will continue to keep the funding position under review.

The early years census count will go ahead this week as expected and the census guidance is unchanged. We have issued some technical advice on how that guidance can be applied this year.

In summary, we have taken the view that where a child is reasonably expected to attend early years provision, and that provision is made available to them by the provider, their expected hours should be recorded in the early years census. This means children who, were it not for the impact of COVID-19 on either their own personal circumstances or on the operation of their early years setting, would be attending early years provision. This includes children who have previously attended the provision and children who were expected to start attending the provision in January.

Where the provider is temporarily closed due to circumstances such as staff infections or isolation periods, they should return their expected levels of provision for census week. Where the provider chooses not to offer the entitlements – i.e., to close, or only offer a limited provision to children of key workers - then then they should not make a return for a child who is not being offered a place.

We stay in regular contact with the early years sector and have heard from them already on this subject. We publish regular official statistics on attendance in early years settings, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak-23-march-2020-to-14-january-2021. We will be closely monitoring both parental take-up of places and the capacity and responses of providers and will keep under constant review whether further action is needed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will write to schools to clarify his Department's guidance on how they should pay supply teachers who are currently employed by them on either (a) day-to-day or (b) long term assignments, during school closures as a result of the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in England are now expected to provide remote education for the majority of their pupils and students, with the exception of vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers, who can attend school or college in person. Where vulnerable children and young people and children of critical workers do not attend school, we expect schools to provide them with remote education.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. Schools have autonomy over these budgets and their employment arrangements and decisions on staffing are made at the local level.

Schools can continue to engage supply teachers and other supply staff during this lockdown period and schools may want to consider how supply teachers, and other temporary staff, can assist in delivering face to face education to pupils who continue to attend school and to deliver remote education for those who are not attending.

The Department is considering what further guidance may be helpful to schools with their workforce planning. Schools should continue to check updates to our guidance on restricting attendance in the national lockdown, available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the evidence used to support the Government's decision to keep (a) early years settings and (b) nurseries open during the national lockdown while closing other educational settings to most children.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister announced on 4 January 2021 that early years settings remain open for all children during the national lockdown.

Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Schools have been restricted because additional measures are needed to contain the spread of the virus. The wider significant restrictions in place as part of the national lockdown to contain the spread of the virus in the community enable us to continue prioritising keeping nurseries and childminders open, supporting parents and delivering the crucial care and education needed for our youngest children.

Early years settings remain low risk environments for children and staff. Current evidence suggests that pre-school children (0 to 5 years) are less susceptible to infection and are unlikely to be playing a driving role in transmission. There is no evidence the new strain of the virus causes more serious illness in either children or adults and there is no evidence that the new variant of COVID-19 disproportionately affects young children.

PHE advice remains that the risk of transmission and infection is low if early years settings follow the system of controls, which reduce risks and create inherently safer environments. This report from PHE shows that, at present under 5s have the lowest confirmed case rate of all age groups: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports.

Early years settings have been open to all children since 1 June and there is no evidence that the early years sector has contributed to a rise in virus cases within the community. Early modelling evidence from SAGE evidenced in the report: Modelling and behavioural science responses to scenarios for relaxing school closures showed that early years provision had a smaller relative impact on transmission rate when modelled with both primary schools and secondary schools. The report is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/886994/s0257-sage-sub-group-modelling-behavioural-science-relaxing-school-closures-sage30.pdf.

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

These plans are being kept under review in the light of emerging scientific evidence. We are working with the scientific community to understand the properties and dynamics of the new variant VUI-202012/01 in relation to children and young people.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will extend the 15 January 2021 deadline for primary school place applications in response to the disruption resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

We have no plans to extend the deadline of 15 January for primary school applications.

Applications for school places are made online or by post. The restrictions on attendance at schools do not prevent parents from submitting applications for school places.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will amend the definition of a health and social care worker in the guidance to schools to include (a) counsellors and (b) all mental health workers, whether employed directly by the NHS or otherwise.

We have made guidance available on “Children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings”. The document sets out the high level role-types for which the children of critical workers would be considered eligible to continue to attend school. The list in the guidance is not exhaustive, but it should offer sufficient information to help parents and carers to identify if their work falls under one of the umbrella groups. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 and EU transition response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors. Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required. Schools should speak to parents and carers to identify who needs to go to school, and parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can.

The Department knows that every school will have a different number of children of critical workers who need to attend. It is important that on-site provision is provided for these pupils. There is no limit to the numbers of these pupils who may attend, and schools should not limit attendance of these groups. We expect schools to work with critical worker parents to ensure their child is given access to a place if it is required, so that parents can continue providing vital services.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Expert Group established to look at how to make the 2021 exams fair, will be allowed to assess the potential merits of optionality in exams.

We recognise the challenges faced by schools, teachers, and students, and know that disruption has been felt differently across the country and between schools and colleges in the same area and between students within individual institutions.

In addition to a package of measures announced to ensure exams are delivered fairly next summer, the Department confirmed the launch of an expert group to consider the differential impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on students and recommend mitigations for these impacts. The expert advisory group will ensure that any further policies recommended to my right hon. friend, the Secretary of State for Education support the measures already announced and are developed with the education sector. We are working to finalise the terms of reference and membership of the group and additional details will be provided shortly.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on students of delaying the release of the examination topics list to the end of January 2021.

The Department is aware of the disruption which many students are experiencing because of the COVID-19 outbreak. In recognition of these challenges, students will be supported with the provision of advance notice of topic areas and with examination support materials such as formulae sheets.

Advance notice of topic areas and details of the examination support materials to be provided will not be made available until the new year, when it is likely that much of the curriculum will already have been covered. This will ensure that students acquire a breadth of knowledge, whilst also giving students support with focusing their revision. Ofqual and the examination boards are undertaking work to determine how this will look for different qualifications, ensuring that it is applied fairly across subjects.

The unprecedented package of changes that the Department, Ofqual and the examination boards are making will ensure that young people can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding and move on to their next stage of education, training or employment.

The package of measures to ensure the fair delivery of examinations can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-support-the-summer-2021-exams.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many secondary schools have confirmed they will not use SATS tests in their 2021 admissions criteria.

Only selective schools can take ability into account for the purposes of admissions. They are not required to inform the Department of the measures they use to assess ability. We are not aware of any schools which routinely use SATs to assess a child’s eligibility for admission.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for how many days teachers should conduct track and trace after the last physical student day in schools.

We are aware that teachers and staff have worked tirelessly over the last term. This has included their important role in contact tracing, to help in the national effort to limit the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, which we know has led to additional work over weekends and holidays.

We want to limit the impact of this over the Christmas holidays, and are clear that from 6 days after the final day of teaching, schools are not asked to play a role in any contact tracing.

During these 6 days, schools are not asked be on-call at all times. Staff responsible for contact tracing might designate a limited period in the day to receive notification of positive cases, contact the DfE helpline and advise close contacts to self-isolate (this can be done by text or e-mail). If a pupil or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, having developed symptoms within 48 hours of being in school, the school is asked to assist in identifying close contacts and advising that they self-isolate. This is as the individual may have been infectious whilst in school. To note, where a pupil or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school, the school should not be contacted. Parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace.

To ensure this means staff get the time off they need and deserve, schools may wish to use an INSET day, to make Friday 18 December a non-teaching day. Where a school’s last teaching day is on Thursday 17 December, there should be no pupil contact tracing asks beyond Wednesday 23 December.

Where a pupil or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school, the school should not be contacted. Parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test & Trace who will send a text, email alert, or call with instructions on how to share details of people who have had close, recent contact.

Where pupils are required to self-isolate due to contacts during the holidays schools do not need to be informed about their absence until the first day of the new term.

The DfE helpline will remain open as normal, but close from 16:00 24 December to 28 December and on 1 January. Urgent public health advice can still be sought at these times via out of hours routes for local health protection teams.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Expert Group established to look at how to make 2021 exams fair includes representatives of (a) school leaders, (b) parents, (c) teachers and (d) unions.

The Department recognises the challenges currently faced by schools, teachers, and students, and knows that the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak has been felt differently across the country, between schools and colleges in the same area, and between students within individual institutions. In addition to the package of measures announced to ensure exams are delivered fairly next summer, the Department has also confirmed the launch of an expert advisory group to monitor and advise on lost and differential learning due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department is working to finalise the membership of this group, and will ensure that membership is representative of the sector, and geographically diverse.

The package of measures to ensure the fair delivery of exams can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-support-the-summer-2021-exams.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will commence a pilot study as permitted under section 58 of the Children and Families Act 2014 to allow claims to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal to be brought by children in England.

Children are at the centre of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) system, with person-centred planning and co-production a key part of the Children and Families Act (2014). Local authorities in England are already under a duty to present the child’s views to the tribunal.

The Children and Families Act (2014) included powers to pilot a right for children under 16 to bring an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (SEND) in England.

A written ministerial statement on 20 December 2017 confirmed that, after careful consideration, the decision had been taken not to pilot these powers, which were automatically repealed in March 2019 as per the provisions of the Children and Families Act (2014). The written ministerial statement can be found at the following link: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-12- 20/debates/17122029000015/SpecialEducationalNeedsAndDisability?highlight=special%20educational%20needs#contribution-D73DDB22-DC0A-4A07-94F8-BA43908D6585.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether every school has received its first allocation of catch-up premium funding; and how many tutors funded by the National Tutoring Programme have been working in schools in England during the autumn 2020 term.

The universal catch up premium funding, worth £650 million overall, will be delivered in 3 payments across the 2020/21 academic year. The first payment, 25% of the total, has been made to schools already, totalling to £159,011,640. The second payment of catch up premium funding will be made early in the new year and the third payment in the summer term.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) will provide additional, targeted support to disadvantaged pupils who need the most help to catch up. Through the programme, schools will be able to access high-quality, subsidised tuition from approved Tuition Partners and our most disadvantaged schools will be supported to employ in-house Academic Mentors to provide tuition to their pupils.

The NTP went live on 2 November 2020 and schools are now able to access tuition to support disadvantaged pupils that need the most help to catch up. Our delivery partner for the Tuition Partners pillar, the Education Endowment Foundation, has approved 33 Tuition Partners who will offer high-quality, subsidised tuition to schools. For this academic year, it is estimated that, through the Tuition Partners, approximately 15,000 tutors will support the scheme offering tuition to around 250,000 pupils.

In addition to this, the first 188 Academic Mentors have now been placed in schools from November. In total we will place 1,000 Academic Mentors, with the further cohorts starting in schools in January and February 2021.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of children in low-income families with No Recourse to Public Funds that are (a) eligible for and (b) have access free school meals since the extension of that scheme to those families.

We are working with departments across government to evaluate access to free school meals for families with no recourse to public funds. In the meantime, the extension of eligibility will continue with the current income threshold until a decision on long-term eligibility is made.

Once the review is complete, we will update our guidance accordingly. Our current guidance regarding the extension can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/guidance-for-the-temporary-extension-of-free-school-meals-eligibility-to-nrpf-groups.

At present, data is not available regarding the take up of free school meals by no recourse to public funds groups during the temporary extension.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of extending eligibility for free school meals to undocumented children.

We are working with departments across government to evaluate access to free school meals for families with no recourse to public funds. In the meantime, the extension of eligibility will continue with the current income threshold until a decision on long-term eligibility is made.

Once the review is complete, we will update our guidance accordingly. Our current guidance regarding the extension can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/guidance-for-the-temporary-extension-of-free-school-meals-eligibility-to-nrpf-groups.

At present, data is not available regarding the take up of free school meals by no recourse to public funds groups during the temporary extension.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to commence the review into the early years funding formula.

The Early Years National Funding Formula has been designed to allocate our record investment in early years entitlement funding fairly and transparently across the country.

We will continue to keep under review the data underpinning the formula.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Early Years Alliance survey's finding that one in six early years providers and one in four in the most deprived local authorities could close by Christmas 2020 without additional funding.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 7 December 2020 to Questions 122774 and 122775.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of giving maintained nursery schools the same status as schools by adequately covering their (a) statutory responsibilities (b) staff obligations and (c) costs.

As maintained schools, maintained nursery schools (MNS) have statutory requirements placed on them, such as the need to have a head teacher, a special educational needs coordinator, and a governing body. They are also subject to administrative requirements such as the need to publish a range of policies on their websites. The cost of these are not experienced by non-school early years providers, and MNS do not have the economies of scale that many primary schools have.

The government has secured a continuation of around £60 million of supplementary funding for MNS in the 2021-22 financial year, as part of the 2020 Spending Review: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spending-review-2020-documents. The Department for Education is considering what is required to ensure a clear, long-term picture of funding for MNS, and will say more about this soon.

The government has already confirmed that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities, to enable them to continue protecting the funding of MNS during the summer term in 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/early-years-support-package-to-help-close-covid-language-gap. This provides MNS with certainty about funding for the 2020/21 academic year.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of MNS, and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 2 November to Question 106891, when the review on how immigration status and no recourse to public funds interact with free school meals and other educational entitlements will be published.

We are working with departments across government to evaluate access to free school meals for families with no recourse to public funds. In the meantime, the extension of eligibility will continue with the current income threshold until a decision on long-term eligibility is made.

Once the review is complete, we will update our guidance accordingly. Our current guidance regarding the extension can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/guidance-for-the-temporary-extension-of-free-school-meals-eligibility-to-nrpf-groups.

At present, data is not available regarding the take up of free school meals by no recourse to public funds groups during the temporary extension.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 2 November to Question 106891, when the Government plans to publish the (a) terms of reference and (b) scope of the review on how immigration status and no recourse to public funds interact with free school meals and other educational entitlements.

We are working with departments across government to evaluate access to free school meals for families with no recourse to public funds. In the meantime, the extension of eligibility will continue with the current income threshold until a decision on long-term eligibility is made.

