Paul Farrelly Portrait

Paul Farrelly

Labour - Former Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme

DCMS Sub-Committee on Disinformation
12th Mar 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Consolidation, &c., Bills (Joint Committee)
6th Dec 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Privacy and Injunctions (Joint Committee)
14th Jul 2011 - 12th Mar 2012
Consolidation etc. Bills (Joint Committee)
12th Dec 2001 - 6th May 2010
Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
15th Dec 2003 - 17th Jul 2005


Division Voting information

Paul Farrelly has voted in 2032 divisions, and 37 times against the majority of their Party.

29 Oct 2019 - Early Parliamentary General Election Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 11 Labour No votes vs 127 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 438 Noes - 20
19 Mar 2019 - Foreign Affairs Committee - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 13 Labour No votes vs 168 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 199 Noes - 134
29 Jan 2019 - European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour Aye votes vs 3 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 39 Noes - 327
19 Apr 2017 - Early Parliamentary General Election - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 9 Labour No votes vs 174 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 522 Noes - 13
8 Feb 2017 - European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 52 Labour No votes vs 161 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 494 Noes - 122
6 Feb 2017 - European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Labour Aye votes vs 3 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 62 Noes - 333
1 Feb 2017 - European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 47 Labour No votes vs 166 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 498 Noes - 114
7 Dec 2016 - The Government's Plan for Brexit - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 23 Labour No votes vs 150 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 461 Noes - 89
7 Dec 2016 - The Government's Plan for Brexit - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 9 Labour No votes vs 149 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 448 Noes - 75
23 Mar 2016 - High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 13 Labour No votes vs 153 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 399 Noes - 42
24 Feb 2010 - Energy Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 26 Labour Aye votes vs 243 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 244 Noes - 252
5 Jan 2010 - Fiscal Responsibility Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour No votes vs 246 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 254 Noes - 187
10 Nov 2009 - Welfare Reform Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Labour No votes vs 278 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 286 Noes - 236
9 Nov 2009 - Coroners and Justice Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Labour Aye votes vs 265 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 266 Noes - 274
21 Oct 2009 - Equitable Life - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 18 Labour Aye votes vs 287 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 269 Noes - 294
24 Jun 2009 - Iraq Inquiry - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 19 Labour Aye votes vs 288 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 260 Noes - 299
18 May 2009 - Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 6 Labour Aye votes vs 251 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 217 Noes - 260
30 Apr 2009 - Members’ Allowances - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 13 Labour Aye votes vs 216 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 96 Noes - 285
30 Apr 2009 - Members’ Allowances - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 19 Labour No votes vs 210 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 280 Noes - 100
29 Apr 2009 - Gurkha Settlement Rights - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 28 Labour Aye votes vs 238 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 267 Noes - 246
24 Mar 2009 - Coroners and Justice Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour No votes vs 269 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 283 Noes - 62
8 Dec 2008 - Business of the House - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Labour Aye votes vs 297 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 234 Noes - 308
8 Dec 2008 - Speaker’s Committee on the Search of Offices on the Parliamentary Estate - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 30 Labour Aye votes vs 274 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 281 Noes - 285
8 Dec 2008 - Speaker’s Committee on the Search of Offices on the Parliamentary Estate - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 19 Labour No votes vs 282 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 293 Noes - 270
12 Nov 2008 - Regional Accountability - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 8 Labour Aye votes vs 240 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 233 Noes - 250
3 Jul 2008 - Members’ Salaries - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 82 Labour Aye votes vs 136 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 155 Noes - 196
3 Jul 2008 - Members’ Salaries - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 66 Labour Aye votes vs 159 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 141 Noes - 216
11 Jun 2008 - New Clause 22 - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 37 Labour No votes vs 292 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 315 Noes - 306
11 Jun 2008 - New Clause 22 - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 26 Labour No votes vs 292 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 315 Noes - 294
10 Jun 2008 - Counter-Terrorism Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 19 Labour Aye votes vs 300 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 287 Noes - 310
12 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 10 Labour No votes vs 253 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 340 Noes - 78
12 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 7 Labour No votes vs 250 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 265 Noes - 149
7 Mar 2007 - House of Lords Reform - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 156 Labour Aye votes vs 157 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 305 Noes - 267
28 Feb 2007 - Offender Management Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 49 Labour Aye votes vs 256 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 111 Noes - 267
28 Feb 2007 - Offender Management Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 24 Labour No votes vs 283 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 293 Noes - 268
11 Dec 2006 - Offender Management Bill - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 27 Labour No votes vs 265 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 411 Noes - 91
1 Nov 2006 - Legislative Process - View Vote Context
Paul Farrelly voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 42 Labour Aye votes vs 218 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 122 Noes - 354
View All Paul Farrelly Division Votes

All Debates

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
John Whittingdale (Conservative)
(40 debate interactions)
John Bercow (Speaker)
(27 debate interactions)
David Cameron (Conservative)
(22 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Leader of the House
(74 debate contributions)
Ministry of Justice
(58 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(48 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(47 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Paul Farrelly's debates

Latest EDMs signed by Paul Farrelly

31st October 2019
Paul Farrelly signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 5th November 2019

Theft of tools from tradespeople

Tabled by: John Grogan (Labour - Keighley)
That this House is concerned that tool theft is ruining the livelihoods of honest and hard-working UK tradespeople and that it is a growing problem with one in three affected at an average cost of £3000; notes that in West Yorkshire alone £836,053 worth of tools were stolen in the …
8 signatures
(Most recent: 16 Dec 2019)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 4
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Independent: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
Conservative: 1
4th November 2019
Paul Farrelly signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 5th November 2019

Post Office Closures in Blackpool South constituency

Tabled by: Gordon Marsden (Labour - Blackpool South)
That this House expresses its concern about the announcement of closures at three post offices in Blackpool in the last few weeks, Marton, Waterloo and Mereside; notes that this leaves local residents without a range of post office services and without access to free withdrawal facilities at ATMs attached to …
2 signatures
(Most recent: 5 Nov 2019)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 2
View All Paul Farrelly's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Paul Farrelly, 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.


Paul Farrelly has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Paul Farrelly has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Paul Farrelly has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


672 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
6 Other Department Questions
30th Sep 2019
To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, when responsibility for Bridge Street subway was transferred to the Parliamentary Estate; and what steps the Commission took to inform Members.

Responsibility for the Bridge Street underpass was transferred to Parliament in May 2019. This followed its temporary closure to the public for health and safety reasons, in order to allow work to take place on the Elizabeth Tower renovation project.

Members were advised of the changes to the management of the area via an email from the House of Commons Communications Team (part of a wider "Pre-Recess update for Members" message) on 22 May 2019. A news item was added to the intranet on the same day. A further update was added on 8 August 2019.

11th Jul 2019
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to increase diversity across all levels of FTSE 100 companies.

The Government is working with the business community through the Business Diversity and Inclusion Group to coordinate action to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The Government has commissioned and supports several business-led, independent reviews on promoting diversity. These include the Hampton-Alexander Review which has a 33% target for women on boards and in senior leadership positions across the FTSE 350 by 2020. Also the Parker Review to increase the ethnic diversity of FTSE 350 boards by 2024.

These reviews form part of the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy which aims to build an economy that works for all.

Women hold a higher percentage of senior leadership positions than ever before with 32.3% of women on FTSE 100 boards.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th Jul 2019
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of obligating all major employers in the UK to publish their gender and ethnicity pay gap data.

Since introducing regulations in 2017, organisations with 250 or more employees are required to publish gender pay gap data on an annual basis. This has sparked a national conversation, as well as prompting conversations in boardrooms across the country. The unparalleled level of transparency brings to light where inequalities exist, and is inspiring action from employers to bring about change.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have consulted on how best to implement mandatory ethnicity pay reporting, including questions on the main benefits for employers in reporting ethnicity pay information and which employers it should apply to. They received over 300 detailed responses to the consultation and will set out next steps in due course.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
5th Apr 2019
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the provision of (a) inclusive and (b) positive education about periods and the human body in schools.

The Minister for Women and Equalities recently announced a new Taskforce that will bring together representatives from all sectors to develop comprehensive and sustainable solutions to period poverty. Preparation for this has included discussions with a number of Ministerial colleagues.

The Taskforce will present the opportunity for discussions on education around menstruation. The government is making Health Education compulsory in all state-funded schools, alongside Relationships Education for all primary pupils, and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) for all secondary pupils from September 2020. As part of this subject, all pupils will be taught about menstruation and menstrual wellbeing at a timely point.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Apr 2019
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps he is taking to tackle gender pay disparity in the public sector.

We introduced ground-breaking regulations in 2017 requiring large employers, including over 1,600 public bodies, to publish their gender pay gaps annually. The rate at which the gender pay gap will narrow is dependent on a large number of complex factors, but this Government is working hard to close the gap as soon as possible.

In order to support employers to address their gender pay differences, we have published evidence-based guidance on practical actions they can take to close the gap, alongside help to diagnose the causes of their gaps and develop effective action plans.

We have been working with Government departments and representative bodies to understand the underlying causes of the gender pay gap in different public sector workforces, and to consider what measures will have a positive impact. We have also engaged directly with employers in the public sector, through events and interactive webinars. We will continue to build the evidence base in order to support employers to continue to take the right action.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
9th May 2019
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on victims of rape of CPS rape and sexual offence legal guidance in relation to disclosure of medical records and counselling notes.

All complainants are entitled to protection from unnecessary and unjustified invasion of their private lives. Medical records and counselling notes will routinely engage an individual’s Article 8 ECHR right to privacy.

CPS guidance is clear that where it is a reasonable line of enquiry in the investigation, the police should obtain the complainant’s informed consent to gain access to these records and, in the limited circumstances where it is appropriate, to enable disclosure of material to the defence. Where records amount to unused material, prosecutors will robustly apply the relevant statutory provisions when deciding whether such material should be disclosed to the defence.

The CPS is working with the police and stakeholders to ensure complainants are aware of why their records are required and how they will be used to allow them to make an informed decision.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jun 2019
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has plans to give prisoners in England the right to vote.

It is the Government’s long-established position that when someone commits a crime, which is sufficiently serious to receive a prison sentence, they are deemed to have broken their contract with society to such an extent that they should not have the right to vote until they are ready to be back in the community.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jun 2019
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to increase voter registration among homeless people.

The Government is committed to ensuring our democracy is robust, trusted and open so all those who are eligible can participate with confidence. We have convened partners in local authorities and homeless charities to codesign and test ideas to address barriers to electoral registration for the homeless. These will be made available shortly on Gov.uk.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th May 2019
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that the public sector has the required IT infrastructure in place to enable a paperless society.

The Government Digital Service works with departments across central government to build digital capability, develop and implement common tools and standards, and ensure government remains focused on the needs of end users when designing digital services.

The Local Digital Declaration is a set of principles and commitments by which central and local government will work together to share tools and best practice in order to help get more public services online.

Over 16 million customers now access their Personal Tax Account online; over 90% of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Association’s (DVLA) transactions (over 1 billion in 2017/18) are now completed online; and over 5.7 million people have used the voter registration digital service.

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of restricting firework use to (a) licensed public displays at certain times of year and (b) organised events.

I have asked the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) to compile a fact-based evidence base on the key issues that have been raised around fireworks. This includes looking at data around noise and disturbance, anti-social behaviour, non-compliance, environmental impact, and the impact on humans and animals.

The aim of the evidence base is to build a full picture of the data around fireworks in order to identify the key issues and what action - if any - is appropriate.

28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps she is taking to ensure that the Midlands Engine policy focuses on the densely populated areas that surround big cities.

As part of levelling up the regions the government is committed to a Midlands Engine Strategy to stimulate growth and increase productivity across the whole of the Midlands Engine region including densely populated areas that surround big cities. For example, we made commitments in the 2017 Midlands Engine Strategy to launch 5G tests beds to enhance digital connectivity in the region, including a Worcestershire test bed; to support the eight Enterprise Zones across the Midlands, including the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone in Staffordshire; and to allocate £392m of Local Growth Fund funding which is supporting a wide range of projects including £8.5 million for first phase improvements to the Hanley-Bentilee link road, and £6.9 million to support the formation of an Advanced Manufacturing Hub in Stoke and Staffordshire.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government plans to (a) remove biomass subsidies and (b) increase support more sustainable, environmentally-friendly alternatives.

Sustainable biomass is currently eligible for support under the Contract for Difference (CFD), the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

We have announced that all support for coal to biomass conversions will end in 2027.

The consultation on ‘Renewable Heat Incentive: biomass combustion in urban areas’ included the question of excluding new biomass installations in urban areas on the gas grid. A government response will be published in due course. The RHI has funding committed until March 2021 and any further funding will be a matter for future budget-related decisions.

Sustainable biomass remains an important part of a balanced energy mix, along with other renewables such as wind or solar.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
14th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of increasing the share of the miners' pension scheme’s surplus that goes to former miners.

The Government does not intend to change the current surplus-sharing arrangements that have worked well for all parties. Instead, we are considering the Trustees’ proposals for changes to the scheme that include protection of bonuses already accrued and hope to reach agreement shortly. We will update the House in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
2nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions she has had with feminine hygiene manufactures on the removal of plastics from all women’s sanitary products.

On 16 April this year, the Government announced it will fully fund a scheme to provide access to free period products in schools and colleges in England. We are developing this scheme in conjunction with schools and 16-19 education providers to ensure it best meets the needs of all learners. We are committed to encouraging the use of sustainable products where possible and will work with stakeholders to explore whether this can be integrated into the scheme. In addition, in light of the period poverty initiative, NHS Supply Chain plans to widen the scope of the sanitary products available to the NHS. This will include focusing on providing more sustainable, non-plastic products such as menstrual cups and washable sanitary towels.

The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out the Government’s plans to reduce plastic pollution and to move towards a more circular economy. The strategy outlines the actions we will take to encourage producers to take more responsibility for the lifespan of their products and make sure these are more carefully designed with resource efficiency and waste prevention in mind. Our ambition is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan, and for the most problematic plastics we are going faster. We have already made good progress and will continue to review the latest evidence on problematic products and materials to take a systematic approach to reducing the use of unnecessary single-use plastic products.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to support research into cost-effective alternatives to coal for heavy industry.

The Department understands the need for industry to decarbonise as the UK moves towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To support this priority, the Department is currently running, or intending to run, the following R&D programmes that focus on industrial decarbonisation, which may consider bids for cost-effective alternatives to coal:

- The Industrial Fuel Switching Competition is a £20m competition, funded by the BEIS £505m Energy Innovation Portfolio (2016-2021), which aims to identify and test the processes and technologies required for industries in the UK to switch to low carbon fuels;

- The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund was announced at Budget 2018 as a new fund worth up to £315 million to support businesses with high energy use to transition to a low carbon future and to cut their bills through increased energy efficiency;

- The Clean Steel Fund, is a £250m programme, currently under consultation, will support the UK steel sector to transition to lower carbon iron and steel production through new technologies and processes;

- The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund has two relevant challenges, including the industrial decarbonisation challenge which is focused on heavy industry, and the Transforming Foundation Industries challenge, which is focused on energy and resource efficiency.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
30th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to require employers to provide domestic abuse survivors with (a) flexible working arrangements and (b) a period of paid leave.

Domestic abuse is a devastating crime which shatters the lives of victims and their families, and this Government remains committed to transforming the response to this abuse. That is why we have introduced the landmark Domestic Abuse Bill, which had its Second Reading on 2 October and will be carried over to the next Parliamentary session.

Employers should take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing of their employees.

We know that 97% of employers offer some form of flexible working. Many employers also offer compassionate leave or special leave to employees to enable them to take time to deal with a wide range of circumstances. This type of leave is agreed between the employer and the employee, either as a contractual entitlement or on a discretionary basis.

5th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps she has taken to ensure that ceramics companies in North Staffordshire are able to avoid delays in getting raw materials to factories and avoid incurring additional costs when exporting goods in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

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

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to strengthen links between manufacturers of packaging and recycling mills to ensure more packaging can be returned and reused.

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

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of increasing the share of the miners' pension scheme’s surplus that goes to former miners.

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

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the parental leave system supports men and women equally to take time out of the workplace to care for children.

The Shared Parental Leave & Pay scheme was introduced in 2015. This scheme gives eligible working parents more choice and flexibility around which of them cares for their child in the first year and when they do this.

We are currently consulting on high-level options for how we can better balance the gender division of the parental leave and pay system. Responses to the consultation will be considered alongside our evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave & Pay scheme which is already underway.

2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether her Department plans to provide cash flow support to manufacturers in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The Government has been clear that should the UK leave the EU without a deal, we would support businesses through whatever appropriate action is necessary.

Programmes operated by the Government owned British Business Bank are currently supporting more than £6.6 billion of finance to over 89,000 SMEs.

In particular, the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) facilitates business finance to smaller businesses that are viable but unable to obtain finance from their lender due to having insufficient security to meet the lender’s normal requirements.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to (a) support the growth and (b) minimise the adverse environmental effects of the bioplastics industry.

This Government is building a globally competitive sustainable plastics industry through research and innovation. As announced in the recent Bioeconomy Strategy, the Department will provide up to £60 million, bolstered by considerable industry support, to establish the UK as the world’s leading innovator in smart sustainable plastic packaging. We will soon be launching a call for evidence on the impacts of bio-based and biodegradable plastics on the environment and their interaction with the circular economy.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support businesses to develop new and more sustainable vegetation oils as a replacement for palm oil.

The Government is committed to working with business and others to create a UK market for sustainably sourced palm oil for households and reduce the environmental impact of palm oil production overseas.

In 2012, the Government convened an industry-led UK Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. This brought together trade associations for palm oil-using sectors to improve reporting, traceability and understanding of supply chains to increase the use of certified palm oil. As a result the market share of sustainable palm oil in the UK has increased from 16% in 2010 to 75% in 2017.

Internationally, as a member of the Amsterdam Declarations Partnership, the UK is driving 100% sustainable palm oil supply chains in Europe. The UK also supports the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) which recently secured the Marrakesh Declaration on palm oil. The Declaration has seen seven African palm oil producing countries and major companies agree principles for responsible palm oil.

This builds on earlier Government efforts to tackle non-household use of vegetable oils such as palm oil in sectors such as biofuels, by promoting waste-derived biofuels. Two thirds of biofuels in 2017-2018 were from such wastes.

We recognise that more remains to be done and will continue to explore opportunities to improve the sustainability of palm oil production.

9th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to support industry-led initiatives to close the artificial intelligence skills gap.

The Industrial Strategy sets out the Government’s vision to make the UK a global centre for AI and data innovation, which includes developing the skills that will contribute to building the best environment for AI development and deployment. We have created the Office for AI (a joint unit between the departments: Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and Digital Culture Media and Sport) to oversee that vision.

The AI Sector Deal brings together commitments from Government, Industry and Academia in a near £0.95bn package of support to promote the adoption and use of AI.

To date, some of the key Government investment in AI skills and talent has included:

  • £100m for 16 New Centres for Doctoral Training at universities across the country, delivering 1,000 new PhDs over the next 5 years;
  • £50m of funding agreed at Autumn Budget for new prestigious AI fellowships to attract and retain the top AI talent; and
  • £13.5m government funding to build new conversion courses to expand pathways into AI and Data specialisms as well as scholarships to improve diversity

Further, through the Government’s Office for AI, we are working with Industry and Academia to develop a new industry-funded AI Masters programme, in collaboration with the British Computer Society and the Institute of Coding. Partnerships between industry stakeholders and universities are being established that will produce the postgraduates industry partners need.

The Office for AI is in regular discussion with industry and continues to welcome other initiatives aimed at increasing artificial intelligence skills in the UK.

8th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the UK biomass energy industry to be completely sustainable.

The UK Government has introduced mandatory sustainability criteria for biomass for heat and power generation. These are some of the most stringent criteria in Europe.

The sustainability criteria ensure biomass reduces carbon emissions and is sourced sustainably. The criteria include a minimum 60% lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions saving, compared to emissions from an EU fossil fuel comparator for electricity. The calculation requires transport, growing and processing emissions to be included. Generators only receive subsidies for the electricity output which complies with our sustainability criteria.

We keep the sustainability criteria under review.

8th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with car manufacturers in the UK on creating a battery gigafactory to make the UK less dependent on essential materials which are currently sourced abroad.

The Government is in regular dialogue with car manufacturers in the UK on a range of opportunities to support the transition to zero emission vehicles and to new supply chains, including batteries.

The UK is a highly attractive location for battery manufacturing. It is home to Europe’s first volume automotive battery production facility at Sunderland, owned by Envision AESC. In April 2019, the Advanced Propulsion Centre published a report showing the strength of the UK chemicals and materials supply chain for batteries, representing a £4.8bn a year supply chain opportunity by 2030.

Through our Industrial Strategy and landmark Automotive Sector Deal, we are placing the UK at the forefront of new automotive technology development. The Sector Deal which was developed in partnership with the industry, working through the Automotive Council, includes a joint ambition to establish battery manufacturing a scale, a “gigafactory”, in the UK. Central to this, government has committed £274m to the Faraday Battery Challenge (FBC) to help businesses in the UK lead the world in the design, development and manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles.

Under the FBC government has invested £108m in the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) which will open in 2020 and provide a state-of-the-art pilot facility to test new cell technology. UKBIC will play a key role in laying the groundwork to secure a battery gigafactory. It will do this by allowing collaborative R&D by UK cell manufacturers, battery pack assemblers and car makers to take place, proving out cell chemistries, formats and manufacturing processes at industrial rates.

This is an essential step to allow UK companies to quickly develop their capabilities to manufacture batteries, scale up and get them to market.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to inform the public of the (a) need to de-carbonise heat and (b) potential changes required to domestic appliances.

Heating our homes, businesses and industry accounts for nearly half of all energy use in the UK and a third of our carbon emissions. Meeting our emission reduction targets implies decarbonising nearly all heat in buildings and most industrial processes. Given the diversity of heat demand, no one solution can provide the best option for everyone – a mix of technologies and customer options will need to be available, potentially bringing extensive change for consumers.

Public awareness of the need to decarbonise heat, and the potential impacts of doing so, is currently low. This needs to change to enable a fully informed debate about long term options. In order to support this debate, BEIS officials have commissioned research to improve our understanding of current public awareness, attitudes and preferences for different approaches to decarbonising heat, and explore options for engaging stakeholders and the wider public in the development of heat policy. The Department will publish a new roadmap for policy on heat decarbonisation next year.

3rd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the report entitled, The state of the nation: The UK Family Business Sector 2018-19 by Oxford Economics, published in July 2019, what steps his Department is taking to make it easier for family businesses to access external finance.

As the report notes, the family business sector is vital to the UK economy, employing over 13 million people and generating more than a quarter of the nation’s GDP. In May this year, I attended the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Family Business and discussed a range of issues including access to external finance. The authors of the Report, The Institute for Family Business, are also a member of the BEIS SME Advisory Board, who last met on 24 June.

As part of the modern Industrial Strategy, this Department’s aim is to improve access to finance for all UK businesses, including family-owned businesses. The Government-backed British Business Bank supports more than £6.4bn of finance to over 85,000 SMEs. The Bank’s online Finance Hub also helps small business owners identify potential sources of finance via the finance finder web tool.

The Business Bank has also established a UK Network, with team members based within each of the English regions and the three Devolved Nations. The UK Network works with small business finance intermediaries to enhance business finance ecosystems across the UK, so smaller businesses, wherever they are, can grow and prosper.

In addition, Government has actively supported and invested in the creation of 38 Growth Hubs (one in each Local Enterprise Partnership area), providing businesses across England support and advice via a free and impartial, local single point of contact. At the end of FY18/19, Government had invested £56.4 million in Growth Hubs.

The Government provides support and advice to all types of businesses through our core services including GOV.UK, the Business Support Helpline and Growth Hubs operating in England.

3rd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of ensuring that new gas boilers are hydrogen-ready.

The Government considers that hydrogen technologies have the potential to make an important contribution to decarbonising heating.

The Department commissioned Frazer Nash to prepare the report ‘Appraisal of Domestic Hydrogen Appliances’, published in 2018, which discusses the feasibility and merits of hydrogen-ready appliances as well as the adaption of existing natural gas appliances and new designated hydrogen fuelled appliances.

The Department is also currently delivering the Hy4Heat innovation programme; an ongoing programme assessing the feasibility of hydrogen heating applications in buildings. This programme supports the design, development and testing of domestic hydrogen appliances, including investigating the potential for products, such as hydrogen-ready boilers, to facilitate conversion:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/appraisal-of-domestic-hydrogen-appliances.

1st Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of enabling investors to realise returns while solar power plants, onshore and offshore wind farms and hydroelectric power plants are being built to ensure that projects go ahead.

The existing renewable support schemes are designed so that payment is based on generation, and ensures that renewable assets are attractive to investors. Over 42GW of new renewables have been constructed through the Contracts for Difference, Renewables Obligation and Feed in Tariffs Schemes (to 2018).

21st Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including (a) aviation and (b) shipping in the statutory regime for the Government's net zero carbon target.

The Government is clear on the need for action to tackle emissions from the whole economy – including emissions from international aviation and shipping. Emissions from domestic flights and shipping are already covered by our existing domestic legislation and our carbon budgets provide “headroom” for the inclusion of international aviation and shipping emissions. This will continue to be the case for a net zero target.

Emissions from international aviation and shipping are a global problem requiring a global solution. That is why we are working closely with the relevant international organisations, the International Maritime Organization and International Civil Aviation Organization, to ensure we and the rest of the world are taking ambitious action.

14th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has plans to support local community (a) ownership and (b) control of onshore wind farms.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the Government’s policy on onshore wind and explains that for new schemes to be acceptable they should be on a site allocated in a development plan and have community support.

The NPPF also sets out that in principle local planning authorities should support community-led initiatives for renewable and low carbon energy.

12th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Minister for Women and Equalities on compulsory disability awareness training for all employers and employees.

BEIS Ministers and Officials talk regularly with OGD colleagues and disability and employment is part of those discussions. BEIS Ministers sit on the Inter-Ministerial Group on Disability which is chaired by the Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work.

11th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on bringing forward the 2040 deadline to end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars.

BEIS Ministers and officials regularly engage with their counterparts in other departments on clean growth matters including ultra low and zero emission vehicle policy. We set out in our Road to Zero strategy published last year our mission to put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles, and for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on legislating for net zero, we will build on the strong frameworks of the Clean Growth Strategy and Industrial Strategy to deliver on that target in all sectors of the economy, including transport. The Government is committed to supporting the transition to zero emission vehicles, which can cut carbon, reduce air pollution, and help us grow the economy as part of our Industrial Strategy.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps the Government has taken to promote carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies.

The Government believes that carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) has the potential to play an important role in meeting the UK’s climate targets. CCUS can add value to the economy and help tackle hard to decarbonise sectors.

The Government published its CCUS Action Plan in November 2018, designed to progress CCUS in the UK, including enabling the UK’s first CCUS facility to be operational from the mid-2020s. The Government is investing over £50 million in CCUS innovation support between 2017 and March 2021.

CCUS is also likely to play an important role in achieving our Industrial Clusters Mission, creating the world’s first net-zero industrial cluster by 2040. This is supported by up to £170 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to support the deployment of low carbon technologies and enabling infrastructure in one or more clusters. In addition, through our Industrial Energy Transformation Fund we are investing £315 million to support businesses with high energy use to cut their bills and emissions through increased energy efficiency and transition to a low carbon future through the use of lower carbon energy and processes. This may support CCUS projects.

In March this year, the Government launched the CCUS Advisory Group. Backed by government and industry support, the Group will provide advice on the potential incentives and regulations needed for the development of a new UK market in CCUS.

The Government is also working with other governments to promote the development of CCUS internationally. We hosted, with the International Energy Agency, the Global CCUS Summit in Edinburgh last November which brought together world energy leaders from governments and industry to accelerate the global progress of CCUS and co-lead the CCUS initiatives under both Mission Innovation and the Clean Energy Ministerial.

3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the merits of working shorter hours to tackle climate change.

The UK is a world leader in cutting emissions while creating wealth. Between 1990 and 2017, the UK reduced its emissions by over 40 per cent while growing the economy by more than two thirds. The Clean Growth Strategy sets out our plans to build on our progress in decarbonising the power sector, while looking further across the whole of the economy and the country. It includes ambitious proposals on housing, business, transport, the natural environment and green finance. We have not made any assessment of the impact of working shorter hours on climate change.

The Government does, though, continue to support flexible working practices, as part of our commitment to ensuring that everyone can access fair and decent work as set out in the Good Work Plan. For example, all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer have the right to request Flexible Working. We have also committed to consult on a new duty on employers to consider when a job can be done flexibly, and make that clear when advertising.

3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to create more jobs in the renewable energy sector.

Clean Growth is at the heart of this Government’s modern Industrial Strategy. There are currently 400,000 jobs in the low carbon economy, with the ambition to have 2 million by 2030.

We’ve injected £2.5 billion into low-carbon innovation and earlier this year struck a deal with the offshore wind industry, which will see up to £40 billion worth of infrastructure investment in the UK, creating clean, green electricity, good jobs and sustained growth across the UK. Under the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, industry aims to more than triple the number of ‘green collar’ jobs in the sector to 27,000 by 2030, up from the current figure of 7,200.

3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing investment in pumped hydro storage facilities.

We recognise that electricity storage technologies, including pumped hydro storage, provide an important source of flexibility to our energy system. We currently have around 3GW of storage capacity on our system, of which the vast majority is pumped hydro storage. The Electricity System Operator outlines that, by 2050, there could be 12-29 GW of total storage capacity on our system.

In our Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, published in July 2017 (and updated in October 2018), Government and Ofgem set out a range of actions to remove barriers to electricity storage. Our work seeks to enable fair access to energy markets in order to create a best in class regulatory framework for the sector and includes several important reforms to our electricity market, including to the balancing mechanism, capacity market and balancing services, which serve to sharpen incentives to invest in storage.

We will continue to engage with storage developers, including those of pumped hydro projects, to understand how to facilitate these technologies whilst ensuring best value for consumers and fair competition between different flexibility technologies.

3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of creating a more sustainable steel industry with a focus on recycling steel.

We are working with the sector, the unions and devolved administrations to support the UK steel industry to develop a long-term sustainable solution for the UK steel industry. The Department commissioned independent research to identify high value opportunities for UK steel, worth up to £3.8 billion a year by 2030.

In the 2018 Budget, my rt. hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced an Industrial Energy Transformation Fund with investment of £315 million to help businesses with high energy use to cut their bills and transition UK industry to a low carbon future. Through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, we are also providing up to £66 million, subject to industry co-funding, to transform foundation industries which includes steel, to develop radical new technologies and establish innovation centres of excellence in these sectors.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to ensure that interns are paid at least (a) the national minimum wage and (b) the national living wage.

The law is clear that any individual performing work is entitled to receive the National Minimum and National Living Wage (NMW). The Government is committed to enforcing this right. In 2018/19 HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) identified a record £24.4 million in arrears for over 220,000 workers and issued over £17 million in penalties to non-compliant employers. The budget to enforce the NMW stands at its highest ever.

HMRC have contacted over 2,000 employers found to be advertising unpaid internships online to ensure they are compliant with the law. They have also issued over 15,000 letters to employers in industries where internships are common to remind them of their responsibilities.

Earlier this month my hon Friend the Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Digital Policy) (Margot James) and I co-hosted a roundtable on internships with employers and organisations in the creative industries. Discussion focused on how Government can work better with employers to raise the profile of existing rules and ensure that interns are paid in accordance with NMW law. The event provided important insight which will be used to improve compliance with the law across all sectors.

Anyone who feels they are being underpaid the NMW should contact Acas for free impartial advice or make a complaint directly to HMRC through their online form. HMRC follow up on every worker complaint received, even those which are anonymous.

16th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 30 April 2019 to Question 245672 on Consumers: Internet, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 are fully enforced.

Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2008 provides for a number of enforcers, such as Trading Standards and the Competition and Markets Authority, to enforce consumer protection legislation, including the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. Alleged breaches of legislation should be reported in the first instance through the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 (www.citizensadvice.org.uk/). The helpline will refer on alleged breaches of legislation to the relevant authority for appropriate enforcement action.

10th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps his Department has taken to ensure that the national minimum wage is enforced.

Enforcement of the National Minimum and National Living Wage (NMW) is a priority for the Government. Since 2015 we have doubled the budget to enforce the NMW and we are taking tough action against the minority of employers who underpay. In 2018/19 HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) identified a record £24.4 million in arrears for over 220,000 workers and issued over £17 million in penalties to non-compliant employers.

HMRC proactively investigates employers where they identify a risk of non-compliance; this work accounts for around half of all investigations undertaken. In addition, HMRC responds to every worker complaint regarding NMW payment including those made anonymously.

Government is committed to helping employers comply with NMW rules first time; in April we launched a £1 million communications campaign to raise awareness and understanding of NMW rules among both workers and employers.

9th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to require companies to disclose the proportion of their assets under management originating from countries with a poor record of human rights.

Companies registered in the UK are required to report the value of their global assets within their annual accounts but there are no plans to introduce requirements to report on their assets in relation to human rights.

Government has introduced other requirements on companies in relation to human rights Quoted companies are required to report on human rights issues, as they relate to the company, within the narrative part of their annual report. Companies must include a description of their business model and of their policies, in relation to human rights, and the effectiveness of those policies. The information provided must be to the extent necessary for an understanding of the development, performance or position of the company’s business and the impact of its activities.

