Munira Wilson Portrait

Munira Wilson

Liberal Democrat - Twickenham

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

(since October 2021)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2020 - 21st Oct 2021
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020


Department Event
Monday 4th July 2022
09:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
4 Jul 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 18th May 2022
Achieving Economic Growth
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 10 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 59 Noes - 315
Speeches
Monday 23rd May 2022
Independent Review of Children’s Social Care
As the Minister has set out, kinship carers are unsung heroes who often step in at short notice to care …
Written Answers
Monday 23rd May 2022
Schools: Admissions
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to Point 162 in the Schools White Paper, which specific …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 10th May 2022
Covid-19 testing and school exams
That this House recognises the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on pupil and staff absences; believes there is potential for …
Bills
Tuesday 8th March 2022
Miscarriage and Stillbirth (Black and Asian Women) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to lay before Parliament annual reports on progress in reducing miscarriage and …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 28th March 2022
1. Employment and earnings
22 March 2022, payment of £400 for a training session for NHS professionals. Hours: 1.75 hrs. (Registered 25 March 2022)
EDM signed
Monday 23rd May 2022
Ownership of Channel 4
That this House is concerned about the Government's plans to privatise Channel 4, a publicly owned company that does not …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 3rd March 2020
School Toilets (Access During Lessons) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to publish guidance for state-funded schools on allowing pupil access to toilets …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Munira Wilson has voted in 435 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Munira Wilson Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(100 debate interactions)
Nadhim Zahawi (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Education
(21 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(20 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(126 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(39 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(32 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(17 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Munira Wilson's debates

Twickenham Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with most Twickenham signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

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

Endometriosis and PCOS are two gynaecological conditions which both affect 10% of women worldwide, but both are, in terms of research and funding, incredibly under prioritised. This petition is calling for more funding, to enable for new, extensive and thorough research into female health issues.

We want the Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, which would be unacceptable.

Advice from the JCVI on the priority groups for a Covid-19 vaccine does not include school/childcare workers. This petition calls for these workers, who cannot distance or use PPE, to be kept safe at work by being put on the vaccine priority list when such a list is adopted into government policy.

The government should consider delaying negotiations so they can concentrate on the coronavirus situation and reduce travel of both EU and UK negotiators. This would necessitate extending the transition period; as there can only be a one off extension, this should be for two years.

If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.

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

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.

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

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.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.

After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.

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.

To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare

Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.


Latest EDMs signed by Munira Wilson

16th May 2022
Munira Wilson signed this EDM on Monday 23rd May 2022

Ownership of Channel 4

Tabled by: Jamie Stone (Liberal Democrat - Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross)
That this House is concerned about the Government's plans to privatise Channel 4, a publicly owned company that does not cost the taxpayer a penny; notes that Channel 4 is not run for profit and is therefore free from the need to create return for shareholders; acknowledges that Channel 4's …
32 signatures
(Most recent: 23 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 12
Liberal Democrat: 8
Scottish National Party: 5
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 1
Alba Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
11th May 2022
Munira Wilson signed this EDM on Monday 23rd May 2022

ME Awareness Day 2022

Tabled by: Carol Monaghan (Scottish National Party - Glasgow North West)
That this House recognises 12 May 2022 as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) Awareness Day, which aims to highlight the impact this condition has on approximately 250,000 people across the UK; commends the endless dedication of campaigners and charities working to raise awareness of ME as a serious and debilitating neurological condition; …
40 signatures
(Most recent: 23 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 13
Labour: 11
Liberal Democrat: 4
Democratic Unionist Party: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Conservative: 1
Alba Party: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Munira Wilson's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Munira Wilson, 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.


Munira Wilson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Munira Wilson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

3 Bills introduced by Munira Wilson


A Bill to require the Secretary of State to lay before Parliament annual reports on progress in reducing miscarriage and stillbirth rates among Black and Asian women.


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

A Bill to require the Government to report annually to Parliament on mental health provision for children and young people.


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

A Bill to establish a right to specialist sexual violence and abuse support services for victims of sexual, violent and domestic abuse; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 10th March 2020

548 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
8 Other Department Questions
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment has been made of the potential merits of amending the Party Wall Act 1996 to compel homeowners undertaking works subject to the Act to serve a party wall notice.

Anyone intending to carry out any of the works mentioned in section 2 of the Party Wall Act 1996, must inform all adjoining owners. The Act contains no enforcement procedures for failure to serve a notice. If work starts without a notice being given, an adjoining owner can seek to stop the work through a court injunction or seek other legal redress.

The Department has not carried out an assessment of the average legal costs of pursuing a civil court injunction to enforce compliance with the Act or the potential merits of amending the Act. The Act provides for surveyors to be paid the reasonable costs of drawing up an award. However, if the building owner or the adjoining owner feels that a surveyor’s costs are unreasonable, they may ask for a breakdown of costs, e.g. the hourly rate and number of hours of time being charged for.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) average legal costs of pursuing a civil court injunction to enforce compliance with the Party Wall Act 1996 and (b) extent to which those costs prohibit homeowners from reaching a resolution.

Anyone intending to carry out any of the works mentioned in section 2 of the Party Wall Act 1996, must inform all adjoining owners. The Act contains no enforcement procedures for failure to serve a notice. If work starts without a notice being given, an adjoining owner can seek to stop the work through a court injunction or seek other legal redress.

The Department has not carried out an assessment of the average legal costs of pursuing a civil court injunction to enforce compliance with the Act or the potential merits of amending the Act. The Act provides for surveyors to be paid the reasonable costs of drawing up an award. However, if the building owner or the adjoining owner feels that a surveyor’s costs are unreasonable, they may ask for a breakdown of costs, e.g. the hourly rate and number of hours of time being charged for.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) challenges disabled (i) renters and (ii) buyers face on the private housing market and (b) adequacy of support available to disabled people in finding suitable properties with accessible features.

Government is committed to helping disabled and older people to live independently and safely. People of all ages and all tenures can apply to their local authority for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) which is a capital grant administered by local authorities in England that can contribute towards meeting the cost of adapting an eligible person’s home. Since 2010 Government has invested over £4 billion into the DFG (2010-11 to 2021-22), delivering an estimated 490,000 home adaptations. We have developed a range of consumer guides to help make buying, selling and renting more straightforward to navigate.

Government consulted on options to raise the accessibility of all new homes, recognising the importance of suitable homes for disabled people. We are currently considering responses and will publish a government response and set out next steps in due course.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) average cost of appointing a surveyor for the purposes of drawing up a party wall award and (b) extent to which this cost prohibits homeowners in settling disputes.

Any surveyor appointed under section 10 of the Party Wall Act 1996 is undertaking a statutory role. In all cases, surveyors appointed or selected under the dispute resolution procedure of the Act must consider the interests and rights of both owners and draw up an award impartially.

The Department has not carried out an assessment of the average cost of appointing a surveyor for the purposes of drawing up a party wall award. The Act provides for surveyors to be paid the reasonable costs of drawing up an award. However, if the owner or the adjoining owner feels that a surveyor’s costs are unreasonable they may ask for a breakdown of costs, e.g. the hourly rate and number of hours of time being charged for.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what steps the Government is taking as COP President to ensure that the $100 billion International Climate Finance commitment is met before 2023.

In the lead up to COP26, the UK Presidency has made significant progress in securing new and ambitious finance commitments. 95% of the largest donors made new commitments to the $100bn goal, which will be reached by 2023 at the latest, and continue on a rising trajectory through to 2025. It is now likely that $500 billion will be mobilised over the period 21-25.

Throughout our Presidency year, working with other donor countries will be a top priority, and we will continue to work with developed countries to ensure the implementation of the climate finance Delivery plan. At COP26, we also agreed to a first report on the $100bn/yr goal under the UNFCCC to ensure we maintain focus and build trust.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the impact of the (a) The Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation) (England) Regulations 2012 and (b) guidance issued on 6 March 2014 on (i) Tree Preservation Orders and (ii) trees in conservation areas with regards to their ability to improve biodiversity and mitigate climate change issues.

This Government recognises the biodiversity and climate mitigation value of trees. We committed in the England Trees Action Plan to spend over £500 million of the Nature for Climate Fund on trees and woodland in England between 2020 and 2025. The England Tree Action Plan also committed this Government to publishing guidance on managing woodland for a changing climate.

The planning practice guidance, as published on 6 March 2014, sets out that local authorities may consider taking into account the importance to nature conservation and climate change response when assessing amenity value. Information on the impact of tree preservation policy and legislation on biodiversity is not held nationally, as information on trees covered by Tree Preservation Orders is held by the local authority who made the decision.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps her Department is taking to reduce transphobia in the (a) media, (b) NHS and (c) UK.

The Government is clear that transphobia is unacceptable and has no place in British society. We are working across Government to tackle transphobia, homophobia and biphobia. This action includes working with stakeholders to tackle transphobic hate crime, and we have committed to publishing a new Hate Crime Strategy later this year.

Also announced this week, the Department for Education has confirmed funding for five leading organisations, worth over £1 million in total, to support schools and colleges in championing tolerance and respect as part of their responsibility to tackle all forms of bullying.

On tackling transphobia in the media, the Government’s Online Safety Bill will deliver a ground-breaking new system of accountability which will require internet companies to protect users from online abuse, and will make it easier to report harmful activity. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will also be examining the current advertising regulatory framework to make sure it is equipped to tackle online harms.

Within the NHS, a range of activity is in place to ensure that transgender people receive appropriate support and do not face discrimination. This includes the provision of Gender Identity Clinics and training for staff. NHS England also runs the Rainbow Badges scheme which is an initiative that enables staff in participating Trusts to demonstrate to service users that they offer open, non-judgemental and inclusive care for patients and their families, who identify as LGBT.

Next year, we will be holding Safe To Be Me: A Global Equality Conference, which will bring together government representatives, businesses, civil society and international parliamentarians to address the safety of LGBT people at home and abroad.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many open cases the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has closed due to the CPS sending queries to those that had submitted the case, but receiving no response in the allotted time, in (a) 2018, (b) 2019, (c) 2020 and (d) 2021.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) may close cases at the pre-charge stage as ‘pending response – further investigation’ for a number of reasons, which are not limited to queries about submitted cases. The reasons could include, for example, that the suspect had died. However, it is not possible to distinguish in the CPS figures between the reasons.

Closing a case that is pending response for further investigation is known as an ‘administrative finalisation’, not a legal decision, and may not be the end of the case. The table below shows the numbers finalised pending response for further investigation, excluding submissions for early advice (EA), per calendar year.

2018201920202021*

Pending Response - Further Investigation

(excluding EA)
30,78228,20923,9786,196

*In line with the CPS publication policy the 2021 figure covers January – March 2021.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much the Government has spent on campaigns to encourage better ventilation in buildings across the UK in (a) 2020 and (b) 2021.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to PQ 33512 on 23 March 2020.

The Government has promoted the importance of ventilation in homes and businesses in its coronavirus (COVID-19) behaviour change campaigns throughout 2020 and 2021. The fresh air message has been integrated into other important behaviours for individuals and businesses to take and as such it is not possible to identify a specific amount focused solely on ventilation.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what reports he has received of the Office for National Statistics sending out negative covid-19 test results for tests taken six or more weeks ago.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have, therefore, asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether door-to-door carol singing is permitted under the new national covid-19 lockdown restrictions in operation from 5 November 2020.

On 5 November, the Government acted swiftly in accordance with growing evidence of virus prevalence to put in place new national COVID-19 restrictions in England. Under these new restrictions from 5 November until 2 December you must stay at home and avoid meeting people you do not live with (except for specific purposes).


From 2 December, we will return to a regional approach and any guidance on carol singing will be updated depending on the Local COVID alert level of the area in which you live. For further information on COVID-19 restrictions, please see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of publishing the total number of UK deaths alongside the daily number of covid-19 related deaths.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reasons the Government chose not to provide a live British Sign Language interpreter at each daily covid-19 briefing.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Levelling Up White Paper, if he will make it his policy to undertake a Government consultation before making any changes to the Research Evaluation Framework.

In reference to the Research Excellence Framework, the four UK higher education funding bodies are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the UK’s national research assessment system. The Future Research Assessment Programme includes in-depth evaluation of the current Research Excellence Framework, exploratory work on future models, and advice from an independent group of international experts. The review will consider a wide range of issues relevant to the Levelling Up White Paper, including how best to recognise and reward the contribution that research carried out in UK higher education providers makes to society and the economy locally, nationally and internationally. This programme of work includes open consultation with those who work in and engage with research carried out in UK higher education providers. The consultation will be launched by the HE funding bodies in the coming weeks.

Background

This answer assumes that the question refers to the “Research Excellence Framework”, as we don’t recognise “Research Evaluation Framework”.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Levelling Up White Paper, whether he plans to make changes to the Research Evaluation Framework.

In reference to the Research Excellence Framework, the four UK higher education funding bodies are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the UK’s national research assessment system. The Future Research Assessment Programme includes in-depth evaluation of the current Research Excellence Framework, exploratory work on future models, and advice from an independent group of international experts. The review will consider a wide range of issues relevant to the Levelling Up White Paper, including how best to recognise and reward the contribution that research carried out in UK higher education providers makes to society and the economy locally, nationally and internationally. This programme of work includes open consultation with those who work in and engage with research carried out in UK higher education providers. The consultation will be launched by the HE funding bodies in the coming weeks.

Background

This answer assumes that the question refers to the “Research Excellence Framework”, as we don’t recognise “Research Evaluation Framework”.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding has been granted through the (a) Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and (b) Bounce Back Loan Scheme to (i) social care providers and (ii) the social care sector as a whole.

As of July 2021, the total value of CBILS and BBLS loans to businesses in the Human Health and Social Work sectors was £2,758,185,509, with 67,544 loans offered. The value of loans to businesses identifying as being in the residential care sector was £491,281,848, with 6,247 loans offered. The value of loans to businesses identifying as being in the non-residential social work sector was £512,447,147, with 13,083 loans offered.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of regulating electrical goods sold online to ensure their safety for use.

Existing laws require that all consumer products must be safe before they can be placed on the UK market, including those sold online.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 (EESRs) require products to be designed and manufactured in accordance with the principal elements of the safety objectives. Under the EESRs, a distributor, including online retailers and those selling goods via online marketplaces, must act with due care to ensure that electrical products are in conformity with the requirements.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is engaged with online marketplaces to ensure that they are playing their part in protecting UK consumers from unsafe products. This includes developing a new voluntary commitment for online marketplaces to agree actions they will take to reduce the risks from unsafe products sold by others on their platforms, enabling them to publicly demonstrate their commitment to the safety of consumers in the UK.

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

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to introduce a five year expiry period on gift cards and vouchers.

The Department asked the Law Commission to examine the protection given to consumer prepayments, including gift cards and vouchers, and consider whether such protections should be strengthened. The Law Commission concluded that that there was no need to introduce additional measures for gift cards and vouchers including in relation to expiry dates.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the cost per unit is of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine to the UK.

At present we are not able to disclose details of this agreement because of the commercially confidential nature of the contracts between the Government and vaccine manufacturers while commercial negotiations are ongoing.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to allow recipients of funding from the Bounce Back Loan scheme to reapply for the scheme in the event that they did not use the full amount on offer for their first loan.

Under the terms of the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), each business and any wider group of which it is part, defined by having a holding company at the top of their structure, is only eligible to receive one BBLS facility.

Businesses are not currently permitted to go back and ‘top up’ a BBLS facility if they borrowed less than the maximum. However, they are allowed to refinance the loan using the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) facility, allowing them to borrow more money whilst only having one active facility supported by a Government guarantee.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether veterinary practices are eligible for (a) the Small Business Grants Fund and (b) the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

The government has announced a package of support for businesses to help with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This package of support includes the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)

Businesses with a property that on the 11 March 2020 were eligible for Small Business Rate Relief Scheme or the Rural Rate Relief Scheme, will be eligible for the SBGF.

Businesses in England that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) on 11 March?with?a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the following cash grants per property via the RHLGF:

  • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to?and including?£15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.
  • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

In addition, on?1 May,?my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities?in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants.

This?Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund (LADGF) is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

Local Authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for this fund?and?may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need,?subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria.

Businesses already in receipt of the Small Business grant or a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant are not eligible for this fund.?Businesses who are eligible for or in receipt of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) are now eligible to apply for this scheme.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, these schemes should be directed to the relevant local authority. Local authorities are required to publish details of their local schemes on their websites.

For more information on the SBGF, the RHLGF and the LADGF please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-business-support-grant-funding-guidance-for-businesses

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 5 May 2020 to Question 40489, on Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, if his Department will extend the repayment terms of Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for growers in the seasonal ornamental horticulture sector with small profit margins who are unable to repay a loan from that scheme or the Bounce Back Loan scheme within six years.

While we continue to keep the schemes under review, there are currently no plans to amend the maximum term of a CBILS or BBLS facility.

Businesses in the horticultural sector benefit from the full interest and fee payment under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), as the Government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any facility arrangement fees charged by lenders. This is called the Business Interruption Payment.

Under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), the Government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees charged to the business by the lender. This is called the Business Interruption Payment. There will be an affordable flat rate of 2.5% interest thereafter. In addition, loans under the BBLS do not require repayments to be made in the first 12 months.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether an agency worker on a Contract for Services will continue to accrue holiday pay whilst they are not working due to being furloughed; and whether an employer is entitled to claim accrued holiday pay when calculating their employee's wage under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Employment rights remain unchanged under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Therefore, all workers’, including agency workers on a Contract for Services, right to holiday accrues to the extent and in the same way it did prior to being placed on to furlough under the CJRS, as provided by the individual’s statutory and contractual rights.

Employers are able to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant to cover wages paid to their workers, up to 80% of the worker’s usual pay. This includes holiday pay, but where holiday pay owed exceeds the amount in the grant, the employer is required to make up the difference.

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

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many public swimming pools have remained closed since being closed in 2020 in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health and all generations and communities should be able to enjoy the health, wellbeing, social and other benefits of being active

The Government has provided a range of support for swimming pools during the pandemic. The £100 million National Leisure Recovery Fund supported the reopening of local authority swimming pools throughout the country. In addition, Sport England have made 139 Covid support awards to the Swimming & Diving community (totalling £1,178,198). However, information from Swim England shows that since June 2021 there have been 14 public pools that have not reopened after closing during the pandemic.

Beyond Covid, Sport England have awarded £24,190,440 to swimming and diving projects since January 2017, which includes £15,724,500 of funding directly to Swim England.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans her Department has to help ensure that (a) TV news broadcasters and (b) print news outlets report responsibly to reduce the negative impact of panic-buying.

The government is committed to a free and independent media. It is not appropriate for the government to arbitrate on what should or should not be published or broadcast.

Ofcom is the UK’s independent regulator of television services. The Ofcom Broadcasting Code covers standards in programmes and has rules to ensure that broadcast news is reported with due accuracy and impartiality​. The government does not interfere in broadcasters’ editorial decisions and it is for content makers to decide what to include in their programmes, provided that they comply with the Broadcasting Code.

There is also an independent self regulatory regime to ensure that the press adheres to a wider set of clear and appropriate standards, and to offer individuals a means of redress where these are not met. The regulators, IPSO and IMPRESS, enforce codes of conduct which provide guidelines on a range of areas, including discrimination, accuracy, privacy, and harassment. If they find that a newspaper has broken the code of conduct, they can order corrections. IPSO can also order critical adjudications and Impress can levy fines.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the evidential basis was used by his Department when determining the timing for when spectators will be permitted to watch grassroots sports under Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap for the easing of covid-19 restrictions.

Sports and physical activity are crucial for our mental and physical health. That’s why we made sure that people could exercise throughout the national restrictions and why we ensured that grassroots and children’s sport was at the front of the queue when easing those restrictions.

On Monday 22 February, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. The government has introduced a step approach to the return of outdoor and indoor sport areas across England. Each full step of the roadmap is informed by the latest available science and data and has been five weeks apart in order to provide time to assess the data and provide one week’s notice to businesses and individuals.

Spectators must adhere to legal gathering limits at Step 3. Outdoors, spectators can gather in groups of up to 30. Indoors, unless an exemption applies, spectators may only gather in groups of up to 6 people, or as a group of two households. A group made up of 2 households can include more than 6 people, but only where all members of the group are from the same 2 households (and each household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible).

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to help ensure that elderly people are not excluded as a result of the digital divide.

To tackle the digital divide and support connectivity, we have worked closely with providers to ensure social tariffs are in place that provide low cost landline and broadband services for those on means-tested state benefits. Wider commitments by the telecoms industry to support vulnerable consumers have included the removal of data caps on fixed broadband packages, and free or low cost data boosts on mobile services.

Training is available for elderly people wishing to acquire essential digital skills. The Government has introduced a digital entitlement for adults with no or low digital skills to undertake specified digital qualifications, up to level 1, free of charge. Essential Digital Skills Qualifications (EDSQs), introduced alongside the digital entitlement, are based on new national standards which set out the digital skills people need to get on in life and work. We also support the provision of essential digital skills training in community settings through the Adult Education Budget.

Public libraries play an important role in tackling digital inclusion. Around 2900 public libraries in England provide a trusted network of accessible locations with staff, volunteers, free wifi and assisted digital access to a wide range of digital services. The volunteers and library staff have been trained in digital skills so that they can provide library users with support in using digital applications and services.

13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the implication for his policies of social media videos with images embedded designed to provoke epilepsy seizures.

The targeting of epilepsy sufferers online already constitutes a UK criminal offence. Someone who sends flashing images to a person with epilepsy, thereby causing a seizure, could be found guilty of an offence against the person (such as assault) under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. As part of the Online Harms White Paper proposals, the new duty of care will ensure companies have robust systems and processes in place to tackle illegal content on their services. This includes tackling illegal online abuse which provokes epilepsy seizures.

We are also ensuring the criminal law is fit for purpose to deal with online abuse. The Law Commission’s review of abusive and offensive communications is considering law reforms to account for serious harm and criminality arising from abuse online. This includes abuse targeted at users with epilepsy. They are consulting on proposed reforms and will issue final recommendations early 2021.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to permit skate parks to remain open during the period of new national covid-19 lockdown from 5 November 2020.

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

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

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

People are still allowed to leave their homes for exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own, or with one person from another household or support bubble.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing financial support to (a) the Migration Museum, (b) the Black Cultural Archives and (c) other institutions that reflect the diversity of the UK.

This Government is deeply committed to supporting arts and culture, and in particular to the important and unique role collections can have in bringing communities together and to depict our diverse histories. DCMS supports museums through Arts Council England (ACE) (which has previously supported the Migration Museum) and National Lottery project grants (which has previously supported the Black Cultural Archives).

Everyone should have access to arts and culture and it is for each local authority to decide how to support museums, arts and culture.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing a state-backed fund for film and TV productions that are unable to obtain insurance.

The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) recognises that Covid-19 exclusions to existing and new insurance policies presents a significant risk for film and TV productions returning to work in the shorter term. With the majority of filming taking place in the summer months, and guidance already published by the sector to allow a safe return to work, we know the sector is keen to get productions up and running again.

DCMS is examining this issue in detail, and engaging closely with our sector stakeholders to aid our work in this area.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will publish the criteria being used for charities to receive part of the £360 million direct from Government Departments within the Government’s £750 million charity funding package.

Government departments submitted applications based on their assessment of needs in their relevant sectors. Funding decisions reflect an assessment of the urgency and scale of the need in line with the national response to Covid-19. Departments will follow their own internal processes to distribute grant money directly to charities in the coming weeks.

This funding has been allocated to Government departments in accordance with urgent priorities in their relevant sectors, including up to £200m for the Department of Health and Social Care for hospices. Relevant departments are working to distribute grant money to charities at pace in the coming weeks.

18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to Point 162 in the Schools White Paper, which specific provision in the Schools Bill will ensure that local authorities take responsibility for managing all applications for in-year admissions.

The proposal for local authorities to manage in-year admissions does not require primary legislation.

As part of the Schools White Paper, the department has committed to consulting on reforms the schools admissions framework including requiring local authorities to manage in-year applications, as well as applications in the normal round.

The department is working with stakeholders to refine our proposals. We will then carry out a full public consultation as required by statute when making changes to the School Admissions Code before implementing proposed changes to the code.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the open letter sent by the Minister of State for Higher and Further Education to Ukrainian students on 27 April 2022, what criteria his Department plans to use to distribute the £4 million of additional funding being made available to universities to support Ukrainian students.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education and I have asked the Office for Students’ (OfS) to use up to £4 million of funding in the 2022/23 financial year, through the Strategic Priorities Grant, for English higher education providers to support Ukrainian nationals and Ukrainian-domiciled students whose usual financial support has been impacted by events in Ukraine.

The process for dispersing this funding to providers can be found in guidance set out by the OfS, found here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/regulation/information-for-providers-on-the-crisis-in-ukraine/funding-to-support-ukrainian-students/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions officials in his Department have had with their counterparts in the Treasury on the potential merits of removing VAT applied to school uniforms in the context of rising living costs.

Officials at the department meet regularly with counterparts across government to discuss national priorities.

Under the current VAT rules, all children’s clothing and footwear designed for young people less than 14 years of age, including school uniforms, attract a zero-rate of VAT. This means that no VAT is charged on the sale of these items.

The UK is one of only two countries among the 37 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries to maintain a VAT relief for children’s clothing. This costs Her Majesty’s Treasury £2 billion per year. Expanding that relief would come at a further cost and would have to be balanced by increased taxes elsewhere or reductions in government spending.

The government is supporting the hardest hit with £22 billion of help with the cost of living, including cutting hundreds of pounds off household bills, and keeps all taxes under constant review.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the average increase in energy bill costs for schools in 2022.

The department pays close attention to the financial health of the sector, and the cost pressures it faces. The department knows that the vast majority of school expenditure is devoted to staff costs, with only about a quarter attributed to non-staff costs, including those related to energy bills. Table 1 shows the proportion of schools’ income spent on energy costs in recent years.

Table 1: proportion of schools’ income spent on energy

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Academy trusts (academic year)

1.5%

1.3%

1.3%

Maintained schools (financial year)

1.2%

1.3%

1.1%

These proportions can be calculated using data found on the schools financial benchmarking website, and is based on schools’ consistent financial reporting returns for local authority maintained schools and academies’ accounting returns. Further information can be found here: https://schools-financial-benchmarking.service.gov.uk/Help/DataSources.

The department does not yet have comprehensive data on schools’ expenditure in financial year 2021/22, or 2022/23 and is therefore not able to provide information on schools’ expenditure on energy costs over this period. However, the department is working to understand recent changes in energy costs, and how these have impacted schools differently. To support this, the department has commissioned a survey requesting more detailed information from schools on their energy contracts, we have encouraged all schools to complete this survey, which can be found here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc5rIg_Bd8KjktfdfvvncCFu8kh8vf16_P3dJzy68W2GWXfzw/viewform. From this work, the department will consider what additional support it can offer.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the average cost of energy bills for schools in 2022.

The department pays close attention to the financial health of the sector, and the cost pressures it faces. The department knows that the vast majority of school expenditure is devoted to staff costs, with only about a quarter attributed to non-staff costs, including those related to energy bills. Table 1 shows the proportion of schools’ income spent on energy costs in recent years.

Table 1: proportion of schools’ income spent on energy

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Academy trusts (academic year)

1.5%

1.3%

1.3%

Maintained schools (financial year)

1.2%

1.3%

1.1%

These proportions can be calculated using data found on the schools financial benchmarking website, and is based on schools’ consistent financial reporting returns for local authority maintained schools and academies’ accounting returns. Further information can be found here: https://schools-financial-benchmarking.service.gov.uk/Help/DataSources.

The department does not yet have comprehensive data on schools’ expenditure in financial year 2021/22, or 2022/23 and is therefore not able to provide information on schools’ expenditure on energy costs over this period. However, the department is working to understand recent changes in energy costs, and how these have impacted schools differently. To support this, the department has commissioned a survey requesting more detailed information from schools on their energy contracts, we have encouraged all schools to complete this survey, which can be found here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc5rIg_Bd8KjktfdfvvncCFu8kh8vf16_P3dJzy68W2GWXfzw/viewform. From this work, the department will consider what additional support it can offer.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools his Department have referred to the Health and Safety Executive since 2015.

The Department for Education does not hold data on referrals made to the Health and Safety Executive.

There is regular engagement between the department and the HSE in relation to general health and safety matters and when developing advice for schools.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the resumption of Key Stage (a) 1 and (2) SATs examinations do not have a negative impact on the wellbeing of children.

The department knows that the pandemic has impacted the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, and will have an impact in the longer-term. We expect leaders and teachers to consider their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing as a priority and identify those who may need additional support.

With regard to assessments, although schools should encourage all pupils to work hard and achieve well, the department does not recommend that they devote excessive preparation time to assessment, and certainly not at the expense of pupils’ mental health and wellbeing. Schools should support a culture of wellbeing amongst staff and pupils.

Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is a priority for this government. The department is continuing to help schools support children and young people’s wellbeing. In May 2021 we announced more than £17 million of mental health funding to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges. This includes £9.5 million dedicated to training senior mental health leads in over 8,000 schools and colleges, with an additional £3 million announced this year to extend this training to even more schools and colleges. The training will equip leads with the skills and knowledge to develop a culture and ethos that promotes positive mental health wellbeing, as well as how to make the best use of local resources to support children and young people experiencing issues such as anxiety.

The department has also recently brought together all its sources of advice for schools and colleges into a single site on GOV.UK, which includes signposting to external sources of mental health and wellbeing support for teachers, school staff and school leaders.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of children with special educational needs and disabilities that do not currently have a place in an education setting.

The information requested is not held for all children with special educational needs and disabilities. However, the department holds data from local authorities on the number of children with education, health and care (EHC) plans awaiting education provision, available in the publication ‘Education, Health and Care plans’ at https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-health-and-care-plans.

