Duncan Baker Portrait

Duncan Baker

Conservative - North Norfolk

First elected: 12th December 2019


Pensions (Extension of Automatic Enrolment) (No. 2) Bill
8th Mar 2023 - 15th Mar 2023
Protection from Sex-based Harassment in Public Bill
21st Feb 2023 - 22nd Feb 2023
Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill
16th Nov 2022 - 23rd Nov 2022
Backbench Business Committee
2nd Nov 2021 - 15th Mar 2022
Pension Schemes (Conversion of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions) Bill
26th Jan 2022 - 2nd Feb 2022
Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill
15th Nov 2021 - 25th Nov 2021
Nationality and Borders Bill
15th Sep 2021 - 4th Nov 2021
Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill
30th Jun 2021 - 8th Jul 2021


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Duncan Baker has voted in 993 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(20 debate interactions)
Kevin Hollinrake (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
(14 debate interactions)
Elizabeth Truss (Conservative)
(12 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(40 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(39 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(33 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Duncan Baker's debates

North Norfolk Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

Swifts have declined by over 50% in the UK. Adult swifts, known for site-fidelity, return to the same nests. We want swift bricks to be required in all new housing, to provide homes for these birds. Surveys show these are used by red-listed swifts, house martins, starlings and house sparrows.

Make it illegal for retailers and services to decline cash payments.

All businesses (excepting internet-based ones) and public services in which monetary transactions take place should be required by law to accept cash as a method of payment

We want suicide spoken about in schools in a safe and age-appropriate way. Speaking about suicide saves lives
The Dept for Education are conducting a review of the RSHE curriculum; this petition calls on the DfE to include suicide prevention within the statutory guidelines of the new curriculum.

Mark Avery , Chris Packham and Ruth Tingay (Wild Justice) want the opening of the Woodcock shooting season to be pushed back to 1 December. 160,000 Woodcock are shot for fun across the UK whilst their population is declining. The Defra Secretary of State has powers to vary the shooting season.

Now the hedgehog has been listed as vulnerable to extinction in the UK, we are calling on the Government to move hedgehogs to schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to allow them greater protection.

The Government should class in-person interaction with family members and unmarried partners abroad as an essential reason to travel.

12 kids in the UK are diagnosed with cancer daily. 1 in 5 will die within 5 years, often of the deadliest types like DIPG (brainstem cancer) - fatal on diagnosis & other cancers on relapse. Yet there has been little, or no, funding for research into these cancers and little, or no, progress.

I would like the government to review and increase the pay for healthcare workers to recognise the work that they do.

To revoke the Immigration Health Surcharge increases for overseas NHS staff. The latest budget shows an increase of £220 a year for an overseas worker to live and work in the UK, at a time when the NHS, and UK economy, relies heavily on them.

We would like the government to support and regard social care: financially, publicly and systematically on an equal par as NHS. We would like parliament to debate how to support social care during COVID-19 and beyond so that it automatically has the same access to operational and financial support.

Give NHS workers who are EU and other Nationals automatic UK citizenship if they stay and risk their own lives looking after the British people during the COVID crisis.


Latest EDMs signed by Duncan Baker

Duncan Baker has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Duncan Baker, 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.


Duncan Baker has not been granted any Urgent Questions

2 Adjournment Debates led by Duncan Baker

Monday 16th October 2023
Thursday 5th November 2020

3 Bills introduced by Duncan Baker


A Bill to make provision about the training of teachers in relation to the early identification of autism; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 30th January 2024
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 19th April 2024

A Bill to require the whole-life carbon emissions of buildings to be reported; to set limits on embodied carbon emissions in the construction of buildings; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 2nd February 2022
(Read Debate)

A Bill to place a duty on major high street banks to provide banking services in post offices; to make associated provision about access to post office services, including for elderly and vulnerable people; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 2nd March 2021
(Read Debate)

Latest 50 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
4 Other Department Questions
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to support women who have a miscarriage.

Every pregnancy loss is a tragedy, and ensuring grieving families have access to the support they need is one of my highest priorities. Mental health services around England are being expanded to include new mental health “hubs” for new, expectant or bereaved mothers. These will offer physical health checks and psychological therapy in one building. We have funded SANDs, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity to work with other baby loss charities and Royal Colleges to produce and support the roll-out of a National Bereavement Care Pathway to reduce the variation in the quality of bereavement care provided by the NHS.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to improve equality for women through the UK’s recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

We have provided unprecedented support to those most affected by the pandemic, including to major employers of women in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

We will continue to build on the progress women have made in the workplace so that everyone can benefit as the economy recovers from COVID-19.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Sep 2021
What steps the Government is taking to encourage covid-19 vaccination uptake among harder to reach groups.

