Mary Kelly Foy Portrait

Mary Kelly Foy

Labour - City of Durham

First elected: 12th December 2019



Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Mary Kelly Foy has voted in 661 divisions, and 3 times against the majority of their Party.

30 Dec 2020 - Sittings of the House - View Vote Context
Mary Kelly Foy voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 7 Labour Aye votes vs 183 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 335 Noes - 212
20 May 2020 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Mary Kelly Foy voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Labour Aye votes vs 189 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 355 Noes - 254
12 Jul 2023 - ADJOURNMENT (SUMMER, CONFERENCE AND CHRISTMAS) - View Vote Context
Mary Kelly Foy voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour No votes vs 118 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 395 Noes - 5
View All Mary Kelly Foy Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Matt Hancock (Independent)
(14 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(14 debate interactions)
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(11 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(65 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(44 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(21 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(19 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Mary Kelly Foy's debates

City of Durham 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

No general statutory duty of care exists in HE. Yet, a duty of care is owed to students, and the Government should legislate for this. HE providers should know what their duty is. Students must know what they can expect. Parents expect their children to be safe at university.

Ensure any ban fully includes trans people and all forms of conversion therapy.

Reform the GRA to allow transgender people to self-identify without the need for a medical diagnosis, to streamline the administrative process, and to allow non-binary identities to be legally recognised.

The Government's manifesto stated “we will make intentional trespass a criminal offence”: an extreme, illiberal & unnecessary attack on ancient freedoms that would threaten walkers, campers, and the wider public. It would further tilt the law in favour of the landowning 1% who own half the country.

The government is helping private firms to protect jobs by paying up to 80% of staff wages through this crisis. If it can do this why can it not help key workers who will be putting themselves/their families at risk and working extra hard under extremely challenging and unprecedented circumstances.

During the pandemic government workers have delivered vital public services and kept our country safe and secure. After ten years in which the real value of civil service pay has fallen, many face hardship. The Government must start to restore the real value of their pay with a 10% increase in 2020.


Latest EDMs signed by Mary Kelly Foy

22nd March 2024
Mary Kelly Foy signed this EDM on Tuesday 26th March 2024

Four-day working week

Tabled by: John McDonnell (Labour - Hayes and Harlington)
That this House understands the importance of exploring the possibility of a shorter working week, including a four-day week, which trials have shown can benefit workers, employers, the economy, society and the environment; recognises that companies in the world's biggest four-day week trial saw healthy growth, with an average revenue …
23 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Mar 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 14
Scottish National Party: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 1
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
26th March 2024
Mary Kelly Foy signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Tuesday 26th March 2024

County Durham Community Clothing Bank and Food Pantry

Tabled by: Mary Kelly Foy (Labour - City of Durham)
That this House commends the County Durham Community Clothing Bank and Food Pantry for their work in supporting people in City of Durham; recognises that they provide clothing, including school uniforms, and food parcels for those experiencing financial difficulties; further commends the volunteers for providing children with an Easter egg …
1 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Mar 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 1
View All Mary Kelly Foy's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Mary Kelly Foy, 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.


Mary Kelly Foy has not been granted any Urgent Questions

3 Adjournment Debates led by Mary Kelly Foy

Wednesday 24th May 2023
Tuesday 24th November 2020

1 Bill introduced by Mary Kelly Foy


A Bill to impose duties on certain education and training providers in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.

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


Latest 50 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
6 Other Department Questions
7th Dec 2023
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission is taking steps to help increase (a) scientific and (b) statistical literacy among (i) MPs and (ii) MPs' staff.

The Research and Information Team (R&I) leads on much of the House’s work to support Members and their staff with their research and information needs, including those of a scientific and statistical nature.

The team provides direct statistical and scientific support to MPs and their staff through the Enquiry Service. In 2022/23, 18,000 individual Member research requests were handled across all topic areas.