Our latest published figure, in May 2021, for the number of children of compulsory school age who have an EHC plan and were not in education was 1,460, this represents 0.3% of all EHC plans.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department made of the effect on children of his decision to continue with Key Stage 1 SATs examinations in 2022 prior to the announcement of that decision.

The decision to return to a full programme of primary assessments in 2021/22 was considered carefully and consulted many, including teachers, school leaders and unions.

The department recognises that pupils will have missed a critical period of their learning due to partial school closures in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 academic years. It is vital that the department knows the impact of COVID-19 on this cohort of pupils nationally, including at the end of Key Stage 1, and can give support to schools that need it the most.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of children that will complete their curriculum studies prior to the next round of Key Stage 2 SATs examinations.

The final decision about entering individual pupils for the end of Key Stage 2 (KS2) assessments is for the pupil’s headteacher, as outlined in the department’s assessment and reporting arrangements guidance. If a pupil is working at the overall standard of a given test or assessment and is moving on to Key Stage 3 (KS3) in the following academic year, they should be entered for that particular test or assessment. This includes where they may not have covered all aspects of the curriculum in as much detail as would have been the case without the disruption over the last two years due to the pandemic.

If the headteacher decides that a pupil is working below the overall standard and should not be entered for the end of KS2 assessments, schools will still need to undertake an appropriate form of assessment using either the pre-key stage standard (for pupils engaged in subject specific study) or the engagement model (for pupils not engaged in subject specific study).

A key purpose of assessments this academic year is to gain an understanding of the impact of the pandemic, precisely because almost all children will have missed some time in education over the last two years. Headteachers will be best placed to judge if the absence of a pupil has been so significant that the pupil is not working at the overall standard as a result.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to (a) special schools and (b) other specialist education settings on the recruitment of teaching assistants.

The government’s Teacher Vacancies Service is a free, national job listing service that is saving schools money and delivering quality candidates. This service can help schools to list vacancies for both permanent and fixed term teaching staff, including teaching assistants.

Schools have the freedom to make their own decisions about the recruitment and use of teaching assistants. The school workforce census for the 2019/20 academic year showed there were 6,000 more teaching assistants than the previous year.

In the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and Alternative Provision Green Paper, the government committed to support schools and academy trusts on how to best use and train their teaching assistants.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had recent discussions with Goldsmiths University on protecting courses at that university on (a) Queer and (b) Black British history.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has not had discussions with Goldsmiths, University of London about the future of any of their courses. Higher Education providers in England are independent, autonomous bodies, responsible for the management of their own courses and curriculum.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the National Tutoring Programme Ad Hoc Statistics published in March 2022, how many of the 1,031,000 starts were made by children with SEND.

The department does not currently hold the break down data for all 1,031,000 starts. The Education Endowment Foundation plans to publish their evaluation of the National Tutoring Programme in the academic year 2020/21 in autumn 2022. This data will include breakdowns of the pupils who received tutoring in the academic year 2020/21, including pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

The department's written ministerial statement of 31 March 2022 gives more detail about the programme. This statement is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/national-tutoring-programme-simplified-to-reach-as-many-pupils-as-possible.

It accompanied the statistical release showing 1.2 million tutoring courses have started since November 2020. This publication is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/national-tutoring-programme/2022-march.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many education settings have had their applications to the Salix Energy Efficiency Fund (a) accepted and (b) rejected, by local authority, as of 24 March 2022.

The Salix Energy Efficiency Fund (SEEF) is a bid-based capital funding programme that launched in 2016 and closed in March 2021 to provide interest free loans to academies and sixth form colleges to undertake capital works to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funded the programme and Salix Finance administered the application round and the project approvals on behalf of BEIS. The loan payment and repayments are implemented and managed by the Department for Education.

The tables attached show, by constituency and local authority, the number of schools and other education providers that applied to SEEF during the five financial years the fund operated, how many of those were awarded funding, and how many were not awarded funding.

In summary, 1,054 applications in total were made to SEEF, 666 applications were funded, and 388 were not awarded funding.

978 establishments applied for funding through SEEF, 646 were awarded funding, and 332 were not awarded funding.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many education settings have had their applications to the Salix Energy Efficiency Fund (a) accepted and (b) rejected, by parliamentary constituency, as of 24 March 2022.

The Salix Energy Efficiency Fund (SEEF) is a bid-based capital funding programme that launched in 2016 and closed in March 2021 to provide interest free loans to academies and sixth form colleges to undertake capital works to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funded the programme and Salix Finance administered the application round and the project approvals on behalf of BEIS. The loan payment and repayments are implemented and managed by the Department for Education.

The tables attached show, by constituency and local authority, the number of schools and other education providers that applied to SEEF during the five financial years the fund operated, how many of those were awarded funding, and how many were not awarded funding.

In summary, 1,054 applications in total were made to SEEF, 666 applications were funded, and 388 were not awarded funding.

978 establishments applied for funding through SEEF, 646 were awarded funding, and 332 were not awarded funding.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many applications to the Salix Energy Efficiency Fund have been (a) accepted and (b) rejected as of 24 March 2022.

The Salix Energy Efficiency Fund (SEEF) is a bid-based capital funding programme that launched in 2016 and closed in March 2021 to provide interest free loans to academies and sixth form colleges to undertake capital works to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funded the programme and Salix Finance administered the application round and the project approvals on behalf of BEIS. The loan payment and repayments are implemented and managed by the Department for Education.

The tables attached show, by constituency and local authority, the number of schools and other education providers that applied to SEEF during the five financial years the fund operated, how many of those were awarded funding, and how many were not awarded funding.

In summary, 1,054 applications in total were made to SEEF, 666 applications were funded, and 388 were not awarded funding.

978 establishments applied for funding through SEEF, 646 were awarded funding, and 332 were not awarded funding.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish a geographical breakdown by (a) local authority and (b) parliamentary constituency of his Department's statistics published on 17 March 2022 on delivery of air cleaning units to education settings.

The department has published data on the number of air cleaning units delivered to education settings. This can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/delivery-of-air-cleaning-units.

The attached table is a geographical breakdown of air cleaning unit deliveries by local authority. The department does not hold the data at a constituency level.

The department has also published data on the number of settings that applied and were eligible for air cleaning units. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/co2-monitor-survey-and-applications-for-air-cleaning-units.

Air cleaning units were allocated based on need; applications had to meet strict eligibility criteria, which can be found here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/12cU_I5q0v1_my97yPMpb87RsSL5d5lpj.

In response to the number of applications received, the department has made up to 9,000 air cleaning units available to ensure that all eligible applications are fulfilled. Most settings have now received their air cleaning units. Final deliveries of applications received in January 2022 will be made by half term.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish a geographical breakdown by (a) local authority and (b) Parliamentary constituency of his Department's statistics published on 3 March 2022 on delivery of air cleaning units to education settings.

The department has published data on the number of air cleaning units delivered to education providers. This can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/delivery-of-air-cleaning-units.

The attached table shows a geographical breakdown of air cleaning unit deliveries by local authority. The department does not hold the data at a Parliamentary constituency level.

The department has also published data on the number of education providers that applied and were eligible for air cleaning units. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/co2-monitor-survey-and-applications-for-air-cleaning-units.

Air cleaning units were allocated based on need and applications had to meet strict eligibility criteria, available to view here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/12cU_I5q0v1_my97yPMpb87RsSL5d5lpj. In response to the number of applications received, we have made up to 9,000 air cleaning units available to ensure that all eligible applications are fulfilled. The majority of providers have now received their air cleaning units. Final deliveries of applications received in January will be made by half-term.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's statistics on children's social work workforce, published on 24 February 2022, what steps he plans to take in response to those statistics that demonstrate an increase in the shortage of children's social workers.

The number of full time equivalent (FTE) child and family social workers employed by local authorities in England is increasing every year. On the 30 of September 2021, there were 32,500 full FTE child and family social workers employed by local authorities in England. This is an increase of 2.0% compared to 2020, and an increase of 14.1% compared to 2017.

While the department recognises that this may not be the picture some local authorities are seeing on the ground, the department is working closely with local authorities and using central programmes and funding to respond to their needs.

The department is supporting the recruitment and retention of social workers through our investment in fast-track initial social worker training programmes, and in professional development programmes to improve leadership. We are also seeing some innovative practices from local authorities that are driving down agency rates and stabilising their workforces.

Our COVID-19 Recovery Action Plan aims to stabilise and strengthen children’s social care as we transition out of the COVID-19 outbreak, so we deliver well for children and young people and provide a strong foundation for longer-term reform, informed by the Care Review.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 22 to Question 126842, whether Education (National Curriculum) (Key Stage 2 Assessment Arrangements) (England) (Amendment) Order 2019 was laid with affirmative or negative procedure.

The Education (National Curriculum) (Key Stage 2 Assessment Arrangements) (England) (Amendment) Order 2019 was not subject to parliamentary procedure and was made in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 87(3)(c) and 210(7)(a) of the Education Act 2002.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department provides for children who have been orphaned as a result of covid-19.

Local authorities have a duty to care for any child within their area without a parent or guardian. This includes children who have been orphaned.

The law states that when a child cannot live with their parents, local authorities should seek to place them in the care of suitable family members, friends, and other people already connected with the child and approved as foster carers by children’s services. Only where this is not possible should children’s services go on to arrange for a child to live with unrelated carers.

All local authorities are required to have a family and friends care policy. The policy should set out services that are available to kinship carers, whatever the type of kinship care arrangement. Services should be aimed at preventing children from becoming or remaining looked after in the care system wherever possible.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of school attendance targets on clinically vulnerable families attempting to shield from covid-19.

Regular attendance at school is vital for children’s education, wellbeing and long-term development. School attendance is mandatory and parents have a duty, under section 7 of the Education Act 1996 to ensure that their child of compulsory age receives an efficient full-time education either by attendance at school or otherwise. No targets for school attendance are set by government, but attendance statistics are collected and published on a regular basis.

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

Children and young people previously considered CEV should attend school and should follow the same COVID-19 guidance as the rest of the population. This guidance is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. Children and young people with a weakened immune system should follow the Department of Health and Social Care and UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk from COVID-19, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk. If, however, a child or young person has been advised to isolate or reduce their social contact by their specialist, due to the nature of their medical condition or treatment they should continue to follow the advice of their specialist.

The NHS is also now vaccinating the most at-risk 5 to 11 year olds, ensuring they get their vital dose of protection.

As usual, school leaders continue to have discretion to grant leaves of absence in exceptional circumstances. Where a pupil is not attending school for reasons related to COVID-19, we expect the school to offer them immediate access to remote education. Schools must also have regard to the expectations for remote education published on GOV.UK: https://get-help-with-remote-education.education.gov.uk/statutory-obligations.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 19 January 2022 to Question 101845 on Numeracy, on what date the Statutory Instrument was laid which amended the Education Order 2003 (National Curriculum, Key Stage 2 Assessment Arrangements, England) in 2019 to make provision for the statutory administration of the multiplication tables check.

The Education (National Curriculum) (Key Stage 2 Assessment Arrangements) (England) (Amendment) Order 2019 was made on 10 April 2019. This amended the Education (National Curriculum) (Key Stage 2 Assessment Arrangements) (England) Order 2003 to make provision for the statutory administration of the multiplication tables check (MTC) for all eligible year 4 pupils from the 2019/20 academic year. Due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the department cancelled all primary assessments, including the MTC, in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 academic years, and disapplied the legislation for these assessments for these two academic years.

The department has confirmed that statutory primary assessments will take place in the 2021/22 academic year, including the MTC.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will provide a geographical breakdown by (a) local authority, (b) region and (c) parliamentary constituency of children who are below their expected reading age.

The department does not hold information on the number of pupils below their reading age in primary school. The closest information available is the number of pupils not meeting the expected standard in reading at the end of key stage 2. This data was not recorded for academic years 2019/20 or 2020/21 due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The number of pupils not meeting the expected standard in reading at the end of key stage 2 was 154,169 (25%) in 2018 and 173,765 (27%) in 2019.

The number of pupils not meeting the expected standard in reading at the end of key stage 2 in state-funded schools for each local authority, region and parliamentary constituency in 2019 is in the attached table.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many primary school children were below their expected reading age in (a) 2018, (b) 2019, (c) 2020 and (d) 2021.

The department does not hold information on the number of pupils below their reading age in primary school. The closest information available is the number of pupils not meeting the expected standard in reading at the end of key stage 2. This data was not recorded for academic years 2019/20 or 2020/21 due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The number of pupils not meeting the expected standard in reading at the end of key stage 2 was 154,169 (25%) in 2018 and 173,765 (27%) in 2019.

The number of pupils not meeting the expected standard in reading at the end of key stage 2 in state-funded schools for each local authority, region and parliamentary constituency in 2019 is in the attached table.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish a geographical breakdown by (a) local authority and (b) parliamentary constituency of his Department's statistics published on 17 February 2022 on delivery of air cleaning units to education settings.

To fulfil all eligible applications, up to 9,000 air cleaning units will be provided to state-funded education providers for poorly ventilated teaching spaces where quick fixes to improve ventilation are not possible. As of 24 January 2022, 1,265 providers were eligible to receive air cleaning units. These were allocated to providers based on need, using the eligibility criteria we have set out in our guidance.

As of 11 February, 6,311 air cleaning units have been delivered to state-funded education providers. A breakdown of this data by local authority is available in the attached table. We do not hold this data by parliamentary constituency.

Natural ventilation is best where that is achievable, and we have robust evidence that in the vast majority of cases, teaching spaces and classrooms benefit from sufficient natural ventilation. That evidence includes the responses to our recent survey of providers using the carbon dioxide monitors that we published on 24 January. This showed that only 3% of providers reported sustained high CO2 readings (above 1,500ppm) that could not be remedied through quick fixes or remedial building works. The survey findings are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/co2-monitor-survey-and-applications-for-air-cleaning-units.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what communications his Department sent out publicising the Coronavirus Workforce Fund to (a) schools and (b) trusts; and what the cost to the public purse was of those communications.

The department promoted the COVID-19 workforce fund through multiple existing channels. This includes GOV.UK and sector emails, as well as relevant party forums and regional delivery teams, to communicate with schools and trusts across England and encourage eligible schools to access the support.

Existing resources were used to support this and therefore it is not possible to estimate the precise cost of the activity.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2022 to Question 117900 on the Coronavirus Workforce Fund, what his Department's planned timetable is for publishing data on the covid-19 workforce fund payments and applications.

School level data on payments made to schools for the 2020 round of the COVID-19 workforce fund is now available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-data-on-funding-claims-by-institutions-2020-to-2021.

The claims portal for the current round of the COVID-19 workforce fund will open in the spring, and the department aims to publish data on payments in summer 2022.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will conduct a Government consultation before making changes to the Student Opportunities Fund.

The Student Opportunity Fund no longer exists. It used to be allocated to higher education providers by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), who also published associated guidance.

HEFCE closed on 1 April 2018 and was replaced by UK Research and Innovation, and the Office for Students (OfS).

The government issues guidance on its priorities for expenditure to the OfS through the Strategic Priorities Grant letters which are published at: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/regulation/guidance-from-government/. These letters include guidance on supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

To support students most at risk of dropping out, the government provides additional formula-based funding for providers through the student premium (part of the Strategic Priorities Grant). As of July 2021, the OfS has allocated student premium funding totalling £273 million to providers for the 2021-22 academic year.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he is having with relevant stakeholders on changes to the Student Opportunities Fund.

The Student Opportunity Fund no longer exists. It used to be allocated to higher education providers by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), who also published associated guidance.

HEFCE closed on 1 April 2018 and was replaced by UK Research and Innovation, and the Office for Students (OfS).

The government issues guidance on its priorities for expenditure to the OfS through the Strategic Priorities Grant letters which are published at: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/regulation/guidance-from-government/. These letters include guidance on supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

To support students most at risk of dropping out, the government provides additional formula-based funding for providers through the student premium (part of the Strategic Priorities Grant). As of July 2021, the OfS has allocated student premium funding totalling £273 million to providers for the 2021-22 academic year.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools have not had an Ofsted inspection within the last (a) five, (b) ten and (c) 15 years as a result of conversion to academy status.

This is a matter for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools which have not had an Ofsted inspection within the last (a) 5 years, (b) 10 years and (c) 15 years were rated as (i) Outstanding, (ii) Good, (iii) Requires Improvement and (iv) Inadequate when they last received a rating.

This is a matter for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools have not had an Ofsted inspection within the last (a) five, (b) 10 and (c) 15 years.

This is a matter for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding was allocated through the School Improvement Monitoring and Brokering Grant, by (a) local authority, (b) parliamentary constituency and (c) region.

School improvement brokering and monitoring grant (SIMBG) allocations by local authority can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-improvement-monitoring-and-brokering-grant-allocations.

As the grant is paid to local authorities, we are not able to provide the data by parliamentary constituency.

SIMBG allocations aggregated by Regional School Commissioner regions can be found below:

RSC region

Aggregate SIMBG allocations (total)

East Midlands and the Humber

£4,471,595.00

East of England and North East London

£4,377,690.00

Lancashire and West Yorkshire

£8,618,485.00

North of England

£4,055,269.00

North West London and South Central England

£7,227,700.00

South East England and South London

£8,008,536.00

South West England

£3,718,423.00

West Midlands

£4,893,887.00

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding will be available to local authorities to (a) monitor the performance of its maintained schools, (b) support school improvement activities and (c) intervene in under-performing schools as appropriate after the School Improvement Monitoring and Brokering Grant has ended.

As per the recently published government response to our consultation on reforming how local authority school improvement functions are funded, in financial year 2023-24, the school improvement monitoring and brokering grant will cease. To allow core school improvement activity to continue, we are allowing local authorities, if they wish, to de-delegate funding from maintained school budgets instead. This will create greater parity between how school improvement is funded in the maintained sector and academies, who already fund this activity from their school budgets.

On average, this grant represented the equivalent of 0.3% of maintained school budgets in financial year 2021-22. By way of context, mainstream school budgets will see an average 5.8% year-on-year per pupil cash increase in 2022-23 in England, taking dedicated schools grant allocations together with the schools supplementary grant announced in December 2021.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide a geographical breakdown of applications for the Coronavirus workforce fund to support schools with costs of staff absences by (a) English region and (b) parliamentary constituency.

The department received claims to the 2020 COVID-19 workforce fund from 974 schools and made payments to 902 schools.

All schools that met the conditions set out in the guidance were paid. We are intending to publish school-level data on payments this month. The claims window for the current round of the COVID-19 workforce fund, which covers absences from 22 November 2021 until 18 February 2022, will open in the spring. Data on those payments will be published in due course.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many applications to the Coronavirus workforce fund to support schools with costs of staff absences have been (a) accepted and (b) rejected.

The department received claims to the 2020 COVID-19 workforce fund from 974 schools and made payments to 902 schools.

All schools that met the conditions set out in the guidance were paid. We are intending to publish school-level data on payments this month. The claims window for the current round of the COVID-19 workforce fund, which covers absences from 22 November 2021 until 18 February 2022, will open in the spring. Data on those payments will be published in due course.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that contracts his Department awards to third parties for the construction of new schools provide that those buildings are (a) safe, (b) high quality and (c) environmentally sustainable.

The department has procured bespoke frameworks for delivering school building projects. These frameworks, and the contracts they use, are designed to deliver high quality education buildings economically and efficiently, and to ensure the highest standards are met. Contractors undergo a rigorous selection and quality evaluation process before they are admitted to the frameworks and performance is monitored throughout the life of the frameworks.

All department delivered projects adopt the department’s regularly updated design and construction standards (Output Specification), which reflect the latest safety, quality and environmental standards. The most recent update, in November 2021, includes multiple safety-related improvements, including new fire safety standards.

This new specification is the first to require net zero carbon in operation outcomes as well as a range of climate adaption measures such as green roofs, energy generation and increased biodiversity targets.

The department’s centrally delivered schemes are further supported by both internal and external subject matter experts in a wide range of disciplines, including legal, design, technical, cost and quality.

Additionally, contractors must also comply with all relevant health and safety legislation during the construction process, and completion requirements include that new school buildings must be signed off as compliant with the building regulations by an independent inspector before they can open.

The latest version of the Output Specification can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/school-design-and-construction#output-specification.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) cost to the public purse and (b) value of Emotional Literacy Support Assistants.

Information on the number of emotional literacy support assistants (ELSAs) or the costs to schools is not collected centrally.

The department collects information on staff working in state funded schools in England via the annual School Workforce Census but does not directly identify ELSAs. The results are published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

It is important that schools have the freedom to decide what support to offer pupils based on their particular needs, and drawing on an evidence base of effective practice. We are aware that some schools make effective use of ELSAs and report positive impacts as part of their wider provision to support the emotional wellbeing of children and young people.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) dedicated and (b) non-dedicated Emotional Literacy Support Assistant are employed by (i) primary and (ii) secondary schools across England and Wales.

Information on the number of emotional literacy support assistants (ELSAs) or the costs to schools is not collected centrally.

The department collects information on staff working in state funded schools in England via the annual School Workforce Census but does not directly identify ELSAs. The results are published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

It is important that schools have the freedom to decide what support to offer pupils based on their particular needs, and drawing on an evidence base of effective practice. We are aware that some schools make effective use of ELSAs and report positive impacts as part of their wider provision to support the emotional wellbeing of children and young people.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools applied for and (a) received and (b) did not receive Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) financial support in (i) the North West, (ii) the North East, (iii) Yorkshire and the Humber, (iv) the East Midlands, (v) the West Midlands, (vi) Wales, (vii) the South West, (viii) the East of England, (ix) South East and (x) London.

The tables attached show the constituency and regional breakdown of eligible schools and sixth form colleges which have applied to the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) since 2017. This includes how many of those were awarded funding and how many were not awarded funding. The data covers the five CIF rounds from the 2017-18 to 2021-22 financial years. Since 2017, 5,016 establishments have applied for CIF funding, 3,763 have been awarded funding, and 1,253 have not been awarded funding. The current round of CIF (the 2022-23 financial year) closed for applications on 15 December 2021, and the department is currently assessing all applications.

Lists of successful applications by constituency are available on gov.uk:

Education is a devolved policy area, so no schools or sixth form colleges in Wales are eligible to apply for CIF.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools applied for and (a) received and (b) did not receive Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) financial support since 2017, by parliamentary constituency.

The tables attached show the constituency and regional breakdown of eligible schools and sixth form colleges which have applied to the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) since 2017. This includes how many of those were awarded funding and how many were not awarded funding. The data covers the five CIF rounds from the 2017-18 to 2021-22 financial years. Since 2017, 5,016 establishments have applied for CIF funding, 3,763 have been awarded funding, and 1,253 have not been awarded funding. The current round of CIF (the 2022-23 financial year) closed for applications on 15 December 2021, and the department is currently assessing all applications.

Lists of successful applications by constituency are available on gov.uk:

Education is a devolved policy area, so no schools or sixth form colleges in Wales are eligible to apply for CIF.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many education settings have their requests for Government-funded air cleaning units (a) approved and (b) rejected in (i) the North West, (ii) the North East, (iii) Yorkshire and the Humber, (iv) the East Midlands, (v) the West Midlands, (vi) Wales, (vii) the South West, (viii) the East of England, (ix) the South East and (x) London.

Applications for air cleaning units closed on 17 January and were assessed against strict eligibility criteria set out in the guidance, details of which can be found here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/12cU_I5q0v1_my97yPMpb87RsSL5d5lpj.

The department does not hold information on air cleaning unit allocations by either constituency or geographical region for England. As of 24 January, the department has received applications from 1,550 providers, of which 285 did not meet the eligibility criteria. For example, the room applied for may not have reported sustained CO2 readings above 1500ppm, or it may have been an unsuitable space, such as a hall, corridor, or dining room. 1,265 providers in total were eligible for air cleaning units and up to 1,000 additional units are being purchased so that the department can fulfil all eligible applications.

Natural ventilation is best where that is achievable, and the department has robust evidence that in the vast majority of cases, teaching spaces and classrooms benefit from sufficient natural ventilation. That evidence includes the responses to our recent survey of providers using the carbon dioxide monitors that the department published on 24 January, which showed that only 3% of providers reported sustained high CO2 readings (above 1500ppm) that could not be remedied through quick fixes or remedial building works, details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/co2-monitor-survey-and-applications-for-air-cleaning-units.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many education settings have had their requests for Government-funded air cleaning units (a) approved and (b) rejected, by parliamentary constituency.

Applications for air cleaning units closed on 17 January and were assessed against strict eligibility criteria set out in the guidance, details of which can be found here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/12cU_I5q0v1_my97yPMpb87RsSL5d5lpj.

The department does not hold information on air cleaning unit allocations by either constituency or geographical region for England. As of 24 January, the department has received applications from 1,550 providers, of which 285 did not meet the eligibility criteria. For example, the room applied for may not have reported sustained CO2 readings above 1500ppm, or it may have been an unsuitable space, such as a hall, corridor, or dining room. 1,265 providers in total were eligible for air cleaning units and up to 1,000 additional units are being purchased so that the department can fulfil all eligible applications.

Natural ventilation is best where that is achievable, and the department has robust evidence that in the vast majority of cases, teaching spaces and classrooms benefit from sufficient natural ventilation. That evidence includes the responses to our recent survey of providers using the carbon dioxide monitors that the department published on 24 January, which showed that only 3% of providers reported sustained high CO2 readings (above 1500ppm) that could not be remedied through quick fixes or remedial building works, details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/co2-monitor-survey-and-applications-for-air-cleaning-units.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what criteria his Department used to decide which systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programmes to validate.

A comprehensive review of robust studies by the Education Endowment Foundation found that systematic phonics is the most effective approach for teaching pupils to decode, including older pupils struggling with decoding, when embedded in a rich literacy environment. That is why the government has made systematic phonics teaching part of the national curriculum, embedded it as a component of teacher training, introduced the phonics screening check and made reading a core part of Ofsted primary inspections.

The department and Ofsted do not mandate that schools use a validated programme to teach systematic synthetic phonics (SSP). What is important is that schools take an approach that is rigorous, systematic, used with fidelity (any resources used should exactly match the Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence progression of their chosen SSP approach), and achieves strong results for all pupils, including the most disadvantaged. To support the high-quality teaching of phonics, the department recommends using a programme from the validated list of SSP programmes, but this is not mandatory. If schools are receiving support through the English Hubs programme to improve their phonics teaching, they must follow a programme from the validated list.

Validation indicates that an SSP programme has been self-assessed by its publisher and assessed by a panel of experts, and that both consider it to meet all of the most recent Department for Education criteria for an effective SSP programme, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phonics-teaching-materials-core-criteria-and-self-assessment/validation-of-systematic-synthetic-phonics-programmes-supporting-documentation#essential-core-criteria. The department sought views on the validation criteria from SSP experts before publishing a final version.

The department’s list of validated programmes has been updated on gov.uk and there will be further updates following future validation panels. The updated list includes a number of options, including school-to-school support programmes and not for profit options. We recommend schools contact individual programme providers for more information on programme prices.

Schools have the flexibility to decide how to prioritise their spending to invest in a range of resources and activities that will best support their staff and pupils. Schools can choose to use their core funding to buy an SSP programme.

The department has made a further £5 million funding available to schools to purchase validated SSP programmes. Eligible schools must have a minimum of 22% of their pupils eligible for the pupil premium or service pupil premium and will be situated in a local authority area listed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/choosing-a-phonics-teaching-programme/list-of-phonics-teaching-programmes.

In addition, the department has funded various initiatives to improve the teaching of phonics in schools. Between 2011 and 2013, we provided £23.7 million of matched funding for resources and training for 14,000 schools. In 2018, we launched a £26.3 million English Hubs programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, with a focus on supporting children making the slowest progress in reading, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds. We have since invested a further £17 million in this school-to-school improvement programme, which focuses on SSP, early language, and reading for pleasure. Since its launch, the English Hubs programme has provided appropriate and targeted support to several thousands of schools across England.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of schools moving to validated systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programmes.

A comprehensive review of robust studies by the Education Endowment Foundation found that systematic phonics is the most effective approach for teaching pupils to decode, including older pupils struggling with decoding, when embedded in a rich literacy environment. That is why the government has made systematic phonics teaching part of the national curriculum, embedded it as a component of teacher training, introduced the phonics screening check and made reading a core part of Ofsted primary inspections.

The department and Ofsted do not mandate that schools use a validated programme to teach systematic synthetic phonics (SSP). What is important is that schools take an approach that is rigorous, systematic, used with fidelity (any resources used should exactly match the Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence progression of their chosen SSP approach), and achieves strong results for all pupils, including the most disadvantaged. To support the high-quality teaching of phonics, the department recommends using a programme from the validated list of SSP programmes, but this is not mandatory. If schools are receiving support through the English Hubs programme to improve their phonics teaching, they must follow a programme from the validated list.

Validation indicates that an SSP programme has been self-assessed by its publisher and assessed by a panel of experts, and that both consider it to meet all of the most recent Department for Education criteria for an effective SSP programme, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phonics-teaching-materials-core-criteria-and-self-assessment/validation-of-systematic-synthetic-phonics-programmes-supporting-documentation#essential-core-criteria. The department sought views on the validation criteria from SSP experts before publishing a final version.

The department’s list of validated programmes has been updated on gov.uk and there will be further updates following future validation panels. The updated list includes a number of options, including school-to-school support programmes and not for profit options. We recommend schools contact individual programme providers for more information on programme prices.

Schools have the flexibility to decide how to prioritise their spending to invest in a range of resources and activities that will best support their staff and pupils. Schools can choose to use their core funding to buy an SSP programme.

The department has made a further £5 million funding available to schools to purchase validated SSP programmes. Eligible schools must have a minimum of 22% of their pupils eligible for the pupil premium or service pupil premium and will be situated in a local authority area listed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/choosing-a-phonics-teaching-programme/list-of-phonics-teaching-programmes.