Once the review is complete, we will update our guidance accordingly. Our current guidance regarding the extension can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/guidance-for-the-temporary-extension-of-free-school-meals-eligibility-to-nrpf-groups.

At present, data is not available regarding the take up of free school meals by no recourse to public funds groups during the temporary extension.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to inform schools of the extension in the eligibility for free school meals to children from low-income families with No Recourse to Public Funds; and whether his Department provided an end-date for the temporary extension in that communication.

We are working with departments across government to evaluate access to free school meals for families with no recourse to public funds. In the meantime, the extension of eligibility will continue with the current income threshold until a decision on long-term eligibility is made.

Once the review is complete, we will update our guidance accordingly. Our current guidance regarding the extension can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/guidance-for-the-temporary-extension-of-free-school-meals-eligibility-to-nrpf-groups.

At present, data is not available regarding the take up of free school meals by no recourse to public funds groups during the temporary extension.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether students re-sitting their GCSE exams this Autumn can have their coursework and practical work taken into account to the same proportion in the awarding of their final grade, as they would have done had their exams not been cancelled.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Dame Glenys Stacey, to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the House of Commons Library.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish, by each local authority area in England, the number of primary school pupils who were absent from school as a result of either testing positive for covid-19 or being required to self-isolate during the period from 1 September 2020 to the start of the 2020 autumn half-term.

The Department intends to publish local authority level data on 15 December. This data will be included as part of the publication ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’.

The frequency of the publication ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’ will be reviewed in the new year.

The Department is constantly reviewing the content of its publications. Announcements about future content will be made through the official statistics release page which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education/about/statistics.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish, by each local authority area in England, the number of secondary school pupils who were absent from school as a result of either testing positive for covid-19 or being required to self-isolate during the period from 1 September 2020 to the start of the 2020 autumn half-term; and if he will publish those statistics by year group.

The Department intends to publish local authority level data on 15 December. This data will be included as part of the publication ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’.

The frequency of the publication ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’ will be reviewed in the new year.

The Department is constantly reviewing the content of its publications. Announcements about future content will be made through the official statistics release page which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education/about/statistics.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the average number of school staff hours used on covid-19 contact tracing.

The Department does not collect data on the number of staff hours spent on contact tracing in schools.

Schools can contact the dedicated advice service as soon as they become aware that someone who has attended school has tested positive for COVID-19. If, following triage, further expert advice is required, the adviser will escalate the school’s call to the Public Health England (PHE) local health protection team.

The advice service (or PHE local health protection team if escalated) will provide advice on who must be sent home. To support them in doing so, the Department recommends schools keep a record of pupils and staff in each group, and any close contact that takes places between children and staff in different groups.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the number of school staff hours used on covid-19 contact tracing.

The Department does not collect data on the number of staff hours spent on contact tracing in schools.

Schools can contact the dedicated advice service as soon as they become aware that someone who has attended school has tested positive for COVID-19. If, following triage, further expert advice is required, the adviser will escalate the school’s call to the Public Health England (PHE) local health protection team.

The advice service (or PHE local health protection team if escalated) will provide advice on who must be sent home. To support them in doing so, the Department recommends schools keep a record of pupils and staff in each group, and any close contact that takes places between children and staff in different groups.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the guidance entitled Student movement and plans for the end of autumn 2020 term, published on 13 November 2020, whether students are required to self-isolate on return to their term-time address after the Christmas 2020 holiday.

Following the end of term break, our top priority for January will be the welfare of students, staff and the communities around higher education (HE) providers. Department for Education officials are working with Department of Health and Social Care regarding January testing plans and will provide further guidance in due course, considering future developments and the relevant scientific advice.

If students are symptomatic or have tested positive, they should follow the standard government guidance, including self-isolating immediately and booking a test through the .GOV.UK website, available here: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for schools that were in Tier 3 covid-19 local alert level areas before the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown in England was imposed.

Getting all children and young people back into school for the new academic year has been a national priority. Schools have continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in the 2020-21 financial year, £4.8 billion in 2021-22, and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20. On average, schools are attracting 4.2% more per pupil in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20. As stated in our guidance, schools should use these existing resources when making arrangements for the autumn term. The full guidance on the reopening of schools is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools have also been able to claim additional funding for exceptional costs incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak between March to July 2020, such as additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, and increased premises costs to keep schools open for priority groups during the Easter and summer half-term holidays. The guidance about claiming additional funding for exceptional costs associated with COVID-19 is available through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools/school-funding-exceptional-costs-associated-with-coronavirus-covid-19-for-the-period-march-to-july-2020.

On Thursday 5 November 2020, the New National Restrictions replaced the Local COVID-19 Alert Level measures: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-and-childcare-settings-new-national-restrictions-from-5-november-2020. At the end of the new restrictions period, we will return to a regional approach, based on the latest data. At all local alert levels, the expectation is that education and childcare provision should continue as normal.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to classify UK nationals resident in the EU as home students for purposes of higher education fees at UK universities after the end of the transition period.

UK nationals living in the European Economic Area or Switzerland at the end of the transition period, and who wish to study in England, will continue to be eligible for home fee status and student support from Student Finance England for courses starting up to 7 years after the end of the transition period.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of catch-up support given that schools are allowed to use that premium for contingency planning for remote education and the purchasing additional devices or more textbooks.

The Government has announced a catch-up package worth £1 billion, including a catch-up premium worth a total of £650 million, to support schools in making up for lost teaching time. To help schools make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published a support guide for schools, with evidence based approaches to catch-up for all students: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/covid-19-support-guide-for-schools/#nav-covid-19-support-guide-for-schools1. It has also published a further school planning guide for the academic year 2020/21: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/guide-to-supporting-schools-planning/. Alongside this, the Government has also announced a new £350 million National Tutoring Programme, to increase access to high-quality tuition for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Government realises that every school will have different needs as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and we advise schools to tailor the catch-up funding to their specific contexts, and towards the pupils who need it most. As part of their catch-up strategy, schools can spend their premium on contingency planning for remote education: for example, purchasing additional devices or more textbooks. The EEF COVID-19 Support Guide includes advice for schools in how to support effective remote education and access to technology. The Department for Education is also delivering a remote education support package, which includes access to the right technology to deliver remote education, peer to peer training on how to use this technology effectively, and practical tools, guidance and webinars. Additionally, over 340,000 laptops and tablets are being made available by the Department this term to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11, whose face-to-face education may be disrupted.

Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 disruption on the attainment and progress of all pupils is a key research priority for the Government, and we have commissioned an independent research and assessment agency to consider catch-up needs and monitor progress over the course of the academic year.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the level of financial support required by the school travel sector as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has provided £4.6 billion of un-ringfenced funding to local authorities to support them with the pressures they are facing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department has also allocated more than £70 million to local transport authorities, enabling them to increase dedicated home to school and college transport capacity over the autumn term. We are reviewing funding arrangements for the spring term.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial support is available to supply teachers who have to self-isolate after a positive covid-19 test.

A Ministerial Directive to encourage and support people having to self-isolate due to COVID-19, now means that if someone has been told to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020, they are under a legal obligation to do so, and could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment if they live in England and meet all the criteria. The guidance on eligibility is available through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/test-and-trace-support-payment-scheme-claiming-financial-support/claiming-financial-support-under-the-test-and-trace-support-payment-scheme.

If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and receive an NHS Test and Trace account ID. This means they can apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme through their local authority, if they meet the eligibility criteria set out in the guidance.

The Test and Trace Support Payment is paid in addition to any other benefits and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) that a person currently receives.

The Government has provided guidance on SSP for all employers, which includes specific information on when an employee is off work because of COVID-19. Employees in self-isolation are entitled to SSP for every day they are in isolation, if they meet the eligibility conditions. The guidance on SSP is available through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/employers-sick-pay.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of whether all adults who are (a) at risk of redundancy or (b) currently unemployed are identified as a priority for the National Careers Service.

The National Careers Service is available to everyone in England over the age of 13. People can access professional careers advice via the National Careers Service website, web chat or telephone-based advisers.

The National Careers Service works closely with the Department for Work and Pension’s rapid response redundancy services, to provide co-ordinated comprehensive support including skills assessments, careers workshops and mapping existing skills to new job opportunities.

In July, as part of our Plan for Jobs, the government announced an additional £32 million investment in the community based National Careers Service. This investment supports all adults affected by COVID-19, and prioritises from day one of their unemployment:

  • 18-24 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEETs).
  • Low-skilled adults without a level 2 qualification.
  • Single parents with at least one dependent child living in the same household.
  • Adults with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
  • Adults aged 50 years and over who are unemployed or at demonstrable risk of unemployment.

In addition, the National Careers Service prioritises all adults who have been unemployed over 12 months.

We will continue to monitor performance of the National Careers Service and the support it provides, as we better understand the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the updated guidance on the full opening of schools published on 22 October 2020, what assessment he has made of the potential financial effect on schools of the new requirement for remote learning.

On 1 October 2020, the Department announced a further remote education support package to help schools and further education (FE) colleges meet the remote education expectations set out in the schools’ guidance for full opening published in July 2020, and the FE colleges’ autumn term guidance published in August 2020. Alongside this, the Department published a Temporary Continuity Direction which makes it clear that schools have a duty to provide remote education for all state funded, school age children who are unable to attend school because of COVID-19, in line with guidance and the law. This has been in effect since 22 October 2020.

The remote education support package includes access to the right technology to deliver remote education, peer to peer training on how to use this effectively, and practical tools, guidance, and webinars.

The Government has also announced a catch-up package worth £1 billion, including a Catch-Up Premium worth a total of £650 million, to support schools to make up for lost teaching time. School leaders have discretion over how to use this funding to best support the needs of their pupils.

The Department has invested over £195 million to support remote education and access to online social care, delivering over 220,000 laptops and tablets during the summer term for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have had access to a digital device. The Department is adding to this support by making over 340,000 additional laptops and tablets available to support disadvantaged children that might face disruption to their education. The support package also includes £1.5 million of additional funding to expand the EdTech Demonstrator programme, which provides peer-to-peer support for schools and colleges.

Alongside this, the Department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy both for the summer term of last academic year, and for the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons for a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. Oak will remain a free optional resource for 2020-21.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s spending round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in the 2020-21 financial year, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will set out what further support will be made available to early education and childcare providers during the next six months in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

On 31 October, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced that a national lockdown will start on 5 November and that childcare settings would be able to remain open for the duration. The Prime Minister also confirmed that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended for the duration of the national lockdown. Workers can retain their job and receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Wider business support schemes are also available. For information on the new national restrictions including the financial support available please see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november.

We want to provide security to nurseries and childminders who are open for the children who need them. For the autumn term we are continuing to pay local authorities for the childcare places they usually fund. This means that even if providers are open but caring for fewer children, as a result of low demand from parents or due to public health reasons, they can continue to be funded for the autumn term at broadly the levels they would have expected to see in the 2020 autumn term had there been no COVID-19 outbreak. This gives another term of secure income to nurseries and childminders who are open for the children who need them.

A spending review is currently underway and this will be the opportunity to examine the overall funding for early years. We are presenting the clearest and fullest case that we can for early years.

Specific Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) disapplications are in place for any provider who cannot deliver the EYFS requirements in full due to restrictions imposed through the national lockdown. Further information about the EYFS disapplications is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Where a child is no longer eligible for 30 hours free childcare when the parent reconfirms (for example, if the parent has a change in employment status), they will enter a grace period where they can retain their childcare for a short period of time. The grace period is intended to ensure children do not need to immediately leave childcare provision should their parents drop out of eligibility, as well as offering stability for the child and childcare provider. Whilst in a grace period, if parents regain eligibility they can reconfirm through the childcare service and the 30 hours free entitlement would continue without a break for their child. If, after the grace period, a parent has not reconfirmed their eligibility, they can still access the 15 hours universal entitlement for 3- and 4-year olds.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of making the implementation of sprinkler systems in new build and substantially refurbished schools mandatory.

Sprinklers must be fitted in schools where they are deemed necessary to keep pupils and staff safe. All new school building projects must also comply with building regulations, including on fire safety, and this must be independently checked by Building Control or an Approved Inspector before buildings are occupied.

We are currently updating Building Bulletin 100 (BB100), the department’s guidance on fire safety design in schools. A revised version of BB100 will be the subject of a full public consultation in due course. This will give full consideration to the implementation of various fire safety measures, including the use of sprinkler systems.

All schools have to follow strict fire safety regulations, including having a fire risk assessment designed to ensure they are as safe as possible and well prepared in the event of a fire.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of whether recent trends in the level of funding for early years education and childcare provision has matched (a) inflation and (b) trends in the costs incurred by providers of those services.

We are planning to spend more than £3.6 billion on early education entitlements in the 2020-21 financial year. Over one million children every year are now benefitting from the government's record investment in early years entitlements.

In October 2019 we announced additional funding for our early education entitlements for the 2020-21 financial year. For the 2020-21 financial year, all local authorities have seen an increase of 8p an hour to the hourly funding rates for the 2-year-old entitlement and an increase of 8p an hour, in the vast majority of areas, for the 3- and 4-year-old entitlement. The increase in funding rates for the 3- and 4-year-old entitlements meant that more than half of authorities have seen an increase in line with inflation (GDP deflators) of their hourly funding rate in the 2020-21 financial year.

The department carries out its own regular research on the cost of delivering childcare. The 2018 provider finances report is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/provider-finances-evidence-from-early-years-providers.

The department is due to publish a 2019 provider finances report in the Autumn.

The provider finances reports include data on the following:

  • Total cost and total income of delivering childcare.
  • Variation in unit costs (an approximate measure of the average cost per child per hour for all children in the setting) and staff hourly pay.
  • Patterns in parent-paid hourly fees and additional charges for parents.