These requirements are enhanced by voluntary guidance and standards, including the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

3rd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that non-EU migrants working in the (a) cleaning and (b) hospitality industry receive the statutory rights they are entitled to under UK law.

Non-EU migrants working legally in the UK are entitled to the same workplace statutory protections as any other worker. Fair and effective enforcement is central to the Good Work Plan, which sets out the biggest upgrade of employment rights in a generation. Building on existing minimum wage and agency worker enforcement, we are expanding state enforcement to cover holiday payments for the most vulnerable workers and intermediary companies that operate in the agency worker market.

Government has taken concrete measures to increase the number of labour market inspectors and extend their coverage.

  • Government has increased funding for HMRC’s enforcement of the National Minimum and Living Wage (NMW) to a record high of £26.3 million for 2018/19.
  • Funding for the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has also risen in the last two years to reflect the expansion of its remit to tackle labour exploitation. The GLAA now receives over £7m per year in funding, up from £4.5m in 2016/17.
  • The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate has seen its funding increase from £0.5m in 2016/17 to £0.725m in 2018/19.

These three enforcement bodies continue to ensure workers receive the protections they are entitled to. As well as responding to every complaint they receive, all three undertake proactive, intelligence-led enforcement, targeting employers and sectors where the risks of non-compliance are highest, including in the cleaning and hospitality sectors.

Government is also exploring options for a single labour market enforcement body – we will publish proposals on this for consultation shortly. More recently we announced that this consultation will consider extending the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority’s licensing scheme to further sectors and that we will ensure trade unions and businesses are consulted on the strategic direction of labour market enforcement.

1st May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure businesses receive adequate training on risks presented by environmental challenges.

The Environment Agency provides advice on how businesses should comply with environmental law through guidance on Gov.uk. In order to regulate businesses it provides advice on the best available techniques and approaches that enable businesses to comply with the law and helps businesses with the best available compliance techniques. We are also committed to working closely with the private sector to support the effective management of climate-related financial risks.

29th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to train and prepare workers for the impact of artificial intelligence.

The Industrial Strategy sets out the Government’s vision to make the UK a global centre for AI and data innovation, alongside measures to ensure our people are equipped to capitalise on those opportunities.

We are improving the UK's system for training in digital skills and lifelong learning to ensure that working people have the support they need to navigate the challenge of automation to a higher-wage future. Through the Industrial Strategy we are delivering:

  • 16 New Centres for Doctoral Training at universities across the country, delivering 1,000 new PhDs over the next 5 years;
  • New prestigious AI fellowships to attract and retain the top AI talent, underpinned by up to £50m of funding agreed at Autumn Budget
  • Industry-funding for new AI Masters places;
  • Invested £406m in maths, digital and technical education; and
  • Committed £100m for the first phase of developing the National Retraining Scheme to support people vulnerable to technological change.

The Government’s Good Work Plan was published in December 2018 and will ensure that the labour market continues to work for everyone. The Plan commits to a wide range of policy and legislative changes to ensure that workers can access fair and decent work, that both employers and workers have the clarity they need to understand their employment relationships, and that the enforcement system is fair and fit for purpose.

26th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to include methane in the UK's net-zero emissions targets.

Following the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on the impact of global warming of 1.5°C in October 2018, the Government commissioned its independent experts, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), to provide their advice on the implications of the Paris Agreement for the UK’s long-term emissions reduction targets. This commission included a request for options for the date by which the UK should achieve a) a net zero greenhouse gas target and/or b) a net zero carbon target. The advice will therefore address carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, including methane. The CCC’s advice is due on 2 May and we will consider it carefully when it is received.

24th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the skills and expertise are retained of people made redundant in the ceramics industry in North Staffordshire.

A local Taskforce has been established bringing together BEIS, DWP JobCentre Plus Rapid Response Service, ACAS, National Careers Service, local partners and stakeholders to offer a comprehensive range of help and support to people made redundant recently in the ceramics industry in North Staffordshire.

A Jobs Fair held on the 18 April was attended by more than 40 employers showcasing an estimated 1,500 vacancies.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) cost and (b) environmental consequences of nuclear energy.

All nuclear new build projects are assessed on a case by case basis to ensure they provide value for money for taxpayers and consumers. Before a new nuclear power station can be built and operated, the operator must apply for and obtain a number of permissions from the independent regulators and from Government. The assessment of environmental impact is an important consideration in regulators deciding whether relevant permissions should be issued and what conditions should be attached to the permissions. In addition, potential new nuclear technologies are considered under the Justification Regulations, with ‘Justification’ being the process by which Government determines whether the potential benefits of a practice making use of ionising radiation outweigh its potential risks. Furthermore, all developers of new build stations are required to have a Funded Decommissioning Programme approved by the Secretary of State before nuclear-related construction can begin. This ensures the taxpayer does not bear the burden for future costs of turning the station into a greenfield site once generation has ceased.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage householders to change from gas heating to (a) electric heating, (b) heat pumps and (c) hydrogen-burning radiators.

Transforming how we heat our homes is one of the most difficult decarbonisation challenges facing the country. A number of options have the potential for achieving this, including heat networks, heat pumps, hydrogen and biogas. We need to continue exploring and testing different approaches to heat decarbonisation.

Through the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme we are spending £4.5 billion between 2016 and 2021 to support innovative low-carbon heat technologies in homes and businesses, including heat pumps. BEIS is considering the future policy framework for supporting electrification of heat and we are looking to launch an electrification of heat demonstration project in 2019 to inform our thinking on the feasibility of a large-scale transition to heat pumps.

For hydrogen as an option for decarbonising heat, more work is needed to prove the safety and feasibility case as well as to gain a better understanding of the costs and benefits. BEIS is currently working towards building a programme of work to address these evidence gaps in partnership with industry, academia and other key stakeholders. This includes the £25m BEIS-funded Hy4Heat programme, which is exploring the safety of using 100% hydrogen for heating in buildings and the development of domestic hydrogen boilers.

18th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the (a) accuracy and (b) integrity of consumer reviews on major retail websites.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) prohibit traders giving consumers false or misleading information about goods and services including reviews on their websites. It also prohibits the practice of falsely representing itself as a consumer. Enforcement of the legislation is by local authority trading standards services.

The Advertising Standards Authority through its code of advertising practice has recently published guidance for marketers on making claims in testimonials and endorsements. A copy of the guidance can be found at: https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-online/testimonials-and-endorsements.html.

The Citizens Advice consumer service provides consumers with free advice and information on their rights. The helpline can be contacted on 03454 04 05 06 (www.citizensadvice.org.uk/). However, if the consumer resides in Scotland, they should contact Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 (www.consumeradvice.scot).

10th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether carbon trading remains a valid approach to controlling carbon dioxide pollution.

As the Clean Growth Strategy clearly sets out, we remain firmly committed to carbon pricing as an emissions reduction tool whilst ensuring energy and trade intensive businesses are appropriately protected from any detrimental impacts on competitiveness.

Carbon pricing is an effective tool to reduce emissions through the market. Cap-and-trade guarantees that emissions targets are met and emissions reductions take place where it is most cost-effective to do so.

The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) has been instrumental in driving the adoption of emissions trading systems worldwide. While the EU ETS remains the world’s first and largest cap-and-trade system, similar systems exist or are in development across the world including in California, Quebec, New Zealand, South Korea and China. The EU ETS is on course to achieve emissions reductions of 21% by 2020 against 2005 levels in the traded sector in line with agreed EU targets.

3rd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support freelancers.

The Government’s December 2018 Good Work Plan sets out the vision for the future of the labour market and the ambitious plans for implementing the recommendations arising from the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices.

The Government has committed to legislate to improve the clarity of the employment status tests, reflecting the reality of modern working relationships. This will help to ensure that both businesses and individuals understand their rights and obligations.

Employment status is a complex issue and so it is only right that we take time to consider how best to achieve change that works for all. We will bring forward detailed proposals on status in due course.

2nd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to tackle late payments to freelancers.

Government is clear that unfavourable payment practices is a serious issue. That is why we have a range of measures in place with the aim to address the imbalance in market power between parties, increase transparency and encourage better payment practices through culture change.

The Payment Practices and Performance Reporting Requirement requires large businesses to report biannually on their payment practices and performance. Businesses must publish this information on gov.uk, providing transparency in payment practices and making payment behaviour a reputational, board room issue. To date over 13,000 reports have been submitted.

Government continues to support the Prompt Payment Code as a best practice in payment standards. Last year the Secretary of State announced a new, tough and transparent compliance regime to ensure the Code is rigorously enforced. The Secretary of State also announced that he had appointed the Small Business Commissioner to the Prompt Payment Code Compliance Board.

Last year Government launched a Call for Evidence to assess what further steps and intervention may be needed to create a responsible payment culture. A full response will be published shortly and will contain a full package of policy measures.

At Spring Statement Government announced that it will require large company’s Audit Committees to review payments practices and report them in their annual accounts. This will elevate payment practices to Board level and increase transparency.

25th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support his Department is providing to entrepreneurs with family care responsibilities.

The Government is committed to supporting all entrepreneurs to start and grow a business and is a key aspect of our ambitious Industrial Strategy. The Government supports diversity in all its forms in business and recognises the valuable contribution they make to our economy.

On 6th March BEIS launched the Young Entrepreneurs Review, independently led by the Prince’s Trust. The Review will close in September 2019 and will seek to better understand young entrepreneurs, the specific barriers and opportunities they face, and what more can be done to support them to start and grow a business, including young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Department ensures that the Shared Parental Leave and Pay Scheme enables eligible couples to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay, in the first year.    We are currently evaluating the scheme and have commissioned both quantitative and qualitative data on the level of take-up; barriers to take-up; and how the scheme is being used in practice. Last year, GEO and BEIS ran a joint £1.5m campaign to promote awareness and take-up of Shared Parental Leave and Pay and a campaign to raise awareness launched last month. We are exploring options for improving tools and guidance for parents.

Pregnant women and new mothers who are self-employed may qualify for Maternity Allowance (a benefit which is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions). Where they do not intend to use their full entitlement to Maternity Allowance they can ‘create’ up to 50 weeks of Shared Parental Leave and up to 37 weeks of Statutory Shared Parental Pay for an employed father or partner to take (subject to eligibility conditions).

Employed directors can qualify for a range of employment rights including Maternity Leave and Pay (or Maternity Allowance), Paternity Leave and Pay, Adoption Leave and Pay and Shared Parental Leave and Pay. Maternity and Adoption Leave are ‘day 1’ rights. Other family related employment entitlements are subject to eligibility conditions.

25th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage UK-based institutional and private investors to invest in female entrepreneurs.

On 8 March, HM Treasury published the Rose Review into Female Entrepreneurship which explored the barriers women face when starting a business and what can be done to overcome them.

In response to Alison Rose’s findings, the government is setting out an ambition to increase the number of female entrepreneurs by half by 2030. This will require an additional 600,000 female entrepreneurs, and concerted efforts from both the private and public sector.

We are establishing a new Investing in Women Code, which will report annually, and see financial institutions sign up, track how they are currently doing and take steps to improve how they allocate funding to female entrepreneurs.

I will also sponsor an industry-led taskforce alongside Treasury Ministers that will drive forward work to encourage greater investment in female entrepreneurs by all types of finance provider.

21st Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the role of biomanufacturing in supporting the Government's Clean Growth Strategy.

The Government published the UK’s first ever Bioeconomy Strategy in December 2018. Developed with industry, and trailed in the Clean Growth Strategy, it identifies biomanufacturing and biorefineries as a key route to developing less carbon intensive products for the UK, from energy and fuels to bio-based chemicals, plastics and other materials. Building on the UK’s world class expertise in bioscience and biotechnology, these technologies can be applied across multiple sectors to generate transformational change in productivity and clean growth.

31st Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing (a) flexible working patterns and (b) additional leave for the parents of premature babies.

The Department is conducting a short, focussed internal review of the provisions for parents of premature babies and sick babies and those that experience multiple births. The purpose of this work is to obtain a high-level understanding of the barriers to participating in the labour market that these parents can face. It would not be appropriate to announce future policy without first establishing an appropriate evidence base.

BEIS officials are working with organisations who represent the interests of these parents (The Smallest Things, Bliss, and TAMBA) to better understand the issues that parents can face and have also held focus groups with a small number of parents themselves. This will inform our policy consideration.

22nd Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on the reciprocal relationships the UK has with the EU that enable collective management organisations to collect royalties from EU countries and distribute to creators in the UK.

The Government has considered this issue in the context of its Brexit analysis. It has concluded that the reciprocal arrangements between UK Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) and EU CMOs to collect royalties from EU countries and distribute to creators in the UK are private commercial agreements which are expected to continue after the UK has exited the European Union.

22nd Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Trilogue process in relation to the EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, whether the Government plans to support the inclusion of provisions to ensure that creators receive fair remuneration for the use of their works.

The Government supports the principle that creators should be fairly rewarded for their work whilst ensuring that we continue to encourage investment in new content and innovative services. We are engaging with our European partners to achieve these aims during Trilogue negotiations on this Directive.

14th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she plans to create a regulator for online political advertising.

The Government has committed to implementing an imprints regime for digital election material. Our aim is to increase transparency and allow voters to see more information about who has produced election material. We will publish the technical proposals for this regime later this year.

The Cabinet Office is also preparing to launch a consultation on electoral integrity. The scope of this may include increased transparency on digital political advertising; closing loopholes on foreign spending in elections; preventing shell companies from sidestepping current rules on political finance; and action to tackle foreign lobbying. More detail will be brought forward in due course.

In addition, in February this year the Government announced its intention to lead a review of how online advertising is regulated in the UK. This review will identify and address the systematic social and economic challenges that arise from the sector.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will include regulation of news publishers in her legislative proposals on online harms.

The Online Harms White Paper sets out our plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online, and to better protect the rights and wellbeing of users online. It will make companies more responsible for their users' safety online, especially children and other vulnerable groups.

A vibrant, independent, pluralistic and free press is essential to our democracy. As set out in the former Secretary of State's letter to the Society of Editors, the White Paper's proposals do not impact journalistic and editorial content and will not interfere with the current approach to press regulation.

2nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she plans to create a regulator for online political advertising.

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

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she plans to establish a voluntary citizen editors training scheme to help current social media moderators more effectively manage potentially damaging content.

As outlined in the Online Harms White Paper, we intend to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. The duty of care will ensure companies have appropriate systems and processes in place to deal with harmful content on their services, and keep their users safe. The Government is currently analysing the responses to the White Paper consultation, and will publish its response by the end of the year.

2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to create a regulator for online political advertising.

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

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of preventing social media users from seeing how many likes posts have to support the mental health of people who use those media.

As set out in the Online Harms White Paper, the government expects companies to be transparent about design practices which encourage extended engagement, and to engage with researchers to understand the impact of these practices on their users. In the future, we expect the online harms regulator will continue to support research in this area to inform future action and, if necessary, set clear expectations for companies to prevent harm to their users.

16th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps his Department has taken to increase levels of IT literacy to help prevent the spread of malware and ransomware.

Government is supporting increased levels of IT literacy through the refresh of the Essential Digital Skills (EDS) Framework, which sets out the skills learners require to be safe, legal and confident online, and find, manage, and store digital information securely, thereby helping them guard against malware and ransomware. The EDS framework is the basis of the training delivered through the £18m ‘Future Digital Inclusion’ programme. Delivered by a network of 5,000 Online Centres, which are primarily based in libraries and other community spaces, this programme has supported over 1 million adult learners since 2014 to develop essential digital skills.

Government is also supporting IT literacy through the introduction of a national entitlement to basic digital skills courses from 2020, similar to the existing legal entitlements for English and Maths. This will provide adults of any age the opportunity to undertake improved qualifications, based on the EDS framework, free of charge.

Government is also supporting cyber security through Cyber Aware; a campaign which aims to increase UK citizens’ and businesses’ resilience to cyber crime by encouraging the adoption of secure online behaviours. Key promoted advice includes, to always install your e-device’s latest app and software updates to make it less vulnerable to cyber threats.

In addition, the flagship skills programme GDS Academy teaches civil servants the digital skills, awareness and knowledge they need to transform and build the best public services. It offers training in subjects including agile project delivery and user-centred design. The GDS Academy runs across the country, with courses in Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle, as well as a partnership with the Scottish Government. More than 10,000 civil servants have been trained since it was set up in 2014.

Departments have built their digital professionalism and capability, with over 10,000 civil servants now having been trained by the GDS Academy; new standards have made services across government consistent, accessible and intuitive; and departments have delivered exemplar digital services.

15th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to reduce the number of (a) bogus and (b) nuisance phone calls.

We have introduced a range of measures in recent months to reduce the number of nuisance calls. These include making company directors personally liable for any breach of the rules by their company and banning unwanted calls from claims management companies and pensions providers in the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018. We are also funding the National Trading Standards Scams Team to provide telephone call blocking technology to vulnerable people, as announced during the Chancellor's budget last year. We recognise there are a minority of companies that continue to flout the law and we will work closely with regulators, industry and consumer groups to identify further ways of addressing the issue.

25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to prepare for the consequences of data spillages.

DCMS has clearly defined processes for identifying and managing data incidents.

DCMS consumes a shared official tier platform delivered through a partnership arrangement with the Cabinet Office. As part of this partnership arrangement they ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of our core systems.

13th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of (a) new draft HMRC tax guidance for actors and other performers, (b) legal cases HMRC is considering under IR35 in the entertainment industry and (c) extending IR35 off-payroll rules to the private sector from April 2020 on the (i) sustainability of the entertainment sector in the event that that sector has to operate Class 1 employee National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pay employer NICs on multiple and short-term engagements and (ii) self-employed status of performers and other creative workers in that sector.

DCMS has made no assessment as these are matters for HMRC.

HMRC has not changed its approach to actors and other performers but has been working with industry to add some practical examples to the Employment Status Manual. Employment Status is not a choice but depends on the facts of the engagement. Given that most actors and performers are self-employed and unaffected by off-payroll rules (often known as IR35), they will not be affected by off-payroll reform in 2020 and do not pay Class 1 National Insurance. There are no plans to change this.

12th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on changes in the approach by HMRC to the entertainment sector through (a) new draft HMRC tax guidance for actors and other performers and (b) legal cases HMRC is considering under IR35 following the Upper Tribunal Tax and Chancery decision of 9 April 2019 in Big Bad Wolff Ltd v The Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs.

The Secretary of State has not discussed this matter with the Chancellor. This matter has been discussed by officials from HM Revenue & Customs and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

(a) HMRC has not changed its approach to the entertainment sector but has been working with the entertainment industry to add some practical examples to the Employment Status Manual, which provides guidance on issues relating to the employment status of individuals.

(b) In Big Bad Wolff Limited v HMRC, the Upper Tax Tribunal upheld HMRC’s long published view that the Social Security Categorisation of Earners Regulations 1978, which were in force before 6 April 2014, required actors to pay Class 1 National Insurance and could not be avoided by working through a company. Most actors paid their National Insurance correctly at the time but there are a small number of cases where actors chose to dispute liability and await the outcome of the appeal.

3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to prevent the loss of council-owned football pitches in order to support grass roots football.

The Government recognises how important it is that local communities have access to good sporting facilities. That is why in partnership with the FA and the Premier League we are investing more money than ever before, through the Football Foundation charity, to significantly improve the access and quality of community football facilities across the country. This year a combined £70million will go to this important area. To inform and direct future investment, new local football facility plans are being produced for every local authority in England. The plans will be in place by 2020 and will identify local priorities where investment in grassroots facilities is needed the most.

Sport England also has a role in protecting sport pitches as a statutory consultee in the planning system. Sport England objects to all applications unless the developer can prove it will improve or safeguard sports provision. For the period between April 2016 and March 2017, 93% (1,102 out of 1,187) planning applications affecting playing fields resulted in improved or protected sports provision.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there is adequate support for sportswomen dealing with the effect of periods.

Periods should never be a taboo subject. Women and girls should never feel embarrassed to speak out about their menstrual cycle and how it affects their performance.

We have a responsibility to break down barriers for women and ensure that coaches and sporting organisations are able to help female athletes reach their full potential. I welcome the work that the English Institute of Sport are doing through their SMARTHer campaign to open up conversations amongst athletes, coaches and staff in high performance sport around athletes’ menstrual cycles in order to improve support. Sport England are also supporting the new government taskforce to tackle period poverty, primarily around actions to tackle the stigma and taboos relating to women in sport (and particularly their impact on teenage participation in physical activity in schools).

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that businesses have the required IT infrastructure in place to enable a paperless society.

The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR), published in July 2018, sets out the Government’s strategy for ensuring that 15 million premises are able to connect to full fibre by 2025, with a nationwide network established by 2033. Since the publication of the FITR, full fibre coverage is now available to 7% of UK premises, up from 4% around 12 months ago.

The Better Broadband Voucher Scheme, open for applications until 31st December 2019, is available to those who are unable to obtain a connection speed above 2Mbps. The Scheme can support access to satellite broadband, or fixed 4G or wireless connections in some locations. The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, launched in March 2018 as part of Local Full Fibre Networks programme, enables small to medium sized businesses to claim a voucher worth up to £2,500, and residents to claim a voucher worth up to £500 as part of a group project.

DCMS has convened the Digital Enterprise Delivery Group, part of the Digital Skills Partnership, to bring together a range of industry stakeholders to improve the digital capabilities of SMEs and charities.

BEIS’s £9 million Business Basics programme, announced as part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy, is testing innovative ways of encouraging SMEs to take up technology (such as accountancy or CRM software), as well as business practices that can boost productivity. Be the Business, supported by up to £18.6m Government funding, is a business-led independent charity that is identifying practical steps to enable the adoption of technology and enable best-practice leadership and management techniques.

7th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the security of age-verification check databases.

All providers of age verification (AV) services must comply with data protection laws. In addition, ahead of the introduction of mandatory age verification on online pornography sites, the regulator, the British Board for Film Classifcation, has created a voluntary certification scheme, the Age-verification Certificate (AVC), which will assess the data security standards of AV providers. Age verification solutions which offer these robust data protection conditions will be certified following an independent assessment and will carry the BBFC's new green 'AV' symbol. Details will also be published on the BBFC’s age-verification website, ageverificationregulator.com.

7th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the environmental footprint of large sporting events.

The government, along with major event partners, is committed to embedding sustainability as a key pillar of the planning and delivery of major sporting events. We also welcome the innovation that the sector is driving such as the degradable seaweed pouches used at this year’s London Marathon instead of plastic water bottles.

UK Sport is working alongside several events, providing support as they look into environmentally friendly delivery options. The upcoming Netball World Cup is currently undergoing an environmental review across all workstreams, with findings not only being used to make changes to the event, but also will be fed back into the newly formed sector working group, which alongside staff from UK Sport, consists of athletes, venues and NGB representatives.

UK Sport is also conducting work to place a range of ethical policies at the heart of all events delivered with government support, with environmental policies and considerations sitting as a core element of that work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has plans to obligate internet broadband companies to be more transparent on achievable speeds.

Both Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have taken action on broadband speeds recently.

Ofcom’s published a new Broadband Speeds Code of Practice on 1 March 2019, under which companies have to provide consumers with a minimum guaranteed speed at the point of sale. If a consumer’s speed then drops below this level, companies have one month to improve performance, before they must allow consumers to leave their contract penalty-free. This right to exit also applies to landline and TV packages, which are purchased at the same time as broadband services

Prior to this, in May 2018, the ASA implemented guidance that requires speed claims in adverts to be based on the download speeds available to at least 50% of customers at peak time and no longer on 'up to' speeds available to at least 10% of customers.

25th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of creating a mandated system with mandated compensation to address customers' complaints about broadband.

Ofcom, as the UK’s regulator for the communications industry, is responsible for issues around consumer compensation for broadband. In March 2017, Ofcom consulted on introducing an automatic compensation scheme for fixed broadband and landline telecoms to protect consumers that suffer from specific service failures. Subsequently, industry agreed to introduce a voluntary automatic compensation scheme, which came into effect from 1 April 2019. It covers new orders placed, or problems reported since 1 April 2019, and sets out compensation amounts for delayed repairs following a loss of service, missed repairs or appointments, as well as delays to the start of a new service.

The largest broadband providers have signed up to the scheme as a result of which Ofcom have indicated that nine in ten landline and broadband customers are already covered by the scheme. They estimate that it will benefit consumers by up to £126m more per year in compensation payments, compared to £16m per year they received previously. Ofcom is satisfied that the voluntary scheme is a fair, effective and sufficient means to ensure telecoms consumers are compensated when service quality falls short, and that it adequately addresses the need to take regulatory action in this area. Ofcom plans to review the effectiveness of this scheme after it has been in place for 12 months.

In addition, where an individual feels that their service fault has been dealt with in an unsatisfactory manner by their telecoms provider, and if their complaint has not been resolved after eight weeks, they can refer their case to an independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme. ADR schemes can review individual cases and any decisions they make are binding on telecoms providers. There are two ADR schemes for telecoms, the Ombudsman Services (OS) and the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS), and all communications providers must be members of one of these schemes.

27th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, with reference to the Carnegie UK Trust's report of March 2019, Engaging Libraries: Learning from Phase 1, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the findings of that report.

The Government welcomed the recent Engaging Libraries programme, supported by Carnegie UK Trust and the Wellcome Trust, which enabled public library services to pilot creative public engagement projects on health and wellbeing. We also welcome the announcement that a second phase of the programme will be launched later in 2019.

In line with the learning in this report, the Government recognises the important roles that libraries can play in promoting health and wellbeing. In December 2016, the Libraries Taskforce (which was jointly established by DCMS and the Local Government Association) published its Libraries Deliver: Ambition document. This set out seven strategic Outcomes to which libraries contribute and that local and central government is seeking to support and encourage; one of these was helping people to have healthier and happier lives.

The Taskforce includes representatives of Public Health England and NHS England, and has been active in promoting and sharing good practice about a number of the Engaging Libraries projects through its blog on GOV.UK. In addition, the Taskforce has published an advocacy brochure to specifically showcase to library services, local councils, and partner organisations how libraries can support health and wellbeing for people and communities.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
20th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to prevent social media companies and other online media outlets from assisting in the spreading of hate speech via their platforms.

We will publish a joint DCMS-Home Office Online Harms White Paper in the coming weeks setting out a range of legislative and non-legislative measures detailing how we will tackle online harms and setting clear responsibilities for tech companies to keep people safe.

22nd Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government plans to remain part of Creative Europe after the current funding period concludes in 2020.

The UK will always be a European country that advocates for cultural diversity as part of its global identity and is committed to continuing its contribution to and support of European culture. The Government has been clear that will be explore participation in any successor programme to Creative Europe. Where EU funding programmes are to the UK and EU's joint advantage, we want to discuss continued participation as part of the negotiations. Ultimately, the decision on which programmes are in the UK’s interests will be decided as part of the future partnership negotiations, which are ongoing.
30th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will set out the timetable for extending the public lending right to e-book loans.

The Digital Economy Act 2010 extended the Public Lending Right (PLR), with effect from 1 July 2014, to include the lending of audio-books and the lending of e-books where such lending takes place from library premises. The Government response to the consultation on extending the PLR to include public library loans of audio-books and ‘on-site’ e-book loans was published in May 2014.

Section 31 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 (DEA 2017), when commenced, will extend the PLR to include the remote lending of e-books and audiobooks, where such lending takes place away from library premises. The Department intends to shortly consult with interested parties about amending relevant secondary legislation to ensure that it reflects section 31 of the DEA 2017. We intend to lay the necessary statutory instruments commencing section 31 of the DEA 2017 and amending relevant secondary legislation as soon as is practicable, following consideration of the responses to consultation.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
30th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when his Department plans to publish its response to the consultation on the extension of the public lending right to e-book loans.

The Digital Economy Act 2010 extended the Public Lending Right (PLR), with effect from 1 July 2014, to include the lending of audio-books and the lending of e-books where such lending takes place from library premises. The Government response to the consultation on extending the PLR to include public library loans of audio-books and ‘on-site’ e-book loans was published in May 2014.

Section 31 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 (DEA 2017), when commenced, will extend the PLR to include the remote lending of e-books and audiobooks, where such lending takes place away from library premises. The Department intends to shortly consult with interested parties about amending relevant secondary legislation to ensure that it reflects section 31 of the DEA 2017. We intend to lay the necessary statutory instruments commencing section 31 of the DEA 2017 and amending relevant secondary legislation as soon as is practicable, following consideration of the responses to consultation.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
13th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will ensure that the forthcoming Consumer Green Paper sets out provisions to ensure that broadband exit fees are charged at a rate that is fair to consumers.

The Consumer Green Paper was published on 11 April. It seeks views on how to ensure that modern consumer markets work for all, both now and in the future, including in the telecoms sector. Government will consider the responses to the Consumer Green Paper and, working with independent regulators including Ofcom, will publish a response detailing how they plan to further protect customers.

Currently, contracts entered into on or after 1 October 2015 are covered by the unfair terms in consumer contracts protections in the Consumer Rights Act 2015. There are also protections under Ofcom rules (GC9.3) to ensure that conditions or procedures for contract termination do not act as a disincentive against changing provider. Additionally, Ofcom has the power to investigate communication providers' compliance and have an open enforcement programme on early termination charges: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/bulletins/competition-bulletins/open-cases/cw_01199.

1st Nov 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what involvement her Department has had in the preparation of a sectoral impact assessment into the effect of leaving the EU on (a) advertising and marketing, (b) architecture, (c) broadcasting, (d) crafts, (e) design, (f) gambling, (g) museums, galleries and libraries, (h) music, performing and visual arts, (i) publishing and (j) tourism.

The Government are responsibly preparing for a range of outcomes to ensure we have a smooth exit from the EU. The Government is engaging with businesses in every sector and region of the UK economy in order to understand the challenges and opportunities that may impact them in the coming months and years.

25th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether he is seeking the advice of Ofcom on Trinity Mirror's purchase of Local World and the implications of that purchase for plurality in provision of local news.

At the present time the Department has not formally sought the views of Ofcom on this matter.

25th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what meetings he has had with representatives of (a) Sky plc and (b) 21st Century Fox since 7 May 2015.

Information on Ministers' meetings with external organisations, including meetings with Media organisations, are included in the quarterly transparency returns.

28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the guidance his Department issues to schools on the use of medication prescribed to children to treat behavioural issues.

The information requested is not held centrally, on the number of pupils who use medication to treat behavioural issues.

The Government is committed to pupils with medical conditions being properly supported at school so that they have full access to education.

In 2014, the Government introduced a new duty on schools to support pupils with all medical conditions and has published statutory guidance on this for schools and others. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-pupils-at-school-with-medical-conditions--3.

The guidance does not specify which medical conditions should be supported in schools. Instead, it focuses on how to meet the needs of each individual child and how their medical condition impacts on school life.

In June 2014, the Department issued non-statutory advice on mental health and behaviour to help schools identify underlying mental health problems in young people, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2 .

The advice clarifies the responsibility of the school, outlines what they can do and how to support a child or young person whose behaviour may be related to an unmet mental health need.

28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to collect information on the use of isolation booths by schools.

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which outlines measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. The school’s behaviour policy should set out the behaviour expected of pupils, the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour, and rewards for good behaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff, and parents.

To help schools develop effective strategies, the Department has produced advice for schools which covers what should be included in the behaviour policy. This advice can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-and-discipline-in-schools.

Existing guidance makes clear that schools can adopt a policy which allows disruptive pupils to be placed in isolation away from other pupils for a limited period. If a school uses isolation rooms as a disciplinary penalty, this should be made clear in their behaviour policy. As with other disciplinary penalties, schools must act lawfully, reasonably and proportionately in all cases. The school must also ensure the health and safety of pupils.

It is for individual schools to decide how long a particular pupil should be kept in isolation and for the staff member in charge to determine what pupils may and may not do during the time they are there. Schools should ensure that pupils are kept in isolation no longer than is necessary and their time spent there is used as constructively as possible. Schools must allow pupils time to eat or use the toilet.

The Department has made no recent assessment of trends in the level of the use of isolation booths in schools, and has no plans to collect national data on their use.

28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of the use of isolation booths in schools in each of the last five years.

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which outlines measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. The school’s behaviour policy should set out the behaviour expected of pupils, the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour, and rewards for good behaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff, and parents.

To help schools develop effective strategies, the Department has produced advice for schools which covers what should be included in the behaviour policy. This advice can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-and-discipline-in-schools.

Existing guidance makes clear that schools can adopt a policy which allows disruptive pupils to be placed in isolation away from other pupils for a limited period. If a school uses isolation rooms as a disciplinary penalty, this should be made clear in their behaviour policy. As with other disciplinary penalties, schools must act lawfully, reasonably and proportionately in all cases. The school must also ensure the health and safety of pupils.

It is for individual schools to decide how long a particular pupil should be kept in isolation and for the staff member in charge to determine what pupils may and may not do during the time they are there. Schools should ensure that pupils are kept in isolation no longer than is necessary and their time spent there is used as constructively as possible. Schools must allow pupils time to eat or use the toilet.

The Department has made no recent assessment of trends in the level of the use of isolation booths in schools, and has no plans to collect national data on their use.

28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to limit the use of isolation booths in schools.

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which outlines measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. The school’s behaviour policy should set out the behaviour expected of pupils, the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour, and rewards for good behaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff, and parents.

To help schools develop effective strategies, the Department has produced advice for schools which covers what should be included in the behaviour policy. This advice can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-and-discipline-in-schools.

