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Written Question
Travel: Finance
6 Dec 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he will announce the next round of successful bids to the Active Travel Fund.

Answered by Chris Heaton-Harris

My Department has been rigorously assessing the bids submitted by local authorities. I will be announcing the 2021/22 active travel capital allocations in due course.


Written Question
Local Press: Archives
1 Dec 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support communities to access local newspaper archives; and whether funding is available for that.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

Local newspapers provide insight on the events, large and small, which shape our communities, and improving and maintaining access to these resources for individuals and communities is vital.

The British Library has a statutory duty to collect physical newspapers and online news sites; it also aims to make newspapers as accessible as possible. This work includes working in partnership with Findmypast to produce the British Newspaper Archive (BNA). The BNA is an online subscription resource enabling online access to historic digitised newspapers. The BNA is free to access in British Library Reading Rooms and a number of local authorities, including Essex County Council, subscribe enabling free access to public library users and through records offices. Many local authority archives and local study services may also retain their own collections of local newspapers.

The British Library has also undertaken local newspaper digitisation projects with public and community libraries on a cost recovery only basis, using the British Library’s skills and expertise to support local libraries.


Written Question
Health Services
29 Nov 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that patients can access adequate healthcare services from (a) GPs and (b) local authorities.

Answered by Maria Caulfield

Local commissioners are responsible for the provision of medical services for the local population. On 14 October, we published ‘Our plan for improving access for patients and supporting general practice’. This included an additional investment of £250 million in a Winter Access Fund to improve the availability of general practitioner (GP) practices and increase the number of face-to-face appointments, while also investing in technology to make it easier for patients to see or speak to their GP.

The Department increased the Public Health Grant to £3.324 billion in 2021/22 and it will be maintained in real terms over the next three years. This will enable local authorities to deliver health services to improve the health and wellbeing of their local communities.


Written Question
Health Services
29 Nov 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance the Government has issued to healthcare providers on seeing patients face-to-face.

Answered by Maria Caulfield

An update to Infection Prevention and Control guidance for healthcare providers has recently been published. The guidance continues to advise that a physical distance of at least one metre should be maintained between and among patients, staff, and all other persons in healthcare settings. This distance should be increased wherever feasible, especially in indoor settings. A copy of the guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control/covid-19-guidance-for-maintaining-services-within-health-and-care-settings-infection-prevention-and-control-recommendations


Written Question
Health Services
29 Nov 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure patients are receiving the care they need.

Answered by Edward Argar

NHS services are open for those who need them and we expect all patients to be able to access the healthcare that they need. This year, we are providing an extra £34 billion to support services.

To help to tackle backlogs in planned care, we have committed £2 billion this year, with £8 billion over the next three years. This could deliver the equivalent of around nine million more checks, scans and procedures. The delivery plan for tackling the elective care backlog will be published later this year.


Written Question
Health Services
29 Nov 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take in the event that patients are unable to access the healthcare they need.

Answered by Edward Argar

NHS services are open for those who need them and we expect all patients to be able to access the healthcare that they need. This year, we are providing an extra £34 billion to support services.

To help to tackle backlogs in planned care, we have committed £2 billion this year, with £8 billion over the next three years. This could deliver the equivalent of around nine million more checks, scans and procedures. The delivery plan for tackling the elective care backlog will be published later this year.


Written Question
Health Services
29 Nov 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help clear the NHS backlogs.

Answered by Edward Argar

NHS services are open for those who need them and we expect all patients to be able to access the healthcare that they need. This year, we are providing an extra £34 billion to support services.

To help to tackle backlogs in planned care, we have committed £2 billion this year, with £8 billion over the next three years. This could deliver the equivalent of around nine million more checks, scans and procedures. The delivery plan for tackling the elective care backlog will be published later this year.


Written Question
Hospitals: Visits
29 Nov 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent guidance his Department has provided to NHS Trusts on allowing more than one visitor to visit patients; and what steps he is taking to help ensure that guidance is followed.

Answered by Edward Argar

Since the end of national restrictions in England, hospital visiting is subject to local discretion by trusts and other National Health Service bodies, who will take into account the local prevalence of COVID-19.