The 2019 Survey of Childcare and Early Years Providers also includes information on the costs of providing childcare and is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/845080/SCEYP_2019_Main_Report_Nov19.pdf.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what meetings he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, (b) the Home Secretary and (c) expert organisations on the Online Harms Bill.

Ministers have regular meetings and discussions with their ministerial colleagues on a range of issues, including the proposed legislation on online safety.

I and many of my ministerial colleagues and representatives from expert organisations attended the virtual summit on hidden harms, which my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, hosted on 21 May. More details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prime-ministers-virtual-summit-on-hidden-harms.

Following the summit, the government reiterated its commitment to introducing a world-leading regulatory framework to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

I will be meeting with my hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, to discuss our approach to online harms.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure the availability of music education in schools during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government published guidance for full opening of schools this academic year, and makes it clear that the curriculum should remain broad so that the majority of pupils are taught a full range of subjects over the year, including the arts. In Key Stage 4 and 5, the majority of pupils are expected to continue to study their examination subjects, including those who are due to take exams in music.

There may be an additional risk of infection in environments where singing, and playing of wind or brass instruments, takes place. The guidance also sets out detailed advice on how schools can teach music safely. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#A.

The Government has announced the biggest funding boost for schools in a decade which will give every school more money for every child. We are investing a total of £14.4 billion more in schools over the next three financial years, with a cash increase of £2.6 billion in 2020-21, and increases of £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively, compared to the financial year 2019-20. Schools have the autonomy to use these resources as they see best, to ensure that they teach a broad and balanced curriculum.

In terms of wider support for music in schools, the Government provided £300 million for a network of Music Education Hubs between 2016 and 2020. In January, the Government announced a further £80 million investment in Music Education Hubs for the financial year 2020-21 to ensure all children, whatever their background, have access to a high-quality music education. The hubs continue to provide a range of opportunities for young people, including whole class instrumental teaching, individual lessons, ensembles, choirs and more. Schools should work with their hubs to ensure a quality music education for all pupils this year.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding available to music education in schools.

The Government published guidance for full opening of schools this academic year, and makes it clear that the curriculum should remain broad so that the majority of pupils are taught a full range of subjects over the year, including the arts. In Key Stage 4 and 5, the majority of pupils are expected to continue to study their examination subjects, including those who are due to take exams in music.

There may be an additional risk of infection in environments where singing, and playing of wind or brass instruments, takes place. The guidance also sets out detailed advice on how schools can teach music safely. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#A.

The Government has announced the biggest funding boost for schools in a decade which will give every school more money for every child. We are investing a total of £14.4 billion more in schools over the next three financial years, with a cash increase of £2.6 billion in 2020-21, and increases of £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively, compared to the financial year 2019-20. Schools have the autonomy to use these resources as they see best, to ensure that they teach a broad and balanced curriculum.

In terms of wider support for music in schools, the Government provided £300 million for a network of Music Education Hubs between 2016 and 2020. In January, the Government announced a further £80 million investment in Music Education Hubs for the financial year 2020-21 to ensure all children, whatever their background, have access to a high-quality music education. The hubs continue to provide a range of opportunities for young people, including whole class instrumental teaching, individual lessons, ensembles, choirs and more. Schools should work with their hubs to ensure a quality music education for all pupils this year.

16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the feasibility of safely reopening outdoor activity centres during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department’s educational visits advice is in line with guidance from Public Health England, the Cabinet Office and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and will be reviewed again in November 2020. It can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The Department continues to work with representatives of the tour industry, devolved administrations, trade unions and other government departments as it works towards the November review.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that children from families that have no recourse to public funds can access free school meals.

We have temporarily extended free school meal eligibility to include some children of groups of people who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). This extension includes children of families receiving support under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, and is subject to a maximum income threshold of £28,500 for families outside of London and £31,200 for families inside of London.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that families who have no recourse to public funds can access free school meals.

We have temporarily extended free school meal eligibility to include some children of groups of people who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). This extension includes children of families receiving support under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, and is subject to a maximum income threshold of £28,500 for families outside of London and £31,200 for families inside of London.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 on the accessibility of free school meals for asylum-seekers.

We have temporarily extended free school meal eligibility to include some children of groups of people who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). This extension includes children of families receiving support under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, and is subject to a maximum income threshold of £28,500 for families outside of London and £31,200 for families inside of London.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy for children to be permitted to miss a day of school to celebrate (a) Eid and (b) Yom Kippur without that absence affecting their attendance records.

A parent of a compulsory school-aged child who is registered at a school has a legal duty to secure that child’s regular attendance. The law recognises that there are certain circumstances in which a parent cannot be guilty of not securing their child’s regular attendance at school, and religious observance is one of those circumstances.

The law also specifies how attendance should be recorded. Where a pupil of compulsory school age is unable to attend school on a day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the pupil’s parents belong, the pupil’s absence must be recorded as an authorised absence.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that children with special educational needs unable to attend school receive the education that they are statutorily entitled to receive during the covid-19 outbreak.

We now expect the vast majority of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to be back in their education setting and receiving the right support and provision they need.

In a circumstance where a child cannot attend school, including if they need to self-isolate, their teachers are best-placed to know how the pupil’s needs can be most effectively met to ensure they continue to make progress even if they are not able to be in school. The requirement for all schools to use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision called for by the pupils’ SEND remains in place.

Where a pupil has provision specified within their education, health and care plan, it remains the duty of the local authority and any health bodies to secure the delivery of this in the setting that the plan names. However, in a situation where this is difficult to do so, including where a child or young person is self-isolating, the decisions on how provision can be delivered should be informed by relevant considerations. These considerations include the types of services that the pupil can access remotely, such as online teaching and remote sessions with different types of therapists. These decisions should be considered on a case by case basis, avoiding a one size fits all approach.

Additionally, the department published a temporary continuity direction on 1 October, which makes it clear that schools have a legal duty to provide remote education for all state-funded, school-aged children who are unable to attend school due to COVID-19 in line with guidance and the law. This will come into effect from 22 October and more details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/remote-education-temporary-continuity-direction-explanatory-note.

Alongside the Direction, we also published a further remote education support package which is designed to help schools and colleges build on and deliver their existing plans in the event that individuals or groups of pupils, including those with SEND, are unable to attend school because of COVID-19, in line with guidance and the law. This adds to existing support, including resources available from Oak National Academy which includes specialist content for pupils with SEND.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage schools to financially support their directly employed supply staff through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or Job Support Scheme.

State funded schools continued to receive their budgets last academic year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. This ensured that they were able to continue to pay their staff and meet their other regular financial commitments. During the period of full or partial school closures, the Department’s guidance advised schools to continue to pay any directly hired staff, including supply staff, as normal.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme guidance outlines that organisations with staff costs that are publicly funded, including schools, should use that money to continue to pay staff, and not furlough their staff. This guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

HMRC's Job Support Scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months, until April 2021. Further guidance will be published shortly and will be available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/job-support-scheme.

In September, schools fully reopened for all pupils and the Department anticipates that the demand for supply teachers will return to normal in this academic year.

A broad range of specific COVID-19 financial support for all educational settings including early years, schools, further education colleges and universities is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on college students in cases where the uplift in universal credit has resulted in them being ineligible for a fee waiver as per the threshold set out in the Adult Education Budget.

We are aware of the changes to the Universal Credit thresholds in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, in October 2020, we will be updating the criteria by which learners benefit from full funding in the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s adult education budget funding rules 2020 to 2021 to reflect this.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the veracity of World Health Organisation guidance on staff aged over-60 or vulnerable that medical grade masks should be provided for clinically vulnerable staff in schools and colleges.

The Department’s priority has been to get pupils and staff back to schools and colleges safely, which is why at each stage of our response to the COVID-19 outbreak we have listened to the latest medical and scientific advice. Staff who are clinically vulnerable whilst in schools and colleges should follow the sector specific measures in the Department’s guidance to minimise the risks of transmission. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools and here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/what-fe-colleges-and-providers-will-need-to-do-from-the-start-of-the-2020-autumn-term.

If staff with significant cumulative risk factors are concerned, we recommend that schools and colleges discuss their concerns and provide reassurance of the measures they are putting in place to reduce the risk in their school or college. School and college leaders should try as far as practically possible to accommodate additional measures where appropriate.

The majority of staff in education settings will not require personal protective equipment (PPE) beyond what they would normally need for their work. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases, which are set out clearly in the Department’s guidance on safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the Fostering Network's proposal for an additional payment of £50 a week to foster carers to offset the extra expenses of food, education equipment and utility bills during the covid-19 outbreak.

The COVID-19 outbreak has brought unprecedented challenges to some foster families. That is why we launched a new FosterlinePlus service in June, which provides free access to a range of specialist one-to-one support and advice services for foster families experiencing difficulties.

The government issued over £3.7 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including within children’s social care. Fostering services have been working proactively to ensure that foster families remain together, and to maximise existing capacity, by providing additional resources and funding to families locally, where necessary. The department delegates the responsibility of allocating allowance according to local fostering services.

I remain committed to taking the necessary action to ensure that foster parents receive the respect and support that they need and deserve. I want to drive forward change to empower foster carers and to ensure that they can continue with their invaluable role in protecting our most vulnerable children.

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance for fostering services can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 15 September 2020 to Question 86171, when the Government plans to publish the outcome of its assessment of the Holiday Activities and Food Programme.

Last year, we commissioned Ecorys to carry out an independent evaluation of our 2019 Holiday Activities and Food Programme.

The completion and publication of the final report has been delayed, due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to work with Ecorys on this and their report will be published at the earliest opportunity.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allocating additional money to local authorities in the Comprehensive Spending Review to help ensure the needs of children with education, health and care plans are met.

The government is currently providing the biggest increase to schools funding in a decade, with total additional investment of £14 billion across the next 3 years. This includes significant investment in high needs. There has already been a £2.6 billion increase in 2020-21, including £780 million for high needs, and in 2021-22 there will be a further year-on-year increase of £2.2 billion overall, including an additional £730 million for high needs. High needs funding will therefore have increased by £1.5 billion in 2 years. The additional investment in high needs will go directly to local authorities to support children and young people with the most complex special educational needs and disabilities, including those with education, health and care plans.

Conversations about the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review are currently ongoing, and the department will set out the importance of providing sufficient funding to ensure high quality high needs provision for all children who needs it, as part of these. The results from these discussions will be announced in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish the conclusions of the review on support for children with special educational needs and disabilities that was launched on 6 September 2019.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 17 September 2020 to Question 87715.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many pupils with an education, health and care plan did not receive a place at one of their choices of (a) primary and (b) secondary school for academic year 2020-21, by local authority.

Where a child has an education, health and care (EHC) plan this will name the specific school the child should attend. This will have been decided in consultation with the parents, the local authority, the school and any other interested parties. The specific school named on the EHC plan is required to admit the child. Therefore, the parents do not submit a list of preferred schools for where the EHC plan would apply, as they would for a place at a mainstream school.

The number of pupils with an EHC plan in elective home education at January 2020 has been published at:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/4427630d-3082-4144-bc73-39d989ad98ee.

Figures relating to January 2021 are scheduled to be published in May 2021.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many pupils with an education, health and care plan are being home educated in each local authority, in academic year 2020-21.

Where a child has an education, health and care (EHC) plan this will name the specific school the child should attend. This will have been decided in consultation with the parents, the local authority, the school and any other interested parties. The specific school named on the EHC plan is required to admit the child. Therefore, the parents do not submit a list of preferred schools for where the EHC plan would apply, as they would for a place at a mainstream school.

The number of pupils with an EHC plan in elective home education at January 2020 has been published at:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/4427630d-3082-4144-bc73-39d989ad98ee.

Figures relating to January 2021 are scheduled to be published in May 2021.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will discuss with the Chancellor of the Exchequer the potential merits of extending the COVID Summer Food Fund for school holidays in the 2020-21 academic year.

The government has taken unprecedented and substantial action to ensure that children do not go hungry as we take measures to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, including in relation to free school meals.

In the first instance, we asked schools to support eligible pupils by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. For circumstances where this was not possible, we also established a national voucher scheme. In addition, the COVID-19 Summer Food Fund supported eligible families during the summer holidays.

This summer, our £9 million Holiday Activities and Food Programme also worked across 17 local authorities, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities and building on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes. We are currently assessing the scheme to ascertain the best way to provide children with activities as well as food during the holiday period. Our 2020 programme will help to show how free provision can be coordinated in different local areas and it will provide valuable information about what works in supporting this sector in future.

From 2021, the government has a manifesto commitment to invest up to £1 billion to help create more high-quality wraparound and holiday childcare places. We will announce further details on this new investment in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of continuing the provision of food vouchers to children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals, throughout all school holidays.

The government has taken unprecedented and substantial action to ensure that children do not go hungry as we take measures to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, including in relation to free school meals.

In the first instance, we asked schools to support eligible pupils by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. For circumstances where this was not possible, we also established a national voucher scheme. In addition, the COVID-19 Summer Food Fund supported eligible families during the summer holidays.

This summer, our £9 million Holiday Activities and Food Programme also worked across 17 local authorities, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities and building on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes. We are currently assessing the scheme to ascertain the best way to provide children with activities as well as food during the holiday period. Our 2020 programme will help to show how free provision can be coordinated in different local areas and it will provide valuable information about what works in supporting this sector in future.

From 2021, the government has a manifesto commitment to invest up to £1 billion to help create more high-quality wraparound and holiday childcare places. We will announce further details on this new investment in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to publish re-opening guidance for residential outdoor activity centres as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The guidance for full school opening advises against overnight educational visits at this time. We continue to review this position and should the situation change, the Department will update related guidance accordingly. The guidance can be found here:

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

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many school attendance officers there are; and if he will publish that data by local education authority.