The team publishes resources to help parliamentarians engage with scientific and statistical issues, including:


The team provides wider statistical and scientific support to MPs and their staff through events and training. For example, in 2023 the Library hosted:

  • A talk by the Office for National Statistics on how it measures the economy
  • Evidence Week in collaboration with the charity Sense About Science and in partnership with Ipsos, the UK Statistics Authority and universities and research institutions from across the UK. More than 160 MPs, Peers and staff participated.


The Library provides courses to enhance research skills, such as a course on finding scientific content and on how to use the Library’s specialist scientific and statistical resources.

In addition to the work conducted by R&I, the Members’ Services Team (which leads on general training for Members’ staff) and the Select Committee Team (which supports Committee Members) may also meet requests for scientific or statistical training, or work with R&I to address the need.

7th Dec 2023
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission is taking steps to increase access to period products on the parliamentary estate.

The House of Commons Administration is committed to providing free period products across the Commons Estate. These efforts have been supported by the Administration Committee which agreed in September 2023 that an initial trial of free period products should be made permanent.

The House Administration provides a minimum of one machine supplying free period products in each outbuilding and in multiple locations across the Palace, with 27 machines in total. It is undertaking to widen this access to as many applicable toilets as possible.

Free provision is supplemented by the continuation of machines offering products to purchase, with 81 across site.

17th Oct 2023
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many buildings on the parliamentary estate are constructed with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete.

Completed surveys have identified some elements of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete in the Palace of Westminster. Fifteen other areas are in the process of being assessed, 11 within the Palace and four within other buildings on the parliamentary estate.

28th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether victims of (a) sexual orientation and (b) gender identity conversion practices will have statutory access to victim support under the Government’s proposed conversion practices ban.

The Government funds a support service for anyone affected by or at risk of conversion practices, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender. The service is run by Galop, which is the UK’s leading LGBT+ anti-abuse charity, and comprises a helpline, instant messaging service, and website, ensuring survivors of the practice can find and access the support that they need.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what plans the Government has for pre-legislative scrutiny of its ban on conversion practices.

The Government will shortly publish a draft Bill and consultation response setting out our approach to banning conversion practices. The draft legislation will go for pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee in this parliamentary session.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse is of hanging an official portrait of His Majesty The King in public authorities in the UK.

As is usual practice following accession, an Official Portrait has been taken of His Majesty The King to mark the start of the new Reign, for use in public buildings and for other official purposes. His Majesty’s Government will use this portrait for the Official Portrait Scheme, announced by the Deputy Prime Minister in April last year.

The ongoing scheme opened in November 2023 to enable certain Public Authorities across the UK to apply for a free, framed official portrait of His Majesty The King for display in their buildings. As always, the Government is ensuring value for money in the contract for the production and distribution of the Official Portrait. By establishing a UK-wide contract for the supply of portraits for this scheme, HMG has achieved a significant cost saving in comparison to comparable commercially available royal portraits thereby benefiting the public-purse as a whole. The supplier will be paid per delivered portrait and as it is a voluntary scheme the final cost will depend on the uptake.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
10th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many government contracts have been awarded to Fujitsu since 2010.

This historic information is not held centrally.


Details of central government contracts where the contract value is above £12,000 are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
7th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 6 December 2023 to Question 4272 on Ministers: Science and Statistics, whether the eight masterclasses are mandatory; and how many Ministers have enrolled to these courses as of 7 December 2023.

The masterclass programme is not mandatory. The programme is delivered with recognition that there are multiple competing demands on ministers' time. To date 39 ministers have attended one or more sessions.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
28th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he is taking steps to increase levels of (a) scientific and (b) statistical literacy among ministers.

The Declaration on Government Reform committed to investing in training for ministers, and a ministerial training programme has been developed which includes two half-day induction sessions for new-to-government ministers, and a rolling programme of eight masterclasses open to all ministers. Specifically, the programme includes a masterclass on working with scientific advice led by the Government Chief Scientific Advisor and a masterclass on data led by the Government Chief Statistician.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
17th Apr 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to increase access to public procurement contracts for UK-based SMEs.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the UK economy. That is why we are making sure the power of Government spending supports this vital sector.

