Daisy Cooper Portrait

Daisy Cooper

Liberal Democrat - St Albans

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health and Social Care)

(since October 2021)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)
7th Sep 2020 - 21st Oct 2021
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Justice)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020


Department Event
Tuesday 19th July 2022
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral questions - Main Chamber
19 Jul 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 10 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 175 Noes - 271
Speeches
Tuesday 28th June 2022
Women’s Rights to Reproductive Healthcare: United States
The House will know that 50 new clinics have been targeted by protesters in England and Wales since 2018. Will …
Written Answers
Thursday 30th June 2022
General Practitioners: ICT
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will develop a system to enable proxy …
Early Day Motions
Monday 7th March 2022
World Kidney Day 2022
That this House notes that World Kidney Day takes place on Thursday 10 March 2022 on the theme of education …
Bills
Monday 20th June 2022
Access to Elected Office Fund (Report) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report to Parliament on the merits of reinstating the Access to …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 28th February 2022
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Mentorn Media
Address of donor: Tinopolis Centre, Park Street, Llanelli SA15 3YE
Amount of donation or nature …
EDM signed
Tuesday 28th June 2022
Proposal for an Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill
That this House is concerned that a culture of disregard for the rules has been allowed to develop within the …
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 444 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
Christopher Pincher (Conservative)
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
(21 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(20 debate interactions)
Sajid Javid (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(19 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(60 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(25 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(18 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).

Petitions with highest St Albans signature proportion
Petitions with most St Albans signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Join other nations in providing a route to safety for refugees. Waive all visa requirements for Ukrainian passport holders arriving in the UK.

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

22nd June 2022
Daisy Cooper signed this EDM on Tuesday 28th June 2022

Proposal for an Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill

Tabled by: Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru - Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
That this House is concerned that a culture of disregard for the rules has been allowed to develop within the Government; believes that when Members and Ministers do not acknowledge or apologise for making statements that are not accurate and refuse to correct the record, they endanger public confidence in …
12 signatures
(Most recent: 28 Jun 2022)
Signatures by party:
Plaid Cymru: 3
Labour: 3
Liberal Democrat: 2
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
Alliance: 1
22nd June 2022
Daisy Cooper signed this EDM on Tuesday 28th June 2022

Reverend Moira McDonald appointed as a Chaplain-in-Ordinary

Tabled by: Christine Jardine (Liberal Democrat - Edinburgh West)
That this House congratulates Reverend Moira McDonald from Old Corstorphine Parish Church on having been officially appointed as a Chaplain-in-Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen’s household; understands that she will be one of 10 chaplains to the Queen in Scotland; recognises that she has been directly appointed by the Queen; …
7 signatures
(Most recent: 28 Jun 2022)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 7
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.


2 Urgent Questions tabled by Daisy Cooper

Monday 25th October 2021
Thursday 15th April 2021

1 Adjournment Debate led by Daisy Cooper

Tuesday 1st September 2020

6 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 - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 6th May 2022
(Read Debate)

A Bill to place a duty on the Lord Chancellor to ensure the provision of safe and secure accommodation for all women leaving prison; to require the Lord Chancellor to review support provided to women leaving prison with the objective of preventing such women becoming homeless; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to place a duty on the Secretary of State to ensure equal access to maternity services for people living in rural and coastal areas to those living in other areas, including access to the same range of birthing methods and locations; to require consultant-led maternity services to be available within 45 minutes of an expectant mother’s home; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to require ambulance services to provide more accessible and localised reports of ambulance response times; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report to Parliament on the merits of reinstating the Access to Elected Office Fund.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Monday 20th June 2022
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 17th March 2023

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

1222 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
77 Other Department Questions
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 30 May to Question 6932 on Leasehold Reform, and with reference to the statement by The Minister of State, Home Office and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government of 9 June 2021, HOL Col 281GC, whether he still intends to bring forward the remaining leasehold reforms, which were recommended by the Law Society report of July 2020, in this session of parliament.

The Government is committed to creating a fair and just housing system that works for everyone. This includes our comprehensive programme of reform to improve fairness and transparency in the leasehold market. In the next Parliamentary Session, we will legislate to reform the leasehold and commonhold systems, helping millions of households genuinely to own their own home.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he intends to issue further restrictions on the use of combustible materials on buildings above 11 metres in height.

In 2018 the Government banned the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of blocks of flats, hospitals, and student accommodation more than 18 metres in height, with a commitment to review the ban's effectiveness annually. Following the 2019 review, we consulted on proposals to amend it. The Government response to this consultation, published on 1 June 2022, took the proportionate approach of keeping the outright ban for buildings over 18 metres while introducing statutory guidance for buildings between 11 metres and 18 metres.

We will continue to review and monitor the ban.

The consultation as well as the Government response to it is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/review-of-the-ban-on-the-use-of-combustible-materials-in-and-on-the-external-walls-of-buildings

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department plans to take steps to monitor the exercise of professional judgement by building designers in decisions on whether to use combustible materials in buildings above 11 metres in height.

The person carrying out the work has to demonstrate compliance with the applicable requirements of the Building Regulations, including Part B on Fire Safety, to the relevant building control body, who check building work compliance. Government does not collect data on these individual decisions. One duty of the Building Safety Regulator, established by the Building Safety Act 2022, will be to facilitate improvement of the competence of industry and building inspectors, as part of meeting its statutory duty of securing the safety of people in or about buildings. Statutory instruments supporting the implementation of the Act will also introduce new requirements on designers to be competent for their role.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the National Regulator for Construction Products will have a statutory responsibility for overseeing compliance with Approved Document B.

The National Regulator for Construction Products, which is being established within the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), will oversee the construction products regulatory regime at a national level. Their role is to ensure that economic operators fulfil their obligations in bringing their construction products onto the market, a step before the incorporation of construction products into buildings. As such, this regulator will not have any statutory responsibilities concerning Approved Documents.

The person carrying out the work has to demonstrate compliance with the applicable requirements of the Building Regulations, including Part B on Fire Safety in Schedule 1, to the relevant building control body, who check building work for compliance with building regulations' requirements. The approved documents are guidance on how applicants may be able to comply with building regulations' legal requirements.

Under the Building Safety Act 2022, the National Regulator for Construction Products and the Building Safety Regulator when established will work closely together on potential safety issues posed by construction products.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the written statement of 12 May 2022 by the Welsh Minister for Climate Change entitled Update on building safety, if he will (a) take steps to amend the pledge letters with developers and (b) include measures in future legal agreements with developers that will facilitate matching and proportionate commitments to leaseholders across the UK.

Housing and building safety are devolved matters and the progress of remediation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a matter for the devolved administrations.

Ministers from all governments met to discuss building safety and wider issues of mutual interest on 24 May as part of the first meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Group for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities chaired by the Secretary of State and agreed to work together.

The Department has a close-working relationship with the devolved administrations on building safety. Officials meet with representatives of all three devolved administrations regularly to discuss building safety.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to publish guidance to local authorities to enable Ukrainian nationals to be reassigned to new UK sponsors if initial placements break down.

We plan to enable re-matching through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme shortly, and are working closely with local government on this.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department intends to publish a response to the 2015 consultation to extend the remit of the Local Government Ombudsman to certain parish and town councils.

The 2015 consultation regarding the remit of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) was overtaken by the development of the Public Service Ombudsman Bill. The Government has no plans at this time to introduce the 2016 Public Service Ombudsman Bill to Parliament.

The LGSCO has published its Triennial Review for the 2021-24 period in December, which contains proposals to extend its remit to include certain parish and town councils. The Government is considering the Triennial Review’s proposals and will respond in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will launch a public consultation on reviewing footnote 54 relating to onshore wind energy development applications in the National Planning Policy Framework in the context of rising energy prices.

The Government is clear in national planning policy that the planning system should support the transition to a low-carbon future, including supporting renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure. Local planning authorities should approve applications for renewable and low carbon energy generation if the impacts are or can be made acceptable. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) expects any proposed wind energy development to be located in an area identified as suitable in the local plan, and to demonstrate it has the consent of the community. We announced in the British Energy Security Strategy that we won’t introduce wholesale changes to planning regulations for onshore wind now.

We recognise that the cost of on-shore wind has fallen significantly over the last ten years. That is why in our energy strategy, we committed to develop on-shore wind partnerships that will enable supportive communities to host new on-shore wind infrastructure and enjoy the benefits of doing so, through developers supporting the local energy discounts and new community infrastructure projects. We will launch our consultation later this year on developing these partnerships for a limited number of supportive communities.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions he has had with (a) onshore wind providers and (b) local authorities on footnote 54 of the National Planning Policy Framework regarding the presumption against wind energy development applications.

We have no immediate plans to discuss footnote 54 in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) with onshore wind developers or with local authorities. We understand the strength of feeling that some people have about the impact of wind turbines. Whilst we have not introduced wholesale changes to planning policy for on-shore wind in England, we have committed to developing local partnerships for a limited number of supportive communities who wish to host new on-shore wind infrastructure, in return for a range of benefits including lower energy bills. We will launch a consultation later this year on developing these partnerships.

Regarding applications for wind energy development, the NPPF is clear that local planning authorities should approve applications if their impacts are or can be made acceptable. A proposed wind energy development is expected to be located in an area identified as suitable for wind energy in the local plan, and to demonstrate that the local community has consented to the development.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to include guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework on the number of commercial vehicle parking spaces that should be included when submitting planning applications for new haulage distribution centres.

We have made our expectation clear in the National Planning Policy Framework that plans and decisions should recognise the importance of providing adequate overnight lorry parking facilities, taking into account any local shortages, to reduce the risk of parking in locations that lack proper facilities or could cause a nuisance. The Framework is also clear that proposals for new or expanded distribution centres should also make provision for sufficient lorry parking to cater for their anticipated use. We have also published planning practice guidance setting out how local planning authorities can assess the need for and allocate land to logistics land uses.

We recognise the importance of adequate overnight commercial vehicle parking facilities, and this Government is committed to addressing the national need for more and better lorry parking facilities. In co-ordination with my colleague the Secretary of State for Transport, we recently laid a Statement before this House setting out our plans to address this need. Our Statement of 8 November 2021 reminded local authorities of the pressing need to apply this policy to local plans and decisions, and committed to taking forward a review of how the freight sector is currently represented in guidance.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to review the National Planning Policy Framework to produce a plan for adequate overnight commercial vehicle parking facilities.

We have made our expectation clear in the National Planning Policy Framework that plans and decisions should recognise the importance of providing adequate overnight lorry parking facilities, taking into account any local shortages, to reduce the risk of parking in locations that lack proper facilities or could cause a nuisance. The Framework is also clear that proposals for new or expanded distribution centres should also make provision for sufficient lorry parking to cater for their anticipated use. We have also published planning practice guidance setting out how local planning authorities can assess the need for and allocate land to logistics land uses.

We recognise the importance of adequate overnight commercial vehicle parking facilities, and this Government is committed to addressing the national need for more and better lorry parking facilities. In co-ordination with my colleague the Secretary of State for Transport, we recently laid a Statement before this House setting out our plans to address this need. Our Statement of 8 November 2021 reminded local authorities of the pressing need to apply this policy to local plans and decisions, and committed to taking forward a review of how the freight sector is currently represented in guidance.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when the data submitted by those interested in becoming a Homes for Ukraine sponsor will be shared with the local authorities in which they reside; and whether local authorities will be permitted to share that data with trusted local organisations.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer given to PQ UIN 145857 on 28 March 2022. The Government is working closely with the voluntary sector, local communities and faith groups, as well as local government and the devolved administrations. Resources for learning Ukrainian and Russian are widely available online.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 11 March 2022 to Question 133334, and notwithstanding the fact the St Albans District Council is developing a local plan, if his Department will hold discussions with Hertfordshire County Council on the potential merits of disposal of the land that the County Council owns at Radlett being developed to support the delivery of community initiatives or facilitate local regeneration, instead of the construction of a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange which was approved by the Secretary of State for Housing in 2014 as a strategic infrastructure project, and cannot therefore be included in the local plan for any other purpose.