In addition, the department has funded various initiatives to improve the teaching of phonics in schools. Between 2011 and 2013, we provided £23.7 million of matched funding for resources and training for 14,000 schools. In 2018, we launched a £26.3 million English Hubs programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, with a focus on supporting children making the slowest progress in reading, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds. We have since invested a further £17 million in this school-to-school improvement programme, which focuses on SSP, early language, and reading for pleasure. Since its launch, the English Hubs programme has provided appropriate and targeted support to several thousands of schools across England.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many teaching hours per week, on average, are spent on (a) Maths, (b) English and (c) Sciences for children in Key Stage (i) one, (ii) two and (iii) three.

Information on the school workforce in England, including the curriculum taught in secondary schools, is published in the annual ‘School Workforce in England’ national statistic here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

As at November 2020 (latest information available) around 15% of reported taught teaching hours were in each of mathematics, English and sciences in state-funded secondary schools in England (Table 1). To produce this information, data on subjects taught is collected from a large sample of secondary schools, and this is then weighted and grossed to provide national totals.

Table 1: Hours taught in a typical week in state-funded secondary schools1 for key stage 32, by subject, number and percentage3

November 2020

Subject

Number

Percentage

Mathematics

272,435

14.9%

English

283,896

15.5%

All Sciences

271,082

14.8%

Total

1,830,688

100.0%

Source: School Workforce Census 2020 and Database of Teacher Records 2021

1 - Collected from secondary schools that use electronic timetabling software that can produce data in the format required

2 - Teaching in years 7, 8 and 9.

3 - Percentage of all hours taught.

The information requested is not collected centrally for key stages 1 and 2. Some information is available from the Omnibus Survey (2017). The information collected through this survey provides information on the amount of time, in minutes per week, spent teaching subjects within primary schools (key stage one and two) (Table 2). Information from this survey was published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-voice-omnibus-may-to-july-2016-survey-dfe-questions

Table 2: Minutes per week spent on curriculum subject-specific lessons in primary schools, by subject, median and percentage of time taught

May 2016

Subject

Median

Percentage

Mathematics

300

30%

English

300

30%

Science

60

6%

Total

995

100%

Source: Teacher Voice Omnibus Survey May 2016 and Senior Leader booster June 2016

Number of responses = 469

All state-funded schools are required to offer a balanced and broadly based curriculum which promotes pupils’ spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development; and prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to extend eligibility for senior mental health lead training grants to all schools.

Schools and colleges in receipt of institution-level state funding are eligible for a senior mental health grant. The government does not currently plan to fund senior mental health lead training for education staff in independent settings with fee-paying pupils and students, but they may access the same Department for Education quality-assured training as state-funded schools.

Further information on eligibility and how schools and colleges can assess their specific learning needs and preferences, and select the most suitable quality-assured course is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/senior-mental-health-lead-training.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding his Department plans to provide (a) schools and (b) local authorities for school improvements in financial year 2023-24.

We have allocated £11.3 billion since 2015 to maintain and improve the condition of school facilities, including £1.8 billion in the 2021/22 financial year. We expect to publish details of funding allocations for the 2022/23 financial year in the spring this year, and to provide details for the 2023/24 financial year in 2023.

The department allocates condition funding each year to schools and those responsible for school buildings to improve and maintain the condition of the school estate. Local authorities, large multi-academy trusts (MATs) and large voluntary-aided (VA) bodies receive an annual school condition allocation (SCA) to invest in condition priorities across the schools for which they are responsible. Allocations and the methodology for calculating SCA for the 2021-22 financial year can be found online here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-capital-funding

Smaller or stand-alone academy trusts and VA bodies are instead able to bid into the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF). The CIF is an annual bidding round to apply for capital funding that is usually launched in autumn each year, with outcomes announced in spring.

In June 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced a new 10 year rebuilding programme which will deliver 500 projects over the next decade, replacing many poor condition and ageing school buildings with modern designs that will be net zero carbon in operation.

We have confirmed the first 100 schools in the programme. We expect to set out the response to our recent consultation on the approach to prioritising further schools shortly, as well as details of the next round of the programme.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of pupil premium funding planned to be 2.7 per cent in 2022-23 in light of inflation figures.

The increase of 2.7% in pupil premium funding rates in financial year 2022-23 is in line with inflation based on the gross domestic product deflator forecast as in the Spending Review. As such, rates are expected to be maintained in real terms per pupil.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to change the method by which attainment is measured among disadvantaged pupils in the context of the recent significant increase in pupil eligibility for free school meals.

We are committed to continuing to publish data to show how schools are performing with their disadvantaged pupils both nationally and at school level. Such measures are a vital part of ensuring schools drive social mobility.

Analysis carried out by the department in 2018, following the changes to Universal Credit eligibility, indicated that the impact on schools’ disadvantage data was likely to be relatively minor in the context of normal levels of change schools see in their free school meals (FSM) cohorts’ year-on-year.

The gap index is designed to withstand changes in the education delivery landscape.

We recognise however, the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and the recent significant increase in the numbers of pupils eligible for FSM. The department will keep its effectiveness, as a measure, under review as the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak becomes better understood.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to make the secondary legislation on the multiplication tables check.

The department amended the Education Order 2003 (National Curriculum, Key Stage 2 Assessment Arrangements, England) in 2019 to make provision for the statutory administration of the multiplication tables check (MTC). This is for all eligible year 4 pupils from the 2019/20 academic year. Due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the department cancelled all primary assessments including the MTC in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 academic years, and disapplied the legislation for these assessments for these two academic years.

The department has confirmed that statutory primary assessments will take place in the 2021/22 academic year, including the MTC.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many grants for Senior Mental Health Lead Training have been made since April 2021.

Since April 2021 the government has allocated over £9.5 million to fund senior mental health lead training grants for over 8,000 eligible schools and colleges. Over 3,500 senior leads are estimated to have begun their training. This training will provide knowledge and skills to enable senior mental health leads to implement effective holistic approaches to promoting and supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing in their school or college.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what contribution was made from the Soft Drinks Levy to the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund in (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

The Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) came into effect in April 2018 with the aim of tackling childhood obesity by encouraging suppliers to reduce the sugar content of drinks.

The government has used receipts to support activity to promote childhood health and wellbeing. In the context of SDIL receipts, the department's budgets were increased to allow for the doubling of the PE and sport premium to £320 million from the 2017/18 academic year. We have since maintained it at that level to support primary schools to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of their Physical Education (PE), sport and physical activity provision. Details of how the PE and sport premium is allocated can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pe-and-sport-premium-for-primary-schools.

Additional funding from SDIL also allowed us to offer the £100 million Healthy Pupils Capital Fund in 2018-19. This was a one-year fund.

We have now also announced nearly £30 million per year from the 2022-23 financial year to open-up school sport facilities in England, as well as to improve the teaching of PE at primary school.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what contribution the Soft Drinks Levy made to the Sport Premium in (a) 2017, (b) 2018, (c) 2019 and (d) 2020.

The Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) came into effect in April 2018 with the aim of tackling childhood obesity by encouraging suppliers to reduce the sugar content of drinks.

The government has used receipts to support activity to promote childhood health and wellbeing. In the context of SDIL receipts, the department's budgets were increased to allow for the doubling of the PE and sport premium to £320 million from the 2017/18 academic year. We have since maintained it at that level to support primary schools to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of their Physical Education (PE), sport and physical activity provision. Details of how the PE and sport premium is allocated can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pe-and-sport-premium-for-primary-schools.

Additional funding from SDIL also allowed us to offer the £100 million Healthy Pupils Capital Fund in 2018-19. This was a one-year fund.

We have now also announced nearly £30 million per year from the 2022-23 financial year to open-up school sport facilities in England, as well as to improve the teaching of PE at primary school.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish data gathered from the 350,000 carbon dioxide monitors distributed to schools across England from September 2021.

The CO2 monitors funded by the department do not automatically report readings, they are read manually by school staff. CO2 monitors are an additional measure which we are rolling out to education providers to be used as a guide for where ventilation can be improved. This is not intended to create an additional burden on staff but is an extra tool to support providers to improve ventilation. It is up to school leaders to decide how to best use them in their specific school, college or nursery.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) criteria and (b) data were used to determine the destinations of the 7,000 air purifier units announced on 2 January 2022.

On 2 January we announced that 7,000 air cleaning units were being made available for mainstream state-funded settings, in addition to the 1,000 units made available for special and alternative provision settings that we announced in November. The government is now committing to fulfil all eligible applications from 1,265 state funded education providers for just over 8,000 air cleaning units.

Please note that applications are now closed. Units were allocated to settings based on need. Before applying for a funded air cleaning unit, the following criteria had to be met by mainstream providers, as set out in the ‘How to apply for a DfE-funded air cleaning unit’ guidance:

  • There have been sustained high CO₂ readings (1500ppm or higher) for at least 1 week while the room is occupied, despite taking all measures possible to introduce ventilation.
  • Lengthy remedial works are required in order to address poor ventilation, that cannot be completed before the end of February 2022.
  • Air cleaning units will be allocated for teaching spaces only.

There were different criteria for special and alternative provision settings due the higher-than-average number of vulnerable pupils attending those settings. For these providers, air cleaning units were also allocated to poorly ventilated staff rooms. The number of units applied for was just over 8,000, which demonstrates that, in the majority of classrooms and teaching spaces, solutions can already be found to keep ventilation at adequate levels.

The department has also launched an online marketplace which provides settings with a route to purchasing air cleaning units at a suitable specification and competitive price. Further information is available here: https://s107t01-webapp-v2-01.azurewebsites.net/list/air-cleaning. In future, we may review this list and as more products which meet our specification become available, these will be added. All purchases through the marketplace are managed by the supplier, rather than by the department.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) Dyson Pure Cool Formaldehyde – TP09 and (b) Camfil City M air cleaning units have been purchased by (i) education and (ii) childcare settings through the marketplace opened by the Department.

The department has launched an online marketplace which provides schools, colleges and nurseries with a route to purchasing air cleaning units at a suitable specification and competitive price. The marketplace is available to view here: https://s107t01-webapp-v2-01.azurewebsites.net/list/air-cleaning. In future, we may review this list. As more products which meet our specification become available, these will be added. The education provider transacts directly with the supplier to purchase the units. For in stock items, units will be delivered within 10 days from date of purchase. As of 18 January, 371 Dyson Pure Cool Formaldehyde- TP09 units have been purchased and 66 Camfil City air cleaning units have been purchased.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many retired and ex-teachers were recruited back into teaching in (a) December 2021 and (b) January 2022.

The department is extremely grateful to all the teachers who are responding to our call to return temporarily to the classroom to support schools whilst cases of the Omicron variant continue to rise.

On 12 January the department published initial data from a sample of supply agencies gathered between 20 December 2021 and 7 January 2022. This showed that 485 former teachers have signed up with supply agencies, and over 100 Teach First alumni have also expressed interest in returning to the classroom.

Given the size of the sample, the true number of sign-ups since the call was launched will be larger.

Full details of the data release can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-ex-teachers-joining-the-school-workforce-2021-to-2022.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much the Government spent on the campaign to bring retired and ex-teachers back to teaching to cover covid-19 absences in December 2021.

As of 5 January, the spend relating to marketing and communications in support of the national appeal for former teachers to return to the profession is £3,882.69. This amount consists of:

  • Design work for a toolkit of assets to be used by partners of the department: £2,227.80.
  • Paid Search Advertising: £1,654.89.
Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what criteria were used in the selection of the Dyson Pure Cool Formaldehyde – TP09 and Camfil City M as air cleaning units for education and childcare settings.

All air cleaning units provided by the department have met an approved technical specification. The department’s technical specification used to assess the units was developed through a rigorous consultation with industry wide experts in both air cleaning and ventilation from academia, professional bodies, and industry, including chartered engineers, scientists, and several government departments. Through this consultation we have developed a specification specific to education focusing on key drivers including classroom size, acoustics, clean air delivery and filtration as well as requiring strong evidence to verify manufacturers' claims.

The specification included a wide range of factors appropriate to an education environment to determine overall suitability. This included clean air delivery rates, noise levels, filtration capability, technical certification, ease of use and maintenance, warranty, and strength of evidence for manufacturer claims. The primary considerations were around the standard of filtration which is high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration technology; the minimum standard was specified to HEPA H13/ISO35H which is a medical grade of filter which helps to remove airborne contaminants including from the air including viruses such as SARS‑CoV‑2. HEPA technology is a mature technology and removes the risk of any less well tested technology being implemented into classrooms. Acoustic performance was also a major consideration due to the units needing to go into a classroom environment. All of these criteria formed part of our technical specification used to assess and select units that meet our high specification and are suitable for teaching environments.

Any procurement that we undertake must comply with the Public Contract Regulations (2015). The procurement of the air cleaning devices was undertaken using the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Framework (RM6157) which can be accessed by central government departments including the Department for Education and the wider public sector. We have selected a range of products which meet this high specification criteria to provide education and childcare settings with high quality air cleaning units of a suitable specification.

For education providers which are not eligible for funded units, the department has launched an online marketplace which provides a route to purchasing air cleaning units directly from suppliers at a suitable specification and competitive price. Further information is available here: https://s107t01-webapp-v2-01.azurewebsites.net/list/air-cleaning. In future, the department may review this list and as more products which meet our specification become available, these will be added.

The department will publish details of the contracts for air cleaning units which will include the technical specification criteria on contracts finder in line with the government’s transparency agenda.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) assessment his Department has made and what (b) research his Department has conducted on the (i) data on and (ii) treatments for dyscalculia in England.

The special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) code of practice recognises that dyscalculia is a specific aspect of learning that can be evident in a child who has a specific learning difficulty.

The department collects data on primary and secondary special educational need (SEN) types in the school census. This includes specific learning difficulty, the category under which those with dyscalculia would be recorded. As of January 2021, 156,797 pupils in England were recorded with specific learning difficulty as their primary type of SEN.

The department has made no specific assessment of or conducted research on the data or treatment of dyscalculia in isolation from the broader category of specific learning difficulties.

The government funds research into neurodiversity through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), delivered through the Department of Health and Social Care, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy respectively. Over the last 5 years (2016/17 to 2020/21), the government has spent, or has committed to spend, £81.3 million on neurodiversity research.

The usual practice of NIHR and UKRI is not to ringfence funds for expenditure on particular topics. Research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. NIHR and UKRI welcome funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including dyscalculia. These applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. In all disease areas, the amount of NIHR funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity.

Through the Children and Families Act 2014 we require local authorities to work with schools and other partners to publish a ‘Local Offer’ outlining the support they expect to be available to children, parents and families affected by SEN in the local area, including those with dyscalculia.

More broadly, we are supporting and enhancing mathematics teaching through our national network of 40 school-led Maths Hubs, which are helping local schools improve the quality of their mathematics teaching based on best practice.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students are on placements on the Turing Scheme for year 2021-2; and how much his Department will spend on that Scheme in 2021-2.

The Turing Scheme has a total budget of £110 million for delivery and grant funding this academic year. Funding has been allocated for more than 40,000 participants from schools, colleges and universities to do study and work placements across the globe during the 2021/22 academic year.

A list of all funded organisations in higher education, further education and schools, as well as all destination countries and territories, can be found on the Turing Scheme website: https://www.turing-scheme.org.uk/project-community/funding-results/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much the Government has spent on campaigns to encourage better ventilation in schools to tackle covid 19 in (a) 2020 and (b) 2021.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the department has emphasised the importance of ventilation and provided guidance and updates to nurseries, schools and colleges on ventilation requirements. It is important for nurseries, schools and colleges to ensure that they are well ventilated and that a comfortable teaching environment is maintained.

The department has also supported wider national government activity to raise awareness of the importance of ventilation as well as providing detailed advice and guidance to nurseries, schools and colleges on gov.uk, via stakeholder briefing and in direct emails.

On 21 August 2021, the department announced that CO2 monitors would be provided to state-funded nurseries, schools and colleges backed by £25 million in government funding. These monitors will be delivered by the end of the Autumn term and will enable staff to identify areas where ventilation needs to be improved and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, helping balance the need for good ventilation with keeping classrooms warm. Feedback shows that schools are finding the monitors helpful to manage ventilation and, in the majority of cases, existing ventilation measures are sufficient.

On 18 August 2021, it was announced that 1,000 Department for Education-funded air cleaning units will be made available for poorly ventilated teaching spaces and staff rooms in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and alternative provision settings, including SEND units in mainstream settings, where quick fixes to improve ventilation are not possible. These settings are being prioritised given the higher-than-average number of vulnerable pupils attending those settings.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) national total and (b) average per school cost was of using supply teachers in the financial years (i) 2018-19, (ii) 2019-20, (iii) 2020-21 and (iv) 2021-22 to November 2021.

The requested information for all available years is shown in the attached table.

Information for local authority maintained schools was sourced from consistent financial reporting. The latest year for which this is available is the 2019-20 financial year, and is available as part of the publication, Local Authority and School Expenditure, available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/la-and-school-expenditure/2019-20. Information is also available at school level on the Financial Benchmarking website available here: https://schools-financial-benchmarking.service.gov.uk/. Information for the 2020-21 financial year will be published in December 2021. Information for the 2021-22 financial year will be collected in summer 2022.

Information on academies was sourced from academy accounts returns. Information for both school level and central expenditure by multi academy trusts is published on the Financial Benchmarking available here: https://schools-financial-benchmarking.service.gov.uk/. The latest available information is for the 2019-20 academic year. Information for the 2020-21 academic year will be available in early spring 2022. Information for the 2021-22 academic year will be collected in autumn 2022.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the additional energy costs that educational establishments are facing this winter; and what additional funding his Department is planning to make available to educational establishments to cover any potential additional costs.

The department recognises that educational establishments may be facing pressures this winter, including where energy prices have increased. Educational establishments, including schools, higher and further education institutions, are autonomous institutions. They are therefore responsible for estimating and meeting their own energy costs.

Schools have the flexibility to make their own decisions on how to prioritise their spending to invest in a range of resources that will best support their staff and pupils. The 2021 Spending Review secured an additional £4.7 billion in the core school budget by the 2024-25 financial year compared to previous plans. This means the core schools budget will see a real terms per pupil increase in each of the next three years

The £4.7 billion investment includes a further £1.6 billion in the 2022-23 financial year, on top of the year on year increase already announced as part of the 2019 spending round. This additional funding will help the school sector respond to the pressures the department knows they are facing, for example on energy costs and Health and Social Care Levy from April 2022. We will make announcements on the breakdown of the 2023-24 and 2024-25 core school budget in due course, as well as the distribution of the additional £1.6 billion of funding confirmed for 2022-23.

At the 2021 Spending Review the department announced an investment of £3.8 billion more in further education and skills over the Parliament as a whole, to ensure people can access high-quality training and education that leads to good jobs, addresses skills gaps, boosts productivity and supports levelling up. This includes an extra £1.6 billion per year for 16-19 education in financial year 2024-25 compared with 2021-22. This will fully fund the additional students the department anticipates in the system, pay for the increasing take-up of T Levels, maintain funding per student in real terms, and enable increased time in education for all 16 to 19 year olds. We will set out details of how this additional funding will be allocated in due course.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) teachers and (b) other school staff have been absent from working in schools in each month since January 2020.

The daily education setting (EdSet) survey asks schools and colleges to report data such as on-site attendance and COVID-19 absence.

From 12 October 2020, the survey of educational settings asked schools and colleges for information on the absence of teachers and school leaders, and teaching assistants and other staff, who were unable to work on-site. This data is not available prior to 12 October 2020.

Data is available from 12 October 2020 to 21 October 2021, see table 1d (excluding holidays) and table 1a (schools not on holiday during half term and Easter) in https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2021-week-44.

Information on the number and rates of teacher sickness absence are published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

To reduce burdens on schools during the COVID-19 outbreak, the return of absence data for the 2019/20 academic year was not required in the ongoing 2020 School Workforce Census. Schools will not be asked to submit 2020 census absence data retrospectively in future censuses.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish the data collected (a) by Renaissance Learning on catch up needs for pupils in England and (b) by Ipsos MORI on catch up premium funds.

The department commissioned Renaissance Learning, and their subcontractor the Education Policy Institute, to collect data from a sample of schools to provide a baseline assessment of education lost and catch-up needs for pupils in schools in England, and to monitor progress over the course of the 2020/21 academic year and the autumn term 2021.

The latest findings from this research, published 29 October, includes data from the 2020/21 summer term and a summary of all previous findings. Complete findings from the 2020/21 academic year can be found on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupils-progress-in-the-2020-to-2021-academic-year-interim-report.

The department has a contract with Ipsos MORI, in consortium with Sheffield Hallam University and the Centre for Education and Youth, to undertake a mixed-methods research study, which includes gathering data through surveys of school leaders, interviews and case studies, to examine how they have responded to the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, including how they are tackling the issue of lost education.

Interim results from the study will be published before the end of the year and will be used to understand school recovery approaches, including use of the catch-up premium, and how best to support schools going forwards. The research is set to continue in the 2021/22 academic year, with a final report at the end of 2022.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional (a) funding and (b) support his Department has provided to meet (i) the costs and (ii) the needs of vulnerable children in social care placements over the past 12 months.

The government is committed to ensuring that vulnerable children and young people have safe and stable homes, to give them the highest chances of success.

Last year, the government provided an additional £6 billion of funding directly to councils to support them with the immediate and long-term impacts of COVID-19 spending pressures.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced at this year’s Budget, that government is providing local authorities with £4.8 billion of new grant funding over the next Spending Review period. This will enable the sector to maintain vital frontline services, including children’s social care.

£259 million was also announced over the Spending Review period to maintain capacity and expand provision in secure and open residential children’s homes. This will provide high quality, safe homes for some of our most vulnerable children and young people. This is a continuation of the 2021-22 financial years funding of up to £24 million to maintain capacity and expand provision in secure children’s homes, and up to £6.5 million for open residential children’s homes.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data his Department is collecting from schools to (a) monitor and (b) assess covid-19 catch-up activity.

The department is collecting a range of data from schools to monitor and assess COVID-19 catch-up activity. We have commissioned Renaissance Learning, and their subcontractor the Education Policy Institute, to collect data from a sample of schools to provide a baseline assessment of education lost and catch-up needs for pupils in schools in England, and to monitor progress over the course of the academic year 2020/21 and Autumn term 2021. We are also seeking commercial agreements for further academic years.

The department has a contract with Ipsos MORI, in consortium with Sheffield Hallam University and the Centre for Education and Youth, to undertake a mixed-methods study design (including gathering data through surveys of school leaders, interviews, and case studies) to examine how schools are tackling the issue of lost learning. Results from the study will be used to understand how the catch-up premium funds have been spent and how best to support schools to tackle learning loss.

We are also collecting data from schools on specific education recovery programmes. For example, the department receives data on schools’ take-up of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), using this data to track progress against delivery, and has commissioned independent evaluators to use this data to understand the effectiveness of the NTP. Ofsted are also conducting thematic reviews into tutoring and teacher quality. Their findings will be informed by their interviews with schools.

The department is mindful of the burden that data collections can put on schools and has robust processes in place to ensure the value of collecting the data outweighs the potential additional burdens.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of pupils that have been off-rolled in state schools in each school year since 2015-16.

The department does not hold estimates of the number of pupils that have been off-rolled in state schools in each school year since 2015-16. The information requested about pupils being taken off the school roll is not held by the department and cannot be estimated from current data sources.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's Press Release, published on 21 August 2021, when he expects all 300,000 carbon dioxide monitors to have been delivered to schools; and how many of those monitors have been delivered by 25 October 2021.

The CO2 monitor roll out began in September across special schools and alternative provision, who were prioritised to receive their monitors first given their higher-than-average numbers of vulnerable pupils. These settings have now received their full allocation of monitors.  Monitors are now being dispatched to all schools and other eligible settings over the remainder of the autumn term. The roll out is on track, and we expect all eligible settings to have received their monitors by the end of the autumn term.

The department will begin publishing delivery data from 4 November. The first publication will cover all deliveries up to 25 October.


Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to provide food voucher support for vulnerable children for the duration of (a) the upcoming autumn 2021 half-term and (b) upcoming winter break 2021-22.

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

During 2021, the department is investing up to £220 million in our Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme. Taking place in schools and community venues across the country, delivery began at Easter, has run across the summer, and will run during the Christmas holidays. This programme supports disadvantaged pupils and their families with enriching activities, providing them with healthy food, helping them to learn new things and improving socialisation.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his timetable is for publishing the results of the pilot on daily testing of school pupils who were contacts of covid-19 positive cases.

The daily contact testing trial for secondary schools and colleges concluded in June 2021. The aim of the trial was to keep pupils in face to face education, while reducing the risk of community transmission of COVID-19. The results of the trial were published on 23 July and can be found here: https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2021-07-23-daily-contact-covid-19-testing-students-effective-controlling-transmission-schools and http://modmedmicro.nsms.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/dct_schools_trial_preprint_20210722.pdf.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department is putting in place to tackle covid-19 outbreaks in schools from September 2021.

The Department’s priority is for schools to deliver face to face, high quality education to all pupils. The evidence is clear that being out of education can cause significant harm to educational attainment, life chances, and mental and physical health.

To reduce transmission, the Department is keeping some measures in place across nurseries, schools and colleges to enable us to provide as normal an experience as possible as schools welcome pupils back in larger numbers. This will be supported by our ability to respond swiftly and consistently to any exceptional circumstances should it prove necessary and may include reintroducing additional control measures for a limited period to deal with outbreaks. These are set out in the contingency framework: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

The Department has worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England to revise guidance for schools from Step 4: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak. The Department’s aim is to balance the risks associated with COVID-19 whilst moving to a position that minimises both the burden of implementing a system of controls on schools and the impact those measures have on young people’s educational experience.

Schools are no longer asked to keep children and young people in consistent groups (‘bubbles’). As well as enabling flexibility in curriculum delivery, this means that assemblies can resume, and schools and colleges no longer need to make alternative arrangements to avoid mixing at lunch. Nurseries, schools and colleges should continue to ensure good hygiene for everyone, maintain appropriate cleaning regimes, keep occupied spaces well ventilated and follow public health advice on testing, self isolation, and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff, and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas. The Government has removed the requirement to wear face coverings but expects and recommends that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where pupils or staff may come into contact with people they do not normally meet. This includes public transport and dedicated transport to school or college.

The Department will continue to keep these measures under review, in partnership with health experts and informed by the latest scientific evidence and advice.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his policy is on the circumstances under which schools should deliver remote learning in place of face-to-face teaching to school and college pupils from September 2021.

School attendance is mandatory for all pupils of compulsory school age. However, schools are expected to provide remote education for pupils who test positive for COVID-19, where they are well enough to learn from home.

The Department issued a new remote education temporary continuity direction for the 2021/22 academic year, providing clarity about what is expected and ensuring consistency with the last academic year: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/remote-education-temporary-continuity-direction-explanatory-note. Schools affected by the temporary continuity direction must provide remote education for state funded, school aged pupils whose attendance would be contrary to local public health advice, Government guidance or law relating to COVID-19. Schools must also have regard to the expectations for remote education, published here: https://get-help-with-remote-education.education.gov.uk/statutory-obligations. These remain the same as the last academic year.

Where remote education is needed, schools are expected to offer pupils 3 to 5 hours of remote education per day, dependent on key stage. This includes either recorded or live direct teaching, alongside time for pupils to work independently to complete assignments that have been set. Online video lessons do not necessarily need to be recorded by teaching staff at the school. Oak National Academy lessons, for example, can be provided in lieu of school-led video content.

Further education (FE) students have also returned to on site provision. Where students are unable to attend in person because they have tested positive for COVID-19, but are well enough to continue learning, or where public health advice, guidance, or law restricts attendance more widely, the Department expect FE colleges to deliver as many planned hours as is feasible remotely. FE colleges should also provide students with regular feedback on their progress and, as far as possible, provide live online teaching in lieu of face to face delivery.

A comprehensive package of support continues to be available to schools and FE colleges to help them meet the remote education expectations: https://get-help-with-remote-education.education.gov.uk/. This support includes a further £2.1 million to Oak National Academy, enabling it to operate from the start of the next academic year through to Easter 2022. The purpose of this funding is to enable Oak to provide support to schools in developing the ability to switch from classroom teaching to remote provision immediately in case of COVID-19 restrictions or self-isolation.

To support access to remote education and online social care services, the Department has distributed over 1.35 million laptops and tablets to schools, trusts, local authorities and further education colleges for disadvantaged children and young people as part of a £400 million investment. The Department has also provided support for over 110,000 families to get online through uplifts in mobile data and 4G wireless routers. From Autumn 2021, grant funding will be available for schools and colleges to claim and provide internet connections to help disadvantaged pupils, where they have their education disrupted by COVID-19 during the autumn term.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will allocate funding to the Adoption Support Fund beyond 2022.

The Adoption Support Fund budget and spend, as of 2 April 2021, is set out below. The spend includes funding for successful applications, contractual costs for the management and independent evaluation of the fund.

Year

Budget

Spend

2016-17

£23,925,000

£23,900,624

2017-18

£29,000,000

£28,736,661

2018-19

£37,000,000

£36,697,988

2019-20

£42,000,000

£44,533,244

2020-21

£45,000,000

£51,164,542

There are currently no plans to change the fund’s eligibility criteria. The next Spending Review for government departmental spend beyond the financial year of 2021-22 will consider the Adoption Support Fund and its budget, scope and eligibility criteria. We have put in place transitionary arrangements in advance of the Spending Review outcome to allow funded support to continue beyond March 2022 for those families who commence therapy in the 2021-22 financial year.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to change the eligibility criteria for the Adoption Support Fund.

The Adoption Support Fund budget and spend, as of 2 April 2021, is set out below. The spend includes funding for successful applications, contractual costs for the management and independent evaluation of the fund.