We continue to focus our efforts on those groups with the lowest rates of vaccine uptake. Recent initiatives include co-producing a toolkit aimed at improving vaccine uptake among the Black African and Black Caribbean groups, among whom rates have been the lowest. We also produced two animations explaining the entitlement to vaccination for migrants, and held pop-up clinics for those without NHS numbers. Over time, both positive vaccine sentiment and vaccine uptake have increased among all ethnic groups.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
14th Apr 2021
What assessment he has made of carbon pricing mechanisms in the run-up to COP26.

Carbon pricing has been shown to incentivise investment in renewable energy in a cost-effective manner. The UK has long been a supporter of carbon pricing and continues to lead the way with the new UK Emissions Trading System.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will (a) update the guidance for significant life events including christenings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs as part of Step 3 of the covid-19 roadmap and (b) clarify limits on the number of guests permitted to attend those events; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of aligning that guidance with the removal of the cap on maximum guest limits for weddings, civil partnerships, receptions, wakes, funerals and other commemorative events.

Guidance on significant life events, such as baptisms and bar mitzvahs, is available on gov.uk as part of the guidance for the safe use of places of worship. This guidance is kept under continual review, and the government continues to work with its Places of Worship Taskforce and faith leaders to review and amend this guidance, as necessary.

If significant life events take place as part of communal worship, participation is limited by the capacity of the venue, in line with the wider rules on communal worship. If significant life events take place as standalone events, there is a limit of up to 30 people (indoors or outdoors, excluding inside private homes). Anyone working is not included in this limit.

From 21 June, there is no longer a maximum number cap for attendees at wedding or civil partnership ceremonies and receptions set out in law. Many people have planned for wedding or civil partnership ceremonies and receptions a long time in advance, and these types of events can be difficult to book and to cancel. They often require aligning multiple businesses, sometimes years in advance, and can have a significant social and economic cost. The exact number of attendees will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of each venue or outdoor space, and measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to Government Guidance: COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021, published on 22 February 2021, what the Government's definition is of minimising travel; what (a) distances and (b) frequencies are permitted in that travel guidance; how that guidance on minimising travel will be enforced given domestic overnight stays are permitted and self-contained accommodation re-opens; and whether the Government's stay local advice remains in place at that stage.

From the 29th of March the legal order to ‘Stay at home’ ceased and the government is asking people to minimise travel. This means that people should avoid making unnecessary journeys and combine their trips where possible. People should remember that other restrictions remain in place, for instance, if visiting friends and families they can only do so outside.

There are no permitted limits to the distance that may be travelled or frequency of journeys. People are permitted to stay away from their home overnight from 12th April, but only with members of their own household in self contained accommodation. People will not be allowed to enter another household to stay with friends and family until at least the 17th May. When travelling, people should remember to do so safely, planning ahead, travelling at quiet times, sanitise your hands, wear a face covering unless exempt and social distance.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he has had recent discussions with energy suppliers on the regulation of standing charges.

Ministers and officials meet regularly with suppliers to discuss a range of issues including standing charges.

The setting of the standing charge is a commercial matter for individual suppliers. The standing charge reflects the on-going costs that fall on a supplier to provide and maintain a live supply to a customer. Standing charges are capped under the price cap, set by Ofgem, and ensure millions of households pay a fair price for their energy.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will take steps to amend the methodology used in the standard assessment procedure on the use of non-storage heaters to ensure that it does not negatively impact the energy performance certificate of affected properties.

The Government is committed to making the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) methodology more accurate, robust and fit for purpose to support our commitments to Net Zero. Government has commenced work on an update to the Reduced Data SAP (RdSAP) which underpins energy performance certificates in existing buildings. This will be introduced in due course.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the transition of the Bacton gas terminal to hydrogen energy on businesses.

As well as supporting UK energy independence, low carbon hydrogen will be critical to supporting vital British industries transition away from expensive oil and gas. Hydrogen can provide greener energy for power, transport and potentially home heating. The Government welcomes the development of all potential hydrogen projects, such as that proposed at Bacton. The Government is working closely with the oil and gas industry to achieve a managed energy transition, including through the North Sea Transition Deal, which could support up to 40,000 high-quality direct and indirect supply chain jobs.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February to Question 143891 on Energy, what the timeline is for publication of the Government's approach to delivering energy security.

The Government expects to publish soon, but is not able to confirm a more specific timeline.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he plans to bring forward a revised energy strategy.

From the Ten Point Plan and Energy White Paper in 2020 through the Net Zero Strategy in 2021 and in last year’s British Energy Security Strategy, the Government has outlined its energy objectives. As my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Autumn Statement, the Government will soon publish more detail about its approach to delivering energy security, consistent with achieving Net Zero by 2050.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will have discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of supporting care homes that are transitioning to ultra-fast fibre broadband and facing potentially expensive (a) subscriptions and (b) hardware purchases.