Due to the Secretary of State’s quasi-judicial role in the planning system, it would not be appropriate for me to hold a meeting with Hertfordshire County Council to discuss the details of this specific site, particularly when a local plan is currently being prepared for that area.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has made an assessment of trends in the value of homes that have non-cladding related fire safety defects since 14 February 2022.

The Department has not made any assessments of the trends in the value of homes that have non-cladding related fired safety defects.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions he has had with (a) the Local Government Association and (b) council leaders on the potential impact of building safety remediation costs proposed under the Building Safety Bill to local authority Housing Revenue Accounts and their ability to construct new social housing dwellings.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities continues to have regular conversations with local authorities and their respective bodies. We are working across government to ensure we know the implications of the Building Safety Bill on their Housing Revenue Accounts and on their work to build and improve social housing.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the decision of the Planning Inspector of 14 June 2021 on the Roundhouse Farm development, appeals reference APP/B1930/W/20/3265925, that states that this provision has not been incorporated with the Framework which has subsequently been updated, and similar guidance within the Planning Practice Guidance has been removed, on what date the guidance protecting the greenbelt was removed.

The Government is firmly committed to protecting and enhancing the Green Belt, in line with our manifesto.  The National Planning Policy Framework already provides strong protections for the Green Belt. It states that inappropriate development on Green Belt land should be refused planning permission unless it is justified by very special circumstances. Moreover, local authorities may not alter the boundaries of Green Belt land unless in exceptional circumstances, using the local plan process.  A local authority should consider releasing land from Green Belt only if it can be fully evidenced that it has explored all other reasonable options for meeting its development needs. This includes using suitable brownfield land for development.

Due to the Secretary of State's quasi-judicial role in the planning system, the Department cannot comment on specific local planning matters. The reasons for the conclusions reached in this case by the Planning Inspector are set out in full in the decision letter of 14 June 2021, which is publicly available online.  Decisions may be challenged by making an application for permission to the High Court within 6 weeks from the date of the decision.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the decision of the Planning Inspector of 14 June 2021 on the Roundhouse Farm development, whether the National Planning Policy Framework will include explicit protections for the green belt.

The Government is firmly committed to protecting and enhancing the Green Belt, in line with our manifesto.  The National Planning Policy Framework already provides strong protections for the Green Belt. It states that inappropriate development on Green Belt land should be refused planning permission unless it is justified by very special circumstances. Moreover, local authorities may not alter the boundaries of Green Belt land unless in exceptional circumstances, using the local plan process.  A local authority should consider releasing land from Green Belt only if it can be fully evidenced that it has explored all other reasonable options for meeting its development needs. This includes using suitable brownfield land for development.

Due to the Secretary of State's quasi-judicial role in the planning system, the Department cannot comment on specific local planning matters. The reasons for the conclusions reached in this case by the Planning Inspector are set out in full in the decision letter of 14 June 2021, which is publicly available online.  Decisions may be challenged by making an application for permission to the High Court within 6 weeks from the date of the decision.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Statement by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State on 23 February 2022, Official Report, colum148WH, if his Department will hold discussions with Hertfordshire County Council on the potential merits of disposal of the land that Council owns at Radlett being developed to support the delivery of community initiatives or facilitate local regeneration instead of the construction of a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange.

Due to the Secretary of State’s quasi-judicial role in the planning system, it would not be appropriate for me to hold a meeting to discuss the details of any specific site, particularly when a local plan is currently being prepared for that area.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will bring forward legislative proposals on leasehold reform to introduce rights for freehold home owners to seek redress at a First-Tier Tribunal should they consider estate or management fees to be (a) excessive or (b) not representing value for money.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. Where people pay estate rent charges it is not appropriate that these homeowners have limited rights to challenge these costs.

We will therefore give freeholders on private and mixed tenure estates equivalent rights to leaseholders to challenge the reasonableness of estate rentcharges, as well as a right to apply to the First-tier Tribunal to appoint a new manager to manage the provision of services. We will translate these measures into law when parliamentary time allows.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to prescribe a requirement to clearly communicate (a) estate fees and (b) service charges to home buyers in future legislative proposals for leasehold reform.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. We have already committed to setting a fee and timescale for the provision of leasehold information when a home is being sold. This will require freeholders, or managing agents acting on their behalf, to provide relevant information including details of service charges. We will bring forward these proposals as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Furthermore, as set out in the Levelling Up White Paper, the UK Government and the industry will work together to ensure the critical material information buyers of leasehold and freehold properties need to know - like tenure type, lease length and any service charges - are available digitally wherever possible from trusted and authenticated sources, and provided only once.

Where people pay estate rent charges it is not appropriate that these homeowners have limited rights to challenge these costs. That is why the Government intends to legislate to ensure that the charges that resident freeholders may pay towards the maintenance of communal area are fairer and more transparent.

The Government established an independent working group, chaired by Lord Best, to raise standards across the property sector, which also considered how fees such as service charges should be presented to consumers. The working group published its final report to Government (see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulation-of-property-agents-working-group-report) and we are considering the report's recommendations.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to make Clinical Commissioning Groups statutory consultees for development applications for 500 or more dwellings.

The list of statutory consultees is under constant review. Whilst particular organisations or bodies might not be statutory consultees on planning applications, they can work proactively with local councils to identify developments where they might have an interest and can comment on proposals within the statutory public consultation period. The decision to grant or refuse a planning application ultimately rests with the local planning authority, who will take into account all relevant planning considerations and not just the advice from one consultee.

It is important that local planning authorities prepare, and keep up to date, a local plan as the primary basis for identifying what development is needed in an area. Local Plans provide certainty for communities, businesses and developers and ensure development is supported by the right infrastructure.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to his letter to the Residential Property Developer Industry dated 10 January 2022, if he will issue a circular to planning authorities that would enable them to refuse planning permission on grounds that an applicant had not (a) agreed to make appropriate financial contributions to a fund that would cover the full outstanding cost to remediate outstanding fire safety issues or (b) undertaken all necessary remediation of buildings that they had been involved in developing.

We have tabled amendments to the Building Safety Bill to give the Secretary of State the power to stop new planning permissions being developed by major residential developers who have not committed to act responsibly to resolve the building safety crisis.

If a qualifying developer does undertake development, this would be a breach of planning control and subject to enforcement action. 

Any planning permission that is granted for land owned by these developers would remain valid; this would enable this land to be sold to responsible developers to be developed by them instead.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 2449, on Building Safety Fund, on what date he plans to publish the standard template documents for the (a) Short Form Funding Agreement for Pre-Tender Support and (b) Grant Funding Agreement that must be signed by (i) building owners and (ii) property management companies to access the Building Safety Fund.

The revised Grant Funding Agreement for the Building Safety Fund has been made available to Applicants. There should now be no obstacle to the remediation of unsafe cladding being carried out without further delay.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what progress his Department has made on developing and promoting the use of voluntary reservation agreements.

We commissioned some behavioural insight specialists to work with consumers and industry bodies to explore ways to encourage the adoption of voluntary reservation agreements. Under these agreements, buyers and sellers would make a legal commitment to proceed with the sale once an offer has been accepted and may include a financial commitment which would be surrendered to the other side if the party withdraws without good reason. We are currently evaluating the findings and will then make a decision about the next steps.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 10 February to Question 117077 on Luton Airport: Planning Permission, for what purposes his Department would consider commissioning sustainability reports from the Civil Aviation Authority.

The planning system has well established procedures for assessing the environmental impact of differing types of development. It is for applicants to provide the necessary documentation.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 25 January 2022 to Question 105741 on High Rise Flats: Fire Prevention, what progress he has made across Government to protect leaseholders from the risk of forfeiture result from non-payment of historic building safety remediation costs.

We are clear that building owners and industry should make buildings safe without passing on costs to leaseholders, and leaseholders living in their own medium and high-rise buildings should not have to pay to remediate historic cladding defects that are no fault of their own. That is why we are bringing forth statutory protections in the Building Safety Bill to ensure leaseholders are protected. This will have the effect of removing the threat of forfeiture for non-payment of these charges as they will no longer be payable or enforceable.

It is absolutely wrong that any leaseholder is threatened with forfeiture linked to these remediation costs before the protections we are putting into law come into force. My department has written to developers to ensure they are not pursuing forfeiture during this interim period. Leaseholders who receive a bill for historic cladding remediation costs can contact the Leasehold Advisory Service.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what obligations managing agents have to refund the collection of service charges to which they are not entitled under the terms of a lease; and what recourse leaseholders have to take action against managing agents that issue invalid service charge demands.

We believe very strongly that service charges should be transparent and communicated effectively, and that there should be a clear route to challenge or redress if things go wrong.

If a landlord is not entitled to money that they have collected through the managing agent, then they are required to return the money to avoid being in breach of their statutory obligations as trustees of the fund in which they hold the leaseholders' money. Leaseholders can seek advice from the Leasehold Advisory Service and may also make an application to the First-tier Tribunal to make a determination on their liability to pay.

Leaseholders also have a range of powers to use if they are concerned with the poor performance of a managing agent. They may complain directly to the managing agent, and then to the relevant Government-approved redress scheme to which a managing agent must belong. Furthermore, Section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 gives the appropriate tribunal the power to appoint a manager to take over management where there has been a significant failure by a previous managing agent or landlord.

The Government is committed to raising professionalism and standards amongst managing agents, protecting consumers while defending the reputation of good agents from the actions of rogue operatives. We therefore welcome the ongoing work being undertaken by the sector itself to raise professionalism and standards including on codes of practice for property agents. We will continue to work with industry on improving best practice.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 1 February to Question 110600, and with reference to the Written Ministerial Statement of 26 October 2012, Official Report, column 29WS, on Planning Applications, notwithstanding the merits of planning application reference 21/00031/VARCON, if he will commission a sustainability report from the Civil Aviation Authority in order to assess whether the application (a) may conflict with national policies on (i) carbon emissions, (ii) clean air targets and (iii) noise pollution or (b) could have significant effects beyond the immediate locality, in order to inform his consideration on call-in policy.

In considering whether to call in this application, the Secretary of state will take into account representations received and local and national policy, in particular the call-in policy as set out in the Written Ministerial Statement of October 2012. It is not the role of the Secretary of state, to commission additional evidence when considering call-in of planning applications.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to his letter of 10 January 2022 to Residential Property Developer Industry, on what date the roundtable to bring together 20 of the largest housebuilders and developer trade bodies took place; what the names and organisational roles were of all attendees at that roundtable; and whether a follow-up roundtable discussion is planned.

Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on gov.uk.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 15 December 2021 to Question 90949 on Luton Airport: Planning Permission and with reference to his issuing of an Article 31 Direction, if he will commission a sustainability report from the Civil Aviation Authority on (a) carbon emissions, (b) air and (c) noise pollution, in order to inform his decision on whether to call in planning application reference 21/00031/VARCON for determination.

The application is currently being considered against call-in policy, as set out in the Written Ministerial Statement of 26 October 2012*.

The question of call-in does not relate to determining the merits of the scheme, but rather whether it raises issues of more than local importance. Policy is to be very selective about calling in planning applications.

*https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121026/wmstext/121026m0001.htm#12102628000003

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 5 January to Question 94508 on Local Government: Meetings, on what date his Department plans to publish its response to the consultation on whether to make express provision for councils to meet remotely on a permanent basis.

The Department has considered the responses to the consultation and the Government will respond shortly.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 14 January 2022 to Question 101844 on Buildings: Fire Prevention, notwithstanding the commitment that no leaseholder should lose their home as a result of forfeiture or eviction in building safety cases, if he will make it his policy to introduce a moratorium on all enforcement and recovery action relating to non-payment of a demand for payment by a leaseholder for their share of fire safety remediation.

Building owners and industry should make buildings safe without passing on costs to leaseholders, and leaseholders living in their own medium and high-rise buildings should not pay a penny to remediate historic cladding defects that are no fault of their own.

We think it is wrong that some leaseholders are being threatened by their building owner with forfeiture of their lease and possible eviction for non-payment of historic cladding remediation costs.

We are working across government to protect leaseholders from the threat of forfeiture arising from non-payment of historic building safety remediation costs until the wider protections offered by the Bill are in place.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will provide a working definition of who will count as landlords in the context of excluding landlords from the scheme to protect leaseholders from bearing the cost of external wall system remediation; and if he will consult hon. Members and leaseholders on that definition.