Year

Budget

Spend

2016-17

£23,925,000

£23,900,624

2017-18

£29,000,000

£28,736,661

2018-19

£37,000,000

£36,697,988

2019-20

£42,000,000

£44,533,244

2020-21

£45,000,000

£51,164,542

There are currently no plans to change the fund’s eligibility criteria. The next Spending Review for government departmental spend beyond the financial year of 2021-22 will consider the Adoption Support Fund and its budget, scope and eligibility criteria. We have put in place transitionary arrangements in advance of the Spending Review outcome to allow funded support to continue beyond March 2022 for those families who commence therapy in the 2021-22 financial year.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much has been spent from the Adoption Support Fund in each of the previous five financial years.

The Adoption Support Fund budget and spend, as of 2 April 2021, is set out below. The spend includes funding for successful applications, contractual costs for the management and independent evaluation of the fund.

Year

Budget

Spend

2016-17

£23,925,000

£23,900,624

2017-18

£29,000,000

£28,736,661

2018-19

£37,000,000

£36,697,988

2019-20

£42,000,000

£44,533,244

2020-21

£45,000,000

£51,164,542

There are currently no plans to change the fund’s eligibility criteria. The next Spending Review for government departmental spend beyond the financial year of 2021-22 will consider the Adoption Support Fund and its budget, scope and eligibility criteria. We have put in place transitionary arrangements in advance of the Spending Review outcome to allow funded support to continue beyond March 2022 for those families who commence therapy in the 2021-22 financial year.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the budget was for the Adoption Support Fund in each of the previous five financial years.

The Adoption Support Fund budget and spend, as of 2 April 2021, is set out below. The spend includes funding for successful applications, contractual costs for the management and independent evaluation of the fund.

Year

Budget

Spend

2016-17

£23,925,000

£23,900,624

2017-18

£29,000,000

£28,736,661

2018-19

£37,000,000

£36,697,988

2019-20

£42,000,000

£44,533,244

2020-21

£45,000,000

£51,164,542

There are currently no plans to change the fund’s eligibility criteria. The next Spending Review for government departmental spend beyond the financial year of 2021-22 will consider the Adoption Support Fund and its budget, scope and eligibility criteria. We have put in place transitionary arrangements in advance of the Spending Review outcome to allow funded support to continue beyond March 2022 for those families who commence therapy in the 2021-22 financial year.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will introduce funding opportunities for (a) Graduate Diploma in Law and (b) other further education law courses.

Graduate Diplomas in Law (GDL) are courses that are generally shorter in duration and/or of a lower intensity than a master’s degree. Students on these courses are less likely to face the same financial barriers as those studying a full postgraduate degree and as a result, a GDL does not fall within scope for a postgraduate master’s loan. However, if a higher education provider was to include the GDL as part of a course which led to a master’s qualification (such as a Master’s in Law), then a student would in principle be eligible for the postgraduate loan.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency has approved a range of law qualifications across a range of levels for funding for post-16 study. This includes qualifications which are available for 16- to 19-year-olds as well as post 19-year-olds, including through advanced learner loans. These qualifications may include Access to Higher Education Diplomas in Law at level 3, A levels and AS levels in law, as well as other level 3 qualifications in law and legal practice, level 2 qualifications in law and business, level 4 qualifications in law, regulation and ethics and level 5 and 6 qualifications in law.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to publish guidance for universities on the return of in-person graduation ceremonies as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The government last updated its guidance for providers of higher education on 10 May: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses. As autonomous bodies, higher education providers will make their own judgements on educational activities and the use of facilities. They should take account of government guidance, including any advice on the easing of restrictions in Step 3 of the Roadmap.

Providers may hold events, as long as they are compatible with COVID-19 regulations. In doing so, they should conduct appropriate risk assessments and take any additional measures as required, following public health advice. We expect graduation ceremonies to go ahead, either physically in person but delayed in line with the roadmap, or to be held virtually.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Department of Education's press release, Schools and colleges to benefit from boost in expert mental health support, published on 10 May 2021, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) schools and (b) students in London that will have access to a mental health support team as a result of the announcement of that funding.

According to 2018/19 and 2019/20 financial year programme data up to March 2020, in London a) 600 education settings had signed up to work with Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) and b) 340,825 pupils were therefore estimated to have access to those teams. Please note that the education settings data includes further education providers, whereas the pupils data does not. These figures are based on education settings reported to the Department for Education as enrolled in the programme as of March 2020, and pupil number data accessed via Get Information About Schools (GIAS) at the same time. These figures are also based only on those settings reported as enrolled that could be matched via their Unique Reference Number to data in GIAS.

The Department for Education announcement on 10 May references MHSTs, in line with the NHS England and Improvement announcement on 5 March of a £79 million boost to children and young people’s mental health support, which will include increasing the number of MHSTs. There are now over 280 teams set up or in training across the country. 183 of these are operational and ready to support children and young people in around 3,000 education settings, covering 15% of pupils in England. A further 103 MHSTs are in development with more to be commissioned by NHS England and Improvement this year, which will deliver the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to reach 20 – 25% of pupils a year early (by March 2022). 35% of pupils in England (almost three million) are expected to have access to a MHST by 2023.

Please note that the estimates pertaining to London (first paragraph) are based on the first 2 years of the MHSTs programme, to March 2021, whereas the national coverage estimates cover at least 3 years of the programme, to March 2022 and 2023.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what number and proportion of schools in the trailblazer areas in London piloting Mental Health Support Teams have an (a) Inadequate, (b) Requires Improvement, (c) Good and (d) Outstanding Ofsted rating.

According to financial years 2018/19 and 2019/20 programme data up to March 2020, and Ofsted rating data from Get Information About Schools at the same time, nationally:

a) 17 (0.6%) education settings enrolled to work with Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) had an Inadequate Ofsted rating;

b) 306 (10.4%) had a Requires Improvement rating;

c) 1,794 (60.9%) had a Good rating; and

d) 398 (13.5%) had an Outstanding rating.

In total, 423 schools (14.4%) did not have an Ofsted rating.

According to financial years 2018/19 and 2019/20 programme data up to March 2020, and Ofsted rating data from Get Information About Schools at the same time, in London:

a) 0 (0%) education settings enrolled to work with MHSTs had an Inadequate Ofsted rating;

b) 19 (3.2%) had a Requires Improvement rating;

c) 371 (61.8%) had a Good rating; and

d) 143 (23.8%) had an Outstanding rating.

In total, 64 schools (10.7%) did not have an Ofsted rating.

Please note that the figures are based on education settings reported to the department that have enrolled in the programme as of March 2020, and Ofsted data accessed via Get Information About Schools (GIAS) at the same time. These figures are based only on those education settings reported as enrolled that could be matched via their Unique Reference Number to data in GIAS. As the programme progresses, and the number of MHSTs and therefore participating education settings increase, these numbers will vary. It is also important to note that participating education settings’ Ofsted inspection ratings will also change throughout the programme, depending on scheduled inspections and resulting reports.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what number and proportion of schools in the trailblazer areas piloting Mental Health Support Teams have an (a) Inadequate, (b) Requires Improvement, (c) Good and (d) Outstanding Ofsted rating.

According to financial years 2018/19 and 2019/20 programme data up to March 2020, and Ofsted rating data from Get Information About Schools at the same time, nationally:

a) 17 (0.6%) education settings enrolled to work with Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) had an Inadequate Ofsted rating;

b) 306 (10.4%) had a Requires Improvement rating;

c) 1,794 (60.9%) had a Good rating; and

d) 398 (13.5%) had an Outstanding rating.

In total, 423 schools (14.4%) did not have an Ofsted rating.

According to financial years 2018/19 and 2019/20 programme data up to March 2020, and Ofsted rating data from Get Information About Schools at the same time, in London:

a) 0 (0%) education settings enrolled to work with MHSTs had an Inadequate Ofsted rating;

b) 19 (3.2%) had a Requires Improvement rating;

c) 371 (61.8%) had a Good rating; and

d) 143 (23.8%) had an Outstanding rating.

In total, 64 schools (10.7%) did not have an Ofsted rating.

Please note that the figures are based on education settings reported to the department that have enrolled in the programme as of March 2020, and Ofsted data accessed via Get Information About Schools (GIAS) at the same time. These figures are based only on those education settings reported as enrolled that could be matched via their Unique Reference Number to data in GIAS. As the programme progresses, and the number of MHSTs and therefore participating education settings increase, these numbers will vary. It is also important to note that participating education settings’ Ofsted inspection ratings will also change throughout the programme, depending on scheduled inspections and resulting reports.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Department of Education's press release, Schools and colleges to benefit from boost in expert mental health support, published on 10 May 2021, what plans his Department has to provide mental health and wellbeing support to schools that will not be covered by one of the new mental health support teams referenced in that press release.

Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is a priority for the department, and with the Department for Health and Social Care and wider health partners we our delivering our long-term commitments made in the ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper’. This includes introducing new Mental Health Support Teams linked to schools and colleges, incentivising all schools and colleges to identify and train a senior mental health lead, piloting a four week waiting time for access to specialist NHS children and young people’s mental health services, and offering the Link Programme to help improve joint working locally between education settings and mental health service providers.

An additional £79 million NHS England funding was confirmed on 5 March 2021 for children and young people’s mental health support, which will include increasing the number of Mental Health Support Teams. The number of support teams will grow from the 59 set up by last March to around 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children. This increase, on top of the investment in mental health services set out in the NHS 10-year plan, means that millions of children and young people will have access to significantly expanded mental health services.

Alongside this, we confirmed on 10 May 2021 that up to 7,800 schools and colleges in England will be offered funding worth £9.5 million to train a senior mental health lead from their staff in the next academic year, which is part of the Government’s commitment to offering this training to all state schools and colleges by 2025. Training will provide senior leads with the knowledge and skills to develop or introduce a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing in their setting, which encourages staff to develop their own understanding of issues affecting their pupils, giving young people a voice in how their school or college addresses wellbeing and working with parents and monitoring pupils where appropriate. Information on this is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/958151/Promoting_children_and_young_people_s_emotional_health_and_wellbeing_a_whole_school_and_college_approach.pdf.

We will also fund an adapted ‘Link' programme which is designed to improve partnerships between health and education leaders in local areas, raise awareness of mental health concerns and improve referrals to specialist help when needed.

The support schools are providing to their pupils following the return to face-to-face education should include time devoted to supporting mental health and wellbeing, which will play a fundamental part in supporting recovery. The return to education settings is being supported by a £700 million package, which includes a new one-off Recovery Premium for state primary, secondary and special schools to use as they see best to support disadvantaged students. This will help schools to provide their disadvantaged pupils with a one-off boost to the support, both academic and pastoral, that has been proved most effective in helping them recover from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and can be used for mental health and wellbeing support.

We have supported schools to put the right pastoral support in place through the Wellbeing for Education Return scheme in 2020/21 academic year, which provided free expert training, support and resources for staff dealing with children and young people experiencing additional pressures from the last year – including trauma, anxiety or grief.

The department has convened its Mental Health in Education Action Group, to look at the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities, as well as considering what additional support is required. The action group highlighted that schools and colleges need help to understand, navigate and access the range of provision available locally, so as a first step we are also providing an additional £7 million funding to local authorities to provide further expert support to do this through the Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish arrangements for (a) SATS, (b) GCSE, (c) A-level and (d) BTEC examinations in the 2021-22 academic year.

It is the Government’s policy that GCSE and A level examinations should go ahead in summer 2022. Examinations and assessments for vocational and technical qualifications should also take place, in line with the latest public health guidance, throughout the 2021/22 academic year. The Department recognises that students who will be taking examinations and assessments next year have had significant disruption to their education this year, and we will continue to support students in the face of any further disruption. We are considering with Ofqual, the awarding organisations, and wider stakeholders what we need to do to ensure that students are able to sit examinations and other assessments safely and receive grades that are fair, even if further disruption does occur. Whilst the Department remains committed to exams going ahead in 2022, we will also work with Ofqual on a range of contingencies. The Department will announce further details as soon as possible.

The Department is also planning for a full programme of primary assessments to take place in the 2021/22 academic year, and we will confirm full details for 2021/22 primary assessments in due course.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what safeguarding measures are in place to protect the wellbeing of children receiving an elective home education.

The safeguarding of children who are electively home educated sits within a local authority’s safeguarding duties, as set out in the Children Act 1989. The provision of home education itself does not constitute a safeguarding risk, although a failure to provide suitable home education can impair a child’s intellectual, emotional, social, or behavioural development.

The Government has substantially strengthened its guidance to local authorities on exercising their powers in relation to elective home education. The revised guidance, which was published in April 2019, sets out the steps that local authorities should take to satisfy themselves that the education provided by parents at home is suitable, and the actions that they can take if they are not satisfied. This guidance will be reviewed again in due course.

The Government remains committed to a registration system for children not in school. A consultation was held in spring 2019 on proposals for: a mandatory register of children not attending state or registered independent schools to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to children not in school; a duty on parents to register their child with their local authority if not registered at specified types of schools; a duty on proprietors of certain education settings to respond to enquiries from local authorities; and a duty on local authorities to provide support to parents who educate children at home.

The consultation closed on 24 June 2019, with nearly 5,000 responses. Further details on a proposed registration system for children not in school will be in the Government’s response to the consultation, which we intend to publish in due course.

The Department does not collect data on attainment of home educated children.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the safeguarding processes for children receiving an elective home education.

The safeguarding of children who are electively home educated sits within a local authority’s safeguarding duties, as set out in the Children Act 1989. The provision of home education itself does not constitute a safeguarding risk, although a failure to provide suitable home education can impair a child’s intellectual, emotional, social, or behavioural development.

The Government has substantially strengthened its guidance to local authorities on exercising their powers in relation to elective home education. The revised guidance, which was published in April 2019, sets out the steps that local authorities should take to satisfy themselves that the education provided by parents at home is suitable, and the actions that they can take if they are not satisfied. This guidance will be reviewed again in due course.

The Government remains committed to a registration system for children not in school. A consultation was held in spring 2019 on proposals for: a mandatory register of children not attending state or registered independent schools to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to children not in school; a duty on parents to register their child with their local authority if not registered at specified types of schools; a duty on proprietors of certain education settings to respond to enquiries from local authorities; and a duty on local authorities to provide support to parents who educate children at home.

The consultation closed on 24 June 2019, with nearly 5,000 responses. Further details on a proposed registration system for children not in school will be in the Government’s response to the consultation, which we intend to publish in due course.

The Department does not collect data on attainment of home educated children.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on the attainment of children of elective home education.

The safeguarding of children who are electively home educated sits within a local authority’s safeguarding duties, as set out in the Children Act 1989. The provision of home education itself does not constitute a safeguarding risk, although a failure to provide suitable home education can impair a child’s intellectual, emotional, social, or behavioural development.

The Government has substantially strengthened its guidance to local authorities on exercising their powers in relation to elective home education. The revised guidance, which was published in April 2019, sets out the steps that local authorities should take to satisfy themselves that the education provided by parents at home is suitable, and the actions that they can take if they are not satisfied. This guidance will be reviewed again in due course.

The Government remains committed to a registration system for children not in school. A consultation was held in spring 2019 on proposals for: a mandatory register of children not attending state or registered independent schools to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to children not in school; a duty on parents to register their child with their local authority if not registered at specified types of schools; a duty on proprietors of certain education settings to respond to enquiries from local authorities; and a duty on local authorities to provide support to parents who educate children at home.

The consultation closed on 24 June 2019, with nearly 5,000 responses. Further details on a proposed registration system for children not in school will be in the Government’s response to the consultation, which we intend to publish in due course.

The Department does not collect data on attainment of home educated children.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department provides to local authorities to ensure that children receiving home education achieve expected key educational milestones.

The safeguarding of children who are electively home educated sits within a local authority’s safeguarding duties, as set out in the Children Act 1989. The provision of home education itself does not constitute a safeguarding risk, although a failure to provide suitable home education can impair a child’s intellectual, emotional, social, or behavioural development.

The Government has substantially strengthened its guidance to local authorities on exercising their powers in relation to elective home education. The revised guidance, which was published in April 2019, sets out the steps that local authorities should take to satisfy themselves that the education provided by parents at home is suitable, and the actions that they can take if they are not satisfied. This guidance will be reviewed again in due course.

The Government remains committed to a registration system for children not in school. A consultation was held in spring 2019 on proposals for: a mandatory register of children not attending state or registered independent schools to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to children not in school; a duty on parents to register their child with their local authority if not registered at specified types of schools; a duty on proprietors of certain education settings to respond to enquiries from local authorities; and a duty on local authorities to provide support to parents who educate children at home.

The consultation closed on 24 June 2019, with nearly 5,000 responses. Further details on a proposed registration system for children not in school will be in the Government’s response to the consultation, which we intend to publish in due course.

The Department does not collect data on attainment of home educated children.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that children who are being educated at home are receiving an appropriate and effective education.

The safeguarding of children who are electively home educated sits within a local authority’s safeguarding duties, as set out in the Children Act 1989. The provision of home education itself does not constitute a safeguarding risk, although a failure to provide suitable home education can impair a child’s intellectual, emotional, social, or behavioural development.

The Government has substantially strengthened its guidance to local authorities on exercising their powers in relation to elective home education. The revised guidance, which was published in April 2019, sets out the steps that local authorities should take to satisfy themselves that the education provided by parents at home is suitable, and the actions that they can take if they are not satisfied. This guidance will be reviewed again in due course.

The Government remains committed to a registration system for children not in school. A consultation was held in spring 2019 on proposals for: a mandatory register of children not attending state or registered independent schools to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to children not in school; a duty on parents to register their child with their local authority if not registered at specified types of schools; a duty on proprietors of certain education settings to respond to enquiries from local authorities; and a duty on local authorities to provide support to parents who educate children at home.

The consultation closed on 24 June 2019, with nearly 5,000 responses. Further details on a proposed registration system for children not in school will be in the Government’s response to the consultation, which we intend to publish in due course.

The Department does not collect data on attainment of home educated children.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of creating a statutory register for children receiving an elective home education.

The safeguarding of children who are electively home educated sits within a local authority’s safeguarding duties, as set out in the Children Act 1989. The provision of home education itself does not constitute a safeguarding risk, although a failure to provide suitable home education can impair a child’s intellectual, emotional, social, or behavioural development.

The Government has substantially strengthened its guidance to local authorities on exercising their powers in relation to elective home education. The revised guidance, which was published in April 2019, sets out the steps that local authorities should take to satisfy themselves that the education provided by parents at home is suitable, and the actions that they can take if they are not satisfied. This guidance will be reviewed again in due course.

The Government remains committed to a registration system for children not in school. A consultation was held in spring 2019 on proposals for: a mandatory register of children not attending state or registered independent schools to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to children not in school; a duty on parents to register their child with their local authority if not registered at specified types of schools; a duty on proprietors of certain education settings to respond to enquiries from local authorities; and a duty on local authorities to provide support to parents who educate children at home.

The consultation closed on 24 June 2019, with nearly 5,000 responses. Further details on a proposed registration system for children not in school will be in the Government’s response to the consultation, which we intend to publish in due course.

The Department does not collect data on attainment of home educated children.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of children who have been taken off the school roll since the beginning of the covid-19 outbreak.

The information requested about pupils being taken off the school roll is not held by the Department and cannot be estimated from current data sources.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to announce arrangements for (a) SATS, (b) GCSE, (c) A-level and (d) BTEC examinations in the 2021-22 academic year.

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

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals on climate emergency education to improve climate change education.

The National Curriculum already includes content on environmental and sustainability issues such as climate change, in both the science and geography curricula and GCSEs. From primary onwards, there is coverage of environmental matters in both the science and geography curricula.

Under the Key Stage 2 non-statutory guidance for citizenship, pupils are taught about the wider world and the interdependence of communities within it. Pupils are taught that resources can be allocated in different ways and that these economic choices affect individuals, communities, and the sustainability of the environment.

As the National Curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what the Department expects schools to cover in each subject, teachers have the flexibility and freedom to determine how they deliver the content in the way that best meets the needs of their pupils. They can choose to cover particular topics in greater depth if they wish and as knowledge of sustainability develops, teachers can adapt their school curricula for these subjects.

We have not brought forward further proposals as there is scope to cover these issues within existing teaching.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will commit funding to the Adoption Support Fund beyond the financial year of 2021-22.

The Adoption Support Fund budget for the last five financial years is set out below:

2016-17: £23,925,000

2017-18: £29,000,000

2018-19: £37,000,000

2019-20: £42,000,000

2020-21: £45,000,000

There are currently no plans to change the Fund’s eligibility criteria. The next Spending Review for government departmental spend beyond the financial year of 2021-22 will consider the Adoption Support Fund and its budget, scope and eligibility criteria. We have put in place transitionary arrangements in advance of the Spending Review outcome to allow funded support to continue beyond March 2022 for those families who commence therapy in the 2021-22 financial year.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to change the eligibility criteria for applicants to the Adoption Support Fund.

The Adoption Support Fund budget for the last five financial years is set out below:

2016-17: £23,925,000

2017-18: £29,000,000

2018-19: £37,000,000

2019-20: £42,000,000

2020-21: £45,000,000

There are currently no plans to change the Fund’s eligibility criteria. The next Spending Review for government departmental spend beyond the financial year of 2021-22 will consider the Adoption Support Fund and its budget, scope and eligibility criteria. We have put in place transitionary arrangements in advance of the Spending Review outcome to allow funded support to continue beyond March 2022 for those families who commence therapy in the 2021-22 financial year.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the budget has been of the Adoption Support Fund in each of the last five financial years.

The Adoption Support Fund budget for the last five financial years is set out below:

2016-17: £23,925,000

2017-18: £29,000,000

2018-19: £37,000,000

2019-20: £42,000,000

2020-21: £45,000,000

There are currently no plans to change the Fund’s eligibility criteria. The next Spending Review for government departmental spend beyond the financial year of 2021-22 will consider the Adoption Support Fund and its budget, scope and eligibility criteria. We have put in place transitionary arrangements in advance of the Spending Review outcome to allow funded support to continue beyond March 2022 for those families who commence therapy in the 2021-22 financial year.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the budget for the Adoption Support Fund has been in each of the last five financial years.

The Adoption Support Fund budget for the last five financial years is set out below:

2016-17: £23,925,000

2017-18: £29,000,000

2018-19: £37,000,000

2019-20: £42,000,000

2020-21: £45,000,000

There are currently no plans to change the Fund’s eligibility criteria. The next Spending Review for government departmental spend beyond the financial year of 2021-22 will consider the Adoption Support Fund and its budget, scope and eligibility criteria. We have put in place transitionary arrangements in advance of the Spending Review outcome to allow funded support to continue beyond March 2022 for those families who commence therapy in the 2021-22 financial year.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring additional protection measures to prevent the transmission of covid-19 in SEN schools.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government Departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. We continue to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, to continue to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

The Department has recently published updated guidance for schools, including special schools and other specialist settings. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

As the guidance outlines, implementing the system of controls in line with a wider risk assessment creates a safer environment for staff and pupils where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced. All elements of the system of controls are essential, but the way schools, colleges and nurseries implement the elements will differ based on their individual circumstances. Schools, colleges and nurseries have duties to make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils and students to support them to access education successfully.

PHE advice remains that the way to control COVID-19 is the same, even with the current new variants. We are further strengthening the measures to provide more reassurance and to help decrease the disruption that the outbreak causes to education. We will keep all measures under review and update guidance as necessary.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason the Government has not issued safety standards on face coverings used in education.

The Department continues to work closely with other government departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), as well as stakeholders across the sector. We continue to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, to continue to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

The Department recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March 2021, which includes updated advice on face coverings and how to access them. The guidance can be found at the following link:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance.

Within our guidance, we signpost to the wider DHSC guidance on face coverings which outlines what a face covering is, the reasons for using face coverings, when to wear one and exemptions. In the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth: reusable or single-use face coverings, a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering which must securely fit around the side of the face. Face coverings are not classified as personal protective equipment and they are instead largely intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection.

DHSC guidance also explains that due to the complexity of the different contexts in which COVID-19 can spread and the rapidly changing and growing evidence base on the effectiveness of face masks and coverings, there are currently no UK product standards for face coverings. The DHSC guidance can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own.

PHE has also published guidance on how to make a simple face covering. This guidance can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering.

As with all measures, we will continue to keep our policy on face coverings under review and update guidance as necessary.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the Independent Advisory Assessment Panel's report to him on that panel's recommendations for the appointment of the new Chair of the Office for Students.

Lord Wharton of Yarm was selected following a rigorous assessment process conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, was presented with a list of candidates who were deemed to be appointable to the role of Chair of the Office for Students and he made his choice from that list.

The Governance Code for Public Appointments states at section 3.1: At the end of the process, Ministers should be provided with a choice of appointable candidates. Panels must not rank candidates unless the Minister has specifically asked for this. Ministers may choose not to appoint any of the candidates and re-run the competition.’ In accordance with the Code, in this competition the candidates deemed to be appointable were not ranked.

Following his selection as the preferred candidate by the Secretary of State for Education, Lord Wharton faced a pre-appointment hearing with the Education Select Committee, which endorsed Lord Wharton’s appointment as Chair.

We will not publish the Independent Advisory Assessment Panel’s report as it contains details of peoples’ performances at interview, making them identifiable.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether Lord Wharton was the highest scoring candidate for the role of Chair of the Office for Students following the Independent Advisory Assessment Panel's recruitment process.

Lord Wharton of Yarm was selected following a rigorous assessment process conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, was presented with a list of candidates who were deemed to be appointable to the role of Chair of the Office for Students and he made his choice from that list.

The Governance Code for Public Appointments states at section 3.1: At the end of the process, Ministers should be provided with a choice of appointable candidates. Panels must not rank candidates unless the Minister has specifically asked for this. Ministers may choose not to appoint any of the candidates and re-run the competition.’ In accordance with the Code, in this competition the candidates deemed to be appointable were not ranked.

Following his selection as the preferred candidate by the Secretary of State for Education, Lord Wharton faced a pre-appointment hearing with the Education Select Committee, which endorsed Lord Wharton’s appointment as Chair.

We will not publish the Independent Advisory Assessment Panel’s report as it contains details of peoples’ performances at interview, making them identifiable.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support the additional educational needs of children in kinship care who are homeschooling as a result of the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

During the period of national lockdown announced on 4 January 2021, primary, secondary, alternative provision, special schools, and further education providers have remained open to vulnerable children and young people. The definition of vulnerable children and young people includes those who have been identified as vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities, including children who left care through a special guardianship order, and others at the discretion of the provider or local authority.

Where vulnerable children and young people are not able to attend their education setting, they are able to access remote education. The government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, academy trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children who need them most, including children in kinship care, during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Schools are expected to offer pupils online lessons and a set number of hours of remote education for pupils, with an expectation that schools set work that is of equivalent to the core teaching pupils would receive in school.

A comprehensive package of support is available which can be accessed through the Get Help with Remote Education page on gov.uk. The department has also made £4.84 million available for the Oak National Academy which is continuing to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for reception up to year 11, including content for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

To support schools to make up for lost teaching time, the government introduced a catch-up package worth £1 billion, including a ‘Catch up Premium’ worth a total of £650 million and a £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. The government will also provide a programme of catch-up over the next financial year. This will involve a further £300 million of new money to early years, schools, and providers of 16 to 19 further education for tutoring, and the department will work in collaboration with the education sector to develop, as appropriate, specific initiatives for summer schools and a COVID Premium to support catch up.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the Adoption Support Fund to kinship carers.

The government is committed to supporting families whose children have been in the care system prior to living with their new families. The Adoption Support Fund was extended in 2016 to include previously looked after children being cared for by special guardians, many of whom are kinship carers. The forthcoming Spending Review process will consider the Adoption Support Fund and its budget, scope and eligibility criteria.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to increase funding for retrofit skills under the Government’s National Skills Fund.

I refer the hon. Member for Twickenham to the answers I gave on 18 January 2021 to Questions 134016 and 134029.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the proposed removal of London Weighting from the Teaching Grant on university rent fees for students.

On 8 February 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to the Office for Students (OfS) to set out his priorities for the forthcoming year. This letter can be accessed here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/48277145-4cf3-497f-b9b7-b13fdf16f46b/ofs-strategic-guidance-20210208.pdf.

One of these priorities is to change the name of the Teaching Grant to the Strategic Priorities Grant. This is to ensure the name of this funding reflects its important role in supporting providers and students to develop the skills and knowledge needed locally, regionally, and nationally to support the economy.

The Strategic Priorities Grant will be reformed for the 2021/22 financial year to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting higher education (HE) provision which aligns with national priorities, such as healthcare, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

London weighting funding is a small proportion of the overall income of providers and it is right for the government to re-allocate public money where it is most needed. Universities should not receive additional investment for teaching simply because of where they are located. Excellent provision can be delivered across the country.

London already has, on average, the highest percentage of good or outstanding schools, the highest progression to HE, and more HE providers than any other region in England. This reform will invest more money directly into high quality institutions in the Midlands and the North.

The analysis we offer at this stage, as presented in the annex to the letter to the Office for Students (OfS), gives a broad indication of the impact of the changes to aid understanding. This letter can be accessed here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/a3814453-4c28-404a-bf76-490183867d9a/rt-hon-gavin-williamson-cbe-mp-t-grant-ofs-chair-smb.pdf.

The OfS will consult on these changes shortly, before final allocations for the 2021/22 financial year are confirmed and will carefully consider the impact of any changes on providers.

We are also making available an additional £50 million of hardship funding this financial year. In total we have made £70 million of funding available for student hardship, given the £20 million made available to HE providers in December. Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need.

This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding that HE providers are able draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment, and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.

Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/2022 through the proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard-to-reach students.

The OfS has also been asked to allocate £5 million to providers in order to provide additional support for student hardship. This is to mitigate the rise in student hardship due to the COVID-19 impacts on the labour market which particularly affect, for example, students relying on work to fund their studies, students whose parents have lost income and students who are parents and whose partner's income has been affected.