Written Question
Hospices
19 Nov 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support hospices.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

Most hospices are independent, charitable organisations that receive some statutory funding, mainly from clinical commissioning groups for providing local services. To support the palliative and end of life care sector, including hospices, NHS England and NHS Improvement have made funding available to seven palliative and end of life care strategic clinical networks to support the delivery of clinical care, with sustainability and commissioning as guiding principles.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have also funded Hospice UK to explore sustainable approaches to future care delivery. Their ‘Future Vision Programme - Discovery Phase’ report sets out a range of options for exploring future sustainability.


Written Question
Financial Services: Primary Education
17 Nov 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in the context of Talk Money week, what plans he has to promote discussions on money in primary schools; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Robin Walker

Education on financial matters helps to ensure that young people are prepared to manage their money well, make sound financial decisions and know where to seek further information when needed.

The department has introduced a rigorous mathematics curriculum, which provides young people with the knowledge and financial skills to make important financial decisions. In the primary mathematics curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on the essential arithmetic knowledge that pupils should be taught. This knowledge is vital, as a strong grasp of numeracy and numbers will underpin pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money, including, for example, using percentages. There is also some more specific content about financial education, such as calculations with money.

In 2014, financial literacy was made statutory within the national curriculum as part of the citizenship curriculum for 11 to 16 year-olds. To enable schools to plan their whole curriculum, we also published a non-statutory citizenship curriculum for key stage 1 and key stage 2. This curriculum is clear that, by the end of primary education, pupils should be taught how to look after their money and realise that future wants and needs may be met through saving.

Primary schools are free to include additional content on financial management in their curricula, including working with external experts. However, the department does not monitor this and trusts schools to use their professional judgement and understanding of their pupils to develop the right teaching approach for their particular context.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) published financial education guidance for primary and secondary schools in England on 11 November 2021, during Talk Money week. Further information on this can be found at: https://maps.org.uk/2021/11/11/financial-education-guidance-for-primary-and-secondary-schools-in-england/.

The department provided a supportive foreword for the guidance, which is aimed at encouraging conversations about money in the classroom by setting out ten steps schools can take to boost the delivery of financial education. The guidance was developed in consultation with financial education experts and is designed to support school leaders and education decision makers to enhance the financial education currently delivered in their schools to make it memorable and impactful. The department supported MaPS with their communications activities during Talk Money week and is looking for future appropriate opportunities to promote the guidance.

The department will continue to work closely with the MaPS and other organisations such as Her Majesty's Treasury, to consider learning from other sector initiatives and whether there is scope to provide further support for the teaching of financial education in schools.


Written Question
Hospices: Finance
17 Nov 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase funding for hospices.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

As part of the Government’s COVID-19 response, £257 million was made available to the independent hospice sector to increase discharge capacity and alleviate pressures on the acute sector. Independent hospices have since returned to business as usual funding arrangements, with their services commissioned locally by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). NHS England and NHS Improvement expect CCGs to ensure that the provision of these services effectively meets the needs of the local population and ensures high quality personalised care.

The NHS Long Term Plan also states that NHS England is increasing its contribution to the national children’s hospice grant by match-funding CCGs who commit to increase their investment in local children’s palliative and end of life care services, including children’s hospices. This will provide £25 million a year by 2023/24.


Written Question
Financial Services: Primary Education
17 Nov 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the provision of financial education at a primary level; and if he will make a statement on Talk Money week.

Answered by Robin Walker

Education on financial matters helps to ensure that young people are prepared to manage their money well, make sound financial decisions and know where to seek further information when needed.

The department has introduced a rigorous mathematics curriculum, which provides young people with the knowledge and financial skills to make important financial decisions. In the primary mathematics curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on the essential arithmetic knowledge that pupils should be taught. This knowledge is vital, as a strong grasp of numeracy and numbers will underpin pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money, including, for example, using percentages. There is also some more specific content about financial education, such as calculations with money.

In 2014, financial literacy was made statutory within the national curriculum as part of the citizenship curriculum for 11 to 16 year-olds. To enable schools to plan their whole curriculum, we also published a non-statutory citizenship curriculum for key stage 1 and key stage 2. This curriculum is clear that, by the end of primary education, pupils should be taught how to look after their money and realise that future wants and needs may be met through saving.

Primary schools are free to include additional content on financial management in their curricula, including working with external experts. However, the department does not monitor this and trusts schools to use their professional judgement and understanding of their pupils to develop the right teaching approach for their particular context.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) published financial education guidance for primary and secondary schools in England on 11 November 2021, during Talk Money week. Further information on this can be found at: https://maps.org.uk/2021/11/11/financial-education-guidance-for-primary-and-secondary-schools-in-england/.