We are bringing this scandal to an end – protecting leaseholders and making industry pay. It is not right that innocent leaseholders, including former occupiers who have moved out and sublet their properties, should pay to remove dangerous cladding for which they were not responsible. We will explore whether this support should extend to other leaseholders such as buy-to-let landlords.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to his announcement of 10 January 2022 that leaseholders will not be held liable for fire safety defect remediation not of their own making, if he will introduce a moratorium on freeholders and managing agents enforcing leasehold agreements in the event that the enforcement relates to non-payment of an existing demand for payment from a leaseholder for their share of fire safety remediation.

Building owners and industry should make buildings safe without passing on costs to leaseholders, and leaseholders living in their own medium and high-rise buildings should not pay a penny to remediate historic cladding defects that are no fault of their own. It is also wrong to look to the taxpayer for another bailout for manufacturers and developers who created and installed dangerous fire safety building systems. Instead, we are clear that industry must develop a solution to resolve the problems they have caused and pay to fix them.

We will work intensively with industry to ensure they rapidly step up to the plate to help solve this problem. If they do not agree to solving this crisis, we will look to impose a solution in legislation. We are determined that no leaseholder should lose their homes as a result of forfeiture or eviction in building safety cases, and will work with colleagues across Government on achieving this in the period before these long term solutions are in place.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to include in future legislative proposals on leasehold reform provisions to compel freeholders and managing agents to be transparent about commission fees they receive when arranging (a) buildings and other insurance policies, (b) communal energy services and (c) other services contracted from third party suppliers.

The Government is committed to ensuring that those living in the leasehold sector are protected from abuse and poor service. We believe very strongly that service charges should be transparent and communicated effectively, and that there should be a clear route to challenge or redress if things go wrong. The law is clear that service charges must be reasonable and, where costs relate to work or services, the work or services must be of a reasonable standard. Leaseholders may make an application to the First-tier Tribunal to make a determination on the reasonableness of their service charges or fees.

We established an independent working group chaired by Lord Best that considered how the service charge regime could be improved to increase transparency for leaseholders. The working group published its final report to Government (see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulation-of-property-agents-working-group-report) and we are considering the report's recommendations.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to bring forward legislative proposals to protect leaseholders from excessive commission charges levied by (a) managing agents and (b) freeholders, when providing (i) buildings insurance policies, (ii) communal energy agreements and (iii) other services contracted from third party suppliers.

The Government is committed to ensuring that those living in the leasehold sector are protected from abuse and poor service. We believe very strongly that service charges should be transparent and communicated effectively, and that there should be a clear route to challenge or redress if things go wrong. The law is clear that service charges must be reasonable and, where costs relate to work or services, the work or services must be of a reasonable standard. Leaseholders may make an application to the First-tier Tribunal to make a determination on the reasonableness of their service charges or fees.

We established an independent working group chaired by Lord Best that considered how the service charge regime could be improved to increase transparency for leaseholders. The working group published its final report to Government (see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulation-of-property-agents-working-group-report) and we are considering the report's recommendations.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it a requirement that all new homes and buildings should have solar panels as default, except in defined cases; and if he will issue guidance as to those defined cases.

The Government remains committed to meeting its target of net zero emissions by 2050 and recognises the important contribution that the energy efficiency of buildings has to make in meeting it. We must ensure that the energy efficiency standards we set through the Building Regulations for new homes put us on track to meet the 2050 target.

The Building Regulations will continue to set a performance-based standard rather than mandating or banning the use of any technologies. This provides builders and developers with the flexibility to innovate and select the most practical and cost-effective solutions appropriate in any development.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps the Government is taking to enable leaseholders to install energy saving measures in their homes which require freeholder consent in the event of absent or non-responsive freeholders.

The Government set out its aspiration in the Clean Growth Strategy for as many homes as possible to be upgraded to Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2035, where practical, cost-effective and affordable.

A new £450 million three-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme will see households, including leasehold households, offered grants of up to £5,000 for low-carbon heating systems so they cost the same as a gas boiler now.

Where leases require freeholder consent to these kinds of energy-efficiency improving works and the freeholder is absent or non-responsive, leaseholders can already apply to the First-tier Tribunal to appoint a new property manager.

Leaseholders are already able to exercise their Right to Manage, which gives them the ability to take over the freeholder's management functions in respect of their building. They can also opt to join together and buy the freehold of their building as part of collective enfranchisement. The law is clear in that, subject to certain conditions, leaseholders of flats have the right to enfranchise their building as a group if they and their building qualify.

The Government is considering proposals from the Law Commission that would enable greater numbers of leaseholders to take on management and ownership of their buildings themselves.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will urgently acknowledge the multiple call-in requests for Luton Council planning application reference 21/00031/VARCON, which would permit expansion of operations at Luton Airport; and if he will issue a Section 31 holding direction while he reviews these requests. .

Following receipt of a number of requests to call in this application to amend an existing permission, these will be considered against call-in policy, alongside the need for an Article 31 Direction, and a decision will be announced in due course.

Article 31 directions are an administrative tool which prevent local authorities from issuing a final decision on a planning application while advice on call-in requests is being prepared by officials and considered by Ministers. Once a decision on call-in has been made and communicated, the directions cease to have effect.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 22 November to Question 73974, if he will make it his policy to compensate local authorities for the proportion of the increase to procurement costs for services contracted from third parties that are attributable to the national insurance increase, such as for adult social care provision, where the cost increase will be borne by the local authority, but payroll processed by a third party organisation or contractor.

The Government has committed to compensating departments and other public sector employers for the increased cost of the Health and Social Care Levy. This applies to employees who are directly employed by the public sector, but not, for example, where services are contracted out.

The local government Spending Review settlement takes account of the additional pressure on local government from the Health and Social Care Levy accordingly. More detail on how the funding announced at the Spending Review will be distributed will be given as part of the Local Government Finance Settlement.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the success of district councils on implementing the Everyone In campaign in the early stages of the covid-19 outbreak.

Councils have made a tremendous effort working with their local partners to support those experiencing rough sleeping throughout the pandemic and I would like to thank them wholeheartedly for their efforts.

The Annual Rough Sleeping Snapshot for 2020 published on 25 February showed there were 2,688 people estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night in autumn 2020, which is a 37% decrease from the previous year.

Our work to support people off the streets and protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19 continues and we are committed to ending rough sleeping for good. The Government is spending more than £800 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping this year alone.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of redress available to leaseholders who wish to challenge a service charge increase at a First-tier Property Tribunal, where the freeholder is in administration and the administrator then resigns.

The Government believes very strongly that service charges should be transparent and communicated effectively. The law is clear that service charges and any increase in costs must be reasonable and, where costs relate to work or services, the work or services must be of a reasonable standard.

The Government believes that there should be a clear route to challenge or redress if things go wrong.

Leaseholders may make an application to the appropriate tribunal (the First-tier Tribunal in England and the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal in Wales) for it to make a determination on the reasonableness of their service charges, and may continue to do so even if the freeholder is in administration, and if the administrator then resigns.

Where a freeholder is in administration, an agent or administrator acting on its behalf is required to take on the responsibilities of the freeholder. This means that leaseholders still have the right to challenge the reasonableness of any charges.

It is for the appropriate tribunal to determine whether the case can continue to be heard. In some cases the administrator might resign, and if for that reason does not engage in the tribunal proceedings on behalf of the landlord, the appropriate tribunal may still determine that the leaseholder is not liable to pay the service charge in whole or in part


Following the resignation of an administrator, an application to appoint a new administrator will generally be made. Such applications will be made to the Court by either the landlord company, the directors of the company, or a creditor.

Section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 gives the appropriate tribunal the power to appoint a manager to take over the landlord's right to manage the building under specific circumstances. As part of the process leaseholders are expected to nominate a suggested manager (which may include a managing agent), and the appropriate tribunal will seek assurances that the nominated person is capable of performing the role before issuing an Order.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which district council leaders he has directly engaged regarding the development of county deals.

District council representatives were invited to an online seminar held by the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government on July 27 2021. Since then a series of meetings have taken place between local representatives, officials and ministers to understand areas’ proposals for county deals; district councils were welcome at these meetings. In discussions thus far, we have been pleased to see collaboration between county and district councils on devolution proposals to deliver better outcomes for their area. Further details on county deals will be set out in the forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of redress available to leaseholders who wish to challenge a service charge increase at a First-tier Property Tribunal, where the freeholder is in administration and the administrator either (a) refuses permission or (b) does not respond to a request to permit a hearing.

The Government believes very strongly that service charges should be transparent and communicated effectively. The law is clear that service charges and any increase in costs must be reasonable and, where costs relate to work or services, the work or services must be of a reasonable standard.

The Government believes that there should be a clear route to challenge or redress if things go wrong. Leaseholders may make an application to the First-tier Tribunal for it to make a determination on the reasonableness of their service charges, and may continue to do so even if the freeholder is in administration.

Where a freeholder is in Administration, an agent or administrator acting on its behalf is required to take on the responsibilities of the freeholder. This includes managing the building, arranging works and collecting service charges. This means that leaseholders still have the right to challenge the reasonableness of any charges.

It will be for the First-tier Tribunal to determine whether the case can continue to be heard. If the administrator does not engage in the proceedings, they risk the Tribunal finding that the leaseholder is not liable to pay the service charge in whole or in part, thereby potentially increasing the indebtedness of the landlord.

Section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 gives the First-tier Tribunal the power to appoint a manager to take over the landlord's right to manage the building under specific circumstances. As part of the process leaseholders are expected to nominate a suggested manager (which may include a managing agent), and the First-tier Tribunal will seek assurances that the nominated person is capable of performing the role before issuing an Order.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to introduce the parking code of practice following the enaction of the Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019.

As part of the process to implement the parking Code of Practice, the Government recently published its 'Private parking charges, discount rates, debt collection fees and appeals charter: further technical consultation'.

The consultation contained proposals to bring private parking charges into closer alignment with Local Authority Penalty Charge Notices, along with a number of other measures to improve the private parking sector.

The consultation closed on 27 August and the Department is finalising its analysis of the responses. Our intention is to publish the consultation response together with the new Code of Practice as soon as possible so that motorists can benefit and industry has time to adapt itself to the new requirements.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to allow appeals of parking charges under the parking code of practice, once introduced, to be made retrospectively from the date on which the Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019 came into force.

Section 7 of the Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019 gives the Secretary of State the power to appoint a single appeals service to handle appeals against private parking charges. However, as a parking charge is an invoice for an alleged breach of the terms and conditions that applied at that particular time, the Act does not provide the power to cancel parking charges retrospectively.

Additionally, the appeals window for many historic charges would have closed by the time the new appeals system is operating, which would risk court action for motorists with longer standing appeals.

My Department is undertaking work to better understand the requirements of the new appeals service, and as part of that will consider how best to transition from the current appeals services, including ensuring that cases still being handled under the current services are treated fairly and in line with the new Code and its enforcement mechanisms.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has received any written representations from Hertsmere Borough Council on the requirement that the Council use 2014 ONS data, rather than 2017 ONS data, for calculating housing need using his Department’s standard method.

My Department has not received any correspondence directly from Hertsmere Borough Council in relation to the use of 2014 household projections within the Council’s calculation of their housing need.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will prioritise (a) publishing the responses and outcome to the consultation Supporting defence infrastructure and the future of time-limited permitted development rights and (b) implement proposals to extend the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, that would allow hospitality businesses to continue to utilise appropriate outdoor space for trading, in order that businesses and local authorities can plan beyond 1 January 2022.

The consultation closed on 14 November and we are currently analysing the responses received. Further announcements will be made shortly.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 26 October to Question 58512 on Voting Methods: Visual Impairment, what assessment he has made of representations from the Royal National Institution of Blind People and other disability charities, that the responsibility to prescribe a minimum standard of equipment to enable blind and partially sighted people to vote should stay with Government rather than with individual returning officers to ensure an equitable level of support nationally.

The Government welcomes the engagement from the RNIB and other disability charities in this important area. As noted in the response to Question UIN 58512, the intention of the policy is to improve the support available to voters with disabilities and ensure that Returning Officers are better able to support people with a wider range of disabilities by removing barriers to change and innovation.