Existing guidance makes clear that schools can adopt a policy which allows disruptive pupils to be placed in isolation away from other pupils for a limited period. If a school uses isolation rooms as a disciplinary penalty, this should be made clear in their behaviour policy. As with other disciplinary penalties, schools must act lawfully, reasonably and proportionately in all cases. The school must also ensure the health and safety of pupils.

It is for individual schools to decide how long a particular pupil should be kept in isolation and for the staff member in charge to determine what pupils may and may not do during the time they are there. Schools should ensure that pupils are kept in isolation no longer than is necessary and their time spent there is used as constructively as possible. Schools must allow pupils time to eat or use the toilet.

The Department has made no recent assessment of trends in the level of the use of isolation booths in schools, and has no plans to collect national data on their use.

28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the trend in the level of use of medication to treat behavioural issues in young children.

The information requested is not held centrally, on the number of pupils who use medication to treat behavioural issues.

The Government is committed to pupils with medical conditions being properly supported at school so that they have full access to education.

In 2014, the Government introduced a new duty on schools to support pupils with all medical conditions and has published statutory guidance on this for schools and others. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-pupils-at-school-with-medical-conditions--3.

The guidance does not specify which medical conditions should be supported in schools. Instead, it focuses on how to meet the needs of each individual child and how their medical condition impacts on school life.

In June 2014, the Department issued non-statutory advice on mental health and behaviour to help schools identify underlying mental health problems in young people, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2 .

The advice clarifies the responsibility of the school, outlines what they can do and how to support a child or young person whose behaviour may be related to an unmet mental health need.

22nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report entitled Left out of learning: FOI 2019 report published by RNIB in October 2019, what steps he is taking to ensure (a) adequate and (b) equitable provision of specialists to support children with vision impairment throughout the UK.

We want all schools to have a workforce fully equipped to support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and are working with various organisations, including the National Sensory Impairment Partnership, to make sure that is the reality.

The Children and Families Act 2014 requires local authorities to work with parents, young people, and providers to keep the provision for children and young people with SEND under review, including its sufficiency. We have recently announced a £780 million increase to local authorities’ high needs funding, boosting the budget by 12% and bringing the total spent on supporting those with the most complex needs to over £7 billion for 2020-21.

We do not prescribe in detail how local authorities should allocate their high needs funding. In consultation with schools and other services, local authorities should consider carefully how best to meet the needs of children and young people in their area, including those with vision impairment.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
2nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all schools teach every part of the Equality Act 2010.

We know that many schools choose to teach pupils about the Equality Act and the protected characteristics under that Act in the context of duties on schools, such as the requirements to promote both fundamental British values and the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of their pupils. Schools are entitled to teach about the Equality Act in this context, and the Department thinks it is right that pupils leave school with a proper understanding of the importance of equality and respecting difference.

From September 2020 Relationships Education will be compulsory for all primary pupils and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) will be compulsory for all secondary pupils. These subjects will give pupils the knowledge they need to stay safe and develop respectful, caring relationships of all kinds. The guidance on these subjects can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

26th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of ensuring that universities throughout the UK adopt system-wide planning process in addition to controls on numbers.

Formal student number controls were phased out in 2012/13 with the exception of capped medical places to enable as many students as possible to access and succeed in higher education (HE). This has enabled record rates of 18-year olds to benefit from a university education than ever before, including from disadvantaged backgrounds. 50% of students are now choosing to study in HE and in 2018, those from disadvantaged backgrounds were 52% more likely to enter full-time HE than in 2009.

One of the aims of the new independent regulator for HE, the Office for Students, which became operational on 1 August 2019, is to hold providers to account for delivering well-designed courses that offer successful outcomes for all of their students.

26th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress he is making to increase the recruitment and retention of childcare professionals.

The Department continues to support employer trailblazer groups to develop new apprenticeship standards for the early years workforce and to access funding for apprenticeship training. Organisations with a pay bill of less than £3 million each year are only required to pay 5% of the training costs for apprentices (within the relevant funding band). Alongside this, the Department is investing £20 million for in-service professional development and training for pre-reception early years practitioners in targeted disadvantaged areas from 53 local authorities.

The Department also continues to work closely with the sector to look at issues that might be affecting recruitment and retention in the early years workforce. For example, the Fatherhood Institute has been awarded a grant to develop tools and resources aimed at increasing gender diversity in the early years sector. In partnership with Ofsted the Department has also supported a project led by the Early Years Alliance to explore and respond to workload burdens in the sector.

26th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to reduce the number of exclusions of young people from mainstream education.

The Department is clear that permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort and exclusion from school should not mean exclusion from education.

The Department is taking forward an ambitious programme of reform which will respect head teachers’ powers to use exclusion, while equipping schools to support children at risk of exclusion and ensuring excluded children continue to receive a good education.

25th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps he has taken to increase the number of pupils taking GCSE music.

The Government believes that music is an important subject and that all pupils should receive a high quality music education, up until at least the age of 14. The subject is compulsory in the National Curriculum, and the Government is providing funding of over £300 million for music education hubs between 2016 and 2020.

The Department hopes all pupils who want to study music at GCSE will have the opportunity to do so. Since 2009-10, the percentage of the GCSE cohort in state funded schools who take music GCSE has fluctuated but remained broadly stable between 6 and 7%. It currently stands at 6%.

In order to ensure all pupils are able to enjoy a high quality music education, the Department is developing and publishing a non-statutory model music curriculum for Key Stages 1-3.

The model curriculum will provide pupils with the knowledge and skills which enable them to embark with confidence on a GCSE course of study.

2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of rates of compliance with the ban on the smacking of children in England.

There is no specific ban on ‘smacking’ children in England.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the report on University Aspirations 2019 by the Sutton Trust on 15 August 2019.

Widening access and participation in higher education (HE) is a priority for this government. This means that everyone with the capability to succeed in HE should have the opportunity, regardless of their background or where they grew up.

Whilst we have made real progress, (the latest data for 2019 shows that the entry rate for 18-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds has continued to increase) more could and should be done. That is why the government asked the Office for Students to encourage providers, particularly the most selective institutions, to make further progress in ensuring that disadvantaged and underrepresented students can access, participate and succeed in HE.

The department will consider the implications of the Sutton Report on University Aspirations on access and participation policy in due course.

2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all schools teach every part of the Equality Act 2010.

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

2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the findings of the annual report by the Education Policy Institute, published in July 2019, what steps he will take to tackle the education disadvantage gap.

The Department welcomes the focus this report brings and will consider its recommendations carefully, given the Department’s commitment to closing the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers.

Since 2011, the attainment gap has narrowed by more than 9% at age 16 and more than 13% at age 11. The Department’s reforms and the extra support funded by the pupil premium have contributed to this improvement.

The Department established the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) with £137 million to research in hundreds of English schools the most effective ways of using pupil premium, and promote these so that all schools can make a difference to their disadvantaged pupils’ futures. In June 2019, the EEF published a ‘Pupil Premium Guide’ that gives schools clear advice about how best to use the pupil premium grant. The Department encourages all schools to use this guide, which can be accessed here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/evidence-summaries/pupil-premium-guide/.

The Department seeks to ensure no pupils are left behind – hence the targeted support in some of the most socially immobile areas of the country through the £72 million opportunity areas programme and the Department’s commitment to halve the proportion of children who finish reception year without the communication and reading skills they need to thrive.

25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the British Council's annual Language Trends Report 2019; and what steps he is taking to increase the opportunity for children of all social backgrounds to learn foreign languages and participate in international experiences.

The Department wants to see more pupils taking a language GCSE. Since September 2014, the reformed national curriculum makes it compulsory for pupils in maintained schools to be taught a modern or classical language in Key Stage 2. The Department introduced the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) performance measure in 2010, where entry into both modern and ancient language GCSEs counts towards the languages element of the EBacc.

The Department has introduced a number of programmes to increase participation in modern foreign languages (MFL). The £4.8 million MFL Pedagogy Pilot commenced in December 2018 and is managed by a Centre for Excellence. The Pilot is run through nine school-led hubs, is aiming to improve uptake and attainment in languages at Key Stages 3 and 4, and to share best practice, especially in disadvantaged areas. The Department has also launched a pilot project in languages undergraduate mentoring for secondary school pupils to increase participation in the subject, specifically targeting areas of high disadvantage to extend access to languages for all pupils.

25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the British Council's annual Language Trends Report 2019, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of children learning foreign languages.

The Department wants to see more pupils taking a language GCSE. Since September 2014, the reformed national curriculum makes it compulsory for pupils in maintained schools to be taught a modern or classical language in Key Stage 2. The Department introduced the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) performance measure in 2010, where entry into both modern and ancient language GCSEs counts towards the languages element of the EBacc.

The Department has introduced a number of programmes to increase participation in modern foreign languages (MFL). The £4.8 million MFL Pedagogy Pilot commenced in December 2018 and is managed by a Centre for Excellence. The Pilot is run through nine school-led hubs, is aiming to improve uptake and attainment in languages at Key Stages 3 and 4, and to share best practice, especially in disadvantaged areas. The Department has also launched a pilot project in languages undergraduate mentoring for secondary school pupils to increase participation in the subject, specifically targeting areas of high disadvantage to extend access to languages for all pupils.

24th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that degree apprenticeships support (a) social mobility and (b) lifelong learning among underrepresented groups.

Apprenticeships benefit people of all ages and backgrounds, offering high quality on and off-the-job training. Level 6+ and degree apprenticeships offer people an alternative to full time university, as well as the opportunity to upskill or re-train throughout their lives.

The Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund (DADF) aims to enable and encourage greater social mobility and widen participation. The DADF has supported 103 higher education (HE) providers and has resulted in 4,464 degree apprentice starts. The Office for Students has published an evaluation of the fund, which can be found at the following link: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/7cd79cd8-536f-49e5-a55f-ebd83b344b16/dadf-evaluation.pdf.

HE providers, such as universities, can include degree apprenticeships in their Access and Participation Plans; these set out how they will support underrepresented groups and help individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds access and succeed in HE. The National Apprenticeship Service works with local partners to ensure that apprenticeships at all levels are available in disadvantaged areas.

We are running an employer engagement campaign, ‘Opportunities through Apprenticeships’, working with partners in Portsmouth, Nottingham, South Tyneside and Torbay. It aims to support social mobility by creating opportunities for more apprentices from disadvantaged areas to undertake high value apprenticeships with higher earnings potential and progression, such as degree apprenticeships.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
24th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department and the Education and Skills Funding Agency are taking to support universities to work closely with non-levy-paying small and medium-sized enterprises.

The department and the Education and Skills Funding Agency continue to encourage universities to work with employers, including non-levy-paying small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund (DADF) has focussed on building collaborative projects between providers and employers; including non-levy-paying SMEs. DADF has funded additional engagement activities to better understand their needs.

Birmingham City University, University of Greenwich and Aston University have actively engaged with SMEs as part of DADF-funded projects.

Over the course of the next year, all employers will be able to control how they pay for their apprenticeship training and assess and recruit their apprentices via the apprenticeship service. This will allow non-levy paying SMEs to work closely with a greater number of high-quality training providers, including universities.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
24th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the importance of transparency on setting and lowering funding bands for degree apprenticeships.

As part of its agreed responsibilities, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education recommends and reviews funding bands to make sure that employers can access high quality apprenticeships, and that funding bands represent good value for money for employers and the government.

The Institute has highlighted its intention to improve transparency in its approach towards pricing all apprenticeships and will work with trailblazer groups of employers to test improvements. Details can be found in their Business Plan 2019-2020, available here: https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/about/business-plan-2019-2020/.

The government’s strategic guidance to the Institute asks it to go further in improving understanding of its work and being responsive to employers’ feedback regarding the funding band process for all apprenticeships, including Level 6+ and degree apprenticeships. The strategic guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/790021/Strategic_Guidance_to_the_Institute_2019-20.pdf.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring universities in England to use contextual admissions tools to widen participation in higher education.

Widening access and participation in higher education is a priority for this government. This means that everyone with the capability to succeed in higher education should have the opportunity to participate, regardless of their background or where they grew up.

We have made real progress in ensuring universities are open to all, with record rates of disadvantaged 18 year olds in higher education. However, we are aware that more needs to be done to ensure that background isn’t a barrier to realising potential in higher education.

Many higher education providers are already using contextual admissions, to support widening access, and the government supports this.

It’s important that higher education providers use good quality and meaningful data to identify disadvantage and under-representation. We encourage institutions to use a range of measures to identify disadvantage and under-representation, including individual-level indicators, area data (such as POLAR, Index of Multiple Deprivation or ACORN), school data, intersectional data such as the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service's (UCAS) Multiple Equality Measure and participation in outreach activities. The department is continuing to work with the Office for Students, UCAS and sector representatives to further explore how we can support universities to improve and enhance access to data.

18th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps he has taken to widen access to the highest performing schools in England and Wales.

86% of schools in England are good or outstanding.

The Department has committed £7 billion to create new school places between 2015 and 2021, the vast majority of which are being created in the best existing schools or through good new schools. The Department is on track to create 1 million places this decade, the largest increase in school capacity in at least two generations.

Of the mainstream free schools approved between 2014 and 2017, 86% have been in areas where there was a need for more school places. 84% of free schools with inspection reports published by the end of May are rated good or outstanding.

98% of grammar schools are also good or outstanding and the Department wants more disadvantaged pupils to be able to access a place at them. That is why it has made £100 million available through the Selective Schools Expansion Fund to create additional places, where needed, in selective schools that commit to a plan to improve access for disadvantaged children. In 2018 the Department announced 16 selective schools to be funded to expand, and it launched a second bidding round in 2019.

Education is a devolved matter and it is for the Welsh national assembly to decide on education in Wales.

17th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to (a) increase transparency of the amount of apprenticeship levy spent on different types of apprenticeship and (b) help ensure the availability of data on the socioeconomic background of apprentices by apprenticeship level.

Our quarterly ‘Apprenticeships and Traineeships’ and monthly ‘Apprenticeships and Levy Statistics’ data releases provide extensive information on the breakdown of apprenticeship starts by level, sector subject area and framework/standard. This is in addition to whether starts are supported by the apprenticeship levy. The most recent quarterly release was published on 11 July 2019 and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships-july-2019. This data, in addition to our extensive engagement with employers and sector bodies, informs our picture of emerging demand across the employer-led apprenticeships programme.

We use the ‘Further education: indices of multiple deprivation’ data release to understand the background of apprentices and inform our widening participation policies. This data is broken down by apprenticeship level and benchmarked against data for participation in all further education and skills training. We know that apprentices disproportionately come from more disadvantaged areas: in 2017/18, 24% of participating apprentices came from the most disadvantaged fifth of areas, compared to 15.6% from the least disadvantaged fifth. This data is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/765589/Index_of_Multiple_Deprivation_201516_to_201718.xlsx.

16th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to reintroduce young apprenticeships.

There are currently no plans to reintroduce the Young Apprenticeships programme.

However, high-quality apprenticeships are available to people of all ages. Our reforms are improving apprenticeships by making them longer with more off-the job training and formal assessment at the end.

An apprenticeship provides the foundation for a successful career and is a great option for young people who are strong academically but want on-the-job experience and a high-quality alternative to full-time university study.

Traineeships are available to provide quality training to those young people who need to develop their skills and experience in order to enter the labour market. The department’s recent Traineeship Impact Evaluation Report shows that 75% of trainees are in apprenticeships, other jobs, or further learning a year after their traineeship.

16th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of teaching coding in primary schools.

In September 2014, the Government introduced computing as a national curriculum subject at all four key stages, replacing the former information and communications technology curriculum. Computing education is now compulsory in all state maintained schools. As part of the new Ofsted inspection framework, operational from September 2019, inspectors will expect all pupils to study a broad and balanced curriculum, either through the National Curriculum, which includes computing, or a curriculum of comparable breadth.

The computing curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils have experience of writing computer programs. The UK is one of the first G20 countries to have introduced coding into the primary curriculum. The computing curriculum also ensures that pupils can become digitally literate.

In November 2018, the Government announced the new National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), led by leading industry experts and backed by £84 million of funding. The NCCE recently appointed the first 23 Computing Hubs, operational from autumn 2019, which will provide a range of continuing professional development opportunities for all teachers, and will build local expertise and capacity for school to school support.

16th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of compulsory teaching of information technology until the age of 16.

In September 2014, the Government introduced computing as a national curriculum subject at all four key stages, replacing the former information and communications technology curriculum. Computing education is now compulsory in all state maintained schools. As part of the new Ofsted inspection framework, operational from September 2019, inspectors will expect all pupils to study a broad and balanced curriculum, either through the National Curriculum, which includes computing, or a curriculum of comparable breadth.

The computing curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils have experience of writing computer programs. The UK is one of the first G20 countries to have introduced coding into the primary curriculum. The computing curriculum also ensures that pupils can become digitally literate.

In November 2018, the Government announced the new National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), led by leading industry experts and backed by £84 million of funding. The NCCE recently appointed the first 23 Computing Hubs, operational from autumn 2019, which will provide a range of continuing professional development opportunities for all teachers, and will build local expertise and capacity for school to school support.

15th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that school leavers are informed of degree apprenticeships.

We are pleased that Universities UK has recognised degree apprenticeships as a ‘growing success story’. Degree apprenticeships give employers the opportunity to work with universities to develop the higher-level skills they need, and apprentices the opportunity to gain a degree while they earn. Alongside our work to raise awareness of these benefits, we are also making it easier to find and apply for vacancies with employers of all sizes.

Current vacancies can be found on the ‘Find an apprenticeship’ website, the UCAS ‘Careers finder’ site, and employers’ own websites. We encourage employers to promote their future vacancies up to a year in advance in our Higher and Degree Listing, which is published at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-and-degree-apprenticeships. We are aiming to publish our next listing, for vacancies commencing in September 2020, in September 2019 and this will be distributed to schools and handed out at events.

The Degree Apprenticeships Development Fund has supported initiatives including UCAS careers fairs, materials on apprenticeships for schools, and apprenticeship ambassadors. In the 2018/19 academic year, we attended 30 UCAS Higher Education Exhibitions across England, directly engaging with an estimated 8,500 young people, and worked with UCAS to contact over a quarter of a million more young people by email to raise awareness of apprenticeships

We also provide a free service to schools through the Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge project, to make sure that teachers have the knowledge and support to enable them to promote apprenticeships to their students. This has enabled over three quarters of a million young people to hear about apprenticeships since the project’s launch in 2016.

10th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the correlation between the number of students studying (a) design and technology and (b) the English Baccalaureate.

Following an assessment, the Department has found no evidence to demonstrate that entries to the design and technology (D&T) GCSE have fallen as a direct consequence of an increase in students taking the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). The gradual decline in the proportion of pupils entered for D&T GCSE started in 2001, when the subject became non-compulsory at Key Stage 4. The EBacc was first introduced in 2010.

The EBacc encourages young people to take core academic subjects, keeping their options open for further study and future careers. The Department is clear that it should be studied alongside other subjects, such as D&T, and it has been designed to allow pupils to do this.

The Department has reformed D&T GCSE so that it has a greater emphasis on the iterative design process, something that subject experts advise is at the core of contemporary industry practice. It also includes more on the technical knowledge required, including cutting edge technology and processes. These structural changes make it more accessible to pupils and easier for teachers to deliver whilst maintaining the rigour and challenge the Department expects of a GCSE subject. It will take time for the new GCSE to embed given the significant changes. The Department continues to attract more graduates into teaching and have increased the bursary offered for most D&T teacher trainees through the introduction of a £12,000 bursary for trainees with a 2:2 or higher. Previously those with a 2:1 received £9,000 and those with a 2:2 received no bursary.

9th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to (a) update curriculums and (b) develop new courses to take account the evolution of artificial intelligence.

Ensuring that our children have the digital and computing skills needed for the future is a key priority of this government. Demand for high-level skills in computing will continue to grow in the years ahead and will be crucial to supporting a successful economy.

To meet the demand for high-level skills in computing, the government has introduced computing as a statutory national curriculum subject at all four key stages and reformed the computer science GCSE and A Level. The reformed GCSE, introduced for first teaching from September 2016, aims to ensure that all pupils understand the fundamental principles of computer science, including knowledge on artificial intelligence, programming, coding and data representation. The reformed A level places emphasis on programming, algorithms and problem solving.

In March 2018, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, committed to making no further changes to the national curriculum beyond those that had already been announced in response to teacher feedback. Currently there are no plans to make further changes to the national curriculum during this Parliament.

In November 2018 DfE launched the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), backed by £84 million in new funding. The NCCE is run by a coalition of STEM Learning, the British Computing Society and Raspberry Pi and supported by industry.

The department is introducing T Levels as a high quality, technical alternative to A levels. The first T levels will start in September 2020, with all routes available from September 2022. Digital is one of the first subjects that will be rolled out in 2020. The department is also designing new apprenticeship standards that are more responsive to the needs of business both now and in the future, ensuring that employers can secure the skills they need to succeed.

Finally, the government recently announced further investment to drive up skills in artificial intelligence (AI) and data science and support more adults to upskill and retrain to progress in their careers or find new employment.

Up to 2,500 people from underrepresented groups will have the opportunity to retrain and become experts in data science and AI, thanks to a £13.5 million investment to fund new degree and Masters conversion courses and scholarships at UK academic institutions over the next three years.

8th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to (a) increase participation in sport in schools and (b) ensure that sport remains on the curriculum.

​The government firmly believes in the importance of physical education (PE), sport and extra-curricular activities to teach children the importance of physical activity to improve their physical and mental health as well as their overall wellbeing. Schools are free to organise and deliver a diverse and challenging PE curriculum that suits the needs of all of their pupils. However, PE is the only foundation subject on the national curriculum at all 4 key stages. The national curriculum must be taught by all maintained schools and it provides a frame of reference for academies in deciding what to offer as part of their broad and balanced curriculum offer.

Ofsted’s new inspection framework, which will come into effect from September 2019, has spilt the current judgement for personal development, behaviour and welfare into 2 new separate judgements: ‘behaviour and attitudes’ and ‘personal development’. This will give greater recognition to the work of schools to support the personal development of pupils, such as the opportunities that they have to learn about eating healthily and maintaining an active lifestyle. Inspectors will expect to see schools offering children a broad, balanced education, including opportunities to be active during the school day and through extracurricular activities.

Since 2013, the government has invested over £1 billion of ringfenced funding through the Primary PE and Sport Premium to improve PE, sport, physical activity and extra-curricular activities for all pupils in England.

We will shortly be publishing our cross-government school sport and activity action plan, under which the Department for Education, working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Health and Social Care, will consider further ways to ensure that all children have access to high quality, protected PE and sport sessions during the school week and opportunities to be physically active throughout the school day.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce food waste in schools.

This government is committed to tackling waste. The Waste Strategy, published in December 2018, sets out a new approach to address food waste from farm to fork which includes tackling food waste in schools.

Schools are responsible for their day-to-day running including their school meals service. We expect schools to work closely with their caterer(s) to make sure that all pupils can choose a healthy and balanced meal, with as little waste as possible.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps he has taken to improve careers information and guidance for secondary school leavers.

Our careers strategy, published in December 2017, committed investment, support and resources to help schools make visible and lasting improvements. It endorses the Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance, based on rigorous national and international research. The benchmarks help schools develop a programme of high quality careers advice and all schools are expected to meet the 8 benchmarks by the end of 2020.

To support schools in implementing the benchmarks, we have funded 1,300 bursaries for face-to-face careers leader training and have established a network of 40 careers hubs. Hubs bring together schools, colleges, Local Enterprise Partnerships, businesses and careers organisations to work together towards achieving the benchmarks.

We are also funding The Careers & Enterprise Company to help connect schools and colleges with employers, to provide meaningful encounters with the world of work for young people. Through its Enterprise Adviser Network, over 2,000 business volunteers have been matched to schools and colleges to help them develop their careers education plans.

Under the Baker clause, introduced in January 2018, all secondary schools must invite providers of technical education and apprenticeships to talk to all pupils to support them to understand their full range of options. Schools must also publish a policy statement setting out these opportunities and make sure that this statement is followed.

1st Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of ensuring universities publish potential earnings returns for all degree courses.

Students’ ability to make informed choices is at the heart of the higher education reform agenda. The government is taking steps to improve the quality of information provided to students and how it is presented. We want to equip prospective students with the information to make the right choice for them about where and what to study.

The value of higher education is about more than just economic returns. It provides wider benefits such as employability, social impact and important cultural value, which enriches our society. However, data shows that there are disparities between the outcomes seen from the same subject at different institutions, highlighting universities that need to improve and maximise the potential of their courses.

The Unistats website is an official site that allows prospective students to search for and compare data and information on university and college courses across the UK, and it is available at: https://unistats.ac.uk/. It is owned and operated by The Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, The Office for Students, The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and The Scottish Funding Council and contains subject and course level data for each higher education provider. The information currently available includes average earnings 6 months after graduation, which has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey, and average earnings 3 years after graduation which has been calculated from the Department for Education’s Longitudinal Education outcomes dataset. We expect that the Office for Students will launch a new information resource tool to replace Unistats in autumn 2019.

1st Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the June 2019 Sutton Trust and Social Mobility Commission report Elitist Britain 2019: the educational backgrounds of Britain's leading people, what steps he is taking to tackle social segregation in schools; and whether he plans to introduce contextual recruitment and admissions practices for entry to the UK's top universities.

The gap between state-funded schools and independent schools has never been smaller. 85% of state-funded schools are now rated good or outstanding, compared to 68% in 2010. This has been driven by a range of reforms focusing on levelling the playing field and strengthening education from the bottom up.

Phonics is helping early literacy. More pupils leave primary school meeting the expected standards in maths and English. Our reformed GCSEs make sure 16-year-olds have the knowledge parents expect. The department is also encouraging good independent schools to provide means-tested bursaries, which broadens their intake to include pupils that would not otherwise be able to attend. Furthermore, the department is seeking to increase the number of partnerships between state-funded schools and good independent schools.

Universities are independent, autonomous bodies. As such, they are responsible for their own admissions decisions. We are aware that many of them already adopt contextual admissions practices, to encourage increased numbers of applications from disadvantaged students with the potential to succeed at university and we support such initiatives.

27th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing starting salaries for teachers to make the profession more competitive.

In January 2019, the Government published evidence to support the independent School Teacher’s Review Body’s (STRB) considerations for the 2019 pay award. It includes evidence on the teacher labour market, based on the latest recruitment and retention data, and on affordability based on the information provided in the schools’ costs document. On affordability, the evidence sets out the importance of ensuring that the pay award does not place undue pressure on school budgets, with a 2% increase in per teacher pay being affordable nationally, in the context of the cost pressures faced by schools and headroom available for increases in teachers’ pay.

The STRB has submitted their 29th report to my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, in respect of the 2019 pay award. The Government will now carefully consider the report and the STRB’s recommendations and publish a response as soon as possible.

The evidence to the STRB: 2019 pay award for school staff is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evidence-to-the-strb-2019-pay-award-for-school-staff.

24th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to extend the adoption support fund to also cover pre-adoption support and transitional support for prospective adopters and adoptive children.

In January 2016, we extended access to the adoption support fund to children and their prospective adopters from the point at which the child is placed with them.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools and colleges follow guidance on exam procedure to minimise the risk of security breaches.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Sally Collier, to write directly to the hon. Member. A copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

19th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of young people aged 16 to 24 who are not in education, employment or training.

The government has raised the participation age to ensure that all young people are supported to continue their education until at least age 18. We have invested nearly £7 billion during academic year 2018/19 to ensure there is a place in education or training for every 16 to 19 year old.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to identify and track the participation of 16 and 17 year olds, supporting those who are not participating to do so and making sure that there is sufficient, suitable education and training provision to meet their needs. The September Guarantee places a further duty on local authorities to ensure that all year 11 pupils (and year 12 pupils on 1-year courses) receive an offer of a place in education/training for the following September. It aims to ensure that all young people, regardless of what they achieved in school, understand that there are opportunities that will help them to progress, and to ensure that they get the advice and support they need to find a suitable place.

A range of provision is available for young people aged 16 to 24 to equip them with the skills and experience they need to progress. This includes traineeships which provide unemployed young people with employability training, work experience and English and maths, and supported internships which offer tailored support for young people aged 16 to 25 who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. In addition, young people aged 19 to 23 are funded to gain a first full level 2 or 3 qualification; English and maths training is funded for young people who have not achieved a level 2 standard; and a range of employability training is available to support young people who are unemployed into work.

We are creating further opportunities for young people through the introduction of T levels from September 2020, new technical education courses designed by employers which will give young people a high-quality alternative to A levels. Alongside this, the changes we have made to apprenticeships are giving young people the opportunity to get the high-quality training they need for a rewarding career in a skilled profession.

The Careers & Enterprise Company has taken on a more ambitious role by coordinating support for schools and colleges across all the Gatsby Benchmarks. This will build on their progress to date in improving the connections between schools, colleges and employers so that young people raise their aspirations and become aware of the full range of career opportunities available.

17th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the National Literacy Trust Report entitled Children, young people and digital reading, published April 2019, what assessment he has made of the literacy benefits of children reading both digital and print formats.

The Department welcomes the National Literacy Trust’s research on reading in both print and digital forms.

The Department wants children to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information, whatever the format. Research suggests that reading for pleasure is more important for children’s educational development than their parents’ level of education.

There is sound evidence that systematic synthetic phonics is a highly effective method of teaching reading to children. Phonics performance is improving: in 2018, there were 163,000 more 6 year olds on track to become fluent readers compared to in 2012. This represented 82% of pupils meeting the expected standard in the phonics screening check, compared to just 58% when the check was introduced in 2012.

Building on the success of the Department’s phonics partnerships and phonics roadshows programmes, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme in 2018. Hub schools are taking a leading role in improving the teaching of early reading through systematic synthetic phonics, early language development, and reading for pleasure. The Department has appointed 34 primary schools across England as English Hubs.

17th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report entitled Closed Doors: children’s centre usage between 2014-15 and 2017-18, published in June 2019 by Action for Children, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities submit data on children's centre use in the early years to enable children’s centre provision to meet local need.

In 2013 the department published the children’s centre core purpose, which focussed on improving outcomes for children in greatest need of support. This can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sure-start-childrens-centres.

In July 2018 we set an ambitious goal to halve, by 2028, the percentage of children leaving reception year without the communication, language and literacy skills they need to thrive. We have been clear about the outcomes that we are looking to achieve in the early years and it is for local authorities to decide how best to deliver local services.

To help local areas monitor and improve these outcomes, we published on 6 June 2019 the Early Years Outcomes Dashboard: https://department-for-education.shinyapps.io/smapey-dashboard/. This dashboard makes the most important early years social mobility metrics easily available and will allow local authorities to benchmark their outcomes against their statistical neighbours. This is in addition to the extensive range of data made available to local authorities by Public Health England through its Child and Maternal Health profiles: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/child-health-profiles.

In line with this emphasis on outcomes, the department has no plans to require local authorities to submit data on children’s centre use. The decision to reduce burdens on local authorities and stop requiring them to submit usage data was set out in paragraphs 5.28 and 5.29 of the Sure Start children’s centre planning and performance management guidance in 2006: https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100210171222/http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/everychildmatters/_download/?id=4974.

The department believes this is still the right approach. Local authorities should be reviewing data on service use and outcomes in order to ensure that they are meeting the duty to have sufficient children’s centres to meet local need and their commissioning decisions are informed by evidence of the impact of their local services. We will continue to work with local authorities to achieve the Secretary of State’s social mobility ambition, including through our £8.5 million early years local government programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to establish a children’s centre outcomes framework.

In 2013 the department published the children’s centre core purpose, which focussed on improving outcomes for children in greatest need of support. This can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sure-start-childrens-centres.

In July 2018 we set an ambitious goal to halve, by 2028, the percentage of children leaving reception year without the communication, language and literacy skills they need to thrive. We have been clear about the outcomes that we are looking to achieve in the early years and it is for local authorities to decide how best to deliver local services.

To help local areas monitor and improve these outcomes, we published on 6 June 2019 the Early Years Outcomes Dashboard: https://department-for-education.shinyapps.io/smapey-dashboard/. This dashboard makes the most important early years social mobility metrics easily available and will allow local authorities to benchmark their outcomes against their statistical neighbours. This is in addition to the extensive range of data made available to local authorities by Public Health England through its Child and Maternal Health profiles: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/child-health-profiles.

In line with this emphasis on outcomes, the department has no plans to require local authorities to submit data on children’s centre use. The decision to reduce burdens on local authorities and stop requiring them to submit usage data was set out in paragraphs 5.28 and 5.29 of the Sure Start children’s centre planning and performance management guidance in 2006: https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100210171222/http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/everychildmatters/_download/?id=4974.

The department believes this is still the right approach. Local authorities should be reviewing data on service use and outcomes in order to ensure that they are meeting the duty to have sufficient children’s centres to meet local need and their commissioning decisions are informed by evidence of the impact of their local services. We will continue to work with local authorities to achieve the Secretary of State’s social mobility ambition, including through our £8.5 million early years local government programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to grade foreign language GCSE and A-level subjects in accordance with the common European framework of reference for languages after the UK leaves the EU.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Sally Collier, to write directly to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

5th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Post-18 Education and Funding Review, whether he plans to increase the teaching grant that follows disadvantaged students.

Access and successful participation remain a priority for this government and is enshrined in the Higher Education and Research Act (2017). Everyone with the ability to succeed in higher education should have the opportunity, regardless of their background or where they grew up.