Local authorities employ staff to manage their attendance services and fulfil their statutory responsibilities, but the Government does not collect data on the number of such officers.

Attendance officers are also employed directly by schools and academy trusts to help improve pupil attendance. In November 2019, the Department recorded the total number of attendance officers directly employed by state-funded schools in England as 2,982. A breakdown of this figure by local authority area is attached, for reference. This figure does not include attendance support through contracted services, those not directly employed by the school or those employed by local authorities. Schools also employ other professionals to improve attendance including pastoral managers, education welfare officers and home-school liaison officers, which are also not counted in this figure.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the economic effect of covid-secure measures on state schools.

The Government has been clear that our plan is for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term and on 2 July we published guidance to help schools prepare for this. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20.

Schools have also been able to claim additional funding for specific exceptional costs incurred due to COVID-19 between March and July 2020, such as additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases and increased premises costs to keep schools open for priority groups during the Easter and summer half term holidays.

We do not consider it necessary for schools to make significant adaptations to their site to enable them to welcome all children back to school in the autumn. Following a risk assessment, some schools may determine that small adaptations to their site are required. This will be at the discretion of individual schools, based on their particular circumstances. As such, schools should use their existing resources when making arrangements to welcome all children back.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing anti-body tests to all staff working in schools.

Testing for COVID-19 is most effective for those who are experiencing symptoms. The test is less likely to pick up a positive case in someone who is not displaying symptoms, meaning that there is a risk of providing false reassurance. Routine asymptomatic testing is in place in environments where the risk of transmission is higher, such as hospitals and adult care homes. There are no plans to extend this to schools. As essential workers, teachers and all staff working in education or childcare have priority access to a test if they display symptoms of COVID-19.

In order to determine the role that antibody tests could play in the response to the outbreak, we need a greater understanding of how the immune system responds to the virus. For example, it is not currently known how long an antibody response to the virus lasts, nor whether having antibodies means a person cannot be re-infected or transmit the virus to others. The Government will make decisions about any expansion of antibody testing based on the science as it becomes clear.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of (a) laptops and (b) digital devices ordered by local authorities have been distributed; and if he will publish that data by local education authority.

The Government has provided laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, receiving support from a social worker, or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in year 10 do not have internet connections, the Government has also provided 4G wireless routers.

The Department has delivered laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to local authorities and academy trusts based on the Department’s estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify children and young people who need devices and prioritise their needs.

The Department has published information about how many laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers have been delivered to local authorities and academy trusts in total, which can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data.

As of the end of June, over 202,000 laptops and tablets and over 47,000 4G wireless routers had been delivered to local authorities and academy trusts.

The Department will be publishing data on devices delivered to each local authority and academy trust shortly.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he made of the financial effect of covid-secure measures on the ability of state boarding schools to fully reopen.

We recognise the significant impact that this period has had on state boarding schools, many of which have been coming to terms with the additional challenge of reductions in boarding fee income over this period.

The Government’s guidance for the full opening of schools provides advice for the range of school settings, including boarding schools. As stated in the guidance, schools should use their existing resources when making arrangements to welcome all children back for the autumn. There are no plans at present to reimburse additional costs incurred as part of that process.

We have taken steps to ensure boarding schools can receive as much support as possible to meet the financial challenges they may be facing. This includes the potential to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, accessed through guidance on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

A temporary measure has also been agreed that enables academy trusts to apply to the Education & Skills Funding Agency to use their general unrestricted reserves to support boarding provision in response to these unprecedented circumstances. In the case of maintained schools, schools should discuss with their local authority to make sure their use of unrestricted reserves complies with the local authority’s accounting requirements.

Guidance on opening schools can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of pupils in each education authority in England in (a) reception year, (b) Year 1 and (c) Year 6 returned to school in the week commencing 1 June 2020.

Data on pupil attendance in educational establishments since 23 March was published on Tuesday 9 June at the following link and covers data up to Thursday 4 June:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings.

The attendance breakdown at a national level for year groups, which was published on 10 June, can be found in table 3 in the underlying data. The data is collected from individual education establishments and the published figures include estimates for non-response.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) estimate he has made of the number of and (b) assessment he has made of the reliability of National Pool Lifeguard Qualifications; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the expiry date of those qualifications to support the reopening of swimming pools as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Sally Collier, to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of postponing the introduction of the reception baseline assessment in response to the disruption to early years learning.

The Department understands the challenging circumstances schools and early years settings are facing and is working closely with our delivery partner, the National Foundation for Educational Research, to keep progress towards the reception baseline assessment under regular review.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to allow schools to challenge examination boards and Ofqual where student grades are adjusted on the basis of statistical modelling.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Sally Collier, to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the Government will cover the increased childcare costs for part-time (a) NHS and (b) emergency workers who return to work full-time during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS staff, emergency workers and all other critical workers are central to our efforts in battling the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why our objective is to ensure that critical workers have the childcare that they need to do their jobs during this crisis. We expect early years and childcare settings, schools and local authorities to work together to ensure sufficient provision for children.

We have committed to continue providing free early education entitlement funding to local authorities throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as ensuring early years providers have access to other government support schemes for businesses whose operations have been severely affected by COVID-19. Local authorities can use their free entitlement funding differently, redistributing it – in exceptional cases and in a clearly focussed and targeted way – in order to secure childcare for the children of critical workers, where their usual arrangements are no longer possible.

Further information is available in the guidance published at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-yearsand-childcare-closures.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential benefits to the food and farming sectors of implementing the recommendations from the Grant Thornton Report on Labour Availability on visas for horticultural and agricultural workers.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is grateful to everyone who contributed to the report on ‘Establishing the labour availability issues of the UK Food and Drink Sector’. We are reviewing the recommendations as part of our on-going work to address the immediate issues in the food supply chain and our longer-term strategy for the food and farming workforce.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answers of 6 July 2021 to Question 23303 and 2 July 2021 to Question 21310, on what date Ministers met with Amazon to discuss measures to stop Amazon destroying usable stock; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy raised the media reports of stock destruction during a call with Amazon on 24 June during which Amazon outlined their seven-point plan for dealing with unsold goods to ensure they are not sent to landfill.

Our position on this important issue was set out in our previous responses. We have nothing further to add at this stage.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the temporary relaxation for night time supermarket deliveries in built up areas is planned to end.

The temporary relaxation of planning enforcement related to the delivery of food and other essential goods to retailers is due to end at the introduction of Step 4 of the roadmap, now confirmed as Monday 19 July. However, this temporary relaxation of planning enforcement has been an important measure to ensure availability of food supplies during the period of Covid restrictions.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the announcement of 7 May 2021, New plans unveiled to boost recycling, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing guidance for all local authorities on the acceptance of recycling paper gift wrap that bears the recyclable logo.

As part of Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, published in 2019, we are introducing new measures through the Environment Bill to increase the quantity and quality of recycling. These measures will require local authorities to collect the following dry recyclable waste streams from all households in England: plastic, glass, metal, paper and card. The Bill includes powers to specify which materials local authorities should be required to collect in each of the recyclable waste streams (including paper and card). We intend to specify these materials in secondary legislation and may provide further detail in statutory guidance.

Wrapping paper is generally accepted for kerbside collection, however, it can often become unrecyclable due to contamination with sticky tape. Wrapping paper which contain foil or glitter are not recyclable. Recycle Now which is a part of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), has produced guidance on the recycling of wrapping paper here:

Wrapping paper | Recycle Now

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, with reference to the England Peat Action Plan, published on 18 May 2021, when he plans to announce the launch of the Government's consultation on ending of the use of peat in horticultural compost.

In the recently published England Peat Action Plan, we have committed to undertake a full consultation in 2021 on banning the sale of peat and peat containing products in the amateur sector by the end of this Parliament.

We are committed to working with the industry to understand the implications of our proposals, identify blockages and to working with the private sector to develop and enact solutions, thus making the transition to peat alternatives as seamless as possible.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding allocated to the National Wildlife Crime Unit.

The Government takes wildlife crime seriously. Since 2016 Defra and the Home Office have committed £300k (roughly £165k each) a year to funding the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) until 2020/21. Decisions on the future funding of the NWCU are being taken as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

The UK is currently undergoing assessment under the UN-led International Consortium for Combatting Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit. This assessment will comprise a comprehensive analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of our preventive and criminal justice responses, which are crucial to curtailing wildlife and forest crime nationally and internationally. The toolkit will also review UK wildlife crime policing structures, including the NWCU and Border Force. We expect the report to be finalised in six months.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has taken in response to Natural England's report, Green bridges: safer travel for wildlife, published July 2015; and if he will make it his policy to identify appropriate sites for green bridges in England.

The Natural England report reviewed 53 case studies and found evidence that, in the majority of cases, green bridges were used by wildlife, although further studies were needed. Guidance on the design of green bridges, based on this review, was published in December 2015 by the Landscape Institute.

Green bridges are increasingly being used as part of transport infrastructure projects to help connect habitats. For example, a green bridge was built as part of the A556 Knutsford to Bowdon improvement scheme, and the A303 Stonehenge and Lower Thames Crossing schemes both include plans for several green bridges.

HS2 has been designed with a view to avoiding or reducing impacts on habitats and species, and to create a green corridor for wildlife along its length. Between London and the West Midlands, 16 green bridges are currently planned, as well as underpasses to provide safe crossing points for bats and other wildlife.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the extent of damage to Local Wildlife Sites by prospective developers, prior to applications for planning permission being submitted.

My department has not undertaken such an assessment. National planning policy expects local plans to identify and map Local Wildlife Sites and to include policies that not only secure their protection from harm or loss but also help to enhance them and their connection to wider ecological networks.

Defra requires local authorities to report annually on the proportion of Local Wildlife Sites where positive conservation management has been or is being implemented. In 2018/19, 47% of Local Wildlife Sites across England were in positive conservation management.

The Environment Bill contains important new measures for reversing nature’s decline. These include strengthening the existing biodiversity duty, to require all public authorities to take action to conserve and enhance biodiversity. Local Authorities will also be required to produce 5-yearly Biodiversity Reports setting out the action they have taken and its impact as part of this duty.

Additionally, the Environment Bill introduces a new biodiversity net gain requirement for development. This includes measures that allow planning authorities to recognise any habitat degradation since January 2020 and to take the earlier habitat state as the baseline for the purposes of biodiversity net gain.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to ban the export of pesticides not allowed in the UK or the EU to (a) India and (b) other countries; and whether he has made an assessment of the (i) health and (ii) environmental impacts of those pesticides.

Pesticides may be used in the UK if the active substance has been approved and the product has been authorised. Assessments for approval and authorisation cover potential risks to health and to the environment.

The export from the UK of pesticides is regulated under the Great Britain Prior Informed Consent (PIC) regulatory regime for the export and import of certain hazardous chemicals. Companies intending to export any of these chemicals from the UK must notify the importing country via the exporter’s Designated National Authority. For Great Britain, the Designated National Authority is the Health and Safety Executive.

The exchange of information that PIC provides allows the importing countries to make informed decisions on the import of those chemicals for their specific circumstances and on how to handle and use them safely.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on what date he will publish the England Peat Strategy.

In the 25 Year Environment Plan, we committed to publishing an England Peat Strategy to create and deliver a new ambitious framework for peat restoration in England, setting out our plan for the management, protection and restoration of our upland and lowland peatlands, so that they deliver benefits for climate and nature.

We will be setting out a package of measures to protect England’s landscapes and deliver nature-based solutions this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of (a) antibiotics and (b) pesticides used on farmed fish in UK waters on other (i) marine life and (ii) human health.

All veterinary medicines (including pesticides and antibiotics) used in aquaculture require a Marketing Authorisation, or an import certificate for use of products authorised in other countries, from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD); in addition, they all require a prescription from a Veterinary Surgeon.

The VMD is an Executive Agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that seeks to protect public health, animal health, and the environment and promotes animal welfare by assuring the safety, quality and efficacy of veterinary medicines in the United Kingdom.

The VMD is responsible for the assessment, issue, and maintenance of all national Marketing Authorisations for veterinary medicines, in accordance with UK legislation. The potential effect of medicines (including antibiotics and pesticides) used on farmed fish in UK waters, on marine life and human health, are evaluated as part of the authorisation process for the medicine. If any risks are identified as part of this process, risk mitigation measures (e.g. withdrawal periods, user safety warnings and environmental mitigations) are employed to reduce the risk to acceptable levels. The conclusions of the human and environmental impact assessments are always factored into the benefit: risk assessment, which is used to decide whether or not a product can be authorised.

Even after a veterinary medicine is authorised for use in aquaculture, systems are in place to monitor any unexpected problems for either humans or the environment. The VMD continues to evaluate the safety of the products through the surveillance of suspected adverse reactions (SARs), via the Suspected Adverse Reaction Surveillance Scheme (SARSS).

Following the authorisation of veterinary medicines used in aquaculture, the Environment Agency (EA) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are responsible for the regulation of discharges of medicines used in fish farms into the water environment in UK waters.

In terms of the UK, the majority of fish farming occurs in Scottish waters. It is widely accepted that SEPA implements one of the strongest regulatory regimes for the aquaculture industry anywhere in the world, designed to strengthen the protection of the marine environment.

The number of medicines that fish farmers can use in the UK is in line with other salmon producing nations in Europe. Unlike some major salmon producing countries, the UK’s approach has the added control of requiring those medicines discharged in significant quantities to meet environmental standards set to protect marine life. EA and SEPA only licence discharges to the limit of what the local environment can accommodate sustainably.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support has been made available to animal rescue and rehoming charities during the covid-19 outbreak.