This change has arisen following the Government's Call for Evidence on Access to Elections. Responses from disabled people and organisations that represent their interests made clear that the current approach of requiring Returning Officers to solely provide a prescribed device was not the best approach to meet the varied needs of disabled electors. Returning Officers are best placed to respond to the needs of their local communities and ensure that people get the right support.

Our new proposals will be supported by guidance from the Electoral Commission, and will involve a wide range of engagement with relevant stakeholders.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 2 November to Question 62870 on NHS: Pay, whether principal local authorities in England have been included as public sector employers for the purposes of compensating the increased payroll costs of employer national insurance liabilities.

Yes.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 23 September 2021 to Question 50144, on Planning Permission, if he will urgently issue guidance on determining appeals to the Planning Inspector that a greater weighting should be attached to the National Planning Policy Framework’s objective to protect greenbelt land than to the standard housing need methodology calculation in the event that a local authority does not have a Local Plan in place.

Paragraph 11 of the National Planning Policy Framework already sets out that where plan policies are out of date, an application may be refused where our national policies that protect areas or assets of particular importance, such as Green Belt, provide a clear reason for doing so.

The Government is firmly committed to protecting and enhancing Green Belt land for future generations as set out in our manifesto. That is why, for decision-taking, local authorities should regard the construction of buildings in the Green Belt as inappropriate and refuse planning permission, unless there are exceptional circumstances as determined by the local authority.

Each application is judged on its own individual merit and the weight attached to a particular consideration is a matter of judgment for the local authority as the decision-maker in the first instance.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will set out his timetable for the introduction of the Renters Reform Bill.

The Government remains committed to building back fairer and delivering a better deal for renters. We will publish a White Paper in 2022, that will set out a package of reforms that create a fairer private rented sector that works for both tenants and landlords. We are undertaking robust and structured stakeholder engagement working with the sector to inform this while also learning from the pandemic and its impact on the sector. We will bring forward legislation in due course and when parliamentary time allows.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the Polluter Pays principle as a way of protecting leaseholders from fire safety remediation costs.

The principle that those responsible for creating building safety defects should pay to put them right has always been the Government’s position.

That is why we are taking action through the Building Safety Bill to extend legal rights to redress for shoddy workmanship by retrospectively extending the limitation period under section 1 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 from six to 15 years.

These changes will enhance the ability of building owners, homeowners, and leaseholders to seek compensation from those responsible for defective work. Going forward, we are also expanding the Defective Premises Act to include refurbishment works, and we will be commencing section 38 of the Building Act 1984, allowing civil action to be brought regarding breaches of building regulations which have resulted in injury or damage to property. These measures will ensure that those responsible for defective construction work can be held to account for their failures.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what policy objective his Department seeks to achieve by removing a prescribed device to enable blind and partially sighted people to vote without assistance through proposals in the Elections Bill.

It is integral to our democracy that everybody is able to make their voice heard and that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote. This is why, for the first time in electoral law, through the Elections Bill, we are putting in place a requirement for Returning Officers to consider the needs of all disabled voters when providing equipment for polling stations.

This will allow Returning Officers to tailor the package of equipment they offer to their voters and to take into account developments in equipment and technology, in order to best meet the needs of people with disabilities including those who have sight loss.

Clear guidance will be issued to Returning Officers by the Electoral Commission, which will be produced in partnership with the Government's expert Accessibility of Elections Working Group, which includes a wide range of stakeholders including the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

We will also work with the group and wider stakeholder networks to publicise the support available and help ensure people get the right support for them.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will issue guidance on how local authorities should balance achieving the Government's housing targets set by its standard methodology with the protection of chalk streams in areas of water stress.

The Government does not set local housing targets - the standard method for calculating local housing need is the starting point in the process of planning for the right number of homes, but it is not the housing requirement. Housing requirements are decided by local authorities when they write their local plan, taking account of constraints they face locally, including specific environmental constraints. Each plan is subject to a public examination in front of an independent Inspector, who plays an important role in examining plans impartially to ensure that they are legally compliant and sound


The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is committed to working jointly with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to deliver the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan ambitions for achieving clean and plentiful water. In July, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs presented a written statement on reducing demand for water and we will continue to work closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on matters pertaining to local authority guidance and building regulations.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, if he will make an estimate of the number of carbon miles that will be incurred by staff employed by the Government to host COP26; and what plans he has to offset those carbon miles.

COP26 will be carbon neutral, which is a requirement from the UNFCCC on the UK as Host Country. However, our main priority is to reduce the emissions from the Conference in the first instance. We are asking all of our staff and volunteers to use low-carbon travel options and will be offsetting the emissions associated with travel, including those in the run up to COP26, from the travel data collated once the event has been delivered.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what his policy is on recruiting staff to host at the COP26 venue who are local to that venue to reduce carbon miles.

Our Blue Zone ‘local staff’ and General Liaison Officers have all been recruited from Glasgow and the surrounding area, and more than 40% of the Host City volunteers live in the City.

Furthermore, our production company's local crew supplier is engaging with local organisations to recruit a local workforce. Other subcontractors are committed to 70-85% local staff.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will issue guidance on what constitutes an exceptional circumstance by which the standard method for housing can be revised down, specifically as it relates to (a) local authority areas that are comprised almost exclusively of greenbelt and (b) local authorities seeking to establish Nature Recovery Areas.

The standard method is only the starting point in the process of planning for new homes and does not provide a target. Local housing need is used by councils as a guide when they develop their local plans taking account of local constraints (such as Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty) that prevent local authorities from allocating enough sites to meet need. Local authorities are responsible for defining a target in their plan which they must submit to the Planning Inspectorate for examination.

While there is an expectation that the standard method will be used as a starting point, local authorities can put forward their own approach if they wish but a different method should only be used in exceptional circumstances and there should be a strong justification for doing so. Authorities can expect their method to be scrutinised closely at examination. What constitutes exceptional circumstances is a matter of planning judgement.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what powers local authorities have to ensure that housing permissions are built-out by developers and not left to lapse.

The Government is clear that new homes should be built out as soon as possible once planning permission is granted. Where build-out is delayed, it is for councils and developers to work closely together to overcome any barriers.

Local authorities can issue completion notices or use compulsory purchase powers to ensure planning permissions are built-out promptly. Completion notices allow council's to withdraw a permission where they feel it will not be completed within a reasonable time. Compulsory purchase powers allow local authorities to acquire land, including for the delivery of new housing, where there is a compelling case in the public interest to do so. Both measures are intended as a last resort. This issue has been raised in debates on the Planning for the Future White Paper, and an announcement on next steps will be made in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what his policy is on the principles that local authorities should use to balance housing targets set by central Government with protecting greenbelt land.

The Government does not set local housing targets. The standard method for calculating local housing need is the starting point in the process of planning for the right number of homes, but it is not the housing requirement. Housing requirements are decided by local authorities when they write their local plan, taking account of constraints they face locally such as the Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Our policy on Green Belt land remains clear we will continue to protect and enhance the Green Belt. Only in exceptional circumstances can a local authority alter a Green Belt boundary through the plan-making process and authorities are expected to demonstrate they have examined every other option to meet their need. Each plan is subject to a public examination in front of an independent Inspector, who plays an important role in examining plans impartially to ensure that they are legally compliant and sound.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, with reference to the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that gender inequality increases as a result of climate-related disasters, if he will meet women most disadvantaged by the effects of climate change.

I have committed to meeting civil society organisations, and young people, in every country I visit. This, of course, means listening to the priorities of women and girls who are experiencing first hand the impacts of climate change and leading the response. The UK Presidency sees women’s rights organisations, amongst others, as essential partners in effectively tackling climate change and that is why we are working closely with such organisations to deliver Gender Day at COP26. Additionally, with Bella Lack and Elizabeth Wathuti, both youth climate activists, I lead regular meetings of a Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council, established in order to hear and act on the expertise, insights and experiences of those most affected by climate change.

Climate change is not gender neutral, and it has a disproportionate impact on women and girls, in particular those from the global south or indigenous communities. Addressing this will require the implementation of gender-responsive climate action and finance, as well as the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in all levels of decision making on climate. We know - in line with the UNFCCC Gender Action Plan and the Feminist Action for Climate Justice Action Coalition - that this will help us achieve our long term climate goals.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, if he will make it his policy to commit to specific targets for climate finance that support gender equality.

As the incoming COP Presidency, we understand that climate change is not gender neutral and women and girls are disproportionately negatively impacted. Earlier this year, we published our priorities for public finance for COP26 which include improving the gender-responsiveness of climate finance which is key to achieving long term climate goals. The UK Presidency is committed to working to address gaps in the provision of climate finance to ensure it delivers on gender equality in line with the UNFCCC Lima Work Programme’s Gender Action Plan.

The UK has also signed up to other international commitments to delivering gender-responsive climate finance, including the the Feminist Action for Climate Justice in July. These initiatives are at the core of what we want to deliver on gender at COP26. As part of this we have committed to stepping up commitments on gender-responsive climate finance.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether financial resources are available for residents who need to repeatedly respond to multiple applications from a developer for a site that repeatedly seeks to extend the limits to development which are already settled through restrictive covenants.

Local planning authorities have powers under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to decline to determine multiple applications for a site if they have previously refused permission for substantially similar applications within the past two years. Restrictive covenants are separate to planning laws and ones that exist may generally not be taken into account by a local planning authority when determining a planning application.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what powers local planning authorities have to censure a developer that submits multiple applications for a site that seeks to extend the limits to development which are already settled through restrictive covenants.

Local planning authorities have powers under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to decline to determine multiple applications for a site if they have previously refused permission for substantially similar applications within the past two years. Restrictive covenants are separate to planning laws and ones that exist may generally not be taken into account by a local planning authority when determining a planning application.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate he has made of the value of additional funding that will be required by local authorities to effectively administer the proposed new building safety regime, as set out in the Building Safety Bill.

The Building Safety Bill contains provisions to support local authorities to fulfil their functions under the Bill, including to widen the scope of local authorities' charging schemes under the Building Act, and to enable the Building Safety Regulator and the Secretary of State to reimburse a local authority for work carried out by its inspectors in support of the Building Safety Regulator.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will update the National Planning Policy Framework to remove the ability of the Planning Inspectorate to use the housing standard methodology calculation when (a) assessing local plans and (b) deciding planning appeals.

The standard housing need methodology plays an important role in enabling local authorities to identify and plan to meet their housing needs - it should be taken into account in drawing up and assessing local plans, and is a material consideration in deciding planning applications and appeals.

We are considering the responses to the Planning for the Future consultation and will publish our response.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
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
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward amendments to the Equality Act 2010 to include caste as a protected characteristic.

This Government completely opposes any discrimination because of a person’s origins, including any perceptions of their caste.

The Tirkey v Chandhok case in 2014 established that it is likely that anyone who believes that they have been discriminated against because of caste could bring a race discrimination claim under the existing ethnic origins limb of the race provisions in the Equality Act because of their descent.

The Government considers, having also taken into account over 16,000 responses to a 2017 consultation on this issue, that the Tirkey judgment serves as a welcome clarification of the existing protection under the Equality Act – helping to deter those inclined to treat others unfairly or unequally because of conceptions of caste.

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
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants retired from central Government departments between 1 March 2020 and 1 March 2022; and of those how many had worked in the civil service for 20 consecutive years or more, broken down by Government department.

National Statistics on the size, shape and structure of the Civil Service, including the number of civil servants leaving, by leaving cause, between 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, was published as part of the release of Civil Service Statistics 2021 and is available at the following link https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/civil-service-statistics-2021 at table 42.

The attached data table shows that 7,580 civil servants retired in the year ending 31 March 2021. Of these, 4,900 were recorded as having entered the Civil Service 20 years or more prior to their retirement with numbers broken down by main government department in the table attached separately.

Statistics on those who retired in 2021/22 are not yet available.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
25th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many official grievances have been lodged by Cabinet Office staff each year over the last ten years; and how many of those complaints were (a) entirely or (b) partially upheld.