The government will consider the panel’s recommendations carefully and will conclude the review at the Spending Review. The government has not yet taken decisions with regards to the recommendations put forward.

5th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Post-18 Education and Funding Review, what criteria his Department will use to determine whether a student is disadvantaged; and what level of support will be made available to those students.

Access and successful participation remain a priority for this government and is enshrined in the Higher Education and Research Act (2017). Everyone with the ability to succeed in higher education should have the opportunity, regardless of their background or where they grew up.

The government will consider the panel’s recommendations carefully and will conclude the review at the Spending Review. The government has not yet taken decisions with regards to the recommendations put forward.

4th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Institute for Fiscal Studies report entitled The health effects of Sure Start, published on 3rd June 2019; and if he will make a statement.

The government welcomes the recent report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) on the health effects of Sure Start. It is crucial that in our pursuit of better outcomes for children and families, and in making spending decisions, we are guided by high quality evidence. I refer the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme to the statement given in response to an Urgent Question about the IFS report by my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Skills and Apprenticeships on 5 June 2019.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure young people with special needs in non-local authority schools receive the education and care they need.

The provisions of the Children and Families Act 2014, together with the associated statutory regulations and Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice, apply to academies and free schools as well as to schools maintained by local authorities. All schools are required to use their best endeavours to identify and address the SEND of pupils and to apply the graduated approach to support that is outlined in chapter 6 of the SEND Code of Practice.

Academies and free schools are inspected by Ofsted under the same framework as local authority maintained schools. The quality of education and support for pupils with SEND is taken into account by inspectors when making a judgement on the performance of a school.

The department has a contract with the Whole School SEND Consortium to embed SEND within approaches to school improvement and to equip the school workforce to deliver high quality teaching for all pupils with SEND. The programme of work includes building a community of practice with the involvement of 10,000 schools by 2020 and 15,000 schools by 2022, across the 8 regional school commissioner regions.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
21st May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that all education professionals are adequately trained to deal with epileptic seizures.

The Children and Families Act (2014) places a legal duty on schools to support children with health conditions, including epilepsy. The Department has published clear, statutory guidance on how to do so in the document ‘Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions’.

Pupils with medical conditions should have an individual healthcare plan drawn up in partnership with a healthcare professional, parents and the pupil themselves. Individual healthcare plans should include details of the support a pupil requires, what needs to be done, when and by whom. It should also contain details of any training required to ensure school staff are competent and confident in their ability to provide the support needed.

16th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on (a) creating a body image and media literacy toolkit and (b) making it a compulsory element of the school curriculum.

The Government is committed to an ambitious programme of activity to support good physical and mental health in children and young people. The Department for Education is working closely with the Department for Health and Social Care to provide support for schools so that they can promote good physical and mental wellbeing amongst their pupils.

As part of this, the Government is making the teaching of health education compulsory in all state-funded schools from September 2020. Relationships education will be taught in all primary schools and relationships and sex education in all secondary schools. Schools are being encouraged and supported to start teaching these new subjects from September 2019.

The statutory guidance for the new subjects sets out that pupils should be taught about the similarities and differences between the online world and the physical world. This should cover the impact of unhealthy or obsessive comparison with others online including through setting unrealistic expectations for body image and how people may curate a specific image of their life online.

The Department is also producing supporting information for schools on how to teach about issues related to internet safety across the curriculum. This will cover information about the types of harms that young people could face online, including the impact that internet content can have on body confidence, along with guidance about teaching children how to assess critically what they encounter online.

15th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent progress his Department has made to ensure reciprocal arrangements on student fees with EU partners after the UK leaves the EU.

Entitlement to student finance and home fees status in the UK after the implementation period for those outside the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement is under consideration by the UK government and the devolved administrations.

For EU students already enrolled on courses in the UK, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK government has already provided certainty. Students from the EU starting courses in England in the 2019/20 academic year will continue to be eligible for ‘home fee status’, meaning they will be charged the same tuition fees as UK students and have access to tuition fee loans for the duration of their studies.

More broadly, the UK government has been engaging directly with their EU counterparts on a range of issues, including securing citizens’ rights reassurances. These span a number of areas including on access to education.

13th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the (a) level and (b) quality of (i) staff qualifications and (ii) in-service professional development in the pre-school childcare sector.

We are committed to ensuring that all children have access to high quality early education and can achieve their full potential. The latest Ofsted data confirms that 95% of early years providers are now rated ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’, up from 68% in 2010.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework is mandatory for all early years providers in England. It sets out the staffing requirements for early years settings, including ratios and qualifications.

In March 2017, we published the early years workforce strategy. This set out how the government will support employers to attract, retain and develop high quality early years staff, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-workforce-strategy.

Since then we have worked with sector stakeholders to develop criteria for new more robust level 2 qualifications and awarded a grant to take forward activity to promote gender diversity in the early years workforce. We have also created a new career pathway document to support careers advice, recruitment and staff development. This information is available here: https://www.cache.org.uk/media/1417/dfe-career-pathway-map-v17.pdf.

We are also supporting employer trailblazer groups to develop new apprenticeship standards for the early years workforce and investing £20 million in in-service professional development and training for early years practitioners in pre-reception settings in disadvantaged areas.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
13th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to introduce mandatory SEN and disability law training for all SENCOs, SEN officers, managers and head teachers.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs) working in schools are required to achieve a National Award in SEN Co-ordination (NASENCO) within 3 years of appointment (unless they were appointed before 1 September 2009). There are no plans to change this.

The NASENCO is a Masters-level award that covers all aspects of leading on special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) within schools. It also covers aspects of supporting children and young people with SEND. An accredited Early Years SENCO Award is being delivered by NASENCO. It is not mandatory for SENCOs in early years setting to gain this qualification.

Guidance to help schools understand how the Equality Act (2010) affects them and how to fulfil their duties under the act is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools. There are no plans to introduce mandatory training in relation to the Equality Act.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of local authorities currently without any educational psychology service.

​The information requested is not held centrally. It is not possible to assess whether there are any local authorities without an educational psychologist (EP) service as no information is collected on outsourced EP services.

The department’s main data source on teachers and other school staff is the annual School Workforce Census. The collection includes a count of educational psychologists (EP) employed centrally by local authorities and any that are reported as being directly employed by schools. It does not show any that are employed on an occasional basis. It also does not include outsourcing of EP provision, nor take into account any sharing of EP provision across local authorities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on improving schools' access to local authority support for pupils and families that need it.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education meets regularly with Cabinet colleagues to discuss the Department for Education agenda.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
3rd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to data in the Office for National Statistics's quarterly Economic Review published on 2 May 2019, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the finding that 31 per cent of graduates had more education than was required for the job they were doing in 2017; and what steps the Government is taking to make more effective use of graduates' skills and education.

Employment outcomes for graduates are strong. The recently published Graduate Labour Market Statistics 2018 shows that the employment rate of working-age graduates was 87.7% in 2018, which is 0.3% higher than 2017. This employment rate is 16.1% higher than the rate for non-graduates (71.6%). 65.4% of working-age graduates were employed in highly skilled roles, compared with 22.9% of non-graduates.

The government’s Industrial Strategy sets out a long-term plan to boost productivity by backing businesses to create good jobs and increase the earning power of people throughout the UK by investing in skills, industries and infrastructure. Through this plan, £120 million was provided to fund collaboration between businesses and universities to stimulate local innovation through the Strength in Places Fund.

The primary aim of the Office for Students’ (OfS), the higher education regulator, is to ensure that higher education delivers positive outcomes for students and that it has a regulatory focus to ensure that students are able to progress into employment or further study. The OfS supports graduate employment outcomes in a number of ways. This includes a Challenge Competition, which aims to boost local employment outcomes, and the Institute of Coding, which aims to boost UK digital skills and graduate outcomes.

The government has been improving the information available to students to help them make informed choices when making decisions on higher education providers and subject choice. For example, Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Frameworks, Longitudinal Education Outcomes data and the Higher Education Open Data Competition all provide information to prospective students.

3rd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that universities develop courses in consultation with industry professionals to enable graduates to develop adequate skills for the workplace.

It is important that universities focus on ensuring that their graduates have the skills needed, including technical, vocational and transferable skills, to gain a positive outcome from their degree. The primary aim of the Office for Students (OfS), the higher education regulator, is to ensure that higher education delivers positive outcomes for students and that it has a regulatory focus to ensure that students are able to progress into employment or further study.

Collaboration between universities and business is increasingly important, both in the development of work-ready, highly skilled graduates and in contributing to local and regional economic growth. There is already a strong track record of collaboration. For example, Teesside University’s Digital City innovation initiative is helping local small and medium-sized enterprises to place graduate interns in their businesses by providing recruitment support and a 50% contribution towards their salary.

The government is supporting greater collaboration between businesses and universities in a number of ways:

  • The OfS is providing £20 million for the Institute of Coding which will target a skills gap in digital skills and involves collaboration between education providers and industry. This includes working together to create core content and introducing flexible ways to learn.

  • The government also partially funds the National Centre for Universities and Business which promotes, develops and supports university and business collaboration across the UK.

It is important to remember, however, that universities are autonomous institutions and, as such, that they are responsible for the courses that they develop and that the government does not prescribe that certain content needs to be included.

3rd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of holding pupils back a year at school as a result of poor (a) behaviour and (b) academic performance.

The information requested is not held centrally, and therefore the Department has made no such assessment.

The Department supports head teachers to create calm and ordered environments so that pupils can benefit from a school culture where teachers can teach and pupils can learn. As part of this, schools must ensure they have and publish a behaviour policy to support staff in managing behaviour, including the use of rewards and sanctions. Sanctions must be proportionate and fair responses that may vary according to the age of the pupils, and any other special circumstances that affect the pupil.

Schools should make regular assessments of progress for all pupils. These should seek to identify pupils making less than expected progress. The first response to such progress should be high quality teaching targeted at their areas of weakness.

Where a child is behaving poorly or is not making the expected progress academically, schools should look to see whether there are underlying factors such as Special Educational Needs, mental health difficulties or issues relating to housing, family or other domestic circumstances. Where a school does identify such causes they are expected to put appropriate support in place, potentially working with other agencies such as Health and Social Care.

3rd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he can will make an assessment of the effect of OFSTED grades on the recruitment and retention of teachers.

The Department has published analysis linking Ofsted ratings to the mobility and retention of teachers. This showed that of teachers who had moved between schools, 74% moved to schools with the same or better Ofsted rating compared with their previous school. The full analysis is published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/615729/SFR33_2017_Text.pdf.

The Department’s recently published Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy has committed to simplifying the school accountability system, which the Department knows can create undue pressure on school leaders and increase teacher workload.

From September, the Department will use a single, transparent trigger - ‘Ofsted requires improvement’ - to offer head teachers funded support and bespoke guidance from an expert leader. This will help reduce pressures on schools, while maintaining robust accountability in cases of failure and a proactive offer of support for those who need it.

The proposed new Ofsted framework will also have an active focus on reducing teacher workload, with inspectors considering staff workload as part of the leadership and management judgment.

30th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to extend the number of free childcare hours for low-income families as a means of tackling social inequality.

This government is committed to helping working families with accessible, affordable childcare and offers a broad range of childcare support. The government has no plans to extend the package of free childcare entitlement schemes.

Supporting parents who want to work, with the cost of childcare, is important. That is why the government already offers a package of schemes: all 3 and 4–year-olds and the most disadvantaged 2-year-olds can access 15 hours a week of early education. From September 2017, this government doubled the childcare entitlement for working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds to 30 hours a week - saving parents up to £5,000 per year in total if they use the full 30 hours of free childcare available. 30 hours free childcare helps a wide range of families, for example, a lone parent only has to earn from just under £7,000 a year to be able to access 30 hours of free childcare and a couple from just under £14,000.

Tackling social inequality is not just about 30 hours free childcare. The government is committed to supporting disadvantaged children, for example, through the 2-year-old entitlement, the early years pupil premium and the actions announced in ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’. We will continue to track the outcomes of disadvantaged children, where the gap continues to close. Tax-Free Childcare provides additional financial help from government to help with any additional costs. Eligible parents can also claim up to 85% of their childcare costs through universal credit.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2019 to Question 233483 on Schools: Counselling, what steps he is taking to (a) set minimum standards for and (b) ensure access throughout England to school counselling services.

It is up to schools to decide what counselling support to provide. The ‘Counselling in Schools’ guidance referred to in the previous answer, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/counselling-in-schools, provides detailed advice on the benefits that counselling can bring to a school and how to provide access to safe and effective services. It gives strong advice that, when commissioning external counselling, schools should look to use providers that can give assurance the counsellor is properly trained, supported, professionally supervised, insured and working within agreed policy frameworks and standards, and accountable to a professional body with a clearly articulated complaints procedure. It also sets out that where schools employ their own counsellor, they should employ staff with a minimum of a diploma in counselling (typically two years part time study), who are on a voluntary register that has been accredited by the Professional Standards Authority, and ideally hold accreditation with a professional body.

30th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether non-UK EU students will be able to take out loans with the Students Loans Company after the UK leaves the EU.

We recognise how important it is that students and institutions have information on eligibility for student support before applications for courses open.

Applications for courses starting in academic year 2020/21 do not open until September 2019. Eligibility and fee arrangements for prospective EU students who apply for tuition fee loans and student finance support in that academic year via the Student Loans Company is under consideration.

30th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of ensuring that the national curriculum includes outdoor learning on the natural environment.

Outdoor education can play an important role for many subjects in the school curriculum. It can include cultural trips, environmental and countryside education, science and geography fieldwork, and visits to museums and heritage sites. For some subjects such as biology and geography, fieldwork is a part of the national curriculum and a requirement of GCSE subject content.

In recognition of these benefits, the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, published in January 2018, included £10 million funding from the Department to help more children from disadvantaged backgrounds to have contact with nature.

The Government does not prescribe how schools should teach or what outdoor activities they should offer. They have the freedom to plan and deliver curricula that meet the educational needs and interests of their pupils, provided they meet any statutory requirements.

24th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of strengthening the provision of environmental education in the curriculum.

It is important that children are taught about the environment, and there is already a good level of content about this in both the geography and science curricula and qualifications. This begins in year one of primary school where pupils are encouraged to explore their local environment to identify the many different plants, including trees, and find out about animals in their habitat.

Other topics in the primary curriculum include how weather changes across the four seasons and looking at how environments can change as a result of human actions. In secondary school science pupils are taught about how changes in the environment affect different species, the importance of maintaining biodiversity and the production of carbon dioxide by human activity, and the effect this has on the climate. This is expanded on in GCSE science, where pupils will consider the evidence for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change. As part of GCSE geography pupils will look at the causes, consequences of and responses to extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards.

The Department is also funding the Children and Nature Programme, a £10 million programme that aims to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds to have better access to the natural environment. This includes studying about nature and how to care for the natural environment.

24th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to introduce compulsory work experience for secondary school students.

The careers statutory guidance makes it clear that schools should offer experiences of work and other employer-based encounters as part of their careers strategy for pupils from year 8 to year 13. Schools are free to decide how this is delivered. The Gatsby Benchmarks also recommend that secondary schools offer every young person at least 7 encounters with employers throughout their education.

We want all young people, irrespective of their background, to learn from employers about work and the skills that are valued in the workplace. Activities involving employers, such as careers insights, mentoring, work tasters and work experience, are crucial in giving young people the skills that they need to succeed.

That is why we are funding the Careers & Enterprise Company to help connect schools and colleges with employers in order to provide meaningful encounters with the world of work for young people. They do this through their Enterprise Adviser Network, Careers Hubs and investment funds. We are also working with the Careers & Enterprise Company to better understand the barriers that students face in accessing work experience.

23rd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the correlation between off-rolling pupils and inadequate mental health services in schools.

The law is clear that a pupil’s name can only be deleted from the admission register on the grounds prescribed in regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, as amended. The regulation can be found here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/1751/regulation/8/made.

Pupils leave school rolls for many reasons including: permanent exclusion, moving to another school, or changes of circumstances (as when a pupil moves to a new area). All schools must notify the local authority when a pupil’s name is to be deleted from the admission register.

Statutory guidance on exclusions is also clear that ‘informal’ or ‘unofficial’ exclusions are unlawful, regardless of whether they occur with the agreement of parents or carers. Any exclusion of a pupil, even for short periods of time, must be formally recorded.

The Department wrote to all secondary schools last summer, reminding them of the rules surrounding exclusion.

Ofsted has also issued guidance to inspectors, reminding them to be alert to this matter. The guidance makes clear that instances of off-rolling should be discussed with the school during the inspection, and should inform the evaluation of the school.

The Government is making sure that there is better access to specialist mental health support and treatment for pupils that need it. Under the NHS Long Term Plan mental health services will continue to receive a growing share of the NHS budget, with funding to grow by at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24. For the first time, funding for children and young people’s mental health services will grow faster than both overall NHS funding and total mental health spending. This will mean that by 2023/24 an extra 345,000 children and young people aged 0-25 will receive mental health support via NHS-funded mental health services and school or college-based Mental Health Support Teams.

18th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect of the new baseline test on children's (a) confidence and (b) relationships with (i) teachers and (ii) other pupils.

As we develop the reception baseline assessment (RBA), we are continuing to discuss its implementation with a wide range of stakeholders, including teachers, early years practitioners and assessment experts. We will conduct a voluntary national pilot in the autumn of this year, which will enable us to consider pupils’ experiences of the assessment ahead of its scheduled statutory rollout in September 2020.

Most, if not all, schools carry out assessments of pupils when they start reception so they can ascertain their level of development and plan teaching and learning. While the precise nature of these assessments may vary, the RBA will be broadly consistent with activities that take place in reception classrooms – for example, counting and describing pictures.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential negative effects of the use of isolation booths on children's education.

Schools develop their own behaviour policies and strategies for managing behaviour. To help schools develop effective strategies, the Department has produced advice for schools which covers what should be included in the behaviour policy. This advice can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-and-discipline-in-schools.

Schools can adopt a policy which allows disruptive pupils to be placed in isolation away from other pupils for a limited period. If a school uses isolation rooms as a disciplinary penalty, this should be made clear in their behaviour policy. As with other disciplinary penalties, schools must act lawfully, reasonably and proportionately in all cases. The school must also ensure the health and safety of pupils.

As part of Ofsted inspections schools will be asked to provide records and analysis of any use of internal insolation. Ofsted inspectors will expect schools to have clear and effective behaviour policies that promote high standards of behaviour that are applied consistently and fairly. In reaching a judgement on pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare, inspectors will take account of a range of information, including schools’ use of internal isolation.

The Department regularly reviews the guidance issued to schools and updates it as appropriate.

18th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the implications for Government policies of the conclusions of the report, The Causal Effects of Adolescent School Bullying Victimisation on Later Life Outcomes by the Institute of Labor Economics.

The Department for Education has not held any specific discussions with the Department for Work and Pensions about this report, but officials and ministers regularly meet counterparts to discuss a wide range of issues.

The Department’s 'Preventing and tackling bullying' guidance sets out out that bullying can be a barrier to pupils’ education and have serious consequences for their mental health. Bullying which takes place at school can have a lasting effect on lives well into adulthood. This guidance includes a clear message that bullying, for whatever reason, is unacceptable and should never be tolerated. All schools are legally required to have a behaviour policy with measures to prevent all forms of bullying.

The Department supports schools to tackle bullying. In addition to updating the Department’s guidance, steps have been taken to strengthen teachers' powers to enforce discipline and promote good behaviour; and the Government is providing over £2.8 million of funding between September 2016 and March 2020 to four anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying.

The Government is also making relationships education compulsory in all primary schools, relationships and sex education compulsory in all secondary schools and health education compulsory in all state-funded schools in England. Under content regarding respectful relationships, the draft guidance sets out that pupils should know about the different types of bullying, the impact it has, the responsibility of bystanders and how to get help.

10th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on schools in England using crowdfunding to raise money for supplies.

The Department does not collect information about how many schools use crowdfunding to raise money for supplies. Schools’ financial returns show that income from donations and voluntary funds has remained steady at about 0.7% of schools’ overall budgets since 2011-12.

4th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of grammar instruction provided on teacher training courses.

To complete teacher training courses and become a qualified teacher, trainees must meet the standards set out in the ‘teachers’ standards’ published in 2011, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teachers-standards.

This requires trainees to demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge, including taking responsibility for promoting high standards of literacy and the correct use of standard English, whatever the teacher’s specialist subject.

The Department published further guidance, ‘A framework of core content for initial teacher training’ (ITT), in July 2016. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-government-response-to-carter-review.

The framework sets out ITT providers’ responsibility to audit trainees’ subject knowledge early in their training, and make provision to ensure that trainees have sufficient subject knowledge to satisfy the teachers’ standards by the end of their training.

At their most recent Ofsted inspection, 99% of all ITT providers were rated good or outstanding.

In the Recruitment and Retention Strategy, published in January 2019, the Department committed to reviewing ITT core content guidance using the Early Career Framework as our starting point. Details of this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-recruitment-and-retention-strategy.

3rd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that teachers are adequately trained to advise students on the benefits of apprenticeships.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) provides a programme in schools and further education colleges across England called the Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge for Schools (ASK) Programme, which provides a face-to-face and or digital services incorporating advice, information and continuous professional development resources for teachers.

This service has been provided for students in years 10 to 13 since 2016 and will be extended to provide for students in years 7 to 9 for the 2019/20 academic year. In conjunction with this, we will seek feedback from teachers to inform our review of the content of the ASK programme to ensure that delivery is progressive throughout each school year.

To complement this work, the ESFA also have developed Amazing Apprenticeships which is a resource portal for schools, colleges and those providing advice and guidance on apprenticeships. The site contains a wealth of useful resources that are downloadable and free of charge and includes a facility for schools to book a visit from a young apprenticeship ambassador or an ASK provider.

Every school and college must have a Careers Leader who co-ordinates their institution's careers provision and is responsible and accountable for the delivery of their school or college careers programme.

2nd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effects of food poverty on children and young people's physical, emotional and educational well-being.

The government supports the provision of nutritious food in schools, which ensures pupils are well nourished, develop healthy eating habits and can concentrate and learn. We encourage a healthy balanced diet and healthy life choices through school funding, legislation and guidance. Under the benefits-based criteria, around 1.1 million of the most disadvantaged children are eligible for and claiming free school meals – saving families around £400 per year. Benefits-based free meals were extended to disadvantaged further education students in September 2014. A further 1.5 million infants receive free nutritious meals under the universal infant free school meals scheme.

We are also investing up to £26 million to the National Schools Breakfast Programme. This money will kick-start or improve breakfast clubs in over 1,700 schools and target the most disadvantaged areas of the country, including Opportunity Areas. Healthy breakfast clubs can play an important role in ensuring children from all backgrounds have a healthy start to their day so that they enhance their learning potential.

In addition, in 2018 the government announced a programme of work to explore how to ensure disadvantaged young people can access healthy food and enriching activities over the school holidays. We awarded £2 million to 7 organisations to deliver free healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children during the 2018 summer holidays. In November 2018, we announced details of a £9 million fund for summer 2019 to set-up local coordinators of free holiday activities and food provision in summer 2019 in a number of local authorities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate has he made of the number of schools closing early as a result of a lack of resources.

Information on when schools finish their school day is not held centrally.

All maintained schools are required to educate pupils for at least 380 sessions each school year. They cannot reduce the length of the school week if this would take the total number of sessions below that.

All schools have the autonomy to decide the structure and duration of their school day, which includes the flexibility to decide when their school day should start and finish. Where schools use this flexibility, they should take into account local circumstances and the needs of their students and staff.

In the event that a school decides to make changes to its school day the Department would encourage them to do this in consultation with parents. It is the Department’s expectation that the school should act reasonably when making such decisions; giving parents notice and considering the impacts on those affected.

18th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of counselling services provided in schools in (a) England and (b) Staffordshire; and if he will make a statement.

The Department recognises that school based counselling by well-qualified practitioners can play an effective role as part of a whole school approach to supporting mental health and wellbeing. It is for schools to decide what support to put in place based on the particular needs of their pupils.

The Department has not made a specific assessment of the adequacy of counselling services provided in schools. However, the Department's nationally representative survey of school provision published in 2017 indicated that 61% of schools offer counselling services, with 84% of secondary schools providing their pupils with access to counselling support.[1] To support schools to provide counselling, the Government has provided advice on how to deliver high quality school-based counselling.[2]

The Government is introducing new mental health support teams to provide additional support linked to groups of schools and colleges. The first teams are being set up in 25 areas of the country this year. The aim is for these teams to work together with existing provision, including school-based counselling. The Government will evaluate their introduction to ensure that they do not displace existing provision.

[1] Supporting Mental Health in Schools and Colleges (2017).

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/counselling-in-schools.

5th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help halt the decline in people studying modern languages at university.

The institutional autonomy of English Higher Education (HE) providers is protected by the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. This includes autonomy over which courses to offer and which students to admit. The role of government is to create the right conditions and incentives so that HE providers are able to help respond to our economic and strategic priorities. We also want to enable students to make informed choices, and for student demand to influence the decisions providers make on what to offer.

In England, we agree that learning foreign language is important and believe that building the skills and demand for degree courses starts in schools. That is why we are taking a number of steps to support schools in encouraging uptake of language qualifications.

This includes:

  • Introducing the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) performance measure in 2010 to halt the decline in the number of pupils taking GCSEs in the core academic subjects. The reformed national curriculum now makes it compulsory for pupils in maintained schools to be taught a foreign language in key stage 2.
  • Promoting the value of language qualifications to students who are choosing their GCSEs and to their parents. We recently published and promoted a guidance leaflet for parents, which explains why studying a language, as part of the EBacc, broadens opportunities in both education and employment. Additionally, in February we drew attention to the benefits of studying a language among 13-14 year olds through a social media campaign.
  • Supporting schools to increase languages take up through the £10 million Mandarin Excellence Programme and through a £4.8 million modern foreign languages pedagogy pilot programme, which will improve uptake and attainment in languages at key stages 3 to 4, particularly for disadvantaged pupils.
26th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the February 2019 report by Action for Children and others which linked reductions in local children's services with an increase in youth violence and exploitation; and if he will make a statement.

At Autumn Budget, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced an extra £410 million to address pressures on social care services, along with £84 million over 5 years to support up to 20 local authorities to improve their social work practice and decision-making, enabling them to work more effectively with the most vulnerable children and their families.

This builds on the £200 billion government has already made available to councils up to 2020 to provide services in the best interests of local residents, including those for children and young people.

We are also working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the sector to ensure decisions around core funding made at Spending Review, and how it is shared between local authorities as part of the review of relative needs and resources, are informed by the best available evidence.

Additionally, the National Safeguarding Practice Review Panel has announced its first review into adolescents at risk of criminal exploitation focusing on whether young people get the help they need, when they need it and how services can be improved to prevent further harm: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/child-safeguarding-practice-review-panel-first-national-review.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support visually impaired students to (a) study and (b) live independently in higher education.

Higher Education providers have legal responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to support disabled students, including those with visual impairments, for example, by making reasonable adjustments. The responsibility to support students should include communicating what support and services are available. Alongside this, eligible students can receive support through Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs), which can help with the costs of additional learning-related equipment, personal support and travel disabled students may incur. Visually impaired students eligible for DSAs receive specialist professional support, for example in making the best use of specialist equipment and in modifying learning materials into accessible formats.

I recently met organisations who represent visually impaired students, and agreed that the department will work with them to ensure the support available through DSAs continues to enable visually impaired students to participate fully in higher education.

21st Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that young carers are identified and adequately supported through their schooling.

The government is committed to supporting children and young people to improve their health and wellbeing, and to protect them from excessive or inappropriate caring responsibilities that can impact on their education.

The cross-government ‘Carers Action Plan’ (published June 2018), a 2 year programme of tailored work to support unpaid carers of all ages, aims to improve the identification of young carers; improving their educational opportunities and outcomes; providing support to young carers, particularly to vulnerable children; and improving access to services. The Children in Need review is also identifying how to spread best practice on raising educational outcomes.

The Department for Education provides schools with £2.4 billion each year in additional funding through the pupil premium to support disadvantaged pupils. Each eligible pupil attracts £1,320 to primary schools and £935 to secondary schools. Eligibility for the pupil premium is based largely on current or past claims for free school meals. Some research with young carers aged 14-16 suggested that around 60% already attract the pupil premium through their eligibility for free school meals.

We expect schools to make effective use of their pupil premium and do not tell them how to use it. Schools know their pupils best and will spend the grant to meet pupil needs, which may include needs arising from a caring role. Schools are held to account for their pupil premium use through school inspection and information in performance tables, and most schools are required to publish details about their pupil premium strategy and its impact.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
20th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure the adequacy of support for deaf schoolchildren in mainstream schools.

I am determined that all children and young people, including those who are deaf or have a hearing impairment, receive the support they need to achieve the success they deserve.

94% of pupils identified with hearing impairment as their primary type of need in January 2018 were in a state-funded mainstream school. It is therefore important that teachers in mainstream schools, as well as those in specialist settings, are equipped with the knowledge and skill to support their individual pupils, including those with a hearing impairment, to achieve their potential.

In April 2018 the Whole School special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) consortium, led by nasen, were awarded £3.4 million for 2018-2020 to deliver a programme of work to equip the school workforce to deliver high quality teaching across all types of SEND, including hearing impairment. The programme of work aims to help schools identify and meet SEND training needs and build the specialist workforce. We are also reviewing the learning outcomes of specialist SEND qualifications, including the mandatory qualifications for teachers of classes with hearing impairment, to ensure they reflect the changing needs of the education system.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans for all secondary school students to receive compulsory first aid training, resulting in a formal qualification.

The draft guidance for the new subjects of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education is currently being finalised following the public consultation that closed in November 2018.

The Department has set out in the draft statutory guidance that health education should cover first aid and emergency lifesaving. Schools will have flexibility to determine how the content is taught, including options to work with expert organisations such as the British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross, that offer a range of specialist lesson plans, some of which may result in a recognised qualification.

Subject to making the regulations, schools will be required to teach the new subjects from September 2020, but they will be encouraged and supported to start teaching them from September 2019 on a voluntary basis.

7th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the UK remains part of the Erasmus programme after 29 March 2019.

The UK government has repeatedly made clear that it values international exchange and collaboration in education and training as part of its vision for a global Britain, and we believe that the UK and European countries should continue to give young people and students the chance to benefit from each other’s world leading universities post-exit.

In the event that there is no agreement between the UK and the EU on the Withdrawal Agreement – a “no deal” scenario - it is clearly in the interests of both parties to agree how we can ensure that mobilities and projects can be managed smoothly to completion. This will provide clarity and reassurance for both UK and EU students and institutions.

The government’s guarantee will cover the payment of awards to UK applicants for all successful Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps bids submitted before the end of 2020. Successful bids are those that are approved directly by the European Commission or by the UK National Agency and ratified by the European Commission.

To provide more clarity, we published a new technical notice at the end of January, which provides detailed guidance to organisations and students on the UK’s anticipated participation in the current Erasmus+ programme (2014 to 2020) in the event of no deal. You can read this here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/erasmus-in-the-uk-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/erasmus-in-the-uk-if-theres-no-brexit-deal .

4th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to (a) ensure that social workers are adequately trained to respond to cases of trafficked children that subsequently go missing and (b) improve the recording and reporting practices by local authorities on trafficked children.

On 1 November 2017, the government published revised and expanded statutory guidance for local authorities on the care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery, which sets out the training and awareness requirements for all those involved in the care of these vulnerable children. This guidance is available to social workers along with the statutory guidance on children who go missing from care, and practice guidance on children who may have been trafficked. Local authorities are best placed to then ensure that social workers receive the training they need to meet the needs of children locally.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 introduced a duty to local authorities to refer all child victims of trafficking or modern slavery into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the UK’s system for identify and supporting victims. A referral into this system enables accurate recording and reporting by the Home Office on a quarterly basis. As part of NRM reform the government is conducting a review of how first responders should be trained. This will include understanding how to support all first responders in making these referrals which will support improved recording and reporting.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
4th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of implications for his policies of the recommendation in the Staying put: an unfulfilled promise, published by the Fostering Network in November 2018.

‘Staying Put’ has helped thousands of care leavers to transition more smoothly from care to living independently. It provides continuity of relationships and care arrangements, enabling care leavers to benefit from a stable and secure family setting, and to prepare for independence at a more gradual pace, rather than facing a ‘cliff-edge’ at age 18.

The government keeps the Staying Put policy under constant review, including through monitoring data from local authorities on take-up by young people, engagement with the sector, and reviewing information from Ofsted inspections of local authorities. Staying Put was also considered as part of the independent fostering review undertaken by Sir Martin Narey and Mark Owers, published in February 2018.

The latest data show that increasing numbers of care leavers are living in Staying Put arrangements. In the year ending March 2018, 55% of 18-year-olds chose to Stay Put, which is an increase of 4% on 2017. Furthermore, the data show that 31% of 19-year-olds, and 26% of 20-year-olds were still living with their former foster carers, which represent increases on the previous year.

In 2018 to 2019 the government provided £23.3 million to local authorities to implement Staying Put, with a further £23.77 million committed for 2019 to 2020. Decisions on funding beyond March 2020 will be subject to the outcome of the next Spending Review.

The government does not believe that introducing a national minimum allowance for Staying Put carers is the right way forward. Unlike children in foster care, young people in Staying Put arrangements are adults, and may be in work or claiming benefits. These financial sources can be used to contribute to the cost of providing the Staying Put arrangement, in a similar way that young people who are still living at home with their parents may contribute to the costs of running the household.