We are increasing opportunities for SMEs - from transparently publishing contract pipelines to simplifying bidding processes and strengthening prompt payment measures.

I am proud that this Conservative Government is bringing in the new public procurement regime will create a simpler and significantly more transparent system that will further open up public procurement to SMEs so that they can compete for and win more public contracts. SMEs will benefit from a new duty on contracting authorities to have regard to reducing and removing barriers to SME participation. This will include making bidding timescales realistic and prohibiting contracting authorities from requiring audited accounts and insurances to be in place prior to contract award - helping new entrants to the market.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of commissioning an independent review of criminal convictions during the miners strikes of 1984-85.

The Government does not believe that an independent review of criminal convictions during the miners' strike of 1984-85 is appropriate or necessary. Any individual who believes they have been wrongly convicted of a crime can make a request to the independent Criminal Cases Review Commission who can investigate and where appropriate refer cases back to the courts.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to provide a pardon to people convicted of certain offences related to the miners' strike committed between 12 March 1984 and 3 March 1985.

The legislative programme for the current Parliamentary session has been announced. The Government has no plans to bring forward legislative proposals in this area.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, how many government contracts have been awarded to Fujitsu for Post Office Ltd since 2015.

Post Office operates as a commercial business at arm’s length from Government and the company is responsible for its own commercial relationships. As such, there are no Government contracts with Fujitsu relating to the Post Office.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department plans to take steps to (a) provide Gypsies and Travellers living on roadside encampments with support through Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding and (b) work with (i) Traveller Liaison Officers and (ii) other Local Authorities Officers to confirm the eligibility of those people for that scheme.

After stakeholder engagement sessions and research exercises, the government has been unable to establish a robust method for households in caravans not on permanent sites to prove that their caravan is their main or sole residence, whilst protecting public funds against fraud.

We recommend that these households should contact their local authority to apply for the Housing Support Fund and also visit the ‘Help for Households’ webpage on GOV.UK to view what other support they may be eligible to receive - https://helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk/.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many (a) Gypsies and (b) Travellers living on Traveller sites have (i) applied for and (ii) received an Alternative Fuels Payment.

The Government do not hold the data requested.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will publish disaggregated data on the number of Gypsies and Travellers living on sites who have (a) applied for and (b) received the Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding payment since the scheme was introduced.

As of 11th July 2023, the cumulative number of those who self-declared as travellers (fixed) that had applied for the Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding (GB & NI) was 12,040, of whom 8,120 had received their payment for the support.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of changes in the level of standing charges on (a) low income and (b) other vulnerable households.

How suppliers choose to set the standing charge and unit rate is a commercial decision. However, the energy price cap sets a limit on unit rates and standing charges, ensuring that millions of households pay a fair price for their energy.

In August 2022, Ofgem reviewed the components of the standing charge to see if they could be reduced. Ofgem concluded that, if the methodology for the standing charge were to change, there are numerous high consuming, vulnerable users, such as disabled users, who would pay more. Therefore, retaining the current methodology protects vulnerable users with greater energy needs.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
23rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make the Alternative Fuel Payment available to (a) Gypsy and Traveller households living in encampments and (b) itinerant liveaboard boaters.

The Government is keen to support these households and to ensure that they can receive the Alternative Fuel Payment via the Alternative Fund where eligible. We are currently working to find an acceptable method for these households to provide proof of eligibility, whilst protecting public funds, so they can claim the AFP AF support.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to the National Semiconductor Strategy published in May 2023, if she will provide funding in the forthcoming Autumn Statement to support non-silicon semiconductor manufacturing including flexible circuits.

The National Semiconductor Strategy sets out the government’s plan to build on the UK’s strengths to grow our sector, increase our resilience and protect our security.

