Sharon Hodgson Portrait

Sharon Hodgson

Labour - Washington and Sunderland West

35 APPG memberships (as of 15 Jun 2022)
'Left Behind' Neighbourhoods, Armed Forces Covenant, Art, Craft and Design in Education, Autism, Baby Loss, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Childcare and Early Education, Childhood Trauma, Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Conception to Age Two - First 1001 Days, Design and Innovation, Dyslexia and Other Specific Learning Difficulties, Electric Vehicles, Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion, First Do No Harm, Food and Drink, Food and Drink Supply Chain, Food and Health, Food Banks, Hormone Pregnancy Tests, Motor, Music, Music Education, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Ovarian Cancer, School Food, Singapore, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, Surgical Mesh, Ticket Abuse, Tidy Britain, Usher Syndrome, Video Games and Esports, Women's Health
36 Former APPG memberships
Arts, Craft and Design in Education, Assistive Technology, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Basketball, British Jews, British Property Owners in Cyprus, Children's Centres, Children, Teenagers, and Young Adults with Cancer, Christians in Parliament, Classic Rock and Blues, Commercial Radio, Craft, Creative Diversity, Dance, Film Industry, Food and Drink Manufacturing, Foodbanks, Infant Feeding and Inequalities, Jamaica, Lipoedema, Meningitis, National Food Strategy, Oracy, Performing Arts Education and Training, Premature and Sick Babies, Sport, Surgical Mesh Implants, Textile and Fashion, Textiles and Fashion, Trailer and Towing Safety, Valproate and other Anti-Epileptic Drugs in Pregnancy, Video Games, Water Safety and Drowning Prevention, Wine and Spirits, Women and Enterprise, Yemen
Shadow Minister (Defence)
10th Apr 2020 - 14th May 2021
Armed Forces Bill Select Committee
22nd Feb 2021 - 22nd Feb 2021
Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill
22nd Feb 2021 - 22nd Feb 2021
Shadow Minister (Public Health)
9th Jan 2018 - 10th Apr 2020
Shadow Minister (Public Health)
9th Oct 2016 - 9th Jan 2018
Shadow Minister (Education)
8th May 2015 - 27th Jun 2016
Shadow Minister (Equalities)
7th Oct 2013 - 18th Sep 2015
Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee)
26th Oct 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Shadow Minister (Education)
8th Oct 2010 - 7th Oct 2013
Opposition Whip (Commons)
10th May 2010 - 8th Oct 2010
Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)
10th Jun 2009 - 6th May 2010
Regulatory Reform
12th Jul 2005 - 6th May 2010
North East Regional Select Committee
3rd Mar 2009 - 6th May 2010
Children, Schools and Families
26th Nov 2007 - 6th May 2010
European Scrutiny Committee
12th Dec 2005 - 17th Jul 2006
Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee)
19th Jul 2005 - 5th May 2005


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 151 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 191 Noes - 271
Speeches
Tuesday 21st June 2022
Access to GP Services and NHS Dentistry
My hon. Friend mentioned Somerset, but can I also mention Sunderland, to keep up the alliteration? In Sunderland, we cannot …
Written Answers
Monday 27th June 2022
Breast Cancer: Plastic Surgery
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding his Department has provided to help …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 30th June 2010
Sale of Tickets (Sporting and Cultural Events) Bill 2010-12
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 26th July 2021
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: The Betting and Gaming Council
Address of donor: 1st Floor, 90 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1EU
Amount …
EDM signed
Thursday 24th March 2022
P&O Ferries and DP World
That this House condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of P&O Ferries to fire 800 staff without notice …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021
A Bill to make provision for guidance to schools about the costs aspects of school uniform policies.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Sharon Hodgson has voted in 390 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Sharon Hodgson Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Johnny Mercer (Conservative)
(15 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(5 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(4 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(21 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(14 debate contributions)
Department for Transport
(13 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Sharon Hodgson's debates

Washington and Sunderland West Petitions

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

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

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

Sharon Hodgson has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Sharon Hodgson

23rd March 2022
Sharon Hodgson signed this EDM on Thursday 24th March 2022

P&O Ferries and DP World

Tabled by: Karl Turner (Labour - Kingston upon Hull East)
That this House condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of P&O Ferries to fire 800 staff without notice or consultation with their trade unions, the RMT and Nautilus; demands the immediate reinstatement of the sacked workers; condemns their replacement with agency workers earning as little as £1.80 per …
125 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Apr 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 94
Scottish National Party: 12
Liberal Democrat: 7
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Alba Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
23rd September 2021
Sharon Hodgson signed this EDM on Thursday 4th November 2021

Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall

Tabled by: Afzal Khan (Labour - Manchester, Gorton)
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; notes that this memorial now includes over 150,000 hand-painted hearts to symbolise all those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic; praises the work of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Feb 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 97
Scottish National Party: 16
Liberal Democrat: 10
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
View All Sharon Hodgson's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Sharon Hodgson, 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.


Sharon Hodgson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Sharon Hodgson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Sharon Hodgson


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to regulate the selling of tickets for certain sporting and cultural events; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 21st January 2011

315 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
5 Other Department Questions
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the finding in the English Housing Survey 2020 to 2021 that private renters spend a higher proportion of their household income on rent than owner-occupiers spend on mortgages.

In 2020-21, on average, those buying their home with a mortgage spent 18% of their household income on mortgage payments, whereas rent payments were 31% of household income for private renters. Since 2010-11, the percentage of household income spent by private renters has reduced from 35%, compared with owner occupiers who spend a similar percentage of their household income on mortgage payments.

Whilst three quarters of private renters find no difficulties in keeping up with their rent, we understand that affordability may be an issue for some. The Government has taken action to reduce the financial barriers that prevent tenants from accessing and moving within the PRS.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to reform rent charges and prevent the exploitation of rent charge payers by rent charge holders.

The Rentcharges Act 1977 already prevents new income supporting rentcharges being created after 22 August 1977 and provides a route for freehold homeowners to redeem income supporting rentcharges where the current rentowner is known. Any new Rentcharges created after August 1977 are classified as Estate Rentcharges and are not redeemable under the 1977 Act.

The Government previously committed to ensure that where a freeholder pays the rentcharge owner is not able to take possession or grant a lease on the property where the rentcharge remains unpaid for a short period of time. This will be pursued when Parliamentary time allows.

The Government also intends to legislate to ensure that freehold homeowners who pay estate rentcharges have the right to challenge their reasonableness and to go to the tribunal to appoint a new management company if necessary.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure an equal balance of power between rent charge payers and rent charge holders.

The Rentcharges Act 1977 already prevents new income supporting rentcharges being created after 22 August 1977 and provides a route for freehold homeowners to redeem income supporting rentcharges where the current rentowner is known. Any new Rentcharges created after August 1977 are classified as Estate Rentcharges and are not redeemable under the 1977 Act.

The Government previously committed to ensure that where a freeholder pays the rentcharge owner is not able to take possession or grant a lease on the property where the rentcharge remains unpaid for a short period of time. This will be pursued when Parliamentary time allows.

The Government also intends to legislate to ensure that freehold homeowners who pay estate rentcharges have the right to challenge their reasonableness and to go to the tribunal to appoint a new management company if necessary.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of defragmenting local government funding on the delivery of the levelling up agenda.

Local authorities are important partners in delivering our levelling up ambitions, and many have already been successful in securing funding for their areas from the Levelling Up Fund, Towns Fund and Community Renewal Fund. The Local Government Finance settlement and the vast majority of local government’s Core Spending Power are un-ringfenced, giving local authorities flexibility over their spending decisions.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to her Department’s new story, Next steps for work on covid-19 disparities announced, published on 4 June 2020, whether the planned review of the effectiveness and effect of steps being undertaken by government departments and their agencies will address diabetes under the planned assessment of co-morbidities; and if she will make a statement.

I can confirm that next steps work on covid-19 disparities will include diabetes as a factor to be considered.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 31 May to Question 5626, what the (a) content and (b) design of his Department's workshops on businesses handling inflationary pressures were; which public food sectors were involved; and what advice was given on mitigating any potential global food price shocks.

The Government Commercial Function has provided general guidance on handling inflationary pressures to Contracting Authorities. It would not be appropriate to comment on the content or guidance specifically as this is commercially sensitive. The interpretation and application of the guidance is wholly within the remit of a Contracting Authority. The food sector was not uniquely identified within the guidance.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the total reduction to the budget of the Office for Veterans' Affairs.

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs’ budget has not been confirmed and the Cabinet Office budget for 2021/22 will be published in due course. Support for veterans is funded through a variety of Government channels, including the OVA and individual departments delivering veterans’ services. This year, more funding than ever before has been made available to veterans’ mental health services in NHS England, and unprecedented support has been offered to the service charity sector.

The OVA works to champion veterans across government, driving new approaches and policies in areas that will improve the support the nation offers veterans over the long term, in line with the commitments made by all four nations of the Union in the Strategy for our Veterans. Examples of this are through better use of data to drive change, improved digitisation to make services easier to access and navigate, developing a coherent research strategy to improve our understanding of issues affecting veterans and to improve collaboration across the veterans sector.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Making the Civil Service a Great Place to Work for Veterans initiative, how many veterans have (a) applied to the Civil Service through that initiative and (b) been successful in securing a job through that initiative to date.

Since the pilot of ‘Making the Civil Service a Great Place to Work for Veterans’ was launched on 5 October 2020, up to 31 December 2020, unvalidated data shows that 856 veterans have applied for jobs using the scheme (6% of total applicants), with 9 job offers made to veterans (13% of all job offers). This indicates that on participating vacancies, a higher proportion of job offers are held by veterans compared to the proportion of all applicants who are veterans. In addition to this, since the launch of the pilot in four Government departments, the Welsh Government and National Crime Agency have joined the scheme, ensuring a higher number of vacancies are made available to veterans.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his Department's news story, New study to understand effect of COVID-19 on veterans, published on 13 June 2020, when he will publish the report into the effect of covid-19 on veterans.

Results from the study conducted by the Kings’ Centre for Military Health Research into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on veterans will be published independently by Kings’ College London. The report will be submitted for academic peer review by the end of 2020, with full publication expected in early 2021 after the review process has taken place.

The key themes examined in the report will cover veterans’ health, wellbeing and employment. The cohort surveyed has been followed by Kings’ College London since 2003, allowing for insightful comparison to previous data concerning the health and wellbeing of veterans.

18th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the future need of veterans as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government is committed to making sure the United Kingdom is the best place to be a veteran anywhere in the world. We recognise that COVID-19 will present new and particular challenges to veterans. Ministers and officials, in the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, the Ministry Of Defence and other departments, have regular engagement with veterans and the Armed Forces charity sector and this has continued during COVID 19. The Government is currently developing its understanding of how COVID 19 has changed the needs of veterans and how we can meet those requirements. This will guide future iterations of the Government's Strategy for our Veterans.

12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels Automotive programme, which is due to expire in March 2022, to 2024.

The pandemic led to a slowdown in the delivery of the industry-managed National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels programme, with participating businesses pausing or limiting their planned business improvement activity. There has been a positive uplift in the programme’s activity in the last six months.

Following the recent conclusion of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Department is determining its future spending priorities. A decision on continued funding for the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels programme will be made alongside other Departmental programmes in the coming months.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on the rate of deployment of the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels Automotive programme.

The pandemic led to a slowdown in the delivery of the industry-managed National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels programme, with participating businesses pausing or limiting their planned business improvement activity. There has been a positive uplift in the programme’s activity in the last six months.

Following the recent conclusion of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Department is determining its future spending priorities. A decision on continued funding for the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels programme will be made alongside other Departmental programmes in the coming months.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to bring forward the payment date for recipients of the Warm Home Discount who are not in receipt of Pension Credit, to account for increased utility costs arising as a result of the coivd-19 outbreak.

Participating energy suppliers are obligated to pay their customers by the end of March 2021, however they are encouraged to make these payments as soon as the relevant checks on eligible customers have been completed.

Administering the Warm Home Discount is a large undertaking. We estimate that around 2.2 million households will receive a rebate this winter with around 1.2 million applying via the Broader Group. Due to the volume of rebates and the time needed for the implementation process outlined above, it would not be possible to bring forward the delivery timetable for this scheme year.

In addition, the Voluntary Agreement that BEIS negotiated in March with energy suppliers remains in force, where suppliers agreed to a set of principles to support customers impacted by Covid-19 who may be struggling with energy bills and help to keep them on supply.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential effect on the level of jobs in the aerospace sector of establishing a long-term supply chain investment fund to recapitalise suppliers that are unable to take on new debt.

The Government is providing various support measures to safeguard jobs in the aerospace sector from the impact of Covid-19, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The British Business Bank has also created an online Finance Hub, which details sources of business finance that may be available, as well as useful guidance.

The aerospace sector and its aviation customers are being assisted with around £9 billion of funding made available through loans, research and development grants, loan guarantees, and support for exporters. The Government continues to support the long-term competitiveness of the UK’s aerospace supply chain through the Aerospace Growth Partnership.

The Government will continue to work closely with local authorities, businesses, and business representative organisations to understand the impact of Covid-19 on the aerospace sector.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to introduce neonatal (a) leave and (b) pay for families affected by covid-19.

We recognise that parents of sick and premature babies are in an extremely difficult and distressing position and that Covid-19 has made it difficult for some parents to spend time with their children. The social distancing measures that we put in place have, however, been necessary to save lives – including those of new parents and their babies – and protect the NHS.

As announced in the Queen’s Speech, we intend to bring forward an Employment Bill which will include measures to allow parents of children who have spent time in neonatal care to take additional paid leave (subject to qualifying criteria). We intend to legislate as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to his Department's press release entitled Landmark laws to protect children and stop abuse online published, published on 12 May 2021, what his timetable is for launching the consultation on online advertising and online fraud.

My department continues to work closely with other government departments, including the Home Office as the government department responsible for tackling fraud, to develop a coherent approach to online advertising that supports competition and protects consumers.

We are working with industry, regulators and consumer groups to understand the specific harms that are being linked to advertising, including online fraud and scams.

Following a call for evidence in 2020, the Online Advertising Programme will launch a public consultation later this year to examine how best to strengthen standards around the placement and content of online advertising, and to ensure they can be effectively enforced.

More information about the Programme can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/online-advertising-call-for-evidence/online-advertising-call-for-evidence

1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he (a) has made and (b) plans to make a further assessment of the potential merits of joining the School Meals Coalition.

The government does not currently intend to join the School Meals Coalition, although we are engaged with several initiatives that resulted from the UN Food Systems Summit last year.

At this time, no further assessment of the merits of joining the School Meals Coalition is planned.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to provide support or extra resources to local authorities and schools to mitigate potential pressures on public food supplies due to rising energy, food and labour costs; and what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that that major suppliers can fulfil existing and new contacts for school meal provision.

The provision of free school meals (FSM) to children who are eligible for them is of the utmost importance to this government. The department recognises the cost pressures that some schools and suppliers may be facing, and as usual are holding regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies.

Schools fund benefit-related FSM from their core funding which they receive through the schools block of the dedicated schools grant and is derived from the national funding formula (NFF). For the 2022/23 financial year, the funding schools attract through the ‘FSM factor’ in the NFF is increasing to £470 per eligible pupil.

In recognition of cost pressures, after the NFF rates were set, the department received additional funding from HM Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by £2.5 billion in the 2022/23 financial year, compared to last year. We have also given schools the autonomy to agree individual contracts with school food suppliers and caterers, using their increased core funding.

On Tuesday 14 June my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced an increase to the per pupil meal rate for Universal Infant Free School Meals from £2.34 to £2.41. This will be backdated to April 2022.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the Government's 1.7 per cent increase in funding for Universal Free School Meals on suppliers of those meals who are facing a 9 per cent increase in food prices.

The provision of free school meals (FSM) to children who are eligible for them is of the utmost importance to this government. We recognise the cost pressures that some schools and suppliers may be facing, and as usual are holding regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies.