We have also asked the OfS for a £10 million increase to the specialist provider allocation, to support these institutions which are particularly reliant on Strategic Priorities Grant funding, many of whom are London-based. We want to ensure that our small and specialist providers, including some of our top music and arts providers, receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has undertaken an impact assessment of the proposed removal of London Weighting from the Teaching Grant on (a) disadvantaged students and (b) BAME students.

On 8 February 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to the Office for Students (OfS) to set out his priorities for the forthcoming year. This letter can be accessed here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/48277145-4cf3-497f-b9b7-b13fdf16f46b/ofs-strategic-guidance-20210208.pdf.

One of these priorities is to change the name of the Teaching Grant to the Strategic Priorities Grant. This is to ensure the name of this funding reflects its important role in supporting providers and students to develop the skills and knowledge needed locally, regionally, and nationally to support the economy.

The Strategic Priorities Grant will be reformed for the 2021/22 financial year to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting higher education (HE) provision which aligns with national priorities, such as healthcare, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

London weighting funding is a small proportion of the overall income of providers and it is right for the government to re-allocate public money where it is most needed. Universities should not receive additional investment for teaching simply because of where they are located. Excellent provision can be delivered across the country.

London already has, on average, the highest percentage of good or outstanding schools, the highest progression to HE, and more HE providers than any other region in England. This reform will invest more money directly into high quality institutions in the Midlands and the North.

The analysis we offer at this stage, as presented in the annex to the letter to the Office for Students (OfS), gives a broad indication of the impact of the changes to aid understanding. This letter can be accessed here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/a3814453-4c28-404a-bf76-490183867d9a/rt-hon-gavin-williamson-cbe-mp-t-grant-ofs-chair-smb.pdf.

The OfS will consult on these changes shortly, before final allocations for the 2021/22 financial year are confirmed and will carefully consider the impact of any changes on providers.

We are also making available an additional £50 million of hardship funding this financial year. In total we have made £70 million of funding available for student hardship, given the £20 million made available to HE providers in December. Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need.

This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding that HE providers are able draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment, and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.

Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/2022 through the proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard-to-reach students.

The OfS has also been asked to allocate £5 million to providers in order to provide additional support for student hardship. This is to mitigate the rise in student hardship due to the COVID-19 impacts on the labour market which particularly affect, for example, students relying on work to fund their studies, students whose parents have lost income and students who are parents and whose partner's income has been affected.

We have also asked the OfS for a £10 million increase to the specialist provider allocation, to support these institutions which are particularly reliant on Strategic Priorities Grant funding, many of whom are London-based. We want to ensure that our small and specialist providers, including some of our top music and arts providers, receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the reduction in funding will be to (a) London universities and (b) the University of London from the proposed removal of London Weighting from the Teaching Grant.

On 8 February 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to the Office for Students (OfS) to set out his priorities for the forthcoming year. This letter can be accessed here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/48277145-4cf3-497f-b9b7-b13fdf16f46b/ofs-strategic-guidance-20210208.pdf.

One of these priorities is to change the name of the Teaching Grant to the Strategic Priorities Grant. This is to ensure the name of this funding reflects its important role in supporting providers and students to develop the skills and knowledge needed locally, regionally, and nationally to support the economy.

The Strategic Priorities Grant will be reformed for the 2021/22 financial year to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting higher education (HE) provision which aligns with national priorities, such as healthcare, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

London weighting funding is a small proportion of the overall income of providers and it is right for the government to re-allocate public money where it is most needed. Universities should not receive additional investment for teaching simply because of where they are located. Excellent provision can be delivered across the country.

London already has, on average, the highest percentage of good or outstanding schools, the highest progression to HE, and more HE providers than any other region in England. This reform will invest more money directly into high quality institutions in the Midlands and the North.

The analysis we offer at this stage, as presented in the annex to the letter to the Office for Students (OfS), gives a broad indication of the impact of the changes to aid understanding. This letter can be accessed here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/a3814453-4c28-404a-bf76-490183867d9a/rt-hon-gavin-williamson-cbe-mp-t-grant-ofs-chair-smb.pdf.

The OfS will consult on these changes shortly, before final allocations for the 2021/22 financial year are confirmed and will carefully consider the impact of any changes on providers.

We are also making available an additional £50 million of hardship funding this financial year. In total we have made £70 million of funding available for student hardship, given the £20 million made available to HE providers in December. Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need.

This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding that HE providers are able draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment, and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.

Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/2022 through the proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard-to-reach students.

The OfS has also been asked to allocate £5 million to providers in order to provide additional support for student hardship. This is to mitigate the rise in student hardship due to the COVID-19 impacts on the labour market which particularly affect, for example, students relying on work to fund their studies, students whose parents have lost income and students who are parents and whose partner's income has been affected.

We have also asked the OfS for a £10 million increase to the specialist provider allocation, to support these institutions which are particularly reliant on Strategic Priorities Grant funding, many of whom are London-based. We want to ensure that our small and specialist providers, including some of our top music and arts providers, receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his has Department made of the effect of removing the London weighting from university grants on the quality of university teaching and facilities.

On 8 February 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to the Office for Students (OfS) to set out his priorities for the forthcoming year. This letter can be accessed here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/48277145-4cf3-497f-b9b7-b13fdf16f46b/ofs-strategic-guidance-20210208.pdf.

One of these priorities is to change the name of the Teaching Grant to the Strategic Priorities Grant. This is to ensure the name of this funding reflects its important role in supporting providers and students to develop the skills and knowledge needed locally, regionally, and nationally to support the economy.

The Strategic Priorities Grant will be reformed for the 2021/22 financial year to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting higher education (HE) provision which aligns with national priorities, such as healthcare, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

London weighting funding is a small proportion of the overall income of providers and it is right for the government to re-allocate public money where it is most needed. Universities should not receive additional investment for teaching simply because of where they are located. Excellent provision can be delivered across the country.

London already has, on average, the highest percentage of good or outstanding schools, the highest progression to HE, and more HE providers than any other region in England. This reform will invest more money directly into high quality institutions in the Midlands and the North.

The analysis we offer at this stage, as presented in the annex to the letter to the Office for Students (OfS), gives a broad indication of the impact of the changes to aid understanding. This letter can be accessed here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/a3814453-4c28-404a-bf76-490183867d9a/rt-hon-gavin-williamson-cbe-mp-t-grant-ofs-chair-smb.pdf.

The OfS will consult on these changes shortly, before final allocations for the 2021/22 financial year are confirmed and will carefully consider the impact of any changes on providers.

We are also making available an additional £50 million of hardship funding this financial year. In total we have made £70 million of funding available for student hardship, given the £20 million made available to HE providers in December. Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need.

This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding that HE providers are able draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment, and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.

Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/2022 through the proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard-to-reach students.

The OfS has also been asked to allocate £5 million to providers in order to provide additional support for student hardship. This is to mitigate the rise in student hardship due to the COVID-19 impacts on the labour market which particularly affect, for example, students relying on work to fund their studies, students whose parents have lost income and students who are parents and whose partner's income has been affected.

We have also asked the OfS for a £10 million increase to the specialist provider allocation, to support these institutions which are particularly reliant on Strategic Priorities Grant funding, many of whom are London-based. We want to ensure that our small and specialist providers, including some of our top music and arts providers, receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the proposed removal of London Weighting from the Teaching Grant on the number of students able to afford university.

On 8 February 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to the Office for Students (OfS) to set out his priorities for the forthcoming year. This letter can be accessed here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/48277145-4cf3-497f-b9b7-b13fdf16f46b/ofs-strategic-guidance-20210208.pdf.

One of these priorities is to change the name of the Teaching Grant to the Strategic Priorities Grant. This is to ensure the name of this funding reflects its important role in supporting providers and students to develop the skills and knowledge needed locally, regionally, and nationally to support the economy.

The Strategic Priorities Grant will be reformed for the 2021/22 financial year to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting higher education (HE) provision which aligns with national priorities, such as healthcare, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

London weighting funding is a small proportion of the overall income of providers and it is right for the government to re-allocate public money where it is most needed. Universities should not receive additional investment for teaching simply because of where they are located. Excellent provision can be delivered across the country.

London already has, on average, the highest percentage of good or outstanding schools, the highest progression to HE, and more HE providers than any other region in England. This reform will invest more money directly into high quality institutions in the Midlands and the North.

The analysis we offer at this stage, as presented in the annex to the letter to the Office for Students (OfS), gives a broad indication of the impact of the changes to aid understanding. This letter can be accessed here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/a3814453-4c28-404a-bf76-490183867d9a/rt-hon-gavin-williamson-cbe-mp-t-grant-ofs-chair-smb.pdf.

The OfS will consult on these changes shortly, before final allocations for the 2021/22 financial year are confirmed and will carefully consider the impact of any changes on providers.

We are also making available an additional £50 million of hardship funding this financial year. In total we have made £70 million of funding available for student hardship, given the £20 million made available to HE providers in December. Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need.

This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding that HE providers are able draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment, and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.

Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/2022 through the proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard-to-reach students.

The OfS has also been asked to allocate £5 million to providers in order to provide additional support for student hardship. This is to mitigate the rise in student hardship due to the COVID-19 impacts on the labour market which particularly affect, for example, students relying on work to fund their studies, students whose parents have lost income and students who are parents and whose partner's income has been affected.

We have also asked the OfS for a £10 million increase to the specialist provider allocation, to support these institutions which are particularly reliant on Strategic Priorities Grant funding, many of whom are London-based. We want to ensure that our small and specialist providers, including some of our top music and arts providers, receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Children’s Services Development Group’s report entitled Destination Unknown: Improving transitions for care leavers and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, published February 2020, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recommendations of that report on supporting vulnerable young people to successfully move into adulthood.

It is a priority for the department to improve the outcomes of care leavers and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The SEND Code of Practice explicitly states that all children and young people with SEND should be prepared for adulthood and that this preparation should start early. For those with an education, health and care plan, there must be a focus from year 9 onwards on this preparation as part of their plan’s annual review. Planning for the transition to adulthood should result in clear outcomes being agreed that are ambitious and stretching.

The SEND Review is considering how the support system operates to prepare children and young people for adulthood, including employment.

Since launching the cross-government Care Leaver Strategy, we have implemented a wide range of measures to improve care leavers’ outcomes, including ones which address the concerns highlighted by the Children’s Services Development Group’s report.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has established a ministerial board, co-chaired by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The board met for the first time on 13 July and brought together ministers from across the government to consider what more their departments can do to support care leavers. The next meeting of the board will be in the early autumn.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the support available to young people with special educational needs and disabilities to ensure they make a successful transition into adulthood; and whether he will include an assessment of that support in his Department's review of support for children with special educational needs.

It is a priority for the department to improve the outcomes of care leavers and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The SEND Code of Practice explicitly states that all children and young people with SEND should be prepared for adulthood and that this preparation should start early. For those with an education, health and care plan, there must be a focus from year 9 onwards on this preparation as part of their plan’s annual review. Planning for the transition to adulthood should result in clear outcomes being agreed that are ambitious and stretching.

The SEND Review is considering how the support system operates to prepare children and young people for adulthood, including employment.

Since launching the cross-government Care Leaver Strategy, we have implemented a wide range of measures to improve care leavers’ outcomes, including ones which address the concerns highlighted by the Children’s Services Development Group’s report.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has established a ministerial board, co-chaired by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The board met for the first time on 13 July and brought together ministers from across the government to consider what more their departments can do to support care leavers. The next meeting of the board will be in the early autumn.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of 19 to 25 year-old students with an education, health and care plan were provided with a further education place in the academic years (a) 2016-17, (b) 2017-18, (c) 2018-19 and (d) 2019-20.

The number of 19 to 25 year olds with an education, health and care (EHC) plan participating in further education at any point in the given academic year is presented in the table attached. This is collected in the individualised learner record. The proportion of all 19 to 25 year olds with EHC plans is not available as comparable age bands are not available.

The number of young people aged 16-19 and 20-25 with an EHC plan is available in the ‘Education, health and care plans’ publication at:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-health-and-care-plans.

Figures presented are as at January in the academic year.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government's press release entitled, Billion pound Covid catch-up plan to tackle impact of lost teaching time, published on 19 June, whether his Department will publish guidance for schools on how they should allocate their portion of that funding package.

Every pupil in the country has experienced unprecedented disruption to their education as a result of COVID-19. The £1 billion catch-up fund is intended to support schools in helping pupils make up for time spent out of the classroom. Through this fund, in the next academic year, all state-funded primary and secondary schools in England will receive a share of the £650 million catch-up premium.

School leaders have discretion to use this additional funding to meet the identified needs of their pupils and to help them fill gaps in curriculum knowledge resulting from extended school closures. On 19 June, the Education Endowment Foundation published a guide to help school leaders and staff decide how to use this funding to best support their pupils and their outcomes.

In addition, the £350 million National Tutoring Programme will provide extra support for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, who will be amongst the hardest hit by the disruption to education.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government's press release entitled, Billion pound Covid catch-up plan to tackle impact of lost teaching time, published on 19 June, what steps he will take to ensure that money spent from that package goes to children who have had the least access to face-to-face teaching time during the covid-19 outbreak.

Every pupil in the country has experienced unprecedented disruption to their education as a result of COVID-19. The £1 billion catch-up fund is intended to support schools in helping pupils make up for time spent out of the classroom. Through this fund, in the next academic year, all state-funded primary and secondary schools in England will receive a share of the £650 million catch-up premium.

School leaders have discretion to use this additional funding to meet the identified needs of their pupils and to help them fill gaps in curriculum knowledge resulting from extended school closures. On 19 June, the Education Endowment Foundation published a guide to help school leaders and staff decide how to use this funding to best support their pupils and their outcomes.

In addition, the £350 million National Tutoring Programme will provide extra support for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, who will be amongst the hardest hit by the disruption to education.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department plans to provide to schools on prioritising student wellbeing (a) during the covid-19 outbreak and (b) as lockdown restrictions are eased.

The government remains committed to promoting and supporting the mental health of children and young people.

The department has signposted resources on supporting and promoting mental wellbeing among the list of resources to help children to learn at home, which are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

BBC Bitesize has also worked with the department to provide content with substantial focus on mental health, wellbeing and pastoral care.

The return to school is a key part of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils, as attendance at school allows social interaction with peers, carers and teachers, which benefits wellbeing. To support this, we have encouraged schools to focus on mental wellbeing as pupils return. Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 are now able to return to primary, and Year 10 and Year 12 pupils are able to receive face-to-face support at secondary. Primaries with capacity can bring back additional groups, in line with existing protective measures, and we have given schools the flexibility to have face-to-face ‘check-ups’ with all pupils during the summer term. Our intention is for all children to return to school from September and guidance will be published soon.

We are continuing to talk with school and health partners on how to make further resources and support available to schools as children and young people return.

Access to mental health support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS services remain open, and leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. During Mental Health Awareness Week, the government also announced that a further £4.2 million will be awarded to mental health charities, including the Samaritans, Young Minds, and Bipolar UK.

All NHS mental health trusts have been asked to ensure that there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. These are available for children and young people as well as adults. Public Health England and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

In addition, children and young people can access free confidential support anytime from government-backed voluntary and community sector organisations either by texting SHOUT to 85258, or by calling Childline on 0800 1111 or The Mix on 0808 808 4994. Children and young people can also find online information on COVID-19 and mental health on the Young Minds website, which is available here:
https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/reports/coronavirus-impact-on-young-people-with-mental-health-needs/.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional funding the Government has allocated to schools reopening on 1 June 2020 for (a) cleaning, (b) personal protective equipment, (c) social distancing and (d) other measures necessary to reduce the transmission of covid-19.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. That will ensure that they are able to continue to meet their regular financial commitments.

We are also providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources. The fund is targeted towards the costs we have identified as the biggest barrier to schools during the period of partial closure and includes additional cleaning costs.

We will continue to keep the scope of this fund under review as we move towards a gradual reopening of schools.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish guidance on whether nannies who do not live with their employer are permitted to work during lockdown.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his Department's Action Plan for Animal Welfare, published in May 2021, what plans his Department has to ban the import of (a) hunting trophies, (b) fur and (c) foie gras.

We will bring forward one of the toughest bans on the import of hunting trophies in the world and we are exploring a range of legislative options to further protect animals abroad.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help encourage supermarkets to ensure that low cost food ranges are stocked and accessible in smaller, high street stores.

Defra regularly engages supermarkets and discusses the cost-of-living issue, and we welcome the steps announced by some retailers to support both their workforce and customers. We will continue to explore the range of measures they can take to ensure the availability of affordable food, for example, by maintaining value ranges, price matching and price freezing measures. However, it is not for the UK Government to set retail food prices nor to comment on day-to-day commercial decisions by companies.

We recognise that people are facing pressures with the increasing cost of living and that some people continue to require extra support. From this month, the Government is providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials, bringing the total funding for this support to £1 billion.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing environmental impact labelling for food products and its potential impact on (a) consumer awareness and choice and (b) meeting the UK’s carbon emissions targets.

We want to empower consumers with more effective information to help them make healthier, greener, and more sustainable choices in their diet. As part of the Government’s Food Strategy, we are reviewing how food information can be improved - such as through labelling – so consumers can make more informed decisions whilst maintaining freedom of choice.

Currently, the specific impact of environmental labelling on purchasing behaviour in real world settings is under-researched. Defra have commissioned consumer insights work in order to strengthen the evidence base, to better understand the efficacy of eco-labelling upon consumer choice selection. This will also assist in understanding whether environmental labelling leads to more sustainable supply chains, in alignment with reducing the UK’s emissions targets.

The Government supports the work of WRAP, whose Courtauld 2030 voluntary agreement includes a target to reduce GHG emissions across the food supply chain. Courtauld's work includes agreeing a common set of emission factors, developing a standard for reporting on supply chain emissions in the food chain and reviewing the pathway to more robust emissions data governance. Although not explicitly linked to eco-labelling, this work aims to improve the data that would be required to underpin such a scheme.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
What assessment he has had made of the potential effectiveness of providing free garden waste collections as proposed in the consultation on Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England.

A free minimum garden waste collection service reduces the amount of garden waste that ends up in landfill, minimising the release of harmful greenhouse gases. We will publish a final impact assessment and Government response with further analysis of this proposal and on alternative measures to increase the recycling of garden waste from households.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that covid-19 testing equipment can be recycled.

We have provided guidance on gov.uk regarding the correct way to dispose of personal or business waste, including face coverings, personal protective equipment and lateral flow devices used for the asymptomatic testing of Covid-19: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-disposing-of-waste.

We have looked at recyclability of used devices but given that they are constructed of a number of polymers and contain small quantities of liquid, albeit non-hazardous, there are currently no processes that can recycle them. We have worked very closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, the Environment Agency, Public Health England and other stakeholders to ensure that these are managed as safely and effectively as possible but currently there are no recycling options available. This is under constant review.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many air pollution monitors in London have been upgraded since 2016.

As part of the national network of monitoring sites that the Environment Agency manages on Defra’s behalf, 15 new or upgraded instruments have been brought into service across 12 air quality monitoring sites across London since 2016.

There are currently 19 air quality monitoring sites which are part of Defra’s national monitoring networks located in London. In addition to the national UK Air Quality monitoring networks, Local Authorities, businesses and academics carry out monitoring and modelling of air quality.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of the number of air quality monitoring stations in use in London.

As part of the national network of monitoring sites that the Environment Agency manages on Defra’s behalf, 15 new or upgraded instruments have been brought into service across 12 air quality monitoring sites across London since 2016.

There are currently 19 air quality monitoring sites which are part of Defra’s national monitoring networks located in London. In addition to the national UK Air Quality monitoring networks, Local Authorities, businesses and academics carry out monitoring and modelling of air quality.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has been made of the potential merits of phasing out the use of amenity pesticides.

Defra and the Devolved Administrations are currently consulting on the draft revised National Action Plan for Sustainable Use of Pesticides (the NAP). It outlines our intention to work with demonstration farms, agronomists and advisory services to support the development and uptake of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

The draft NAP also outlines how we plan to improve regulation, support the uptake of Integrated Pest Management including in the amenity sector, improve safe use, improve metrics, and review the governance and implementation of UK pesticides policy.

Our strict regulation only allows the use of pesticides that are shown to meet high standards for the protection of people and the environment. Therefore, we currently have no plans to phase out amenity use of pesticides.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing an independent advice and research facility for farmers and agronomists on best practice for adopting integrated pest management systems.

Defra and the Devolved Administrations are currently consulting on the draft revised National Action Plan for Sustainable Use of Pesticides (the NAP). It outlines our intention to work with demonstration farms, agronomists and advisory services to support the development and uptake of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

The draft NAP also outlines how we plan to improve regulation, support the uptake of Integrated Pest Management including in the amenity sector, improve safe use, improve metrics, and review the governance and implementation of UK pesticides policy.

Our strict regulation only allows the use of pesticides that are shown to meet high standards for the protection of people and the environment. Therefore, we currently have no plans to phase out amenity use of pesticides.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing mandatory prior notification for the public for when pesticides are being sprayed near them.

Pesticides are only authorised for use in situations where scientific assessment finds that this will not harm human health, including that of local residents and bystanders, and will not pose unacceptable risks to the environment. The assessment looks at potential risks to children and takes account of the setting in which the pesticide will be used. Those using pesticides are required to take all reasonable precautions to protect human health and the environment and to confine the application of the pesticide to the area intended to be treated.

The Government operates a range of schemes which collect and analyse data on potential health impacts from pesticides. Biomonitoring studies have provided information on how actual exposure to pesticides compares with predictions. The draft UK National Action Plan, currently out for consultation, proposes that over the next five years, we will work with stakeholders to consider the potential for development of a human biomonitoring programme, to monitor exposure within the UK population to pesticides as well as other chemicals.

Monitoring the long-term effects of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals is challenging. The Prospective Investigation of Pesticide Applicators’ Health collects long-term data on the health of certified pesticide users.

The Code of Practice for using plant protection products has a specific section on “Protecting the Public.” This deals with the assessments that must be made of any risks to the public before using pesticides, notification of adjacent occupiers before spraying and particular care that may be needed for especially vulnerable groups. The Government does not believe it is appropriate to introduce a statutory requirement for operators to provide advance notice of planned spray operations to members of the public.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of long-term exposure to pesticides on children in London.

Pesticides are only authorised for use in situations where scientific assessment finds that this will not harm human health, including that of local residents and bystanders, and will not pose unacceptable risks to the environment. The assessment looks at potential risks to children and takes account of the setting in which the pesticide will be used. Those using pesticides are required to take all reasonable precautions to protect human health and the environment and to confine the application of the pesticide to the area intended to be treated.

The Government operates a range of schemes which collect and analyse data on potential health impacts from pesticides. Biomonitoring studies have provided information on how actual exposure to pesticides compares with predictions. The draft UK National Action Plan, currently out for consultation, proposes that over the next five years, we will work with stakeholders to consider the potential for development of a human biomonitoring programme, to monitor exposure within the UK population to pesticides as well as other chemicals.

Monitoring the long-term effects of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals is challenging. The Prospective Investigation of Pesticide Applicators’ Health collects long-term data on the health of certified pesticide users.

The Code of Practice for using plant protection products has a specific section on “Protecting the Public.” This deals with the assessments that must be made of any risks to the public before using pesticides, notification of adjacent occupiers before spraying and particular care that may be needed for especially vulnerable groups. The Government does not believe it is appropriate to introduce a statutory requirement for operators to provide advance notice of planned spray operations to members of the public.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of long-term exposure to (a) pesticides (b) developmental toxins (c) neurotoxins and (d) carcinogens in cities on the health of residents.

Pesticides are only authorised for use in situations where scientific assessment finds that this will not harm human health, including that of local residents and bystanders, and will not pose unacceptable risks to the environment. The assessment looks at potential risks to children and takes account of the setting in which the pesticide will be used. Those using pesticides are required to take all reasonable precautions to protect human health and the environment and to confine the application of the pesticide to the area intended to be treated.

The Government operates a range of schemes which collect and analyse data on potential health impacts from pesticides. Biomonitoring studies have provided information on how actual exposure to pesticides compares with predictions. The draft UK National Action Plan, currently out for consultation, proposes that over the next five years, we will work with stakeholders to consider the potential for development of a human biomonitoring programme, to monitor exposure within the UK population to pesticides as well as other chemicals.

Monitoring the long-term effects of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals is challenging. The Prospective Investigation of Pesticide Applicators’ Health collects long-term data on the health of certified pesticide users.

The Code of Practice for using plant protection products has a specific section on “Protecting the Public.” This deals with the assessments that must be made of any risks to the public before using pesticides, notification of adjacent occupiers before spraying and particular care that may be needed for especially vulnerable groups. The Government does not believe it is appropriate to introduce a statutory requirement for operators to provide advance notice of planned spray operations to members of the public.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of long-term exposure to pesticides on the health of nearby residents as a result of spray drift from fields.

Pesticides are only authorised for use in situations where scientific assessment finds that this will not harm human health, including that of local residents and bystanders, and will not pose unacceptable risks to the environment. The assessment looks at potential risks to children and takes account of the setting in which the pesticide will be used. Those using pesticides are required to take all reasonable precautions to protect human health and the environment and to confine the application of the pesticide to the area intended to be treated.

The Government operates a range of schemes which collect and analyse data on potential health impacts from pesticides. Biomonitoring studies have provided information on how actual exposure to pesticides compares with predictions. The draft UK National Action Plan, currently out for consultation, proposes that over the next five years, we will work with stakeholders to consider the potential for development of a human biomonitoring programme, to monitor exposure within the UK population to pesticides as well as other chemicals.

Monitoring the long-term effects of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals is challenging. The Prospective Investigation of Pesticide Applicators’ Health collects long-term data on the health of certified pesticide users.

The Code of Practice for using plant protection products has a specific section on “Protecting the Public.” This deals with the assessments that must be made of any risks to the public before using pesticides, notification of adjacent occupiers before spraying and particular care that may be needed for especially vulnerable groups. The Government does not believe it is appropriate to introduce a statutory requirement for operators to provide advance notice of planned spray operations to members of the public.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of biohazardous personal protective equipment discarded by the public that is being sent to landfill rather than incineration.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

Defra has not made estimates on the proportion of biohazardous personal protective equipment (PPE) discarded by the public that is being sent to landfill rather than incineration. This is because PPE used by the public is not required to be incinerated and therefore can be discarded in residual waste. All waste has to be disposed of in accordance with environmental regulations and the waste hierarchy and disposal to landfill is the last resort.

Defra has published guidance on the correct disposal of PPE for the public which is available online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-disposing-of-waste. This explains that PPE should be placed in residual ‘black bag’ waste at home or whilst at work, or a litter bin if outside, and that PPE should not be put in a recycling bin or dropped as litter.

The guidance also details what members of the public should do if they, or a member of their household, are self-isolating at home. To dispose of any face coverings or PPE in this circumstance, members of the public are advised to double bag the waste and store it for 72 hours before putting them in a ‘black bag’ waste bin.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what guidance his Department has published on the disposal of personal protective equipment by the public.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

Defra has not made estimates on the proportion of biohazardous personal protective equipment (PPE) discarded by the public that is being sent to landfill rather than incineration. This is because PPE used by the public is not required to be incinerated and therefore can be discarded in residual waste. All waste has to be disposed of in accordance with environmental regulations and the waste hierarchy and disposal to landfill is the last resort.

Defra has published guidance on the correct disposal of PPE for the public which is available online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-disposing-of-waste. This explains that PPE should be placed in residual ‘black bag’ waste at home or whilst at work, or a litter bin if outside, and that PPE should not be put in a recycling bin or dropped as litter.

The guidance also details what members of the public should do if they, or a member of their household, are self-isolating at home. To dispose of any face coverings or PPE in this circumstance, members of the public are advised to double bag the waste and store it for 72 hours before putting them in a ‘black bag’ waste bin.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2020
What assessment the Government has made of the potential role of hydrogen technology in improving air quality.

The potential role of hydrogen technology has been considered in a number of Government publications, including Defra’s Air Quality Expert Group’s recent report, ‘Impacts of Net Zero pathways on future air quality in the UK,’ the outputs of the Department for Transport’s ‘Transport Energy Model,’ and also in two literature reviews published by BEIS of the emissions likely to arise from hydrogen combustion and of the atmospheric impacts of hydrogen.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 May 2020 to Question 42137, if his Department will bring forward a grant scheme for growers in the seasonal ornamental horticulture sector with small profit margins who have had to dispose of stock and will be unable to repay a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan or Bounce Back Loan scheme loan within six years.

Coronavirus represents a very significant challenge affecting daily life and every part of the economy, including the ornamental horticulture sector. The Government continues to work closely with representatives from the horticulture supply chain, including the Horticultural Trades Association, to understand the short-term and long-term impacts on the sector and we are undertaking work to scope out options should they be required.

In May, Defra worked with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to introduce legislation which would allow garden centres to re-open. On 13 May, the Government announced that all garden centres in England which are able to adhere to social distancing measures were legally able to reopen. This measure has been widely welcomed by growers, garden centre owners and consumers.

The Government has made a wide-ranging package of measures available to ornamental horticulture businesses to support them through this difficult period and we continue to keep the situation under review. Legal powers were included in the Coronavirus Act 2020 enabling us to offer further financial support if we believe it is necessary.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on growers in the ornamental horticulture sector.

Coronavirus represents a very significant challenge affecting daily life and every part of the economy, including the ornamental horticulture sector. The Government continues to work closely with representatives from the horticulture supply chain, including the Horticultural Trades Association, to understand the short-term and long-term impacts on the sector and we are undertaking work to scope out options should they be required.

In May, Defra worked with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to introduce legislation which would allow garden centres to re-open. On 13 May, the Government announced that all garden centres in England which are able to adhere to social distancing measures were legally able to reopen. This measure has been widely welcomed by growers, garden centre owners and consumers.

The Government has made a wide-ranging package of measures available to ornamental horticulture businesses to support them through this difficult period and we continue to keep the situation under review. Legal powers were included in the Coronavirus Act 2020 enabling us to offer further financial support if we believe it is necessary.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effect of wood burning stoves on air quality.