We will announce plans by the autumn to further support the competitiveness of the semiconductor manufacturing sector that is critical to the UK tech ecosystem or our national security.

We have engaged extensively with industry including with the new Semiconductor Advisory Panel to inform our approach.

22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she is taking to help deliver nationwide gigabit broadband to 85 per cent of all households by 2025.

I am pleased to share that more than 98% of premises in the City of Durham constituency can access a superfast connection, above the national average. More than 61% of premises are also able to access a gigabit-capable connection, which is a significant increase from just 1% of premises in 2019.

The Government is committed to working with broadband suppliers further so that 85% of UK premises can access gigabit-capable broadband by 2025. We are on track to achieve our target. At present, over 74% of UK premises can access a gigabit-capable connection, up from just 6% in January 2019.

Project Gigabit is the Government’s £5 billion mission to deliver fast, reliable broadband across the UK. More than £1 billion of public subsidy has been made available to broadband suppliers to extend their gigabit-capable networks to rural and hard to reach parts of the country. To date, we have awarded seven contracts in locations from Cornwall to Cumbria, and we have launched a further 14 procurements, which combined will deliver fast, reliable broadband to up to 748,000 premises that would have otherwise missed out.

Support is also available for homes and businesses through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. The voucher scheme provides a subsidy of up to £4,500 for residents and businesses in rural areas towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband via local community broadband projects. To date, almost 84,000 vouchers have been used to connect premises to gigabit-capable broadband.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of replacing the Energy Bill Relief Scheme with the Energy Bill Discount Scheme on the UK hospice sector.

The new Energy Bill Discount Scheme (EBDS) will run from April until March 2024 and continue to provide a discount to eligible non-domestic customers, including hospices.

An HMT-led review into the operation of the current Energy Bill Relief Schemes was conducted with the objective of significantly reducing the overall burden on the taxpayer/public finances, and ensuring support is targeted at those most in need and unable to adjust to recent energy price rises. The review considered a range of qualitative and quantitative evidence, including input from businesses and stakeholders. The new scheme strikes a balance between supporting non-domestic customers and limiting taxpayer’s exposure to volatile energy markets, with a cap set at £5.5 billion.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
18th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure any fall in wholesale energy costs are passed onto domestic consumers promptly.

Ofgem calculate the price cap to reflect the efficient costs of supplying energy. Ofgem now update the cap quarterly, so consumers will benefit more quickly from falling wholesale prices. The Government then applies the Energy Price Guarantee to reduce the cost of electricity and gas so that a typical household will pay an average bill of £2,500 a year until April 2023 and then £3,000 a year until April 2024. Where the efficient cost of supplying energy falls below the level of the EPG, the price cap ensures that Standard Variable Tariffs will reflect the lower cost of wholesale energy.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the Energy Bills Support Scheme on students who pay their energy bills through a third party.

If landlords have a domestic electricity meter point, they will receive £400 through the Energy Bills Support Scheme. The Government introduced the Energy Prices Bill in Parliament on 12th October. The Bill includes provisions to require landlords to pass benefits received from the Energy Price Guarantee, Energy Bills Support Scheme, or Energy Bill Relief Scheme to tenants who pay all-inclusive bills.

If landlords have a commercial meter, they will not receive the £400 payment. Commercial halls are supported through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of equalising standing charges in the UK to assist with tackling regional disparities in the cost of energy bills.

The standing charge element of an energy bill reflects the on-going costs that fall on energy suppliers to provide and maintain a live supply regardless of a consumer’s usage. One component of these costs relates to distribution. As it costs more to distribute electricity to some regions than others, there are regional variations in standing charges to reflect higher costs to serve.

Under the Energy Price Guarantee, average standing charges for customers on default tariffs will remain capped in line with the levels set (in Great Britain) by Ofgem for the default tariff cap from 1 October. Standing charges for households in Northern Ireland will also be unaffected.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department will extend the energy price cap to include (a) LPG, (b) heating oil and (c) solid fuel.