Fast, reliable broadband is key for all establishments, including care homes. The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has launched a series of interventions to accelerate the speed of rollout of gigabit-capable broadband. We are also investing £5bn through Project Gigabit to provide improved connectivity for the hardest to reach parts of the UK.

The Department of Health and Social Care is undertaking work this autumn to understand challenges care homes may be facing in improving their connectivity, and what future support might be necessary. DSIT and DHSC are in frequent communication about the merits of improved digital connectivity.

14th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of maintaining a connection to (a) copper wires and (b) a suitable alternative in rural communities to allow residents to make emergency calls, what assessment she has made on the need to maintain a connection to either copper wires or a suitable alternative in rural communities during the installation of fibre cables to allow residents to still make emergency calls if required.

The PSTN is a privately-owned telecoms network and the decision to upgrade it has been taken by the telecoms industry. The industry’s decision to upgrade the PSTN is due to necessity, as the network is increasingly unreliable and prone to failure.

Ofcom, the independent telecoms regulator, has mandated guidance on backup solutions, including how telecoms companies can fulfil their regulatory obligation to ensure that their VoIP customers have uninterrupted access to the emergency services. The guidance was issued following a consultation with the general public as well as telecoms providers and Ofgem.

26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an estimate of the proportion of UK electricity use in 2050 that will be derived from (a) UK-generated renewable energy, (b) UK-generated fossil fuels, (c) UK-generated nuclear and (d) net imports.

Annex O (sub-Annex L) of the Energy and Emission Projections[1]shows annual generation by technology (including imports) for four power sector scenarios (two with higher levels of electricity demand and two with lower levels of electricity demand).

[1]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1058212/Annex-J-total-electricity-gen-by-source_NZSFeb22.ods

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he expects to announce the outcome of the Government's review of electricity market arrangements (REMA).

The first Review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA) consultation, which closed in October 2022, sought views gathered from across the energy sector on the UK's objectives and options for reform. A summary of the responses will be published early this year, with further consultation expected in 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
28th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 17 October 2022 to Question 59831 on Fuel Oil: Prices, what mechanism will be used to provide the additional payment of £100; whether this will be paid as (a) a lump sum or (b) in instalments; what his planned timetable is for making the payment; whether his Department has up to date records of whether households are (i) on the gas grid and (ii) use gas and electricity companies; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure these eligible households will receive this support.

Households in Britain eligible for these payments will receive £100 as a credit on their electricity bill this winter. Households that are eligible for, but who do not receive, the Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) or the £100 heat network payment, will receive the £100 via the AFP Alternative Fund, which will be provided by a designated body. The Government will confirm details shortly.

The Government is working with suppliers and stakeholders to establish how to identify households that are eligible for a payment. If for any reason people are not able to receive the payment automatically, an alternative approach will be established.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to protect and improve the UK's rare-earth supply chains.

The supply chain for critical minerals, including rare earth elements, has been, and will continue to be, supported through a number of Government initiatives. For example, the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution announced £500 million to support the electrification of vehicles and their supply chains, and other strategically important technologies including critical mineral processing, through the Automotive Transformation Fund.

Examples of UK rare earth companies attracting government support include Pensana, which is establishing capabilities to process rare earths for sustainable magnet metals at an offshore wind-powered freeport site at Saltend in the Humber, and Less Common Metals in Ellesmere Port, which is an established world-leader in rare earth alloy production.

The Government will publish a UK Critical Minerals Strategy in 2022, setting out its approach to securing technology-critical minerals and metals.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the trading difficulties leaseholders operating under the Wellington Pub chain are experiencing; and what support his Department is providing to Wellington pub tenants.

Over the course of the pandemic, the Government has worked closely with the pubs and hospitality sector to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and has responded with a substantial package of business support. We keep all restrictions under constant review.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with relevant stakeholders on the reselling of tickets for (a) music and (b) other events at prices above the face value of the ticket (i) online and (ii) by other means.

His Majesty’s Government is committed to supporting fair and transparent ticket pricing and tackling unacceptable behaviour in this market.

We have strengthened the law in relation to ticketing information requirements and have introduced a criminal offence of using automated software to buy more tickets online than is allowed. We also support the work of enforcement agencies in this area, such as the Competition and Markets Authority, National Trading Standards, and the advertising industry's own regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority.

We engage with a range of key organisations and individuals operating in the ticketing sector to ensure a fair and transparent system. This includes STAR (the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, the self-regulatory body for the entertainment ticketing industry in the UK), the CMA, Fanfair Alliance (the campaigning body against industrial scale online ticket touting), and, where appropriate, primary and secondary ticketing businesses.

Ultimately, ticket pricing strategies are a matter for event organisers and ticketing platforms, providing they comply with relevant legislation, particularly regarding transparency to customers on how tickets are priced, in order to help consumers make a fair and informed decision.

8th Jun 2023
What recent discussions she has had with the Gambling Commission on the potential impact on prize draws and competitions of the provisions in the gambling white paper.