Employment tribunal decisions are published on GOV.UK. To ascertain which protected characteristic an employment tribunal was related to would lead to disproportionate costs.

The number of official grievances lodged by Cabinet Office staff and how many of those complaints were entirely or partially upheld is not centrally held. The Cabinet Office is therefore not able to respond due to the disproportionate cost of gathering this data.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
25th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many employment tribunals have been brought against the Cabinet Office in the last decade; and how many of the tribunal cases considered discrimination or harassment related to a protected characteristic.

Employment tribunal decisions are published on GOV.UK. To ascertain which protected characteristic an employment tribunal was related to would lead to disproportionate costs.

The number of official grievances lodged by Cabinet Office staff and how many of those complaints were entirely or partially upheld is not centrally held. The Cabinet Office is therefore not able to respond due to the disproportionate cost of gathering this data.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to introduce the Public Service Ombudsman Bill, as drafted in December 2016, to Parliament.

The government has no plans at this time to introduce the 2016 Public Service Ombudsman Bill to Parliament. Whilst the government will consider specific proposals on Ombudsman reform we do not currently view more large scale Ombudsman reform as a priority for this Parliament.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether victims of the blood contamination scandal and their legal teams will have the opportunity to view the report into the framework for compensation for victims of the contaminated blood scandal on the same day as the Government.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Written Ministerial Statement, HCWS681, made on 15 March.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the (a) ten publishing companies that received the most from the public purse through the All In, All Together advertising campaign and (b) total sum each of those companies received.

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.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the total cost to the public purse of the All In, All Together newspaper advertising campaign has been since April 2020.

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.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 17 January to Question 100698,UK Trade with EU: VAT, how many fulltime equivalent staff are dedicated to engaging with counterparts in EU Member States on issues relating to the interpretation by those countries’ custom officials of the VAT rules being applied to UK traders and hauliers.

Officials in a number of different Government Departments work on the full range of issues relating to trade with the EU under the new arrangements set out in the Trade and Co-operation Agreement. It is not possible to disaggregate the level of full time equivalent staff resource involved specifically in engaging with EU Member States on the interpretation of their VAT rules which is one issue among many.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the MPs Toolkit for UK Transition Campaign communication, emailed to hon. Members on 7 January 2021, what data were used to show many of the queries the Government receives about VAT are regarding the VAT regimes and operation of those in EU Member States.

We do not systematically record where queries specifically relate to EU VAT regimes. However, questions on this topic have been raised numerous times in various cross-government engagement fora over the last year. Although we do not record the data, we always direct customers to the relevant guidance.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what communication there has been between the Government and the Metropolitan Police, relating to the decision by the Metropolitan Police not to investigate allegations against (a) Number 10 Downing Street and (b) other Government Departments of breaking lockdown regulations while the civil service investigation into that matter, chaired by Sue Gray, is completed.

The Terms of Reference for the Cabinet Office’s investigation have been published on GOV.UK and deposited in the libraries of both Houses. The work will be concluded by the Second Permanent Secretary.

The Government does not comment on the specifics of an ongoing process.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on how many occasions the (a) Cabinet Officer Border and Protocol Delivery Group and (b) other Departments or agencies have engaged with EU member states on the interpretation by those countries’ custom officials of the VAT rules being applied to UK traders and hauliers.

The Border and Protocol Delivery Group, supported by HMRC and others, holds regular discussions with counterparts in EU Member States on all issues relating to the flow of freight and passengers.

It is not possible to provide a precise number for these contacts without incurring disproportionate costs.

The interpretation of each country’s VAT rules is ultimately a matter for the authorities of that country.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government will include in the terms of reference for its public inquiry into covid-19 (a) specific analysis of the impact of covid-19 on disabled people and (b) the impact of covid-19 on disabled people with additional protected characteristics.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed that a statutory public inquiry into COVID-19 will begin in spring 2022. The Prime Minister also confirmed that bereaved families and other groups will be consulted before terms of reference are finalised. Further details, including in respect of the terms of reference, will be announced by the independent chair in due course.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments on the adequacy of its funding; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the Honourable member to Written Statement HCWS185.

The Government is working with the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments to improve the operation and efficacy of the Business Appointment Rules. The recommendations from Nigel Boardman’s report into the development and use of supply chain finance in government, as well as the forthcoming Standards Matter 2 report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life will be considered as a part of this work, and an update to the Business Appointment Rules will be published this year.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 15 September 2021 to Question 49964 on Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, what assistance the Government can provide to secure a response from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to (a) letters from hon. Members and (b) referrals from constituents.

I would advise the hon. Member to contact the Ombudsman directly at MP@ombudsman.org.uk for any general correspondence or queries about particular cases.

The Government will, of course, pass on correspondence and complaints to the Ombudsman but cannot intervene directly in the Ombudsman’s day-to-day business. Members can also raise issues with the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee who scrutinise the Ombudsman if they have concerns about how the Ombudsman engages with members.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that all government agencies pro-actively promote access to paper or printable forms for people who do not have full access to digital versions.

The Government’s Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) is responsible for producing the Service Standard (https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/service-standard) which guides government teams as to how they should design and produce content providing information regarding public services.

Government teams are required to make sure that all information is accessible across all channels, including online, phone, paper and face to face.

Government teams must also make sure that everyone can use their services, including disabled people, people with other legally protected characteristics, people who do not have access to the internet and/or lack the skills and/or confidence to use the internet. CDDO provides clear guidance on how to make non-digital parts of a government service as widely accessible as possible by providing a contact for users and providing forms in alternative formats for example, large print, braille or audio CD.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
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, whether alternative wedding ceremonies as defined in COVID-19: Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships are permitted from 12 April 2021.

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, 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)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Grocery Code Adjudicator in regulating the relationship between supermarkets and suppliers.

The Groceries Code Adjudicator Act requires the Government to conduct and consult on a review every three years into the operational effectiveness of the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA). My officials have begun work on the third statutory review of the GCA covering the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2022 and the Government will issue a consultation to seek the views of stakeholders in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 28 March to Question 143801 on Energy Bills Rebate, and with reference to the Energy Bills Support Scheme explainer published on 1 April 2022, if he will provide an update on the progress his department has made in ensuring that all households with a domestic electricity connection, including those using an electricity sub-meter in (a) park homes and (b) Multiple Dwelling Units, will be able to access the £400 energy rebate in October.

All domestic electricity customers who have a direct relationship with a licensed electricity supplier will be automatically eligible for this Scheme.

Households without a domestic electricity supply contract are not eligible for the Scheme and we are exploring options for other ways in which they might receive similar support. This was raised in our technical consultation (Energy Bills Support Scheme – Managing the impact of the energy price shock on consumer bills) which closed on the 23 May. Responses to the consultation are being analysed and the Government response will be published in the summer.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department supports a proactive, predictive immunology approach to the development of the next generation of covid-19 vaccines.

The Government supports a proactive approach to continue to develop the next generation of vaccines. Despite the highly successful national vaccination campaign, it is important we continue to study how to produce Covid-19 vaccines that induce robust, long-term protective immunity and which are effective across mutating variants.

To that end, following extensive engagement with academic and industry stakeholders, the Vaccine Taskforce are working with other stakeholders across government, to explore the establishment of a UK-wide Predictive Immunology Network, formed of centres of excellence spread across the UK.

The aim is to ensure the network will utilise the collaborative approach that was so successful during the pandemic, to bring together industry, academia, and the NHS to work towards a common goal and answer key immunology questions on how to improve vaccines including the next generation Covid-19 vaccines.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a scheme to allow companies to offer employees fuel bank vouchers, as a trivial benefit for tax purposes.

The Government is not currently considering introducing a scheme to allow companies to offer employees fuel bank vouchers.

The Government understands the pressures households are facing with increased cost of living caused by global energy prices and has therefore announced a cost of living package worth a total of £37bn this year in support to households.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has undertaken an assessment of the amount of non-residential building roof space that is (a) available and (b) suitable for the installation of solar panels.

Data estimating the floor area of non-domestic properties, from which commercial roof space can be inferred, is available on www.gov.uk here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/non-domestic-national-energy-efficiency-data-framework-nd-need-2020. However, not all rooves are suitable for solar panels due to shading, orientation, and location.

Solar is key to the Government’s strategy to decarbonise energy. The Government is supporting commercial rooftop solar deployment through capital allowances for spend on solar panels, exempting solar and storage used on site from business rates from 1 April 2022 until 31 March 2035, and changes to energy performance standards for non-domestic buildings.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will launch a review into the energy costs incurred by those who need to power 24/7 medical equipment at home; and what assessment he has made of the merits of introducing new tariffs for disabled people with those needs.

Ofgem has updated its Consumer Vulnerability Strategy which set out its priorities to help protect gas and electricity consumers in vulnerable situations until 2025.

The energy price cap ensures prices for households fairly reflect the underlying costs of supply. The Government is faced with supporting households with the current high costs of energy with a £9.1bn package including an energy bills discount and Council Tax rebate.

A scheme operated by the NHS enables householders who use oxygen concentrators at home to receive a refund of the electricity costs used by the equipment.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many companies are registered at Companies House without any Directors in post as of 14 March 2022.

16,448 live companies are currently registered at Companies House without any Directors as of 15th March 2022.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what home insulation scheme grants are available to residents of mobile homes.

Existing Park Homes are eligible for support under the £500m Local Authority Delivery Scheme and the Home Upgrade Grant. Constituents should contact their local authority to make enquiries.

Residents of park homes may also be eligible for insulation under the Energy Company Obligation scheme. This scheme is not a grant, but a levy placed on larger energy suppliers to deliver energy efficiency and heating measures to low income and vulnerable households across Great Britain. Relevant contact details are listed on the Simple Energy Advice website here: www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/pages/energy-company-obligation. The scheme can also be delivered in partnership with Local Authorities (LAs) via the LA flexible eligibility element of the scheme; constituents should contact their local authority.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the average cost difference between the installation costs and efficiency savings arising from smart meter installation.

The smart meter rollout is helping consumers manage their energy use while making Great Britain’s energy system cheaper, cleaner and more efficient.

After all costs, the smart meter rollout is set to deliver a £6 billion net benefit to Great Britain. The latest estimates of the costs and benefits can be found in the 2019 Cost Benefit Analysis of the smart meter rollout in Great Britain: www.gov.uk/government/publications/smart-meter-roll-out-cost-benefit-analysis-2019.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether preliminary findings have been made from the interdisciplinary research being undertaken in the Perennial biomass crops for GHG removal (PBC4GGR) study.

Research publications funded by UKRI are required to be open access, so any published findings will be accessible to all. Details of this specific project can be found at: https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=BB%2FV011553%2F1.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason the Government cancelled its contract with Valneva for their covid-19 vaccine.

As any responsible Government does, we manage our vaccine supply to meet our projected needs and to offer the best protection to those who need it, when they need it. The termination of the supply agreement with Valneva in September 2021 was made for commercial reasons, which remain confidential between Valneva and the Government.

Vaccine development is a complex and challenging process, which is why the Government seeks to achieve value for money for the UK taxpayer at all stages. As the pandemic progresses, we continue to assess and refine the vaccines in our portfolio, to ensure we continue to have access to those which offer the best long-term prospects in continuing to support the fight against Covid-19.

Thanks to this strategy, the UK currently has 3 approved vaccines in deployment and the UK’s vaccination programme continues to be a success with over 85% of the UK population [over 12s] double vaccinated and over 66% of the UK population [over 12s] have now received their booster or third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the ability of small businesses to repay Bounce Back Loans.

The Government has already taken action to give small businesses the space and flexibility to repay their bounce back loans. Under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), no repayments are due from the borrower for the first 12 months of the loan. The Government also covers the first 12 months of interest payments charged to the business by the lender.

In order to give businesses further support, the Government introduced the “Pay as You Grow” (PAYG) measures, which allow individual businesses to tailor their repayments to their individual circumstances. Under these measures, the lenders are required to give all businesses that borrowed under the BBLS the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years, as well as the option to move temporarily to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months, or to pause their repayments entirely for up to six months.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 10 November 2021 to Question 68469 on Property: Ownership, and with reference to Written Statement on Register of Beneficial Owners of Overseas Entities Update, of 2 November 2021, HCWS366, if he will provide an urgent update on his plans to introduce a public beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property, in response to threats of Russian aggression towards Ukraine.