The government does not believe a foster carer’s approval should automatically lapse after 12 months if they are a Staying Put carer. We will communicate this message to the sector.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the correlation between deprivation and demand for children’s services.

Demand for children’s services is associated with a number of factors, including deprivation. The most deprived local authorities (LAs) have more looked after children (per 10,000 17 year olds), and these rates have grown faster than the least deprived LAs.

In preparation for the Spending Review, to help ensure decisions are based on the best available evidence, the government is working with the sector to develop a sharper and more granular picture of demand for children’s services.

We are also working with Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as part of the Government’s Fair Funding Review of relative needs and resources, where new, up-to-date formulas are being developed to ensure funding distribution to councils is based on the best available evidence.

We welcome the contributions from the sector in this area, including Newton Europe’s Making Sense (2018) report and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services' continuing research reports, Safeguarding Pressures (2018).

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with cigarette manufacturers on eliminating plastic in cigarette butts.

The Government published the Resources and Waste Strategy last year, setting out our plans to reduce, reuse and recycle more plastic than we do now. Our target is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the life of the 25 Year Environment Plan, but for the most problematic plastics we are going faster.

We pledged £20 million to the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund which aims to reduce the environmental costs of plastic and litter. Our sights are set on problematic plastics such as cigarette filters which contain single-plastic polymers and blight our streets and seas. The fund will seek to deliver strategic networking and research that will coordinate existing knowledge across the UK, catalysing new ideas and rapid solutions.

Ministers have met twice with the Tobacco Manufacturers Association in the last three years, but the Government has not held discussions with any individual tobacco companies about eliminating plastic in cigarette butts.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with the British Horseracing Authority on changes to reduce the death rate of horses.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to the Hon. Member for Slough on 4 July 2019, PQ 263251. Since then Defra officials have met the British Horseracing Authority and will continue to do so, to ensure actions to improve horserace welfare are maintained.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will take steps to ban the (a) production and (b) use of polystyrene plastic packaging in the UK.

Packaging materials, including polystyrene, are already covered by the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations which place a legal obligation on businesses that make or use packaging to ensure that a proportion of the packaging they sell is recovered and recycled. This creates an incentive for companies to use less packaging and to ensure that their packaging can be recycled at end of life as it will reduce their costs in complying with the Regulations.

In general, we prefer to help people and companies make the right choice, rather than banning items outright. We have, however, recently consulted on changes to the packaging producer responsibility scheme, looking at all aspects of the regime including mechanisms to encourage increased recyclability.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of obligating all retailers to ensure that the packaging of products they sell can be recycled locally before stocking those products.

The Government has recently consulted on a package of measures to overhaul the waste and recycling system, including proposed reforms to the packaging producer responsibility system which will incentivise producers, including retailers, to make better, more sustainable decisions when designing and using packaging including using packaging that can be easily recycled. This consultation also proposed a mandatory UK-wide labelling scheme that provides clear information to help people to recycle, and improved communication campaigns funded by packaging producers to help consumers to know what and how to recycle. We will take primary powers in the Environment Bill to enable us to implement new extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems.

In addition, we have consulted on measures to achieve greater consistency in recycling provision across England, so that there is less confusion over how the packaging that retailers do sell can be recycled. The measures in both consultations will be implemented in 2023 and will be complimentary.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that no products linked to Amazon deforestation are sold in the UK.

The UK Government is committed to supporting deforestation-free supply chains as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan.

To address the footprint of products linked to deforestation, such as soya and beef, we have established the Global Resource Initiative (GRI). Led by a taskforce comprising of senior representatives from the private sector and civil society, the GRI will produce a set of recommendations in early 2020 to address the impact of the UK’s commodity supply chains. These recommendations may relate to regulatory and policy measures, transparency, financial incentives, trade, sustainable procurement and/or the role of the consumer. To address issues in relation to soya specifically, we have established the UK Roundtable on Sustainable Soya which has recently led to 83% of the UK retail market publishing concrete sourcing policies to deliver sustainable soya to the UK market.

The Government works in partnership with countries in the Amazon to tackle deforestation and has invested nearly £120 million through the UK’s International Climate Finance on projects to support sustainable agriculture, prevent forest fires and implement the Forest Code in the Amazon, Atlantic Forest and Cerrado biomes. Following the Amazon fires the UK has pledged a further £10 million to protect and restore the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the effect of sea-bed mining on the ocean ecosystem.

I refer my Hon Friend to the reply previously given on July 29 to PQ 277681.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will take steps to ban the (a) production and (b) use of polystyrene plastic packaging in the UK.

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

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of people prosecuted for illegal waste exports in each of the last 12 months.

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

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of obligating all retailers to ensure that the packaging of products sold can be recycled locally before stocking those products.

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

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department plans to introduce a ban on the sale of plastic tea bags.

The Department has no plans to introduce a ban on the sale of plastic tea bags.

In general, we prefer to help people and companies make the right choice, rather than banning items outright. Where progress is insufficient we will explore alternative policy measures, which may involve further bans as part of a wider strategic approach.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to avoid food shortages in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

The UK Government has well established ways of working with the food industry. The food industry is experienced in dealing with scenarios that can affect food supply and Defra Ministers and officials meet regularly with the food industry to support contingency planning by the industry as we prepare to leave the EU.

Consumers have access to a wide range of food products when they shop and this will continue once we leave the EU. However, if key trade routes are temporarily disrupted, there would be reduced availability and choice of certain food products, including some of the fresh produce we import from the EU. If we have to leave with no deal, there will not be an overall shortage of food in the UK.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to ban cages for all farm animals in the UK.

The issue of cages for farmed animals is one in which the government is taking a close interest. We have already banned cages or close confinement systems where there is clear scientific evidence that they are detrimental to animal health and welfare. We banned the keeping of calves in veal crates in 1990, sixteen years before the rest of the EU. We banned the keeping of sows in close confinement stalls in the UK in 1999, and conventional battery cages for laying hens in 2012. I am pleased that the UK has by far the largest free range laying hen sector of any EU country, with over 50% of our hens kept in free range systems.

The government is actively looking into the use of cages and we will be considering the full range of options that are available for future reform.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of obligating all retailers to ensure that the packaging of products sold can be recycled locally before stocking those products.

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

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will take steps to ban the (a) production and (b) use of polystyrene plastic packaging in the UK.

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

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of people prosecuted for illegal waste exports in each of the last 12 months.

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

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
24th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the Government's timescale is for bringing forward legislative proposals to implement its commitment to achieving WHO guideline limits on air pollution by 2030.

We will share more detail on policy measures for consideration in the Environment Bill in due course.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
23rd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps his Department is taking to increase collaboration between the Animal and Plant Health Agency and veterinary regulatory authorities in other countries to tackle provision of fake pet passports and veterinary certificates for dogs being imported into the UK.

Defra takes the issue of illegal dog and puppy imports very seriously. This is an abhorrent trade which causes suffering to the smuggled dogs and puts the health of pets and people in the UK at risk. Defra is working hard to tackle the problem through a comprehensive approach that seeks to target both the supply and demand of illegally imported dogs.

International engagement is one aspect of this approach. It takes place through Defra, with input from APHA intelligence and expertise. Under Article 26 of EU Regulation 1/2005 (on the protection of animals during transport and related operations), Defra notify Member States of the origin of the transporter where a welfare issue with an import has been identified. We send these to notify the Member State so that they can take remedial action to ensure that the transporter complies in future. The notifications include details of passports and certificates. The UK Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) has written to her counterparts in countries where illegally imported dogs typically originate, including (most recently) her counterparts in Hungary and Serbia. The issue also continues to be raised and discussed at EU CVO meetings.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to create a centrally accessible database logging pets' microchip numbers and date of entry into the UK.

It is already a requirement for every dog in the UK to be identified by a microchip and its details to be recorded on a recognised database. This includes dogs imported from outside the UK. Defra will shortly be issuing a call for evidence on whether to introduce compulsory microchipping for all cats in England. Furthermore, all pets (cats, dogs and ferrets) entering Great Britain on approved routes have their microchip scanned and recorded by the carrier at the time of travel.

We do not consider it necessary at this time to introduce an additional database along the lines proposed.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all dog and cat rehoming centres are adequately regulated.

As with anyone who owns or keeps animals, rescue and rehoming centres are subject to the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which means they must provide for the animals’ welfare needs and protect them from pain, injury and disease. During the consultation on whether to ban the third party selling of puppies and kittens, carried out last year, we included a question about whether rescue and rehoming centres should be regulated. We need to be confident of the benefits and the impacts of any regulations placed on rescue and rehoming centres, particularly on some of the smaller rescues. We will put forward legislative proposals at the earliest possible point, once we have fully consulted with the sector and understood the impact of any proposals.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with toilet tissue manufacturers on (a) increasing the amount of recycled pulp used in that tissue and (b) investing in more sustainable alternatives to paper-based products.

We have not had any discussions with toilet tissue manufacturers on increasing the amount of recycled pulp used in that tissue or investing in more sustainable alternatives to paper based products.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
19th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a complete ban on single-use plastic bags.

The Government commissioned an independent study last year to assess the impacts of a potential ban on single-use carrier bags in England. Based on wide evidence, we are not currently considering an outright ban.

We recognise the role that a single-use carrier bag can play in spontaneous unplanned purchasing, and that alternative bag types can potentially have a significantly higher carbon impact than single-use carrier bags.

Consequently, we published a consultation to extend the existing carrier bag charge to all retailer and to increase the minimum charge to 10p. Both the summary and Government responses will be published in due course.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
18th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of giving people a monthly allowance to spend on fresh, healthy and locally sourced food in a bid to (a) tackle obesity and (b) support the farming industry.

There are existing schemes that support the consumption of healthy food. For example, the Healthy Start scheme provides vouchers for lower income families which can be used to buy, or be put towards the cost of, fruit, vegetables, milk and infant formula.

In addition, Defra has commissioned its lead non-executive director, Henry Dimbleby, to lead an independent review to develop a series of recommendations that will help shape a national food strategy. It will cover the entire food chain from field to fork, building on work already underway in the Agriculture Bill, the Environment Bill, the Fisheries Bill and the Childhood Obesity Plan. This will help ensure that our food system delivers healthy and affordable food and is built upon a resilient and sustainable agriculture sector.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to increase support for catalytic chemical recycling and upcycling to realise the ambition of zero plastic waste.

£4.7 million of grant funding was announced on 12 June and made available through the Waste & Resources Action Programme, to support new capital infrastructure projects that will help to recycle difficult plastic packaging and textile materials.

The Government also incentivises business-led technology innovation through Innovate UK and its role to fund business-led innovation through the allocation of competitively awarded grants. This fund has previously supported chemicals recycling projects. Further details on Innovate UK are available at: www.gov.uk/innovate-uk.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
17th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the creation of national recovery network maps to identify (a) the location of wildlife and (b) where wildlife should be in the future.

This is already part of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
12th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to encourage (a) supermarkets, (b) restaurant chains and (c) hotel groups to sign up to the European chicken commitment.

The Government shares the public’s high regard for animal welfare, and the welfare of our farmed livestock in all systems is protected by comprehensive and robust legislation. After we leave the EU we will look to strengthen our world class welfare standards as new research and evidence emerges. In England, we intend to develop publicly funded schemes for farmers to deliver animal welfare enhancements beyond our high regulatory baseline that are valued by the public, but not sufficiently rewarded by the market. We also want to provide greater transparency and certainty for consumers, so that they have a clear understanding of the animal welfare standards applying to products. We note that the European Chicken Commitment initiative is also promoting enhancements beyond the regulatory baseline and we look forward to seeing how this voluntary initiative progresses.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that homeowners are aware of Japanese knotweed, and what guidance his Department provides to homeowners who are affected by that invasive species.

Gov.uk contains a guidance page that provides information on the identification and treatment of Japanese Knotweed as well as providing links to The Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association and Property Care Association website for further advice.

The Non-Native Species Secretariat website includes general information on Japanese knotweed and has also made a good practice management guide for Japanese knotweed freely available for download.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
11th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to ban the import of beef from South America if it does not meet UK standards for sustainable farming after the UK leaves the EU.

Our current high standards, including import requirements, will apply when we leave the EU. High standards and high quality are what our domestic and global customers demand, and that is what we will provide. We have been clear across Government, from the Prime Minister down, that we will not lower our standards in pursuit of trade deals.

10th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to promote a monetary returns scheme for coffee pods.

The Department has no plans to promote a monetary returns scheme for coffee pods at this time. Coffee pods will be captured under our reforms to extended producer responsibility.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
8th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to advise local authorities against opting for commingled recycling to avoid the hgh risk of contamination.

Regulation 13 of the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 states that every waste collection authority (local authority) must, when making arrangements for the collection of waste paper, metal, plastic or glass, ensure those arrangements are by way of separate collection.

This duty applies unless separate collection is not technically, environmentally or economically practicable (TEEP) or where the separate collection is not necessary to ensure waste is recovered in accordance with Articles 4 and 13 of the Waste Framework Directive. In other words, separate collection is the default unless it is not TEEP.

Our consultation ‘Consistency in household and business recycling collections in England’ sought views on separate collection of recycling materials. We intend to prepare statutory guidance which will set out advice and good practice and help local authorities to meet their duties in relation to the separate collection of recycling materials.

The Government’s response to the consultation will be published shortly.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
8th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of banning thiacloprid, which is harmful to (a) bees and (b) humans.

The Government’s priority is to protect people and the environment. Pesticides are only authorised if scientific evidence shows that they will not harm human health and do not have unacceptable effects on the environment. All pesticides are subject to regular review to ensure that they meet the latest standards of safety for people and to the environment. Thiacloprid is currently under review and will be withdrawn or restricted if the scientific assessment finds that this is appropriate.

4th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with soft drinks manufacturers on phasing out single-use plastic bottles.

We have not had discussions on phasing out single use plastic bottles. However, as part of our wider consultation on the introduction of a deposit return scheme for drinks containers, we have been working closely with soft drinks manufacturers and other stakeholders on proposals aimed at boosting recycling rates, reducing littering and recovering high quality materials for reprocessing. The consultation closed on 13 May and we will issue a response in due course.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
26th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has with Cabinet colleagues on requiring schools to be energy independent.

The Secretary of State has not had any recent discussions on this subject. Energy policy is the responsibility of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
26th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the quantity of UK plastic waste that has been returned from countries overseas; what steps he is taking to dispose of that waste; and if he will make a statement.

Waste management is a devolved matter and the figures provided here for plastic waste returned in the years 2016 to 2018 relate to England only.

The tonnages of returned waste shown in the table below are derived from requests made by regulators in other countries to the Environment Agency. When these instances occur the Environment Agency requires the exporter of the waste to make arrangements to bring it back. It is also the responsibility of the exporter to arrange for the returned waste to be dealt with in accordance with the waste hierarchy and in compliance with UK waste legislation.

Information on the corresponding annual tonnage and value of UK plastic waste exports are provided for the purpose of context.

Year

Plastic waste exported from UK, kilotonnes1

Value of plastic waste exports from UK, £m2

Plastic waste returned to England, kilotonnes3

2016

789.9

158.2

0.03

2017

660.7

138.7

4.19

2018

611.9

107.5

1.36

Sources:

1 and 2: HMRC customs data

3: Environment Agency

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
24th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing more support for farmers to control weeds without using synthetic herbicides.

Effective weed control is key to successful crop production and grassland management. Herbicides are one means of controlling weeds but there are a number of other tools including variety selection, crop rotation and cultivation techniques. Regulation of herbicides is rigorous and they are not authorised for use if they may harm health or risk unacceptable impacts on the environment.

The 25 Year Environment Plan states the Government’s intention to put Integrated Pest Management (IPM) at the heart of its approach. IPM aims to design farming systems so as to minimise the need for pesticides, including herbicides, and to make the greatest possible use of alternative approaches. We will develop and implement policies that encourage and support this approach, building on existing work to research and promote new techniques and products that provide alternatives to chemical pesticides. Where these practices are shown to deliver environmental outcomes, farmers who adopt them will be well placed to benefit from a future Environmental Land Management system.

21st Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to ensure that commercial fishing becomes more sustainable (a) in the UK and (b) globally.

The UK Government remains fully committed to sustainable fisheries management and the principle of maximum sustainable yield (MSY). This will not change once we are outside the EU.

In recent years we have successfully introduced a range of selectivity and spatial avoidance measures in our fisheries to help reduce unwanted bycatch and discarding, including cod in the Irish Sea nephrops fishery. In the North Sea, a fleet of vessels participating in an annual scheme to fully document catches have successfully cut their unwanted catch of unmarketable fish, including undersized fish, from their mixed fishery. We also continue to take a strong and principled position on sustainable fishing internationally, including most recently calling for reductions in catches of yellowfin tuna at the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, and arguing against an in year increase in the total allowable catch for North East Atlantic mackerel as part of a balanced sustainable approach.

The Fisheries Bill introduced to Parliament in October 2018 provides a framework to enable us to continue to push for more stocks being fished at MSY and delivering our ambition for sustainable fishing in the future. The first clause will enact several sustainability objectives, one of which is to restore fish stocks to levels capable of producing MSY. The Bill provides for a binding duty on the UK and devolved administrations to produce a statutory Joint Fisheries Statement. This statement must include policies for the achievement of the sustainability objectives.

20th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress the Government is making on implementing the amendments to the Waste Framework Directive which requires separate collection of clothing waste from households and increased re-use of textiles by 2025.

Latest information from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) indicates that 90 local authorities in England offer households a kerbside collection of textiles. Many more provide collection points at household waste recycling centres or at bring bank sites. These bring sites provide an important service where kerbside collections are not available or may not be practical. Charity shop outlets also play an important role in acting as collection points for textiles from members of the public. We want to increase the amount of textiles that are diverted from landfill and put into recycling or reuse, and will bring forward proposals as necessary to ensure separate collection of textiles by 2025.

More widely, the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy published in December 2018 sets out our plans to prevent textile waste and encourage greater circularity including reuse. These include:

  • Reviewing and consulting on Extended Producer Responsibility for textiles and four other priority waste streams;
  • Developing regulatory measures for product standards that improve the durability, repairability, and recyclability of products such as clothing;
  • Improving consumer information and supporting a shift in the market;
  • Working with brands, manufacturers, charities and others through the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan to reduce the environmental footprint of clothing and encourage consumers to donate and reuse clothing.

This month, we have also announced a multimillion pound grant scheme to support the development of textile recycling facilities in the UK. Further information on this is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/fund-opens-to-reduce-waste-from-plastic-packaging-and-textiles and applications for funding can be made through WRAP: http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/resource-action-fund.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
20th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to minimize the effect of human-made noise pollution on animal habitats where it affects animals' ability to communicate.

Under the UK Marine Strategy, the UK Government is working to ensure underwater noise generating human activities do not pose a significant risk to marine ecosystems. We currently have a limited understanding of the distribution of noise in UK seas and its impact on vulnerable species. To address this in relation to sources of continuous noise such as shipping, the UK has established a noise monitoring network, consisting of long term monitoring stations deployed in coastal waters. The information from this monitoring network will be matched with species distributions and used to inform future policy.

In order to reduce impacts, developments such as offshore wind farms are required to have pre and post consent monitoring plans which are managed by the Marine Management Organisation. For example, a Marine Mammal Mitigation Plan lists the appropriate mitigation measures that should be utilised during offshore activities that are likely to produce underwater noise and vibration levels capable of potentially causing injury and disturbance to marine mammals. Government departments including Defra and BEIS are working together to look at how underwater noise can be managed more strategically to reduce harm.

On land, the Government is committed to ensuring that noise is managed effectively in order to promote good health and quality of life. We have protections in place to avoid significant noise impacts through our planning system, our environmental permitting systems, in vehicle and product standards, and noise abatement legislation. Defra works with other Government departments whose policies could potentially impact on noise levels.

National Planning Policy Guidance sets out requirements for noise to be considered for new developments with particular consideration given to development affecting designated sites. Our network of designated sites are afforded the highest level of protection. Planning authorities must consider the potential impact of activities and works on or near these sites before granting consent. Noise may also be considered for certain types of development requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
17th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural affairs, what steps he is taking to improve welfare standards in greyhound racing.

The Government takes the welfare of all racing animals very seriously. We are working closely with the main racing greyhound industry regulatory body, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) to ensure it delivers on the commitments it made to the Government, following the Government’s Post Implementation Review of the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations 2010. This includes the annual publication of injury and retirement data to improve transparency in the sport. The second set of annual figures were published on 12 June 2019.

https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/gbgb-prod-assets/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/12085443/Final-2018-Stats.pdf

The annual publication of the injury and retirement data was accompanied by an update on the progress made by the GBGB against their ‘Greyhound Commitment’. The Commitment sets out an eight point manifesto on how the GBGB is aiming to improve the welfare of racing greyhounds, and includes a commitment to ensure more greyhounds are successfully rehomed at the end of their racing lives. The GBGB have also delivered an independent welfare standard for trainers’ kennels and are also developing a UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited trainers’ licensing scheme for GBGB trainers. The Government is also considering whether further regulatory changes are required to protect the welfare of racing greyhounds used by professional trainers not running greyhounds on GBGB tracks.

To help ensure more funding for greyhound welfare, on 10 January 2019, the Government announced a new funding commitment from bookmakers worth an estimated additional £3 million this year to ensure the welfare of greyhounds is protected and improved. We expect thousands of racing greyhounds are to be better cared for as a result of this new deal. The commitment is set to increase the total amount of funding from bookmakers to the British Greyhound Racing Fund to an estimated £10 million this year.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to provide additional support for farmers in England to plant trees.

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

The Government remains committed to planting 11 million trees in this Parliament, 2017 to 2022. Woodland creation is a key activity of our 25 Year Environment Plan.

The Government already provides a range of support to landowners to plant trees through Countryside Stewardship, the Woodland Carbon Fund and the HS2 Woodland Fund. These are open to new applications from farmers and landowners who can meet the criteria for funding.

In the Autumn Budget the Government announced an additional £60 million for tree planting initiatives, comprising £10 million to fund urban tree planting and £50 million for a Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme. This is in addition to the Government’s kick start investment in the Northern Forest, and establishment of the Forestry Investment Zone (FIZ) pilot in northeast Cumbria.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the recycling symbol is (a) highly visible, (b) unambiguous and (c) on the front of packaging.

On 18 February the Government published a consultation on changes to the producer responsibility regime for packaging. As part of this consultation we have proposed a mandatory UK-wide labelling scheme which would require producers to clearly label their packaging as ‘recyclable’ or ‘not-recyclable’. This proposal will ensure the packaging labelling scheme will be: (a) highly visible, (b) unambiguous and (c) on the front of packaging.

The consultation closed on 13 May and we are currently analysing the responses. A summary of responses will be published in due course.

The details of the proposed mandatory packaging labelling scheme, such as the design of the label, will be subject to further consultation.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
13th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with water companies on (a) the modernisation of water treatment facilities and (b) increasing capacity to limit the amount of untreated sewage entering rivers.

Over the past 25 years, the water industry has spent over £25 billion on sewage treatment works and sewerage system upgrades driven by environmental directives to improve water quality. This has delivered a 61% reduction in the amount of polluting phosphorus and a 72% reduction in the amount of ammonia discharged from wastewater treatment works since 1995. In addition, 7,000 combined sewer overflows have been improved, reducing the impact of pollution from sewage discharges.

In the current investment period (2015-2020) the water companies are investing over £3 billion to improve their sewage treatment and sewerage infrastructure. During the next investment period (2020-2025), plans have been put forward to deliver over £4.5 billion on environmental improvements. These include:

(a) Modernisation of around 2,300 wastewater treatment works to meet environmental quality standards such as those required by the Water Framework Directive, Bathing Waters Directive and Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.

(b) Increasing the capacity of around 550 wastewater treatment works and storm tanks to ensure that they are treating the correct amount of sewage flow and to accommodate future growth.

(c) Investing in sewerage infrastructure improvement to monitor and reduce the frequency and volume of storm sewage discharged from combined sewer overflows.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
10th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to manage ammonia emissions from dairy and beef farming.

The Clean Air Strategy was published in January 2019 and sets out the actions the Government will take to reduce ammonia emissions from farming in line with our clean air targets. Those that are relevant to dairy and beef farming include:

- Regulating to reduce emissions from urea based fertilisers.

- Introducing legislation requiring use of low emissions spreading techniques by 2025.

- Extending environmental permitting to the dairy and intensive beef sectors by 2025.

- Regulation to require slurry and digestate stores to be covered by 2027.

In addition to these regulatory measures, the Government is providing technical and financial support for farmers to change management practices and invest in equipment to reduce ammonia emissions. For example:

- The Government is delivering a £3 million programme of support to farmers over three years showcasing low emission spreading equipment and providing advice on practical ammonia mitigation methods.

- Last year we published a code of good agricultural practice which provides guidance to farmers on how to reduce ammonia emissions.

- We have supported farmers to invest in low emissions slurry spreading equipment and slurry store covers through grant schemes such as the Farming Ammonia Reduction Grant, the Countryside Stewardship scheme and the Countryside Productivity scheme. A second round of the Rural Development Programme for England’s Countryside Productivity small grant scheme is expected to be launched very shortly.

6th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress the Government is making on achieving EU environmental quality standards for surface water by 2027.

Since 2015, over 3,100 miles of surface water have been enhanced to achieve good status, and the Environment Agency has set a target in the Government’s River Basin Management Plans to enhance 5,000 miles by 2021. The 2015 River Basin Management Plans confirmed £3 billion worth of investment over six years.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
6th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to upgrade drainage systems to treat pollutants before they reach rivers.

Since water industry privatisation in 1989, around £25 billion has been invested to reduce pollution from sewage, covering improvements in sewage treatment and in sewer overflows. In England, between 2015 and 2020, water companies are investing over £3 billion to improve their sewerage infrastructure. This has helped to achieve a 61% reduction in the amount of phosphorus load and a 72% reduction in the amount of ammonia discharged from sewage treatment works since 1995. In addition, 7,000 sewer overflows have been improved since 1995, reducing the impact of pollution from sewage discharges.

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan contains a number of actions to achieve our aim of clean and plentiful water, including increasing the uptake of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS). SuDS features such as permeable surfaces, storage tanks and ponds, can help improve water quality as well as reduce the risk of surface water flooding. A revised National Planning Policy Framework, which further encourages SuDS in new developments was published on 24 July 2018.

In addition, Government recently consulted on proposals to improve long-term planning for drainage and wastewater management.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
4th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will increase support for soil monitoring to protect food production and the environment.

Research was commissioned in November 2018 to develop soil monitoring for a variety of policy requirements, including the protection of the environment and food production. Following completion of the research project, a soil monitoring framework will be developed.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure travel operators do more to prevent the exploitation of captive wild animals.

The Government shares the concerns of the public about this issue and we are committed to the highest standards of animal welfare, both here in the UK and in our work with countries abroad. Britain engages with other countries both directly and as part of global forums such as the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health).

Ministers are committed to working to promote the conservation of wild animals worldwide and the Government has been working with the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) to encourage them to make customers aware of reported animal welfare issues abroad. It is important that when going abroad, tourists consider whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that animals have been mistreated before deciding whether to visit an animal attraction. ABTA published Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism. This includes guidance on unacceptable activities which are known to have a detrimental effect on animal welfare, and extended minimum welfare requirements for whales and dolphins.

Defra encourages tourists to report any animal welfare concerns to their UK tour operator or travel agent on return to the UK.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of a ban on the import of caged hen eggs.

The Government shares the British public’s high regard for animal welfare. In 2012 we banned the domestic use of battery cages for laying hens. Our current import requirements for eggs and for egg products will continue to apply when we leave the EU.

We are committed to further enhancing welfare standards once we leave the EU and there will be an opportunity to consider further our position towards imports of eggs and other products.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) enforcing marketing restrictions on ultra-processed foods and (b) promoting healthy eating.

Defra has not made such an assessment. We work closely with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) who lead on issues such as the promotion of high fat salt and sugar foods. DHSC have conducted impact assessments for all recent consultations arising from the childhood obesity plan.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to obligate councils to scan dead pets they collect from roads and paths.

I recognise how painful it is to lose a pet and it must be very difficult to not have closure when a beloved pet is killed on the road, and the owner is not informed. It is established good practice for local authorities to scan any dog or cat found on the streets so that the owner can be informed and I am keen to work together with local authorities and others to further promote best practice in this area.

In 2015, the necessary arrangements were made to all Highways England’s contracts to collect and identify cats and dogs killed on the strategic road network and contact owners where possible. This included retrofitting the Network Management Manual (NMM) where in addition to dogs, cat fatalities are collected and identified where possible.

In addition, under the Road Traffic Act 1988, there is a requirement for drivers to stop and report accidents involving certain working animals including cattle, horses and dogs. The Highway Code also advises drivers to report accidents involving any animal to the police. This should lead to many owners being notified when their pets are killed on roads.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to debate these issues in the Westminster Hall on 17 June.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to support local authorities to create a national network of clean air zones.

Local authorities already have the power to create clean air zones. The Government is working closely with those English local authorities where exceedances have been identified to introduce measures to bring forward compliance with nitrogen dioxide limits as soon as possible.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the public to retrofit and upgrade vehicles in order to reduce pollution.

The Government has invested over £84 million in retrofitting vehicles with pollution reducing technology since 2013, most of which have been buses for public transport. The continued development, promotion and implementation of innovative retrofit technology will be an important element of reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides and will help bridge the gap in the journey towards zero emissions by 2050.

In February, the Government awarded £1 million of grants to three technology providers to support the accreditation testing of vehicle retrofit technologies, looking particularly to support bringing retrofit solutions for different vehicle types onto the market. These will mainly focus on HGVs and coaches. At the moment there is no practical retrofit solution for passenger cars and with their lower value and limited physical space, finding a cost effective solution will prove a challenge.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase the number of veterinary professionals in the meat industry.

Defra is taking a number of steps, working with the profession and others, to increase the number of veterinary professionals working in the UK and to enhance the attractions of a veterinary career.

We sent our evidence on UK veterinary capacity, including in the meat industry, to the Migratory Advisory Committee. In their review published on 29 May, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommended that the veterinary profession is restored to the Shortage Occupation List. The recommendations are currently with the Home Secretary.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the report entitled, Bees under siege from habitat loss, climate change and pesticides, published by the World Wildlife Fund and Buglife in May 2019, what steps he is taking to (a) stabilise and (b) reverse the decline in bee populations.

The report referred to is based on the authors’ analysis in the East of England. The government has not assessed the report.

We are taking action to address these pressures through the National Pollinator Strategy and wider nature policy and I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Slough, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, on 7 March 2019 to PQ 228062.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
21st May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to improve the consistency of pollution monitoring throughout the UK.

In England, the Environment Agency uses consistent methods as part of an agreed strategy to monitor pollution affecting air, land and water. Reviews are being conducted of air and water quality programmes, to improve consistency where it is required and provide the evidence needed to support environmental improvements.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
21st May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to (a) ensure that ambient air pollution is treated as an occupational health issue and (b) adopt a workplace exposure limit for diesel engine exhaust emissions.

The Government has published a Clean Air Strategy that sets out actions to meet our statutory obligations to reduce emissions of the main pollutants by 2020 and 2030. In the Strategy we committed to working with health professionals to develop a better understanding and awareness of health impacts, including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). We have also published updated appraisal tools and accompanying guidance to enable the health impacts of air pollution to be considered in every relevant policy decision that is made.

HSE is the regulator for work related health and safety in Great Britain; it does not regulate environmental exposures. HSE has no plans to treat ambient air pollution as an occupational health issue. Exposures to substances that are hazardous to health caused by a work activity, including airborne contaminants, are already covered by a robust regulatory framework that includes the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002.

A recent amendment to the EU Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive has introduced a binding occupational exposure limit value for diesel engine exhaust emissions (DEEEs). Member States have until 21 February 2023 to implement the limit, unless the activity is underground mining or tunnel construction in which case the date for implementation is 21 February 2026. In the UK, binding and other occupational exposure limit values are implemented as Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs). WELs already exist for some substances which are also components of DEEEs such as nitrogen monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
21st May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the UK adopts the World Health Organisation’s exposure limits for the main pollutants.

We have published a Clean Air Strategy that sets out actions to meet our statutory obligations to reduce emissions of the main pollutants by 2020 and 2030. In addition we committed to a new long-term target to reduce population exposure to PM2.5 and to publishing evidence on the achievability of meeting the World Health Organisation guidelines.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
20th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the UK’s carbon footprint is not exported to countries with weaker targets in place.

The Government publishes annual estimates of the UK’s carbon footprint on a consumption basis. The latest statistics were published on 11 April and show the footprint for years 1997 to 2016: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uks-carbon-footprint. Carbon footprint measured in this way refers to emissions that are associated with the consumption spending of UK residents on goods and services, wherever in the world these emissions arise along the supply chain, and those which are directly generated by UK households through private motoring etc. These emissions are often referred to as ‘consumption emissions’ to distinguish them from estimates relating to the emissions ‘produced’ within a country’s territory or economic sphere.

As stated in the Resources and Waste Strategy, the Government’s goal is to maximise the value of the resources we use, minimise the waste we create, cut emissions and help create a cleaner, greener, healthier planet. In the Strategy we have committed to measures that will improve resource efficiency, prevent waste and cut carbon consumption emissions.