The Secretary of State announced in the white paper that the government would explore the potential for regulating the largest prize draws and competitions that sit outside of gambling regulation.

The Gambling Commission monitors products such as those which sit outside the boundary of regulated gambling.

We are working closely with Gambling Commission on implementing the white paper, including gathering evidence and considering options on prize draws.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment with Cabinet colleagues of the contribution of heritage and arts sites to wellbeing and mental health.

Heritage and the arts have an important role to play in boosting people’s health and wellbeing – a point which has been underlined by our experience during, and since, the COVID-19 pandemic. DCMS and our arm’s-length bodies, including Arts Council England and Historic England, play an important role in the Government’s work to improve health and wellbeing.

Arts Council England’s ‘Creative Health and Wellbeing Plan’ sets out its ongoing commitment to help people live happier, healthier lives, while Historic England’s ‘Wellbeing and Heritage Strategy’ aims to ensure that everyone can experience the wellbeing benefits of heritage. Both organisations work with the NHS and partner with the National Academy of Social Prescribing.

The Government’s schools White Paper, published in March 2022, said that all children should be entitled to take part in sport, music and cultural opportunities, noting that “These opportunities are an essential part of a broad and ambitious curriculum, and support children’s health, wellbeing and wider development, particularly as we recover from the pandemic.” The Government published updated plans to support sport and music education in 2022, and will publish a cultural education plan in 2023, which DCMS is working with the Department for Education and our arm’s-length bodies in developing.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to improve mobile phone coverage in North Norfolk constituency; and what the timeframe is for improving that coverage.

The Government announced in-principle support in October 2019 for the Mobile Network Operators’ (MNOs) Shared Rural Network (SRN) proposal. The proposal would share investment costs between the mobile network operators and government and increase 4G mobile coverage throughout the United Kingdom to 95% by 2025. It will be underpinned by a legally binding coverage commitment from each operator.

The Government's in-principle support is subject to detailed negotiations. While this is not yet a done deal, the Prime Minister has made improvements to rural mobile coverage part of his first 100 days pledge. I will continue to work with the sector to make that happen.

The exact site deployment plans and timescales will be managed by the MNOs themselves in order for them to best deliver the agreed coverage outcomes. So until the operators’ final radio planning exercise is complete, neither the Government nor the operators will know the precise location or number of new or upgraded masts. However, the operators will be consulting with local communities as they do so. The MNOs’ intention is to deliver this programme by the end of 2025.

15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for teachers who have qualified in each of the last three years, (a) how many teachers received SEND training before becoming fully qualified and (b) how many teachers received SEND training after becoming fully qualified.

Information on the school workforce is collected as part of the annual School Workforce Census each November. Information on the number of newly qualified entrants and deferred newly qualified entrants to teaching is published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication, available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

The Department is committed to ensuring that all pupils, including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) can reach their potential and receive excellent support from their teachers.

Alongside excellent teachers, teaching assistants play an important role in supporting pupils with SEND to fulfil their potential in mainstream and special schools.

Information on the number of qualified teachers trained to support pupils with SEND is not collected centrally.

As at November 2021 (latest data available) there were 465,500 full time equivalent teachers working in state funded schools in England. This is an increase of 4,400 since the previous year.

Almost 9 in 10 (87.5%) teachers who qualified in 2020 were still teaching one year after qualification, and just over two thirds (68.8%) of teachers who started teaching five years ago are still teaching.

One of the Department’s priorities is to continue to attract, retain, and develop the highly skilled teachers needed to inspire the next generation.

27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the announcement of £180 million to improve children’s development in the early years, 20 October 2022, whether the training of 5,000 early years teachers or co-ordinators will be to a level 3 SENCO qualification; how the 5,000 SENCO qualified early years staff will be allocated to schools; how their salaries will be funded; and whether schools will be given guidance on the job descriptions they should use to attract the new 5,000 early years SENCO qualified staff to their schools.

The Early Years Recovery Programme includes funding for the training of up to 5,000 early years special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs), leading to an accredited level 3 early years SENCO qualification. The training is for SENCOs currently working in early years group-based providers or working as childminders. Salaries will continue to be paid by providers themselves or from self-employment as applicable for childminders.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of removing the age restriction of 60 for Student Finance England funding for Undergraduate and Masters Degrees in (a) all and (b) STEM subjects.

All eligible undergraduate students qualify for non-means tested tuition fee loans regardless of their age. In addition, eligible undergraduate students under the age of 60 on the first day of the first academic year of their course qualify for partially means-tested loans for living costs. This applies to all subjects.

The government has a duty to consider the value for money for the public purse of offering a loan product where there is a low expectation of repayment. The department recognises that some older students on lower incomes may need help with their living costs. That is why full-time undergraduate students aged 60 or over on the first day of the first academic year of their course can apply for a fully means-tested loan for living costs, known as a ‘special support loan’, of up to £4,106 in the 2022/23 academic year, increasing to £4,221 in 2023/24.