The Government has no plans to introduce a price cap on alternative fuels.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the comparative affordability of heating in winter 2022 for (a) on grid and (b) off grid households.

The price of heating oil is estimated to have risen by around 147% in the year to October 2022. A payment of £100 will effectively limit the increase in heating costs to 130%, in line with the benefit offered by the Energy Price Guarantee for customers on mains gas.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 20 June 2022 to Question 18990 on Energy Bills Rebate, whether he is taking steps to help ensure that Gypsies, Travellers and other nomadic households will receive the £400 energy bills rebate; and if he will hold discussions with voluntary sector organisations on identifying groups that could be excluded from the scheme.

On 29 July the Government set out further details of the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) and confirmed that further funding will be available to provide equivalent support of £400 for energy bills for the small percentage of domestic energy consumers not reached by EBSS. This will include those who do not have a domestic electricity meter or a direct relationship with an energy supplier. The government will be announcing details later in the autumn on eligibility and on how these households will receive the £400 payment.

This support will be provided alongside the ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ which will mean a typical UK household will pay, on average, no more than £2,500 a year on their energy bill for the next two years.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the price of petrol and diesel in County Durham.

The Government publishes weekly national average pump prices for both petrol and diesel online at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/weekly-road-fuel-prices. The Government does not collect data at a local level.

The difference in retail prices largely reflects a difference in traded wholesale prices for the two fuels. The wholesale cost of diesel is often higher than for petrol. This is because UK and European refineries were historically set up at a time when petrol was the dominant fuel in demand. Consequently, the UK is a net importer of diesel but a net exporter of petrol.

The Government analysis shows that petrol and diesel prices are mainly driven by the price of crude oil (priced in US$) and exchange rates. These are also influenced by a range of factors, which can create small price differences in the short term. This includes balance of demand and supply for individual fuels, levels of oil stocks, changes to the costs of biofuels, and distribution and retail costs.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made a recent assessment of the level of disparity in prices for petrol and diesel across County Durham.

The Government publishes weekly national average pump prices for both petrol and diesel online at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/weekly-road-fuel-prices. The Government does not collect data at a local level.

The difference in retail prices largely reflects a difference in traded wholesale prices for the two fuels. The wholesale cost of diesel is often higher than for petrol. This is because UK and European refineries were historically set up at a time when petrol was the dominant fuel in demand. Consequently, the UK is a net importer of diesel but a net exporter of petrol.

The Government analysis shows that petrol and diesel prices are mainly driven by the price of crude oil (priced in US$) and exchange rates. These are also influenced by a range of factors, which can create small price differences in the short term. This includes balance of demand and supply for individual fuels, levels of oil stocks, changes to the costs of biofuels, and distribution and retail costs.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing additional financial support to households with dual fuel energy bills.

Our Energy Price Cap remains in place, protecting millions of households from sudden price spikes. We are also supporting the most vulnerable and low-income households with the cost of fuel bills through initiatives such as the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that working unpaid carers in (a) City of Durham and (b) England are supported to remain in work.

The Government recognises the crucial role unpaid carers play, especially during this difficult period.

On 8th April we published guidance for unpaid carers on GOV.UK, which includes general advice on infection control, advice on caring where someone has symptoms, how to create care plans, how to make alternative care arrangements at short notice and access links to various NHS resources.

We have provided additional funding to Carers UK’s helpline, information and support services, to help more carers access trusted information and advice. We also continue to signpost carers to the charity’s website for additional information and support during this pandemic.

We are committed to supporting carers in the City of Durham and across the country to remain in work, recognising the challenges of balancing work and care also in the longer term.

This is why the Government is now consulting on proposals to introduce Carer’s Leave, to support working people who are also carers to balance employment with their caring responsibilities.