Animal rescue organisations do excellent work, often on a voluntary basis, protecting animals against cruelty and ensuring that unwanted and abandoned animals in the UK are offered the opportunity of a forever home. I am acutely aware that the coronavirus pandemic, and specifically the measures put in place to control the spread of the virus, continue to affect individuals, businesses and charities caring for animals. Protecting the welfare of animals remains a priority for Defra throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The sector has kept us regularly updated of the developing situation, sharing their surveys particularly with respect to the rescue and rehoming of companion animals, and sharing information on cruelty investigations. It has been encouraging to see the sector working collaboratively and successfully to support itself and to safeguard the welfare of equines in their care in the face of financial hardship and uncertainty.

The latest figures from a survey by the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) show that although the animal rescue sector has seen a drop in income during the pandemic the financial sustainability in the sector appears to be improving. This suggests that rescues have adapted to the new situation either through fundraising in different ways or taking advantage of grants made available by the ADCH and other sources. More rescues are now taking in dogs and cats and more are rehoming. In Quarter 4 of 2020 there was a 24% Year on Year reduction of cat intake and a 32% reduction in dogs entering rescues. 68% of rescues have reported more people wish to foster dogs or cats and 58% wish to rehome a dog or cat.

National equine welfare charities have also kept us closely informed of the status of the Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund established by the Pet Plan Charitable Trust together with World Horse Welfare and the National Equine Welfare Council. The current picture of equine welfare is better than feared, but we continue to keep things under review.

We have worked closely with sector groups to update guidance to animal rescue and rehoming organisations, and other animal charities and businesses. This has enabled them to undertake core operations as far as possible, whilst maintaining compliance with the social distancing rules and need for hygiene precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Throughout this period, we have ensured that rescue and rehoming organisations are permitted to stay open, that staff and volunteers can continue to work and tend to the animals in their care, and that rehoming, fostering and adoption services can continue in accordance with Covid-19 secure guidance.

We take the concerns of the sector very seriously and are keeping a close watch on in-take levels and trends in animal relinquishments. Defra remains committed to continued engagement with the sector to understand the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, monitor the animal welfare implications of this and offer appropriate advice.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will introduce minimum environmental standards for reusable nappies.

In line with our Resources and Waste Strategy, we are seeking powers, through the Environment Bill that will enable us to, where appropriate and subject to consultation, to introduce ecodesign standards and consumer information requirements for products. We will decide on priority products taking on board relevant evidence.

We have commissioned an updated Life Cycle Analysis of the impacts of disposable versus washable nappies to help inform any future policy interventions on nappies.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of suspending import certification requirements for wine.

The Withdrawal Act 2018 retained the requirement for third country wines to be accompanied by a VI1 certificate as a means of maintaining the level of assurance they offer on wine standards. We have not conducted an analysis of the potential benefits of suspending VI1s. However, as VI1s already exist for wine imports from locations including Australia, USA and Chile, and these wines remain extremely competitive in our and the EU's marketplaces, we believe the new requirement to be appropriate and affordable.

Nevertheless, we did recognise that the rules underpinning detailed VI1 requirements, which are new to EU wine exporters, are contained in legislation that had to be made late in the transition period. As that did not provide much time for the EU industry to adjust, we have provided an easement to the requirement until 1 July 2021 in the Agricultural Products, Food and Drink (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. This allows EU wine to continue to be imported to GB using EU commercial documentation, as it did when the UK was subject to EU rules.

Although this easement will apply to all EU wine imports until 1 July 2021, the new UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement has established a system whereby producers can self-certify the certificates used to cover the movement of wine products made in the UK or the EU and moving to the other territory. This will not apply to imports of wine from other origins that are traded between the UK and the EU which will have to continue to meet the basic VI1 requirements or simplified variants of that subsequently agreed in trade deals concluded by the UK.

Provision already exists for all wine certification forms to be transmitted electronically, for which we secured confirmation in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and we will be looking at the feasibility of enabling this option in future.

I am pleased to announce that the UK has now rejoined the International Organisation of Vine and Wine after an absence of approximately 16 years. This will give the UK influence over international decisions on wine practices, processes and maintained credibility in the international trade in wine. We have not made any assessment of the potential benefits of also seeking membership of the World Wine Trade Group, but we are keeping the matter under review.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a new simplified electronic passport for the wine industry.

The Withdrawal Act 2018 retained the requirement for third country wines to be accompanied by a VI1 certificate as a means of maintaining the level of assurance they offer on wine standards. We have not conducted an analysis of the potential benefits of suspending VI1s. However, as VI1s already exist for wine imports from locations including Australia, USA and Chile, and these wines remain extremely competitive in our and the EU's marketplaces, we believe the new requirement to be appropriate and affordable.

Nevertheless, we did recognise that the rules underpinning detailed VI1 requirements, which are new to EU wine exporters, are contained in legislation that had to be made late in the transition period. As that did not provide much time for the EU industry to adjust, we have provided an easement to the requirement until 1 July 2021 in the Agricultural Products, Food and Drink (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. This allows EU wine to continue to be imported to GB using EU commercial documentation, as it did when the UK was subject to EU rules.

Although this easement will apply to all EU wine imports until 1 July 2021, the new UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement has established a system whereby producers can self-certify the certificates used to cover the movement of wine products made in the UK or the EU and moving to the other territory. This will not apply to imports of wine from other origins that are traded between the UK and the EU which will have to continue to meet the basic VI1 requirements or simplified variants of that subsequently agreed in trade deals concluded by the UK.

Provision already exists for all wine certification forms to be transmitted electronically, for which we secured confirmation in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and we will be looking at the feasibility of enabling this option in future.

I am pleased to announce that the UK has now rejoined the International Organisation of Vine and Wine after an absence of approximately 16 years. This will give the UK influence over international decisions on wine practices, processes and maintained credibility in the international trade in wine. We have not made any assessment of the potential benefits of also seeking membership of the World Wine Trade Group, but we are keeping the matter under review.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the UK joining the World Wine Trade Group.

The Withdrawal Act 2018 retained the requirement for third country wines to be accompanied by a VI1 certificate as a means of maintaining the level of assurance they offer on wine standards. We have not conducted an analysis of the potential benefits of suspending VI1s. However, as VI1s already exist for wine imports from locations including Australia, USA and Chile, and these wines remain extremely competitive in our and the EU's marketplaces, we believe the new requirement to be appropriate and affordable.

Nevertheless, we did recognise that the rules underpinning detailed VI1 requirements, which are new to EU wine exporters, are contained in legislation that had to be made late in the transition period. As that did not provide much time for the EU industry to adjust, we have provided an easement to the requirement until 1 July 2021 in the Agricultural Products, Food and Drink (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. This allows EU wine to continue to be imported to GB using EU commercial documentation, as it did when the UK was subject to EU rules.

Although this easement will apply to all EU wine imports until 1 July 2021, the new UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement has established a system whereby producers can self-certify the certificates used to cover the movement of wine products made in the UK or the EU and moving to the other territory. This will not apply to imports of wine from other origins that are traded between the UK and the EU which will have to continue to meet the basic VI1 requirements or simplified variants of that subsequently agreed in trade deals concluded by the UK.

Provision already exists for all wine certification forms to be transmitted electronically, for which we secured confirmation in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and we will be looking at the feasibility of enabling this option in future.

I am pleased to announce that the UK has now rejoined the International Organisation of Vine and Wine after an absence of approximately 16 years. This will give the UK influence over international decisions on wine practices, processes and maintained credibility in the international trade in wine. We have not made any assessment of the potential benefits of also seeking membership of the World Wine Trade Group, but we are keeping the matter under review.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the merits of requiring all (a) cleaning product and (b) food containers to be reusable.

We have not made a comprehensive assessment of the merits of requiring all cleaning product and food containers to be reusable. However, we do see merit in more packaging being reusable. An increase in the use of reusable packaging will help us to achieve our ambitions of doubling resource productivity and eliminating avoidable waste by 2050, as stated in our Resources and Waste Strategy (2018).

We are currently developing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging. Through this, we want to encourage producers to move to reusable packaging, where this is appropriate and practicable. EPR for packaging will see producers paying for the waste management costs associated with the packaging that they place on the market. In using reusable packaging, producers will pay less because they will only pay fees for the first time the reusable packaging is placed on the market. In addition to this, EPR for packaging will see those costs modulated (varied) to account for various criteria. This could see producers who use reusable or recyclable packaging paying less than those who do not. We will be consulting in early 2021 on our proposals for introducing EPR for packaging.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what funds he will make available for local authorities to invest in public water fountains and refill stations.

The Government recognises the importance of making drinking water more readily available in public places, as a means of reducing single-use plastic bottles. As laid out in the 25 Year Environment Plan, and our Resource and Waste Strategy we are already taking action in this area.

The Government is committed to supporting water companies, high street retailers, coffee shops and transport hubs to offer new refill points for people to top-up water bottles for free in every major city and town in England. The water industry is developing a network of refill points through its Refill app, managed by City to Sea. The app signposts to over 30,000 free refill points and was estimated to have saved over 100 million single use bottles from entering our waste stream in 2019.

There are examples of water companies working with cities and communities across the country: the Mayor of London has partnered with Thames Water to install a network of more than 100 drinking water fountains in London, Yorkshire Water has installed fountains in Hull and Wessex Water is installing fountains in Wiltshire, United Utilities have helped install fountains in Manchester, and South West Water have also supported the installation of drinking water fountains on beaches.

While Covid-19 has held up some of this work more recently given the complexities of having open drinking water fountains in the midst of a pandemic, the investment in water fountains fits with Water UK’s wider commitment to prevent the equivalent of 4 billion plastic water bottles ending up as waste by 2030.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the amount of fresh food sold in the UK (a) with and (b) without plastic packaging.

We do not collect data on the specific packaging used for certain product types.

We estimate that in total roughly 2.3m tonnes of plastic packaging was placed on the market in 2019.

We are currently developing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging. Through this, we want to encourage producers to move to more recyclable packaging, where this is appropriate and practicable. EPR for packaging will see producers paying for the waste management costs associated with the packaging that they place on the market. In using more easily recyclable packaging, producers will pay less. Costs will be modulated (varied) to take account of various criteria, such as recyclability.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the provision of drinking water fountains on reducing the use of single-use plastic water bottles in the last 10 years.

The Government has not conducted a specific assessment of the effect of the provision of drinking water fountains on reducing the use of single-use plastic water bottles.

The Government recognises the importance of making drinking water more readily available in public places, as a means of reducing single-use plastic bottles. The Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in December 2018, sets out the Government’s plans to reduce, reuse, and recycle more plastic than we do now. Our target is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the life of the 25 Year Environment Plan, but for the most problematic plastics we are going faster - which is why we commit to work towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

To help combat the improper disposal and littering of drinks containers, including single-use plastic water bottles, the Government committed, in its 2019 manifesto, to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers subject to further evidence and analysis. The aim of a DRS for drinks containers is to increase recycling and reduce the littering of such containers.

The Government is committed to supporting water companies, high street retailers, coffee shops and transport hubs to offer new refill points for people to top-up water bottles for free in every major city and town in England. The water industry is developing a network of refill points through its Refill app, managed by City to Sea. The app signposts to over 30,000 free refill points and is estimated to have saved over 100 million single use bottles from entering our waste stream in 2019.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will introduce a date for banning the use of all single-use non-essential plastic items.

We have already introduced a restriction on the supply of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds from October this year. In addition, we are scoping out additional items for which a ban would be a suitable and proportionate measure. The Environment Bill will also allow us to tackle problematic plastics through a variety of policy measures, including measures to impose charges on single-use plastic items; introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers; and make producers cover the costs of collecting and managing plastic packaging waste.

Generally, we prefer to help people and businesses make more sustainable choices, for example through better product labelling, rather than resorting to a charge or a ban. Plastic may be the best available material for some products and banning them may cause more harm than good. We expect the initiatives by industry, such as the UK Plastics Pact, combined with our reforms to work together to eliminate the most problematic plastics from use.

We will introduce a new world-leading tax on plastic packaging which will apply to businesses producing or importing plastic packaging which does not meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content, subject to further consultation, from April 2022. Together with the Government’s reform of the Packaging Producer Responsibility system, this will transform the economic incentives of producers by encouraging more use of recycled plastic and driving up recycling rates.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the prevalence of pollution from littering of (a) nitrous oxide cannisters, (b) plastic balloons and (c) other paraphernalia from the use of that gas for recreational purposes.

Defra has made no specific assessment of the prevalence of pollution from littering of nitrous oxide cannisters, plastics balloons, or other paraphernalia from the use of nitrous oxide gas for recreational purposes.

Keep Britain Tidy has, however, recently undertaken a national survey, on behalf of Defra, to understand litter composition across the UK. Nitrous oxide cannisters did not feature in its findings, and balloon-related litter was only found in very small quantities. The report did not distinguish between balloon-related litter as a result of the use of nitrous oxide gas for recreational purposes and other uses for balloons. The report is available at:

www.keepbritaintidy.org/sites/default/files/resources/20200330%20KBT%20Litter%20Composition%20Report%20-%20FINAL.pdf

It is an offence to drop litter of any kind, and councils have legal powers to take enforcement action against offenders. Anyone caught littering may be prosecuted in a magistrates’ court, which can lead to a criminal record and a fine of up to £2,500 on conviction. Instead of prosecuting, councils may decide to issue a fixed penalty (on-the-spot fine) of between £65 and £150.

The Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduced powers, such as Public Space Protection Orders, which the police and local councils can use to prevent people from taking intoxicating substances, including psychoactive substances such as nitrous oxide, in specified areas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what penalties will be introduced to enforce the new law preventing illegal deforestation in the supply chains of UK businesses.