Climate change is a global challenge. The UK is a world leader in cutting emissions while creating wealth. Between 1990 and 2017, the UK reduced its emissions by over 40 per cent while growing the economy by more than two thirds. We have met our first two Carbon Budgets and are on track to meet the third. In addition, our consumption emissions are falling. Greenhouse gas emissions on a consumption basis fell by 6% between 2015 and 2016; and by 21% between 2007 and 2016.

UK International Climate Finance (ICF) plays a crucial role in addressing this global challenge. Three government Departments (DFID, BEIS and Defra) have responsibility for investing the UK’s £5.8bn of ICF between 2016 and 2021. These investments aim to support international poverty eradication now and in the future, by helping developing countries to manage risk, adapt to and build resilience to the impacts of climate change; promoting low carbon development at scale; and supporting sustainable management of natural resources and reducing deforestation. Between 2011/12 and 2017/18, it is estimated that ICF programmes have reduced or avoided 10.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (tCO2e).

Energy and trade intensive businesses create particular challenges, where ambitious climate change targets could risk carbon leakage. As the Clean Growth Strategy sets out, we remain committed to carbon pricing as an emissions reduction tool whilst ensuring energy and trade intensive businesses are appropriately protected from any detrimental impacts on competitiveness.

During Phase IV negotiations on the EU Emissions Trading System the UK supported the provision of free allocation as a precaution against the risk of carbon leakage; as the UK leaves the EU our preferred position is to have a UK ETS that is linked to the EU ETS and in that scenario, as set-out in our recent consultation on the future of carbon pricing, we propose to continue the provision of free allocation to industry to help ensure a smooth transition and continued protection against carbon leakage.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
17th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on (a) ensuring adequate support for local authorities to tackle fly-tipping and (b) ensuring that persistent offenders are either fined or prosecuted.

Local authorities have a wide range of enforcement powers to tackle fly-tipping and we have recently strengthened these. In 2016 we gave local authorities the power to issue fixed penalty notices for small scale fly-tipping and enhanced local authorities’ ability to search and seize the vehicles of suspected fly-tippers. In January this year, we introduced further financial penalties to crack down on fly-tipping giving local authorities the power to issue penalties of up to £400 to householders who fail to pass their waste to a licensed carrier and whose waste is then found fly-tipped. We will also support local authorities in increasing householders’ awareness of their duty of care to ensure their waste is disposed of appropriately.

In our Resources and Waste Strategy for England, we have committed to develop a fly-tipping toolkit which will cover how local authorities can set up and run an effective fly-tipping partnership and how to present robust cases to court to ensure tougher penalties. The Strategy also sets out how we will work with the court system to further strengthen the sentences of fly-tippers to ensure they act as a suitable deterrent.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
13th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of a national campaign to (a) reinforce recycling behaviour, (b) signpost recycling facilities and (c) ensure the public know what materials they can recycle.

Our consultations on ‘consistency in household and business recycling collections in England’ and on ‘reforming the packaging producer responsibility schemes’ proposed measures for local authorities collecting the same core set of materials for recycling from households and potentially using fees from producers to fund public communication campaigns on recycling.

Our consultations also proposed a mandatory UK wide labelling scheme in which producers label their packaging as recyclable or not recyclable.

These consultations closed on 13 May and we are currently analysing responses and will publish the Government’s response in due course.

Defra currently supports the Waste and Resources Action Programme’s RecycleNow campaign which provides support for local campaigns. It also provides a toolkit for local authorities to help with their messaging on recycling.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
8th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to limit the use of diesel generators in town centres.

The Government currently regulates the use of generators with a thermal input of over 1 megawatt in order to minimise the negative impact on air quality, in particular nitrogen oxide emissions.

The Clean Air Strategy, published earlier this year, recognises the scope for potentially tighter controls in the future, both in terms of size of generator and level of emissions. It also commits to exploring the use of environmental permitting for significant non-road mobile machinery sources where appropriate, including generators.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
7th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of banning the medication Furosemide from being used by trainers in equestrian training sessions.

Furosemide is an active ingredient authorised for use in veterinary medicines for dogs, cats and horses. Products containing furosemide are diuretic and are used to treat a build-up of fluid within the body, for example as a result of congestive heart failure. Medicines containing furosemide must be prescribed by a veterinary surgeon before they can be administered to an animal.

The Government does not seek to interfere with the clinical judgement of a veterinary surgeon in determining the best available treatment to an animal under his or her care.

There are no regulatory concerns that would necessitate a ban on the use of furosemide on the grounds of safety, quality or efficacy. Any ban on the use of a product in an equestrian sporting discipline is the responsibility of the relevant sport’s governing body.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support farmers to create a sustainable diversified farming system.

The Agriculture Bill will help farmers in England to grow strong and diversified businesses producing high quality food in a more sustainable way, enhancing the environment for future generations. We will create an ambitious new system based on paying “public money for public goods”, which will include improving air and water quality, biodiversity and habitats for wildlife. Financial support for innovations like precision farming can also help farmers become more productive, reduce the use of expensive chemicals and protect the environment.

3rd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the cost to the public purse is of subsidies for grouse moor management; and what assessment he has made of the effect of those subsidies on the economy.

The Government does not make subsidies available specifically for grouse moor management, although such land may qualify for Basic Payment Scheme payments and environmental schemes.

2nd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that plastic bags labelled as biodegradable or compostable break down quickly in a natural environment.

The Government is concerned that, in the absence of agreed standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic based products cannot be verified leading to potential confusion in the market place, possible increased levels of consumption and potential environmental harm at the point of disposal.

As part of the Bioeconomy Strategy published on 5 December 2018, the Government committed to work with UK Research and Innovation and industry to seek evidence on the demand, benefits and implications (for example the impact on recycling streams) of a standard for bio based and biodegradable plastics that would include carrier bags. The call for evidence will seek evidence in relation to labelling and information provision.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
25th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle waste crime including (a) illegal exports of waste, (b) fly-tipping and (c) the burning of waste.

Last year, the Environment Agency issued 158 stop notices prohibiting the export of unsuitable waste. It stopped 367 containers of waste destined for illegal export at ports and intervened upstream to prevent 8,974 tonnes of waste from reaching our ports. Any UK operators found to be illegally exporting waste can face severe sanctions – from financial penalties up to imprisonment.

In the Resources and Waste Strategy, published in December last year, we stated that we are exploring ways to further address the illegal shipment of waste, for example through increased monitoring of international waste shipments and the introduction of a system for exporters to cover costs of waste repatriation where needed.

It is illegal to dispose of waste in a manner likely to cause pollution to the environment or harm to human health. This includes both fly-tipping and the burning of waste. We have given the Environment Agency an extra £60 million to tackle waste crime since 2014.

In January we gave local authorities the power to issue fixed penalties to householders who fail in their duty of care and give waste to fly-tippers. This built on powers given in 2016 to hand out financial penalties to fly-tippers themselves, and in 2015 to strengthen local authorities’ ability to search and seize the vehicles of suspected fly-tippers. The latest figures show no increase in the number of incidents dealt with by local authorities for the first time in five years during 2017/18.

The Resources and Waste Strategy also contains commitments to reform the existing exemptions regime to prevent the use of exemptions in hiding illegal activity, such as misuse of the D7 exemption for burning waste in the open, to toughen penalties for waste criminals and to create a Joint Unit for Waste Crime which will coordinate a multi-agency response to the most serious cases.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
24th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on investment in (a) farm infrastructure and (b) agri-environment schemes of uncertainty about when and on what terms the UK will leave the EU.

In the ‘Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit’ consultation, which ran from February to May 2018, we asked ‘what are the main barriers to new capital investment that can boost profitability and improve animal and plant health on-farm?’ Over 3,000 responses were submitted to this question, and the most frequently selected option (77% of respondents) selected ‘uncertainty about the future and where to target new investment’.

The UK Government has guaranteed that any Rural Development Programme projects where funding has been agreed before the end of 2020 will be funded for their full lifetime. This applies in both a negotiated and a no-deal scenario. It will ensure continued funding for these projects until they finish and means that Defra and the devolved administrations can continue to sign new projects after the UK leaves the EU during 2019 and 2020. The Government has also committed to provide the same total level of funding for farm support in cash terms until the end of this parliament, expected in 2022.

The Countryside Stewardship scheme is open for applications for both multi-annual agreements starting on 1 January 2020 and capital works, such as for water quality and hedgerows and boundaries. For agri-environment schemes we are developing proposals for the scheme offer from 2021.

As we develop the new Environmental Land Management system and evolve the Countryside Stewardship offer, we will work to ensure we can offer a smooth transition from Countryside Stewardship to the Environmental Land Management system when it becomes fully operational from 2024.

23rd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing monthly car-free Sundays in city centres.

We have made no assessment on implementing a car-free Sunday scheme. This is a matter for individual local authorities to decide as they are best placed to ensure that decisions take into account local needs.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
23rd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to (a) support farmers to reduce their dependence on pesticides and (b) transition to non-chemical alternatives.

The 25 Year Environment Plan states the Government’s intention to put integrated pest management (IPM) at the heart of its approach. This means developing and implementing policies that encourage and support sustainable crop protection with the use of pesticides, keeping their impact to a minimum. In doing so, we will build on existing work to research and promote new techniques and products that provide alternatives to chemical pesticides.

We will continue to regulate pesticides so that they are only permitted to be used if a scientific assessment shows that this meets strict standards for the protection of people and the environment.

23rd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the price of (a) energy and (b) water services remain affordable for older people.

I refer the Hon. Member to the reply given to the Rt. Hon. Member for East Ham, Stephen Timms, on 23 April 2019 to PQ 244003.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
18th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on public health of Walley's Quarry landfill site in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

The Environment Agency (EA) is responsible for permitting and regulating the Walley’s Quarry landfill site. When determining an application for a landfill permit, public health authorities are consulted and their comments considered within any issued permit conditions.

To assist public health assessment, the EA carried out an ambient air monitoring study between 6 July 2017 and 14 February 2018. The full report has been shared with Public Health England (PHE) locally for their assessment, as they would be responsible for determining any wider impacts on human health. PHE has assessed the environmental data provided by the EA (6 July 2017 - 14 February 2018) and notes that these levels are low and that it would not expect there to be any long term health consequences.

The EA installed further mobile monitoring on 18 January 2019 near the northern boundary of Walley’s landfill site. The EA continues to work with local public health partners and this further information will be shared with them to enable them to decide upon any action in relation to human health. PHE is able to provide advice to GPs if residents consult them with any health concerns.

From analysis of syndrome surveillance data, PHE has no evidence at this stage of an increase in GP consultations or calls to NHS 111 by the neighbouring population for symptoms of breathing difficulties or eye problems.

PHE continues to support the EA and local stakeholders with community engagement and will review any other potential health effects in light of further monitoring information supplied.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
11th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is issuing guidelines to local authorities on the use of mesh netting which prevents birds from nesting.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the Rt. Hon. Member for Birkenhead, Frank Field, on 23 April, PQ 243353.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
11th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that all household e-waste is recycled.

The current 2013 Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations require producers to pay for the environmentally sound collection, treatment and recycling of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) when it becomes waste.

Producers are set annual WEEE collection targets and finance the full cost of collection and proper treatment of household WEEE, including costs incurred by local authorities, which in turn must enable householders to deposit WEEE for recycling at household waste recycling centres.

Retailers of EEE are required to either offer a like for like in-store take back upon sale of a new item of EEE or to provide funding support for local authorities to support collection, recycling and reuse of WEEE.

The Government funds guidance for householders, including a postcode search function for UK WEEE disposal locations, available at: www.recyclenow.com.

Any producers that fail to meet their household WEEE collection target are required to contribute to a fund which provides further support to local authorities to support increased WEEE collections, leading to higher levels of recycling and reuse of unwanted WEEE.

As laid out in our ambitious Resources and Waste Strategy, the Government will consult on reforms to the WEEE producer responsibility regime to drive more sustainable product design and further increase recycling rates by the end of 2020.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
10th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on reducing food waste in schools throughout the UK.

In December 2018, the Government launched its Resources and Waste Strategy which sets out a new approach to address food waste from farm to fork. Within the food waste chapter, the Government committed to tackling food waste in schools. Through the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) guidance will be developed and widely promoted.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
10th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the environmental cost of waste crime in England and Wales.

The Environment Agency has published an evaluation of the effect of additional funding on tackling waste crime, identifying £5 worth of potential benefits for each £1 invested. This included an estimated environmental cost of £1.86-£1.88 per tonne of waste on illegal waste sites.

www.gov.uk/government/publications/waste-crime-interventions-and-evaluation

Additionally, Rethinking Waste Crime, published by the Environmental Services Association in 2017, estimated the economic impact of waste crime in England at over £600 million. This includes wider economic impacts and is not limited to environmental costs.

www.ciwm-journal.co.uk/downloads/Rethinking_Waste_Crime.pdf

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
9th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the introduction of an electronic waste recycling fee on new purchases of electronic products.

The current Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations are based on producer responsibility where producers have a financial obligation to pay for the environmentally sound collection, treatment and recycling of electronic products when they become waste. The Government has committed to reviewing the current WEEE system by 2020. This will involve consultation across Government and with interested stakeholders.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
8th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress his Department has made on banning single-use plastics by 2021.

The Government published the Resources and Waste Strategy for England in December last year which sets out our plans to reduce plastic pollution and to move towards a more circular economy.

We have already made good progress, banning microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and removing 15.6 billion plastic bags from circulation with our 5p charge. We have already consulted on banning plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in addition to extending the carrier bag charge. Consultation has also begun on reforming existing packaging waste regulation, introducing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and increasing consistency in the recycling system. Legislative proposals will be developed taking account of the consultation responses.

We will continue to review the latest evidence on problematic products and materials to take a systematic approach to reducing the use of unnecessary single-use plastic products including problematic packaging materials, in line with our commitment to match, and where economically practicable exceed, the ambition of the EU in this regard.

Our ambition is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan. For the most problematic plastics we are going faster – that is why we commit to work towards all plastic packaging placed on the UK market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
8th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential benefit of further formalising (a) environmental performance certification and (b) labelling for food products.

Independent farm assurance schemes provide a valuable service by enabling farmers to secure recognition for their high standards through certification. Defra is exploring how a common way of measuring sustainability can work with these schemes to give further clarity to consumers.

At present, food labelling rules are harmonised in the EU under the Food Information to Consumers Regulation 1169/2011. The UK’s exit from the EU will provide us with the opportunity to review food labelling laws to ensure that consumers’ confidence in the food they buy continues to grow.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of creating (a) an independent veterinary ombudsman and (b) a pet owner's charter.

The Royal College of Veterinary Services (RCVS) is responsible for investigating any concerns about veterinary surgeons and registered veterinary nurses. The Government is not aware that there is any reason to replace the RCVS with an alternative body.

In terms of a pet owner’s charter, there are already statutory Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs, Cats, Horses and Primates made under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which provide owners and keepers with information on how to meet the welfare needs of these animals. We also advise anyone thinking of buying a puppy or kitten to take certain precautions, including checking whether the breeder is signed up to the Puppy Contract or meets the Kitten Check-List criteria which were developed by the Canine and Feline Sector Group (a group of animal welfare, veterinary, local authority and pet industry organisations). Prospective buyers can also check whether the breeder is licensed by the local authority by checking the licence number on any advertisement, which is a requirement of the new regulations on dog breeding.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the adequacy of funding for natural climate solutions in relation to natural carbon sequestration.

The Government recognises the importance of nature-based carbon sequestration and our ambitious 25 Year Environment Plan committed to leave the environment in a better state than we found it. Mitigating and adapting to climate change is essential if we are to meet this goal and the Government is taking action to deliver on this.

Tree planting is one of the main contributors to nature-based carbon sequestration and the Government supports this in a number of ways, including the manifesto commitment to plant 11 million trees by 2022. We also have a long term aspiration to increase woodland cover from 10% to 12%. Additionally, in the Autumn Budget the Chancellor announced £50 million to help support the planting of new woodlands through the Woodland Carbon Guarantee.

In relation to soil carbon sequestration and protection of existing soil carbon stores, our focus is on peatland restoration, both through Government funding and supporting private sector initiatives. For example, we are currently spending £10 million on four large scale peatland restoration projects across England.

Under the new Environmental Land Management Scheme we will pay land managers public money for public goods, which includes mitigation of climate change. This could be delivered through land managers sequestering carbon by, for example, peatland restoration and tree planting.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of sorting machines at recycling centres and their ability to distinguish between pieces of paper and flat pieces of plastic.

The Government has not carried out such an assessment. Well-managed sorting facilities are generally able to distinguish and sort paper and plastics effectively. The most recent data published on materials recycling facilities sorting shows that 97.9% of material sorted as paper in England in the third quarter of 2018 was target material, meaning just 2.1% was contamination, such as plastic.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
1st Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to maintain strict regulatory control on air and water pollution after the UK leaves the EU.

Through the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and secondary legislation made under it, existing EU environmental law will be brought into domestic law and will continue to operate in the UK after exit day.

Air quality targets for 2030 are already in domestic law.

Permits and licences issued by UK regulatory bodies will continue to apply as now.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
1st Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to ban chlorothalonil following the EU's decision to do so.

The European Commission Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (pesticides legislation and residues) voted not to renew approval of chlorothalonil on 22 March. The Commission is now expected to adopt this proposal. Once the text is published, it will come into force after 20 days.

When we leave the EU, the UK will retain the list of EU-approved pesticides in UK law as it stands at the point of departure (or at the end of the Implementation Period, if this applies).

If we leave the EU without a deal and the EU decision on chlorothalonil is not in force at the point of leaving the EU, then the UK will make its own decision on this approval. We have made clear that we will not weaken standards. Decisions on the use of pesticides will continue to be based on a careful scientific assessment of the risks, and we would legally apply the same principles established under the EU regulation. Responsibility is shared between Defra and the Devolved Administrations. This would be based on a recommendation from our national regulator, the Health and Safety Executive, and additional independent advice and assurance from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides.

1st Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to ClientEarth's correspondence with local authorities in England and Wales on the the legal risk of inaction on air pollution, whether local authorities are sufficiently equipped to address illegal air pollution levels.

The UK continues to meet all current international air quality limits except for NO2. In July 2017 we published the NO2 Plan, backed by £3.5 billion funding, which sets out the steps we are taking to comply with NO2 limits as soon as possible. Also, we published our ambitious Clean Air Strategy in January which the Director-General of the World Health Organization described as “an example for the rest of the world to follow”.

Recognising that there are still local authorities which are in breach of statutory limits on roadside NO2 concentrations, the UK government allocated £495 million of funding to support local authorities in its 2017 plan. Local authorities already have many powers to monitor and reduce air pollution and we continue to work intensively with them, to identify measures to bring forward compliance as soon as possible.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
28th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has plans to introduce a polluter pays principle.

The Government published clauses of the Draft Environment Bill at the end of 2018.[1] Contained in these clauses (subsection 2(d)) is the ‘polluter pays principle’. Correspondingly, the Government is intending to include the polluter pays principle in the final clauses of the forthcoming Environment Bill.

[1] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/766849/draft-environment-bill-governance-principles.pdf

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
28th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to demonstrate the effect of all economic activities to help (a) consumers, (b) investors, (c) banks and (d) companies to make more sustainable choices.

The Government launched the 25 Year Environment Plan in January 2018 with a key commitment to develop a comprehensive set of indicators, which collectively describes environmental change as it relates to the ten goals as set out in the Plan. In December 2018 the government published a draft indicator framework for the Environment Plan that aims to capture the wide range of impacts that economic actions have on the environment.

The Government is committed to working with the Office for National Statistics to incorporate natural capital into the UK Environmental Accounts by 2020 so that the benefits of nature would be better recognised. This commitment has been reiterated in the 25 Year Environment plan. The UK accounts are being used to inform natural capital accounts and decisions by businesses and other land owning bodies.

To enable consumers and businesses to make more sustainable choices we have reduced plastic waste by introducing one of the world’s strongest microbead bans, setting out plans to ban plastic straws, cotton buds and stirrers and extending the 5p plastic bag charge, and overhauling our waste system with a comprehensive Resources and Waste Strategy.

The Government has launched the Year of Green Action to draw together targeted actions to make it easier for people to get involved in improving the natural world and spread the word about environmental issues. It will provide a focal point for organisations, individuals, communities and businesses to learn more about their environmental impact and take action to reduce it.

On the international stage the UK is at the forefront of combatting the illegal wildlife trade. Our landmark Ivory Act put one of the world’s toughest bans on the sale of ivory into law.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
27th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what funding his Department has allocated to encourage farmers to plant more wildflowers to reverse the decline of bees.

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

Natural England estimates that over £125 million has been allocated to support the sowing of wildflowers across Environmental Stewardship and Countryside Stewardship options, on agreements put in place between 2005 and the end of 2018.

This expenditure on wildflower options, such as flower-rich margins or pollen and nectar mixtures, represents only a small proportion of total expenditure on habitats for bees, which will also benefit from payments for managing existing habitat such as protected sites or hedgerows.

The Government is spending £2.9 billion on agri-environment schemes in England funded through our seven year Rural Development Programme. This funding will support the provision of habitat for bees and other wildlife.

In 2015, Defra introduced the ‘Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package’ to Countryside Stewardship, to make it easier for farmers to provide flower-rich margins or pollen and nectar plots on fields to support wild pollinators. The package ensures that a minimum of 3% of the farm is converted to habitat for farm wildlife including bees and other pollinators.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
27th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the level of Government support for the textile recycling industry.

The Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy identifies clothing and textiles as a high impact material stream. We will be taking on board learning and progress through the industry-led voluntary Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), co-ordinated by WRAP, and wider research, in order to decide the action needed in terms of textile recycling on the part of Government. We will explore the most appropriate policy measures including the introduction of an extended producer responsibility scheme which we will consider and consult on.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
26th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the findings of the May 2018 report by the Institute for European Environmental Policy, what steps his Department is taking to tackle micro-plastic contamination on land; and if he will make a statement.

Our priority is preventing plastic from entering the environment in the first place, be that the marine or terrestrial environment. The Resources and Waste Strategy, published in December last year, sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. This encompasses all types of plastic, including microplastics, and we are already taking action.

Last year we introduced one of the world’s strongest bans on microbeads in rinse-off personal care products. Microbeads, like other microplastics, do not biodegrade and therefore accumulate in the environment.

To address the evidence gaps surrounding other sources of microplastics, we are funding research by the University of Plymouth into textiles and tyres which are estimated to be significant sources of microplastics in the environment.

As set out in the Resources and Waste Strategy, Defra recognises the problems associated with plastic contamination in soil. We are working with the Waste and Resources Action Programme to explore how Government policy can address this issue, including by bringing industry and trade associations together through the Food Waste Recycling Action Plan to minimise plastic pollution in compost and digestate.

The UK welcomes international collaboration on preventing and reducing plastic waste. The actions listed in the EU’s plastics strategy and its proposed Directive on reducing the impact of certain plastic products on the environment are broadly consistent with Government policy in this area. The UK supports this initiative and welcomes the EU in following our lead and recognising the importance of addressing plastic pollution. We will match or where economically practicable exceed the Directive’s ambition.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
26th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the European Commission report entitled Energy prices and costs in Europe 2018, what assessment he has made of the implications for (a) his policies and (b) the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan of that report's conclusion that the UK offers the biggest fuel subsidies in the EU.

Energy and climate mitigation policy is covered by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. On the natural environment, Defra will report annually on progress towards meeting the goals set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan to leave the environment in a better state for the next generation. As part of this, these annual reports will consider how external factors could influence progress and what further action is required to meet these goals.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
26th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps are being taken to develop a systemic approach to safe management of agricultural animal waste.

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

There is already in place a systematic approach for the safe management of agricultural animal waste. Slurry and manure produced by farm animals and the associated controls are managed through zone designations and compliance regulations. The specific approach depends upon whether a farm falls within a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ), which cover 55% of England, or outside an NVZ, in which case pollution control regulation applies.

Under NVZ rules operators are required to store their manures and slurries for up to 5 or 6 months depending on farm type, keep records and only spread manures and slurries at certain times of the year, whilst keeping the application rates within nutrient limits. Under current pollution control regulation, stores must be constructed to a required standard, meet necessary construction requirements and have a minimum capacity of 4 months’ storage. Spreading is regulated under the farming rules for water (FrFW) which set out how best to use manure and slurry to avoid pollution.

22nd Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to meet UN biodiversity targets on halting species decline and improving the condition of protected sites.

Domestic biodiversity policy is a devolved matter and the information provided relates to England only, except in relation to our plans internationally.

On land, around 94% of our protected sites, covering over 1 million hectares, are now in good condition or have management in place to restore their condition. At sea, we are putting management measures in place to protect and expand our Marine Protected Areas. We have consulted on a third tranche of 41 Marine Conservation Zones. Sites to be designated will be in place by 7 June.

Our agencies and non-Departmental bodies are working on species recovery projects with landowning and conservation partners, for example on freshwater pearl mussel, short-haired bumblebee and stone curlew.

The ongoing declines in nature are a global problem that need a global solution. That is why the UK is committed to playing a leading role in developing a global post-2020 framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity that is ambitious and transformational. Our Darwin Initiative supports global action by providing grants to protect biodiversity and the natural environment, with £10.6 million awarded in 2018. Defra has contributed almost £6 million over the last three years to Darwin Plus for Overseas Territories’ biodiversity. We continue to support activities to end poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, and have recently passed new legislation to close our domestic ivory market, which will be the toughest ivory ban in Europe and one of the toughest in the world.

The UK Government has committed to protecting the ocean, and has called for at least 30 per cent of the ocean to be in Marine Protected Areas by 2030. Our Blue Belt programme will protect marine habitats and species in 4million km2 around the Overseas Territories by 2020.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
19th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of being party to a legally binding international treaty on plastics with clear targets and standards.

The Government has taken on board existing relevant international agreements and commitments, which include the Basel Agreement, the Oceans Plastic Charter, and G7 and G20 Action Plans on Marine Litter.

Our focus is on immediate action to tackle the pressing problem of plastic pollution and plastic waste. Our recently published Resources and Waste Strategy includes an ambitious set of policies to support elimination of avoidable plastic waste. This includes a commitment to meet the ambition of the EU’s Single-use Plastics Directive.

We have also committed to work with other countries to magnify the impact of our domestic action. Accordingly we have signed up to the Ellen MacArthur New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, and we are spearheading efforts to support developing countries address plastic waste including through the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance and the Global Plastics Action Partnership.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
18th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of the gasification of plastic waste.

Defra has not carried out such an assessment but liaises with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on its work to determine all the potential benefits from gasification and pyrolysis of waste, including plastics.

The Government is committed to improving the recovery of value from residual waste and encourages the development of innovative, emerging technologies to help divert waste from landfill providing they do not compete with greater recycling, reuse and prevention. We recognise the potential that these technologies can have in the decarbonisation of several sectors such as heat and transport.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
20th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps are being taken to encourage all major supermarket chains to introduce reduction targets for plastics.

The Resources and Waste Strategy, published in December 2018, included the ambition to work towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025 and to eliminate avoidable plastic waste over the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Industry is already taking action. In April last year, the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation launched their world-leading UK Plastics Pact, with support from the Government, and all the major supermarkets have signed up to it. The Pact brings these organisations together with four key targets for 2025 that aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated. We are currently consulting on a series of reforms, including reform to the existing packaging waste regulations, which will support supermarkets in achieving those targets.

The Government is also working with retailers and WRAP to encourage their efforts to reduce waste and to explore the introduction of plastic-free supermarket initiatives in which fresh food is sold loose, giving consumers the choice.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
14th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the development of small-scale anaerobic digestion plants, for farm waste.

The Government supports anaerobic digestion (AD). AD can reduce greenhouse gas emissions (such as methane) from on-farm waste when best practice is used.

Government supports AD for electricity through the Feed in Tariff and Contract for Difference schemes. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy is currently consulting on the new Smart Export Guarantee which would allow a route to market for small scale AD.

AD is also supported by the Renewable Heat Incentive which encourages the uptake of renewable forms of heating. In May 2018, Government introduced a Renewable Heat Incentive tariff uplift for the biomethane sector, encouraging the use of waste and residue feedstocks for AD.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
11th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to publish information on action taken against people in breach of regulations in horse racing with regard to the use of the whip.

Defra is keen to ensure that we uphold our high standards of animal welfare including in relation to horseracing. Irresponsible use of the whip is completely unacceptable.

The British Horseracing Association (BHA) requires that whips be used responsibly and jockeys may only use the whip within certain strict rules. The BHA policy on the whip was drawn up in consultation with animal welfare groups, such as the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare and is published on the BHA website. The latest rules include a threshold on the number of times the whip can be used before racing stewards can consider an inquiry. If the rules are broken, the jockey may be banned from racing for a certain number of days depending on the seriousness of the offence.

Defra is satisfied that the rules in place are sufficient to restrict and limit the use of the whip in horse racing.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is considering issuing specific guidance on the practice of animal tethering.

Defra is keen to ensure that we uphold our high standards of welfare including in relation to tethering. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act) it is an offence to fail to provide for an animal’s welfare or to cause it any unnecessary suffering. The 2006 Act is backed up by the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, Ponies, Donkeys and Their Hybrids (the Code). The Code provides owners and keepers with information on how to meet the welfare needs of their animals and includes a specific section on how to tether horses and other animals covered. If anyone is concerned about the way a horse or other animal has been tethered they should report the matter either to the relevant local authority or to the RSPCA or World Horse Welfare who can investigate. If a horse or other animal is found not to be tethered appropriately it could lead to a prosecution under the 2006 Act. Defra considers that this legislation and guidance provides the right safeguards in respect of animal tethering.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, pursuant to the Answer of 03 December 2018 to Question 196736 on Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and with reference to the transition period set out in the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union, if the MHRA will be recognised as an EU competent authority under EU Regulations (a) Medical Devices Directive, (b) in-vitro diagnostic medical devices, and (c) Medical Devices Regulation during that period.

The agreement of an implementation period will mean that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will continue to be recognised as an EU competent authority designated under the EU Directives for medical devices, in vitro diagnostic medical devices and active implantable medical devices, during this period.

This is also the case for the new EU Regulations for medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices, which both entered into force in May 2017.



Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support his Department is giving to West African countries that are victims of illegal fishing.

DFID works closely with partner Governments to promote sustainable fishing practices, helping to reduce the impacts of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in West Africa and across the world.

As part of our commitment to protecting the global environment, the Government has provided £250 million in funding to the Global Environment Facility’s 7th replenishment (2018-2022), which helps strengthen the management of fisheries and marine-protected areas.

DFID provides a core contribution to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, which supports countries in sustainable fisheries management. Progress is set out in their flagship report ‘State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture’.

DFID is also supporting sustainable small-scale aquaculture through the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, and our support has contributed to improving the fish-based livelihoods of 51,235 households and 72,264 people.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps the Government is taking to support the Congolese authorities to ensure that mines in that country are (a) well regulated, (b) follow health and safety procedures and (c) do not employ or use children as labour in those mines.

The UK is working to promote responsible and safe practices, including eliminating child labour and ensuring sound governance and regulation of the mining sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a founding member of the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM), the UK helps promote responsible sourcing of minerals. More recently, DFID has been working with the Carter Centre to improve transparency and governance in the mining sector.

The UK is very committed to addressing the three issues outlined on regulation, health & safety and use of child labour by encouraging compliance with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. The implementation of this guidance will be made mandatory for the biggest importers in the EU via the EU Regulation on the Responsible Sourcing of Conflict Minerals. This will come into force in January 2021. The UK will continue to implement this regulation after leaving the EU as it will be rolled over into UK Law via the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

8th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to support indigenous groups in the Amazon region whose ecosystems are potentially threatened by oil and gas producers.

DFID works with the extractives industries (gas, oil and mining), governments and civil society in DFID priority countries to maximise the benefits from extractive industries, in a way that finances public services, enables sustainable and inclusive growth and reduces poverty.

While DFID does not have bilateral programmes or a direct footprint related to extractives industries in the Amazon Region, our forestry programming does support broader work in the Amazon with indigenous groups. For example, in June the Global Environment Facility (GEF), to which the UK is a major donor, approved $88 million of funding to the Amazon Sustainable Landscapes Programme to protect this ecosystem. GEF programming is guided by its Principles and Guidelines for Engagement with Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group.

1st Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to tackle the transport needs of the global south to enable marginalised groups to engage in (a) education, (b) work, (c) healthcare, (d) leisure and (e) other life-supporting activities.

DFID’s transport projects are developing rural road networks and better transport services, such as affordable and accessible buses, to provide remote poor communities with access to services and better opportunities for trading.

For example, in Pakistan we are investing in highways that link more deprived areas to wealthier provinces; and in rural Nepal we have improved road access for isolated rural communities to schools, markets, and hospitals, reaching over two million people. We are also funding a £28m research programme to identify more cost-effective ways of improving transport connections for remote rural communities in Africa and Asia. This programme has developed new road standards and technical manuals which have been used on over 280,000km of rural roads.

28th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to (a) protect old-growth rainforests and (b) support the communities that live in them.

Stopping deforestation is essential to protect biodiversity, tackle climate change and promote sustainable economic development. DFID works to address the underlying causes of deforestation, such as stopping illegal logging and related corruption, ending unsustainable practices in the production of palm oil, cocoa and other agricultural commodities, and helping local communities to secure recognised legal rights to the forests which they depend on for their livelihoods.

For example, support to the Mapping for Rights initiative has helped over 1,000 communities in the Congo Basin map their forest lands covering more than seven million hectares. The communities use these maps as the basis for claims to secure their rights and to help ensure that the forests they depend on are not allocated to logging concessions.