The department spends around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal (UIFSM) policy in 2014. The per meal rate was increased to £2.34 per child in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.

Under the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom. Schools fund benefit-related FSM from their core funding which they receive through the schools block of the dedicated schools grant (DSG) and is derived from the national funding formula (NFF). For the 2022/23 financial year, the funding schools attract through the ‘FSM factor’ in the NFF is increasing to £470 per eligible pupil.

In recognition of cost pressures, after the NFF rates were set, the department received additional funding from HM Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by £2.5 billion in the 2022/23 financial year, compared to last year. We have also given schools the autonomy to agree individual contracts with school food suppliers and caterers, using their increased core funding.

UIFSM is funded via a direct grant to schools. The allocations are calculated using data recorded in the termly school census. This includes the number of meals taken on the census day, as well as the number of FSM-eligible children. We are mindful of the reporting burden on schools and feel that recording school meals taken through the school census is a proportionate and appropriate method of recording this data, whilst having controls in place to provide assurance that the data is accurate and reliable for funding purposes.

Head teachers and senior leaders are best placed to determine the use of their school’s budget, including how much to spend on school food provision. Subject to meeting their statutory duty to provide a free meal that meets the school food standards to all infants who are not otherwise eligible for benefits-related FSM children, schools may spend the grant for the purposes of the school or for a charitable purpose for the benefit of the pupils. This is set out in the conditions of grant: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-infant-free-school-meals-uifsm-2021-to-2022/universal-infant-free-school-meals-uifsm-conditions-of-grant-2021-to-2022.

Compliance with the school food standards is mandatory for all maintained schools including academies and free schools. It is for schools and caterers to decide what is an appropriate portion and to balance the food served across the school week. The guidance to accompany the school food standards includes guidance on portion sizes and food groups and is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

If a parent or guardian is concerned about the quality of school lunches, they should in the first instance contact the headteacher or consider using the school’s complaints policy.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will increase the allowance for Universal Free School Meals in line with rising inflation.

The provision of free school meals (FSM) to children who are eligible for them is of the utmost importance to this government. We recognise the cost pressures that some schools and suppliers may be facing, and as usual are holding regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies.

The department spends around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal (UIFSM) policy in 2014. The per meal rate was increased to £2.34 per child in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.

Under the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom. Schools fund benefit-related FSM from their core funding which they receive through the schools block of the dedicated schools grant (DSG) and is derived from the national funding formula (NFF). For the 2022/23 financial year, the funding schools attract through the ‘FSM factor’ in the NFF is increasing to £470 per eligible pupil.

In recognition of cost pressures, after the NFF rates were set, the department received additional funding from HM Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by £2.5 billion in the 2022/23 financial year, compared to last year. We have also given schools the autonomy to agree individual contracts with school food suppliers and caterers, using their increased core funding.

UIFSM is funded via a direct grant to schools. The allocations are calculated using data recorded in the termly school census. This includes the number of meals taken on the census day, as well as the number of FSM-eligible children. We are mindful of the reporting burden on schools and feel that recording school meals taken through the school census is a proportionate and appropriate method of recording this data, whilst having controls in place to provide assurance that the data is accurate and reliable for funding purposes.

Head teachers and senior leaders are best placed to determine the use of their school’s budget, including how much to spend on school food provision. Subject to meeting their statutory duty to provide a free meal that meets the school food standards to all infants who are not otherwise eligible for benefits-related FSM children, schools may spend the grant for the purposes of the school or for a charitable purpose for the benefit of the pupils. This is set out in the conditions of grant: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-infant-free-school-meals-uifsm-2021-to-2022/universal-infant-free-school-meals-uifsm-conditions-of-grant-2021-to-2022.

Compliance with the school food standards is mandatory for all maintained schools including academies and free schools. It is for schools and caterers to decide what is an appropriate portion and to balance the food served across the school week. The guidance to accompany the school food standards includes guidance on portion sizes and food groups and is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

If a parent or guardian is concerned about the quality of school lunches, they should in the first instance contact the headteacher or consider using the school’s complaints policy.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for his policies of recent reports that school meal suppliers are reducing portion sizes or reducing quality of ingredients to continue to supply Universal Free School Meals with the current funding.

The provision of free school meals (FSM) to children who are eligible for them is of the utmost importance to this government. We recognise the cost pressures that some schools and suppliers may be facing, and as usual are holding regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies.

The department spends around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal (UIFSM) policy in 2014. The per meal rate was increased to £2.34 per child in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.

Under the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom. Schools fund benefit-related FSM from their core funding which they receive through the schools block of the dedicated schools grant (DSG) and is derived from the national funding formula (NFF). For the 2022/23 financial year, the funding schools attract through the ‘FSM factor’ in the NFF is increasing to £470 per eligible pupil.

In recognition of cost pressures, after the NFF rates were set, the department received additional funding from HM Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by £2.5 billion in the 2022/23 financial year, compared to last year. We have also given schools the autonomy to agree individual contracts with school food suppliers and caterers, using their increased core funding.

UIFSM is funded via a direct grant to schools. The allocations are calculated using data recorded in the termly school census. This includes the number of meals taken on the census day, as well as the number of FSM-eligible children. We are mindful of the reporting burden on schools and feel that recording school meals taken through the school census is a proportionate and appropriate method of recording this data, whilst having controls in place to provide assurance that the data is accurate and reliable for funding purposes.

Head teachers and senior leaders are best placed to determine the use of their school’s budget, including how much to spend on school food provision. Subject to meeting their statutory duty to provide a free meal that meets the school food standards to all infants who are not otherwise eligible for benefits-related FSM children, schools may spend the grant for the purposes of the school or for a charitable purpose for the benefit of the pupils. This is set out in the conditions of grant: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-infant-free-school-meals-uifsm-2021-to-2022/universal-infant-free-school-meals-uifsm-conditions-of-grant-2021-to-2022.

Compliance with the school food standards is mandatory for all maintained schools including academies and free schools. It is for schools and caterers to decide what is an appropriate portion and to balance the food served across the school week. The guidance to accompany the school food standards includes guidance on portion sizes and food groups and is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

If a parent or guardian is concerned about the quality of school lunches, they should in the first instance contact the headteacher or consider using the school’s complaints policy.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential challenges facing the food supply industry in respect of the supply of free school meals; and whether he plans to take steps to re-evaluate funding allocated by his Department to those meals.

The provision of free school meals (FSM) to children who are eligible for them is of the utmost importance to this government. We recognise the cost pressures that some schools and suppliers may be facing, and as usual are holding regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies.

The department spends around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal (UIFSM) policy in 2014. The per meal rate was increased to £2.34 per child in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.

Under the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom. Schools fund benefit-related FSM from their core funding which they receive through the schools block of the dedicated schools grant (DSG) and is derived from the national funding formula (NFF). For the 2022/23 financial year, the funding schools attract through the ‘FSM factor’ in the NFF is increasing to £470 per eligible pupil.

In recognition of cost pressures, after the NFF rates were set, the department received additional funding from HM Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by £2.5 billion in the 2022/23 financial year, compared to last year. We have also given schools the autonomy to agree individual contracts with school food suppliers and caterers, using their increased core funding.

UIFSM is funded via a direct grant to schools. The allocations are calculated using data recorded in the termly school census. This includes the number of meals taken on the census day, as well as the number of FSM-eligible children. We are mindful of the reporting burden on schools and feel that recording school meals taken through the school census is a proportionate and appropriate method of recording this data, whilst having controls in place to provide assurance that the data is accurate and reliable for funding purposes.

Head teachers and senior leaders are best placed to determine the use of their school’s budget, including how much to spend on school food provision. Subject to meeting their statutory duty to provide a free meal that meets the school food standards to all infants who are not otherwise eligible for benefits-related FSM children, schools may spend the grant for the purposes of the school or for a charitable purpose for the benefit of the pupils. This is set out in the conditions of grant: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-infant-free-school-meals-uifsm-2021-to-2022/universal-infant-free-school-meals-uifsm-conditions-of-grant-2021-to-2022.

Compliance with the school food standards is mandatory for all maintained schools including academies and free schools. It is for schools and caterers to decide what is an appropriate portion and to balance the food served across the school week. The guidance to accompany the school food standards includes guidance on portion sizes and food groups and is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

If a parent or guardian is concerned about the quality of school lunches, they should in the first instance contact the headteacher or consider using the school’s complaints policy.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of ring-fencing the Universal Free School Meals allowance for catering use only.

The provision of free school meals (FSM) to children who are eligible for them is of the utmost importance to this government. We recognise the cost pressures that some schools and suppliers may be facing, and as usual are holding regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies.

The department spends around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal (UIFSM) policy in 2014. The per meal rate was increased to £2.34 per child in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.

Under the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom. Schools fund benefit-related FSM from their core funding which they receive through the schools block of the dedicated schools grant (DSG) and is derived from the national funding formula (NFF). For the 2022/23 financial year, the funding schools attract through the ‘FSM factor’ in the NFF is increasing to £470 per eligible pupil.

In recognition of cost pressures, after the NFF rates were set, the department received additional funding from HM Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by £2.5 billion in the 2022/23 financial year, compared to last year. We have also given schools the autonomy to agree individual contracts with school food suppliers and caterers, using their increased core funding.

UIFSM is funded via a direct grant to schools. The allocations are calculated using data recorded in the termly school census. This includes the number of meals taken on the census day, as well as the number of FSM-eligible children. We are mindful of the reporting burden on schools and feel that recording school meals taken through the school census is a proportionate and appropriate method of recording this data, whilst having controls in place to provide assurance that the data is accurate and reliable for funding purposes.

Head teachers and senior leaders are best placed to determine the use of their school’s budget, including how much to spend on school food provision. Subject to meeting their statutory duty to provide a free meal that meets the school food standards to all infants who are not otherwise eligible for benefits-related FSM children, schools may spend the grant for the purposes of the school or for a charitable purpose for the benefit of the pupils. This is set out in the conditions of grant: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-infant-free-school-meals-uifsm-2021-to-2022/universal-infant-free-school-meals-uifsm-conditions-of-grant-2021-to-2022.

Compliance with the school food standards is mandatory for all maintained schools including academies and free schools. It is for schools and caterers to decide what is an appropriate portion and to balance the food served across the school week. The guidance to accompany the school food standards includes guidance on portion sizes and food groups and is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

If a parent or guardian is concerned about the quality of school lunches, they should in the first instance contact the headteacher or consider using the school’s complaints policy.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will take steps to ensure that local authorities, schools, academies and free schools are issued with guidance on the continuation of transitional protection of free school meal eligibility during the 2022-2023 academic year for children from families in receipt of Universal Credit.

When the government introduced the new free school meals (FSM) eligibility criteria in April 2018, they introduced transitional protections that would apply during the universal credit roll out period to ensure that no child would lose their eligibility to FSM. These protections were enacted in our Commencement Order with the end date of March 2022, the date the rollout was then due to end.

When the end date moved to March 2023, the government confirmed that it had extended the end date of the protections to match this. Whilst the rollout is in progress, the government will continue to keep its guidance under review and will make any necessary changes ahead of March 2023.

The extended date of March 2023 has been confirmed in the school census guidance available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1047457/2021-22_School_Census_Business_and_Technical_Specification_Version_1.7_publishing.pdf and is also available at: https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to increase the allowance of universal infants free school meals to help tackle to effect of rising levels of inflation on the cost of food.

The department spends around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy, and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal policy in 2014. The per meal rate of £2.34 per child was increased in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.

The department holds regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies. Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. The department is confident that schools will continue providing pupils with nutritious school meals as required by the school food standards.

The department routinely considers contingency arrangements and expect schools and catering companies supplying them to do the same.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) for Academic Year 2021/22, published in December 2021, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the low level of recruitment and high level of vacancies for design and technology teachers.

The number of teachers remains high, with more than 461,000 working in state-funded schools across the country, which is 20,000 more than in 2010. One of the department’s top priorities is to ensure that it continues to attract and retain high-quality teachers.

As detailed in the initial teacher training (ITT) census publication for the 2021/22 academic year, 23% of the postgraduate ITT target for design and technology was achieved (341 postgraduate trainees). This position was driven in part by a decrease in the number of trainees, but also an increase in target. Furthermore, the 2020/21 training year and recruitment cycle was atypical with the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak prompting an increase in the numbers of people going into teaching. This was expected to decline to normal levels this year as the labour market became and continues to become more competitive, as observed across the country.

To combat shortages of design and technology teachers, the department is offering a £15,000 tax-free bursary for design and technology trainee teachers in the 2022/23 academic year. All design and technology trainees on tuition fee-funded ITT routes are also able to apply for a tuition fee loan and maintenance loan to support their living costs. Additional student finance is also available depending on individual circumstances, such as the Childcare Grant.

Alongside its financial incentives package, the department is driving an ambitious transformation programme to overhaul the process of becoming a teacher, from stimulating initial interest through world-class marketing through to the start of training.

The teaching marketing campaign provides inspiration and support to explore a career in teaching and directs people to the ‘Get Into Teaching’ service. Through a new website, prospective candidates can access support and advice through expert one-to-one teacher training advisers, a contact centre and a national programme of events. The ‘get school experience’ digital service also arranges school experience placements between prospective candidates and schools. ‘Get Into Teaching’ is also developing innovative activities to build a pipeline of future interest in teaching, with a focus on shortage subjects.

In October 2021, the government’s new digital service, ‘apply for teacher training’, was rolled out. This is a key milestone in the delivery of a more streamlined, user-friendly application route for candidates across the country and the world. New data and insight from government services will also drive innovation with a view to boosting recruitment in priority subjects.

Since September 2020, all courses offered by ITT providers have been aligned to a mandatory core content framework (CCF), which was published in November 2019. The framework sets out a minimum entitlement for all trainee teachers.

In September 2021, the early career framework (ECF) was implemented, entitling early career teachers (ECTs) to a further 2 years of development support and training. The core content and early career frameworks contain the same key evidence statements of what makes great teaching. This deliberate alignment has established an entitlement to at least a 3-year structured package of support for all those entering teaching.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Initial Teacher Training Census, published in December 2021, what steps he is taking to tackle workforce deficits for design and technology teachers.

The number of teachers remains high, with more than 461,000 working in state-funded schools across the country, which is 20,000 more than in 2010. One of the department’s top priorities is to ensure that it continues to attract and retain high-quality teachers.

As detailed in the initial teacher training (ITT) census publication for the 2021/22 academic year, 23% of the postgraduate ITT target for design and technology was achieved (341 postgraduate trainees). This position was driven in part by a decrease in the number of trainees, but also an increase in target. Furthermore, the 2020/21 training year and recruitment cycle was atypical with the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak prompting an increase in the numbers of people going into teaching. This was expected to decline to normal levels this year as the labour market became and continues to become more competitive, as observed across the country.

To combat shortages of design and technology teachers, the department is offering a £15,000 tax-free bursary for design and technology trainee teachers in the 2022/23 academic year. All design and technology trainees on tuition fee-funded ITT routes are also able to apply for a tuition fee loan and maintenance loan to support their living costs. Additional student finance is also available depending on individual circumstances, such as the Childcare Grant.

Alongside its financial incentives package, the department is driving an ambitious transformation programme to overhaul the process of becoming a teacher, from stimulating initial interest through world-class marketing through to the start of training.

The teaching marketing campaign provides inspiration and support to explore a career in teaching and directs people to the ‘Get Into Teaching’ service. Through a new website, prospective candidates can access support and advice through expert one-to-one teacher training advisers, a contact centre and a national programme of events. The ‘get school experience’ digital service also arranges school experience placements between prospective candidates and schools. ‘Get Into Teaching’ is also developing innovative activities to build a pipeline of future interest in teaching, with a focus on shortage subjects.

In October 2021, the government’s new digital service, ‘apply for teacher training’, was rolled out. This is a key milestone in the delivery of a more streamlined, user-friendly application route for candidates across the country and the world. New data and insight from government services will also drive innovation with a view to boosting recruitment in priority subjects.