Defra assesses air quality in the UK through a combination of monitoring and modelling, as well as through the development and upkeep of a National Atmospheric Emissions inventory (NAEI). The NAEI is compiled annually to report total emissions by pollutant and source sector in a systematic way, and to facilitate compliance with our emissions reduction targets.

Emissions from domestic combustion using wood as fuel have increased by 70 per cent since 2005. As recognised by the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants, particulate matter is particularly harmful for health and the environment. The most recently published data from the NAEI shows that domestic combustion using wood as fuel accounted for 36 per cent of primary emissions of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in 2017. We will publish the next annual update of the NAEI, with data for 2018, in the coming weeks.

Wood burning stoves and coal fires are now the single largest contributor to our national emissions of particulate matter. We are already taking steps to tackle emissions from domestic burning. The Environment Bill currently before Parliament contains measures to reduce emissions from domestic solid fuel burning, the single largest contributor of fine particulate matter emissions. It will create a simpler mechanism for local authorities seeking to reduce smoke emissions within their areas.

Additionally, in line with the Clean Air Strategy, Defra has consulted on the cleaner domestic burning of solid fuels and wood. We expect to publish the Government response to this consultation in the near future.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
What steps she is taking to ensure parliamentary scrutiny of UK trade deals.

The Government applies appropriate transparency and scrutiny procedures. For new free trade agreements with the United States, Australia, New Zealand and UK’s proposed accession to CPTTP, the Government applies enhanced transparency and scrutiny arrangements. Parliament can prevent ratification of any free trade agreement through the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act procedure, and by rejecting any necessary implementing legislation.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he expects South Western Railway to announce the timetable changes scheduled for December 2022.

The Department has been working closely with South Western Railway (SWR) as it develops future timetable plans. The industry standard is to publish details of timetable changes 12 weeks before they come into effect and the Department expects the operator to keep its stakeholders updated.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with South Western Railway regarding the proposed timetable changes from December 2022.

Department officials have been in regular communication with South Western Railway and are being kept informed of timetable developments and the latest passenger demand across their network.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to (a) reduce the number of commercial helicopter flights over densely populated areas and (b) minimise the risk of those flights to the safety of people on the ground.

Requirements for commercial helicopter flights are set by the CAA, which does not have a remit to reduce the number of commercial helicopter flights over densely populated areas.

Helicopter pilots are required to take account of weather, terrain and obstacles when selecting their routes and to consider the ability to land without undue hazard to person or property in the event of a forced landing. In the London area, routes are in place for single-engine helicopters that largely follow rivers and open spaces; multi-engine helicopters have greater freedom (as the loss of one engine will not require immediate forced landing). In many built-up areas, pilots are subject to the provision of Air Traffic Control Services. The level of oversight of commercial organisations by the CAA also gives assurance that the flight profiles followed are appropriate, the crew members are competent and have met all training requirements, and that the helicopters are adequately maintained.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what data his Department holds on the number and proportion of accidents that have involved at least one left hand drive vehicle in each of the last three years.

The number and proportion of reported personal injury road accidents in Great Britain involving at least one left hand drive vehicle from 2018 to 2020 can be found in the table RAS40005 here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1021691/ras40005.ods

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what safety (a) measures and (b) recommendations his Department has (i) made and (ii) is planning to make to improve the safety of left-hand drive vehicles being driven in the UK.

The Department does not currently have any specific plans focused on left-hand drive vehicles being driven in the UK.

There are, however, certain requirements for left hand drive vehicles including to ensure their headlights are modified if required, and that the vehicle meets the relevant road worthiness standards. National Highways issues ferry companies, Eurotunnel and parking providers a leaflet titled ‘Driving on England’s Motorways’ which contains advice to foreign drivers. It also distributes Fresnel lenses to left hand drive HGV drivers, which help them to better see their blindspots.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) assessment his Department has made of the potential impact that the reintroduction of compulsory PCR covid-19 testing for overseas arrivals will have on the travel industry and (b) support he will make available to support small businesses in the sector which may lose revenue as a result.

The government has worked closely with the travel sector throughout the pandemic to help find ways to enable people to travel safely, while protecting public health. The re-introduction of pre-departure tests and PCR post-arrival tests are temporary, precautionary measures to prevent further Omicron cases from entering the UK and will be examined at the three-week review point in the week commencing 13 December.

Throughout the pandemic, over £2 billion of discretionary business grant funding was provided to local authorities via the Additional Restrictions Grant to support businesses in their local area and travel agents can continue to apply for the scheme through their local authority until March 2022.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) guidance and (b) support his Department has in place for commercial pilots licensed in the UK who may no longer be able to operate EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) registered aircraft.

The United Kingdom (UK) Government places the highest importance on ensuring that the opportunities arising from our exit from the European Union (EU) are realised. Withdrawing from the EU means we have more autonomy to tailor aviation regulation according to the UKs competitive needs, while also adhering to international standards.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published guidance for holders of UK pilot’s licenses in preparation for EU Exit. Further guidance has been published setting out the validity of UK licenses in Europe.

UK licences are valid to fly UK registered aircraft in the EU if certain conditions are met. EU law requires that a licence issued or validated by an EU Member State must be held by a pilot to fly an aircraft registered in the EU. This is in line with the requirements of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

The procedures set out in Commission Delegated Regulation 2020/723 to obtain an EU licence continue to apply to UK license holders wishing to obtain a valid EU license.

The Department for Transport has implemented various support measures for commercial pilots in the UK. In February 2021, we launched the Aviation Skills Retention Platform (ASRP) to support skills retention for highly trained jobs, including pilots, by offering increased visibility of opportunities across the sector and courses to support skills, delivered by the Civil Aviation Authority International (CAAi).

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what research his Department has carried out on the impact of (a) 38.4 tonne and 44 tonne volumetric mobile plants on road infrastructure and (b) increasing number of journeys required by the use of lighter volumetric mobile plants on the environment.

In 2017, the Government published the response to a consultation relating to specialised vehicle testing in which it was asked whether volumetric concrete mixers (VCMs) should be permitted to exceed the standard 32-tonne weight limit for vehicles of their design.

Prior to the consultation, it was common for some businesses in the sector to operate VCMs at weights in excess of this limit. The Department for Transport, working with National Highways (then Highways England), reviewed the effect of these loading practices on older local authority-owned bridges, and found that it was outside the modelled tolerances and would have unacceptable negative impacts on structures. No environmental impact assessment has been undertaken, however, an impact assessment was conducted at the time of the regulatory change, which included these factors, and is available online.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to tackle delays at DVLA offices in issuing licences.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) online services are the quickest and easiest way to renew a driving licence. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their driving licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application for a driving licence. The DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day which must be dealt with in person. Ongoing industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services union is leading to delays for customers who make paper applications.

Currently, paper driving licence applications are likely to take six to ten weeks to process. There may be additional delays in processing more complex transactions, for example, if medical investigations are needed. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here.

The DVLA has reconfigured its accommodation to safely maximise the number of staff on site and is working hard to process applications as quickly as possible. The DVLA has accelerated the development of additional online services to reduce the number of paper applications and supported their take up through a publicity campaign. Further digital service enhancements are underway. The DVLA has also leased an additional building to accommodate more operational staff.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including Serbia on the covid-19 green list for travel.

The traffic light system categorises countries based on risk to protect public health and the vaccine rollout from variants of COVID-19. The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) produces risk assessments of countries and territories. Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors.

Serbia has been on the Amber list since 17 May 2021. Changes to the country lists are implemented every three weeks, unless concerning evidence means we need to act faster to protect public health.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring suppliers of covid-19 testing under the Test to Release scheme to introduce a concessionary price.

The Test to Release (TTR) scheme is a voluntary, opt-in system allowing eligible people the opportunity to leave self-isolation early if they receive a negative result following a Day 5 test. Most travel is undertaken by choice and TTR is not a mandatory requirement. Those who do not wish to opt into this voluntary scheme are able to self-isolate for the full 10 days.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress has been made on the Government’s 2019 commitment for every newly installed rapid and higher charging points for electric vehicles to provide pay as you go payment facilities.

The Government welcomes the progress that has been made to date in providing contactless payment at rapid and high-powered chargers. However, over half of these devices do not provide pay-as-you-go facility. In May, the Transport Secretary announced that the Government will consult on measures to improve the consumer experience when using public chargepoints. This includes exploring measures such as requiring rapid chargepoints to offer contactless payment, improving chargepoint reliability and transparency on pricing and giving drivers better access to information about the chargepoints available for their journey.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many charging network providers for electric vehicles charge annual or monthly fees for people to use public chargers.

The Government does not keep a record of the charging mechanisms of different charging network providers. No assessment has been made of the effect of annual or monthly fees for using public charging points on their uptake.

Under the Alternative Fuels and Infrastructure Regulations 2017 all public chargepoints are required to provide ad hoc access. This means that all public chargepoints can be accessed without electric vehicle drivers needing to enter into a contract or register with a charging network.

In May the Transport Secretary announced that the Government will consult on measures to improve the consumer experience when using public chargepoints. This includes measures such as requiring rapid chargepoints to offer contactless payment, improving chargepoint reliability and transparency on pricing and giving drivers better access to information about the chargepoints available for their journey.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether new 7kW to 22kW charging points for electric vehicles are including within the Government’s commitment to ensure all newly installed rapid and higher charging points provide pay as you go payment facilities.

The Government welcomes the progress that has been made to date at providing contactless payment at rapid and high-powered chargers. Rapid and high-powered chargepoints (50 kW+) are vital to facilitate longer journeys, which is why it is important that electric vehicle drivers can use the simplest payment method to obtain the fastest charge to continue their journey.

In May the Transport Secretary announced that the Government will consult on measures to improve the consumer experience when using public chargepoints. This includes exploring measures such as requiring rapid chargepoints to offer contactless payment, improving chargepoint reliability and transparency on pricing and giving drivers better access to information about the chargepoints available for their journey.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of annual or monthly fees for using public charging points on their uptake.

The Government does not keep a record of the charging mechanisms of different charging network providers. No assessment has been made of the effect of annual or monthly fees for using public charging points on their uptake.

Under the Alternative Fuels and Infrastructure Regulations 2017 all public chargepoints are required to provide ad hoc access. This means that all public chargepoints can be accessed without electric vehicle drivers needing to enter into a contract or register with a charging network.

In May the Transport Secretary announced that the Government will consult on measures to improve the consumer experience when using public chargepoints. This includes measures such as requiring rapid chargepoints to offer contactless payment, improving chargepoint reliability and transparency on pricing and giving drivers better access to information about the chargepoints available for their journey.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress has been made on standardising electric vehicle charging portals.

The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulations 2017, which came into effect in the UK in October 2017, set out harmonised technical standards for vehicle recharging in the UK. All publicly accessible?chargepoints?that can be used for standard or fast alternative current (AC) charging (3.7kW-22kW) and that have either been deployed or renewed since 17 November 2017 must, at a minimum, offer a ‘Type 2’ recharging?connector. For rapid charging devices, publicly accessible?chargepoints?must, at a minimum, offer a ‘Type 2’ recharging?connector?if using AC, or the ‘Combo 2’ combined charging system (CCS) if using direct current (DC). These are minimum requirements, therefore the?chargepoint?may also offer recharging?connectors using other technical standards, providing that they also offer recharging?connectors that meet the standards above.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of new electric vehicle and higher powered charge points provide pay as you go payment facilities.

The Government welcomes the progress that has been made to date in providing contactless payment at rapid and high-powered chargers. However, over half of these devices do not provide pay-as-you-go facility. In May, the Transport Secretary announced that the Government will consult on measures to improve the consumer experience when using public chargepoints. This includes exploring measures such as requiring rapid chargepoints to offer contactless payment, improving chargepoint reliability and transparency on pricing and giving drivers better access to information about the chargepoints available for their journey.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made requests to (a) train operating companies and (b) Transport for London to undertake customer surveys to estimate the level of demand for public transport as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Secretary of State has not asked train operating companies nor Transport for London to undertake customer surveys to estimate the level of demand for public transport as restrictions are eased.

Demand for public transport is being monitored daily through ticket sales data, and through tube entries/exits and bus boarding numbers for Transport for London. This gives a more granular and time-sensitive assessment of demand than would be possible through surveys. This information is published each week on the gov.uk website and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-use-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that disabled people that are legitimately not wearing a face covering on public transport are identifiable to (a) the public and (b) transport staff.

Government’s updated Safer Transport guidance for operators and for passengers highlights that specific exemptions apply, including for health, equality or age reasons. We are ensuring that operators have appropriate communications and staff briefing in place so that both staff and passengers are aware of the exemptions. Train operating companies have communicated the exemptions to their customers and staff, as have other operators. If prompted by staff, passengers should explain that they are exempt from the regulation. We know some operators have a badge or lanyard scheme which assists with this.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of exempting people with disabilities unable to wear face masks from the recent Government requirement for people to wear face masks on public transport during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have undertaken an Equalities Impact Assessment and have taken advice from the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, as well as other disability stakeholder groups. We expect everyone to wear a face covering if they can, but recognise reasonable adjustments are necessary for some people. Exemptions will apply for those unable to wear a face covering, for example people with disabilities, those with breathing difficulties, or young children.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that South Western Railway passengers who pay using daily tickets, Oyster or contactless pay-as-you go are aware of their entitlement to compensation arising from service cancellations as a result of the strike action of December 2019.

Officials will be working with South Western Railway (SWR) to ensure that they maximise awareness of the right to compensation for passengers who travelled during this time and meet the criteria for the additional compensation.

SWR presently have initial information on their website about the level of compensation to be offered and further information will follow as soon as possible. Details can be found here https://www.southwesternrailway.com/december-2019-strike-compensation

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 7 January 2020 to Question 352 on South Western Railway, what aspects of the 27 days of industrial action between South Western Railway and the RMT union were discussed at the most recent meeting.

SWR provided an update of the discussions with the RMT at ACAS and their position on the matter in dispute, information about which directors were leading operations during the strike, and a discussion on passenger compensation.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent (a) discussions and (b) meetings (a) ministers and (b) officials in his Department has had with representatives of (i) First Group and (ii) MTR Crossrail on the (A) financial viability and (B) performance of the South Western Railways rail franchise; and if he will publish the names of the attendees of those members.

South Western Railway is owned by First Group and MTR Europe.

The Department holds regular meetings with all franchise owning groups. These cover a wide range of topics, including financial and performance matters. These meetings involve officials at all levels from within the Department.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the economic effect on local businesses of the 27-day period of industrial action by the RMT Union on South Western Railway.

As set out in our manifesto, we are concerned about the impact of strike action on passengers and local businesses. We intend to implement Minimum Service Level legislation to ensure that the right to strike is in future balanced proportionately with the rights of those parties and persons, whose rights are being disproportionately adversely impacted by strikes.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with representatives from South Western Railway on the potential for future strikes following the 27-day period of industrial action by the RMT Union.

The RMT’s mandate for official industrial action expires on 23 January 2020 and it is currently balloting its members for a renewed mandate. I would not wish to speculate about potential for further strikes. I would like to see the union and SWR bring an end to this dispute with an agreement that puts the long-term interests of passengers first.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 7 January 2020 to Question 352 on South Western Railway, who was in attendance at those meetings.

These meetings involve officials at all levels from within the Department.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 7 January 2020 to Question 353 on South Western Railway: Strikes, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure passengers are compensated for the disruption caused by the industrial action by South Western Railway staff in December 2019.

The Department are considering a variety of options to compensate passengers. These options are being considered in the context of both the length of the period of disruption and the service that South Western continued to operate throughout this period thanks to the hard work of contingency guards, who worked throughout the holiday period to keep passengers moving. A further update will be provided in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the cost to South Western Railway of the recent strike action.

Any financial impact on South Western Railway is subject to commercial confidentiality and cannot be disclosed.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what criteria his Department uses to determine rail operators compliance with their franchise obligations; and what recent assessment he has made of South Western Railway compliance with the obligations and provisions of its franchise.

The Department monitors rail operators’ compliance with Franchise Obligations on an on-going basis through comprehensive periodic reporting obligations placed on operators under the Franchise Agreement, and review of evidence of progress and satisfaction of committed obligations. Where non-compliance with Terms of the Franchise Agreement are identified, the Secretary of State makes use of his powers under the Railways Act 1993 to take any action he considers necessary or appropriate to secure compliance, including the exercise of his contractual rights to require remedial action to be taken.

South Western Railway have currently exceeded the Breach threshold for Cancellations and Minutes Delay, for which a Remedial Plan is currently under discussion with the operator. The Department has also identified two further non-compliances with the Franchise Agreement where contractual deadlines were not met, both of which have been remedied without the need for enforcement action to be taken to secure delivery.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to provide clarity to South Western Railway passengers on the future of that company's franchise.

South Western Railway’s passengers can expect there to be no material impact on the railway’s day-to-day operations. The business will continue to operate as usual with no material impact on SWR services or staff.

Parliament will be kept informed as and when there are any developments to be reported.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the financial performance data on South Western Railway published on Companies House on 3 January 2019, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of (a) terminating South Western Railway’s franchise contract and (b) revising the terms of that contract.

The Department monitors train operators closely to ensure delivery of services for passengers and value for money for taxpayers. As part of responsible contingency planning, we have measures in place on every franchise intended to protect the interests of passengers and taxpayers and ensure that services keep running. All commercial discussions about franchises are confidential but updates will be provided to Parliament at the appropriate time.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to require South Western Railway to compensate passengers for the services lost during strikes in December 2019 based on the original pre-strike timetable.

Passengers are entitled to compensation under the Delay Repay scheme for delays of 15 minutes or more against the published timetable on SWR. The Department are considering all options available to ensure passengers are compensated for this disruption.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions his Department has had with South Western Railway; and how many of those discussions were with reference to the current industrial action.

Under the Franchise Agreement the Department holds meetings with South Western Railway every 4 weeks. These meetings cover several areas of the franchise including performance, safety, finances and current issues.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether South Western Railway has received compensation in the last 12 months for reimbursement for revenues lost as a result of industrial action.

The Department believes the industrial dispute to be counterproductive for all parties concerned and is well aware that this action by the RMT is disproportionate and deliberately designed to hit passengers at one of the busiest times of the year for the railway. We have been monitoring the dispute and the negotiations between SWR and the RMT closely.

South Western Railway has made an application to the Department with regards to industrial action. This matter is subject to commercial confidentiality.

Passengers are entitled to compensation under the Delay Repay scheme for delays of 15 minutes or more against the published timetable on SWR. The Department are considering all options available to ensure passengers are compensated for this disruption.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what provisions are in place to compensate passengers who have been affected by a reduced number of train services as a result of industrial action on South Western Railway.

The Department believes the industrial dispute to be counterproductive for all parties concerned and is well aware that this action by the RMT is disproportionate and deliberately designed to hit passengers at one of the busiest times of the year for the railway. We have been monitoring the dispute and the negotiations between SWR and the RMT closely.

South Western Railway has made an application to the Department with regards to industrial action. This matter is subject to commercial confidentiality.

Passengers are entitled to compensation under the Delay Repay scheme for delays of 15 minutes or more against the published timetable on SWR. The Department are considering all options available to ensure passengers are compensated for this disruption.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to resolve the 27-day strike between South Western Railways and the RMT.

The Department believes the industrial dispute to be counterproductive for all parties concerned and is well aware that this action by the RMT is disproportionate and deliberately designed to hit passengers at one of the busiest times of the year for the railway. We have been monitoring the dispute and the negotiations between SWR and the RMT closely.

South Western Railway has made an application to the Department with regards to industrial action. This matter is subject to commercial confidentiality.

Passengers are entitled to compensation under the Delay Repay scheme for delays of 15 minutes or more against the published timetable on SWR. The Department are considering all options available to ensure passengers are compensated for this disruption.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether South Western Railway has made an application in the last 12 months for reimbursement for revenues lost as a result of official industrial action.

The Department believes the industrial dispute to be counterproductive for all parties concerned and is well aware that this action by the RMT is disproportionate and deliberately designed to hit passengers at one of the busiest times of the year for the railway. We have been monitoring the dispute and the negotiations between SWR and the RMT closely.

South Western Railway has made an application to the Department with regards to industrial action. This matter is subject to commercial confidentiality.

Passengers are entitled to compensation under the Delay Repay scheme for delays of 15 minutes or more against the published timetable on SWR. The Department are considering all options available to ensure passengers are compensated for this disruption.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of (a) the average number of hours of unpaid labour carried out in the UK each year as part of trial shifts and (b) the potential benefits of introducing regulations on trial shifts to ensure that jobseekers are not exploited.

The Department does not hold the data requested.

Existing legislation already bans unpaid work trials that are not part of a legitimate recruitment process. They are not permitted if they are simply for the financial benefit of the employer or are excessive in length.

The DWP Work Trial scheme is a key enabler to help some of our most disadvantaged claimants try work in a risk-free environment. It provides them with a job guarantee providing both they and the employer are satisfied following the trial. It removes the requirement for them to compete with other candidates giving them an opportunity to demonstrate their suitability to the employer whilst having the knowledge that if it doesn’t work out for either party there will be no effect on their current benefit entitlement with no requirement to reclaim benefits.

The requirement for the employer to guarantee that the Work Trial is linked to a genuine vacancy provides an additional safeguard to claimants.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending the Household Support Fund beyond March 2022 in response to forecasts that inflation will peak in April 2022.

The Household Support Fund covers the period 6 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 inclusive. Other support for those on low incomes will continue to be available after this point. For example, we have increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers to £4.25, helping eligible low-income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins. In Scotland, similar support is provided through Best Start Foods.

We are investing over £200m a year from 2022 to continue our Holiday Activities and Food programme which is already providing enriching activities and healthy meals to children in all English Local Authorities.

The Government is providing £12 billion of support to ease cost of living pressures, with help targeted at working families, low-income households and the most vulnerable. A further £9 billion has been announced to protect against the impact of rising global energy prices.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many career coaches his Department has recruited; what assessment he has made of their effectiveness; and how their effectiveness is measured.

Since March 2020 we achieved our commitment to recruit 13,500 Work Coaches by the end of March 2021.

Our Jobcentre teams are committed to delivering a quality service to ensure all claimants receive the best possible support to meet their individual circumstances. We operate a service delivery framework which sets out the service expectations for our Jobcentre network and the requirements for how they deliver their services. It provides information on why these expectations are set, and ways that Jobcentre leaders and Work Coaches should implement the expectations.

Work Coaches undergo a comprehensive learning journey designed to equip them with the tools, skills and behaviours required to provide a high quality, efficient service to all claimants. They receive on-going learning in their roles and have access to guidance which is refreshed at regular intervals. Jobcentre Team Leaders are responsible for monitoring and assuring the quality of services provided to individual claimants through a combination of observation of interviews, feedback, coaching and appraisal.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what (a) research and (b) preparation his Department has undertaken on the impact of (i) rising energy prices, (ii) rising fuel bills, (iii) potential food shortages and (iv) the removal of the £20 uplift to universal credit on families' ability to feed vulnerable children over upcoming school holidays.

We have not undertaken research of this kind.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced with the success of the vaccine rollout. With record vacancies, our focus is on helping people back into work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; we have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job; and introduced Restart which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year. Our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

In April this year we increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins. We are also investing up to £221m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has been expanded to every Local Authority across England. Participating children are benefitting from a range of support, including healthy and nutritious meals as well as fun and engaging activities covering the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.

We recognise that some people continue to require extra support, which is why we have introduced a £421 million Household Support Fund to help vulnerable people in England with essential household costs over the winter as the economy recovers. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what (a) research and (b) preparation his Department has undertaken on the impact of (i) rising energy prices, (ii) rising fuel bills, (iii) potential food shortages and (iv) the removal of the £20 uplift to universal credit on families' ability to fund their childrens' meals while at school.

We have not undertaken research of this kind.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced with the success of the vaccine rollout. With record vacancies, our focus is on helping people back into work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; we have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job; and introduced Restart which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year. Our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

In April this year we increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins. We are also investing up to £221m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has been expanded to every Local Authority across England. Participating children are benefitting from a range of support, including healthy and nutritious meals as well as fun and engaging activities covering the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.

We recognise that some people continue to require extra support, which is why we have introduced a £421 million Household Support Fund to help vulnerable people in England with essential household costs over the winter as the economy recovers. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of amending the policy on changes in child maintenance payments to remove or reduce the 25 per cent threshold for in-year reviews that would allow the paying parent to request a review as soon as changes in their income make the existing level of payments unaffordable.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer given to 4706 on 25th May.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment has she made of the potential merits of (a) removing or (b) reducing the 25 per cent threshold for in-year reviews for child maintenance payments that would allow the paying parent to request a review as soon as changes in their income make the existing level of payment unaffordable.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) keeps all policies and procedures under review. However, it remains the case that the 25 per cent threshold ensures that both parents can continue to budget with certainty, and therefore provide ongoing certainty for the child. Most people's income does not change to this degree over the course of one year. It also ensures that minor changes in income do not interfere with the efficiency of the child maintenance system, increasing costs for the taxpayer. A change will not be considered unless it breaches the 25 per cent threshold.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to improve the guidance on the Universal Credit (Earned Income) Amendment Regulations 2020 (2020/1138) on her Department's website.

The Department updated its online information to reflect changes to the reallocation of reported payments as detailed in Universal Credit (Earned Income) Amendment Regulations 2020 (2020/1138) on 16 November 2020. The information can be seen at https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-youre-paid and https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/new-to-universal-credit/universal-credit-and-work/

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of benefit assessors receiving mental health first aid training.

The department has 1700 trained Mental Health First Aiders. They are there to provide peer to peer assistance to the department’s employees across the UK.

There is mental health training available to all staff in the department who have contact with customers, however, training paused in 2020, resources were diverted to train staff from Other Government Departments, new recruits and staff redeployed to process UC claims.

Our ambition is to restart this training in 2021/22. The mental health training is a blended approach of facilitated, e-learning and leader led training.

The additional mental health training is designed to help remove any bias or stigma around mental health, and to enable staff to respond appropriately to each customer’s issues.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what training is provided to assessors of personal independence payment assessments on rare health conditions.

All health professionals carrying out assessments on behalf of the department are clinically qualified and registered practitioners in their own field. Health professionals are required to have a broad training in disability analysis as well as awareness training in specific conditions ranging from common to rare.

At present there is no specific clinical training relating to cavernoma. However, training and resources for the symptoms related to cavernoma (e.g. seizures and headaches) is available to all health professionals. While preparing to undertake an assessment, health professionals have access to this range of resources as well as experienced clinicians to support them in assessing individuals with conditions that they may not be familiar with. Additionally, assessment providers engage with medical experts, charities and relevant stakeholders to strengthen their training programmes.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what training is provided to assessors of personal independence payments assessments on cavernoma.

All health professionals carrying out assessments on behalf of the department are clinically qualified and registered practitioners in their own field. Health professionals are required to have a broad training in disability analysis as well as awareness training in specific conditions ranging from common to rare.

At present there is no specific clinical training relating to cavernoma. However, training and resources for the symptoms related to cavernoma (e.g. seizures and headaches) is available to all health professionals. While preparing to undertake an assessment, health professionals have access to this range of resources as well as experienced clinicians to support them in assessing individuals with conditions that they may not be familiar with. Additionally, assessment providers engage with medical experts, charities and relevant stakeholders to strengthen their training programmes.

19th Oct 2020
What recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of increasing carer’s allowance.

The Government recognises and appreciates the vital role played by unpaid carers. Carer’s Allowance was increased in April. Since 2010, the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £67.25 a week, meaning nearly an additional £700 a year for carers.

In February 2020, there were around 690 carers in the Twickenham constituency that were receiving Carer’s Allowance and in 2019/20 we spent approximately £2.5 million on Carer’s Allowance there.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions officials of her Department have had with officials of the Department of Health and Social Care on potential additional barriers people with mental health conditions experience as a result of the covid-19 outbreak when applying for social security benefits; and what safeguards her Department has put in place to mitigate against those potential additional barriers.

Officials of both Departments hold regular discussions as a result of the ongoing covid-19 outbreak and its impact on people with health conditions.

My Department has provided mental health training for staff who have direct contact with claimants, including all Work Coaches, to equip them to identify mental wellbeing issues or vulnerabilities, and to take appropriate action to support individuals. Work Coaches will tailor support to the needs of the individual and work closely with local organisations that provide additional specialist support.

Background

Mental wellbeing training has been provided for all staff (around 30,000 colleagues trained to date) who have direct contact with customers (including via telephone).

Staff have also had specific training to help them to identify vulnerable people, and signpost or refer them to further support provided by local partners. Every jobcentre has a complex needs toolkit containing links to local organisations to facilitate this.

Since the start of the pandemic we’ve introduced online claim application processes for ESA and Pension Credit claimants (telephony options still exist). And we’ve also introduced new services for deaf claimants.

From 16 March to the end of April, we received over 1.8 million claims for Universal Credit, over 250,000 claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance, and over 20,000 claims for Employment and Support Allowance.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made on the personal independence payment administrative exercise; and what the timeframe is for the completion of that exercise.

We are answering with reference to the administrative exercise following the MH and RJ judgments on Personal Independence Payment.

As of 5 January 2020, we had cleared around 720,000 cases under the MH decision and around 820,000 cases under the RJ decision. Most, but not all, cases are cleared against both decisions.

We have paused this exercise to support the Department’s coronavirus response. We understand the importance of continuing the exercise and this decision is currently under review. When the exercise resumes, we will announce the date of the next progress update at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/pip-administrative-exercise-progress-on-cases-cleared.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to prevent delays to the mandatory reconsideration process during the covid-19 outbreak.

DWP is continuing to process Mandatory Reconsiderations during the current Covid-19 pandemic and is aiming to avoid delay where possible.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the average time it takes for the Child Maintenance Service to respond to reports that an ex-partner of a claimant has stopped paying child maintenance.