Work to tackle deforestation is funded through the Forest Governance, Markets and Climate programme (£250m, 2011-21), which is tackling illegal logging and promoting trade in legal timber and Investments in Forests and Sustainable Land Use (£107m, 2015-23), through which DFID funds Partnerships for Forests (P4F). P4F works with companies to develop new and sustainable approaches to growing agricultural commodities, which protect forests and provide sustainable livelihoods. DFID also funds work to protect forests through the Indonesia country programme.

10th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Official Development Assistance is allocated to (a) ethical, (b) sustainable and (c) environmentally-sound projects.

The Department for International Development’s approach to design and implementation of development projects is governed by a set of rules and standards that reflect good development practice.

These rules and standards emphasise the principle of doing no harm. This ensures that interventions do not reinforce social exclusion and predatory institutions; exacerbate conflict; contribute to human rights or safeguarding risks. The rules also emphasise the importance of sustainability and resilience to generate lasting benefits for poor people. This includes ensuring that our interventions do not create or exacerbate resource scarcity, climate change and/or environmental damage.

5th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent steps he has taken to support people in developing countries affected by acute food insecurity.

As the third largest bilateral humanitarian donor, the UK is a global leader in supporting people in acute need, including those at risk of food insecurity. In 2017, we were amongst the first to raise the alarm and to provide support for populations at risk of dying from starvation in Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen and North East Nigeria. We provided £170 million for provision of humanitarian aid in Somalia in 2017, supporting those at risk of famine and in 2017/18 our support in South Sudan reached over 420,000 people with food assistance. Since 2013, we have spent approximately £1.3 billion supporting the scale up of nutrition services in humanitarian contexts including Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and the DRC.

Our approach is to act early to save more lives, and to build the resilience of communities and states to crises and shocks. Our work on humanitarian early warning systems raises awareness of crises where food security is deteriorating and informs timely responses to mitigate the impact of acute food insecurity. Alongside this, we also prioritise longer-term responses to support food security, including through agricultural programmes.

3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to support the safe management of health and hygiene services in developing nations to help tackle antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major global health threat, and tackling it is a UK priority. DFID, alongside the Department of Health and Social Care, provides support to developing countries' health and hygiene services, which also supports tackling antimicrobial resistance.

DFID support includes work to prevent infection and, in turn, reduce the need for antimicrobials. For example, through DFID’s support to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the UK will help immunise 300 million children between 2016 and 2020.

DFID also supports the prompt diagnosis and treatment of disease and the development of new drugs and diagnostic tools to treat resistant infection. DFID investment in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria contributed towards treating 102,000 people for drug-resistant tuberculosis in 2017. The Department of Health and Social Care’s £265 million Fleming Fund also supports low and middle-income countries to improve surveillance and laboratory capacity for addressing AMR.

Since 2015 DFID has also supported 40 million people to gain access to clean water and sanitation, and DFID also supports water, sanitation and hygiene in healthcare facilities, both of which are important for preventing infection.

3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether he plans to end the use of private for-profit contractors in the aid industry; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of capping the salaries of aid charities’ CEOs.

DFID values the unique expertise all its partners offer in the administration of aid. To date, we have no plans to end our use of private for-profit contractors who play a small but vital part by bringing sector expertise, operational flexibility and innovation through, for example the early exploitation of new technology providing products or services in new or underdeveloped markets, enabling DFID to help people in some of the most challenging environments in the world.

DFID does not place a cap on salaries of aid charities’ CEOs, since we recognise that salaries are driven by competition and multiple market forces making it impractical to set a maximum salary. We do however subject all our partners to rigorous scrutiny of their effectiveness and value for money, in advance and throughout the delivery of our programmes. Our priority is to drive value for British taxpayers’ money, cost-effectiveness and impact in all our programmes.

3rd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on increasing contributions to the Green Climate Fund to support other countries in adopting their own versions of the Green New Deal.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) plays an important role supporting the Paris Agreement, helping developing countries to build their climate resilience and grow in a low carbon way. The UK contributed £720 million from 2015-18 in the GCF’s first phase of operations. Countries are now discussing funding for the next phase – as well as how the GCF could be made more effective. DFID and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are preparing the case for a UK contribution, consulting HM Treasury as appropriate.

2nd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the restoring of natural capital stock in the Global South.

DFID is protecting and restoring nature and the environmental services which sustain life and support economic development. Poor people depend most directly on natural resources for their livelihoods and are most directly affected by its degradation.

The UK’s £250m of support to the Global Environment Facility, including £150m from DFID, is helping developing countries to protect around 600 million hectares of land and marine habitats (an area equivalent to 24 times the size of the UK) and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 1,600 million metric tonnes (the equivalent of an average car driving 4 million miles).

DFID directly supports action to tackle the degradation of key habitats, like tropical forests, home to up to 80% of global terrestrial biodiversity. Our bilateral programmes aim to tackle key drivers of deforestation, including illegal forestry practices and unsustainable production of agricultural commodities.

DFID’s Forest Governance, Markets and Climate programme (£250m, 2011-21) is addressing illegal deforestation and tackling the corruption which allows it to flourish. While our Investments in Forests and Sustainable Land Use (IFSLU) Programme (£93.5m, 2015-23) is supporting public-private partnerships with leading companies, helping to turn their commitments to sustainable practice into action. This aims to encourage sustainable economic growth together with the conservation of nature in developing countries.

DFID is co-leading (with Egypt) international efforts on climate resilience, including the resilience of natural ecosystems, at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September.

29th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of working with her international counterparts to create a standardised code of conduct and expectations for garment factories in developing countries; and if she will make a statement.

DFID is committed to improving conditions in garments factories, including those which supply clothing to UK stores, through a range of multi-national initiatives, including those to improve codes of conduct. These initiatives include:

  • the £30 million Responsible Accountable Transparent Enterprise programme which works through the Ethical Trading Initiative and United Nation’s Global Compact to support the development and implementation of standards and codes, including for the garment sector specifically;
  • the Bangladesh “Sustainability Compact” which commits the Government of Bangladesh, the European Union, the United States, Canada and the International Labour Organisation to improve labour rights, building safety, health and safety, and responsible business conduct; and
  • DFID co-hosting of ‘The Fair Fashion in Africa’ event on 2 May to explore further opportunities to help female garment workers in Africa access quality jobs that support their economic empowerment.
18th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the of the implications for her policies of the report entitled, Networked but Commodified: The (Dis)Embeddedness of Digital Labour in the Gig Economy, published in the journal Sociology in February 2019.

DFID is actively supporting global efforts to maximise the opportunities and minimise the risks from the gig economy. Through the Responsible, Accountable and Transparent Enterprise Programme (RATE), DFID supports the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and its response to the changing nature of work and the rise of digital platforms. We also support social protection programmes – central to the protection of workers in the gig economy – in 23 countries.

DFID is working closely with DWP to influence a proposed International Labour Organisation (ILO) Centenary Declaration. The Declaration will set the strategic direction for the ILO in the context of the future of work. We are pushing to ensure that the ILO addresses job quality issues in the changing world of work.

2nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the Government plans for all future trade agreements to be conditional upon animal welfare requirements.

Any future trade deals must work for UK consumers, farmers and food manufacturers. The Government shares the British public’s high regard for our animal welfare standards and has made clear that we will not compromise on these standards. After EU Exit, the UK will decide how we set and maintain our own standards and regulations. Imports will have to meet all the relevant UK product rules and regulations.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
2nd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what representations he has made to the Government of Saudi Arabia about the alleged international broadcast rights infringement activities of (a) Saudi Arabian-based media company beoutQ, (b) that company's co-founder Dr Raed Khusheim and (c) that company's satellite broadcaster Arabsat.

We have received representations from a number of UK-based companies about this matter and HM Ambassador in Riyadh has raised this on a number of occasions with Ministers in the Saudi Arabian Government.

2nd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what representations he has made to the Government of Saudi Arabia on the potential implications of the activities of (a) Saudi Arabian media company beoutQ, (b) the founder of that company Dr Raed Khusheim and (c) that company's satellite broadcaster Arabsat.

We have received representations from a number of UK-based companies about this matter and HM Ambassador in Riyadh has raised this on a number of occasions with Ministers in the Saudi Arabian Government.

2nd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what representations he has received on alleged infringement of broadcast rights by Saudi Arabian-based media company beoutQ; and what steps he has taken in response to those representations.

We have received representations from a number of UK-based companies about this matter and HM Ambassador in Riyadh has raised this on a number of occasions with Ministers in the Saudi Arabian Government.

28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on new funding for the (a) restoration of bus services removed due to changes in local authority funding and (b) other bus services in (i) Newcastle-under-Lyme and (ii) other coalfield towns.

On 30 September, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced ‘A Better Deal for Bus Users’ package, worth £220 million, to boost bus services.

As part of this package, the Government will pay an extra £30 million directly to local authorities in 2020/21 to enable them to improve current bus services or to restore lost services. Further details, including the funding allocations for each local authority, will be announced in due course.

Further details of the package can be found online with the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-better-deal-for-bus-users/a-better-deal-for-bus-users

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on new funding for (a) the reopening of local railway lines, (b) the reinstating of passenger services on freight lines, (c) new stations, (d) new rolling stock and (e) other local railway services in coalfield towns in North Staffordshire.

The Government assesses rail enhancement schemes including the reopening of closed lines, use of freight lines and opening of new stations on a case by case basis. The Department continues to work with local authorities and other partners to identify new rail projects that can deliver value for money for the UK taxpayer.

Proposals would be taken forward as part of the Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline (RNEP). The RNEP sets out the Department’s priorities for rail and principles for investment based around the progressive development of business cases and formal investment decision gateways.

From 2020 onwards, passengers using services in North Staffordshire will benefit from the modification and modernisation of West Midlands Train rolling stock which will provide additional capacity. Additionally, the West Coast Partnership will be replacing Voyager trains with 23 new trains which will provide more capacity, be more efficient and have lower emissions. The West Coast Partnership Pendolino fleet will also be refurbished providing increased capacity.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government's Transport Decarbonisation Plan will apply to international (a) aviation and (b) shipping; and what steps he is taking to ensure that those sectors achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The Transport Decarbonisation Plan will consider the transport sector as a whole and the increased contribution that all modes need to make to achieve an economy-wide net zero target by 2050. Given the global nature of the aviation and shipping sectors sector, and their climate change impacts, effective and coordinated international action remains essential. Unilateral action by a single state leads to the risk that these highly mobile carbon emissions are simply moved overseas, therefore failing to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. The UK will continue its leadership role at the IMO pushing for the most ambitious measures to reduce GHG emissions from ships and negotiate for ICAO to agree a long-term emissions reduction goal by its 41st Assembly in 2022. Government will keep our approach to the inclusion of international shipping and aviation emissions in our legislation under review, taking account of progress in the IMO and ICAO.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on additional cycling infrastructure funding; and what steps he is taking to meet the walking and cycling targets his Department's cycling and walking investment strategy published in 2019.

My Department has regular discussions with the Treasury at Ministerial and official levels on this and other matters, and will continue to make the case for sufficient funding to achieve the aims of the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. A detailed report will be laid before Parliament later this year setting out the steps the Government has been taking to deliver the commitments set out in the Strategy, and the progress that is being made towards its targets.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage local authorities to prioritise (a) pedestrian and (b) cyclists in the design of streets in towns and cities.

The Government’s recently strengthened National Planning Policy Framework advises local authorities to promote healthy, inclusive and safe places which encourage walking and cycling. The Department for Transport’s guidance on Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs) helps local authorities to identify priorities for investment and a pipeline of projects to encourage more walking and cycling.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to reduce urban traffic speeds to encourage more cyclists to cycle on roads.

The Department has no plans to change national speed limits.

Local traffic authorities are responsible for setting speed limits on local roads and for targeting their funding on measures that are most effective in ensuring that their roads become safer. To assist with this, the Department published guidance to local highway authorities on setting speed limits in 2013, and furthermore last year published an evaluation into the effectiveness of 20mph speed limits. The 2016 update to the TSRGD (Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions) also made significant changes to facilitate and reduce the cost of providing 20 mph zones in England, allowing traffic authorities to place repeater speed signs and/or speed roundel road markings as well as traffic calming features.

In April 2017 the Government published its first statutory Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, setting out its ambition to make cycling and walking the natural choice for shorter journeys. And in July 2019, the Government published the Road Safety Statement 2019: a lifetime of road safety. This includes a two-year action plan to address a range of road safety issues which will improve safety for cyclists.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of automatically awarding season ticket rail passengers with compensation in respect of a delay to their travel.

Since announcing ‘one-click’ compensation in October 2018, the Government has introduced a requirement for new franchises to introduce simple automated Delay Repay claims systems, available via smartphones and smartcard registration, to make it easier for passengers to claim compensation when they have suffered delays.

Automated ‘one-click’ compensation schemes make it very quick and easy to claim compensation and have a number of advantages over automatic compensation schemes – for example, the fact that passengers know they have received compensation and also that the risk of fraud is reduced, because passengers need to ‘click’ to confirm they were on the delayed train.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to ensure that all airlines operating in the UK have a carbon offset scheme to which customers can sign up.

On 18 July 2019 the government launched a call for evidence on carbon offsetting for all transport modes, including aviation.

This call for evidence explores how we might improve consumer understanding of the emissions from their journeys and their options to offset them, and if travel providers should be required to offer voluntary carbon offsets to their customers.

This is an area where we believe more information is needed to understand how any schemes could work successfully and we are looking forward to seeing the views and evidence that come through in response.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the amount of ethanol in petrol sold to reduce carbon emissions.

In 2018 the Department published a call for evidence on “E10 petrol, consumer protection and fuel pump labelling”. This document noted that using E10 (petrol containing up to 10% bioethanol) in place of E5 could reduce the net greenhouse gas emissions of a petrol vehicle by around two per cent.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government remains on track to achieve its walking and cycling targets.

The Government’s aims, objectives and targets for walking and cycling are set out in the statutory 2017 Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. The Department will be reporting to Parliament later this year on the progress that has been made towards meeting each of these, once the latest official statistics on rates of cycling and walking are published in the summer.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
26th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of local authorities franchising of bus services.

The Bus Services Act 2017 introduced new bus franchising powers for local authorities as well as providing other tools such as Enhanced Partnerships to improve bus services.

Officials have met with a number of interested local authorities to help them understand the opportunities in the Act to improve bus services in their area. It is up to individual local authorities to decide what powers in the act to use and the Department has published guidance and continues to provide advice when requested to those that are taking plans forward.

18th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of all domestic flights being made by electric aircraft by 2040.

Hybrid and fully-electric aircraft have the potential to transform aviation. Whilst no specific assessment of this nature has been made, the Government has committed £155m to support a new era of cleaner and greener aviation.

This includes £125m of Government funding for the Future Flight Industrial Strategy Challenge to support the next generation of electric planes and autonomous aircraft, alongside support for projects such as the joint Rolls Royce, Airbus and Siemens E-Fan X, a hybrid-electric flight demonstrator.

Our consultation on Aviation 2050, the Government’s long-term vision for aviation, sought views on how to address the environmental challenges and the role that new technology and innovation can play in sustainable growth for aviation. We will publish the White Paper later in 2019.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the 25 Year Environment Plan, whether his Department plans to provide additional support for the development of sustainable aviation fuels.

The 25 Year Environment Plan noted that the Government would explore different infrastructure options for managing residual waste, including the production of biofuels for transport and emerging innovative technologies.

Under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), biofuels reported as being made from waste have risen from 12 per cent of total biofuel supply in the first year of the obligation 2008/09 to 66 per cent in 2017/18.

Building on that success the Government introduced changes to the RTFO last year which extended eligibility for rewards under the RTFO to aviation fuels. We are also making available up to £20 million of matched capital funding to projects that will produce low carbon waste-based fuels to be used in aeroplanes and lorries through the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition.

The Department is also discussing with industry whether fuels produced from non-biogenic wastes, including those that are difficult to recycle, should be supported under the RTFO.

The Government’s new aviation strategy, Aviation 2050 – The future of UK aviation, will be published later this year. Through consultation on that Strategy the Government is considering further policies it can put in place to assist the long-term uptake of sustainable alternative fuels in this sector.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring airlines to publish emission output estimates to (a) transparency and (b) aircraft efficiency.

In December 2018 the Government published a green paper on its new aviation strategy, ‘Aviation 2050 – The future of UK aviation’. This included proposals for tackling aviation’s carbon emissions, taking into account the UK’s domestic and international obligations.

One of the potential carbon abatement measures consulted on in the green paper is to ask airports to publish league tables of the environmental efficiency of airport and airline operations.

The public consultation on the green paper closed on 20 June 2019, and the department will now consider the responses and assess the merits of the potential carbon abatement measures to determine which will be taken forward. The final Aviation 2050 strategy will present a clear approach to carbon abatement and ensure that aviation contributes its fair share to action on climate change. It is due to be published later this year.

Aggregate airline emissions are already published at a European level through the EU Emission Trading System (ETS). Reporting coverage will be expanded under the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) which includes all airline emissions on international routes. The first emissions data for CORSIA will be available during 2020.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
17th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps is he taking to ensure a uniform method for electric car drivers to access public charging points.

Our vision is to have one of the best electric vehicle infrastructure networks in the world. This means current and prospective electric vehicle drivers are able to easily locate and access charging infrastructure that is affordable, reliable and secure. A better consumer experience of using public chargepoints is central to this vision. The Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Regulations requires that all public chargepoints provide ad-hoc access which means EV drivers can charge at any chargepoint without having to enter into a contract with an infrastructure operator nor be in the possession of multiple RFID cards. The Automated and Electric Vehicles Act goes further by providing the government with a range of powers to improve the charging experience for current and future including the powers to specify a uniform method of payment. The Government continues to monitor market developments closely. If the market fails to continue to deliver further improvements across the entire network or takes too long, the Government is prepared to intervene using the powers in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act to ensure a good deal for consumers.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
13th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that the wellbeing of a ship's crew is linked to ship safety and included in international regulations.

The International Labour Organisation’s Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC), which the UK ratified in 2013, provides a global framework for decent living and working conditions for seafarers. The MLC has been amended three times since then to provide measures

  • For financial support for seafarers abandoned by shipowners;

  • To protect seafarers against bullying and harassment; and

  • To ensure that employment protection remains in place throughout the period of captivity for seafarers held captive in cases of piracy or armed robbery.

The UK continues to take an active role in the international Committee which keeps the MLC under review and will support practical measures to improve the wellbeing of seafarers.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is expecting to publish new guidance for shipowners and for seafarers on wellbeing issues later this year.

6th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) cities and (b) towns include under represented groups when planning cycling infrastructure in England and Wales.

The Government’s plans to promote cycling and walking are set out in the statutory Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, published in April 2017. The Strategy’s ambition is to make cycling and walking the natural choice for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey. The Strategy includes a commitment to monitor the uptake of cycling by age, gender, ethnicity and mobility.

The Department for Transport recognises that the take-up of cycling is lower among some groups than others. For some under-represented groups, concerns about safety are a major barrier to taking up cycling. In November 2018 the Department published a full response to the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy safety review, which included a detailed list of actions to make cycling safer and hence more attractive to those who are not regular cyclists.

It is for Local Authorities to plan their cycling infrastructure (and to take account of their Public-Sector Equality Duty in doing so) and Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans are an effective way of identifying infrastructure and routes with the greatest potential for increasing levels of cycling and walking, often by focusing on areas with under-represented groups.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps he has taken to reduce emissions of (a) sulphur dioxide, (b) nitrogen oxides and (c) particulate matter in the shipping industry.

The Government has taken a leading role at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to both secure improvements in UK air quality, and to ensure that the IMO’s global requirements for marine fuel enter into force later this year.

On 1 January 2020 the IMO’s global 0.5% limit on sulphur in marine fuel will enter into force, the UK has played a significant role in both supporting this limit, and working with industry to develop guidance to ensure it enters into force effectively.

On 1 Jan 2021, following work undertaken at IMO by the UK and neighbouring states, the North Sea and English Channel will become a Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) Emissions Control Area, applying the highest levels of NOx controls available under international maritime law.

The Government is also active at the IMO in an ongoing work programme to quantify and ultimately regulate emissions of black carbon (a major constituent of particulate matter) from international shipping.

3rd Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing government support to subsidise bus services in Staffordshire.

£250m of Bus Services Operators Grant (BSOG) payments have been made to bus companies and local authorities.

Bus operators in Staffordshire were paid a total of £1,016,186 BSOG in 2018-19 to help meet some of their fuel costs in running local bus services.

Staffordshire County Council received a total of £174,967 in BSOG during 2018-19 to support subsidised local bus services.

BSOG spend figures are published on Gov.uk and can be found via this link https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/bus-services-grants-and-funding#bsog-spend

The Government will consider whether to make any changes to BSOG as part of the forthcoming spending review.

8th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has plans to limit vehicle speed to 20 miles per hour in residential areas.

The Department believes that local highway authorities are best placed to set local speed limits based on the circumstances of the area and the views of local people. The Government has no plans to consider making 20mph limits the default speed limit in residential areas.

7th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that public transportation meets the needs of disabled people in towns and cities.

The Government is committed to ensuring disabled people, including those with less visible disabilities such as autism, have the same access to transport and opportunities to travel as everyone else.

In July 2018 the Department published the Inclusive Transport Strategy. Its ambition is to create a transport system that provides equal access for disabled people by 2030. It is ambitious and comprehensive, and sets a clear direction of travel, helping to create a society that works for all and will enable disabled people in our towns and cities to travel confidently, easily and without extra cost. The Department is making good progress delivering the many commitments set out in the Strategy, and will be reporting to Parliament on this in the summer.

1st May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2019 to Question 246956 on Transport: Stoke-on-Trent, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the frequency of daily train services between Stoke-on-Trent and London.

The West Coast Partnership is due to be awarded shortly and as per the ITT, the current Inter City West Coast service between London Euston and Stoke on Trent has been protected as a minimum requirement.

The incoming franchisee will also be responsible for the implementation of a timetable recast associated with the introduction of HS2 services, which will involve consultation with relevant stakeholders for the provision of future services.

There is no change to the overall number of direct LNR trains between Stoke-on-Trent and London Euston in the forthcoming timetable change from 20 May 2019.

24th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that reasonably-priced travel options remain available to passengers travelling from Stoke-on-Trent to London.

The Government regulates the existence and price of certain rail fares. We protect passengers by setting the maximum amount by which regulated fares can increase year-on-year. The Government has ensured regulated fares can rise by no more than inflation since 2014.

Passengers travelling from Stoke-on-Trent on the West Midlands Rail franchise now benefit from live train crowding information, compensation for people delayed by 15 minutes or more, smart ticketing and, from next year, better value tickets for part-time workers. These changes modernise rail fares for those travelling from Stoke-on-Trent and offer fare payers the choice and flexibility they expect of a modern railway.

23rd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a cycling indemnity for people using their bike to get to work.

The Department encourages all cyclists to take out some form of insurance and many do through cycling organisations (which provide insurance through membership) or as an extension of their household insurance.

18th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps his Department has taken to help ensure cycling in UK cities becomes safer and more child friendly.

Around £2bn of funding is being invested in cycling and walking projects between 2016/17 and 2020/21, which will help make cycling safer for everyone. This includes £50m for Bikeability training for school children, which has allowed around four hundred thousand children to be trained during the 2018/19 academic year.

18th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of fines issued under regulations 98 and 107 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 in 2018.

The Department does not keep a record of fines issued under Regulations 98 and 107 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. Local Authorities are responsible for enforcement of these offences, but they are not required to pass information on their use to the Department.

18th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to impose limits on the amount of time an engine can be left running if a vehicle is stationary in traffic.

Regulation 98 of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 already makes it an offence to leave an engine running unnecessarily if a vehicle is stationary, with an exception when this is “owing to the necessities of traffic”.

The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002, sets out how these offences should be enforced and guidance is provided to Local Authorities on the practicalities of enforcement. This guidance is currently being updated and the Department is planning to send this out to Local Authorities in the coming months.

20th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the consultation process prior to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) decision that drivers must disclose if they have an autistic spectrum disorder.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) formulates its guidance for drivers with medical conditions, including autism spectrum disorders (ASD), in conjunction with the relevant honorary medical advisory panel. In this instance, an attempt by the DVLA to clarify the guidance caused confusion and concern. The advice for both drivers and medical professionals has now been amended to make clear that a driver who has an ASD only needs to tell the DVLA if the condition could affect their driving.

The DVLA has undertaken to engage fully with relevant stakeholders and the appropriate honorary medical advisory panel over the guidance for drivers with ASD.

7th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what financial and other support he plans to allocate to the Newcastle-under-Lyme constituency to build the required infrastructure identified in the area local cycling and walking infrastructure plan.

Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs) are used by Local Authorities to identify and prioritise investment for cycling and walking schemes from local funds and relevant national funding streams, such as the Highways Maintenance Fund, Integrated Transport Block, Transforming Cities Fund, Future High Streets Fund, and Housing Infrastructure Fund. The Department has been supporting Staffordshire County Council in the development of its LCWIP.

Decisions on future funding for cycling and walking will be made in the context of the forthcoming Spending Review.

22nd Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the report by the Resolution Foundation entitled A fraying net, what steps the Government is taking to (a) reform and strengthen the social security safety net for young adults and (b) ensure that parents under the age of 25 do not lose out financially when moving from the previous benefit system to universal credit.

The Government is committed to providing targeted support for young people. We aim to ensure that everyone, no matter what their start in life, is given the very best chance of getting into work. To support this, the Department delivers the Youth Obligation Support Programme, Jobcentre Plus Support for Schools and the recently introduced Mentoring Circles for young people.

Universal Credit is designed to replicate the world of work through the introduction of a range of measures such as monthly assessment periods. Setting a clear benefit rate for claimants under the age of 25 reflects the lower wages that younger workers typically receive. This is intended to maintain the incentive for younger people to find work.

The lower rates for younger claimants who are under the age of 25 years reflects the fact that they are more likely to live in someone else's household and have lower living costs and lower earnings expectations. It also reinforces the stronger work incentives that Universal Credit creates for this age group. Universal Credit also includes separate elements to provide support for housing costs, children and childcare costs and support for disabled people and carers.

Those who naturally migrate to Universal Credit will do so because they will have had a significant change in their circumstances which previously would have led to a new claim to another existing benefit. In these situations, it has always been the case that the assessment of their new benefit will be based on their new circumstances and under the rules of their new benefit without regard to their previous entitlement. As their circumstances will have changed it is not possible to make a meaningful comparison between their previous entitlement to their existing benefit and their new entitlement to Universal Credit.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps she has taken to ensure that universal credit claimants have access to support throughout the application process; and whether she plans to increase the number of universal credit telephone advisers.

The Department takes seriously the need to support vulnerable claimants, and wants the application process for Universal Credit to be as quick and easy as possible, ensuring that claimants receive money at the earliest opportunity. To support this, we keep staffing levels under constant review and at the required levels, ensuring we have the right number of people available to answer customer calls and to respond to forecasted demand.

All Jobcentres across the country have Wi-Fi and computers available for claimants to access the internet. These devices are being upgraded in a programme due to be completed by the end of October 2019. For those that are still unable to access or use digital services, or are not able to travel, assistance to make and maintain their claim is available via the Freephone Universal Credit helpline. In certain circumstances, a home visit can be arranged to support a claimant in making and maintaining their claim

Additionally, Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have been delivering the ‘Help to Claim’ service on a pilot basis since April 2019, supporting claimants with making a new claim to Universal Credit. The Citizens Advice Help to Claim service offers tailored, practical support to help people make a Universal Credit claim up to receiving their first full correct payment on time, and is available online, on the phone and face-to-face through local Citizen’s Advice services.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the final report from the Young people's future health inquiry entitled A healthy foundation for the future published in October 2019, what steps the Government is taking to establish a job market that offers young people secure and rewarding work.

The Government is committed to supporting young people into work. We aim to ensure that everyone, no matter what their start in life, is given the very best chance of getting into work.

The DWP Youth Obligation Support Programme is currently delivered to young people aged 18-21 making a new claim to Universal Credit. We provide additional tailored support to enable young people to achieve their goals.

In January 2019 we announced the extension of the Mentoring Circles initiative from the ethnic minority community to all young people who could benefit from such support. Mentoring circles support 16-24 year olds by giving them an opportunity to build on their employability skills. By facilitating an interaction with employers this initiative helps to provide young job seekers with access to and interaction with role models in the workplace.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to help businesses increase access for disabled people to (a) apprenticeships and (b) jobs.

In respect of apprenticeships, we have undertaken a number of actions to improve access to apprenticeships for people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. We have made British Sign Language (BSL) an alternative to English Functional Skills for those who have BSL as their first language and we have adjusted the minimum English and maths requirements for those who are able to meet the occupational standard of their apprenticeship but would struggle to achieve the regular English and maths minimum requirements.

It is encouraging to see that 36,900 apprenticeships were started by individuals with learning difficulties and/or disabilities in the first three quarters of 2018/9. This is 12.3 per cent of all apprenticeship starts and an increase from 11.5 per cent at the same point in 2017/18.

We continue our work with Mencap and our Pacesetters group, made up of a range of organisations and local authorities to identify what further support we can give those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

With regard to jobs help, we offer a range of programmes and schemes that offer employment support to disabled people. These include:

  • the Work and Heath Programme (WHP), which will help 275,000 people over 5 years, including 220,000 disabled people.

  • The Disability Confident scheme. Through this, we work with employers to change attitudes and create employment opportunities by giving businesses the tools and techniques to recruit and retain disabled people in their workplace. Over 13,600 employers are signed up to Disability Confident, and their number continues to grow.

  • Access to Work, which offers eligible disabled people a grant of up to £59,200 per year to fund support above the level of reasonable adjustments, to ensure that their health condition or disability does not hold them back in the workplace. Last year we spent £129 million on Access to Work grants, helping over 36,000 people stay in employment.

The Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme (IPES) will launch by the end of 2019. It will provide highly personalised packages of employment support for disabled people with complex and multiple barriers to work who are at least a year away from moving into work without the support on the programme.

Our Jobcentres offer tailored and personalised support from Work Coaches and Disability Employment Advisers, backed by the Personal Support Package which is a 4-year, £330 million package of employment support targeted at claimants with disabilities and health conditions.

30th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the proportion of Job Centre Plus offices that have (a) British Sign Language and (b) language interpreters.

Under the Equality Act 2010, DWP must make suitable provision to communicate with claimants who do not speak English or Welsh (for people residing in Wales), or who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired.

It is DWP policy to use an interpreter when we need to communicate with a claimant who:

  • cannot communicate adequately in English (or, in Wales, Welsh);
  • has complex needs and, or may need additional support; and
  • cannot provide their own interpreter.

Since the 1st January 2018 Thebigword has provided Foreign Language and British Sign Language (BSL) services for the DWP staff and customers. All Jobcentres are able to access the service provided by Thebigword.

The services available for BSL are face to face interpreting and Video Relay Service. The services available for foreign language interpreters are face to face interpreting, telephone interpreting and written translations.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of trends in the number of non-UK EU citizens being refused universal credit in the last six months.

Eligibility for Universal Credit depends on a person’s immigration status in the UK. In line with EU law, EEA nationals must be exercising a legal right to reside, such as worker or self-employed status, and be habitually resident in the UK to be eligible for income-related benefits. EEA nationals may now apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to protect their entitlement to access UK benefits and public services.

The Department is committed to monitoring its policies, regularly reviewing and analysing the relevant data. The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of lifting the freeze on local housing allowance to ensure that it covers at least the cheapest third of rents to improve housing security.

There are no current plans to extend or maintain the Benefit Freeze after March 2020. Specific decisions on how to uprate the Local Housing Allowance from April 2020 will form part of the discussions in support of fiscal events later this year.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, what steps she is taking to ensure that employers protect employees' hearing.

The Government’s policy on ensuring that employers protect their employees’ hearing is well established. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has responsibility for occupational health and safety legislation which includes the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. The Regulations impose duties which, depending on the level of risk, require employers to:

  • take action to reduce exposure to noise and ensure the legal limits on noise exposure are not exceeded;
  • ensure that equipment is properly maintained and used;
  • provide employees with personal hearing protection where it’s appropriate;
  • provide information, instruction and training;
  • carry out health surveillance.

HSE focuses its activities on industries where there are high numbers of workers who are exposed and/or where there is evidence of a high incidence rate of noise induced hearing loss. It does this through a range of approaches and interventions, specifically:

  • securing effective risk management and control through a variety of interventions with businesses including inspections, investigations of incidents and concerns raised by workers and others;
  • leading and engaging those who undertake or influence health and safety;
  • the provision of comprehensive guidance;
  • ensuring that the regulatory framework remains effective.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to require employers to provide sun cream for employees that predominantly work outdoors.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for regulating health and safety risks arising from work activities and has no plans to introduce additional legislation to require employers to provide sun cream to their employees.

HSE provides specific advice aimed at employers and employees on preventing health risks due to exposure to the sun at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg337.pdf and www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg147.pdf. This includes following the “APC approach” (Avoid, Protect, Check) which can help to reduce the chances of developing skin cancer, whether work related or not.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will meet the Chancellor of the Exchequer to discuss increasing support for charities and other advice agencies to ensure that they are able to assist people in completing all disability benefit application forms.

It is important that all of our claimants are able to access our services and that they do not face obstacles in applying. The Department can provide support, including help filling in the application form or the questionnaire where accessibility requirements would call for that.