The upper age limit of 60 years old for postgraduate master’s loans was put in place to ensure that the overall scheme remains affordable to the taxpayer and offers value for money. The age limit is applicable to all subjects and is designed to restrict eligibility to those statistically most likely to continue in long-term employment and be able to repay the loan.

In settling on the current postgraduate master’s loan eligibility criteria, the department consulted widely on the proposed terms of the new loan and considered its duty under the Equality Act 2010. A copy of that analysis can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/526274/bis-16-289-postgraduate-masters-loans-equality-analysis.pdf.

28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of funding for music lessons in state schools.

The Government remains committed to continued support for music education. The Government published the National Plan for Music Education in June 2022 which sets out the vision for ‘all children and young people to learn to sing, play an instrument and create music together, and have the opportunity to progress their musical interests and talents, including professionally’. At the heart of the new plan is the Model Music Curriculum published in March 2021, which sets out how schools can deliver an excellent music education.

The Government recognises the vital importance of every child accessing instruments and equipment they need to make progress with music, including technology and adaptive instruments where needed for pupils with SEND. We therefore also announced £25 million of new funding for musical instruments alongside the Plan. This funding will increase the existing stock available to all children and young people. We will work with schools, hubs, Arts Council England and the wider sector to focus on best practice in managing access to instruments and equipment. We will publish further details in due course.

The Department committed £79 million per year for the Music Hubs programme over three years up to and including 2024-25, which was confirmed with the publication of the Plan. Music Hubs are groups of organisations, such as local authorities, schools, art organisations, community, or voluntary organisations, that work together to create joined-up music education provision and provide specialist music education services to around 90% of state-funded schools. This includes whole class and group ensemble teaching, and individual instrument tuition.

Hubs also ensure that progression routes are clear and affordable, and some hubs provide instrument loans to children and young people to achieve this.

21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an assessment of the adequacy of the steps taken to support children and young people from Ukraine adapt to UK schools; and whether her Department has any plans to review the requirement for Ukrainian pupils to take English and Maths’ GCSE exams if they cannot show physical proof of having passed previous similar exams.

The Department is clear that the best place for all children to be educated is in school and that attending school will help newly arrived Ukrainian children integrate into the communities in which they are living. It is the experience and skill of local authorities and schools that provides the support and care necessary for these children as they adjust to their new lives in the UK.

Schools and colleges are responsible for deciding which qualifications they enter pupils for, based on what is in their best interests. Schools will want to carefully consider the individual circumstances of the students before deciding the appropriateness of an exam entry. Exam centres should make these decisions carefully on a case-by-case basis.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made for staff at complex needs schools to be considered for vaccination alongside their pupils who are on the priority list; and what support is being offered to teachers and teaching assistants in those schools as they have close contact with their pupils who are at high risk and vulnerable to covid-19.

During national lockdown restrictions, special schools and special post-16 settings should continue to welcome and encourage pupils to attend full-time (or as per their usual timetable) where parents and carers wishes for their child to be able to attend (or for post-16s, where the young person wishes to attend). This is because we know that children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and their families, can be disproportionately impacted by being out of education. The Department for Education (DfE) has published new guidance on the period during the national lockdown, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak#history.

It is important that staff in these schools continue to be supported. The rapid asymptomatic testing programme will include testing staff, vulnerable pupils and students, and children of key workers, including those within special schools and special post-16 settings. Further announcements on the roll out of testing to staff in primary schools will follow in due course, to help support the reopening of education settings.

As outlined in the department’s published guidance, additional use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for COVID-19 related purposes is only needed in a small number of cases, such as if a pupil or student becomes ill with COVID-19 symptoms and a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained, or when undertaking aerosol generating procedures. If a pupil or student already has routine intimate care needs that involve the use of PPE, the same PPE should continue to be used. Public Health England have advised that the current guidance on the system of controls, including the use of PPE and face coverings, should continue to be followed.

The PPE portal can be used by residential special settings to access COVID-19 PPE. These providers will have received an email invitation to register with the portal. Depending on local arrangements, special schools and special post-16 settings may be able to access PPE for their COVID-19 needs via their local authority or local resilience forum.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are independent experts advising the government on which vaccine(s) the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them. JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems, and as the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age. This prioritisation captures almost all preventable deaths from COVID-19. In the next phase of the vaccine rollout, JCVI have asked that the Department of Health and Social Care consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other government departments. The DfE will input into this cross-governmental exercise.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he plans to take to support independent field study centres until 2020 due to the cancellation of residential field trips during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government has issued guidance on the financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19). This can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Charity Commission has also issued coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector, including considerations and practical steps that charities can take when they are facing serious financial difficulties. This can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector.