Where payments have been missed we have asked parents to report the changes via the self-service portal. Missed payments will continue to accrue as arrears and, over time, we will ensure that everyone pays or receives the right amount of child maintenance.

No one will get away with giving false information and those abusing the system will find themselves subject to the full extent of our enforcement powers.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to reinstate a Child Maintenance Service telephone service for people to report their ex-partner who has stopped paying child maintenance.

The priority of the Child Maintenance Service during this period has been to ensure the flow of child maintenance payments received are paid out to receiving parents.

Where payments have been missed, we have asked parents to report the changes via the self-service portal. Missed payments will continue to accrue as arrears and over time, we will ensure that everyone pays or receives the right amount of child maintenance.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect on individuals' personal finances of waiting times of up to 12 weeks for the Child Maintenance Service to respond to reports that an ex-partner of a claimant has stopped paying child maintenance.

The Government recognises that the income of many separated parents is being impacted by the public health emergency and some receiving parents may receive less maintenance as a result of a paying parent’s drop in income.

Paying parents are still expected to pay child maintenance throughout this period. Our priority is to maintain the flow of maintenance that is currently being paid, by easing the financial pressure on paying parents and ensuring that we transfer the payments as quickly as possible to receiving parents.

In order to ensure that receiving parents do not lose out in the long run, we will update calculations as soon as possible and collect any unpaid amounts that may have accrued. For the small minority who might be found to be abusing the system at this difficult time they could potentially find themselves subject to the full extent of our enforcement powers once the emergency passes. From July 2020, we will also reopen Case Maintenance action, updating cases with notified changes and restarting arrears pursuit activity.

Measures have been introduced to support both paying and receiving parents, whose income drops as a result of the public health emergency. These include increasing the standard rate of Universal Credit and working tax credit for this year by over £1000 per year, benefiting over 4 million of the most vulnerable households. We have also increased the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the cheapest third of local rents – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing research funding to improve (a) the diagnosis and (b) the treatment of childhood cancers as part of the Government’s 10-Year Cancer Plan for England.

No specific assessment has been made. The Department invests in health research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). In 2020/21, the NIHR’s total expenditure on cancer research was £73.5 million.

Officials are currently analysing the responses to the call for evidence to develop the 10 Year Cancer Plan. The Plan will set out ambitions for cancer care, including diagnosis and treatments provided to patients, including children.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that the forthcoming reform of the Mental Health Act 1983 will include school and community-based early-intervention provision for children and young people to include play and creative arts therapy and counselling in addition to the autism, closed ward and clinical measures listed in the white paper on Reforming the Mental Health Act, published on 13 January 2021.

The reforms to the Mental Health Act 1983 follow the recommendations made by the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act chaired by Sir Simon Wessely. However, school and community-based early intervention provision for children and young people fall outside the scope of these reforms. The provision of these services is a matter for local commissioners.

We are improving early intervention provision for children and young people through the introduction of mental health support teams in schools and colleges. By 2022/23, we are on schedule for mental health support teams to support 25% of the country, increasing to 399 teams covering an estimated three million children and young people or approximately 35% of pupils by 2023/24.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Healthwatch England report entitled What people have told us about NHS dentistry, published on 20 December.

The Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement and Health Education England are developing proposals for contract reform and to improve education and training of the workforce in National Health Service dentistry. These proposals aim to address the issues raised in Healthwatch England’s report, including improving patient access, reducing health inequalities and making the NHS a more attractive place to work for dentists.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure that those who cannot afford private dental care have access to an NHS dentist within a reasonable timeframe.

National Health Service dental practices are prioritising patients based on clinical need through urgent care, care for vulnerable groups and children, followed by delayed planned care. An additional £50 million for NHS dentistry has been made available for the remainder of 2021/22 to allow more patients access to dental care. We are currently developing proposals for dental system reform to improve access for patients.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has (a) commissioned research on and (b) allocated funding to research on Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

The Department invests in health research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The following table shows the research projects on triple negative breast cancer funded by the NIHR since 2019/20.

Award title

Award budget

Atezolizumab with nab-paclitaxel for untreated PD L1-positive, locally advanced or metastatic, triple-negative breast cancer [ID1522]

£65,625

Pembrolizumab in combination for untreated, locally recurrent inoperable or metastatic, triple negative breast cancer [ID1546]

£65,625

Atezolizumab (neoadjuvant, with nab-paclitaxel) for early, triple negative breast cancer (ID1574)

£65,625

Sacituzumab govitecan for treating unresectable locally advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer after two or more therapies ID3942

£65,625

The NIHR is also supporting the delivery of triple negative breast cancer research funded by research partners in the charity and public sectors. In 2020/21, the NIHR Clinical Research Network has supported approximately 25 related studies into triple negative breast cancer. With Cancer Research UK, the NIHR is jointly funding a network of Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres for the discovery and early-phase clinical testing of new anti-cancer treatments, including immunotherapy. As with other Government funders of health research, the NIHR does not allocate funding for specific disease areas. The level of research spend in a particular area is determined by factors including scientific potential and the number and scale of successful funding applications.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many teams were set up as part of the implemented Children and Young People’s Mental Health Trailblazer programme pilot; and what the cost is to the public purse of each individual Mental Health Support Team.

The first tranche of 58 mental health support teams were set up as trailblazers in 2018/19, with 12 teams piloting a four-week waiting time for access to specialist National Health Service children’s and young people’s mental health services. Further tranches of mental health support teams were announced in July 2019, May 2020 and September 2021, totalling approximately 400 mental health teams planned by 2023/24.

Information on the cost of individual mental health support teams is not collected centrally. NHS Long Term Plan funding for the set up and delivery of mental health support teams has been distributed across NHS regions using a fair-share model based on weighted population.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what basis the Government had made the decision of requiring a PCR test for those who have had covid-19 in the last 90 days, upon arriving in the UK, while the advice pre-departure had been to do an LFT as a PCR could show positive.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were required for those with COVID-19 infection in the last 90 days to identify not only those with the virus but also new variants which may have been acquired overseas. Positive PCR tests for arrivals were sequenced to understand potential emerging variants. Recent infection and associated immunity is not associated with a residual positive PCR.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) increase awareness of postural tachycardia syndrome and (b) ensure that the condition is not (i) damagingly missed or (ii) misdiagnosed as anxiety or chronic fatigue syndrome.

General practitioners (GPs) have been provided with guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence on postural tachycardia syndrome. GPs are asked to investigate symptoms to ensure that it is not misdiagnosed. Following referral, patients are treated within National Health Service cardiology and neurology services. Where more specialist advice is required, a referral will be made to an appropriate clinician.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department is taking to ensure that (a) people with poorly controlled asthma are invited to receive their covid-19 booster jabs on time and (b) the evidence for changes to the vaccine prioritisation list are clearly communicated to asthma sufferers.

Every eligible adult in England has now been offered a COVID-19 booster vaccination, including those with poorly controlled asthma.

On 16 September 2021, the UK Health Security Agency’s Green Book definition of asthma was updated to state that with ‘poorly controlled asthma’ would be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose. This definition includes individuals who have had two or more courses of oral corticosteroids in the preceding 24 months; or are on maintenance oral corticosteroids; or have had one or more hospital admission(s) for asthma in the preceding 24 months. This followed a systematic review of the evidence on asthma severity, control and COVID-19 hospitalisations by the British Thoracic Society. The British Thoracic Society’s guidance for those with poorly controlled asthma is available at the following link:

https://www.brit-thoracic.org.uk/covid-19/covid-19-information-for-the-respiratory-community/

On 29 November 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advised that all those aged 18 years old and over, including those with poorly controlled asthma, and those individuals with severe immunosuppression who have had three primary doses are eligible for a booster vaccination from a minimum of three months after completion of their primary course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the assessment rate is for UK national drug licences by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency as at 12 November 2021; and what steps his Department is taking to improve that assessment rate.

As of 12 November 2021, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) granted 832 Marketing Authorisation applications with an average net determination time of 216 days. This is comparable to previous determination times in 2019, where 859 applications were determined in an average of 227 days and 670 applications were determined in an average of 220 days in 2020.

The MHRA is implementing a new operating model, combining diagnostics, medicines, vaccines, medical devices and digital technologies to deliver risk-proportionate regulation. The MHRA will ensure that products can reach the market more quickly, whilst addressing any safety concerns.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the (a) planned and (b) estimated percentage reduction is to (i) staff at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and (ii) licensing and assessment staff from 2019 through to March 2022.

The transformation programme at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency will lead to a reduction in the workforce of approximately 20%. The current proposed structure is currently being reviewed in light of feedback following staff consultation and will be communicated to the organisation in the week commencing 22 November.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in the context of the reduction of Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) licensing assessors, what role the (a) European Medicines Agency, (b) USA's Food and Drugs Administration and (c) British standards institutions will have in approving new drug licences from 2022.

Following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has offered a range of new routes to market, including a rapid 150 day assessment procedures for new drugs and the Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway which aims to accelerate the time to market, facilitating patient access to medicines for life-threatening or seriously debilitating conditions or those where there is a significant patient or public health need. If companies already have a licence granted by the European Commission through the European Medicines Agency, they may request the MHRA to rely on the decision of the European Commission in granting an authorisation for Great Britain and the final decision to authorise is made by the MHRA. The European Commission’s authorisation is automatically valid for Northern Ireland.

The MHRA is now participating in two international work sharing collaborations, including Project Orbis, co-ordinated by the Food and Drug Administration to review and approve promising cancer treatments. However, each country remains fully independent on its final regulatory decision. Applications submitted to the MHRA within a Project Orbis procedure are national marketing authorisation applications and variations.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Question 58525 tabled on 18 October 2021, when his Department plans to respond to hon. Member for Twickenham regarding 111.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer of 19 November to Question 58525.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of recognising positive results from antibody testing as proof of natural immunity, particularly for the purposes of acquiring an NHS covid pass.

No formal assessment has been made. Currently, the duration of the body’s antibody response to coronavirus remains unknown, and there is no guarantee that an individual cannot transmit the virus to others post-infection. Immune protection may weaken depending on the time elapsed since infection, and antibody tests alone do not indicate when a person was infected. For this reason, recovered status in the National Health Service COVID Pass is acquired through a positive Polymerase Chain Reaction test and not an antibody test.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the (a) average call duration, (b) average waiting time and (c) the total number of calls wherein the person calling dropped the call, were to the NHS emergency advice service number 111 in (i) 2018, (ii) 2019, (iii) 2020 and (iv) 2021; what the average call duration has been over the last 12 months to 111; and how many calls to 111 were abandoned over the last 12 months.

The average call duration for NHS111 calls is not held centrally.

The average waiting time for NHS111 calls is only available for April – August 2021, and not for previous years. The average waiting from April to August 2021 was 271 seconds.

The total number of calls abandoned is only available for April – August 2021, which is 1,452,574. This data is not available for 2018, 2019, 2020 and current year to August, where only the number of calls abandoned after at least 30 seconds is available. This data is provided in the following table:

2018

2019

2020

2021: January – August

Calls abandoned after at least 30 seconds

708,548

661,906

2,160,595

1,266,546

Source: NHS England

The total number of calls abandoned over the last 12 months is not available.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the (a) total cost and (b) cost to the public purse as a proportion of his Department's research budget is of departmental research into miscarriages in the last 12 months for which figures are available.

The Department commissions research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) which funds a range of research in maternal and neonatal health. In 2020/21, the NIHR’s programmes invested £2.8 million on research into miscarriage, including prevention. This includes a trial which aims to examine the effectiveness of progesterone to prevent miscarriage in women with early pregnancy bleeding. In 2020/21 the NIHR invested £39.7 million in research on reproductive health and childbirth, which includes miscarriage research. This accounts for 5% of the NIHR’s total research budget. Additionally, the NIHR’s Policy Research Programme funds a Policy Research Unit dedicated to maternal and neonatal health and care research, which has a research theme to address pregnancy loss, and perinatal morbidity and mortality.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department provides for research into the (a) causes of and (b) treatment for miscarriage prevention.

The Department commissions research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) which funds a range of research in maternal and neonatal health. In 2020/21, the NIHR’s programmes invested £2.8 million on research into miscarriage, including prevention. This includes a trial which aims to examine the effectiveness of progesterone to prevent miscarriage in women with early pregnancy bleeding. In 2020/21 the NIHR invested £39.7 million in research on reproductive health and childbirth, which includes miscarriage research. This accounts for 5% of the NIHR’s total research budget. Additionally, the NIHR’s Policy Research Programme funds a Policy Research Unit dedicated to maternal and neonatal health and care research, which has a research theme to address pregnancy loss, and perinatal morbidity and mortality.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has undertaken (a) research and (b) trials to investigate whether treatments for covid-19 can be used for pulmonary fibrosis.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation’s largest funder of health and social care research. In 2020/21 it awarded £696,932 for research into pulmonary fibrosis. Currently, the NIHR supports 122 studies into pulmonary fibrosis with two current COVID-19 related studies. One study is evaluating the safety and efficacy of Deupirfenidone in post-acute COVID-19 respiratory disease. The second is evaluating the efficacy and safety of Remdesivir treatment of COVID-19 in an outpatient setting.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the cost to the public purse is of (a) research and (b) trials in respect of pulmonary fibrosis.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation’s largest funder of health and social care research. In 2020/21 it awarded £696,932 for research into pulmonary fibrosis. Currently, the NIHR supports 122 studies into pulmonary fibrosis with two current COVID-19 related studies. One study is evaluating the safety and efficacy of Deupirfenidone in post-acute COVID-19 respiratory disease. The second is evaluating the efficacy and safety of Remdesivir treatment of COVID-19 in an outpatient setting.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential (a) risks and (b) merits of allowing travellers with proof of recovery from covid-19 to be subject to the same rules for testing and isolation as vaccinated arrivals to the UK.

Our current assessment remains that the available evidence does not support recognising natural immunity as a substitute for vaccination. Whilst natural infection may provide some protection against reinfection, it cannot be relied upon to protect unvaccinated people from reinfection by variants of concern (VOCs) or to prevent the further mutation of VOCs. We will continue to review any emerging evidence to inform future decisions.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to make an assessment of trends in data on the prescription of anti-psychotic medication for people with a diagnosis of dementia by individual CCG.

The Department has no current plans to make such an assessment. NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to monitor monthly data published by NHS Digital on the prescribing of anti-psychotic medication for people diagnosed with dementia. They also work closely with regional clinical network leads and local services to understand the patterns in prescribing and potential reasons for any trends.

Public Health England published clinical commissioning group factsheets to provide context around prescribing activity and facilitate an understanding of the patterns in prescribing. These are available at the following link:

https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile-group/mental-health/profile/dementia/data#page/

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with NHS (a) England and (b) Improvement on anti-psychotic prescription rates for people with a diagnosis of dementia.

The Department has regular discussions with NHS England and NHS Improvement NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to monitor the monthly data published by NHS Digital on the prescribing of anti-psychotic medication for people diagnosed with dementia. There is also regular contact with regional clinical network leads and local services to understand the patterns in prescribing and potential reasons for such trends.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing ear wax removal procedures on the NHS for (a) pensioners and (b) people on low incomes.

NHS England and NHS Improvement recognise manual ear syringing is no longer advised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence due to risks associated, such as trauma to their ear drum or infection. General practitioner (GP) practices are increasingly recommending self-care methods as the primary means to support the safe removal of ear wax.

However, if a GP practice considers removal clinically necessary, the procedure should either be undertaken at the practice or the patient should be referred to an appropriate service depending on the arrangements in place in the local area, including for pensioners and those on low incomes. Local commissioners are responsible for meeting the health needs of their local population and should continue to ensure there is appropriate access to ear wax services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance the Government is providing to covid-19 quarantine hotels on ensure=ing that they have adequate ventilation for such quarantine.

The catering requirements for managed quarantine hotels must include a variety of meals to meet nutritional, dietary, religious and cultural needs.

The Government has given clear specifications to managed quarantine facilities on ventilation. Hotel rooms should have natural ventilation, for example windows, that open safely. However, mechanical ventilation systems can be used as long as they meet the guidelines as set out in the ventilation requirements agreed with Public Health England. We ensure these are being met as part of the initial site visit undertaken by Managed Quarantine Service staff and security prior to a hotel becoming a quarantine facility.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that mandatory covid-19 quarantine hotels meet effective sanitation standards.

Cleaning and disinfection of all common areas has increased to at least three times a day, especially in frequently used areas such as reception areas, shared bathroom facilities and all frequently touched surfaces.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that people with specific dietary requirements have access to appropriate food in covid-19 quarantine hotels.

The catering requirements for managed quarantine hotels must include a variety of meals to meet nutritional, dietary, religious and cultural needs.

The Government has given clear specifications to managed quarantine facilities on ventilation. Hotel rooms should have natural ventilation, for example windows, that open safely. However, mechanical ventilation systems can be used as long as they meet the guidelines as set out in the ventilation requirements agreed with Public Health England. We ensure these are being met as part of the initial site visit undertaken by Managed Quarantine Service staff and security prior to a hotel becoming a quarantine facility.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an estimate of the number of people who have contracted covid-19 in covid-19 quarantine hotels.

This information is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 14 June 2021 to Question 10673 on NHS: Computer Software, what measures are in place to prevent people who use lateral flow tests at home from failing to input a positive covid-19 test result.

It is not a legal requirement to report the results of lateral flow tests taken at home. Users of the COVID-19 app are encouraged to enter their positive test result by using a one-off code. If this code is not used within 24 hours a reminder is sent.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has assessed the economic and social benefits of a rollout of early support hubs across England.

We have made no such assessment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the evidence informing the early support hub model.

We have made no such assessment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that all care homes allow five visitors per relative in accordance with the easing of restrictions on 17 May 2021.

The Government is working closely with care home providers, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and others to encourage and support care homes to allow more visiting safely. Important infection prevention and control measures including social distancing and cleaning may limit the number of visits that can take place. Visiting may also be limited where a care home has experienced a recent outbreak of COVID-19 or due to community prevalence of variants of concern, as directed by local public health officials.

If a resident or their family have concerns that a care home is not following visiting guidance appropriately, it should be raised with the home in the first instance. They can also contact the CQC, who can investigate complaints.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure there is a public consultation on the proposed reforms to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel as set out in the Health and Social Care White Paper.

We have no plans at this time to consult specifically on proposed reforms to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has put in place to prevent the input of faked Lateral Flow Test results taken at home into the NHS Covid app.

The NHS COVID-19 app allows users to manually enter a positive test result from a lateral flow device (LFD) test. If a user’s LFD test is positive and they report the result as advised in the pack, they will receive a separate text and/or email with a one-off code, to enter in the app. This will trigger the user’s self-isolation countdown timer and allow them to book their confirmatory laboratory test via the app. Users cannot enter a negative LFD test result into the app as codes are not sent out for these results.

The one-off eight digit code for a positive test can only be created following receipt of a valid LFD test ID number linked to the specific valid positive test result.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with local authorities on the impact of proposed reforms to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel as set out in the Health and Social Care White Paper.

We are continuing to engage with a wide range of stakeholders, including local authorities, following the recent publication of the White Paper.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the frequency with which he expects to use the reformed intervention powers set out in Point 5.84 of the Health and Social Care White Paper.

The reconfiguration proposal creates a new call-in power which allows the Secretary of State to intervene at any point of the reconfiguration process.

We expect the current local process to continue to apply in most instances. However, there are a minority of cases, where there is a significant cause for public concern or it is particularly complex, which may benefit from Ministerial intervention.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the time taken to diagnose and treat (a) Crohn's disease, (b) ulcerative colitis and (c) irritable bowel syndrome.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with front-line clinical experts, patient representative groups and leading charities, to develop evidence-based tools to help improve care for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. This work includes a new IBD RightCare scenario, which will set out high-quality joined-up care at every point of the patient journey, including diagnosis. In addition, NHS England and NHS Improvement have produced IBD data packs for local commissioners. These packs present data from different parts of the care pathway to help local systems identify the factors driving variations in treatment, as well as narrative on how outcomes can be optimised.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the cost of Deloitte's input to written answers for his Department are included in the calculation of the total cost of producing those written answers.

The Department entered into a contract with Deloitte for the provision of a range of management consultancy services to support the National Testing Programme. The contract included a general clause providing for Deloitte to provide support in responding to Written Questions, Freedom of Information requests and media queries. While Deloitte consultants have on occasions provided support, they have not been directly responsible for drafting replies to any Written Questions. The Department has not made an estimate of these costs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to raise awareness of sudden adult death syndrome.

There are no current plans to do so. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement are developing plans with the British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance and GoodSAM, to raise awareness of first responder lead activities and to increase bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation skills for those that have suffered cardiac arrest and help prevent Sudden Adult Syndrome.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what educational materials on the covid-19 vaccination are being communicated to people who are reluctant to receive a vaccine.

Departmental and National Health Service (NHS) social media channels have published a series of videos with vaccine experts, general practitioners, and senior clinical advisors to answer questions frequently raised by people who are more reluctant to receive a vaccine. The NHS website has a dedicated COVID-19 vaccine page that is regularly updated with the latest advice. Public Health England has also created an online resource centre where other organisations, including local authorities, can access materials that they can use in their local communities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans are in place to support mandatory covid-19 testing costs for people who must travel abroad.

NHS Test and Trace tests can be purchased at the market mid-point to ensure that tests are available at an appropriate cost. We also offer deferred payment plans and support for people who cannot afford to pay for the cost of managed quarantine and testing. In some circumstances this may be available to those who are not in receipt of income related benefits.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to NHS dental care in Richmond-upon-Thames.

National Health Service dentists throughout the country have been asked to maximise safe throughput to meet as many prioritised needs as possible, focussing first on urgent care and vulnerable groups followed by overdue appointments. This has been underpinned, taking into account current infection prevention and control guidelines, by the requirement for dental providers to deliver 60% of normal activity volumes for the first six months of 2021/22 for full payment of the NHS contractual value. In addition, NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided a flexible commissioning toolkit to local commissioners to help focus the available capacity on those that need it most and to reduce oral health inequalities.

In London, NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently working with North and South Thames Paediatric Networks and Paediatric Managed Clinical Networks to secure funding for a project to increase access for children requiring dental procedures under general anaesthetic.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his oral contribution of 17 May 2021, Official report 431, if he will publish the details of the pilots his Department is conducting on assisting people to self-isolate as a result of covid-19.

NHS Test and Trace is co-designing a range of pilots with local authorities to improve support for people self-isolating and encourage people to come forward for testing. The pilots cover a range of financial and practical support measures. We will publish the details of the pilots shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what provision is available for people with latex allergies to get a covid-19 test.

We are not currently distributing any latex gloves as the majority of National Health Service trusts have a non-latex policy.

The lateral flow device test kits in use are latex free and are suitable for those with latex allergies.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether each covid-19 testing facility offers nitrile gloves as an alternative to latex gloves for people with latex allergies.

We are not currently distributing any latex gloves as the majority of National Health Service trusts have a non-latex policy.

The lateral flow device test kits in use are latex free and are suitable for those with latex allergies.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of prioritising pregnant women for covid-19 vaccinations.

On 16 April the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation updated their advice to indicate that pregnant women should be offered routine vaccination at the same time as non-pregnant women. The Government has accepted this advice. Pregnant women will therefore be called for vaccination within their overall age cohort or clinical risk factor group, as the risk of serious outcomes is still most strongly linked to age.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that pregnant women are offered the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna covid-19 vaccine.

On 16 April 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised that it is preferable for pregnant women in the United Kingdom to be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available, as these vaccines currently have the most safety data for use in pregnant women. Since 13 May, pregnant women have been able to book their vaccine appointment through the National Booking Service and will be directed to centres offering Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an estimate of the cost of the input of Deloitte to written answers as a proportion of the total cost of answering written questions.

We have made no such estimate.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve mental health support and reduce levels of suicide in (a) South West London and (b) England.

In March, we published ‘Preventing suicide in England: fifth progress report of the cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives’ and an update to the 2019 Cross-Government Suicide Prevention Workplan. We also published the Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Plan, setting out our response to the mental health impacts of the pandemic. Many of the actions in the Plan will support people at risk of self-harm or suicide. The Plan is backed by an additional £500 million, with £5 million to support suicide prevention organisations in 2021/22.

This funding is in addition to the £57 million we are investing in suicide prevention and suicide bereavement support through the NHS Long Term Plan, which will see investment in all areas of the country, including South West London, by 2023/24.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what evidence his Department used when determining the timing for when spectators will be permitted to watch grassroots sports under Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap for the easing of covid-19 restrictions.

The Department has made no such decision. This is a matter for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Cabinet Office.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve mental health support to reduce levels of suicide in (a) South West London and (b) England.

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

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that adequate funding is made available from the public purse to help support the mental health of people who are suicidal.

We are investing an additional £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24 in mental health services, with £57 million being invested in suicide prevention and suicide bereavement from 2019/20 to 2023/24. In addition, in March 2021 we published our Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Plan, setting out our response to the mental health impacts of the pandemic. Many of the actions in the Plan will support people at risk of self-harm or suicide. The plan is backed by an additional £500 million with £5million made available to support suicide prevention voluntary and community sector organisations in 2021/22.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure people receive refunds from Government approved private covid-19 test providers in the event that those providers fail to provide Day 2 and Day 8 covid-19 tests in time under the Test to Release scheme.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an estimate of the lost earnings of people needing to quarantine for longer than necessary under the Test to Release scheme due to delays in Government-approved private covid-19 test providers sending out tests.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason 001 Doctors was removed from and then subsequently included in the Government's approved list of covid-19 test providers in the Test to Release scheme.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people will receive penalties for not taking the (a) Day 2 and (b) Day 8 covid-19 tests under the Test to Release scheme due to delays in private test providers sending out test kits.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of passengers who have not received a covid-19 test kit within agreed time frames from companies in the Government's approved list of private providers of covid-19 tests under the Test to Release for international travel regime.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using a different covid-19 vaccine to Oxford-AstraZeneca for under 30 year olds who have already had their first dose of that vaccine.

There is currently no trial data available on the immune responses to mixed COVID-19 vaccine schedules. Such data are being developed by the National Immunisation Schedule Evaluation Consortium and will be considered by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) when available. The JCVI advises that all those who have received a first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should continue to be offered a second dose of that vaccine, irrespective of age. The second dose will be important for longer lasting protection against COVID-19. The JCVI’s statement on the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/use-of-the-astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccine-jcvi-statement/jcvi-statement-on-use-of-the-astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccine-7-april-2021

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to increase the number of clinical psychology training places beyond 2020-21.

Indicative figures in the NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24 show a planned increase of 2,520 clinical psychologist across mental health services by 2023/24. Health Education England (HEE) expanded clinical psychology training places by 25% in 2020-21, totalling 688 new entrants to English clinical psychology training - an increase of 137 on 2019/20 commissions. In 2021-22 HEE has commissioned an additional 226 new clinical psychology training places, totalling 914 subject to successful recruitment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people who never received their covid-19 test kits from companies which were listed on gov.uk under the test to release scheme will be entitled to a refund.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people affected by fraudulent companies claiming to be private providers of coronavirus testing listed on gov.uk under the test to release scheme will be entitled to a refund.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the prevalence of fraudulent companies claiming to be providers of coronavirus testing listed on gov.uk under the test to release scheme.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to private providers of coronavirus testing for (a) test to release for international travel and (b) domestic covid-19 testing listed on gov.uk, what minimum standards those providers must declare before appearing on that list.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending support bubble arrangements to grieving households of any size during periods of national lockdown since covid-19 regulations were last revised.

Although limiting social contact is critical to halting the spread of the virus, the Government recognises the challenges caused by the current lockdown measures, particularly for those who are grieving. We have therefore put in place support bubbles to help those who are at risk of isolation by the restrictions. Those who are grieving may be eligible to form a support bubble, for example, if they live alone or are a single parent. They are also able to access bereavement support groups, including in person where necessary.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the timeline for NICE guidance on the use of MTX110 for untreated diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) will be published.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) plans to develop technology appraisal guidance for MTX110 but it is unable to advise on timescales. MTX110 does not currently have a United Kingdom marketing authorisation or licence for the treatment of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma and is still undergoing phase one clinical trials. NICE can only appraise drugs that have a marketing authorisation for the treatment of a particular condition or are expected to receive one during the appraisal process and can only issue final guidance on drugs that have a marketing authorisation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish a roadmap for the return of close contact care home visits.

New visiting arrangements started on 8 March. Every care home should ensure that each resident can nominate one named person who can have regular, indoor visits. Those residents with the highest care needs can nominate an ‘essential care giver’.

In mid-April we will assess the data and take a decision on opening up further opportunities for visiting, setting out a plan for the next phase of visits for people in residential care.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if will hold discussions with the Mayor for London on the potential merits of exempting NHS employees from the suspension of the use of the Freedom Pass for those employees during peak hours in London.

We have no current plans to hold specific discussions with the Mayor for London. NHS England and NHS Improvement indicate they have not received any feedback from trusts to suggest the suspension of the Freedom Pass has caused disruption for employees.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to ensure that stroke teams follow up with stroke survivors during the covid-19 outbreak to support rehabilitation needs.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have funded the Stroke Association to provide Stroke Connect, which was developed in direct response to COVID-19 to ensure stroke survivors and their carers had support when discharged from hospital. The Department has also funded the Stroke Association to continue to provide frontline support to stroke survivors and others connected to stroke.

The National Stroke Programme is ensuring stroke rehabilitation services can meet survivors’ needs as described in the NHS Long Term Plan. This includes a dedicated programme piloting higher intensity models of stroke rehabilitation delivery as well as guiding principles of a best practice integrated community stroke service model for clinical services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of transparent face coverings compared to cloth face coverings in protecting against covid-19 transmission in a school setting.

We have made no specific assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on young people with eating disorders of making calorie counts mandatory on restaurant menus.