The department provided a supportive foreword for the guidance, which is aimed at encouraging conversations about money in the classroom by setting out ten steps schools can take to boost the delivery of financial education. The guidance was developed in consultation with financial education experts and is designed to support school leaders and education decision makers to enhance the financial education currently delivered in their schools to make it memorable and impactful. The department supported MaPS with their communications activities during Talk Money week and is looking for future appropriate opportunities to promote the guidance.

The department will continue to work closely with the MaPS and other organisations such as Her Majesty's Treasury, to consider learning from other sector initiatives and whether there is scope to provide further support for the teaching of financial education in schools.


Written Question
Small Businesses: Harlow
16 Nov 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

What steps he will take to support small businesses in Harlow.

Answered by Paul Scully

Businesses in Harlow will continue to benefit from a range of government programmes, including start up loans and support delivered through the Essex Growth Hub. Additionally, the £23.7m Harlow Town Deal will encourage new business investment into the town.


Written Question
Local Press: Access
16 Nov 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to (a) digitise local newspaper records and (b) improve access to archives.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

Work on improving and maintaining access to local newspaper records and archives is led by colleagues at the British Library and The National Archives respectively, using funding from their core budgets.

The British Library collects physical newspapers and online news sites under legal deposit. The additional work the British Library does in this area makes newspapers as accessible as possible at no cost to the taxpayer. It holds a newspaper collection of over 60 million issues (450 million pages) dating from 1619 to the present day, and since 2010 has been working on a strategy to preserve and protect newspapers for researchers and the general public. This includes working in partnership with Findmypast to produce the British Newspaper Archive (BNA), an online subscription resource enabling online access to historic digitised newspapers while creating preservation files for the British Library’s Digital Library Store. The BNA is free to access in British Library Reading Rooms.

The task of digitising archived physical material is substantial, but progress is being made both through central projects, with c. 46 million pages digitised since 2011, and through partnerships between the British Library and local libraries such as Birmingham, Wexford, Jersey and Shropshire. Projects undertaken with local libraries and councils allow local services to benefit from the expertise of the British Library on a cost recovery basis (i.e. not for profit).

In terms of improving access to archives, The National Archives has been delivering against its Archives Unlocked strategy since 2017. In order to achieve this, The National Archives works to support the Archives sector to develop digital capacity, build resilience and demonstrate impact through innovation and by building new audiences. Officials from The National Archives have collaborated with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the Culture is Digital project, to highlight where the archives sector can demonstrate leadership (such as digitisation) as well as develop and grow alongside other cultural bodies.


Written Question
Local Press: Digital Technology
16 Nov 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what funding her Department provides for the digitalisation of local newspaper records.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

Work on improving and maintaining access to local newspaper records and archives is led by colleagues at the British Library and The National Archives respectively, using funding from their core budgets.

The British Library collects physical newspapers and online news sites under legal deposit. The additional work the British Library does in this area makes newspapers as accessible as possible at no cost to the taxpayer. It holds a newspaper collection of over 60 million issues (450 million pages) dating from 1619 to the present day, and since 2010 has been working on a strategy to preserve and protect newspapers for researchers and the general public. This includes working in partnership with Findmypast to produce the British Newspaper Archive (BNA), an online subscription resource enabling online access to historic digitised newspapers while creating preservation files for the British Library’s Digital Library Store. The BNA is free to access in British Library Reading Rooms.

The task of digitising archived physical material is substantial, but progress is being made both through central projects, with c. 46 million pages digitised since 2011, and through partnerships between the British Library and local libraries such as Birmingham, Wexford, Jersey and Shropshire. Projects undertaken with local libraries and councils allow local services to benefit from the expertise of the British Library on a cost recovery basis (i.e. not for profit).

In terms of improving access to archives, The National Archives has been delivering against its Archives Unlocked strategy since 2017. In order to achieve this, The National Archives works to support the Archives sector to develop digital capacity, build resilience and demonstrate impact through innovation and by building new audiences. Officials from The National Archives have collaborated with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the Culture is Digital project, to highlight where the archives sector can demonstrate leadership (such as digitisation) as well as develop and grow alongside other cultural bodies.