Since September 2020, all courses offered by ITT providers have been aligned to a mandatory core content framework (CCF), which was published in November 2019. The framework sets out a minimum entitlement for all trainee teachers.

In September 2021, the early career framework (ECF) was implemented, entitling early career teachers (ECTs) to a further 2 years of development support and training. The core content and early career frameworks contain the same key evidence statements of what makes great teaching. This deliberate alignment has established an entitlement to at least a 3-year structured package of support for all those entering teaching.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of scaling-up the National School Breakfast Programme to support all eligible schools with over 50% of students in IDACI bands A-F.

The government is committed to continuing its support for the national school breakfast club programme. It is investing up to £24 million to continue the programme until July 2023. This funding will support up to 2,500 schools in disadvantaged areas, meaning that thousands of children from low-income families will be offered free nutritious breakfasts to assist their attainment, wellbeing and readiness to be taught.

The enrolment process is still underway for schools wishing to sign up to the programme. As of 22 December 2021, 1,245 schools signed up, and 847 schools placed food orders. The department continues to work with its supplier, Family Action, to monitor the data and consider suitable opportunities to share more information on the programme as it progresses.

The programme is open to all schools that have 40% or more pupils in bands A-F of the income deprivation affecting children index. This includes state-funded primary, secondary, special schools and pupil referral units. Further information is available on the Family Action website, which is accessible here: https://www.family-action.org.uk/what-we-do/children-families/breakfast/.

The government is supportive of providing free school breakfasts, and of the positive contributions these can make to better children’s wellbeing and learning. Further information on the national school breakfast club programme is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/breakfast-clubs-programme-2021-2023.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools have received breakfast food orders this academic year as part of the National School Breakfast Programme.

The government is committed to continuing its support for the national school breakfast club programme. It is investing up to £24 million to continue the programme until July 2023. This funding will support up to 2,500 schools in disadvantaged areas, meaning that thousands of children from low-income families will be offered free nutritious breakfasts to assist their attainment, wellbeing and readiness to be taught.

The enrolment process is still underway for schools wishing to sign up to the programme. As of 22 December 2021, 1,245 schools signed up, and 847 schools placed food orders. The department continues to work with its supplier, Family Action, to monitor the data and consider suitable opportunities to share more information on the programme as it progresses.

The programme is open to all schools that have 40% or more pupils in bands A-F of the income deprivation affecting children index. This includes state-funded primary, secondary, special schools and pupil referral units. Further information is available on the Family Action website, which is accessible here: https://www.family-action.org.uk/what-we-do/children-families/breakfast/.

The government is supportive of providing free school breakfasts, and of the positive contributions these can make to better children’s wellbeing and learning. Further information on the national school breakfast club programme is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/breakfast-clubs-programme-2021-2023.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether there are contingencies in place to ensure that schools continue to receive food in the event of supply chain issues.

Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. The department is confident that schools will continue to be able to provide pupils with nutritious school meals and there is no evidence to suggest widespread disruption to education as a result of issues with food supply.

The department will continue to expect schools to meet the School Food Standards and schools have a great deal of flexibility in the foods that they can deliver under the School Food Standards. We are confident that schools will continue providing pupils with nutritious school meals as required by the School Food Standards. More information on the School Food Standards can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of delays in DBS checks on staffing levels in the school meals industry.

We spend around £600 million per year ensuring 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the Universal Infant Free School Meal (UIFSM) policy in 2014. All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in England’s state-funded schools are entitled to receive a free meal. This is in addition to the 1.7 million children in receipt of benefits related free school meals.

The funding of UIFSM is allocated via a grant to schools, funded at a rate of £2.34 per meal. This grant was last increased for the 2020/21 academic year and covers the cost of raw materials as well as other fixed costs associated with providing the meals. It is for individual schools to decide how to allocate their budgets in order to provide these meals.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is currently experiencing a significant demand for its services as organisations start to recruit staff following lockdown, for example during September and October it saw an increase of over 20% in demand for standard and enhanced checks. However, the DBS continues to deliver its services in line with its Published Service Standards which are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/dbs-dataset-1-disclosure-progress-information-disclosed-and-update-service-subscriptions. Despite increased demand largely driven by COVID-19 responses and the gig economy, particularly online shopping and food delivery, the DBS has consistently exceeded its operational targets.

The department holds regular meetings with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and other school food stakeholders, including the Local Authority Caterers Association, the representative body for school caterers, as well as food industry representatives covering a variety of issues.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has investigated the (a) time taken for DBS checks and (b) effect that is having on staff availability in the school meals sector.

We spend around £600 million per year ensuring 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the Universal Infant Free School Meal (UIFSM) policy in 2014. All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in England’s state-funded schools are entitled to receive a free meal. This is in addition to the 1.7 million children in receipt of benefits related free school meals.

The funding of UIFSM is allocated via a grant to schools, funded at a rate of £2.34 per meal. This grant was last increased for the 2020/21 academic year and covers the cost of raw materials as well as other fixed costs associated with providing the meals. It is for individual schools to decide how to allocate their budgets in order to provide these meals.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is currently experiencing a significant demand for its services as organisations start to recruit staff following lockdown, for example during September and October it saw an increase of over 20% in demand for standard and enhanced checks. However, the DBS continues to deliver its services in line with its Published Service Standards which are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/dbs-dataset-1-disclosure-progress-information-disclosed-and-update-service-subscriptions. Despite increased demand largely driven by COVID-19 responses and the gig economy, particularly online shopping and food delivery, the DBS has consistently exceeded its operational targets.

The department holds regular meetings with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and other school food stakeholders, including the Local Authority Caterers Association, the representative body for school caterers, as well as food industry representatives covering a variety of issues.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the impact of not increasing the cost of universal infants free school meals on the (a) quality of the meals provided and (b) ability for the industry to retain and recruit staff.

We spend around £600 million per year ensuring 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the Universal Infant Free School Meal (UIFSM) policy in 2014. All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in England’s state-funded schools are entitled to receive a free meal. This is in addition to the 1.7 million children in receipt of benefits related free school meals.

The funding of UIFSM is allocated via a grant to schools, funded at a rate of £2.34 per meal. This grant was last increased for the 2020/21 academic year and covers the cost of raw materials as well as other fixed costs associated with providing the meals. It is for individual schools to decide how to allocate their budgets in order to provide these meals.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is currently experiencing a significant demand for its services as organisations start to recruit staff following lockdown, for example during September and October it saw an increase of over 20% in demand for standard and enhanced checks. However, the DBS continues to deliver its services in line with its Published Service Standards which are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/dbs-dataset-1-disclosure-progress-information-disclosed-and-update-service-subscriptions. Despite increased demand largely driven by COVID-19 responses and the gig economy, particularly online shopping and food delivery, the DBS has consistently exceeded its operational targets.

The department holds regular meetings with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and other school food stakeholders, including the Local Authority Caterers Association, the representative body for school caterers, as well as food industry representatives covering a variety of issues.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on increasing funding for universal free school meals for infants in the next Spending Review.

We spend around £600 million per year ensuring 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the Universal Infant Free School Meal (UIFSM) policy in 2014. All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in England’s state-funded schools are entitled to receive a free meal. This is in addition to the 1.7 million children in receipt of benefits related free school meals.

The funding of UIFSM is allocated via a grant to schools, funded at a rate of £2.34 per meal. This grant was last increased for the 2020/21 academic year and covers the cost of raw materials as well as other fixed costs associated with providing the meals. It is for individual schools to decide how to allocate their budgets in order to provide these meals.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is currently experiencing a significant demand for its services as organisations start to recruit staff following lockdown, for example during September and October it saw an increase of over 20% in demand for standard and enhanced checks. However, the DBS continues to deliver its services in line with its Published Service Standards which are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/dbs-dataset-1-disclosure-progress-information-disclosed-and-update-service-subscriptions. Despite increased demand largely driven by COVID-19 responses and the gig economy, particularly online shopping and food delivery, the DBS has consistently exceeded its operational targets.

The department holds regular meetings with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and other school food stakeholders, including the Local Authority Caterers Association, the representative body for school caterers, as well as food industry representatives covering a variety of issues.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has met with the school food industry to discuss staff recruitment and retention challenges in that sector.

The department holds regular meetings with food industry representatives and with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, covering a variety of issues.

There is no evidence to suggest widespread disruption to education as a result of issues with food supply and the department will continue to expect schools to meet the School Food Standards. Schools have a great deal of flexibility in the foods that they can deliver under the School Food Standards. If a particular product is not readily available for any reason, the standards allow schools a wide range of freedom to substitute in similar foods that are available. It is commonplace for schools and caterers to regularly review their menus. More information on the School Food Standards can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he last met with representatives of the school food industry to discuss (a) funding and (b) supply chain issues impacting the industry.

The department holds regular meetings with food industry representatives and with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, covering a variety of issues.

There is no evidence to suggest widespread disruption to education as a result of issues with food supply and the department will continue to expect schools to meet the School Food Standards. Schools have a great deal of flexibility in the foods that they can deliver under the School Food Standards. If a particular product is not readily available for any reason, the standards allow schools a wide range of freedom to substitute in similar foods that are available. It is commonplace for schools and caterers to regularly review their menus. More information on the School Food Standards can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on supply chain issues impacting the school meals sector.

The department holds regular meetings with food industry representatives and with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, covering a variety of issues.

There is no evidence to suggest widespread disruption to education as a result of issues with food supply and the department will continue to expect schools to meet the School Food Standards. Schools have a great deal of flexibility in the foods that they can deliver under the School Food Standards. If a particular product is not readily available for any reason, the standards allow schools a wide range of freedom to substitute in similar foods that are available. It is commonplace for schools and caterers to regularly review their menus. More information on the School Food Standards can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the school food industry on supply chain issues affecting that industry.

The department holds regular meetings with food industry representatives and with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, covering a variety of issues.

There is no evidence to suggest widespread disruption to education as a result of issues with food supply and the department will continue to expect schools to meet the School Food Standards. Schools have a great deal of flexibility in the foods that they can deliver under the School Food Standards. If a particular product is not readily available for any reason, the standards allow schools a wide range of freedom to substitute in similar foods that are available. It is commonplace for schools and caterers to regularly review their menus. More information on the School Food Standards can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the answer on 24 June 2021 to Question 16805 on Pupil Premium: Arts, what recent progress he has made towards the allocation of the arts premium to secondary schools.

Due to the need to focus on new priorities as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak last year, the arts premium is subject to this year’s Spending Review. The Spending Review is due to conclude on Wednesday 27 October. The Government believes in a high-quality education for all pupils, and integral to this are music and the wider arts and creative subjects.

7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Initial teacher training market review report published in July 2021, what plans his Department has made to tackle the potential shortfall in teacher trainee positions.

The review has focused on producing recommendations aimed at increasing the quality, consistency, and coherence of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) for trainee teachers. Ensuring there are sufficient well-trained teachers in the subjects that schools want is one of the priorities of the review and the Department will be proceeding carefully to make sure this is maintained.

To deliver the quality requirements set out in the report, ITT providers would have to consider how they are going to do this successfully, and the Department anticipates that some market reconfiguration and the development of new capacity will be necessary in order to do so. We intend to respond to the report and its recommendations this autumn. If the recommendations are accepted, the Department’s priority during the transition period to any new configuration will be ensuring that the capacity continues to exist, in all parts of the country, to offer enough training places to meet the continuing teacher supply needs across the whole education system.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2021 to Question 28129 on Holiday Activities and Food Programme, what the evidential basis is of the four hours a day, four days a week, for four weeks aspiration for holiday provision; and whether periods of longer than 4:4:4 were monitored.

Our holiday activities and food (HAF) programme guidance sets out our aim that children eligible for and in receipt of free school meals should be able to access free holiday clubs for the equivalent of at least 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, and 6 weeks a year. We have made it clear that local authorities and their providers will have flexibility in how they deliver this provision to best serve the needs of children and families in their area, for example, in considering how the programme can be most effectively delivered to older children.

We piloted the HAF programme in the summer holidays between 2018 and 2020 to build our knowledge. The 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, and 6 weeks a year model referenced was part of the framework of standards established based on insight from providers. The approach enables local authorities across the country to offer good coverage, high quality, but flexible provision. We know that many local authorities are choosing to offer provision that goes beyond this.

Through our investment of up to £220 million this year, including £1,491,000 in Sunderland, we are supporting children and families across the country this summer. We are monitoring the scheme closely, and we have an independent evaluator in place to ensure we continue to learn what works well.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the evidence his Department has collated through the provision of its Holiday Activities and Food Programme pilots.

We commissioned Ecorys UK to undertake an independent evaluation of the 2019 holiday activities and food (HAF) programme, which was published last year.

It highlighted a range of benefits for young people who took part, including increased knowledge, skills, socialisation, and wellbeing.

We have commissioned an independent evaluation of our newly expanded HAF programme, to take place over this summer. Findings will be published later this year.

Our expanded £220 million programme will continue in this summer holiday. Our support contract with Childcare Works is in place, and we are working with local authority HAF co-ordinators across the country to help them prepare to build up a programme of activity across the summer holidays.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the arts pupil premium will be allocated; and whether that premium will be £90 million per year as announced in budget 2020.

The Government is committed to high quality education for all pupils, including in the arts and creative subjects. Schools are required to teach a broad and balanced curriculum, and this includes promoting pupils' cultural development. Over £620 million has been spent between 2016 and 2021 on a range of cultural education programmes, which continue to be funded this year. The Department remained committed to this during the COVID-19 outbreak, introducing several initiatives for schools and parents, including signposting to a range of online resources.

Future funding for the arts premium is subject to the next Spending Review.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of local authorities are offering the Holiday Activities and Food Programme over the Easter 2021 holidays.

Backed by an investment of £220 million, the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme ran throughout this Easter holiday period and will run during the summer and Christmas holidays in 2021, supporting disadvantaged pupils with enriching activities, providing them with healthy food, helping them to learn new things and improving socialisation.

Building on the success of the pilot programmes that have run since 2018, our programme is targeted primarily at those who are eligible for free school meals and has launched in every local authority across the country this Easter. In line with remaining national restrictions, every local authority is running a HAF programme – some local authorities may be doing this remotely or online, whilst some local authorities have chosen to do a mixture of remote and face-to-face sessions. Attendance is voluntary and some children attended the programme every day it was offered; many others chose to attend part time or for certain weeks.

Last summer, our programme supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities, and this year’s significant expansion of the programme builds on this support.

We will shortly announce our HAF programme support contractor who will help local authorities to scale up plans for the summer, building on the foundations laid by local authorities, sporting organisations, charities, and the voluntary sector this Easter.

The government has extended the Covid Winter Grant Scheme to support more families during the Easter holiday period, ensuring all families can continue to access support for food and other essentials should they need it. All local authorities have been informed of their additional allocations, taking the total amount of funding to £229 million for the scheme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the proportion of children entitled to free school meals that will receive support from the Holiday Activities and Food Programme over the Easter 2021 holiday.

Backed by an investment of £220 million, the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme ran throughout this Easter holiday period and will run during the summer and Christmas holidays in 2021, supporting disadvantaged pupils with enriching activities, providing them with healthy food, helping them to learn new things and improving socialisation.

Building on the success of the pilot programmes that have run since 2018, our programme is targeted primarily at those who are eligible for free school meals and has launched in every local authority across the country this Easter. In line with remaining national restrictions, every local authority is running a HAF programme – some local authorities may be doing this remotely or online, whilst some local authorities have chosen to do a mixture of remote and face-to-face sessions. Attendance is voluntary and some children attended the programme every day it was offered; many others chose to attend part time or for certain weeks.

Last summer, our programme supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities, and this year’s significant expansion of the programme builds on this support.

We will shortly announce our HAF programme support contractor who will help local authorities to scale up plans for the summer, building on the foundations laid by local authorities, sporting organisations, charities, and the voluntary sector this Easter.