The Department for Education continues to advise against both overnight and non-overnight domestic (UK) and overseas educational visits as outlined in the coronavirus travel guidance for educational settings.

In the autumn term, schools can resume non-overnight domestic educational visits. All such visits should be compliant with COVID-19 guidelines and subject to a thorough and ongoing assessment of the risks to ensure that they can be undertaken safely. Schools should consult the health and safety guidance on educational visits when considering any visit.

The above guidance will remain under review, including the position on overnight domestic visits, and will be updated in line with guidance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Transport and Public Health England.

The coronavirus: travel guidance for educational settings can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-advice-for-educational-settings/coronavirus-travel-guidance-for-educational-settings.

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

Guidance on health and safety on educational visits can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-and-safety-on-educational-visits/health-and-safety-on-educational-visits.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to (a) support pupils in years (i) 10 and (ii) 12 that are not attending school due to the covid-19 outbreak but are due to take exams in 2021 and (b) ensure that the break in the schooling of those pupils is taken into account when assessing the results of their exams.

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance for schools and colleges is at:

www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

We have prioritised the return to school of children in reception, year 1 and year 6, and have asked secondary schools and colleges to offer some face to face support for young people in year 10 and year 12 to supplement their remote education. This is because they are preparing for key examinations next year and are most at risk of falling behind due to time out of school or college. From 1 June 2020, we expect that secondary schools and colleges will be able to offer some face to face contact with year 10 and year 12 students. This will not be a return to full timetables or students back in school or college full time, but rather support to supplement students’ remote education.

We have also committed over £100 million to boost remote education, including giving free laptops to year 10 students from disadvantaged backgrounds, alongside care leavers and those with a social worker, to help them learn from home during the lockdown. Additionally, if families of these students do not have good access to the internet, we will provide them with 4G routers so that they can learn online. Students aged 16 to 19 without a suitable device for education may be eligible for support through the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund. The Department will also ensure that every school and college that wants it has access to free, expert technical support to get set up on Google for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education.

In light of the disruption experienced by students in Years 10 and 12 who are due to take exams in 2021, we are working with Ofqual and the exam boards to develop our approach to next year’s exams.

25th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help improve recycling for households.

We are introducing Simpler Recycling in England to drive up recycling rates and reverse a trend of stagnation. From March 2025 for businesses and March 2026 for households, Simpler Recycling will ensure that the same materials can be recycled at home and at work, replacing the current wild west system where neighbouring local authorities can have completely different recycling systems.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will introduce a comprehensive decarbonisation strategy for the agriculture sector which helps to support farmers and their supply chain partners to (a) restore nature, (b) cut greenhouse gas emissions and (c) (i) maintain and (ii) enhance food production.

Net Zero is a priority for the Government. The Net Zero Strategy, Net Zero Growth Plan, and Environmental Improvement Plan 2023 set out our commitments to reduce emissions from agriculture. Our farming policy aims to support farmers to protect nature and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, alongside their core role as food producers. Food production is the primary purpose of farming and always will be, and we know that changes to farming practice will be required to limit emissions while maintaining profitability and increasing productivity.

To achieve our greenhouse gas emissions targets, we are taking a range of measures to support farmers. This includes Environmental Land Management (ELM). Good land management can help increase carbon storage and reduce emissions in agriculture, including integrating cover crops and nitrogen-fixing break crops in rotations. We are paying for a range of actions through farming schemes such as Sustainable Farming Incentive to support farm decarbonisation and Countryside Stewardship and Landscape Recovery to store more carbon in the landscape. At the same time, these schemes invest in the foundations of food security: healthy soil, abundant pollinators and clean water. The schemes will help farmers deliver environmental outcomes on the land they manage while helping their businesses become more productive and sustainable.

We will also pay farmers for improvements to animal health and welfare, as improvements in animal health in turn can support lower emissions and improve productivity. We will also support market-led approaches such as improved productivity and use of precision techniques.

That is not all: the Government recognises wide-spread application of innovation, science and technology can be transformational. That is why we are implementing these through innovation and productivity schemes such as the £270 million Farming Innovation Programme and the Farming Investment Fund. We are also exploring innovations at different stages of development including methane inhibiting feed additives for livestock and improving fuel and energy efficiency on farms.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many live (a) cattle, (b) sheep, (c) pigs and (d) goats have been exported for fattening and slaughter since 1 January 2021.

There have been no exports of livestock for slaughter or fattening since 2020.

Exports of cattle, sheep, pigs and goats by sea to mainland Europe have not been viable since 1st January 2021, due to the lack of Border Control Post facilities designated to accept this trade in receiving EU Member States.

Whilst exports of equines have continued, this has been for the purpose of leisure, competition or breeding only; none have been exported for slaughter.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to protect Marine Conservation Zones.