As indicated in the previous answer, the Government remains committed to establishing a new beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property. This register will help combat money laundering and achieve greater transparency in the UK property market. The Government has been exploring how best to implement the recommendations of the Joint Committee and when we introduce the Register it will be more effective, thanks to the broader powers we are now planning to give Companies House. This will also require primary legislation and we will legislate when parliamentary time allows.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made any assessment of the costs, benefits and potential merits of restoring the Rough Storage Complex Facility to store natural gas on an interim basis while the Government's hydrogen strategy is under development.

Gas storage will not lower the price of gas in the short term as the United Kingdom exists in a global market.

Rough Storage could play an important part in Hydrogen storage as was set out in the Hydrogen Strategy, published in August 2021.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether it is Government policy to introduce a public beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property.

As set out in the Written Ministerial Statement I made on 2nd November 2021 (HCWS366), the Government remains committed to establishing a new beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property. This register will help combat money laundering and achieve greater transparency in the UK property market. We will legislate when parliamentary time allows.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to adopt the recommendations of #Wednesday4Women to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by ensuring that all fossil fuel projects at home and overseas are ended.

The Government remains strongly committed to the 1.5C target at COP26, and welcome initiatives to promote cleaner and renewable alternative to fossil fuel, to encourage development and energy security.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the recommendations of the Climate Assembly UK report, The path to net zero, published on10 September 2020, when he plans to publish his Department’s response to the recommendations in that report.

The Government responded to the Select Committee’s Call for Written Evidence as part of its inquiry that is available here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/1191/findings-of-the-report-of-climate-assembly-uk/publications/.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the hospitality industry on providing financial support to those businesses that have had to (a) close and (b) reduce trading capacity due to their staff having to self-isolate during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has and continues to regularly meet with representatives from across the Hospitality sector to discuss how it can recover and build back from the pandemic. We have provided an unprecedented support package of £352 billion including grants, loans, business rates relief, VAT cuts and the job retention scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has had discussions with the directors of Chelsea FC on consulting supporters on the sale of the club through the creation of a democratically elected shadow board.

The Government has been clear that it would like to see the club sold to an appropriate new owner before the end of the season. The process for any bid continues to be run by the club, and although we would welcome ongoing fan engagement, it will be for them to decide the precise terms of a proposed sale.

At the point the club has a preferred bidder we would expect them to apply for a licence to enable the sale. The Government will consider the merits of this licence application on its own terms, noting that we can only impose conditions on a licence which authorises the sale of the club if they are linked to the sanctions policy. The licence regime does not allow us to go further and insist on things which are not related to sanctions policy.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the upgrading of the telephone network, what steps she is taking to ensure resilience in telephone access to emergency services, particularly during a mains power failure.

The upgrade of UK landlines from the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to Voice over IP (VoIP) technology is an industry-led initiative. Despite this, the Government and Ofcom are working together to ensure consumers and sectors are protected and prepared for the switchover process.

The Communications Act (2003) places obligations on Communications Providers, implemented under Condition A3 of Ofcom’s General Conditions of Entitlement, to ensure that any caller can access Emergency Organisations (Police, Ambulance, Fire & Rescue, HM Coastguard) by using the emergency numbers “112” and “999” free of charge. If calling via mobile, this enables calls to 999/112 be made via another network if the caller’s mobile provider cannot provide a signal to make the call.

Alongside this, Ofcom has imposed regulatory obligations on communications providers to ensure customers have uninterrupted access to emergency organisations in the specific event of a power failure. The guidance states that providers must have at least one solution available that enables customers to access emergency organisations for a minimum of one hour in the event of a power cut, and that it must be offered free of charge to customers who are at risk due to their dependence on their landline.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the upgrading of the telephone network, what steps she is taking to ensure that the provision of voice services is maintained for vulnerable landline-only users without broadband.

Whilst the upgrade of UK landlines from the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to Voice over IP (VoIP) technology is an industry-led initiative, the government and Ofcom are working together to ensure consumers and sectors are protected and prepared for the upgrade process.

In order to function correctly, VoIP services require a minimum stable connection speed of just 0.5Mbps, and voice-only services will still be available to consumers in the UK who do not wish to purchase a general internet connection.

Ofcom has issued guidance on this migration which states that providers should take steps to identify at-risk customers and engage in effective communications to ensure all are protected and supported in the switch-over process.

Moreover, the PSTN migration does not affect the universal service obligations set in the Electronic Communications (Universal Service) Order 2003 which require the designated providers to offer telephony services throughout the UK. BT and KCOM are therefore still required to maintain access to a range of telephony services as well as provide a series of special measures designed for users who have a disability.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Environment Agency consultation entitled Boat registration charges proposals from 1 January 2022, published in July 2021, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect on (a) domestic and (b) overseas tourism to the East of England region in the event that the proposed increases in charges for registering boats on the Anglian Waterways go ahead.

I am aware of the positive impact boating businesses can have on promoting tourism on the waterways however, the responsibility for operational matters on inland waterways, such as boat registration charges, lies with the navigation authority.

DCMS is in regular contact with regional tourism stakeholders, including those in the East of England, to track tourism trends across the country and to make sure we best support the sector's recovery from the pandemic.

The Environment Agency has listened to the feedback on the proposals and will be taking these concerns into account in its final proposals, which are due to be published shortly.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with (a) YouTube and (b) other social media companies about whether their harmful or dangerous content policies should be extended to cover content including (i) breaking and entering and (ii) vandalism to personal property.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, including YouTube, on a variety of issues, including dangerous content. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the GOV.UK website.

The draft Online Safety Bill sets out proposals to impose a new duty of care on tech companies to tackle illegal and harmful content on their services. Companies such as Youtube will have to identify and remove illegal content and protect children from harmful or inappropriate content.

The big social media companies, such as YouTube, will also need to keep their promises to users by taking action against harmful content that is prohibited under their terms of service. Under the new laws, their terms of service will need to cover content that could cause significant physical or psychological harm to users.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the proportion of savings made in rent reductions as a result of the 2017 changes to the Electronic Communications Code that have been reinvested into telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas.

There has been no formal assessment of rent reductions received by site providers since the 2017 reforms came into effect. We were clear at the time the 2017 legislation was introduced that the changes would take time to achieve their intended effect, not only because the market would require time to adapt, but also because case law would need to be developed and the new provisions would not be immediately applied to existing agreements.

The government has committed a record £5 billion of funding through Project Gigabit to ensure hard to reach communities in rural areas are not behind and get access to world class broadband infrastructure. This has already started to be deployed and is not waiting for the end of the commercial rollout, building on the half a million rural homes and businesses already given coverage through our support.

In addition the government is investing £1 billion alongside the major mobile operators in the Shared Rural Network programme. This will mean that all four mobile network operators will provide 95 per cent combined coverage across the whole of the UK by the end of 2025, delivering strong 4G coverage irrespective of what network provider people use.

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

8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure every family with a disabled child receives the social care support they need.

I refer the hon. Member for St Albans to the answer I gave on 10 June 2022 to questions 13292, 13293, and 13294.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that parent carers can hold health and social providers to account when they do not meet legal deadlines for providing SEND support.

I refer the hon. Member for St Albans to the answer I gave on 10 June 2022 to questions 13292, 13293, and 13294.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the proposals in the SEND Green Paper address the backlogs in disabled children’s health and social care.

I refer the hon. Member for St Albans to the answer I gave on 10 June 2022 to questions 13292, 13293, and 13294.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure (a) specialist and (b) mainstream schools can provide the (i) therapies and (ii) other services disabled children need to live fulfilling lives.

I refer the hon. Member for St Albans to the answer I gave on 14 June 2022, to Question 13295.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to (a) require local authorities to ask parents who request an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) form whether or not English is their first language and (b) offer additional language support to parents throughout the EHCP process.

The Children and Families Act 2014 requires local authorities to have regard to the importance of the child or young person, and the child’s parents, participating as fully as possible in decisions, and being provided with the information and support necessary to enable participation in those decisions. All local authorities must have arrangements for information and advice and should ensure that advice and guidance for children and young people is tailored appropriately for them. All local authorities must publish a local offer about all their services. One of the requirements of local offers is that they must be accessible to the local population, which does include ensuring access those for whom English is not their first language. The special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) code of practice also makes clear that the format of an education, health and care (EHC) plan is agreed locally. Local authorities must decide on the languages that EHC plans are available in, depending on local need.

In addition, it is the department’s aim, through the proposals set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Green Paper to provide parents and carers with a clearer understanding of the support that should be available to meet their child’s needs. This includes a proposal to standardise the EHC plan process to drive consistency in how needs are identified and assessed. The public consultation for the Green Paper is due to close on 22 July 2022.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the (a) shortest, (b) average and (c) longest period of time between a pre-tribunal settlement for education, health and care provision being agreed and a settlement order being signed for each upper tier local authority.

The department does not hold or collect information on the period of time between a pre-tribunal settlement for education, health and care provision being agreed and a settlement order being signed.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the level of need for respite breaks for kinship carers.

The government recognises the important role that kinship carers play in caring for children who are unable to live with their parents. We know that most children benefit from living with someone they already know and trust. Therefore, in recent years we have improved the support to these families.

The government issued statutory guidance in 2011 for local authorities about support for kinship carers. The guidance makes it clear that children and young people should receive the support that they and their carers need to safeguard and promote their welfare. The local authority should also have in place clear eligibility criteria in relation to the provision of support services. This can include providing short breaks (respite) for families where they need this.

The government has also extended funding for the Family and Friends helpline, run by the Family Rights Group, which offers kinship families support, advice and guidance. In 2021 the government added kinship carers to the priority groups that local authorities must include in their school admissions Fair Access Protocols to include children in kinship care arrangements, and this year the government are providing funding of £1 million for the organisation Kinship to deliver more peer to peer support groups to kinship carers across England.

The department is aware from feedback from carers that the provision of support is mixed, and the Independent Review of Social Care, published on 23 May 2022, sets out a compelling case for more support for these families. The department is now looking at the recommendations, including those in kinship care, which will inform an ambitious and detailed government response and implementation strategy, to be published before the end of 2022.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to encourage local authorities to increase their support for kinship carers in the context of the varying levels of support under different local authorities.

The government recognises the important role that kinship carers play in caring for children who are unable to live with their parents. We know that most children benefit from living with someone they already know and trust. Therefore, in recent years we have improved the support to these families.

The government issued statutory guidance in 2011 for local authorities about support for kinship carers. The guidance makes it clear that children and young people should receive the support that they and their carers need to safeguard and promote their welfare. The local authority should also have in place clear eligibility criteria in relation to the provision of support services. This can include providing short breaks (respite) for families where they need this.

The government has also extended funding for the Family and Friends helpline, run by the Family Rights Group, which offers kinship families support, advice and guidance. In 2021 the government added kinship carers to the priority groups that local authorities must include in their school admissions Fair Access Protocols to include children in kinship care arrangements, and this year the government are providing funding of £1 million for the organisation Kinship to deliver more peer to peer support groups to kinship carers across England.

The department is aware from feedback from carers that the provision of support is mixed, and the Independent Review of Social Care, published on 23 May 2022, sets out a compelling case for more support for these families. The department is now looking at the recommendations, including those in kinship care, which will inform an ambitious and detailed government response and implementation strategy, to be published before the end of 2022.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of support available to kinship carers.

The government recognises the important role that kinship carers play in caring for children who are unable to live with their parents. We know that most children benefit from living with someone they already know and trust. Therefore, in recent years we have improved the support to these families.

The government issued statutory guidance in 2011 for local authorities about support for kinship carers. The guidance makes it clear that children and young people should receive the support that they and their carers need to safeguard and promote their welfare. The local authority should also have in place clear eligibility criteria in relation to the provision of support services. This can include providing short breaks (respite) for families where they need this.

The government has also extended funding for the Family and Friends helpline, run by the Family Rights Group, which offers kinship families support, advice and guidance. In 2021 the government added kinship carers to the priority groups that local authorities must include in their school admissions Fair Access Protocols to include children in kinship care arrangements, and this year the government are providing funding of £1 million for the organisation Kinship to deliver more peer to peer support groups to kinship carers across England.