The government has extended the Covid Winter Grant Scheme to support more families during the Easter holiday period, ensuring all families can continue to access support for food and other essentials should they need it. All local authorities have been informed of their additional allocations, taking the total amount of funding to £229 million for the scheme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will investigate for what reason pupils eligible for free school meals attending independent special schools cannot access the Free School Meals Voucher scheme.

Independent schools, including independent special schools and special post-16 institutions, are not able to access the national voucher scheme as they have no statutory nor regulatory duty to provide free school meals, and are not funded to do so by the department.

Maintained schools and academies are supported by the scheme as both types of school are under a duty to provide free school meals under section 512ZB of the Education Act 1996. Non-maintained special schools can also access the scheme because they have an identical duty to provide free school meals to eligible pupils under the Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations 2015.

Where a placement in an independent special school has been funded on a discretionary basis by a local authority, any payments for meals, including meals where the pupil is absent from school, would be subject to the terms and conditions of the placement agreement.

If families need urgent help, they can contact their local council to find out what services are available in their area. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-local-help.

During February half term, vulnerable families will continue to receive meals and other essentials through the £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme, as they did during the Christmas holidays. Launched in November 2020, the scheme is helping families struggling with the costs of fuel and food and is ringfenced, with 80% earmarked to support families until the end of March 2021.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference the National Audit Office report, Investigation into free school meal voucher scheme, published 2 December, if he will utilise the provision in Edenred’s contract to deliver the free school meal voucher scheme to access the information about (a) Edenred’s income and (b) cost relating to the Scheme.

The department made an award of a contract to Edenred pursuant to Regulation 32(2)(c) Public Contracts Regulations 2015 to provide extremely urgent deliverables as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The contract was let as a direct award using the terms of an existing Crown Commercial Service framework.

The department are using the open book arrangement in this contract to request information from Edenred about costs relating to the scheme. The department does not comment on the commercial arrangements of third parties but can confirm that we only paid for the face value of goods delivered, which in this case is vouchers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2020 to Question 107614, if he will allocate additional funding that is ring-fenced for primary and secondary schools to spend on counselling and therapeutic services for pupils.

We know that the COVID-19 outbreak has had impact on children and young people’s wellbeing and mental health. That is why we are working on a range of support packages to ensure support is provided for all those who need it, without diverting funding from elsewhere. It is important for schools and colleges to have the freedom to decide what support to offer pupils based on their particular needs and drawing on an evidence base of effective practice.

Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package, with £650 million shared across schools over the 2020-21 academic year, is supporting education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place. The Education Endowment Foundation have published a COVID-19 support guide to support schools to direct this funding, which includes further information about interventions to support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing. https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/covid-19-support-guide-for-schools/.

Ofsted’s October 2020 COVID-19 report, based on its interim visits to schools, confirmed that a number of school leaders are considering using this funding to pay for interventions such as additional pastoral staff and counselling for pupils. It can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-series-briefing-on-schools-october-2020.

Many schools already provide access to some counselling support. The government has produced guidance on how to put in place effective school-based counselling which schools can use where they decide further counselling support is appropriate for their pupils. The guidance can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/497825/Counselling_in_schools.pdf.

The guidance sets out that counselling works best within a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing, which considers issues such as promoting wellbeing, raising awareness of, and reducing stigma around, mental health issues and providing an effective pastoral system.

Additionally, we have invested £8 million in the Wellbeing for Education Return project, which will ensure schools are better informed and supported. This project has trained local experts to provide schools and colleges with advice and resources on supporting children and young people’s mental health. This support will remain in place until March 2021, to help schools and colleges over the winter months.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure SEND specialists are available to schools to support pupils who require additional help through (a) the national tutoring programme and (b) other programmes.

The COVID-19 outbreak, and consequent disruptions, will have both long and short-term impacts on the education and wellbeing of children and young people. However, for some groups, including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), we recognise that this impact is likely to be greater, and that additional support may be required.

We introduced a COVID-19 ‘Catch Up Premium’ worth £650 million to support mainstream and special schools in making up for lost teaching time. There is additional weighting for specialist settings, in recognition of the significantly higher per pupil costs they face. Headteachers will decide how this premium is spent. For example, this might be on educational psychologists, speech and language therapy or other activities required to support children in catching up. All schools should use the catch-up premium funding available to them as a total from which to prioritise support for particular pupils, including children with SEND or education, health and care plans (EHCPs), according to their needs. The Education Endowment Fund has published the National Tutoring Programme Guidance on effective interventions to support schools, which is available at: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/index.php?/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/.

Additionally, since 2018, the department has funded the National Association for Special Educational Needs on behalf of the Whole School SEND Consortium, for a programme of work to embed SEND into school practice. During the COVID-19 outbreak specifically, the Whole School SEND Consortium have run training sessions and developed resources for teachers and professionals supporting pupils with SEND to enable them to successfully return to and engage in school, and to support their wellbeing. Further information on the Whole School SEND Consortium can be found here: www.sendgateway.org.uk/whole-school-send.

More widely, where a pupil has provision specified within their EHCP, it remains the duty of the local authority and relevant health bodies to secure or arrange the delivery of this provision in the setting that the plan names. The department has been closely monitoring the provision of services and support for children with SEND during the COVID-19 outbreak and engaging with local authorities where there appear to be issues.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2020 to Question 74468 on Free School Meals: Voucher Schemes, how much commission Edenred has earned through its delivery of the free school meals voucher scheme since the start of that scheme.

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

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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

The contract for the national free school meals voucher scheme was let against Crown Commercial Service framework RM6133. The successful provider is the sole provider on the framework and direct awards are permitted action. The department does not comment on the commercial arrangements of third parties but can confirm that we are only paying for the face value of goods delivered – in this case, vouchers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the findings in the Hide and Seek report published by the Driver Youth Trust on 13 October 2020, that 4 per cent of specialist teachers for pupils with dyslexia work in state schools and that 75 per cent of headteachers say they cannot access one to one support for their pupils.

Our ambition is for every child, no matter what challenges they face, to have access to a world-class education that sets them up for life. We know that the quality of teaching is the most important in-school factor for improving outcomes for all children and that it is particularly important for pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND), including dyslexia. We are creating an entitlement to at least three years of structured support and professional development for teachers as they train and at the start of their careers through the initial teacher training core content framework (2019) and Early Career Framework. Together, these set out for the first time the evidence-based body of knowledge and experience that all trainees and early career teachers need, including in relation to SEND.

Further information about initial teacher training core content framework is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-itt-core-content-framework.

The Early Career Framework is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/913646/Early-Career_Framework.pdf.

We recognise that there is work to be done to improve the SEND system, including improving access to support services. This is why we are conducting a review of the SEND system. We are grateful to organisations like the Driver Youth Trust whose work supports the journey towards realising this aim.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support primary and secondary schools in their provision of mental health support to children and young people.

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

We have in particular prioritised children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Getting children and young people back into school and college is itself key to their wellbeing. We have worked hard to ensure that all pupils and learners were able to return to a full high-quality education programme in September. Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package, with £650 million shared across schools over the 2020-21 academic year, is supporting education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place.

To ensure that staff are equipped to support wellbeing as children and young people returned to schools and colleges, we made it a central part of our guidance both on remote education and on the return to school. We supported this with a range of training and materials, including webinars which have been accessed by thousands of education staff and accelerating training on how to teach about mental health as part of the new relationships, sex and health curriculum, so that all pupils can benefit from this long-term requirement.

To continue this support, we are investing £8 million in the Wellbeing for Education Return programme, which will provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and practical skills they need to support teachers, students and parents, to help improve how they respond to the emotional impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The programme is funding expert advisers in every area of England to train and support schools and colleges during the autumn and spring terms. More information is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wellbeing-for-education-return-grant-s31-grant-determination-letter.

In the long term, we remain committed to our major joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England. This includes introducing new mental health support teams?linked to?schools and colleges,?providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges,?and testing approaches to?faster?access to NHS specialist support. Mental health support teams are part of the commitment made in the NHS England Long Term Plan that funding for mental health services will grow faster than the overall NHS budget, creating a new ringfenced local investment fund for all ages worth at least £2.3 billion a year by the 2023-24 financial year. This will mean that that by the 2023-24 financial year, at least an additional 345,000 children and young people aged 0-25 will be able to access support via NHS England funded mental health services.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer on 20 July 2020 to Question 74468 on Free School Meals: Voucher Schemes, what the source of funding was for Edenred's delivery of the School Food Voucher scheme.

The government has taken unprecedented and substantial action to ensure that children do not go hungry as we take measures to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, including in relation to free school meals.

In the first instance, we asked schools to support eligible pupils at home by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. For circumstances where this was not possible, we also established a national voucher scheme to support schools and families while schools were closed to most pupils.

The cost of the vouchers issued to parents under the national voucher scheme and the COVID-19 Summer Food Fund were met by Her Majesty’s Treasury.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the amount of profit made by Edenred through its delivery of the free school meals voucher scheme since the start of that scheme.

The department made an award of a contract to Edenred pursuant to Regulation 32(2)(c) Public Contracts Regulations 2015 to provide extremely urgent deliverables as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The contract was let as a direct award using the terms of an existing Crown Commercial Service framework. The department do not comment on the commercial arrangements of third parties but can confirm that we are only paying for the face value of goods delivered, which in this case is vouchers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 60716, how families of children who become eligible for free school meals during the summer holidays will be able to claim the national school food voucher or alternative from their school during that period.

School offices will be closed during the summer holiday period. If families are facing hardship, they can access the Local Authority Emergency Assistance Grant.

Further government support is available for families struggling as a result of COVID-19. More information is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support.

If families need urgent help, they can contact their local council to find out what services are available in their area.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to answer Named Day Question 60715 on Free School Meals, tabled by the hon. Member for Washington and Sunderland West on 17 June 2020.

Written parliamentary question 60715 was answered on 1 July 2020.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that children who become eligible for free school meals over the summer holidays 2020 have access to food.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 29 June 2020 to Question 60716.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will update the income threshold guidance for eligibility for free school meals for children with no recourse to public funds.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, we are temporarily extending free school meal eligibility to include some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds. We will update the guidance as soon as possible.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if children who become eligible for free school meals during the school summer holiday period will be able to claim the national school food voucher or alternative from their school.

Our latest guidance on free school meals is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a Covid Summer Food Fund which will enable families with children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period.

Our guidance on the Covid Summer Food Fund is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-summer-food-fund.

Through the Covid Summer Food Fund, schools can support eligible pupils with a £90 voucher to cover the six-week holiday period. Schools must order the vouchers at least one week before their school term ends. If a school receives a claim for an eligible child during the final week before the school’s summer holidays, it will be possible for the school to place an exceptional order for that child via our supplier Edenred. The completion of orders by the end of term reflects the fact that school staff will break for the summer.

The government has made significant wider support available for children and families at this time. On 10 June, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, confirmed an additional £63 million to be distributed to local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to COVID-19. In addition, the government has introduced an uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by around £1,000 a year for the next 12 months as part of an injection of over £6.5 billion by government into the welfare system.

Additional support has been pledged by various departments across government with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announcing the provision of £16 million for food support through charities, including FareShare and WRAP. DEFRA have also issued 2 million food packages to those who are shielding.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme will be re-instated (a) when children return to school, and (b) for the September 2020 term.

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

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

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

It was announced on 18 March that as of 20 March all schools in England would remain open only for a very limited number of pupils (children of key workers and vulnerable children), until further notice. Primary schools were asked to plan to welcome back nursery, reception and year 1 pupils as of 1 June 2020.

A decision was taken in March that the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme would not operate for the whole of the period which would have been the Summer term of 2020, recognising the substantial operational difficulties which would need to be resolved in order to restart such a large, national scheme part-way through a term.

At present it is not known how events may develop and so we are not yet in a position to confirm whether or not the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme will operate in the Autumn term.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on the number of schools that have not taken up the free school meal voucher scheme during the covid-19 outbreak; and what provisions those schools are putting in place as an alternative to that scheme.

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

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

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

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate arrangements for eligible pupils, and this can include food parcel arrangements, alternative voucher arrangements or provision through the national voucher scheme. Some schools may apply a combination of these approaches. We do not hold details of the arrangements each individual school is making outside of the national voucher scheme.

Our national voucher scheme supplier, Edenred has reported that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May. Edenred has also reported that 17,000 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of Tuesday 12 May.

We do not collect data at pupil or family level about local arrangements for free school meals provision during this period. We therefore do not hold information on the number of children that have been fed via school collection and distribution models or other means since school closures.

Schools should provide meal options for all children who are in school, and meals should be available free of charge where pupils meet the benefits-related free school meal eligibility criteria and to all infant pupils. Under normal circumstances, schools do not provide free school meals to eligible children who are not in school. However, during the COVID-19 outbreak we expect schools to continue supporting children eligible for benefits-related free school meals who are at home.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many families of children who are eligible for free school meals are receiving a financial support for purchasing food during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

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

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate arrangements for eligible pupils, and this can include food parcel arrangements, alternative voucher arrangements or provision through the national voucher scheme. Some schools may apply a combination of these approaches. We do not hold details of the arrangements each individual school is making outside of the national voucher scheme.

Our national voucher scheme supplier, Edenred has reported that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May. Edenred has also reported that 17,000 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of Tuesday 12 May.

We do not collect data at pupil or family level about local arrangements for free school meals provision during this period. We therefore do not hold information on the number of children that have been fed via school collection and distribution models or other means since school closures.

Schools should provide meal options for all children who are in school, and meals should be available free of charge where pupils meet the benefits-related free school meal eligibility criteria and to all infant pupils. Under normal circumstances, schools do not provide free school meals to eligible children who are not in school. However, during the COVID-19 outbreak we expect schools to continue supporting children eligible for benefits-related free school meals who are at home.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that families of children entitled to free school meals receive financial support in cases where they have not received either free school meal vouchers or an alternative during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

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

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate arrangements for eligible pupils, and this can include food parcel arrangements, alternative voucher arrangements or provision through the national voucher scheme. Some schools may apply a combination of these approaches. We do not hold details of the arrangements each individual school is making outside of the national voucher scheme.

Our national voucher scheme supplier, Edenred has reported that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May. Edenred has also reported that 17,000 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of Tuesday 12 May.

We do not collect data at pupil or family level about local arrangements for free school meals provision during this period. We therefore do not hold information on the number of children that have been fed via school collection and distribution models or other means since school closures.

Schools should provide meal options for all children who are in school, and meals should be available free of charge where pupils meet the benefits-related free school meal eligibility criteria and to all infant pupils. Under normal circumstances, schools do not provide free school meals to eligible children who are not in school. However, during the COVID-19 outbreak we expect schools to continue supporting children eligible for benefits-related free school meals who are at home.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools not partaking in the free school meal voucher scheme during the covid-19 outbreak provide suitable alternatives to those families of children eligible for free school meals.

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

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:

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

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach where it is possible.

However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate arrangements for eligible pupils, and this can include food parcel arrangements, alternative voucher arrangements or provision through the national voucher scheme. Some schools may apply a combination of these approaches. We do not hold details of the arrangements each individual school is making outside of the national voucher scheme.

Our national voucher scheme supplier, Edenred has reported that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May. Edenred has also reported that 17,000 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of Tuesday 12 May.

We do not collect data at pupil or family level about local arrangements for free school meals provision during this period. We therefore do not hold information on the number of children that have been fed via school collection and distribution models or other means since school closures.

Schools should provide meal options for all children who are in school, and meals should be available free of charge where pupils meet the benefits-related free school meal eligibility criteria and to all infant pupils. Under normal circumstances, schools do not provide free school meals to eligible children who are not in school. However, during the COVID-19 outbreak we expect schools to continue supporting children eligible for benefits-related free school meals who are at home.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the equity of the free school meal income threshold for families with no recourse to public funds; and if he will make a statement.

Earnings thresholds are used widely across government for determining eligibility for passported benefits.