This Government is also clear about the benefits of flexible working for employers and for their employees, including those with caring responsibilities. In our manifesto we said that, subject to consultation, we would introduce measures to make flexible working the default.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans her Department has to ensure that social media companies remove content that (a) bullies and (b) defames people on their platforms in a timely manner.

The Government published the draft Online Safety Bill in May 2021, which places new legal duties on tech companies, including social media platforms, to protect their users.

All companies in scope will need to tackle illegal abuse by making sure it is taken down quickly when they are aware of it and by using systems and processes to minimise the risk of similar material appearing. Services which are likely to be accessed by children will need to provide safety measures for child users, including from cyberbullying. Major platforms will also need to address legal but harmful content for adults. Ofcom as the regulator will be able to take enforcement action, including large fines, against companies who do not comply with their duties.

The draft Bill has been subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee which reported its recommendations on 14 December. We are considering the Committee’s recommendations and are committed to introducing the Bill shortly.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the use of Tik Tok by pupils in schools to (a) cyberbully and (b) defame (i) other pupils and (ii) teachers.

The Government recognises the serious risks that pupils and teachers face online. The Department for Education’s COVID-19 Parent and Pupil Panel Survey, published in October 2021, found that 6% of pupils in years 6-13 reported that they had experienced online bullying in the 12 months up to July 2021. Furthermore, Ofcom’s Internet Users’ Experience of Potential Online Harms Survey conducted in early 2020 found that 1% of children aged 12-15 who had experienced bullying, abusive behaviour and threats cited TikTok as the platform on which this occurred.

The Government is also deeply concerned by reports related to the abuse of teachers on TikTok. The upcoming Online Safety Bill will ensure that online platforms, including TikTok, do much more to protect their users, including from online bullying and abuse. The strongest protections in the legislation are for children.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to regulate gambling advertising on (a) television, (b) online and (c) sports shirt sponsorship.

All gambling advertising, wherever it appears, is already subject to strict controls on content and placement. Gambling operators and their affiliates must abide by the advertising codes issued by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP). Breaches of the code can result in the Gambling Commission taking enforcement action. The CAP has recently consulted on strengthening the advertising codes for gambling for the greater protection of children and vulnerable adults. New measures to protect vulnerable adults are already in force and a full consultation outcome, including new protections for children, is expected shortly.

In addition, the gambling industry has its own gambling advertising code – The Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising which includes additional requirements, for example, a 9pm television advertising watershed for most forms of gambling and ensuring advertising is targeted only at those over 25 years old on social media.

As with advertising, sponsorship arrangements must be socially responsible and must never be targeted at children. If a gambling sponsorship is socially irresponsible or otherwise violates licence conditions, the Gambling Commission can take action against both the operator and the partner organisation.

The Government is reviewing the Gambling Act 2005 to ensure it remains fit for the digital age. As part of its broad scope, the review called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing operators to advertise and engage in sponsorship arrangements. We are considering the evidence carefully and will publish a White Paper outlining conclusions and next steps in due course. We are also looking more broadly at how online advertising is regulated through the Online Advertising Programme, which will be launching a public consultation in the coming months.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to his oral contribution of 20 May 2021 Official Report 860, what the latest public health guidance is that he referred to; how that guidance takes into account research conducted by Public Health England in summer 2020 that showed that singing was no more dangerous than shouting or exercising in an enclosed space; whether he has made an assessment of the ability of organisations that run choirs to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their members compared with informal clubs whose activities have resumed under covid-19 restrictions.

I know that the restrictions on singing are frustrating to large numbers of amateur choirs and performance groups across the country and that many people have made sacrifices in order to drive down infections and protect the NHS over the last year. I can assure you that everyone across Government wants to ease these restrictions as soon as possible.

However, it is important that we take a cautious approach in easing restrictions as we wouldn’t want to reverse the progress we are making. There is evidence that singing loudly can increase aerosol and thus increase the risk of coronavirus transmission, particularly indoors. As with any activity, the cumulative effect of aerosol transmission means the more people involved, the higher the risk of transmission.