The department is aware from feedback from carers that the provision of support is mixed, and the Independent Review of Social Care, published on 23 May 2022, sets out a compelling case for more support for these families. The department is now looking at the recommendations, including those in kinship care, which will inform an ambitious and detailed government response and implementation strategy, to be published before the end of 2022.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to issue guidance to end the need for young people in care homes being asked to self-isolate when they come into contact with members of staff and other residents who test positive for covid-19.

From 1 April 2022, the UK Health and Security Agency has issued updated guidance on health protection in schools and other childcare facilities. The guidance contains practical advice on managing a range of infections and outlines the steps regarding self-isolation for those with a positive COVID-19 test result.

This replaces all guidance previously issued for the children’s social care sector. It is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-protection-in-schools-and-other-childcare-facilities.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of whether diamond schools in which primary and sixth form provision is coeducational, with girls and boys taught separately between the ages of 11 and 16, are compatible with his Department's guidelines; and whether he has sought legal advice on the compatibility of those schools with the Equality Act 2010.

It is open to all mixed sex schools to demonstrate how they comply with and apply any relevant statutory exemptions under the Equality Act 2010, where they are separating based on sex. Schools using the ‘diamond school’ model may be complying with the Act, but the onus is on school leaders to demonstrate that they are meeting their duties under the Act.

The department has published guidance on gender separation in mixed sex schools here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gender-separation-in-mixed-schools. The guidance is clear that if there is separation by sex, this needs to be justified by school leaders in terms of it why it is allowed under the Act.

Where a mixed sex independent school chooses to separate based on sex and this is not permitted under the Act, then it is open to them to divide into two separate single sex schools to regularise their position.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the proposal not to provide university students loans if prospective students have failed GCSE Maths and English, on the ability of young people from low-income households to attend university.

We are currently consulting on the principle of a minimum eligibility requirement (MER) for access to student finance for those intending to study a degree-level qualification.

We strongly believe that access to higher education should be based on a student’s attainment and ability to succeed, not their background. It is important that students, of all backgrounds, are not misdirected or encouraged towards courses that are unlikely to provide high-quality outcomes for them and good value for money.

Evidence shows that students with poorer entry qualifications are less likely to complete their degree and get a ‘good’ classification, and more likely to have worse employment and degree outcomes.

We are carefully considering the impact of the measures we have proposed and are seeking views on what would be a fair and proportionate level at which to set a minimum eligibility requirement, as well as the proposed exemptions. After our proposed exemptions are applied, 1% or fewer of total entrants would be affected by a minimum eligibility requirement set at either GCSE or A level. We will assess responses to the consultation before making the final decision.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will consider expanding the National Skills Fund, to include Level 2 qualifications, in order to help tackle skill shortages in the specialist covered car transport sector.

The government is investing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) in the National Skills Fund. This is a significant investment and has the potential to deliver new opportunities to generations of adults who may have been previously left behind.

Training offers funded through the National Skills Fund, including the free courses for jobs level 3 offer and Skills Bootcamps, have been developed to boost the supply of skills needed by employers and provide adults with a clear line of sight to a job. This training is delivered primarily at levels 3-5 because the evidence has shown that these skill levels are in high demand in the labour market.

The free courses for jobs offer give eligible adults the chance to access level 3 qualifications for free. Complementing this, Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses for adults, primarily at levels 3-5. They are co-designed with employers to respond to skill shortages.

In response to evidence of a national shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers, we are investing £34 million to create up to 11,000 training places for Skills Bootcamps in HGV driving – these courses are at level 2. Since their launch in December, we know that many employers from the transport and logistics sectors are already benefiting from this offer.

Following the announcement at Spending Review of an additional £550 million for Skills Bootcamps over the spending review period, we will continue to expand the offer, ensuring that provision meets the needs of employers and the changing needs of the economy.

In addition, level 2 qualifications are funded through the adult education budget, which overall fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of schools have a mental health counsellor or practitioner available to students.

I refer the hon. Member for St. Albans to the answer I gave on 28 January and 2 February 2022 to questions 111496 and 113691.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to authorise school absences of children in risk groups as defined by table 4, the Green Book Chapter 14a, until they have been fully vaccinated and obtained maximum protection.

Regular attendance at school is vital for children’s education, wellbeing and long-term development. School attendance is mandatory and parents have a duty, under section 7 of the Education Act 1996, to ensure that their child of compulsory age receives an efficient full-time education either by attendance at school or otherwise.

Following expert clinical advice and the successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine programme, people previously considered to be particularly vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), and high or higher-risk are no longer advised to shield.

Children and young people previously considered CEV should attend school and should follow the same COVID-19 guidance as the rest of the population. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. If, however, a child or young person has been advised to isolate or reduce their social contact by their specialist, due to the nature of their medical condition or treatment, they should continue to follow the advice of their specialist. The NHS is also now vaccinating the most at risk 5 to 11-year-olds.

Schools are responsible for recording absence in the register using the most appropriate code in line with the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended. As usual, school leaders continue to have discretion to grant leaves of absence in exceptional circumstances. Where a pupil is not attending school for reasons related to COVID-19, we expect the school to offer them immediate access to remote education. Schools must also have regard to the expectations for remote education which are available here: https://get-help-with-remote-education.education.gov.uk/statutory-obligations.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will introduce an attendance code to specifically authorise home learning whilst children in risk groups, as defined in table 4 of the Green Book Chapter 14a, are awaiting full covid-19 vaccination.

Regular attendance at school is vital for children’s education, wellbeing and long-term development. School attendance is mandatory and parents have a duty, under section 7 of the Education Act 1996, to ensure that their child of compulsory age receives an efficient full-time education either by attendance at school or otherwise.

Following expert clinical advice and the successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine programme, people previously considered to be particularly vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), and high or higher-risk are no longer advised to shield.

Children and young people previously considered CEV should attend school and should follow the same COVID-19 guidance as the rest of the population. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. If, however, a child or young person has been advised to isolate or reduce their social contact by their specialist, due to the nature of their medical condition or treatment, they should continue to follow the advice of their specialist. The NHS is also now vaccinating the most at risk 5 to 11-year-olds.

Schools are responsible for recording absence in the register using the most appropriate code in line with the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended. As usual, school leaders continue to have discretion to grant leaves of absence in exceptional circumstances. Where a pupil is not attending school for reasons related to COVID-19, we expect the school to offer them immediate access to remote education. Schools must also have regard to the expectations for remote education which are available here: https://get-help-with-remote-education.education.gov.uk/statutory-obligations.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what responsibilities nurseries and childcare settings have to inform parents of positive covid-19 cases in those settings.

In the event of a person testing positive for COVID-19, childcare providers and nurseries should consider whether parents of children attending the setting and staff need to be informed of a positive case, taking account of factors such as known vulnerability. Education and childcare providers are best placed to decide how they wish to communicate this information but should not disclose any information that could result in an individual being identified.

Education and childcare providers are not expected to trace contacts of a positive case. NHS Test and Trace are responsible for identifying close contacts. As in any other setting, NHS Test and Trace will work with the individual who has tested positive to identify any close contacts.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 14 January to Question 98444 on Schools: Finance, how many schools have contacted the Educational Skills and Funding Agency on the matter of financial difficulties in each year since 1 April 2017.

The department trusts schools to manage their own budgets. The latest published data shows that financial health has held up well and that most academy trusts and maintained schools are in surplus. At the end of the 2019/20 academic year, 96% of academy trusts were in surplus or broke even compared to 94% the previous year. At the end of 2020/21 financial year, 92% of local authority maintained schools were in cumulative surplus or broke even compared to 88% the previous year.

For academies, the department is the primary regulator. Academy trusts’ Funding Agreements, the Academy Trust Handbook and the Academies Accounts Direction set a clear regulatory framework. The academy trust financial support framework provides trusts, and the public, with greater clarity on the circumstances in which we would offer financial support to financially vulnerable trusts, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-support-for-academy-trusts-in-financial-difficulty/financial-support-for-academy-trusts-in-financial-difficulty. It sets out more information about our expectations and requirements for receiving this support, and the conditions we may apply to ensure any support is managed effectively. As part of this activity, we work with trusts to develop and monitor a plan to return to a sustainable, well-managed position and helping them build their capacity. The department is transparent and publishes annual data on the financial support given academy trusts in financial difficulty, and to trusts supporting schools in financial difficulty. The data for academic years 2018-19 and 2019-20 can be found on GOV.UK, here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/academy-trusts-receiving-esfa-financial-support-in-2018-to-2019 and here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1041460/Annex_9_additional_funding.pdf. Data for academic year 2020-21 will be published later this year alongside the 2020-21 Academies Sector Annual Report and Accounts.

The primary responsibility for maintained schools and the management of their finances, including schools in financial difficulty, rests with their local authority. Local authorities are required to publish schemes for financing schools, setting out the financial relationship between them and the schools they maintain. Each scheme will be different and tailored to local authority. The department’s role is to support local authorities in their efforts to strengthen the financial accountability and efficiency of the maintained schools’ sector.

The department also provides a range of information, tools, training, and guidance to help schools and trusts save money on day-to-day costs through the school resource management programme, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/schools-financial-health-and-efficiency.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many retired teachers his Department has asked to return to school in order to ease covid-19 pressures; and how many of those teachers are aged (a) 50 to 59, (b) 60 to 69 and (c) over 70.

The department is working to support all schools to remain open for face-to-face education and every ex-teacher that comes forward to help can make a difference to pupils.

The department’s campaign aims to further bolster the many supply staff that are already working in our schools and who have been throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. The call has just begun, agencies are continuing to recruit new candidates for our schools. The department are extremely grateful to all the teachers who are responding to our call to return temporarily to the classroom.

The department does not routinely collect data on supply staff, however, we are in close contact with supply agencies to monitor the interest they receive. The findings of our initial survey of agencies were published on Wednesday 12 January and this showed that at least 585 ex-teachers registered interest (between 20 Dec 2021 and 7 January 2022) in returning to the classroom to support schools.

The department have not asked for any data on the personal characteristics, such as age, of the people who have expressed an interest.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the additional funding required by schools to cover the costs of hiring agency workers as a result of teachers self-isolating during the covid-19 outbreak.

School leaders and staff have worked incredibly hard to make sure all pupils have been able to return to school safely. The department is extremely grateful to all the teachers who are responding to our call to return temporarily to the classroom to support schools whilst cases of the Omicron variant continue to rise.

This should be seen in the wider context of funding for schools. The government is delivering the biggest funding boost for schools in a decade which will give every school more money for every child. This financial year, in 2021-22, mainstream school funding for 5 to 16-year-olds increased by 3.5% overall. In financial year 2022-23 it will increase by a further 5.8%, or £300, cash increase in funding per pupil, on average.

This funding boost will rapidly give schools the resources they need to rise to the challenges of COVID-19 response and recovery, increase teacher pay, and meet the cost of the Health and Social Care Levy, while continuing their work to raise attainment and educational outcomes for all children and young people.

Schools have the flexibility to make their own decisions on how to prioritise their spending to invest in a range of resources and activities that will best support their staff and pupils. Schools will be able to use their existing budgets to help with the costs associated with COVID-19 absences.

The department has re-introduced the COVID-19 workforce fund to provide financial support to eligible schools and colleges for absence costs from 22 November until 18 February. The fund is available to support schools and colleges facing the greatest staffing and funding pressures to continue to deliver face-to-face, high-quality education to all pupils.

All schools can access a range of school resource management tools to help them get the best value from their resources. Schools in financial difficulty should contact the Educational Skills and Funding Agency or their local authority.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government plans to offer teachers any recognition or rewards for their work during the covid-19 outbreak in order to help retain teaching staff.

The COVID-19 outbreak has shone a light on the life-changing role that teachers play in children’s lives. I recognise and am grateful for the extraordinary efforts that school leaders and staff have made to ensure pupils get the best possible education throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

Teacher retention is key to ensuring effective teacher supply and quality, and we are taking action to support teachers to stay in the profession and thrive. Over two-thirds of teachers who started 5 years ago are still teaching today, and of those who started 10 years ago, nearly 3 in 5 are still teaching. However, we recognise that more needs to be done.