The earnings threshold of £7,400 for free school meals for children with no recourse to public funds is in line with that of families who are applying as part of the standard means-tested eligibility criteria. This threshold applies for Zambrano carers, families with leave to remain under Article 8 of the European Convention for Human Rights, and those receiving support from Section 17 of the Children’s Act 1989. Families receiving support from Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act are not able to work and as such are not subject to an earnings threshold.

The government does not expect to make any further statement at this point.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to announce the allocation of funding for the Holiday Activities and Food Scheme 2020.

On 16 March we wrote to all bidders to let them know whether or not they were successful in their applications for funding and offered feedback to unsuccessful bidders. We are now in the process of negotiating grant agreements with the successful bidders and we will announce the successful bids publicly in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to provide free school meal support to children during future school holidays that take place during the covid-19 outbreak.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, during the Easter holidays the department met the costs of offering free school meals to eligible pupils not attending school. This was in recognition of the unprecedented levels of disruption and uncertainty for schools during this time. We currently have no plans to extend the scheme into future holiday periods but will keep the situation under review.

However, the department remains committed to supporting children and families through our 2020 Holiday Activities and Food programme and continues to work with coordinators on appropriate provision this summer. On 16 March, we wrote to all bidders to let them know whether or not they were successful in their applications for funding and offered feedback to unsuccessful bidders. We are now in the process of negotiating grant agreements with the successful bidders and we will announce the successful bids publicly in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the National School Food Voucher Scheme; and what comparative assessment he has made between the effectiveness of that scheme and other initiatives schools are using.

During this period, we are asking schools to support pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food suppliers wherever possible. We recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme, with costs covered by the Department for Education (DfE).

The DfE assessed several options prior to launch. Our priority has been ensuring that the families most in need are continuing to receive support.

Schools providing meals or vouchers themselves can be reimbursed for any additional costs, with further details available in the published guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

We are monitoring the use of the scheme on a daily basis. Voucher codes are being processed and many thousands of families are already redeeming them.

As of Wednesday 29 April, Edenred reported that over £35 million worth of voucher codes have been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the vouchers offered during school closures to children eligible for free school meals will cover the costs of breakfast.

While schools are closed to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, they will be able to provide meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops for families. The government has confirmed that the total value of vouchers offered to each eligible child per week will exceed the rate it pays to schools for free school meals.

In addition to this, we are working to consider options to support children who receive a free breakfast through our contracts with Family Action and Magic Breakfast.

We are continuing to work on a national approach to supporting free school meal pupils and will announce further details and relevant dates in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to launch the national voucher system for free school meals.

While schools are closed to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, they will be able to provide meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops for families. The government has confirmed that the total value of vouchers offered to each eligible child per week will exceed the rate it pays to schools for free school meals.

In addition to this, we are working to consider options to support children who receive a free breakfast through our contracts with Family Action and Magic Breakfast.

We are continuing to work on a national approach to supporting free school meal pupils and will announce further details and relevant dates in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether schools will provide access to free school meals to eligible pupils during any closures in relation to covid-19.

The continuing provision of free school meals to children from out of work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government. No child who would ordinarily receive a free school meal should go without this due to school closures or having to self-isolate at home.

Guidance for schools on the action to be taken has been published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on the health and wellbeing of students in higher education with brain injuries of the change in the level of disabled student allowance funding for mentoring those students.

There has been no change to the level of funding available through Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) for mentoring support. All students who are eligible for DSAs, including those with brain injuries, are assessed in respect of the type and level of support they specifically require.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the health and wellbeing of students in higher education with visual stress of the removal of colorimetry funding for those students.

The department is in discussion with the Association of Dyslexia Specialists in Higher Education as to whether any additional types of assistance would be appropriate for students with a diagnosis of visual stress.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how his Department plans to allocate the £455m from the soft drinks industry levy to fund children’s (a) health and (b) access to healthy food.

As indicted on page 175 in the Office for Budget Responsibility’s March 2019 Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the government is forecast to receive around £340 million from the soft drinks industry levy in 2020-21. The March 2019 report on Economic and Fiscal Outlook can be found here:

https://obr.uk/efo/economic-fiscal-outlook-march-2019/.

The department will provide details of how our share of funding will be allocated to specific programmes in due course. Previously we have used funding from the levy to fund programmes that improve children’s health such as the PE and Sport Premium for primary schools and the national breakfast clubs programme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it remains his Department's policy to fund universal infant free school meals; and if he will make a statement.

We are making a significant investment in free school meals for children. Nutritious food in schools helps ensure pupils are well nourished, develop healthy eating habits and can concentrate and learn. We ensure that the most disadvantaged children receive a free healthy lunch at school and in 2019, around 1.3 million disadvantaged children benefitted from this important provision, saving families roughly £400 a year.

Free meals were also extended to disadvantaged further education students in September 2014. In addition, universal infant free school meals were introduced in 2014, and the department spends around £600 million each year ensuring 1.4 million infants receive a free meal through this programme. We have confirmed the funding arrangements for this provision for the current academic year, and arrangements for 2020/21 will be confirmed in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the allowance for free school meals.

As part of the increased funding for schools, announced by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, on 30 August 2019, the benefits-related free school meals factor in the national funding formula will be increased in line with inflation.

For universal infant free school meals (UIFSM), schools receive funding through a separate grant and the provisional allocations were confirmed for the 2019/20 academic year last June. We have not taken decisions on future rates for UIFSM rates yet.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will undertake an equality impact assessment of transferring to higher education providers responsibility for (a) administering and (b) setting the level of disabled students' allowance.

?The levels of Disabled Students’ Allowances available to students are set in the Education (Student Support) Regulations. The department undertakes, and publishes, an Equality Analysis each time it lays amendments to these Regulations.

?No decision has been made to transfer the administration of Disabled Students’ Allowances to Higher Education Providers.

31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the health and wellbeing of pupils with brain injury of the change in the level of funding for mentoring those pupils.

No child or young person should be held back from reaching their potential, including those with complex special needs and disabilities such as an Acquired Brain Injury. This is why we have announced £780 million of additional high needs funding for next year (2020-21), which is an increase of 12% compared to this year, bringing the total amount for supporting those with the most complex needs to £7.2 billion. This will be the largest year-on-year increase since the high needs funding block was created in 2013.

Every local authority will see an increase in high needs funding of at least 8% per head of population aged 2 to 18. Sunderland will receive £28.4 million in high needs funding. This will provide valuable extra resources so that support is in place to make sure that no pupil or student is left behind.

When deciding on the provision to be made for a particular child or young person with a special educational need or disability (SEND), schools and local authorities must have regard to the SEND Code of Practice. The SEND Code of Practice is clear that professionals working with children and young people with SEND should involve the parents or the young person at every stage of planning and reviewing support and take account of their wishes, feelings and perspectives.

If a child or young person has an Education, Health and Care plan, the plan should set out exactly what support they should be receiving.

Every school is also required to have a policy in place to support pupils with medical conditions and this should be easily accessible for school staff and parents or carers. Governing bodies have a duty to ensure that arrangements are put in place.

The SEND system focuses on what works to meet a child’s need rather than the starting point of what condition does this child have.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support disabled students with visual stress.

The Department is currently discussing with the Association of Dyslexia Specialists in Higher Education whether there is a case to provide Disabled Students’ Allowances for certain types of assistance for higher education students with a diagnosis of visual stress. We will announce further details in due course.

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he will publish a response to the Children’s Future Food Inquiry.

Every child should be able to access healthy nutritious food at home and in school. This is an essential part of building a country which works for everyone, and in which every child and young person can reach their potential.

We are supporting around 1.3 million of the most disadvantaged children through free school meals, saving families around £400 a year. We invested £9 million in a holiday activities and food programme in summer 2019 and will invest £9 million again in summer 2020. In addition, we are also investing in a programme to kick start sustainable breakfast clubs in schools.

We are continuing to reflect on the Children’s Future Food Inquiry report along with the recommendations. We will set out our response shortly.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the United Kingdom Food Security Report 2021: Theme 3: Food Supply Chain Resilience published in December 2021, what assessment he has made of public (a) confidence and (b) trust in the UK's food supply chain.

Recognising the importance of food security, in the Agriculture Act 2020, the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report (UKFSR) was published in December 2021 and will serve as an evidence base for future policy work. The UKFSR covers food security in the widest sense from global food availability and sustainability to domestic supply chain resilience, household food security and food safety.

Chapter 5 of the UK Food Security Report provides data on the key factors that underpin confidence in the UK food system. Data from the Food Standards Agency consumer survey Food and You 2, Wave 2 (2021) [www.food.gov.uk/research/food-and-you-2/food-and-you-2-wave-2] shows that 77% of respondents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were confident in the food supply chain. Furthermore, respondents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were asked specifically about the extent to which they were concerned about the availability of a variety of food; 13% of respondents were highly concerned, 34% somewhat concerned, 38% not very concerned, and 11% not at all concerned.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. The Government published its first ever food strategy on 13 June, outlining our plans to transform our food system to ensure it is fit for the future. Food security sits at the heart of the strategy. We want to create a sustainable food system, from farm to fork and catch to plate, seizing on the opportunities before us and ensuring that everyone has access to nutritious and healthier food.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of global food price rises on public sector caterers; and whether he is taking steps to (a) help protect public sector food provision from food cost increases and (b) mitigate the impact of potential future food cost increases on those services.

The rising cost of living has presented additional financial challenges to many people and businesses.

We are also aware that there are a number of challenges that caterers and suppliers are currently encountering in the wider commercial environment including general inflation, energy price increases, material shortages and supply chain disruption.

International commodity prices are heavily influenced by factors such as energy costs and exchange rates. Recent pressures have been sustained and we have seen year-on-year food price inflation rise to 6.7% in April, up from 5.9% in March. The Russia/Ukraine conflict adds further cost pressures to UK food supply chains (via international commodity and fuel price rises).

Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to gather evidence and monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains. Lead Government departments will be responsible for ensuring that they have sufficient evidence to show that major suppliers can fulfil their public sector food contracts. The Government Commercial Function has provided general guidance on handling inflationary pressures to Contracting Authorities.

The Government recently published its Food Strategy and this sets out a plan to transform our food system to ensure it is fit for the future. As part of this the government is developing an ambitious and transformational approach to public sector food and catering. We want the public sector to lead by example, championing healthier, sustainable food, provided by a diverse range of suppliers. To underpin this approach we are launching a consultation on public sector food and catering policy, including updating the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 31 May 2022 to Question 5626 on Food: Supply Chains, what evidence he has received to show that major suppliers can fulfil existent and future public procurement contracts to the public food sectors.

There are a number of challenges that caterers and suppliers are currently encountering in the wider commercial environment including general inflation, energy price increases, material shortages and supply chain disruption.

The procurement and fulfilment of food for the public sector is the responsibility of lead departments for that sector. The actual procurement of food is fully devolved to schools and academy trusts and NHS Trusts. The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Defence retain responsibility for procurement to facilities management providers.

We will continue to work with these departments regarding any ongoing supply chain issues to gain assurance that any disruption can be accommodated through routine mitigations and further contingency plans.

The Government Commercial Function has provided general guidance on handling inflationary pressures to Contracting Authorities.

Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to gather evidence and monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains. Lead Government departments will be responsible for ensuring that they have sufficient evidence to show that major suppliers can fulfil their public sector food contracts.

The Government published its Food Strategy last week and this sets out a plan to transform our food system to ensure it is fit for the future. To underpin this approach we are launching a consultation on public sector food and catering policy, including updating the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services. Within the consultation, we are proposing that the public sector reports on progress towards meeting an aspiration that 50% of its food expenditure is on food produced locally or to higher environmental production standards.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 31 May 2022 to Question 5626 on Food: Supply Chains, what support his Department is providing to the Departments referred to in that Answer to ensure that they are aware of issues relating to the food and drink supply chain; and what support the Government is providing to maintain the food supply chain.

There are a number of challenges that caterers and suppliers are currently encountering in the wider commercial environment including general inflation, energy price increases, material shortages and supply chain disruption.

The procurement and fulfilment of food for the public sector is the responsibility of lead departments for that sector. The actual procurement of food is fully devolved to schools and academy trusts and NHS Trusts. The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Defence retain responsibility for procurement to facilities management providers.

We will continue to work with these departments regarding any ongoing supply chain issues to gain assurance that any disruption can be accommodated through routine mitigations and further contingency plans.

The Government Commercial Function has provided general guidance on handling inflationary pressures to Contracting Authorities.

Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to gather evidence and monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains. Lead Government departments will be responsible for ensuring that they have sufficient evidence to show that major suppliers can fulfil their public sector food contracts.

The Government published its Food Strategy last week and this sets out a plan to transform our food system to ensure it is fit for the future. To underpin this approach we are launching a consultation on public sector food and catering policy, including updating the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services. Within the consultation, we are proposing that the public sector reports on progress towards meeting an aspiration that 50% of its food expenditure is on food produced locally or to higher environmental production standards.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has plans to provide support to the food and drink supply chain in its servicing of the public sector in the context of that sector facing pressures due to rising energy, food and labour costs.

The procurement of food for the public sector is the responsibility of lead departments for that sector (Department for Education – schools, Department of Health and Social Care – hospitals and care homes, Ministry of Justice – prisons, Ministry of Defence – armed forces).

Defra is working closely with those lead departments to ensure that they are aware of any issues to the food and drink supply chain. Lead departments are in regular contact with major suppliers to review their public procurement contracts and ensure they can continue the fulfilment of their services, as stated in their contracts and including food standards they are expected to uphold.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response, and Cabinet Office has been running a series of workshops giving relevant businesses advise on handling inflationary pressures.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the food and drink supply chain with direct increases in food prices as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Our high degree of food security is built on supply from diverse sources, strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes.

As the global economy recovers from COVID-19, many economies are experiencing high inflation, in part due to pressures from rising energy and commodity prices, along with disruptions to global supply chains caused by a mismatch between elevated global demand and bottlenecks in supply as a result of the pandemic.

Our extensive work in this space has reinforced the long-standing view that the most effective response to food supply disruption is industry-led, with appropriate support and enablement from the Government. Consequently, Defra maintains a collaborative relationship with industry, and has for example recently expanded the membership of our longstanding UK Agricultural Market Monitoring Group. We have also supported industry through, for example, removing tariffs on imports of sensitive agri-food products from the US and removing other technical barriers to trade. We continue to engage with the sector regarding supply chain disruption.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that natural flood management measures are located in optimum areas under all three Environment Land Management schemes.

The new environmental land management schemes will include support for farmers and land managers to manage land and water in a way that reduces flooding and coastal erosion risks to local communities. Many natural flood management activities must be targeted to ensure that benefits are maximised and environmental damage is avoided. Ensuring we take the right actions in the right places (spatial prioritisation) is a combination of data, modelling, local knowledge and partnerships, guidance, and specialist advice. We are in the process of developing our approach to spatial prioritisation for the new schemes, which includes consideration of the role of Local Nature Recovery Strategies, and will be providing more information about the Department’s work in this space over the coming months.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has for securing the food supply for key workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. Our retailers already have highly resilient supply chains and they have adapted quickly to these changes in demand to ensure people have the food and products they need. Food supply into and across the UK is resilient.

To help the industry to respond to this unprecedented demand we have introduced new measures to support businesses to keep food supply flowing on to shelves and into homes. These include temporary relaxation of competition laws to allow supermarkets to work together, extending delivery hours to supermarkets and flexing rules on drivers’ hours to allow a higher frequency of deliveries to stores to ensure shelves are being replenished more quickly.

Supermarkets are already protecting shopping time for certain key workers. For example, several supermarkets have priority shopping hours for NHS staff and social care workers. We remain in close contact with industry on how they can support keyworkers.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of people who will require food assistance during the covid-19 outbreak; what proportion of those people (a) were vulnerable before the outbreak and (b) are newly vulnerable.

The Government has been and remains in close contact with representatives across the food supply chain and civil society to ensure that vulnerable groups have access to the food and products that they need.