Marine Protected Areas are an integral part of how we will protect 30% of our land and sea by 2030. Our seas play a critical role in biodiversity and regulating the Earth’s climate. The ocean absorbs over 90% of all excess heat in the Earth’s system and also provides a home to up to 80% of all life on the planet.

12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support horse riding schools.

Defra remains in close contact with the industry and meets regularly with the British Horse Council as well as other equine stakeholders including the British Horse Society to understand issues that are affecting the sector, including for riding schools.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the criteria is that employee relocation professionals should apply to determine how and when they may relocate employees into the UK from (a) EU countries, (b) outside the EU during the period of covid-19 travel restrictions; and if she will make a statement.

International travel to and from the United Kingdom is restricted to protect public health in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. HM Government is operating a ‘traffic light system’, which commenced on 17th May when the ‘Stay in the United Kingdom’ regulation ceased. The three categories – Red, Amber and Green – determine the health measures that are present at the border. You can see the full list of countries in each category on GOV.UK, where you can also find the steps to be taken before entering the country.

The risk posed by individual countries will be continuously monitored and ratings will be reviewed every three weeks. The traffic light system itself will be reviewed through a series of checkpoints in June, July and October, taking into account the latest domestic and international data. In addition, the visa application criteria is available on GOV.UK.

18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the planned timetable is to restart unrestricted employee relocation activity into the UK from abroad, and if she will make a statement.

International travel to and from the United Kingdom is restricted to protect public health in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. HM Government is operating a ‘traffic light system’, which commenced on 17th May when the ‘Stay in the United Kingdom’ regulation ceased. The three categories – Red, Amber and Green – determine the health measures that are present at the border. You can see the full list of countries in each category on GOV.UK, where you can also find the steps to be taken before entering the country.

The risk posed by individual countries will be continuously monitored and ratings will be reviewed every three weeks. The traffic light system itself will be reviewed through a series of checkpoints in June, July and October, taking into account the latest domestic and international data. In addition, the visa application criteria is available on GOV.UK.

13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with car insurance regulators on helping ensure that rises in car insurance premiums do not disproportionately impact elderly drivers.

The Government is determined that insurers should treat customers fairly and firms are required to do so under Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules.

Department for Transport officials regularly liaise with representatives of the motor insurance industry and discuss issues as they arise. However, it is the responsibility of individual motor insurers to set their premiums and the terms and conditions of their policies, and the Government does not intervene or seek to control the market.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage rail travel in the next 12 months.

The pandemic is changing travel habits, and we are starting to see some substantial changes in passenger demand for rail travel.

We are working with the rail industry to develop a number of recovery initiatives, focused on restoring passenger confidence and encouraging passengers to choose rail. Further announcements will be made in due course.

14th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many starts by region have been recorded for the youth offer as of 01 March 2024.

The Youth Offer launched on the 20 September 2020 and provides support for 16–24-year-olds who are on Universal Credit to help them move into employment. It includes three elements:

  • The Youth Employment Programme, which provides young people dedicated intensive Work Coach support in finding & applying for jobs, with additional assistance available for those who have recently begun their Universal Credit claim.
  • Youth Hubs, which bring together in one location DWP services with local support provided by youth experts. This ensures that the needs of young people are matched to services that help them tackle barriers to employment.
  • Youth Employability Coaches, who are focused on supporting young people furthest from the labour market overcome complex challenges so that they can move into work.

As of 01 March 2024, there have been 1,123,000 starts on the Youth Offer.

Starts by strand nationally:

Starts between dates

Youth Employment Programme

Youth Hub

Youth Employability Coach

Youth Offer

21/09/2020 – 31/03/2021

206,700

206,700

01/04/2021 – 31/03/2022

259,300

14,800

21,700

295,800

01/04/2021 – 31/03/2023

272,700

15,100

18,300

306,200

01/04/2023 – 29/02/2024

282,800

13,000

18,500

314,300

Total Starts

1,021,500

43,000

58,500

1,123,000

Starts by strand and region:

Region

Youth Employment Programme

Youth Hub

Youth Employability Coach

Youth Offer

East Midlands

69,000

1,000

2,500

72,500

East of England

78,400

400

3,800

82,500

London

157,800

3,100

5,900

166,800

North East

51,100

2,800

3,300

57,200

North West

131,500

10,700

9,600

151,800

Scotland

85,300

3,000

7,900

96,200

South East

107,000

3,700

3,800

114,600

South West

64,700

700

4,100

69,500

Wales

51,500

300

2,200

54,000

West Midlands

108,900

8,900

7,800

125,600

Yorkshire and The Humber

96,400

8,200

7,300

112,000

Unknown

19,800

200

400

20,400

Total

1,021,500

43,000

58,500

1,123,000

Notes:

  1. Eligible claimants who have recently begun their Universal Credit claim, and are actively searching for work, start in the Youth Employment Programme element of the Youth Offer. A Work Coach may later refer them to a Youth Hub, Youth Employability Coach or other employment support as appropriate based on their needs.
  2. When a claimant starts on any of the three elements of the Youth Offer, this is recorded as a start on that element, as well as a start on the Youth Offer.
  3. A claimant may take part in multiple elements of the Youth Offer. They may start any element of the Youth Offer multiple times. Each of these starts is recorded as a start on the Youth Offer.
  4. Claimants do not take part in multiple elements of the Youth Offer simultaneously.
  5. Data for Youth Hubs and Youth Employability Coaches is not available prior to April-21.
  6. Youth Hub and Youth Employability Coach data is produced from a manual process and although care is taken when processing and analysing Youth Hub and Youth Employability Coach referrals, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which features manual data. Therefore, Youth Hub and Youth Employability Coach figures are likely to underestimate the number of young people who have started at a Youth Hub and/or with a Youth Employability Coach.
  7. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 100. Therefore, the individual elements in the table may not sum to the total figure.
  8. Figures are subject to retrospective revision.
  9. Youth Offer starts are categorised as “unknown” in cases where limited data is available.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many sector-based work academies have taken place in total and in each (a) country and (b) region of the UK since the programme began.

Sector-based work academies were launched in August 2011 in England and January 2012 in Scotland. Regular statistical releases on sector-based work academies, covering participation by those on legacy unemployment benefits, began in 2011 and ended in 2017. These statistics can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/employment-schemes-work-experience-sector-based-work-academy-and-skills-conditionality-starts-to-november-2017

The scheme was relaunched as Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs) in July 2020 as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs. Due to data limitations, we are unable to provide a geographical breakdown for SWAPs that took place before the start of the 2021/22 financial year.

Data for the financial years 2021/22, 2022/23 and 2023/24 to date shows that, as of 28 January 2024, there were a total of 266,330 starts to a Sector-based Work Academy Programme. The breakdowns of these starts are provided in the attached tables. Final start figures for 2023/24 will be available early next financial year.

Notes on the data:

Attached are tables listing the number of SWAP starts to date by Country, Region, Local Authority, Sector and Age band. The figures used are correct as of 28 January 2024 and these figures have been rounded according to departmental standards.

These figures reflect the number of starts by claimants in receipt of Universal Credit (UC), Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support (IS).

It is important to note that the information provided shows the current home location of the person who has started a SWAP. For starts by those in receipt of JSA, ESA or IS, due to data limitations a location cannot be assigned to these starts and as such they are categorised as unknown within the figures. SWAPs are run in England and Scotland, where a person’s current home location is outside of this they have also been categorised as unknown.

Although care is taken when processing and recording SWAP starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any clerical recording system, but is provided in the interests of transparency.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the total rate of employment was for people aged 16 and over in the period between February and April 2010; and what the total rate of unemployment was for people aged 16 to 64 in that period.

Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity data for various age groups is published and available at:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/summaryoflabourmarketstatistics

  • The headline measure of the UK employment level is for people aged 16+ whereas the headline measure of the employment rate is for people aged 16-64.
  • The headline measure of the UK unemployment level and the unemployment rate is for people aged 16+.
  • The headline measure of the UK economic inactivity level is for people aged 16-64.
Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people aged 16 to 64 were economically inactive in the period between February and April 2010; and how many people aged 16 to 24 were (a) in employment and (b) unemployed in that period.

Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity data for various age groups is published and available at:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/summaryoflabourmarketstatistics

  • The headline measure of the UK employment level is for people aged 16+ whereas the headline measure of the employment rate is for people aged 16-64.
  • The headline measure of the UK unemployment level and the unemployment rate is for people aged 16+.
  • The headline measure of the UK economic inactivity level is for people aged 16-64.
Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people aged (a) 16 and over and (b) 16 to 64 were (i) in employment and (ii) unemployed between February and April 2010.

Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity data for various age groups is published and available at:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/summaryoflabourmarketstatistics

  • The headline measure of the UK employment level is for people aged 16+ whereas the headline measure of the employment rate is for people aged 16-64.
  • The headline measure of the UK unemployment level and the unemployment rate is for people aged 16+.
  • The headline measure of the UK economic inactivity level is for people aged 16-64.
Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring that housing benefit is paid directly to landlords.

Housing Benefit regulations have powers which allow local authorities to make payments of Housing Benefit direct to the landlord if it appears to be in the interest of the claimant and their family. Serious rent arrears, for example arrears equivalent of six weeks’ rent, may indicate it is in the claimant’s best interests to arrange direct payment.

When deciding whether to make direct payments local authorities must consider the individual circumstances of each case.

There are currently no plans to review this policy.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department has made an estimate of the cost to the public purse of removing the two children limit for support provided through (a) the Child Tax Credit and (b) Universal Credit.

The latest available estimate was made in 2019, which can be found here Written questions and answers - Written questions, answers and statements - UK Parliament

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)