We recognise concerns people with eating disorders may have on measures to reduce obesity and are committed to striking a careful balance between enabling people to make healthier food and drink choices whilst not negatively impacting on those with or recovering from an eating disorder. Obesity represents a huge cost to the health and wellbeing of the individual, the National Health Service and the wider economy. With over six in 10 adults and more than one in three children aged 10 to 11 years old overweight or obese, it is right we take action.

In response to feedback to our consultation on out-of-home calorie labelling, we will introduce legislation to require large out-of-home sector businesses with 250 or more employees to calorie label the food they sell. An equalities assessment and impact assessment were published alongside the consultation response and can be viewed at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/calorie-labelling-for-food-and-drink-served-outside-of-the-home

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons children who turn two years old between September and December are not eligible for that year's flu vaccine.

Some children are unable to receive the vaccine during the flu season because they were under two years of age on 31 August. Some of these children will reach two years old during the flu season and would therefore become able to receive the flu vaccine under the product license but will not be eligible under the national programme.

Implementing programmes requires pragmatic decisions to be made in the interests of protecting the optimum number of children, whilst making the most effective use of the vaccine early enough in the flu season. The vaccine is only licensed for children aged two to under eighteen years old so children under the age of two years old should not receive the vaccine. Setting a time-limited date reduces the risk of children who are under this age receiving the vaccine by accident and allows the vaccine to be given in time for the flu season.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the total spend was by NHS England on children and young people’s mental health services including (a) spending by clinical commissioning groups and (b) spending on Tier 4 services in each of the years 2015-16 to 2020-21; and what the forecast spending is for 2021-22.

Information on NHS England and NHS Improvement and clinical commissioning group spending (CCG) spending is shown in the following table. Expenditure on Tier 4 and other children and young people’s mental health services commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement is not identified separately. Full expenditure data for 2020/21 and planned expenditure for 2021/22 is not yet available.

Year

CCG spend on children and young people’s mental health1 £ million

Total CCG spend on mental health2 £ million

NHS England and NHS Improvement specialised commissioning spend on mental health £ million

Total NHS spend on mental health £ million

2015/16

n/a

£9,148.3

£1,830.6

£10,978.9

2016/17

n/a

£9,722.8

£1,879.1

£11,601.9

2017/18

£687.2

£10,079.6

£1,896.4

£11,976.0

2018/19

£753.3

£10,559.0

£1,954.2

£12,513.2

2019/20

£841.1

£11,267.8

£2,057.0

£13,324.8


Source: NHS Mental Health Dashboard, NHS England and NHS Improvement

Notes:

1 excluding learning disabilities

2 including learning disabilities and dementia

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the (a) total spending was in 2020-21 and (b) forecast spending is for 2021-2 for (i) NHS England, (ii) NHS mental health services for all age groups and (iii) NHS children and young people’s mental health services.

Information on NHS England and NHS Improvement and clinical commissioning group spending (CCG) spending is shown in the following table. Expenditure on Tier 4 and other children and young people’s mental health services commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement is not identified separately. Full expenditure data for 2020/21 and planned expenditure for 2021/22 is not yet available.

Year

CCG spend on children and young people’s mental health1 £ million

Total CCG spend on mental health2 £ million

NHS England and NHS Improvement specialised commissioning spend on mental health £ million

Total NHS spend on mental health £ million

2015/16

n/a

£9,148.3

£1,830.6

£10,978.9

2016/17

n/a

£9,722.8

£1,879.1

£11,601.9

2017/18

£687.2

£10,079.6

£1,896.4

£11,976.0

2018/19

£753.3

£10,559.0

£1,954.2

£12,513.2

2019/20

£841.1

£11,267.8

£2,057.0

£13,324.8


Source: NHS Mental Health Dashboard, NHS England and NHS Improvement

Notes:

1 excluding learning disabilities

2 including learning disabilities and dementia

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a plan to support GPs to manage the long-term consequences of covid-19 in the community.

Communication with general practitioners (GPs) and the wider health provider community is a key priority in ensuring the best treatment can be provided to patients suffering from ‘long’ COVID-19. In December 2020, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence published a rapid guideline on managing the long-term effects of COVID-19. This was developed in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have also worked alongside the Royal College of General Practitioners to produce advice for GPs in the management of the long-term effects of COVID-19 and Health Education England to produce e-learning modules on COVID-19 recovery and rehabilitation to support the educational development of healthcare professionals.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of nurses employed in GP practices that do not have sick pay included in their contracts.

Data on pay uplifts for general practice nurses is not collected or held centrally. As self-employed contractors to the National Health Service to provide primary medical services, it is a matter for general practitioner (GP) practices how they distribute pay and benefits to their staff. General practice contractual arrangements do not place any specific obligations on GP practices with regard to their employees’ terms and conditions, including supplementary pay for sickness absence beyond statutory sick pay. Employers have the flexibility to set terms and conditions, for example to aid recruitment and retention and we anticipate good employers would set wage rates that reflect the skills and experience of their staff.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and the General Practitioners Committee England remain committed to reviewing and agreeing changes to the terms and conditions of practice staff within existing resources. To support this, NHS England and NHS Improvement will undertake a data collection survey in general practice to get an accurate picture of baseline terms and conditions of practice staff, in order to inform the development of good practice guidance on employment terms and conditions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of implementing the NHS Agenda for Change Payscale on the average general practice nurse salary.

Data on pay uplifts for general practice nurses is not collected or held centrally. As self-employed contractors to the National Health Service to provide primary medical services, it is a matter for general practitioner (GP) practices how they distribute pay and benefits to their staff. General practice contractual arrangements do not place any specific obligations on GP practices with regard to their employees’ terms and conditions, including supplementary pay for sickness absence beyond statutory sick pay. Employers have the flexibility to set terms and conditions, for example to aid recruitment and retention and we anticipate good employers would set wage rates that reflect the skills and experience of their staff.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and the General Practitioners Committee England remain committed to reviewing and agreeing changes to the terms and conditions of practice staff within existing resources. To support this, NHS England and NHS Improvement will undertake a data collection survey in general practice to get an accurate picture of baseline terms and conditions of practice staff, in order to inform the development of good practice guidance on employment terms and conditions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of general practice nurses did not receive the 2 per cent pay uplift included in the 2018-19 GP contract.

Data on pay uplifts for general practice nurses is not collected or held centrally. As self-employed contractors to the National Health Service to provide primary medical services, it is a matter for general practitioner (GP) practices how they distribute pay and benefits to their staff. General practice contractual arrangements do not place any specific obligations on GP practices with regard to their employees’ terms and conditions, including supplementary pay for sickness absence beyond statutory sick pay. Employers have the flexibility to set terms and conditions, for example to aid recruitment and retention and we anticipate good employers would set wage rates that reflect the skills and experience of their staff.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and the General Practitioners Committee England remain committed to reviewing and agreeing changes to the terms and conditions of practice staff within existing resources. To support this, NHS England and NHS Improvement will undertake a data collection survey in general practice to get an accurate picture of baseline terms and conditions of practice staff, in order to inform the development of good practice guidance on employment terms and conditions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of creating a pay body to set pay and terms and conditions for nursing in general practice.

Data on pay uplifts for general practice nurses is not collected or held centrally. As self-employed contractors to the National Health Service to provide primary medical services, it is a matter for general practitioner (GP) practices how they distribute pay and benefits to their staff. General practice contractual arrangements do not place any specific obligations on GP practices with regard to their employees’ terms and conditions, including supplementary pay for sickness absence beyond statutory sick pay. Employers have the flexibility to set terms and conditions, for example to aid recruitment and retention and we anticipate good employers would set wage rates that reflect the skills and experience of their staff.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and the General Practitioners Committee England remain committed to reviewing and agreeing changes to the terms and conditions of practice staff within existing resources. To support this, NHS England and NHS Improvement will undertake a data collection survey in general practice to get an accurate picture of baseline terms and conditions of practice staff, in order to inform the development of good practice guidance on employment terms and conditions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to ensure that kinship carers are being vaccinated against covid-19.

Being a kinship carer alone is not cause for prioritisation for a COVID-19 vaccination. This is based on the clinical assessment that most children are not considered to be at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that only those children at very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes, such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities within residential care, should be offered vaccination as part of Phase 1. There are currently no plans to prioritise kinship carers that are not in the first nine COVID-19 vaccination priority groups in the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Unpaid carers are included in the JCVI’s priority group 6; which includes individuals who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable. This means that if a kinship carer is the sole or primary carer of a child who was prioritised for vaccination in cohorts 4 or 6, they will be offered the vaccination in cohort 6 themselves.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of prioritising people in close contact with the clinically extremely vulnerable for the covid-19 vaccine over people in the same age and health category who are not in close contact with clinically extremely vulnerable people.

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable are in priority group four and should already have been offered their first vaccination dose, not through a strategy of vaccinating their close contacts. Adult carers will also be prioritised for a vaccination and are included in priority group six. This includes those who are eligible for Carer’s Allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to monitor the number of confirmed covid-19 cases in women who are pregnant.

The Department does not monitor or hold information. Through the National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation, the Department is funding the United Kingdom Obstetric Surveillance System to determine the incidence of hospitalisation with pandemic COVID-19 infection in pregnancy and assess the outcomes of pandemic COVID-19 in pregnancy for mother and infant.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to create a cross-departmental strategy on tackling health inequalities.

We are considering the reduction of health inequalities as we further develop work on ensuring the equality of opportunity. This will complement the following existing measures led by the Department to tackle inequalities in people’s access, outcomes and experiences of health services:

- Our national obesity strategy, ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-obesity-government-strategy

- NHS health checks

- The tobacco control plan ‘Towards a smoke-free generation, a tobacco control plan for England’ and the ‘Tobacco control plan: delivery plan 2017 to 2022’ are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/towards-a-smoke-free-generation-tobacco-control-plan-for-england

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tobacco-control-plan-delivery-plan-2017-to-2022

- The diabetes prevention programme

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there is an inter-ministerial group with a remit of reducing health inequalities.

There is no inter-ministerial group for reducing health inequalities. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care regularly engages with Cabinet colleagues on matters of common concern.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether new strains of covid-19 present symptoms that are currently not published by the NHS.

Scientific experts keep the symptoms under review as our understanding of the virus develops. Anyone experiencing the main symptoms– a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – should obtain a test as soon as possible and immediately self-isolate alongside their household.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the new strains of covid-19, what plans he has to (a) review and (b) update the covid-19 symptom list promoted to the public.

Scientific experts keep the symptoms under review as our understanding of the virus develops. Anyone experiencing the main symptoms– a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – should obtain a test as soon as possible and immediately self-isolate alongside their household.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether uptake targets for Healthy Start scheme vouchers have been met over the last 12 months.

Healthy Start is a statutory demand-led scheme and is not target driven. Over the last 12 months the number of beneficiaries receiving Healthy Start vouchers has remained stable at around 300,000.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the promotion to parents of Healthy Start scheme vouchers.

All eligible beneficiaries receive a letter inviting them to apply for Healthy Start, together with a pre-populated application form. The scheme is also promoted through the Healthy Start and Start4Life websites.

The Department is currently developing a digital approach to Healthy Start, to make it easier for families to apply for and use the scheme. We are developing and testing an online application form for Healthy Start to replace the current paper form and a payment card to replace paper vouchers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much additional funding the Department has allocated to NHS mental health services in England to manage any additional demands as a result of the covid-19 outbreak in (a) 2021-22, (b) 2022-23 and (c) 2023-24.

As part of the Spending Review 2020, we have announced that the National Health Service will receive around an additional £500 million next year, to address waiting times for mental health services, give more people the mental health support they need and invest in the workforce.

Our investment in mental health services in England is set to rise by an additional £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown on the commitments set out in Staying mentally well: winter plan 2020 to 2021.


For those who need them, National Health Service mental health services remain open for business, providing support online and by phone where necessary.

All mental health trusts have established 24 hours a day, seven days a week urgent helplines where people with severe needs or experiencing a mental health crisis can access urgent support and advice. We urge everyone who is experiencing a mental health crisis to make contact with a health professional immediately.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure NHS mental health services remain open during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown in England.

Children and young people’s mental health services will continue to remain open and accept new referrals, ensuring children, adults and parents can access appropriate support whether through face to face appointments where it is safe to do so, over the telephone or via digital means. Talking therapies delivered by Improved Access to Psychological therapies services will continue to be made available remotely so people can access help safely from home.

The option of face-to-face support will be provided to people with severe mental illnesses across all ages, where care can be provided in COVID-19 secure settings. The National Health Service has made all-age urgent mental health helplines available 24 hours a day, seven days a week across the country. We are also raising awareness of the resources and guidance available to adults, children and parents and carers through our Wellbeing and Mental Health Support Plan for COVID-19 and the ‘Every Mind Matters’ platform.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure referrals to (a) Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and (b) Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services are maintained during the 2021 covid-19 national lockdown.

Children and young people’s mental health services will continue to remain open and accept new referrals, ensuring children, adults and parents can access appropriate support whether through face to face appointments where it is safe to do so, over the telephone or via digital means. Talking therapies delivered by Improved Access to Psychological therapies services will continue to be made available remotely so people can access help safely from home.

The option of face-to-face support will be provided to people with severe mental illnesses across all ages, where care can be provided in COVID-19 secure settings. The National Health Service has made all-age urgent mental health helplines available 24 hours a day, seven days a week across the country. We are also raising awareness of the resources and guidance available to adults, children and parents and carers through our Wellbeing and Mental Health Support Plan for COVID-19 and the ‘Every Mind Matters’ platform.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS patients suffering with (a) Alzheimer's disease and (b) other forms of dementia were granted NHS Continuing Care in each of the last three years for which figures are available.

Determination of eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) is based on an assessment of care needs and is not based on a specific medical condition, disease or diagnosis. Eligibility is determined by whether a person has a primary health need as set out in the national framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS Funded Nursing Care. Consequently, figures which are condition-specific are not collected by NHS England.

NHS England have interpreted ‘initial assessments’ to mean how many people go from an initial screening process to a full assessment. This data is not collected. NHS England have interpreted ‘full assessments’ to refer to the number of people who have a full NHS CHC assessment and are found eligible. Data on NHS Continuing Healthcare eligibility rates is published quarterly and is available at the following link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/nhs-chc-fnc/

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS patients suffering from cancer (a) with which they were expected to live for more than six months and (b) from which they were diagnosed as terminally ill and likely to die within six months were granted NHS continuing care in each of the last three years for which figures are available.

Determination of eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) is based on an assessment of care needs and is not based on a specific medical condition, disease or diagnosis. Eligibility is determined by whether a person has a primary health need as set out in the national framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS Funded Nursing Care. Consequently, figures which are condition-specific are not collected by NHS England.

NHS England have interpreted ‘initial assessments’ to mean how many people go from an initial screening process to a full assessment. This data is not collected. NHS England have interpreted ‘full assessments’ to refer to the number of people who have a full NHS CHC assessment and are found eligible. Data on NHS Continuing Healthcare eligibility rates is published quarterly and is available at the following link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/nhs-chc-fnc/

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many initial assessments for NHS Continuing Care resulted in the patient being (a) granted and (b) refused a full assessment in each of the last three years for which figures are available.

Determination of eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) is based on an assessment of care needs and is not based on a specific medical condition, disease or diagnosis. Eligibility is determined by whether a person has a primary health need as set out in the national framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS Funded Nursing Care. Consequently, figures which are condition-specific are not collected by NHS England.

NHS England have interpreted ‘initial assessments’ to mean how many people go from an initial screening process to a full assessment. This data is not collected. NHS England have interpreted ‘full assessments’ to refer to the number of people who have a full NHS CHC assessment and are found eligible. Data on NHS Continuing Healthcare eligibility rates is published quarterly and is available at the following link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/nhs-chc-fnc/

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many full assessments for NHS Continuing Care resulted in the patient being (a) granted and (b) found ineligible for NHS support in each of the last three years for which figures are available.

Determination of eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) is based on an assessment of care needs and is not based on a specific medical condition, disease or diagnosis. Eligibility is determined by whether a person has a primary health need as set out in the national framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS Funded Nursing Care. Consequently, figures which are condition-specific are not collected by NHS England.

NHS England have interpreted ‘initial assessments’ to mean how many people go from an initial screening process to a full assessment. This data is not collected. NHS England have interpreted ‘full assessments’ to refer to the number of people who have a full NHS CHC assessment and are found eligible. Data on NHS Continuing Healthcare eligibility rates is published quarterly and is available at the following link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/nhs-chc-fnc/

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support GP services in (a) Twickenham and (b) England during the covid-19 outbreak.

Across England and Twickenham, general practice is playing a vital role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering high quality care for both COVID-19 patients and for individuals requiring urgent care or essential routine care for new and pre-existing conditions that are non COVID-19. To support general practitioner (GP) services during this time a number of actions have been taken, including:

- providing an additional £150 million in funding to support expanding general practice capacity up until the end of March 2021, which follows support for the additional costs borne by GP practices during the first wave through the COVID-19 Support Fund;

- helping general practice adapt at pace to offer more remote care so that patients could continue to access GP services safely, by deploying laptops and headsets for use in primary care and accelerating the roll out of online video consultation capability;

- ensuring all GPs in England are eligible to use the personal protective equipment (PPE) portal to order COVID-19 PPE free of charge, and reimbursing GPs for the costs of such PPE purchased up to 31 December 2020; and

- the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to maximise workforce capacity through continued deployment and recruitment of the retired GP workforce and increasing the participation of the existing workforce. Locums and returning GPs made a valuable contribution to general practice during the first wave, with many coming forwards to support NHS 111 and the Covid Clinical Assessment Services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 6 December 2020 to Question 100550 on Coronavirus: Contact Tracing, in what format his Department holds that information.

NHS Test and Trace monitors monthly expenditure, spend across test, trace and other activities for the year to date and spend overall on contact tracing across centralised contact tracing and local contact tracing.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much of the £22 billion allocated to NHS Test and Trace is being spent on local authority contact tracing teams.

The Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) provides funding to local authorities in England to be used for test, trace and contain activity in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in their area.

To date, over £1 billion has been committed to English local authorities through the fund. The Government is providing further funding worth over £225 million per month during the national restrictions which can be used to fund local public health activities, such as additional contact tracing, testing for hard-to-reach groups and public health communications. Funding from the COMF has undergone a review with HM Treasury in January 2021. The outcome of this review will inform funding from the COMF between now and the end of the financial year.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the £22 billion in funding allocated to NHS Test and Trace is being spent on management consultants.

438 million, or 2% of the funding, is allocated to ‘professional services’ which includes management consultants.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the £22 billion allocated to NHS Test and Trace is being spent on Serco's national contact tracing system.

The contract with Serco, for the non-clinical National Health Service call handling service to support the contact tracing, was let for an initial period of three months for the sum of £108 million. The total contract has a maximum value of £410 million to cover the initial period and any required extensions within a maximum period of 12 months to 17 May 2021. Two extensions have so far been agreed within the maximum value, to 31 January 2021.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy to immunise every person aged from 18 to 49 who comes forward for a vaccine in phase 3 of the covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Government met its target of offering a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in the top four priority cohorts, as recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), by 15 February. The Government and the National Health Service are on course to meet the targets to offer a first dose of vaccination to the top nine priority cohorts by mid-April and all adults by the end of July 2021.

On 26 February, the JCVI published its interim advice for phase two of the COVID-19 vaccination programme covering adults aged 18-49 years old, setting out that the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to continue to prioritise people by age. The Government is planning to follow the recommended approach, subject to the final advice given by the JCVI.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his policy to immunise every adult who wants a covid-19 vaccination by the end of 2021.

The Government met its target of offering a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in the top four priority cohorts, as recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), by 15 February. The Government and the National Health Service are on course to meet the targets to offer a first dose of vaccination to the top nine priority cohorts by mid-April and all adults by the end of July 2021.

On 26 February, the JCVI published its interim advice for phase two of the COVID-19 vaccination programme covering adults aged 18-49 years old, setting out that the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to continue to prioritise people by age. The Government is planning to follow the recommended approach, subject to the final advice given by the JCVI.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the need for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be stored below minus 70 degrees celsius, what steps his Department is taking to ensure care home residents and staff are able to access covid-19 vaccines promptly.

We have worked to ensure that we have the logistical expertise, transport, and workforce in place to rollout a vaccine at the speed at which it can be manufactured. In line with the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the vaccine will initially be rolled out to priority groups, including care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old, and health and care workers. The vaccine will then be prioritised amongst the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and all individuals aged 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions.

The JCVI appreciates that operational considerations, such as minimising wastage, may require deviation from the prioritisation order as outlined in the statement, where decisions are taken in consultation with national or local public health advice. We will follow the advice of the JCVI on clinical prioritisation which supports vaccinating those most at risk of death from COVID-19. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine involves some logistical challenges and we are working hard to ensure that it is available to those most at risk.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether temporary vaccination delivery sites will be established to enable large scale vaccination.

The National Health Service is in the process of establishing vaccination centres across the country that can manage the logistical challenge of needing to store the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at an appropriate temperature. Our approach, with three delivery models - community teams, vaccination sites and hospital hubs - has been devised to be flexible and reach all parts of the country. The phased vaccination programme, which began on 8 December with hospital hubs, will be expanded over the coming weeks and months to include local vaccination services and large-scale vaccination centres across the country.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to double dementia research funding.

In 2018-19, the most recent year for which information is available, total Government funding for dementia research was £82.9 million, ahead of the Government’s commitment under the 2020 Dementia Challenge to spend £300 million over five years, or £60 million each year, on dementia research. The Department, through the National Institute for Health Research, spent £31.6 million on dementia research in 2018-19. Plans are being put in place for this to increase significantly over the current parliament to meet the Government’s commitments.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the national stock level of syringes required to deliver the flu and covid-19 vaccinations during winter 2020-21.

Public Health England has procured combined needles and syringes for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccinations. These levels are commercially sensitive and therefore not available.

The production of the seasonal flu vaccines is the responsibility of manufacturers. All flu vaccines this season have been supplied by manufacturers in pre-filled syringes and the Department is confident there is adequate supply to offer the flu vaccination to over 30 million people.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 November 2020 to Question: 91042 on Dental Services, what recent progress he has made on improving access to NHS dental care.

Dentistry has been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the need to regularly undertake aerosol generating procedures, such as high-speed drilling, which present a high risk for transmission of COVID-19. Dental practices have, therefore, been asked by NHS England and NHS Improvement to prioritise urgent care, care for vulnerable groups and delayed planned treatment. Over 600 urgent dental care centres also remain open to support the provision of face to face care and improve access.

Public Health England’s infection, prevention and control guidance, published in October, has reduced the time needed to rest a room between patients. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/928034/COVID-19_Infection_prevention_and_control_guidance_Dental_appendix.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of the population in England that is not registered with a GP surgery.

No such estimate has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people in Twickenham are on the waiting list for access to NHS dental services.

Individual practices may keep waiting lists for new patients but there is no national waiting list held by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what qualifications will be required to administer a covid-19 vaccination.

Any person administering a COVID-19 vaccine will have undergone specific training, developed by Public Health England and will have been assessed by their employer as competent to administer the vaccine or undertake other related activity, such as assessing an individual’s suitability for vaccination and gaining their informed consent.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to increase radiotherapy treatment funding in line with the recommendations of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy's report entitled, Transforming Radiotherapy, A six-point Covid-19 recovery plan to save lives and save money within the NHS, published on 6 July 2020.

There are no plans to make this recommendation into Government policy.

During the COVID-19 pandemic radiotherapy service provision continued. In light of the need to minimise trips to hospital, particularly for people likely to be worse affected by COVID-19, radiotherapy services have made use of fewer fraction protocols as supporting evidence emerges. The focus on recovery for radiotherapy has been on embedding the use of hypo-fractionated or fewer fraction treatments.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress he has made on the delivery of NICE guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of pernicious anaemia.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has been asked to develop a guideline on pernicious anaemia and is currently recruiting for topic experts for this guideline. NICE is working to an expected publication date of March 2023, however this date is subject to change.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time for an initial appointment with the NHS's adult hearing screening service was in the last six months for which data is available.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people who are overseeing diagnostic tests in Lighthouse Labs require a valid Health and Care Professionals Council registration.

The Lighthouse Laboratories employ a number of laboratory staff who are working in various regulated and unregulated roles.

Biomedical Scientists and Clinical Scientists are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and professionals must be registered with the HCPC to use these titles.

The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care’s (PSA) Accredited Registers Programme independently assesses organisations who register practitioners who are not regulated by law. The registers held by the Academy of Healthcare Scientists and the Register of Clinical Technologists are accredited by the PSA. Unregulated laboratory staff are able to join these registers.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing funding in the forthcoming spending review for additional breast cancer screening in the context of delays to screening caused by the covid-19 outbreak.

Funding decisions for the next financial year, including screening, are being considered as part of the ongoing Spending Review. The conclusion of the Spending Review will be announced on 25 November.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including teachers as recipients of the free flu vaccination in winter 2020-21.

The flu vaccination is recommended for those in at risk groups, and frontline health and social care workers who have direct contact with patients, so they can protect themselves and the vulnerable people that they care for. This is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Based on the JCVI’s advice, teachers, who are not in an at-risk group, are not eligible for a free flu vaccination. However, some teachers may have access to a free flu vaccine under their employers’ occupational health scheme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to reduce discrepancies in access to IVF treatment across CCGs in England.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have a statutory responsibility to commission healthcare services including fertility services that meet the needs of their whole population.

In respect of National Health Service fertility services, the Government have been consistently clear that we expect CCGs to commission fertility services in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidelines, so that there is equal access across England.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of credit agency reference checks on the proportion of people eligible to receive a covid-19 home testing kit.

In order to request a home test, a user must first verify their identity using a service provided by TransUnion. Identity verification is built into the process in order to minimise the risk of fraudulent ordering.

TransUnion does not collect or retain data on individuals that book tests, other than a record of processing in order to meet regulatory obligations. All the data is processed and stored within the United Kingdom in line with their privacy policy.

If an individual is not willing or able to undertake the identity verification provided by TransUnion, they should call 119 for further assistance or seek to book an appointment at a regional test site or mobile testing unit, where a member of staff will confirm their identity in person.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to standardise IVF access criteria across Clinical Commissioning Groups in England.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have a statutory responsibility to commission healthcare services including fertility services that meet the needs of their whole population.

In respect of National Health Service fertility services, the Government have been consistently clear that we expect CCGs to commission fertility services in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidelines, so that there is equal access across England.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many applicants applying for a covid-19 home testing kit via the Coronavirus Testing Call Centre have failed to obtain a test.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many applicants for a covid-19 home test kit have failed the TransUnion check in the last quarter.

We do not publish data in the format requested. In order to request a Home Test, a user must first verify their identity using a service provided by TransUnion. Identity verification is built into the process in order to minimise the risk of fraudulent ordering.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many applicants who have failed the TransUnion check have subsequently obtained the covid-19 home testing kit in the last quarter.

We do not publish data in the format requested. In order to request a home test, a user must first verify their identity using a service provided by TransUnion. Identity verification is built into the process in order to minimise the risk of fraudulent ordering.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of issuing guidance to prevent fertility patients becoming ineligible for NHS-funded IVF as a result of delays resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government expects clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to give fair consideration to all patients who have had fertility treatment delayed so that no one misses out on treatment due to COVID-19.

NHS England have agreed a joint statement with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, to encourage CCGs to give special consideration to the need for flexibility and sensitivity for individuals whose waiting times, investigations or planned treatment have been disrupted due to COVID-19. This is to ensure that all women and their partners seeking fertility treatment are treated fairly. The statement was issued to the National Health Service on 6 November 2020.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he will introduce a new cross-government alcohol strategy which takes account of the effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to tackling health harms from alcohol and supporting the most vulnerable at risk from alcohol misuse. Action on alcohol abuse continues through commitments in the Prevention Green Paper, the NHS Long Term Plan, funding to support children of alcohol dependent parents, and action to reduce alcohol-related crime. There are no current plans for a standalone alcohol strategy.

Public Health England (PHE) published advice and information for the public on looking after their mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak, which recommends people avoid using alcohol. The guidance can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19

PHE continues to maintain the FRANK website and helpline, which provides a service for people who are concerned about their own or others alcohol consumption at the following link:

https://www.talktofrank.com/

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak alcohol treatment providers are continuing to support and treat people misusing alcohol.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prevent an increase in harmful drinking during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to tackling health harms from alcohol and supporting the most vulnerable at risk from alcohol misuse. Action on alcohol abuse continues through commitments in the Prevention Green Paper, the NHS Long Term Plan, funding to support children of alcohol dependent parents, and action to reduce alcohol-related crime. There are no current plans for a standalone alcohol strategy.

Public Health England (PHE) published advice and information for the public on looking after their mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak, which recommends people avoid using alcohol. The guidance can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19

PHE continues to maintain the FRANK website and helpline, which provides a service for people who are concerned about their own or others alcohol consumption at the following link:

https://www.talktofrank.com/

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak alcohol treatment providers are continuing to support and treat people misusing alcohol.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the Memorandum of Understanding between his Department and the National Police Chiefs' Council on their data sharing arrangement for NHS Test and Trace.

We will be publishing the Memorandum of Understanding in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and which regional NHS Genetics Laboratories are being used to increase covid-19 testing capacity.

Ninety six National Health Service laboratories operate through 29 pathology laboratory networks. This figure is not broken down by region.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using regional NHS Genetics Laboratories to increase covid-19 testing capacity.

Capacity in National Health Service laboratories is rapidly increasing, and available capacity is primarily used to test the patients and symptomatic staff who need a test, in line with the Department’s guidance. We operate through a localised system of NHS laboratories so that tests are available locally when needed.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much his Department has spent on NHS Test and Trace by region in England.

The information is not available in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the number of ambulance service callouts by NHS trust that were alcohol-related in each of the last four years.

The information requested is not centrally collected.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)