We initially estimated that 1.5 million people would fall into the clinically extremely vulnerable group. We have put in place measures to ensure that those identified by the NHS as being extremely clinically vulnerable and who are without a support network of friends and family receive basic food and essential supplies when requested via the online NHS webportal or via the phone. Packages of essential supplies are being delivered across England within seven days of a request for support, as soon as their status as a shielded person is verified, and supermarkets are putting these customers at the front of the queue for online delivery slots.

Over 750,000 people across England signed up as NHS Volunteer Responders via the mobile app GoodSam. Over 600,000 volunteers have been verified as NHS Volunteer Responders via the Good Sam platform, and can now receive tasks to help those in their communities. These volunteers will help vulnerable people in England who are at most risk from coronavirus to stay well, including through shopping for vulnerable people for food and essential supplies.

We are working quickly to support people who do not fall into the category of being clinically vulnerable, but still need help getting essential food supplies. Government is working with industry, charities, other government departments and Devolved Administrations to ensure whatever support is needed is delivered in a coordinated and consistent manner. We welcome measures that supermarkets have put in place to support the elderly and other vulnerable groups.

We have been working closely with the third sector to understand the impacts the outbreak has had on food aid organisations, and how best to ensure that those who are financially vulnerable still have access to essential supplies. Food redistribution organisations across England are benefiting from £3.25 million of government funding to help them cut food waste and redistribute up to 14,000 tonnes of surplus stock.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the national plan for delivering food assistance is.

The Government is working to ensure that up to 1.5 million people in England identified by the NHS as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract Coronavirus have access to the food they need. The Government continues to contact this cohort of shielded individuals and ask them to register via the online NHS webportal or via the phone if they need help accessing food.

In partnership with industry, the Government started to deliver Shielding Packages in late March, to those that are clinically extremely vulnerable and have requested this support These packages consist of essential supplies and food. Supermarkets are also prioritising online delivery slots for those that are most in need and have expanded their capacity for home deliveries.

We are also working quickly to support people who do not fall into the category of being clinically extremely vulnerable, but still need help getting essential food supplies. This includes those who are elderly, disabled or have health conditions that make it difficult for them to get the food they need. We are speaking to food retailers, delivery organisations and volunteer groups to help prioritise those individuals to access essential food. Wherever possible, people should continue to rely on friends, family and wider community support.

Over 750,000 people across England signed up as NHS Volunteer Responders via the mobile app GoodSam. Over 600,000 volunteers have been verified as NHS Volunteer Responders via the Good Sam platform, and can now receive tasks to help those in their communities, including through shopping for vulnerable people for food and essential supplies.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support local authorities increase their recycling rates.

The Government is committed to increasing both the quality and quantity of materials collected for recycling and making recycling easier for everyone. The Environment Bill, which has been introduced in Parliament, introduces legislation so that from 2023, all collectors of waste must collect a core set of materials from households, businesses and other organisations such as schools. The core set will be plastic, glass, metal, paper and card, food and garden waste. By collecting the same core set of materials there will be less confusion among householders and others about what they can put in their recycling bins. As a result, the amount of materials that local authorities collect for recycling will increase.

We want to work closely with local authorities to help them improve their recycling performance. We will therefore provide guidance and examples of good practice. We also work with them on developing a framework of non-binding performance indicators to help identify which local authorities require extra support to improve their recycling performance.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2020 to Question 73751 on Israel: Palestinians, for what reason the UK’s People-to-People programme ended without alternative provision being established to help ensure continued UK support for co-existence projects in Israel-Palestine.

As the Chancellor has set out, like many other nations across the world the UK is experiencing a severe economic downturn as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Given the likely decrease in the size of the economy this year, the First Secretary chaired a review process across government looking at all strands of the ODA budget, evaluating the impacts of spend and making sure the UK can maintain operational capacity. This process also has made sure there is continued support for five ODA priorities; bottom billion poverty reduction, climate change, girls' education, Covid-19 and Britain as a force for good.

All ODA spending Departments will now work with respective partners to make these savings in a responsible and efficient way.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support her Department is providing to coexistence projects in Israel-Palestine.

Our people to people programme aimed to foster cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians on issues that can have a positive impact on both communities and build understanding between people on both sides of the conflict, helping build support for a peaceful, negotiated resolution. This programme ended in March 2020.

The programme’s research component will analyse the impact of people-to-people work, building an evidence base which will inform any future work in this area.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans he has for the People for Peaceful Change programme after 31 March 2020.

Our people to people programme aims to brings together Israelis and Palestinians. This is aimed at having a positive impact on both communities and at building understanding between people on both sides of the conflict. programme is due to be completed by March 2020. It includes a research component that is looking more broadly at the impact of people to people work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to build the evidence base in this area, which is presently limited. We will evaluate the evidence which will inform future decisions on work in this area.

1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential economic benefits of re-opening the Leamside Line for Washington and the Coalfields within Sunderland City.

The Government considers the re-opening of the Leamside Line is best considered as part of a future city region settlement, which will be available once appropriate governance arrangements are in place.

I expect to receive a locally-led business case in the Autumn, at which time my officials will consider the potential economic benefits of re-opening the Leamside Line.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the recruitment and retention of adequate numbers of bus drivers nationally.

My Department is working closely with industry to continuously monitor the driver shortage situation in order to better understand the extent of the problem and the challenges causing this issue. The Government is committed to encouraging new entrants to the bus driving profession and reducing barriers to entry. There is regular engagement within my Department, across Government and with industry, to proactively take measures to alleviate the situation, including ways to boost recruitment within the sector.

There are no delays for bus and HGV provisional driving licence applications, which are currently being issued in around five days – these applications are being prioritised and further work is being done to speed up processes even further.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people completed PCV training in 2020.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) does not hold the data on how many people completed their passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) training in 2020. PCV training is delivered by third-party training providers.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has contingencies in place to ensure that HGV drivers are available to deliver school meals during the period of driver shortages and supply chain issues.

The Department for Transport is committed to finding solutions to mitigate the effects of the HGV driver shortage and has already taken 25 proactive actions in recent weeks.

The Government routinely considers contingency arrangements and expects schools and catering companies supplying them to do the same.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the economic benefits of High Speed Two for Wearside; and what funding his Department plans to allocate for rail in Wearside.

HS2 presents a significant opportunity for businesses of all sizes across Wearside, and the North East, with HS2 Ltd’s supply chain consisting of up to 400,000 contract opportunities.

HS2 has a very extensive supply chain and can therefore only monitor critical contracts as a result. 24 suppliers on critical contracts across the North East have won work on HS2, 2 of which are based in Wearside. The contracts for the suppliers in Wearside have been for services including, but not limited to, Land Surveying and Engineering services. £12bn worth of supply chain contract opportunities are available to businesses across the United Kingdom in the coming months and years.

The Department for Transport is currently considering the recent Restore Your Railway Ideas Fund Round 3 bid, co-sponsored by the Hon Member, for reinstatement of local passenger services on the Leamside line. We are also contributing, through the Transforming Cities Fund allocation for the North East, to the redevelopment of Sunderland station

Subject to the creation of appropriate governance arrangements to agree and deliver funding, the North East will have access to a share of the £4.2 billion intracity transport fund over the next five years from 2022/23

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that the North East receives equitable investment as part of the Integrated Rail Plan; and what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) Tyne and Wear Metro can maintain services as passenger levels remain affected by the covid-19 outbreak and (b) the Leamside rail line is re-opened.

Ahead of finalising the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP), Ministers are fully considering the evidence from all stakeholders, including those from the North East, as well as the NIC's Rail Needs Assessment, to ensure that the benefits of investment in rail infrastructure are delivered to passengers and communities more quickly, levelling up and spreading greater prosperity across the country.

Government is committed to investing nearly £340m to upgrade the Tyne and Wear Metro fleet and secure its future for decades to come. The first new trains arrive from 2022 and enter passenger service in 2023.The Government has invested £317m in a major Metro renewals and refurbishment programme to 2020/21 and has supported the running costs with a £256m revenue grant over the same period. We have confirmed £20m of capital funding for renewals this year and £27.1m to support operations.

The proposal to reinstate the Leamside Line is being examined by Transport for the North to inform the design of Northern Powerhouse Rail, and, as such, is being considered as part of the IIRP. Its forthcoming publication will therefore inform the Department’s planning for the long-term future of both the East Coast Main Line and additional rail routes throughout the North East.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister of State of 17 March 2021, Official Report, column 446, what transport infrastructure has been considered for (a) Tyne and Wear and (b) Durham.

As I stated in my oral contribution on 17 March 2021, Official Report, column 446, delivering high-quality, world-class transport infrastructure in northern England and following through on our commitments to level up remain a top priority for the Government. This is certainly the case for Tyne and Wear and Durham.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department has endeavoured to provide the necessary support to local transport operators in Tyne and Wear and Durham, with the Bus Services Operators Grant paid at pre-Covid levels to maintain essential services. Furthermore, Tyne and Wear Metro have received over £33 million from light rail support packages throughout the pandemic.

In keeping with our ambition to build back better, Nexus will receive £20 million of capital funding to deliver infrastructure renewals for the Metro in 2021/22. Furthermore, early last year the Department announced the £500 million Restoring Your Railway fund, to start reopening lines and stations, reconnecting people and communities. We received a bid for development funding for the Leamside Line in round 3 of the Ideas Fund, which closed on 5 March 2021. The Department is currently assessing the bid and we expect to announce outcomes in the summer.

Further to the above, Transport North East was the recipient of £198.4 million in tranche 2 of the Transforming City Fund, which will support transformational projects like Metroflow and the regeneration of Durham Bus Station. As well as this, £13.5 million from the Active Travel Fund was made available to the North East, along with a share of the £4.7 million Rural Mobility Fund delivered to local authorities across the North to help connect isolated communities.

The Department recognises that existing highways infrastructure needs constant improvement, hence £82.9 million was allocated to the North East to support highways maintenance, pothole repairs and local transport measures in 2021/22. This planned investment follows the delivery already well underway, for example on the transformational improvements to the A19 at Downhill Lane and Testo’s roundabout, which will vastly improve traffic flow through this vital corridor when completed later this year.

Finally, subject to the creation of appropriate governance arrangements to agree and deliver funding, the North East will have access to a share of the £4.2 billion intracity transport fund over the next five years from 2022/23. This is in addition to the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund that areas across the country can bid into, demonstrating our commitment to all regions of the UK including Tyne and Wear and Durham.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will grant additional funding to Nexus to support the cost of operating the Tyne and Wear Metro beyond March 2021; and if he will make a statement.

The Department for Transport has reviewed the recovery plans which light rail operators, including Nexus, submitted as part of receiving emergency Government funding, and will discuss those with each light rail operator in March. The Department continues to be in regular discussions with light rail operators to assess funding requirements beyond the currently agreed emergency funding package.

To date the Government has announced up to £41 million in Light Rail Revenue Restart Grant (LRRRG) scheme funding for the Tyne & Wear Metro for the period from March 2020 to the end of the 20/21 financial year.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what additional financial provision has been made available to support the Tyne and Wear Metro between (a) April 2021 to March 2022 and (b) in subsequent years above the historic and agreed Metropolitan Rail Grant.

The Department for Transport has reviewed the recovery plans which light rail operators, including Nexus, submitted as part of receiving emergency Government funding, and will discuss those with each light rail operator in March. The Department continues to be in regular discussions with light rail operators to assess funding requirements beyond the currently agreed emergency funding package.

To date the Government has announced up to £41 million in Light Rail Revenue Restart Grant (LRRRG) scheme funding for the Tyne & Wear Metro for the period from March 2020 to the end of the 20/21 financial year.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many children of (a) infant school age, (b) primary school age inclusive of infant years, (c) primary school age excluding infant years and (d) secondary school age are from families in receipt of Universal Credit.

The available statistics on the number of households with children on Universal Credit, by number of children and by the age of the youngest child, is published and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Plans to extend the statistics to include the age breakdown of all children in Universal Credit households are under development, as detailed in the Department’s Statistical work programme.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether additional travel support will be provided to civil servants employed at the Durham House site which has been identified for consolidation.

The changes the Department is making to estates will both improve the working environment for staff, become greener by becoming smaller, helping meet the Government’s carbon reduction target, and provide value for money for the taxpayer.

As of March 2022, 905 colleagues located in Washington Durham House are being asked to relocate, with their role, to Sunderland Wearview House. Each colleague will have a discussion with their line manager to assess the impact of the move on them and if they are able to relocate. The Department’s priority will be to retain, retrain and redeploy colleagues either within DWP, or within other Government Departments in the area. As a responsible employer, we will make provision for redundancies if it is necessary. However, this will be a very last resort after all efforts to redeploy have been exhausted.

An overarching Equality Assessment has been completed which considers the impact on colleagues. This has been made available in the House Library. Individual site Assessments have also been prepared. The planning of an office closure includes consideration of factors including the ‘Index of Multiple Deprivation’ for each location, which considers many factors, including:

  • Income Deprivation
  • Employment Deprivation
  • Education, Skills and Training Deprivation
  • Health Deprivation and Disability
  • Crime
  • Barriers to Housing and Services
  • Living Environment Deprivation

The Department currently expects to exit Washington Durham House by November 2022. Should redeployment mean additional travel costs, colleagues may qualify for an Excess Fares payment to cover those costs. These costs would be paid for up to three years.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, on what date the Durham House site will close.

The changes the Department is making to estates will both improve the working environment for staff, become greener by becoming smaller, helping meet the Government’s carbon reduction target, and provide value for money for the taxpayer.

As of March 2022, 905 colleagues located in Washington Durham House are being asked to relocate, with their role, to Sunderland Wearview House. Each colleague will have a discussion with their line manager to assess the impact of the move on them and if they are able to relocate. The Department’s priority will be to retain, retrain and redeploy colleagues either within DWP, or within other Government Departments in the area. As a responsible employer, we will make provision for redundancies if it is necessary. However, this will be a very last resort after all efforts to redeploy have been exhausted.

An overarching Equality Assessment has been completed which considers the impact on colleagues. This has been made available in the House Library. Individual site Assessments have also been prepared. The planning of an office closure includes consideration of factors including the ‘Index of Multiple Deprivation’ for each location, which considers many factors, including:

  • Income Deprivation
  • Employment Deprivation
  • Education, Skills and Training Deprivation
  • Health Deprivation and Disability
  • Crime
  • Barriers to Housing and Services
  • Living Environment Deprivation

The Department currently expects to exit Washington Durham House by November 2022. Should redeployment mean additional travel costs, colleagues may qualify for an Excess Fares payment to cover those costs. These costs would be paid for up to three years.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish his Department’s (a) equality impact and (b) socio-economic impact assessment of the closure of the Durham House site in Washington.

The changes the Department is making to estates will both improve the working environment for staff, become greener by becoming smaller, helping meet the Government’s carbon reduction target, and provide value for money for the taxpayer.

As of March 2022, 905 colleagues located in Washington Durham House are being asked to relocate, with their role, to Sunderland Wearview House. Each colleague will have a discussion with their line manager to assess the impact of the move on them and if they are able to relocate. The Department’s priority will be to retain, retrain and redeploy colleagues either within DWP, or within other Government Departments in the area. As a responsible employer, we will make provision for redundancies if it is necessary. However, this will be a very last resort after all efforts to redeploy have been exhausted.

An overarching Equality Assessment has been completed which considers the impact on colleagues. This has been made available in the House Library. Individual site Assessments have also been prepared. The planning of an office closure includes consideration of factors including the ‘Index of Multiple Deprivation’ for each location, which considers many factors, including:

  • Income Deprivation
  • Employment Deprivation
  • Education, Skills and Training Deprivation
  • Health Deprivation and Disability
  • Crime
  • Barriers to Housing and Services
  • Living Environment Deprivation

The Department currently expects to exit Washington Durham House by November 2022. Should redeployment mean additional travel costs, colleagues may qualify for an Excess Fares payment to cover those costs. These costs would be paid for up to three years.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether compulsory redundancies will result from the closure of the Durham House site in Washington.