The Department does not provide any funding support for charities or other advice agencies to support them in the completion of forms for the disability benefits: Attendance Allowance; Disability Living Allowance; and Personal Independence Payment. The Department does however undertake a wide variety of engagement with representatives from various charities and welfare rights organisations in order to share information and updates and to ensure the systems work as effectively as possible to support people with disabilities and long-term health conditions.

16th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing a disability element to universal credit to replace disability premiums.

Universal Credit does not replicate the premiums of the legacy benefits system, and this has allowed us to target additional support to a wider group of claimants, while streamlining the system. This was a conscious policy decision from the outset, and by doing this we have increased provision for the most severely disabled.

The Universal Credit rate for the most severely disabled people (the Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity addition) is more than double the equivalent rate for the Employment and Support Allowance support group.

The Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity addition is £336.20 a month compared to the Employment & Support Allowance Support Group rate of £167.05.

On Universal Credit, more people who are severely disabled will receive higher payments, with around 1 million disabled households gaining on average around £100 more per month on Universal Credit than on legacy benefits.

16th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps his Department has taken to simplify the forms used to claim benefits.

The Department for Work and Pensions is committed to ensuring its claim forms are as simple and easy to use as possible. We have simplified over 180 forms in the last six months by making changes to the layout, style, wording and accessibility. We carry out usability testing on new and revised forms with claimants.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of reinstating the employment and support allowance and universal credit work-related activity component.

No such assessment of merits has been made. There are no plans to reinstate the change to the Employment and Support Allowance work-related activity component and the Universal Credit limited capability for work element.

As part of the Personal Support Package which was announced in the ‘Improving Lives’ Green Paper in October 2016, we committed to a £330m package of support over 4 years for claimants affected by the removal of the Work Related Activity component.

The Department believes that this change will provide the right incentives and support to help new claimants with limited capability for work.

In 2019/20 we are spending £55 billion on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions. Furthermore, real terms disability benefits spending will be higher every year to 2023 than in 2010.

16th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department plans to work with medical practitioners to improve the quality of medical evidence for benefits claimants.

In response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee report on Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance assessments, published on 14 February 2018, the Department is currently working with the Assessment Providers and external stakeholders, such as NHS England, to improve healthcare professionals’ knowledge and understanding of medical evidence requirements for DWP benefits purposes.

8th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the carer's allowance and for it to be paid for each person the carer is responsible for.

The primary purpose of Carer’s Allowance is to provide a measure of financial support and recognition for people who give up the opportunity of full-time employment in order to provide regular and substantial care for a severely disabled person. It is not, and was never intended to be, a carer’s wage or a payment for the services of caring. It is also not intended to replace lost or forgone earnings in their entirety.

A National Insurance Class 1 credit is generally awarded for each week that Carer’s Allowance is paid to a working age carer. Class 1 credits can help towards the conditions of entitlement to all contributory benefits, as well as the new State Pension. In addition to Carer’s Allowance, carers on low incomes can claim income-related benefits, such as Universal Credit and Pension Credit.

The Government recognises the invaluable contribution that unpaid and family carers make in all our communities, and is committed to doing more to support them. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) published a Carers Action Plan in June 2018 setting out plans around support for carers, and in addition to this, carers will be a fundamental part of DHSC’s upcoming Green Paper. A sustainable settlement for social care will simply not be possible without focussing on how our society supports carers. The Government has committed to publishing the Green Paper at the earliest opportunity setting out its proposals for reform.

Carers who provide professional caring services to multiple severely disabled people do so as a means of employment and are paid accordingly rather than relying on carers benefits.

4th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps her Department has taken to increase public understanding of invisible disabilities.

On Tuesday 25 June, the Government launched a new cross-government approach on disability which is guided by a vision that recognises the contributions that disabled people make and where disabled people can participate fully in society. To drive forward this approach, government will establish a new cross-departmental disability team in the Cabinet Office, and the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) will be incorporated into the team. This move recognises that disabled people, including those with hidden disabilities, face barriers across the life course and a wide range of aspects of their lives and coordinated cross-government action is therefore vital.

The British Standards Institution, and others involved in supporting the “Grace’s Sign” campaign, are currently exploring the potential for developing a symbol for hidden disabilities. The project is in an early scoping phase, but its intended aim is that the symbol would be recognised by the International Organization for Standardization. Achieving this involves a multi-stage process, which can take time, but if successful, greatly enhances the chances of its sustained future use in public signage. If successful, greater use and public acceptance of such a symbol would increase awareness of hidden disabilities, and help promote an understanding of the possible access and support needs of people with hidden disabilities.

Various Sector Champions appointed by the Minister for Disabled People are working within their sectors to support all disabled people, raise awareness of their needs and drive improvements in how these are met. Examples relating to hidden disabilities include: railway franchises thinking about supporting people with a wider range of disabilities, including through quiet areas at stations; a lanyard to identify those with hidden disabilities at airports, with staff trained to recognise this and offer help; and within the retail sector, many large stores holding quiet hours (no music and dimmed lighting) to improve the shopping experience for those with some hidden disabilities (such as autism or ADHD).

4th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of increasing local housing allowance to the 30th percentile point for current market rents in each size category of dwelling.

There are no current plans to extend or maintain the Benefit Freeze after March 2020. Specific decisions on how to uprate the Local Housing Allowance from April 2020 will form part of the discussions in support of fiscal events later this year.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps she has taken to ensure that older people receive the financial support they are entitled to.

The Government is committed to ensuring that older people receive the support they are entitled to and the DWP targets activity on engaging with people who may be eligible to benefits at pivotal stages, such as when they make a claim for State Pension or report a change in their circumstances.

The DWP uses a wide range of channels including information on https://gov.uk/, in leaflets and by telephone to communicate information to potential customers about benefits, such as Pension Credit. Anyone wishing to claim Pension Credit can do so by calling 0800 99 1234 and DWP staff in Pension Centres and Jobcentres including visiting officers are able to provide help and advice about entitlement to benefits, as are staff in Local Authorities who administer Housing Benefit.

Pension Credit is an important benefit specifically intended to help the poorest pensioners and there are over 1.6m pensioners already claiming over £5billion but we want to ensure that everyone eligible can claim what they are entitled to. One of the best ways to reach eligible customers is through trusted stakeholder working in the community and we have developed the Pension Credit toolkit, as an on-line tool for agencies and welfare rights organisations to use in order to encourage Pension Credit take-up. It can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pension-credit-toolkit

The toolkit contains resources for anyone working with pensioners and includes guides to Pension Credit. It also contains publicity material and guidance designed to help older people understand how they could get Pension Credit and help organisations support someone applying for Pension Credit as well as ideas for encouraging take-up. The toolkit also provides links to information about disability and carers benefits.

Most recently we have provided to relevant organisations a fact sheet about Pension Credit and forthcoming changes for couples to ensure that accurate information is available in the places where people are most likely to seek it.

Finally, the Government’s commitment to the triple lock has meant that the full basic State Pension is now worth around £1600 a year more (in cash terms) than it was in 2010 and significantly, the majority of people of pension age in receipt of a State Pension or another social security benefit receive their annual winter fuel payment automatically without the need to make a claim.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she is taking steps to ensure that pension companies declare investments in the fossil-fuel industry; and if she will make a statement.

The Government recognises that climate change is a key national and international issue we have made sure that pension schemes understand their role responding to its effects. In September 2018, following extensive consultation with the pensions industry, this Government laid regulations (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/pension-trustees-clarifying-and-strengthening-investment-duties) to clarify and strengthen trustees’ investment duties, including taking account of the financial risks of climate change when developing their investment strategies. There has been extensive stakeholder engagement since. The regulations come into force from October this year.

Defined contribution occupational pension schemes will be required to publish their policy on consideration of climate risks by October 2019, with most defined benefit schemes being required to follow suit by October 2020.

The FCA are consulting on corresponding provisions for workplace personal pension schemes. As the Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion I have spoken extensively about the new requirements and the Government expectations of pension schemes, including at the Westminster Hall debate regarding Pension Funds: Financial and Ethical Investments on the 22 May 2019:

“For too long there has been a perception by too many trustees -I am happy to clarify this as a Government Minister- that the environmental practices of the firms they invest in are purely ethical concerns, which they do not need to worry about: that is utterly wrong. Aside from the ethical considerations, there are real financial risks resulting from climate change. With the long-term horizons of pension investing, trustees must now consider that when they set out their investment strategies. Trustees who do not consider those matters will be breaching their statutory and potentially their fiduciary duties not only to current but future members.”

The full debate can be viewed here:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2019-05-22/debates/D3194408-7581-4635-AEDC-6D22AD6F0EBC/PensionFundsFinancialAndEthicalInvestments

The Government is very keen to support trustees in making responsible investment decisions.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the cost to the public purse was of providing free television licences to people over the age of 75 for qualifying residents in (a) Newcastle-under-Lyme constituency and (b) Staffordshire local authority area in (i) 2017-18 and (ii) 2018-19.

In the 2015 funding settlement, the Government agreed with the BBC that responsibility for the concession will transfer to the BBC in June 2020.

The government and the BBC agreed this is a fair deal for the BBC - in return we closed the iPlayer loophole and committed to increase the licence fee in line with inflation. And to help with financial planning, we agreed to provide phased transitional funding over 2 years to gradually introduce the cost to the BBC.

This reform was subject to public discussion and debated extensively during the passage of the Digital Economy Act 2017 through Parliament.

On 10 June 2019, the BBC announced that the current scheme will end. From 1 June 2020, a free TV licence will only be available to a household with someone aged over 75 who receives Pension Credit.

The table below provides estimates of the costs for 2017/18 of providing free TV licences to people aged 75 and over in the geographical areas requested, in nominal prices. The figures for 2018/19 will be available in September.

Expenditure (£m) (Nominal)

2017-18

Newcastle-under-Lyme constituency

£0.98

Staffordshire local authority area

£9.66

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jun 2019
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the Youth Voice Census Report 2019, published in June 2018, what assessment she has made of the effect of gender on a young person's level of engagement with school and employment.

No assessment has been made of gender on a young person’s level of engagement with school and employment.

However, the Government is committed to providing targeted support for all young people so that everyone, no matter what their start in life, is given the very best chance.

The Government has raised the participation age to ensure that all young people are supported to continue their education until at least age 18, and invested nearly £7 billion during academic year 2018/19, to ensure there is a place in education or training for every 16 to 19-year old.

Local Authorities (LAs) have a statutory duty to identify and track the participation of 16 and 17 year olds, supporting those who are not participating to do so and making sure that there is sufficient, suitable education and training provision to meet their needs. The September Guarantee places a further duty on LAs to ensure that all year 11 pupils (and year 12 pupils on one year courses) receive an offer of a place in education/training for the following September. It aims to ensure that all young people, regardless of what they achieved in school, understand that there are opportunities that will help them to progress, and to ensure that they get the advice and support they need to find a suitable place.

The latest data for the end of 2017 (provisional) shows that 86.8% of 16-18-year-old females are in Education and Training, compared to 85.1% of males. Source is the ‘Participation in education, training and employment: 2017’ published statistics.

In January to March 2019 the number of young people aged 16-24 who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) in the UK was at a near record low (764,000) – down 364,000 since 2010. As part of this the number of women aged 16-24 who were NEET was at a near record low (383,000) – down 238,000 since 2010. The number of men aged 16-24 who were NEET was also near a record low – at 381,000 – down 126,000 since 2010.

The latest figures from the independent ONS, show that in February-April 2019 UK employment rate is at a joint record high of 76.1% - and as part of this the female employment rate is at a record high (72.0%). The male employment rate was 80.3% - up 5.3% points since 2010.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
18th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Forces in Mind Trust report entitled Social security benefits and transitions from military to civilian life, published in June 2019, what steps she is taking to ensure that her officials are given adequate training to support ex-service personnel with their benefit claims.

DWP equips our people with a variety of training to help them serve and support all clients who have complex needs, including ex-service personnel, to make claims to all DWP.

We attach a great deal of importance to meeting our commitments under the Armed Forces Covenant and we were pleased to see that the report recognised some of the excellent work undertaken by DWP staff to support veterans. We have also already made a number of improvements.

In February 2019 we launched a refreshed job description for the Armed Forces Champion (AFC) which sets out what is expected of an AFC, the key relationships they need to form and other useful resources available to them.

The Armed Forces Champions ensure the support, advice and guidance offered by Jobcentre Plus reflects the needs of service leavers and the wider armed forces community in their district. Information about benefits is freely available on GOV.UK and many of our AFC work directly with military bases to provide additional information.

Work Coaches in every Jobcentre have all the information they need to offer a tailored service to all claimants and have access to a District Provision Tool which outlines sources of help and provision available locally, including support specific to service leavers.

The Department’s learning products emphasise the importance of treating each claimant as an individual in order to identify and meet their specific needs, whatever they may be.

There is also further DWP learning addressing the broader awareness, skills and behaviours required when dealing with all those transitioning from military to civilian life.

We keep our training under review and are always open to ideas and considerations on how to improve the services we offer.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending Access to Work to people working on a voluntary basis.

Access to Work supports people who have a health condition or a disability to move into and sustain paid employment. The current scheme does not support unpaid or voluntary work.

However, we recognise the importance of voluntary work and the benefits this can provide in securing paid employment. Access to Work does assist people who have a health condition or a disability to take up voluntary pre-employment opportunities, such as Work Experience and Work Trials, which may lead to paid employment.

10th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Association of British Insurer's report: Principles for tailoring retirement risk warnings, published in May 2019, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of ensuring that age-appropriate warnings are provided when information is given on (a) pension scams, (b) employer contributions in relation to pensions, (c) tax matters in relation to pensions, (c) life expectancy in relation to financial planning and (d) lasting power of attorney in relation to financial and health matters.

The Department for Work and Pensions has engaged with the Financial Conduct Authority on their proposals to improve the information received by pension scheme members. The department is working with the Pension Regulator as to how best to introduce equivalent measures for occupational pension schemes and will also seek to involve industry stakeholders such as the Association of British Insurers in this work.

The Government considers that providing people with the right information at the right time can be key in helping them make more effective decisions about their pension savings. It is sensible to tailor communications to people’s circumstances. There will be some differences in the information someone in work would find more helpful than someone aged 75 or over who is already retired. It is important, however, that all savers are alerted to the risks posed by pension scams and we welcome the inclusion of that messaging in the approach proposed by the Association of British Insurers.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the report entitled The Homelessness Monitor: England 2019 published by Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, what recent assessment he has made of the correlation between the freeze in local housing allowance and the increase in homelessness.

No such assessment has been made. There are many factors that contribute to homelessness, and these factors are varied and complex.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on ensuring that workplaces (a) have stand-alone mental health policies for employees and (b) provide mental health training for management and staff to support colleagues.

The DWP and DHSC Joint Work and Health Unit is overseeing progress across 40 recommendations that were made in Thriving at Work: The Stevenson / Farmer review of mental health and employers published in October 2017 these range from short term deliverables to longer term reform. Government is committed to working with the authors of the review and key stakeholders across the public, private and voluntary sectors to ensure that employers of all sizes act to implement the core and enhanced standards and help them, and their employees, realise the benefits of healthy, inclusive workplaces.

To improve information and advice for employers we are working with Mind and the Royal Foundation to continue developing their Mental Health at Work website (https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk) which launched on 11th September 2018.

16th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has had discussions with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on mandating private healthcare companies to provide statutory sick pay; and if she will make a statement.

All employers are already required to provide Statutory Sick Pay to an employee on sickness absence who meet certain criteria.

  1. To qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) an individual must:

(a) be an “employed earner” working for an employer who has liability to pay secondary Class 1 NI contributions

(b) have done some work for the employer

(c) have been ill for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days)

(d) earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (currently at £118 per week)

(e) have given the correct notice to the employer.

7th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that universal credit phone-line staff are adequately trained to understand the complex needs of claimants suffering with cancer.

All DWP staff delivering Universal Credit undergo a comprehensive learning journey designed to equip them with the tools, skills and behaviours required to provide a high quality service to all claimants, including those who have cancer and other serious health conditions. Colleagues receive on-going learning in their roles and have access to Universal Credit guidance which is refreshed at regular intervals.

The Department takes seriously the need to support vulnerable claimants. We are committed to ensuring that people who have cancer are treated with the upmost sensitivity and care, when making a claim to Universal Credit.

We are continuously reviewing and improving the service for vulnerable people who claim Universal Credit to ensure that it is accessible and responsive to their needs. This includes how they are identified and supported, either from our own staff or via referrals from local services. For instance, when a claimant is asked to attend a Work Capability Assessment, they are required to complete a UC50 questionnaire which incorporates a 'light touch' evidence gathering process for cancer patients; and makes clear that Clinical Nurse Specialists and consultants can provide information on the form.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
26th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to (a) tackle age-bias in recruitment and (b) ensure that older workers are offered training and development opportunities.

The Equality Act 2010, provides strong protection against direct and indirect age discrimination in employment and makes it unlawful for an employer or an employment service provider such as a recruitment agency, to discriminate against any employee or job applicant because of their age or perceived age. This applies both where the employer is making arrangements to fill a job, and in respect of anything done during the course of a person’s employment. To be lawful, any differential treatment based on age must be objectively justified.

In February 2017, The Government published a strategy ‘Fuller Working Lives: A Partnership Approach’. The Strategy is led by employers, but also sets out the case for action by individuals, and the role of Government in supporting older workers to remain in and return to work. The Strategy and supporting evidence base are available on the gov.uk website.

DWP also work closely with the Business in the Community and Older Workers Champion to promote the Fuller Working Lives strategy with employers.

The number of workers aged 50 and over currently in employment is at a record high of 10.4 million, an increase of 1.4 million over the last 5 years and an increase of 2.5 million over the last 10 years.

Further to the Fuller Working Lives strategy, through the National Retraining Partnership, the Government is developing the National Retraining Scheme, which is an ambitious, far-reaching programme to drive adult retraining. It will help individuals to respond to the changing labour market, redirect their careers and secure better, more secure jobs of the future. Its focus will be on supporting those adults whose occupations are most at risk of technological change, to provide them with new skills to move into more sustainable career.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
24th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to support potters in North Staffordshire facing redundancy.

DWP organised and facilitated a support event on 16th April 2019 for those people affected by the redundancies at Dudson. We have built excellent links with the ceramic confederation, local authorities, Citizens Advice, ACAS, local providers and employers. As a result, the Department is in a position to provide tailored support to those who need it. This ensures they have the correct financial, pension, employment and up to date benefit advice as well as direct contact with employers who have expressed a keen interest in recruiting Dudson ex-employees. Following the event, all stakeholders are working together collectively to help the community in Stoke-on-Trent. People were assured that all the stakeholders in attendance were there to support them.

All Dudson ex-employees were invited through DWP and the administrator to the City Wide Jobs fair held at Stoke-on-Trent college on the 18th April 2019. Around 54 employers and partners were in attendance with an estimated 1,800 jobs available. 20 Job interviews were conducted on the day, with 15 job contracts being offered the following day.

BBC Radio Stoke reported live from the event encouraging people to come and be part of the day. They also interviewed a few ex-employees of Dudson who reported that it was a great opportunity to talk to employers in sectors they had not previously considered.

We have explained that help to claim support is available through Citizens Advice to ensure customers are making the appropriate claim.

In addition, we organised daily group sessions for the 3 days immediately following the announcement of redundancies from Dudson to manage the increased footfall and queries. 50 people attended these sessions where they were given advice regarding benefits, budgeting and CV’s.

There are 54 people still employed by Dudson so over the next few weeks and months as other parts of the business close we may see additional claims within North Staffs. These people will also be offered the same support.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
23rd Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that older people on low incomes are able access benefits they are entitled to.

The Government is committed to ensuring that older people receive the support they are entitled to and the DWP targets activity on engaging with people who may be eligible to benefits at pivotal stages, such as when they claim State Pension or report a change in their circumstances. The DWP uses a wide range of channels to communicate information about benefits to potential customers; including information on https://gov.uk/, in leaflets and by telephone. People wishing to claim Pension Credit can do so by calling 0800 99 1234. DWP staff in Pension Centres and Jobcentres including visiting officers are able to provide help and advice about entitlement to benefits, as are staff in Local Authorities who administer Housing Benefit.

One of the best ways to reach eligible customers is through trusted stakeholder working in the community and we have developed the Pension Credit toolkit, as an on-line tool for agencies and welfare rights organisations to use in order to encourage Pension Credit take-up. It can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pension-credit-toolkit

The toolkit contains resources for anyone working with pensioners and includes guides to Pension Credit. It also contains publicity material and guidance designed to help older people understand how they could get Pension Credit and help organisations support someone applying for Pension Credit as well as ideas for encouraging take-up. The toolkit also provides links to information about disability and carers benefits.

Most recently we have provided to relevant organisations a fact sheet about Pension Credit and forthcoming changes for couples to ensure that accurate information is available in the places where people are most likely to seek information.

The majority of people of pension age in receipt of a State Pension or another social security benefit receive their annual winter fuel payment automatically without the need to make a claim

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce ageism in the workplace.

The Equality Act 2010, provides strong protection against direct and indirect age discrimination in employment and makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee or a job applicant because of their age, unless the employer can justify it as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Government has put in place a number of measures to support people of all ages to enter and remain in a workplace.

We have taken steps to support younger workers by introducing the Youth Obligation Support Programme, an intensive package of labour market support for 18-21 year-olds looking to get (back) into work. We are committed to providing targeted support for young people, so that everyone, no matter what their start in life, is given the very best chance of getting into work. In April 2019, Mentoring circles were rolled out nationally, which involve national employers offering specialised support to unemployed, young jobseekers to help build their confidence and raise their aspirations.

To support older workers to remain in or return to the labour market, the Government has removed the Default Retirement Age meaning most people can choose when to retire, and extended the right to request flexible working to all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer.

In February 2017, the UK Government published “Fuller Working Lives: a partnership approach” to set out the role employers, individuals and Government can play in supporting fuller working lives. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/587654/fuller-working-lives-a-partnership-approach.pdf

The Government has also appointed the Business In The Community (BITC) Age at Work leadership team as Business Champion for Older Workers. The BITC team of employers spearhead the Government’s work to support employers to retain, retrain and recruit older workers. They actively promote the benefits of older workers to employers across England.

The number of older workers in employment is at a record high. There are now 10.4 million people aged 50 and over in the workforce.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to Child Poverty Action Group's recent report on universal credit, published on 6 April 2019, what assessment she has made of the two-child limit policy on compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Government has assessed the impact of the two-child policy from an equality and human rights perspective throughout its development and in preparation for its implementation. Therefore, we consider that we have met our obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty and ensured compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the UN convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Government’s view is that providing support for a maximum of two children in Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit, ensures fairness between claimants, and to those taxpayers who support themselves solely through work. Families on benefits should face the same financial choices when deciding to grow their family as those supporting themselves solely through work. A benefits structure adjusting automatically to family size is unsustainable.

The Government continues to take action to help families with the cost of living, including raising the national living wage, reducing the UC earnings taper, raising the income tax personal allowance, introducing tax-free childcare and 30 hours a week of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
4th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of delivering the online pensions dashboard; and what the timescale is for that delivery.

Pensions dashboards are a digital democratiser – they will open up pensions to millions - providing an easy-to-access online view of a saver's pensions.

Government’s work on dashboards builds upon the Pensions Dashboard Prototype Project, managed by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) with the involvement of 17 pensions firms. We believe that, in the long term, as they develop to become more sophisticated, pensions dashboards could, as a minimum and as set out in our consultation response, help to achieve the following objectives:

- increase individual awareness,

- build individual control,

- increase engagement,

- support the guidance process,

- reconnect individuals with lost pension pots

- and enable more informed user choices.

A key priority for 2019 is for the Money and Pensions Service to establish the industry delivery group, and we also expect to see industry creating and testing dashboards this year. Government is committed to compelling pension schemes to make consumers’ data available to them through their chosen dashboard. Schemes need to start getting ready now, particularly in terms of preparing data. Pension schemes should be ready to provide consumer’s information to them via dashboards within a three to four years window.

A copy of the consultation with details on next steps, legislation and timelines can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/pensions-dashboards-feasibility-report-and-consultation

There is a role for government in facilitating industry's delivery of dashboards which work for consumers and put people in control of their data. That’s why, at the Autumn Budget 2018, the Chancellor allocated £3.35 million worth of funding for 2019/20 to support this endeavour.

In addition, the government’s response to the consultation on pensions dashboards stated that the Money and Pensions Service will draw on the Financial Services Levy and the General Levy on pension schemes to fund the non-commercial dashboard and the dashboard architecture. This levy is paid for by pension schemes. Additionally, there have been associated usual staff running costs for the department relating to the development of the policy.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the merits of providing state-funded food banks.

My Department has not made such an assessment.

This Government continues to spend over £95 billion a year on benefits for people of working age, providing a strong safety net for those who need it including a well-established system of hardship payments and benefit advances as an additional safeguard for those who need them.

Jobcentre mangers have discretion to work with food banks in their local area; and we are exploring how to build on current good practice to make it as easy as possible for food banks to identify and refer back to the local Jobcentre any customers who may not be receiving the full formal support to which they are entitled.

13th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the report entitled Families and Food in Hard Times: rising food poverty and the importance of children's experience, published by SPERI in 2018, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that wages and social benefits are in combination adequate to provide socially acceptable levels of eating and living.

Every Government needs to balance the generosity of benefit levels with affordability to the taxpayer and making sure that work pays. This Government continues to spend over £95bn a year on welfare. Since 2016, we have invested an additional £1.7bn a year in Universal Credit, through a reduction in the taper rate, increasing the work allowances for households with children and disabled people and providing additional support for people moving onto UC from existing benefits.

This Government has also made sure that work pays. The National Living Wage, rising to £8.21 an hour from April 2019, has given the UK’s lowest earners their fastest pay rise in 20 years. We have cut income tax for over 31 million people and taken four million low earners out of income tax altogether. A typical basic-rate taxpayer now has over £1,000 less in income tax than in 2010. Compared with 2010, there are now over 3.5 million more people in work, 1,024,000 fewer workless households, and, at a near record low, 665,000 fewer children living in workless households This means more families are getting more of their income through earnings. Working Age households and households with children in the bottom 20% of the income distribution now get just over half of their income from employment, up from just over 40% in 2010.

Sources of household income by income quintile (Before Housing Costs) for households not containing pensioners, plus households containing both pensioners and children, United Kingdom

Quintile

Source of income

Bottom quintile

2nd quintile

3rd quintile

4th quintile

Top quintile

Earnings

43

64

81

90

92

Investments

2

1

1

1

5

2009/10

Occupational pensions

2

1

2

2

2

Miscellaneous

5

4

3

3

1

State support

48

30

13

5

1

Earnings

51

67

81

89

92

Investments

3

1

1

1

4

2016/17

Occupational pensions

2

2

2

2

2

Miscellaneous

4

3

4

4

2

State support

40

26

12

3

1

Percentage of household income

Source, Households Below Average Income, DWP

12th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to improve information for (a) job seekers and (b) employees on the support available through Access to Work.

Access to Work continues to undertake targeted marketing and awareness raising activities. For example, the scheme is promoted to benefit claimants through Jobcentre Plus and to a range of business leaders through the Disability Confident scheme. We have also worked with a variety of stakeholder organisations to market Access to Work to their clients, including sharing information about how individuals can apply for support.

We are currently testing a number of communication activities to raise awareness of Access to Work among Jobcentre Plus staff in Greater Manchester, in order to equip work coaches with the knowledge to have conversations with customers who may require in work support. We will evaluate the most successful methods before a national roll-out.

Access to Work is also reviewing the content and formats of its existing information channels, including considering how to achieve more effective use of alternative formats such as British Sign Language videos.

11th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the report entitled, The Disability Price Tag 2019, published by Scope in February 2019, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that all families with disabled children receive adequate support under universal credit to help meet additional costs.

The disabled child addition (DCA) is intended to provide extra support as caring responsibilities can mean parents of disabled children are less able to take up work and may need extra support for longer periods than others.

In order to provide families with disabled children an adequate amount of support to meet additional costs, payment have been aligned through two different rates which are dependent on the rate of DLA/PIP the child is in receipt of.

A disabled child that is entitled to the lower rate will receive £126.11 a month and a disabled that is entitled to the higher rate will receive £383.86 per month. These rates are both payable on top of the Child Element in Universal Credit.      

The total amount of tax free, state support available to a higher rate DLA care and mobility child, together with child benefit and Universal Credit can be worth over £16,000.

11th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to help support (a) older people and (b) people with (i) mental and (ii) physical health conditions to transition to universal credit.

The Department is committed to ensuring that all claimants, especially the most vulnerable, are supported as they move onto Universal Credit.

Claimants, including vulnerable claimants and those with mental and physical health conditions, can receive continuous tailored support managed through work coaches. DWP staff working with claimants complete extensive training that prepares them for their role. Specific training is provided for working with different vulnerable groups, with guidance to signpost claimants to relevant support, and these circumstances will be recorded on a claimant’s online account. We have started to deliver additional training in mental health that will help work coaches to build their expertise and provide the most effective support.

We take a number of steps to identify individuals who will need support in making a claim to Universal Credit. For example, we identify claimants either prior to or at the initial claim stage, to discuss what support mechanisms need to be in place to make a claim. This can be through discussions with their Work Coach, the Universal Credit helpline and/or through home visits.

From April 2019 Citizens Advice (England and Wales) and Citizens Advice Scotland will deliver a new ‘Help to Claim’ service to claimants, including the most vulnerable, who are making a new Universal Credit claim or moving from a legacy benefit to Universal Credit because of a change of circumstances. The Help to Claim service offers tailored, practical support to help people make a Universal Credit claim up to receiving their first full correct payment on time. This service will be available online, over the phone and face to face through local Citizens Advice services.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
14th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to encourage NHS England to add the maternal six week postnatal check to the GP contract so that all new mothers get a full appointment to discuss their mental and physical health.

The potential for a six-week post-natal maternal health check for all mothers is the subject of further work by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Decisions on changes to the GP contract for 2020/2021 will be made following negotiations between NHS England and the British Medical Association which are due to conclude at the end of 2019.

Support from health visitors and other professionals at the universal 6-8 week review is an important time for assessing the health and wellbeing of new parents, particularly in look for signs of postnatal depression.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Sexual Harassment of UK Doctors: Report 2019 published by Medscape on 1 October 2019, what steps his Department is taking to safeguard junior doctors and medical students against sexual harassment at work.

Employers are responsible for protecting their staff from sexual harassment by members of the public or other staff members. For doctors in training and medical students, this will include senior clinicians, educational supervisors and managers of training programmes. They are responsible for ensuring that their organisations provide supportive working environments that prioritise patient safety, educational outcomes and staff wellbeing.

Sexual harassment, a form of unlawful discrimination, should not be tolerated under any circumstances so staff who believe they have been subjected to it should report the incident(s). Employers should ensure they fully support these staff and work with them to ensure appropriate legal action is taken against perpetrators.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to expand the safeguarding system used to investigate the deaths of vulnerable adults to include everyone who has died while street homeless.

The cross-Government Rough Sleeping Strategy, published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in August 2018, sets out the commitments to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it by 2027.

The Department of Health and Social Care has committed itself to work with Safeguarding Adult Boards to ensure that Safeguarding Adult Reviews are conducted when an adult who sleeps rough dies or is seriously harmed as a result of abuse or neglect, whether known or suspected, and there is concern that partner agencies could have worked more effectively to protect them. The Care Act Statutory Support Guidance sets out the criteria for carrying out a Safeguarding Adult Review, regardless of whether the adult is homeless or not.

The Department has no imminent plans to extend the safeguarding system to investigate the death of every vulnerable adult who is homeless and dies, but will continue to work with other Government departments to deliver the Rough Sleeping Strategy.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that all adult social care workers caring for dementia patients are trained to level Tier 2 of the Dementia Training Standards Framework.

The national dementia strategy for England, the Challenge on Dementia 2020, set the expectation that all relevant health and care staff would have the appropriate dementia training, with the requisite training needs at different “tiers” set out in the ‘Dementia Training Standards Framework’.

Good progress has been made to date in training the social care workforce. It is estimated that around half of social care workers considered to need tier 2 dementia training have undertaken training to a level equivalent to it. The Department is currently exploring value for money options for further increasing take up of tier 2 training to everyone who needs it.

30th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the Healthy Starts Voucher Scheme to include the purchase of fortified plant milks.

The Department has no current plans to make changes to the milk which can be purchased with Healthy Start vouchers, but we are prepared to consider the merits of allowing the purchase of certain plant-based drinks.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Sep 2019
NHS
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has sought assurances from the NHS on the preparedness of NHS organisations in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

The Department is working with its partners across Government, arm’s-length bodies, local authorities, industry and the wider health and care system to ensure that all relevant parties are prepared for exiting the European Union. The quality and safety of patient care is paramount in our preparedness plans.

3rd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure EU nationals are aware of the evidence they need to provide to access healthcare in the UK in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The Department is working closely with other Government departments and the National Health Service to ensure that European Union citizens are aware of the requirements to access healthcare in the event of the United Kingdom leaving the EU without a deal. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have a large-scale public information campaign setting out what business and the public need to know as we prepare to leave the EU. Further guidance and information will be published in due course.

We have published the following guidance on GOV.UK which is available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/healthcare-for-eu-and-efta-citizens-visiting-the-uk

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/healthcare-for-eu-and-efta-nationals-living-in-the-uk

3rd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure doctors will not be asked to determine patients’ eligibility for healthcare in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.