The Government recently tabled amendments to the Environment Bill to introduce new legislation to tackle illegal deforestation in UK supply chains. The amendments passed in the Commons Committee Stage earlier this week.

Our approach would make it illegal for larger businesses to use commodities produced on land illegally occupied or used, and make it mandatory for businesses to conduct due diligence on their supply chains. To ensure transparency, information about businesses’ due diligence exercises will be published. Businesses that do not comply with any one of these requirements may be subject to fines and other civil sanctions.

The Secretary of State will be responsible for issuing fines, supported by a regulator (for example, a departmental agency) who will be responsible for investigating business’ compliance. Details on enforcement, including the level of fines, will be set out in secondary legislation. We will consult businesses and other stakeholders further to gather views as we develop secondary legislation.

Fines are just one tool the Government will be able to use to enforce and deter breaches of the law. The amendments set out a comprehensive suite of modern civil sanctions, including stop notices and enforcement undertakings, which we intend to use to full effect.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of giving local authorities increased powers to control, enforce and penalise the wrongful use of disposable BBQs.

Fire prevention is a matter for the Home Office, whilst Defra is responsible for measures relating to wildfire mitigation across our natural landscapes. I can confirm that the Government has not issued advice to local authorities on the use of disposable barbeques.

The current byelaw legislation allows for local authorities to restrict and enforce the use of disposable barbeques in parks and public spaces. There are existing powers in legislation which can be used by authorities to regulate and prohibit the lighting of fires on Access Land and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks.

The Government is working with AONBs, National Park Authorities; and other Government departments to educate users about travelling to and spending time outdoors safely in green spaces and in the wider countryside. This includes an updated Countryside Code which advises against barbeques or fires. This guidance is available at the following links:

Green space access: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-on-accessing-green-spaces-safely

The Countryside Code: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code/the-countryside-code

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the National Food Strategy Part One report published on 20 July 2020.

Since Henry Dimbleby published the first report from his independent review of the entire food sector, we have been carefully considering its findings, and will be responding fully in due course. Part 2 of the independent review is expected to be published in spring 2021, and the Government has committed to responding to this final report with a Food Strategy White Paper within six months.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that UK milled flour fortified in line with the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 will be recognised as compliant with EU rules after the transition period.

As a matter of public health, national measures contained in UK Bread and Flour rules require the mandatory addition of minimum levels of calcium, iron, niacin and thiamine to most wheat flour (except wholemeal) sold in the UK. As food is a devolved matter Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are responsible in their respective nations.

The EU does not have an equivalent ruling on bread and flour, but it has laid down harmonised measures on the addition of vitamins and minerals to food more generally. There is nothing within the existing national rules on bread and flour that prevents businesses wishing to export goods to the EU from also complying with EU rules.

It is the Government’s future intention to review domestic requirements on bread and flour further to ensure they continue to meet national interests fully.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of banning cash transactions for (a) householders and (b) businesses that wish to engage private waste contractors to collect and dispose of waste from (i) a private residence and (ii) a place of business.

Waste crime damages the environment, is a blight on local communities and the Government is committed to tackling this criminal activity.

Whilst we have made no specific assessment of these proposals, the Resource and Waste Strategy published in 2018 sets out an ambitious package of reforms to modernise the way waste is regulated, by clamping down on illegal operators and improving performance across the sector. This included a commitment to develop proposals for the reform of the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime. We are working with industry and the regulator and we intend to consult early next year. The reform aims to improve competence in waste management and transportation and deter illegitimate operators from entering the sector. This will help to ensure that waste is dealt with appropriately and reduce the incidence of fly-tipping and other waste crimes.

The Environment Bill also provides a significant step forward in delivering a number of the commitments set out in the Strategy. The provisions in the Environment Bill will ensure agencies and authorities can work more effectively to combat waste crime through better access to evidence and improved powers of entry.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing escrow accounts for payments for legal waste services licensed by the Environment Agency, where that payment can be held until the relevant paperwork has cleared.

Waste crime damages the environment, is a blight on local communities and the Government is committed to tackling this criminal activity.

Whilst we have made no specific assessment of these proposals, the Resource and Waste Strategy published in 2018 sets out an ambitious package of reforms to modernise the way waste is regulated, by clamping down on illegal operators and improving performance across the sector. This included a commitment to develop proposals for the reform of the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime. We are working with industry and the regulator and we intend to consult early next year. The reform aims to improve competence in waste management and transportation and deter illegitimate operators from entering the sector. This will help to ensure that waste is dealt with appropriately and reduce the incidence of fly-tipping and other waste crimes.

The Environment Bill also provides a significant step forward in delivering a number of the commitments set out in the Strategy. The provisions in the Environment Bill will ensure agencies and authorities can work more effectively to combat waste crime through better access to evidence and improved powers of entry.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing duty of care requirements for senior executives to make them personally liable for the consequences of mismanagement that leads to (a) fly-tipping and (b) unlicensed handling of waste.

Waste crime damages the environment, is a blight on local communities and the Government is committed to tackling this criminal activity.

Whilst we have made no specific assessment of these proposals, the Resource and Waste Strategy published in 2018 sets out an ambitious package of reforms to modernise the way waste is regulated, by clamping down on illegal operators and improving performance across the sector. This included a commitment to develop proposals for the reform of the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime. We are working with industry and the regulator and we intend to consult early next year. The reform aims to improve competence in waste management and transportation and deter illegitimate operators from entering the sector. This will help to ensure that waste is dealt with appropriately and reduce the incidence of fly-tipping and other waste crimes.

The Environment Bill also provides a significant step forward in delivering a number of the commitments set out in the Strategy. The provisions in the Environment Bill will ensure agencies and authorities can work more effectively to combat waste crime through better access to evidence and improved powers of entry.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing safeguards to prevent glass producers switching to polyethylene terephthalate due to the higher costs associated with reverse vending machines filled with glass.

The Government is keen to avoid any unintended consequences. An Impact Assessment will be published alongside the second consultation which assesses the costs and benefits of a deposit return scheme (DRS), including the costs to business, and covers the wider environmental impacts of implementing a DRS. We are continuing to consult with stakeholders to advise us on any unintended consequences.

The Government’s commitment to introducing a DRS is part of its commitments to reform producer responsibility systems to incentivise producers to take greater responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products. The set up and operational costs of a DRS will be met through producer fees, paid by producers of drinks containers in-scope of a DRS and material revenue from recycling returned drinks containers. We have also sought views regarding whether unredeemed deposits should be used to part fund the system.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the deposit return scheme to food jars and sauce bottles.

The Government plans to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers subject to further evidence and analysis. The specific details of a DRS, including the material and drinks to be included in scope, will be developed further and will be presented in a second consultation. We may wish to introduce, at some point in the future, a DRS for other products such as batteries, electrical and electronic equipment and tyres. Powers in the Environment Bill will allow us the flexibility to set up a DRS for other waste streams should we decide to do so. There has been no specific assessment of the potential to extend a DRS to food jars and sauce bottles but we generally consider that a DRS may be the appropriate vehicle for articles that we regard as difficult to manage at end of life, are not typically recycled or are frequently littered or fly-tipped.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of (a) deposit return schemes and (b) extended producer responsibility on on glass recycling rates.

In 2019, we consulted on Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (DRS), and on Reforming the UK Packaging Producer Responsibility System (EPR). In support of these consultations, impact assessments were also published. These impact assessments include analysis of the effect of a DRS and EPR for packaging on the glass packaging recycling rates over the appraisal period. This includes both the effect of the schemes individually, and the combined effect of the schemes.

The analysis indicates that, the combined impact of a DRS and EPR for packaging would increase the UK glass packaging recycling rates to 82% by 2032, compared to 72% under a scenario without these schemes.

Furthermore, the analysis shows that all of this would be from the effect of introducing a DRS. It has been estimated in WRAPs Glass Packaging Flow Data Report that around 80% of glass packaging placed on the market in the UK is glass beverage bottles. https://www.wrap.org.uk/content/glass-flow-2025-–-glass-packaging-flow-data-report Any packaging that is obligated under a DRS will not be obligated under EPR for packaging. This means that, EPR for packaging would only be applicable to around 20% of glass packaging placed on the market, and therefore will have little impact on glass packaging recycling rates.

The assumptions and details behind these figures, and further analysis of the impacts of these schemes, can be found in the impact assessment documents:

We are currently working to improve this analysis, which will be subject to a second consultation in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing a national strategy for the disposal of spoiled beer being stored in pubs.

Defra and the Environment Agency are working with Water UK, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), BEIS, and HMRC to facilitate the safe and efficient management of spoiled beer from pub cellars in England (as water policy is a devolved matter). Beer is a polluting substance to the water environment, so a coordinated approach to the disposal of spoiled beer is important in ensuring there is no environmental damage and that sewerage infrastructure is not overloaded, while also supporting publicans in their preparations to reopen.

This coordinated approach must acknowledge that the capacity of individual wastewater treatment works to process spoiled beer varies across the sewer network. It is because of this variation in capacity that a common national strategy for beer disposal is not appropriate. The water industry has asked publicans to inform them of where, and how much, beer needs to be disposed of so that they can issue disposal guidance to reflect local circumstances. Water companies are working to streamline the application process and minimise response times so that requests from publicans are dealt with efficiently. Defra have confirmed with Water UK that water companies will be waiving the usual charge to publicans for disposing of spoilt beer to public sewers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she plans to maintain the (a) 2 June 2020 commitment to allocate £160 million in aid to Yemen and (b) level of all other planned assistance to that country.

I announced the UK’s commitment of £160 million in new aid for the current financial year (2020/21) at the 2020 Yemen Humanitarian Pledging Conference on 2 June. This was the third highest pledge at the conference and brings the total UK commitment to nearly £1 billion since the conflict began in 2015.

I can assure you that Yemen remains a key priority for the UK Government and that we have every intention of meeting our commitment. We have already provided 32% of this funding to our humanitarian and development partners operating in Yemen and hope to have disbursed over 50% by the end of July.

The UK has also announced up to £764 million of aid to support the global efforts to combat the outbreak of COVID-19. This includes contributing £150 million to the IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust which will provide the world’s poorest countries, including Yemen, with IMF debt relief over the next six months.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether the Government's planned support in response to covid-19 in Yemen will have an effect on the level of funding and other support for humanitarian needs as a result of war, hunger and waterborne and infectious diseases in that country.

The UK’s £160 million commitment to Yemen for this financial year (2020/21) will help tackle the spread of COVID-19 and continue to address existing humanitarian needs.

We recognise that alongside the significant direct impacts of COVID-19, the virus is also exacerbating existing humanitarian needs in Yemen.

UK funding is responding this year by providing over 700,000 medical consultations and a much needed boost to 4,000 health centres, whilst also providing support to at least 300,000 vulnerable people each month to help them buy food and household essentials and providing 1 million people with improved water supply and basic sanitation.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will ensure that reductions in aid spending take place last in relation to low income countries and first in relation to upper middle income countries in accordance with provisions in the International Development Act 2002 on alleviating poverty.

All government departments are considering how their plans need to change in light of the risk of a recession, linked to the impact of COVID-19. DFID is working with the FCO and other ODA spending departments to assess how to manage the 0.7% commitment this year, and we will do this in accordance with provisions in the 2002 International Development Act. It is absolutely in Britain’s interest to use ODA to make the world a healthier, safer and more prosperous place, either through tackling coronavirus, supporting the world’s poorest, providing humanitarian aid in crises or helping girls get a quality education.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will include the vulnerabilities of women from religious minorities who are persecuted for gender and religion in her Department's March 2018 document entitled 2018 to 2030 Vision for Gender Equality.

The persecution of religious minorities and non-religious people is acute and increasing in many countries; for women these violations often include gender-based violence, forced marriage and endemic marginalisation.

DFID's Strategic Vision for Gender Equality calls for a step change in our support to the most excluded and vulnerable women and girls, particularly those facing multiple exclusions, on the basis of their disability, age, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexuality, location or other characteristic.

Our UK Aid Connect programme is providing £12 million over 4 years to support a consortium of organisations, including faith and human rights groups, to develop effective approaches to promote tolerance and freedom of belief, including gender equality. The programme will explore gender sensitive processes and segregated data for the monitoring of hate speech against religious minorities at local, national and global levels. The work will ensure the leadership involvement and visibility of women from minorities in coalitions.

The UK has also stepped up our advocacy on freedom of religion or belief, through our diplomatic network. We regularly raise individual cases bilaterally and highlight discriminatory legislation and practices in multilateral fora.

Nigel Adams
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, on what date he plans to nominate members of the Intelligence and Security Committee for approval by Parliament.

The Committee is being formed in the normal way and in line with practice in previous Parliaments.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when she plans for the new Trade and Agriculture Commission to be established.

On 7 June, the Department launched a call for expressions of interest for expert advisors to join the new Trade and Agriculture Commission. The Commission will be established in time to scrutinise the planned Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Australia, to inform parliamentary scrutiny following signature.   It will also scrutinise other planned FTAs.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what estimate she has made of the cost to the UK frozen food industry of tariffs applied to frozen fruit imported from Serbia as a result of the UK not yet having a trade deal with that country.

The United Kingdom has been trading on Most Favoured Nation (MNF) terms with Serbia since the 1st January 2021. Prior to this imports of frozen fruit from Serbia had been eligible for tariff free access to the UK.

Overseas trade data is only available for the first two months of 2021, but the UK has imported approximately £350,000 of frozen fruits from Serbia in this period. Estimated additional duties paid on these imports are approximately £40,000.

Signature of the UK-Serbia continuity agreement is expected imminently, which would remove future MFN duties on imports of frozen fruit from Serbia.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her planned timescale is for concluding a trade deal with Serbia.