The Covid context has also changed with the emergence of more transmissible strains. This would include the so-called Alpha variant B.1.1.7 which research suggests may be 70% more transmissible, and now the Delta variant B1.617.2 which looks to be even more transmissible. This means the risks associated with transmission have increased since these studies were undertaken. For these reasons it is important that we take a cautious approach in easing restrictions, so that we can see the impact of this before moving to the next step.

We will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation. Further detail on step 4 will be set out as soon as possible.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on women’s professional football.

Football clubs form an integral part of this country and it is important they are given as much support as possible during these difficult times. In light of this, the Government announced a comprehensive and sizable package of direct fiscal support for business through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support.

I recently wrote to the Football Association, alongside the other major sport governing bodies, to underline the importance of maintaining the momentum of women’s football. We want to see women’s sport continue to thrive, and football is a popular choice for women and girls to get active (being the second most popular team sport in terms of participation for adult women in England). The government is also looking forward to the UK hosting the rescheduled women’s UEFA European Championships in 2022. The Government will continue to liaise closely with the football authorities on this important matter.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the timescale is for the introduction of the Online Harms Bill.

The Government is committed to making the UK the safest place to be online. DCMS and the Home Office are working at pace to develop the legislation. We will publish a full government response later this year, and legislation will be ready this session.

22nd Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has placed a ban on all inter-year transfers to St Leonard's Catholic School in City of Durham.

The Secretary of State for Education would not have powers to place a ban on inter-year transfers to St Leonard's Catholic School in the City of Durham.

Parents can apply for a place for their child at any school at any time. An application after the start of the school year for a place in the normal year of entry (usually Year 7 in a secondary school), or for any other year group, is called an “in-year” application. The School Admissions Code sets out requirements in relation to in-year admissions.

Where an application is received for a year which is not the normal year of entry, the admission authority can only refuse if the admission of another child would “prejudice the provision of efficient education or efficient use of resources”.

Where in-year applications are received for the normal year of entry, the admission authority must admit children up to the Published Admission Number (PAN).

If an admission authority (in this case, Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Academy Trust) wishes to change the PAN for Year 7, they would need to submit a request to vary the published admission arrangements (which include the PAN) to the Secretary of State for Education.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
11th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to page 9 of the document entitled SEND and alternative provision improvement plan, published on 2 March 2023, when her Department plans to publish guidance to support effective transitions between (a) all stages of education and (b) into employment and adult services.

The special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and alternative provision (AP) Improvement Plan, published on 2 March 2023, outlines the government’s mission to establish a single, national SEND and AP system. Alongside this, the department published a roadmap which summarises the actions set out in the Improvement Plan to improve the SEND and AP system in England. The SEND and AP improvement plan can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-and-alternative-provision-improvement-plan. The roadmap can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-and-alternative-provision-improvement-plan/send-and-alternative-provision-roadmap.

As part of this roadmap, the department committed to publishing this guidance by the end of 2025.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether all (a) books, (b) coursework and (c) other items have been retrieved from inaccessible parts of St Leonard’s Catholic School since September 2023.

The department funded and co-ordinated the decant of items from inaccessible parts of St Leonard’s Catholic School during the October 2023 half-term. The list of items for retrieval was provided by the school and these were recovered during this decant. In December 2023, the school advised officials that there were further items that they required. These were recovered on 6 December.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance her Department issues on the minimum temperature at which a temporary classroom can be safely used.

Guidance on recommended temperatures for classrooms are included in the energy efficiency guidance for schools. This guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-efficiency-guidance-for-the-school-and-fe-college-estate/energy-efficiency-guidance-for-the-school-and-further-education-college-estate#heating.

More generally, the Health and Safety Executive’s published guidance includes the recommended minimum temperature for working indoors. This guidance can be found at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/employer/index.htm.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to allow for mitigating circumstances for pupils whose education has been disrupted due to the presence of RAAC.