The changes the Department is making to estates will both improve the working environment for staff, become greener by becoming smaller, helping meet the Government’s carbon reduction target, and provide value for money for the taxpayer.

As of March 2022, 905 colleagues located in Washington Durham House are being asked to relocate, with their role, to Sunderland Wearview House. Each colleague will have a discussion with their line manager to assess the impact of the move on them and if they are able to relocate. The Department’s priority will be to retain, retrain and redeploy colleagues either within DWP, or within other Government Departments in the area. As a responsible employer, we will make provision for redundancies if it is necessary. However, this will be a very last resort after all efforts to redeploy have been exhausted.

An overarching Equality Assessment has been completed which considers the impact on colleagues. This has been made available in the House Library. Individual site Assessments have also been prepared. The planning of an office closure includes consideration of factors including the ‘Index of Multiple Deprivation’ for each location, which considers many factors, including:

  • Income Deprivation
  • Employment Deprivation
  • Education, Skills and Training Deprivation
  • Health Deprivation and Disability
  • Crime
  • Barriers to Housing and Services
  • Living Environment Deprivation

The Department currently expects to exit Washington Durham House by November 2022. Should redeployment mean additional travel costs, colleagues may qualify for an Excess Fares payment to cover those costs. These costs would be paid for up to three years.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the profile of the civil servants affected by the closure of Durham House is by (a) age, (b) race, (c) gender and (d) disability.

The following depicts the profile of colleagues based at Washington - Durham House.

Age – 1.7% aged 16-24, 14.4% aged 25-34, 25.2% aged 35-44, 28.3% aged 45-54, 27.2% aged 55-64, 3.1% aged 65+

Race – 1.7% of colleagues are of an ethnic minority

Gender – 31% male, 69% female

Disability – 14.4% of colleagues have declared a disability

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the consolidation of Durham House on levels of hybrid working among affected civil servants.

The adoption of hybrid working practices has been carefully and fully considered. The introduction of hybrid working arrangements by the Department for back of house functions means that staff will only need to work on average 40% of their working week in the new location. DWP aims to utilise its hybrid working policy to help facilitate more inclusive workplaces, which are capable of adapting to the needs of employees and the Department.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of including witness statements as part of the disability benefits decision-making process for people living with cancer.

In the context of claims for health and disability-related benefits, for all health conditions and disabilities, a claimant can provide to the Department any evidence, including a witness statement, which they consider supports that claim. All evidence, whatever the source or type, is considered and weighed accordingly as part of the decision-making process.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of reported delays to personal independence payments for people living with cancer.

Entitlement to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is assessed on the basis of the needs arising from a health condition or disability, rather than the health condition or disability itself. People with the same condition or impairment can have very different daily living or mobility needs. New claims from claimants who are terminally ill are currently being cleared in an average of three days.

We are committed to ensuring people can access financial support through PIP in a timely manner.  Reducing customer journey times for PIP claimants is a priority for the Department and we are working constantly to make improvements to our service, including using a blend of phone, video and fact-to-face assessments to deliver a more efficient and user-centred process.  We always aim to make an award decision as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to review all available evidence, including that from the claimant.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether home assessments for people claiming disability benefits can be offered to claimants living with cancer.

Currently, all claimants to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) can be offered a telephone or video assessment where a paper-based assessment is not possible and a face-to-face assessment at an assessment centre is not appropriate. Home assessments were suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic and we are working towards re-introducing these where other assessment channels are not possible. Attendance Allowance care needs are assessed on paper-based evidence alone, with extra support available for vulnerable customers. Disability Living Allowance for children does not assess children and all decisions are taken on the basis of paper-based evidence.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of delays in the work capability assessment process for claimants who are living with cancer.

Supporting all claimants, including those living with cancer, remains an absolute priority for the department. We are committed to assessing claimants as quickly as possible in order that they receive the benefits and support they are entitled to in a timely manner.

The Capability for Work questionnaire incorporates a 'light touch' evidence gathering process for people who are having, waiting for or recovering from chemotherapy or radiotherapy. We would expect that most claimants to whom this applies would be assessed using the paper evidence provided by the claimant and/or their treating clinician. However, in cases where the evidence does not support any debilitating effects of treatment, they may need to attend a telephone, video or face to face assessment.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what impact assessment her Department has undertaken of the potential effect of the end of the £20 uplift to universal credit on young women.

No impact assessment has been made.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

The latest poverty figures (2019/20) demonstrate that absolute poverty rates (both before and after housing costs) for working-age adults in working families have fallen since 2009/10. In 2019/20, 8% of working age adults in working families were in absolute poverty (before housing costs), compared to 9% in 2009/10.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for UC claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to UC claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that her Department's assessors are aware of the symptoms of mesh injury.

All health professionals carrying out Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments and Work Capability Assessments (WCA) on behalf of the department have been issued with guidance on mesh which was developed in conjunction with external stakeholders and will be reviewed and updated as necessary.

The department requires health professionals carrying out assessments to have a broad training in disability analysis, as well as training in specific conditions, including multiple and complex conditions. While preparing to undertake an assessment, health professionals can access a wide range of clinical resources to research any condition presented. This includes evidence based protocols, e-learning modules or case studies, as well as keeping knowledge up to date through Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 26 February 2021 to Question 150714 on Employment and Support Allowance: Work Capability Assessment, if she will make an estimate of the number of claimants who have had their contributory based employment and support allowance payments stopped as a result of the (a) temporary suspension of face-to-face assessments for health and disability-related benefits and (b) inability to be placed in a support group as a result of suspended face-to-face assessments.

I would like to refer the Honourable Member to question 154860 answered on 26th February 2021.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to question 150714 answered on 12 February 2020, on Employment and Support Allowance: Work Capability Assessment, if he will make an estimate of the number of claimants who have had their contributory based employment and support allowance payments stopped because of the temporary suspension of face-to-face assessments for health and disability-related benefits.

Individuals claiming contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA(C)) do not have their benefit stopped because face-to-face assessments have been suspended. Entitlement to ESA(C) ends after 365 days unless the claimant has been placed in the Support Group.

Throughout the pandemic we have continued to assess people on paper evidence, using this route whenever possible. We also introduced telephone assessments in June 2020 in a phased approach which allowed us to build capability and improve processes. From 1 February 2021 the combination of paper and telephone assessments will enable us to ensure that claimants receive their correct benefit entitlement as quickly as possible and reduce the time claimants who may be entitled to a higher award have to wait for their assessment.

We recognise that some assessments have unfortunately not been completed within the 365 day window due to the pressures presented by the pandemic. If, following their assessment, and the subsequent decision, an ESA claimant is entitled to a higher rate of benefit, payments are backdated where appropriate, so that they do not lose out.

Where an individual’s contributory ESA ends, if they require further financial support, they may be able to claim Universal Credit, depending on their personal circumstances.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants have had their employment and support allowance payments stopped because of the temporary suspension of face-to-face assessments for health and disability-related benefits.

New claimants will receive the assessment rate of benefit, and existing claimants will remain on their current award, until we are able to gather the evidence needed for a decision to be made (or until their benefit is due to end in contributory ESA). Where an individual’s contributory ESA ends, if they require further financial support, they may be able to claim Universal Credit, depending on their personal circumstances.

If, following their assessment, and the subsequent decision, an ESA claimant is entitled to a higher rate of benefit, payments are backdated where appropriate, so that they do not lose out.

We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that people get the support they are entitled to as quickly as possible by continuing to assess people on paper evidence, as usual, where we can, using this route as often as we are able to. We have also introduced telephone assessments and we are currently in the early stages of testing WCA video assessments.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what mechanism was used to determine how much each local authority will receive from the Covid Winter Grant Scheme.

The Covid Winter Grant Scheme is a new £170m fund which will enable local authorities to support vulnerable households this winter with food and key utilities. Grants to local authorities will be made under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003 and will carry conditions to ensure the primary focus of the scheme is on supporting vulnerable families with children affected by the pandemic. Within the conditions, local authorities will have flexibility to decide how best to identify and support those most in need in their local area.

In line with the £63m grant fund made available to local authorities earlier in the year, funding will be dispersed according to an authority’s population, weighted by a function of the English Index of Multiple Deprivation.

Funding allocations for each upper tier Local Authority were published on gov.uk on 24 November: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-winter-grant-scheme/indicative-funding-levels-per-county-council-or-unitary-authority

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps families of children who are eligible for Free School Meals will need to take to access support from the Covid Winter Grant Scheme during the Christmas holidays.

The Covid Winter Support Grant is a new £170m fund which will enable local authorities in England to support vulnerable households this winter with food and key utilities. To ensure those most in need benefit from this funding, grants to local authorities are being made under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003 and carry conditions to ensure the primary focus of the scheme is on supporting vulnerable families with children affected by the pandemic, including but not restricted to households who are eligible for free school meals. Local authorities will develop their own criteria.

We have provided these grants to upper tier authorities, recognising they have the statutory responsibility regarding children and are well placed to identify and respond to local need. A wide range of data is already available to them to help target their support, including access to the benefits system, social services, health visitors and relationships with schools. Local authorities already have local welfare assistance responsibility and many have support programmes already in place. Jobcentres will share information with claimants about the support available in their local area.

Detailed guidance has been shared with local authorities and was published on gov.uk on 24 November: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-winter-grant-scheme

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to (a) inform families of children who are eligible for Free School Meals how to access support under the Covid Winter Grant Scheme and (b) support those families to access that scheme.

The Covid Winter Support Grant is a new £170m fund which will enable local authorities in England to support vulnerable households this winter with food and key utilities. To ensure those most in need benefit from this funding, grants to local authorities are being made under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003 and carry conditions to ensure the primary focus of the scheme is on supporting vulnerable families with children affected by the pandemic, including but not restricted to households who are eligible for free school meals. Local authorities will develop their own criteria.

We have provided these grants to upper tier authorities, recognising they have the statutory responsibility regarding children and are well placed to identify and respond to local need. A wide range of data is already available to them to help target their support, including access to the benefits system, social services, health visitors and relationships with schools. Local authorities already have local welfare assistance responsibility and many have support programmes already in place. Jobcentres will share information with claimants about the support available in their local area.

Detailed guidance has been shared with local authorities and was published on gov.uk on 24 November: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-winter-grant-scheme

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the proportion of the support available under the Covid Winter Grant Scheme that will be granted to families with children who are eligible for Free School Meals.

The primary focus of the £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme is on supporting vulnerable families with children affected by the pandemic, including, but not restricted to, families who are eligible for free school meals. As local authorities have flexibility to decide how best to identify and support those most in need in their local area, within the grant conditions, no such assessment has been made.

Detailed guidance for local authorities was published on gov.uk on 24 November.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-winter-grant-scheme

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department will take to ensure families with children who are eligible for Free School Meals access support under the Covid Winter Grant Scheme.

The Covid Winter Support Grant is a new £170m fund which will enable local authorities in England to support vulnerable households this winter with food and key utilities. To ensure those most in need benefit from this funding, grants to local authorities are being made under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003 and carry conditions to ensure the primary focus of the scheme is on supporting vulnerable families with children affected by the pandemic, including but not restricted to households who are eligible for free school meals. Local authorities will develop their own criteria.

We have provided these grants to upper tier authorities, recognising they have the statutory responsibility regarding children and are well placed to identify and respond to local need. A wide range of data is already available to them to help target their support, including access to the benefits system, social services, health visitors and relationships with schools. Local authorities already have local welfare assistance responsibility and many have support programmes already in place. Jobcentres will share information with claimants about the support available in their local area.

Detailed guidance has been shared with local authorities and was published on gov.uk on 24 November: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-winter-grant-scheme

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that families of children who are eligible for Free School Meals are aware of the need to access the Covid Winter Grant Scheme to receive food provision support over the Christmas holidays.

The Covid Winter Support Grant is a new £170m fund which will enable local authorities in England to support vulnerable households this winter with food and key utilities. To ensure those most in need benefit from this funding, grants to local authorities are being made under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003 and carry conditions to ensure the primary focus of the scheme is on supporting vulnerable families with children affected by the pandemic, including but not restricted to households who are eligible for free school meals. Local authorities will develop their own criteria.

We have provided these grants to upper tier authorities, recognising they have the statutory responsibility regarding children and are well placed to identify and respond to local need. A wide range of data is already available to them to help target their support, including access to the benefits system, social services, health visitors and relationships with schools. Local authorities already have local welfare assistance responsibility and many have support programmes already in place. Jobcentres will share information with claimants about the support available in their local area.

Detailed guidance has been shared with local authorities and was published on gov.uk on 24 November: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-winter-grant-scheme

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families with children received the £20 per week uplift in universal credit standard allowance payment in the North East in each month since that uplift was introduced.

The available information on the number of households with children with Universal Credit in payment, by parliamentary constituency and by region, is published and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families with children received the £20 per week uplift in universal credit standard allowance payments in Washington and Sunderland West constituency in each month since that uplift was introduced.

The available information on the number of households with children with Universal Credit in payment, by parliamentary constituency and by region, is published and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she has taken to publicise the availability of the Tech Fund for employees applying for Access to Work to (a) organisations and (b) disabled people.

The Access to Work Tech Fund is only available for people applying for Access to Work where assistive technology replaces existing or proposed human support.

Since its announcement in Spring 2018, take up of Tech Fund has been low (fewer than 10 applicants). As a result, we are currently reviewing this and engaging with stakeholders to further understand the issues that they may be facing or those preventing them from benefiting from the Tech Fund. We are keen to find new ways of helping Access to Work recipients to become aware of, and benefit from, the latest assistive technology that best meets their needs, and would welcome further views on this.

Access to Work has not undertaken any publicising of the Tech Fund specifically. 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.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many disabled people have (a) applied for and (b) received funding for technology through the Tech Fund.

The Access to Work Tech Fund is only available for people applying for Access to Work where assistive technology replaces existing or proposed human support.

Since its announcement in Spring 2018, take up of Tech Fund has been low (fewer than 10 applicants). As a result, we are currently reviewing this and engaging with stakeholders to further understand the issues that they may be facing or those preventing them from benefiting from the Tech Fund. We are keen to find new ways of helping Access to Work recipients to become aware of, and benefit from, the latest assistive technology that best meets their needs, and would welcome further views on this.

Access to Work has not undertaken any publicising of the Tech Fund specifically. 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.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people with dyslexia (a) applied for and (b) received funding for technology through the Tech Fund.

The Access to Work Tech Fund is only available for people applying for Access to Work where assistive technology replaces existing or proposed human support.

Since its announcement in Spring 2018, take up of Tech Fund has been low (fewer than 10 applicants). As a result, we are currently reviewing this and engaging with stakeholders to further understand the issues that they may be facing or those preventing them from benefiting from the Tech Fund. We are keen to find new ways of helping Access to Work recipients to become aware of, and benefit from, the latest assistive technology that best meets their needs, and would welcome further views on this.

Access to Work has not undertaken any publicising of the Tech Fund specifically. 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.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Tech Fund is available to people that do not receive human support funded through (a) Access to Work and (b) other funding streams.

The Access to Work Tech Fund is only available for people applying for Access to Work where assistive technology replaces existing or proposed human support.

Since its announcement in Spring 2018, take up of Tech Fund has been low (fewer than 10 applicants). As a result, we are currently reviewing this and engaging with stakeholders to further understand the issues that they may be facing or those preventing them from benefiting from the Tech Fund. We are keen to find new ways of helping Access to Work recipients to become aware of, and benefit from, the latest assistive technology that best meets their needs, and would welcome further views on this.

Access to Work has not undertaken any publicising of the Tech Fund specifically. 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.

14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding his Department has provided to help tackle waiting lists for breast reconstruction services since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

Information on specific funding allocated for breast reconstruction services is not held in the format requested. However, to support the recovery of elective services, including breast reconstruction, we are providing more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25, in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million Targeted Investment Fund made available in 2021/22.