A trade deal has been on offer to Serbia for a number of years. Rapid progress has been made since 1st January and it was signed on Friday 16th April.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 7 September to Question 78468 on Mozambique: Liquefied Natural Gas, what assessment he has made of when his Department will be able to conclude whether the Mozambique gas project funded by UKEF has resulted in lower emissions.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) concluded its climate change review of the Mozambique Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project (“the Project”), which considered its potential operational Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, in 2020.

The review concludes that the Project has used the best available technology to minimise emissions where possible, and these reductions are a result of optimisations to the Project’s Front-End Engineering and Design. As energy is to be generated on site (Scope 1), no Scope 2 emissions are expected from purchased electricity.

The Project’s Scope 3 emissions are produced predominantly by the use of the Project’s LNG.

The Project will report annually on its Scope 1 and 2 emissions once it is operational. UKEF will monitor the Project’s environmental, social, and human rights, including its annual reporting on emissions.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of (a) what additional data may flow and (b) what existing data restrictions may be lifted as a result of Article 8.84 of the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) ensures that data can flow between the countries while maintaining high data protection standards. The deal does not mandate that data must flow, but rather the provisions clear the way for the flow of data between both countries for business purposes; when data needs to flow across a border it can do so without coming up against unjustified barriers. CEPA does not interfere with the high level of protection afforded to personal data when it is transferred out of the UK under the UK's data protections laws.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans she has to enable UK companies to bid for defence and security contracts with (a) EU member states and (b) companies based in EU member states after the transition period.

The Government is waiting for the EU-UK future trading relationship negotiations to conclude before setting out plans regarding the facilitation of defence and security contracts with EU member states or companies indigenous to those jurisdictions.

Meanwhile, defence and security exporters will continue to be supported by UK Defence and Security Exports within DIT, as they are now.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she will extend the tradeshow access programme funding to domestic events during the covid-19 pandemic.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 29 September 2020 to Question UIN: 93683.

18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the UK's ability to export plasma products after the transition period ends on 31 December.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is working to open markets for UK exporters all over the world and do whatever it takes to ensure they have what they need to succeed. This includes replicating EU trade agreements to provide continuity, as well as negotiating additional arrangements to unlock new opportunities for UK businesses.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will continue to be the competent authority for regulating the import and export of blood-based products. The same standards will be applied, and regulations will be in place to ensure that the safety and quality requirements for the import and export of blood-based products will continue to be met.

11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when her Department plans to publish an impact assessment of the UK-Japan trade agreement.

A full Impact Assessment will be published when the agreement is laid before parliament.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to her Department's estimate that the recently announced UK-Japan trade agreement will result in a £1.5 billion boost to the UK economy, whether that figure refers specifically to an increase in UK GDP; what year was used as a baseline when calculating that figure; and what (a) maximum, (b) minimum and (c) central estimates were used to calculate that figure.

Further details on the preliminary analysis is set out in our published Scoping Assessment and can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uks-approach-to-negotiating-a-free-trade-agreement-with-japan

A full Impact Assessment will be published when the agreement is laid before parliament.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to enable tenants in blocks of flats to install electric vehicle charging points in allocated parking spaces on a presumptive basis in the event that landlords repeatedly ignore requests for the installation of those points, rather than requiring a landlord's explicit permission.

The government recognises that more needs to be done to help drivers living in blocks of flats realise the benefits of electric vehicle ownership and we are taking steps to address this. The Government consulted in 2019 on requiring new homes and non-residential properties to have chargepoints. We will respond to the consultation soon and aim to have the regulations laid in parliament later this year. Additionally, the government is reforming the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme so that building owners can also apply in the future. We recognise that more needs to be done in this area and we will be considering what further measures we can take to help both renters and leaseholders.

We will publish an EV Infrastructure Strategy to set out the vision and action plan for charging infrastructure rollout needed to support the 2030/35 phase out. This will set expected roles for different stakeholders and how government will intervene to address the gaps between the current market status and our vision.

Rachel Maclean
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an urgent assessment of the potential merits of the recommendations for recruiting HGV drivers contained in the Grant Thornton Report on Labour Availability; and if he will make a statement.

The Department for Transport has regular discussions with the road haulage industry on the issues raised in the report. The HGV driver shortage is an international problem with shortages being reported in a number of EU member countries and in the US. It is clear that our focus needs to be on developing domestic talent.

That is why the Government has already provided a 50% increase in HGV driver testing compared to pre-pandemic levels, and on 10 September announced measures to further increase HGV testing by up to 50,000 tests a year. This builds on existing actions including training for jobseekers and additional funding for apprenticeships.

Rachel Maclean
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with Thameslink on providing reimbursements to rail passengers who have purchased a (a) flexible, (b) monthly and (c) annual season ticket and have been affected by the reduced weekday timetable from 26 July 2021.

The introduction of a reduced weekday timetable from 26 July 2021, and further amended on 6 September, is a temporary measure in response to COVID-19 related challenges. The recently published timetable has considered passenger usage and anticipated demand levels which are still significantly below pre-pandemic levels. There will be no additional compensation for season ticket holders unless their journey is delayed, as services are still available for passengers to use. If passengers are delayed, based on the published timetable, then they can claim delay repay from 15 minutes as usual.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the proposals by the Rail Industry Rail Group for an Enabling Framework Agreement on employment in the rail industry are currently being implemented by Train Operating Companies.

The proposals in the Rail Industry Recovery Group Enabling Framework Agreement, to which sector employers and trade unions are party, reflect the need to secure the industry’s long-term sustainability. The Government understands that discussions continue prior to any implementation by Train Operating Companies.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to stop the most common driving licence renewal internet searches returning advertisements for third-party scam websites charging £50 to £100 to check and renew licences.

The paid placement of third party sites in search engine listings continues to be an issue which Government is trying to address with the search engine providers. Currently third party sites are legitimately allowed to provide an alternative service for customers. Some of these sites charge additional fees for checking and forwarding the applications.

The services that are paid for via these sites can be obtained cheaper and, in many cases, free of charge on GOV.UK. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) frequently reminds the public through awareness articles, postings on social media sites and a variety of media outlets to use the official channel for all DVLA services. Both digital and paper reminders and renewal forms are annotated with reminders to use GOV.UK as the only official place to find DVLA services and information.

Where a third party site is identified as operating outside of the guidelines the DVLA will work with the relevant authorities to seek compliance. Failure to comply may lead to the site being removed.

Rachel Maclean
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he taking to help ensure that lorry drivers have access to adequate sanitation and rest facilities in areas of Kent after his recent decision to reject the application from Kent County Council to extend powers to prohibit lorry parking.

The Government has issued a revised version of the National Planning Policy Framework which indicates that the need for sufficient overnight lorry parking should be considered in planning policies and decisions. Highways England is to market test a significant site under its control near Kent.

Building on a 2020 review, my Department will reinvigorate work on lorry parking with trade and driver representatives with a view to working with businesses, Highways England, and via planning to improve the quantity and quality of overnight facilities, as well as access to facilities during the day.

With regards to the Experimental Traffic Order (ETRO) that allowed a “clamp first” approach to illegal HGV parking in Kent, this was introduced to prevent the exacerbation of existing problems of inappropriate lorry parking in Kent, following the end of the transition period. The ETRO was introduced strictly for a period of 6 months and justified by Kent County Council on the grounds that there would be an increased risk of possible turn-backs of HGVs from ports. It was not intended to address longer term problems of lorry parking in Kent. The concerns around turn-backs from the border have not materialised, and so the original justification for the ETRO is no longer applicable.

Rachel Maclean
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 9 July to Question 27366 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, how many UK citizens have been refused entry into European countries on account of having received AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, distributed to patients by the NHS.

As border measures in overseas countries are determined by other governments on a sovereign basis, we do not collect this data. However, we understand that this is not a widespread problem.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to require Network Rail to record the (a) number and (b) location of every tree removed from its land.

Network Rail manages a vast estate, with an estimated six million trees, and approximately 23% woodland coverage, substantially higher than the average woodland coverage across Britain.

The Secretary of state does not plan to require Network Rail to record the number and location of every tree removed from its land.

For the Hon Member’s information, in 2019, Network Rail pledged £1m to plant new trees across England over a four-year period, with over 80,000 already planted in the first planting season and published its Biodiversity Action Plan in December 2020: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Network-Rail-Biodiversity-Action-Plan.pdf

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 22 April 2021 to Question 181446 on Screening: Coronavirus, what recent steps he has taken to reduce the cost of covid-19 tests required for international travel; and if he will make a statement.

The government recognises that the cost of testing for international travel can be high. However, the price of tests has reduced significantly over recent weeks, bringing the UK in line with other countries. Several providers are offering Day 2 tests for green arrivals for under £50.

The government will continue to work with the travel industry and private testing providers to see how we can further reduce testing costs, while ensuring travel is as safe as possible.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is his policy that international travellers who follow advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office not to travel to Amber or Red countries should be entitled to refunds under travel cancellation policies; and what discussions he has had with the travel insurance industry on that matter.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector on its response to this unprecedented situation and is encouraging insurers to do all they can to support customers during this difficult period.

On the 17 May we published the Passenger COVID-19 Charter setting out the rights and responsibilities for consumers while travel is affected by COVID-19 restrictions and our reasonable expectations on the industry. Not all consumers will have a legal right to a refund from their travel provider for travel to amber and red countries and consumers are advised to check their terms and conditions and insurance policies when booking.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to ensure social distancing in airports is adhered to.

The government has issued clear guidance for both passengers and operators, with airports encouraged to introduce clear signage and one-way passenger flows where appropriate. Arrangements may vary depending on the airport and guidance is available to support operators to manage flows in a COVID-secure way.

We continue to improve processes which maintain the checks we need to carry out to keep the public safe, while minimising disruption, and passengers can support this process by ensuring they have completed the necessary requirements to enter the UK. The government continues to engage with the aviation sector to ensure they are supported in implementing best practices.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the UN General Assembly's resolution on international cooperation to address challenges faced by seafarers as a result of the covid-19 pandemic to support global supply chains, what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts to advance the cause of seafarers being recognised as key workers in every country.

As the first state to declare seafarers as keyworkers, the UK remains committed to protecting the mental health and wellbeing of crew of all nationalities. We continue to make strong representations at all appropriate international forums calling on all states to work together to facilitate the transit and transfer of seafarers, as well as their repatriation.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the cost of private covid-19 tests required for international travel.

The government recognises that the cost of these tests can be high and is reviewing all options available to reduce the cost of Covid-19 tests, including working with the travel industry and private testing providers to further reduce the cost of travel for the British public while ensuring international travel is as safe as possible.

Testing post-arrival remains an important tool in our wider measures to manage the risk of imported cases of Covid-19, as well as allowing us to identify variants of concern, however the Government is clear that we want the tests to be as cheap and convenient as possible.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish the Government's response to the Consultation on managing pavement parking, which closed on 22 November 2020.

The Department received over 15,000 responses to the consultation and we are currently analysing them to ensure we capture all views. We will publish a response to the consultation in due course.

Rachel Maclean
Minister of State (Home Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on what date he plans to publish the aviation recovery plan; and whether it is his policy to make Government support for the aviation industry dependant on commitments to reduce carbon emissions.

On 22 February the Prime Minister announced that the Global Travel Taskforce will develop a framework to facilitate greater international travel, whilst managing the risk of COVID cases and new variants, which will report on 12 April.

The government is also currently developing a strategic framework for the aviation sector, which will focus on how the sector can build back better to deliver a world leading aviation sector for the UK. We expect to publish this framework later this year.

This will include a thorough consideration of the sector’s contribution to the government’s target of a net zero economy by 2050.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will extend the list of travellers exempt from covid-19-related travel quarantine restrictions to include those children whose custody is shared between one parent in the UK and another abroad, subject to a negative covid-19 test result.

The decision to implement additional border measures is in direct response to scientific and medical data, which represents an increased risk to UK public health and an increased risk of community transmission of COVID-19 variants of concern identified in those countries. These are intended to be temporary measures and the government keeps data for countries and territories under constant review.

The government has put in place measures to reduce the impact of border measures on families. For arrivals who have not been in a red-list country in the previous 10 days children are required to self-isolate, however they can do so in the family home and may also move between family homes during that period of isolation.

For managed quarantine facilities, family groups will be able to quarantine together as long as the hotel is able to accommodate them. This includes couples and parents with children.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to implement all of the recommendations from smart motorways review before allowing any new smart motorways to start operating again.

The Department and Highways England are committed to meeting all of the actions as set out in Smart Motorway Safety Evidence Stocktake and Action Plan, with a package of infrastructure, technology and education measures worth £500 million. The Secretary of State has asked for a one-year on report from Highways England setting out progress in delivering the 18-point Action Plan and identifying actions that can be delivered early. He has asked for the report by 12 March 2021 so any accelerated works can be rapidly put in place.

Rachel Maclean
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on developing a sustainable long-term solution to incentivise consumer purchase of new electric vehicles beyond the existing Plug in Vehicle Grants.

I have regular conversations with a range of colleagues on increasing the uptake of electric vehicles in the UK. We will continue to consider the long-term need for consumer incentives for the uptake of electric vehicles as the market develops, taking account both of the need to support that market and to ensure taxpayer value for money. We will continue to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles and publish a clear delivery plan in 2021.

Between July to September 2020 59,738 Ultra Low Emission Vehicles were registered for the first time in the United Kingdom, an increase of 162% on the same period in 2019 and 265% on the same period in 2018.

Rachel Maclean
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the ability of car manufacturers to (a) produce and (b) import the required number of vehicles to satisfy consumer demand and meet the Government’s 2030 phase out date for petrol and diesel vehicles.