Ofqual is the independent regulator of examinations and qualifications in England, and its statutory objectives are set out in Section 128 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009. These include securing that ’regulated qualifications give a reliable indication of knowledge, skills and understanding’, and that ’regulated qualifications indicate a consistent level of attainment (including over time) between comparable regulated qualifications’.

It is important to ensure that all students taking comparable exams and assessments are assessed to the same standard in order to maintain qualification standards and public confidence in qualifications. If different standards are applied for different groups of students, then the qualification will cease to provide a reliable indication of the knowledge, skills and understanding that it is intended to measure.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, published in October 2022, what steps she is taking to implement Recommendation six of that report.

The department is working closely with the Home Office and others on implementing the recommendations in the final report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. This was most recently discussed with the Home Secretary on 17 October.

With regard to recommendation six, the government accepted unequivocally the need for children and young people to have their voices heard, to feel empowered to raise concerns, and challenge any aspect of their care. The department is prioritising work to update national standards and statutory guidance for the provision of children’s advocacy services. In September the department launched a consultation on proposals, including extending the scope of the standards to apply to special residential settings and introducing a new standard on non-instructed advocacy for children who are non-verbal. This consultation closed on 18 December.

The department also remains committed to reviewing and strengthening the Independent Reviewing Officer and Regulation 44 visitors’ roles, and is continuing to engage with stakeholders on different options.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on implementing the recommendations in the report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, published in October 2022.

The department is working closely with the Home Office and others on implementing the recommendations in the final report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. This was most recently discussed with the Home Secretary on 17 October.

With regard to recommendation six, the government accepted unequivocally the need for children and young people to have their voices heard, to feel empowered to raise concerns, and challenge any aspect of their care. The department is prioritising work to update national standards and statutory guidance for the provision of children’s advocacy services. In September the department launched a consultation on proposals, including extending the scope of the standards to apply to special residential settings and introducing a new standard on non-instructed advocacy for children who are non-verbal. This consultation closed on 18 December.

The department also remains committed to reviewing and strengthening the Independent Reviewing Officer and Regulation 44 visitors’ roles, and is continuing to engage with stakeholders on different options.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of support available to young people on the autism assessment waiting list who are sitting exams for Ofqual-regulated qualifications.

​​The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is taking steps to improve access to assessments for autism. In 2023/24, DHSC allocated £4.2 million to improve services for autistic children and young people including assessments, pre-and post-diagnostic support, and the continuation of the Autism in Schools programme. Additionally, in April 2023, NHS England published a national framework to support the local NHS to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people, and adults.

​​The Department for Education wants all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), to be able to reach their full potential and receive the right support to succeed in their education and as they move into adult life. Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to make sure a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the special educational provision they need.

​​The SEND Code of Practice is clear however that meeting the needs of a child with SEN does not require a diagnostic label or test. Instead, the department expects teachers to monitor the progress of all children and young people and put support in place where needed, including arranging diagnostic tests where appropriate.

​​The 2023 SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan set out the department’s vision to improve mainstream education through setting standards for early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and practitioner standards will be developed to support frontline professionals, including one on autism.

​​The department's Universal Services contract brings together SEND-specific continuing professional development and support for the school and further education workforce to improve outcomes for children and young people, including those with autism, through one programme, which aims to reach 70% of schools and colleges in England per year.

​​The contract offers autism awareness training and resources, and over 100,000 professionals have undertaken this autism awareness training since the Universal Services programme launched last year.

​Access arrangements can be agreed with exam boards for candidates with specific needs, including SEND, to help them access assessments to show what they know and can do without affecting the integrity of the assessment.

​​The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) or equivalent for a school or college must lead on the access arrangements process, fully supported by teaching staff and members of the senior leadership team. SENCos are responsible for taking appropriate steps to gather an appropriate picture of need, demonstrate normal ways of working for candidates, and ensure that approved access arrangements are put in place for internal school tests, mock examinations and examinations.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)