The department is creating an entitlement to at least three years of structured training, support and professional development for all new teachers, to bring teaching into line with other prestigious professions such as law, accountancy, and medicine. Underpinning this is the initial teacher training (ITT) Core Content Framework and the Early Career Framework. These ensure that new teachers will benefit from at least 3 years of evidence-based training, across ITT and into their induction.

We have also published a range of resources to help address teacher workload and wellbeing and support schools to introduce flexible working practices. These include the staff wellbeing charter and the workload reduction toolkit, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-staff-wellbeing-charter and here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-workload-reduction-toolkit.

This year's remit to the School Teachers’ Review Body reiterates the government's commitment to raising teacher starting salaries to £30,000 and seeks recommendations for pay awards in the 2022/23 and 2023/24 academic year. This will give schools the opportunity to better plan their budgets as we make the uplifts required to progress towards a £30,000 starting salary.

We are looking to deliver this through balanced pay uplifts across the entire workforce, with investment targeted as effectively as possible to address recruitment and retention challenges and, ultimately, ensure the best outcomes for pupils.

Additionally, we will be offering a Levelling Up Premium worth up to £3,000 tax-free for maths, physics, chemistry and computing teachers in years 1 to 5 of their careers. This will support recruitment and retention of specialist teachers in these subjects and in the schools and areas that need them most.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the School Teachers’ Review Body plans to provide its recommendations on teacher pay rises in 2022.

In the remit letter to the chair of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has requested that the STRB provide their recommendations on the academic years 2022/23 and 2023/24 pay awards during May 2022.

Any pay award will be announced after the Secretary of State has reviewed the STRB’s report. As ever, we will work with colleagues across government to ensure we publish the STRB’s report and the government’s response as quickly as possible.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to announce any pay rises for school teaching staff by April 2022 to allow schools to include those rises in their budgeting processes which take place before the summer holidays.

In the remit letter to the chair of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has requested that the STRB provide their recommendations on the academic years 2022/23 and 2023/24 pay awards during May 2022.

Any pay award will be announced after the Secretary of State has reviewed the STRB’s report. As ever, we will work with colleagues across government to ensure we publish the STRB’s report and the government’s response as quickly as possible.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that local authorities, Ofsted and safeguarding bodies have the necessary powers to investigate, seize evidence and shut down illegal schools.

It is a criminal offence under section 96 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 to conduct an unregistered independent school. The department and Ofsted continue to investigate any schools, colleges, and universities where intelligence or evidence suggest that this offence is being committed. Section 97 of the act permits no-notice inspections of education providers believed to be operating as an unregistered independent school.

Between 1 January 2016 and 31 August 2021, 850 education providers were investigated leading to 412 inspections. These inspections have led to 114 unregistered schools being identified, and joint work between the department and Ofsted has led to 101 of these schools changing their provision to cease operating unlawfully. In addition, since 2016, 6 successful prosecutions have been brought against groups responsible for operating illegal education providers

The department has previously committed to taking forward measures to make it easier for Ofsted to investigate and gather evidence of breaches of section 96 of the act, and prosecute those responsible for running unregistered schools, including in the 2019 Integrated Communities Action Plan. Such measures are planned to be taken forward when a suitable legislative opportunity arises.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the number of hours spent teaching PE in state funded schools.

Physical education is an important part of a broad and balanced curriculum and should be taught to pupils of all ages. That is why it is the only foundation subject compulsory through all stages of the national curriculum. It is for schools to decide how much time should be dedicated to physical education and the department does not set specific expectations.

The department has invested £1.6 billion in primary PE and sport since 2013 through the PE and Sport Premium, and taken a range of actions with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Health and Social Care to deliver on our School Sport and Activity Action Plan, which we will be updating next year. The department is also working to deliver on the nearly £30 million announced in October towards improving and opening school sport facilities in England, as well as to improve the teaching of physical education at primary school.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answers of 2 November 2021 to Questions 62860 and 62861 on Remote Education, whether his Department plans to remove references to specific digital platforms from its Get Help with Remote Education guidance to avoid actively supporting or mandating individual products.

The guidance shares details of the digital platforms programme, which informs a school how to apply for a platform through our partners Microsoft and Google. Schools are also free to consider other providers with chargeable services in this area to deliver specific elements of online education, where they see fit.

The digital platforms programme is closing to new applications on 30 November 2021, after which schools can continue to apply for free licensing of the Microsoft and Google platforms, directly with those companies, or seek alternatives.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answers of 2 November 2021 to Questions 62860 and 62861 on Remote Education, whether the Department’s Get Help with Remote Education guidance actively supports the use of (a) Google and (b) Microsoft products over challenger companies.

The guidance shares details of the digital platforms programme, which informs a school how to apply for a platform through our partners Microsoft and Google. Schools are also free to consider other providers with chargeable services in this area to deliver specific elements of online education, where they see fit.

The digital platforms programme is closing to new applications on 30 November 2021, after which schools can continue to apply for free licensing of the Microsoft and Google platforms, directly with those companies, or seek alternatives.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on covid transmission in areas where the local Director of Public Health has introduced extra measures in line with the contingency framework, including isolation of under 16s whose siblings have tested positive for covid-19.

The department’s priority is to maximise the number of children and young people in face-to-face education or childcare and minimise any disruption, in a way that best manages the COVID-19 risk.

Whilst the Directors of Public Health have discretion over local public health measures within a national framework, the advice in the contingency framework does not reverse the national policy for self-isolation which changed on 16 August. Unless they test positive, fully vaccinated adults, children and young people aged under 18 years and 6 months are not required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case of COVID-19. The contingency framework provides guidance on the following measures: testing, face coverings, shielding, attendance restrictions as well as educational visits and events.

The department is monitoring measures in regions and continually seeking to improve its understanding of their effectiveness. Current data which is publicly available on case rates is broken down by region. Attendance data for nurseries and schools is also available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing and updating the list of digital platforms that are included in his Department’s Get help with remote education guidance to reflect the Government’s new ambition to create a pro-competition regime for digital markets.

Beyond the need to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, the department believes that it is up to educational establishments to decide what technology they need to meet their requirements in relation to their educational contexts and circumstances, and do not actively back or mandate individual products.

More information about digital education platforms can be found here: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/digital-platforms/.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing and updating the list of digital platforms that are included in his Department’s Get help with remote education guidance to include (a) UK companies and (b) challengers to the largest technology companies.

Beyond the need to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, the department believes that it is up to educational establishments to decide what technology they need to meet their requirements in relation to their educational contexts and circumstances, and do not actively back or mandate individual products.

More information about digital education platforms can be found here: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/digital-platforms/.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason his Department’s Get help with remote education guidance does not include (a) UK companies and (b) challengers to the largest technology companies.

The department has distributed over 1.35 million laptops and tablets to disadvantaged pupils since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. On 22 October 2021, a further rollout of an additional 500,000 devices was announced. Our published guidance relates to devices delivered to schools as part of this programme and is intended to support users in making best use of devices they have received.

When purchasing devices, the department took account of the needs of schools and other users, availability and the need to achieve value for money. As a result, we provided devices from a range of different manufacturers. This has included large technology companies including Apple, Microsoft, Acer, Lenovo, Samsung, Dell, and HP and Tactus, a leading UK firm.

The department also has also offered, since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, support to schools to set digital education platforms offered by Microsoft and Google. Schools have told us that these platforms, which are free to use, meet their needs by offering real time communication and collaboration and education specific tools that can assist teachers, pupils and students to learn remotely. Schools can decide whether to make use of these resources or those provided by other organisations.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many tutoring sessions have been delivered by the National Tutoring Programme during the autumn 2021 school term, by region.

In the last academic year, 41 Tuition Partners were engaged in the National Tutoring Programme.

This year, all 41 Tuition Partners have been accredited and on-boarded, while a further 20 are on track to join through the department’s new ‘Open Access’ process.

The department has not yet finalised the data for how many sessions have been delivered during the autumn term. This information will be released after the end of this term.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many tutors have been on-boarded by the National Tutoring Programme in (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21.

In the last academic year, 41 Tuition Partners were engaged in the National Tutoring Programme.

This year, all 41 Tuition Partners have been accredited and on-boarded, while a further 20 are on track to join through the department’s new ‘Open Access’ process.

The department has not yet finalised the data for how many sessions have been delivered during the autumn term. This information will be released after the end of this term.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much and what proportion of school covid-19 catch-up funding has been spent by region to date.

All payments from the £650 million catch up premium were allocated during the 2020/21 academic year. The COVID-19 catch up premium allocation guidance provides data on the funding provided at school and local authority level: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium-provisional-allocations.

The catch up premium conditions of grant, which can be found on the page linked above, permit schools to carry any unspent funding forward to future years. There is no mechanism to confirm what amount has been spent by each school to date at a regional level from the allocations provided. Schools are held to account for their use of catch up premium as per their other forms of funding. The catch up premium guidance states that governors and trustees should scrutinise schools use of the catch-up premium and that Ofsted may discuss plans schools have to use the funding as part of their inspections. This can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/catch-up-premium-coronavirus-covid-19.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of teachers leaving the profession in each of the last five years.

Information on the number of teachers who have retired and the number who have left the profession in each of the last five years is published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england/2020.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of teachers who have retired in each of the last five years.

Information on the number of teachers who have retired and the number who have left the profession in each of the last five years is published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england/2020.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what safeguards have been put in place to ensure the data held by ClassDojo is not shared with the third-party service providers with which it works.

The department provides guidance to support schools with data protection activity via the General Data Protection Regulation toolkit for schools. The toolkit is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/data-protection-toolkit-for-schools. Schools are data controllers and are ultimately responsible for their own data protection procedures and compliance with legislation.

It is a school’s individual responsibility to assess the digital resources it uses from a data protection and privacy perspective. Further information on GDPR compliance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what safeguards have been put in place to ensure the data held by ClassDojo complies with UK data protection and privacy law.

The department provides guidance to support schools with data protection activity via the General Data Protection Regulation toolkit for schools. The toolkit is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/data-protection-toolkit-for-schools. Schools are data controllers and are ultimately responsible for their own data protection procedures and compliance with legislation.

It is a school’s individual responsibility to assess the digital resources it uses from a data protection and privacy perspective. Further information on GDPR compliance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the privacy of children’s data held on US-based application, ClassDojo, that is in use in UK schools.

The department provides guidance to support schools with data protection activity via the General Data Protection Regulation toolkit for schools. The toolkit is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/data-protection-toolkit-for-schools. Schools are data controllers and are ultimately responsible for their own data protection procedures and compliance with legislation.

It is a school’s individual responsibility to assess the digital resources it uses from a data protection and privacy perspective. Further information on GDPR compliance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
13th Sep 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 recording absence from school as authorised in the event that eligible children are required to isolate following a covid-19 vaccination.

Children aged 12 to 15 in England will now be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, following advice from the four UK Chief Medical Officers. Vaccinating children should help to reduce the need for pupils to have time off school and reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 within schools.

When a child is not well enough to not attend their school or college, as usual this may be recorded as authorised absence due to illness.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
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 catch-up funding will be made available to students in further education institutions beyond the 16 to 19 tuition fund.

On 24 February 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a further investment of £102 million to extend the 16 to 19 tuition fund into the 2021/22 academic year. On 2 June 2021 we announced a further £222 million to extend the 16 to 19 tuition fund for an additional two years until the 2023/24 academic year.

The fund will have a continued focus on targeting additional tuition at young people who need the most support. Eligibility for the 16 to 19 tuition fund in the 2021/22 academic year is being broadened to include economic disadvantage, in addition to low prior attainment. Including these students allows providers to offer tuition to all disadvantaged students who have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, while still maintaining focus on low prior attainment.

To ensure that those with the least time left have the opportunity to progress, the government is also giving providers of 16 to 19 education the option to offer students in year 13, or equivalent, the opportunity to repeat up to one more year if they have been particularly severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. While we expect most students will continue to progress to a suitable destination (such as higher education or into employment), this option will ensure that those who have been most severely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak have sufficient options to complete their education.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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=spec