Consumer demand for zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) is growing. In 2019 the UK was the third largest market for ultra-low emission vehicles in Europe and last year 1 in 10 cars that were sold came with a plug. There is a global momentum towards ZEVs and the automotive industry is investing billions into new technology over the next 5 to 10 years. A number of vehicle manufacturers have made ambitious commitments to electrify their vehicle production which will result in greater consumer choice of ZEVs across a number of price points over the next decade. The UK is already well placed at the forefront of this with our ambitious phase out dates and a strong package of supporting measures in place. The Government is working closely with vehicle manufacturers to further develop the UK’s supply chain for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). We are investing nearly £500 million of funding for the Automotive Transformation Fund, as part of a wider commitment of up to £1 billion to develop UK supply chains for the large-scale production of BEVs and to support further R&D in the UK. This will protect existing jobs and support thousands more high-quality jobs across the UK. We are working both in the UK and overseas on the opportunity of attracting foreign direct investment in to the UK BEV supply chain.

Rachel Maclean
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Government’s roadmap on easing lockdown restrictions announced on 22 February 2021, whether the Government plans to provide access to cost-effective covid-19 testing for (a) travel operators and (b) their customers in advance of international travel being permitted under the provisions of that roadmap.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19 and is committed to tackling this virus while enabling a sustainable and responsible return to travel.

Travel operators can already benefit from access to rapid asymptomatic workforce testing. DHSC currently provide funding for businesses with more than 50 employees who cannot work from home. This funding has recently been extended to the end of June and covers guidance, training and test kits.

An online portal has also been launched to make it even easier for businesses in the private sector to get involved and find out more about offering rapid testing to their workforce. Organisations who are considering participation should register their interest on the portal before 31 March.

The Government will keep this under review as vaccine deployment continues and will investigate how asymptomatic testing could be used to support the recovery.

Although we understand that some travel is essential, most travel is undertaken by choice. It therefore would not be right to use public money to subsidise testing for travel. However, we expect the cost of tests to decrease in future as testing technology advances and the market expands.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to respond to the letters from the RSPB sent on 3 March 2020 and 11 May 2020 requesting assurances on six measures to protect nature.

The Department has no record of any correspondence dated 3 March or 11 May from the RSPB. If a copy can be provided the department will ensure a reply is sent.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether test, trace and isolate measures apply to people travelling into the UK via the Eurotunnel.

Aside from a very limited number of exceptions, all passengers arriving in the UK, whether UK citizens or foreign nationals, must have completed a passenger locator form and, unless travelling from an exempt territory or region, are required to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival. These requirements apply to whatever mode of transport passengers use to travel to the UK, including Eurotunnel shuttle services.

The Government publishes extensive guidance on these requirements at https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control/self-isolating-when-you-arrive.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of amending the Bus Services Act 2017 to permit local councils to operate bus companies directly.

The Bus Services Act 2017 does not permit local authorities to establish a municipal bus company as part of a bus franchising proposal.

We believe the Act offers the flexibility for local authorities and their local bus operators to reach agreement on how to deliver the best bus services that meet passengers’ needs.

Rachel Maclean
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what covid-secure contingency plans he has for the railway network in the event of (a) signal failure and (b) other disruption.

In the event of any disruption we expect operators to put in place mitigation measures, such as lifting ticket restrictions, providing rail replacement busses, or increasing train lengths where possible. Operators will work with the Department and Network Rail to remedy the underlying reason for the disruption. In any situation operators will adhere to their Covid-19 policies that have been put in place to comply with Government regulations and guidance, including providing clear advice and guidance to passengers about the disruption and mitigations put in place.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, in response to the report by the Chair of the Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Vehicle Hire Licensing issues, published on 12 February 2019, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to enable national minimum standards in taxi licensing that would enable greater enforcement powers for licensing officers.

The Government will continue to engage with the sector on our plans for reforming the regulation of taxis and private hire vehicles, including options to introduce new legislation. The Department is supporting licensing authorities to make use of their extensive existing powers to safeguard passengers through statutory taxi and private hire vehicle standards, which will be issued shortly. The Department will consult on updated best practice guidance on other matters later this year.

Rachel Maclean
Minister of State (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps with train operating companies to compensate key workers commuting to work by train using a reduced train service during the covid-19 outbreak.

We greatly value the vital role that our heroic key workers are playing, which is why we are focused on protecting the public transport services they rely upon to get to and from work.

We have taken decisive action to financially support rail operators to ensure services can continue to operate.

Passengers are entitled to claim delay compensation in the normal way for delays experienced against the new timetables.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timeframe is for the introduction of the Future Airspace Strategy Implementation South.

We are expecting the Airspace Change Organising Group (ACOG) to provide the second iteration of the Future Airspace Strategy Implementation South (FASI-S) masterplan in July this year, this will highlight the various conflicts and interdependencies of airspace changes. We expect that up to 17 airports in the South East will bring forward their airspace change consultations in 2021 or 2022 and the implementation of Airspace Change Proposals as part of FASI-S is expected to begin in phased geographical drops from 2024-2026.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to respond to the letter from the Chairman of Committee on Climate Change Government, Of 20 September 2019 on International aviation and shipping and net zero.

Alongside our upcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan, we will shortly bring forward a consultation on aviation and climate change. It is critical that we consider how aviation can play its part in delivering our net zero ambitions, so that the aviation sector can continue to thrive.

International shipping is unique in being the only global sector with a volumetric emissions reduction target, as set out in the International Maritime Organization’s Initial GHG Strategy. The UK was a leading voice in the negotiation of this Strategy, and our primary focus regarding international shipping emissions is now to agree through the IMO the short-, medium- and long-term measures required to reach the targets. Government will invite further views on its domestic actions to reduce shipping emissions through the publication later this year of a Call for Evidence on non-tax incentives to support the transition to zero emission shipping.

12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will undertake a public consultation on amending the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 to require businesses to report long term sickness due to stress as a health and safety issue.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) are made under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and apply to all sectors and workplaces in Great Britain.

The 2013 regulations clarified and simplified the list of reportable ill-health conditions (occupational diseases), as a result of a recommendation made by Professor Löfstedt in his report “Reclaiming health and safety for all: An independent review of health and safety legislation”, published in 2011.

The Health and Safety Executive keeps the regulations, including the specified injuries and reportable diseases under review. The list of current reportable occupational diseases will be considered as part of the next formal post-implementation review of RIDDOR, which is due to report in 2023. Stress is not always work-related but can be connected to many other issues outside of the workplace and as such it would not be appropriate to require stress to be reported under RIDDOR.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of Kickstart applications waiting for a decision for eight weeks or more after submission as at 27 May 2021 were from organisations based in Hertfordshire.

Delivering the Kickstart Scheme at pace has led to a limited data set which makes it hard to present an accurate snapshot of a smaller geographical area, meaning we are currently unable to provide information at a county wide level. We are continuing to develop our data, which may help in sharing this level of information in due course.

Since the launch of the Kickstart Scheme we have made changes to the assessment process to enable a quicker turnaround of applications, whilst ensuring that we continue to protect taxpayer’s money through robust and fair procedures. Data from 27 May shows that over the previous 7 days, the average number of days from application receipt to grant agreement issued is less than 20 days.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the program.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the accessibility of (a) personal independence payment and (b) universal credit for people with endometriosis.

I refer the Member to the answer I gave on 30 November 2020 to Question UIN 120949.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will review the definition of Statutory Sick Pay to fully recognise long-term and fluctuating conditions.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is payable for up to 28 weeks per sickness absence. Sickness absences which are less than 8 weeks apart count as the same period of sickness. In a new period of sickness, employees are eligible for 28 weeks of SSP. In this way, those with long-term or fluctuating conditions are supported through SSP.

SSP provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are sick or incapable of work. Employers are legally required to pay SSP to eligible employees who are off work sick or incapable of work, where employees meet the qualifying conditions. Some employers may also decide to pay more, and for longer, through Occupational Sick Pay.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2021 to Question 157304 on Pension Credit: Publicity, how much the Government spent on promoting the uptake of pension credit in (a) 2017-18, (b) 2018-19 and (c) 2019-20.

The Department uses a wide range of channels to reach potential recipients; this includes some 11 million uprating letters currently being sent to State Pension recipients, alongside work with the BBC on their mailings and support with and from a range of other organisations. It is not feasible to undertake such an assessment with precision.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much the Government has spent on promoting the uptake of pension credit in each year of the last three years.

DWP continues to use available channels to promote Pension Credit and reach potential recipients, and their family and friends. This includes using proactive press activity and planned social media posts to encourage older people to check if they are eligible by visiting the gov.uk website or calling the Freephone claim line 0800 99 1234.

The Department is currently sending letters to over 11 million pensioners in Great Britain informing them about the increase in their State Pension from April. In order to better promote Pension Credit and encourage eligible pensioners to make a claim, the accompanying leaflet includes specific information about Pension Credit, highlighting that an award of Pension Credit can mean being eligible for other benefits such as Housing Benefit or a free over-75 TV licence.

As part of an internal review of communication products, we have also identified improvements in our Pension Credit messaging at other key customer “touchpoints” and are updating the products used to claim Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance accordingly.

We also continue to liaise regularly with stakeholders about ways to encourage take-up of Pension Credit, and working with the BBC on their messaging around free TV licences and Pension Credit through their licensing letters and other channels.

A targeted, pilot campaign in early 2020 was developed to explore the role for advertising beyond that broader promotion. This time limited pilot used advertising in GP surgeries, Post Offices and social media. Activity was curtailed by the early impact of the pandemic. We are continually reviewing the role for paid advertising.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of ensuring that directors dividends are included in the initial calculation of child maintenance payments.

The 2012 Child Maintenance Service (CMS) moved from an assessment on a net income basis, used by the former Child Support Agency (CSA), to a gross income basis in order to simplify the calculation process. CMS assessments are based initially on gross income information received directly from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). As dividend payments are issued from a company’s annual profits after tax, they are not included in the initial child maintenance calculation.

For child support purposes, dividend payments are treated as unearned income, and can be taken into account via a variation application. Variations are specific types of changes which allow the CMS to look at some circumstances not covered by the basic maintenance calculation rules. If a variation succeeds the maintenance calculation will be adjusted accordingly. CMS can check HMRC data for dividend payments to support an application for a variation.

Taking information directly from HMRC allows us to capture a wide range of income types received by paying parents. Basing the assessment on gross income data has enabled the CMS to significantly speed up the set-up of new cases which can be key to securing regular payments.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether personal independent payment benefit award periods set by benefit tribunals will be extended in response to delays to reassessments as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has been automatically extending awards of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for decisions which have an award review scheduled, including decisions made following a First Tier Tribunal hearing. This action has been taken in order to provide continuity of payments for claimants whose award review is delayed as a result of Covid-19.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether personal independent payment benefit award periods decided by her Department will be extended by six months in response to delays to reassessments as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has been automatically extending awards of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for decisions which have an award review scheduled, including decisions made following a First Tier Tribunal hearing. This action has been taken in order to provide continuity of payments for claimants whose award review is delayed as a result of Covid-19.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending eligibility for the attendance allowance to people in care homes who self-fund.

No such assessment is necessary

Attendance Allowance may already be payable in such circumstances where the conditions of entitlement are satisfied.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will allow local councils and voluntary organisations to refer 16 to 17-year-olds to the Kickstart scheme instead of referral via the universal credit system.

The DWP's Kickstart Scheme is part of a wider offer for young people, including the opening of Youth Hubs in local areas and increased incentives for employers to take on young people through apprenticeship schemes.

Kickstart is open for young people on Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment, aged 16-24. DWP Work Coaches refer suitable candidates to Kickstart Scheme job placements and will work with the young person to ensure they access the appropriate support package which best meet their needs. We have no plans to allow other organisations to refer young people into the Kickstart Scheme at present, but keep all measures under review.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 26 October 2020 to Question 105366 on Music: Teachers, whether the relaxation of the Minimum Income Floor will be extended beyond 13 November 2020, as currently provided for in The Universal Credit (Coronavirus)(Further Measures) Regulations 2020 SI 2020 No.371.

The suspension of the Minimum Income Floor for Universal Credit that was due to expire on 12 November 2020 will be extended to the end of April 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many direction notices have been served on her Department (a) where her Department has not submitted a response to an appeal within the statutory timescale and (b) after her Department has received a reminder of its obligation to submit such a response since 2015; and if she will publish that information by type of appeal.

The information requested is not held.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an estimate of the number of women who have lost their fertility as a result of delays to accessing endometriosis services during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

We have no plans to make an estimate.

A call for evidence was launched to inform the priorities, content and actions of England’s first Women’s Health Strategy with questions on gynaecological conditions including endometriosis. Analysis of the evidence gathered is underway and we aim to publish the Women’s Health Strategy later this year.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) capacity and (b) capability of community pharmacies to continue to help with the covid-19 vaccination programme; and if he will make a statement.

No assessment has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the evidence used to inform his decision to remove the requirement from 16 August 2021 for people who have received both doses of a covid-19 vaccine to self-isolate when they have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for covid-19.

Several studies of vaccine effectiveness have been conducted in the UK which indicate that a single dose of either vaccine is between 55% and 70% effective against symptomatic disease, with higher levels of protection against severe disease including hospitalisation and death. Additional protection is seen after a second dose

Public Health England (PHE) publishes weekly COVID-19 vaccine surveillance reports;. The reports include the latest evidence on vaccine effectiveness against different outcomes, and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccine-surveillance-report

This published data informed the decision to exempt fully vaccinated contacts from self-isolation from 16 August. The press notice published by the Department, setting out the reasons for this policy, can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/self-isolation-to-be-eased-for-fully-vaccinated-adults-in-step-4

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the average caseload numbers for drug and alcohol addiction caseworkers.