No estimate has been made of the number of clinical commissioning groups and integrated care systems where local restrictions may be in place. The NHS Cancer Programme has reiterated that no local time limits should be applied to reconstructive surgery, particularly where reconstructive surgery has been delayed due to the pandemic. Cancer Alliances have been asked to ensure that wherever possible surgery with immediate breast reconstruction takes place and to seek opportunities to accelerate reconstruction for those women who have not yet undergone the procedure following previous breast surgery during the pandemic.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the (a) capacity of and (b) levels of service provision by the oncoplastic workforce.

No recent assessment has been made. In 2022/23 Health Education England is investing an additional £50 million to expand the cancer and diagnostics workforce in priority professions, including clinical radiology, histopathology, gastroenterology, clinical and medical oncology, diagnostic and therapeutic radiography.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many households migrating from Healthy Start vouchers to cards were initially informed that they were ineligible for a card but were subsequently found to be eligible and are therefore owed backdated payments.

The information requested is not collected centrally.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many households previously in receipt of Healthy Start vouchers had not migrated to cards by the end of March 2022 and are therefore no longer in receipt of their entitlement despite still being eligible for the Healthy Start scheme.

As of 31 March 2022, when the Healthy Start voucher scheme ended, the number of households who had previously received paper vouchers and had not successfully applied for the prepaid card scheme was estimated to be approximately 67,000. People who have previously received paper vouchers have since continued to apply for the prepaid card scheme.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the total sum owed to Healthy Start recipients in backdated payments as a result of complications in their migration from vouchers to cards.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of the UK's record of preventing gynaecological cancers in comparison to other European countries, including (a) North Macedonia, (b) France and (c) Germany.

No such assessment has been made by the Department.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has has made of the potential merits of the development of a coeliac training programme for primary care physicians and other relevant healthcare professionals to improve understandings of the disease and support its diagnosis; and if he will make a statement.

No specific assessment has been made. The gastroenterology chapter of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ curriculum for general practitioners (GPs) in training addresses the treatment of coeliac disease. Additionally, the Royal College has made online resources are available on the topic and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidelines are tested in the Applied Knowledge Test assessment for GP training. Health Education England’s training programmes offer educational sessions on the Royal College’s curriculum for common gastroenterological conditions, which include coeliac disease assessment, investigation and management.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that epilepsy seizure monitors are available to purchase at an affordable price.

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

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that UK residents will be able to import epilepsy seizure monitors following the UK's transition from European Medical Device Regulation.

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

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an estimate of the costs of training a cancer clinical nurse specialist.

Cancer Nurse Specialist (CNS) is a post registration nursing specialism. There are a number of different routes to becoming a CNS. Typically, a CNS would have qualified as an adult nurse before undertaking post registration training, which often comprises a number of BSc and/or MSc modules or programmes.

A Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Education funded study by the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the University of Kent shows the total investment training cost for an undergraduate nurse as £66,544. No specific estimate of post registration CNS training has been made. Training would normally be funded by employers and the cost varies according to the nature of training provided.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Spending Review 2021, what the specific yearly allocation of additional funding for the NHS workforce is.

Health Education England has received an opening programme budget of more than £5 billion for 2022/23. Budgets for 2023/24 and 2024/25 will be determined prior to the start of the relevant financial year.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the budget is for Health Education England for 2022-23.

Health Education England has received an opening programme budget of more than £5 billion for 2022/23.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has been made of the potential impact of the changes to the COVID-19 testing system that will come into effect after 1 April 2022 on the ability of vulnerable groups to access (a) covid-19 tests and (b) subsequent antiviral treatment which is dependent on receipt of a positive test.

Patients at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and who are eligible for treatments will continue to have access to free lateral flow device tests from 1 April.

The highest risk patient group will be contacted to confirm their continued access to free testing and will receive lateral flow device tests to use should they become symptomatic. Individuals will also be informed how to reorder further tests. The retention of free testing in this patient group will facilitate continued access to COVID-19 treatments, including antivirals.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many free lateral flow tests will eligible groups receive after 1 April 2022.

Patients eligible for COVID-19 treatments will be sent a pack of lateral flow device tests for use should they become symptomatic. Individuals who may be eligible for tests can order one further pack containing seven tests every three days from GOV.UK or 119. The results should be registered on GOV.UK.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his planned timetable is for announcing the eligibility criteria for free covid-19 lateral flow testing after 1 April 2022.

From 1 April 2022, free universal access to asymptomatic and symptomatic tests for the public in England ended. The Government will continue to provide free symptomatic testing for patients in hospital, for whom a test is required for clinical management or to support treatment pathways. Free testing will be available for people who are eligible for COVID-19 treatments due to a higher risk of becoming seriously ill and those who live or work in high-risk closed settings to minimise outbreaks. Asymptomatic lateral flow testing will continue from April in some high-risk settings where infection can spread rapidly while prevalence is high.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the size of the initial sum loaded onto Healthy Start cards is based on the date an application is submitted or the date an application is approved.

Each successful applicant has their Healthy Start card loaded from the date of the application being submitted.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of developing an online tool for beneficiaries to monitor and manage credit on Healthy Start cards.

An online tool for beneficiaries to monitor and manage credit on Healthy Start cards is not currently in scope. Those in receipt of a Healthy Start prepaid card can check their balance at most cash machines and by calling the automated helpline, which is available 24 hours a day.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many beneficiaries in receipt of Healthy Start vouchers have ceased to receive vouchers but not received a Healthy Start card.

The NHS Business Services Authority estimates that as of 24 March 2022, there were 68,437 households on the paper voucher scheme which had not yet moved to the Healthy Start card. Eligibility for the scheme may change at any time due to personal circumstances.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of online applications for Healthy Start prepaid cards, submitted by beneficiaries already in receipt of the paper vouchers, have been rejected and, of these, how many rejections have been overturned.

The NHS Business Services Authority does not collect the information requested. Existing Healthy Start beneficiaries who believe they are eligible and have had an unsuccessful online application are encouraged to apply again.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to progress the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence in diagnosing cancer.

The NHS Artificial Intelligence Laboratory is accelerating the safe, ethical and effective development and use of AI technologies in health and social care, including earlier cancer detection. Through the AI in Health and Care Award, we are currently funding the trial of several technologies which can help with the earlier detection of various forms of cancer including lung, breast and skin cancers. AI is being trialled to support clinicians through the interpretation of images such as mammography and computed tomography scans and make optimal decisions with tools to reduce time to treatment, unnecessary invasive procedures and increase survival rates.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to ensure all (a) retailers and (b) retail staff are thoroughly aware and trained to serve customers using the Healthy Start card.

The NHS Business Services Authority has provided training to retailers through roundtable sessions, external showcases, comprehensive guidance materials and one-on-one sessions.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the proposed transition from Healthy Start vouchers to the Healthy Start card in March 2022, what steps his Department is taking to (a) make voucher users aware of the cut-off date and (b) ensure the successful transition of voucher users to the card.

Beneficiaries in receipt of Healthy Start paper vouchers were sent two pre-paid card invitation letters or emails between September and November 2021. Beneficiaries also received two leaflets with paper voucher packs, between August 2021 and January 2022, advising them to apply online for their prepaid card to continue to receive Healthy Start.

The NHS Business Service Authority has delivered two national communications activities. The first campaign targeted those on the paper voucher scheme to raise awareness of the end of the paper voucher scheme in March 2022 and the need to apply online for a prepaid card. The second awareness campaign began in February 2022 and is promoting the scheme to all those who may be eligible for a prepaid card.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) reports have been submitted by the public on problems with the Healthy Start helpline and (b) how many of those problems have been resolved.

The NHS Business Services Authority categorises complaints by service and primary theme. No official complaints were logged with the primary theme of problems with the Healthy Start helpline.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of calls to the Healthy Start helpline have been disconnected due to unavailability of helpline staff.

In January 2022, there were 370,254 calls to the NHS Healthy Start helplines. Of these, 71,891 or 19% of calls received a message advising that lines were currently busy. Callers were advised contact the helpline at later time and also directed to a frequently asked question section online.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what is the (a) average and (b) longest waiting time for service users calling the Healthy Start helpline.

From 1 November 2021 to 23 February 2022, the average waiting time was 12 minutes and 56 seconds and the longest waiting time was 1 hour 31 minutes and 54 seconds.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many families in receipt of Healthy Start Vouchers whose circumstances have not changed have been unable to transition to the Healthy Start card due to the online system declaring them ineligible.

The NHS Business Services Authority does not collect the information requested. Existing Healthy Start beneficiaries who believe they are eligible and have had an unsuccessful online application are encouraged to apply again.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of late diagnoses of gynaecological cancers.

No specific assessment has been made. The NHS Long Term Plan sets out the ambition that 75% of people with cancer will be diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 by 2028. On 14 February 2022, the Department will launch the ‘Help us help you’ cervical screening campaign to raise awareness of the risks of cervical cancer and highlight the preventative benefits of screening. The campaign will also remind people to book an appointment with their general practitioner practice or local sexual health clinic if they missed their last screening.

A best practice timed pathway for gynaecological cancers is scheduled for publication shortly. This will support shortened diagnosis pathways, reduce variation, improve patient experience of care and meet the faster diagnosis standard.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the viability of yearly women’s health check-ups to help prevent the late diagnosis of gynaecological cancers.

No specific assessment has been made. The NHS Long Term Plan sets out the ambition that 75% of people with cancer will be diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 by 2028. On 14 February 2022, the Department will launch the ‘Help us help you’ cervical screening campaign to raise awareness of the risks of cervical cancer and highlight the preventative benefits of screening. The campaign will also remind people to book an appointment with their general practitioner practice or local sexual health clinic if they missed their last screening.

A best practice timed pathway for gynaecological cancers is scheduled for publication shortly. This will support shortened diagnosis pathways, reduce variation, improve patient experience of care and meet the faster diagnosis standard.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are able to access the best possible treatment.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement are aiming to offer personalised care to all cancer patients, providing greater choice and control on how their care is planned and delivered.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are commissioning a clinical audit into ovarian cancer to understand any variations in care, improve access to treatments and ensure the greatest impact on patient outcomes. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Cancer Quality of Life Survey collates information from patients on their quality of life and assist cancer teams to improve cancer care and outcomes.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the importance of a shortened referral pathway for ovarian cancer where a CA125 blood test and ultrasound are carried out at the same time.

The National Health Service is considering the most effective use of diagnostic testing, including the use of CA125 blood test and ultrasound early in the suspected ovarian cancer pathway.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) adequacy of the provision of support for vulnerable adult patients who require assistance with medical administration in the home when having had an early discharge and (b) associated costs of that assistance for the individual.

No specific assessment has been made. However, no patient should be discharged until it is safe to do so. Existing guidance states that hospitals should determine the level of support individuals need to ensure they are discharged onto the most appropriate care pathway. Those who are clinically ready should be supported to return to their place of residence, where possible, where an assessment of longer-term needs takes place. New or extended health and care support is funded for up to four weeks until the end of March 2022. During the four week period, a comprehensive care and health assessment for any ongoing care needs, including determining funding eligibility, should take place.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the MHRA offering training to researchers on how to introduce flexibility into the protocol of trials on (a) patient safety and (b) compliance with ethical research practices.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) supports the inclusion of flexibility in clinical trial protocols to enable research to be conducted efficiently but without compromising participant safety. The MHRA has published guidance on building flexibility and resilience into clinical trial protocols and provides regulatory and scientific advice to researchers on flexible and innovative trial design.

In October 2020, the MHRA hosted a two-day workshop for researchers, industry and academia on novel trial designs. While an official assessment of the impact of further training in this area has not been made, the MHRA will continue to support researchers via its innovation services. Compliance with ethical research practice falls within the remit of the United Kingdom’s research ethics services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the data provided in NHS Resolution's response to Freedom of Information request 5115 of August 2021 which showed that claimant and defence solicitor fees in cases relating to vaginal mesh implants significantly exceeded the settlement reached, what cost benefit assessment he has made of the potential merits of a financial redress scheme for women affected by vaginal mesh implants.

We published our response to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review on 21 July 2021. In this response, the Government did not accept the recommendation to establish separate redress schemes for the three interventions discussed in the report. While the Government is sympathetic to the experiences of those patients who gave evidence to the report, our primary focus is on improving future medicines and medical devices safety. We considered the costs of redress and the existing settlement costs for claims. It is crucial that we focus funds on initiatives that directly improve future safety and we are pursuing this aim.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure the credibility of private online PCR testing companies for travel purposes; and what penalties are in place to ensure that consumers are compensated when no test kit is received from private online PCR testing companies.

All private providers of COVID-19 testing services must meet certain minimum standards set by the Government. Providers must complete a declaration stating that their tests meet these standards.  If we become aware that a provider is not meeting these standards, we can issue a warning to demonstrate they have rectified their service. Where this is not corrected, we can remove their listing from GOV.UK. Where a provider’s activities pose a potential risk to public safety, we will refer them to the appropriate enforcement body. Where necessary we will support regulatory bodies undertaking further investigation of a provider and support any legal actions or interventions.

If a consumer has not received their test kit, they should contact the provider directly in the first instance. If the problem is not resolved, further information can be found on GOV.UK guidance on consumer rights at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/consumer-protection-rights

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the impact of patients being unable to access ear wax services through the NHS on the cost of treating patients for associated conditions relating to a lack of ear wax removal provision.

No formal assessment has been made. General practitioner (GP) practices are increasingly recommending self-care methods as the primary means to support the safe removal of ear wax. However, if a GP practice considers removal clinically necessary, the procedure should either be undertaken at the practice, or the patient should be referred to an appropriate local NHS service depending on the arrangements in place. Local commissioners are responsible for meeting the health needs of their local population and should continue to ensure there is appropriate access to ear wax removal services.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the (a) number of people presenting to the NHS with injuries suffered as a result of treating ear wax by self-removal and (b) the cost to the public purse of treating those patients, in each of the last five years.

No formal estimate has been made as this data is not held centrally. General practitioner (GP) practices are increasingly recommending self-care methods as the primary means to support the safe removal of ear wax. However, if a GP practice considers removal clinically necessary, the procedure should either be undertaken at the practice, or the patient should be referred to an appropriate local NHS service depending on the arrangements in place. Local commissioners are responsible for meeting the health needs of their local population and should continue to ensure there is appropriate access to ear wax removal services.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the level of capacity within the NHS for (a) workforce and (b) equipment and facilities to meet the demand for ear wax removal services.

No formal assessment has been made. General practitioner (GP) practices are increasingly recommending self-care methods as the primary means to support the safe removal of ear wax. However, if a GP practice considers removal clinically necessary, the procedure should either be undertaken at the practice or the patient should be referred to an appropriate local NHS service depending on the arrangements in place in the local area. Local commissioners are responsible for meeting the health needs of their local population and should continue to ensure there is appropriate access to ear wax removal services.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to raise public awareness of the signs and symptoms of the most life-threatening diseases in young people, particularly brain tumours, meningitis and sepsis.

We welcome HeadSmart’s campaign to raise awareness of symptoms that could indicate brain cancer in children and young people, which is promoted with NHS England and health professionals.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), in partnership with the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement, is working to improve vaccination coverage for children of all ages in England. This includes access to immunisation programmes, such as meningitis; promoting communications with the public; using data to identify underserved individuals and populations; and training for healthcare professionals.

We continue to raise awareness of sepsis amongst parents, including through the UKHSA’s partnership with Mumsnet and their Start4Life campaign which delivers trusted advice and practical guidance to parents on identifying sepsis and how to access appropriate and timely medical care.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to help ensure that under 16 year olds are able to access their vaccine records; and what assessment he has made of the potential effect of under 16 year olds not being able to access those records on families travelling to Europe over Christmas 2021.

The NHS COVID Pass is available to people aged 16 years old and over and can be used to demonstrate vaccination and recovery from COVID-19. We are exploring ways for children aged 12 to 15 years old with two vaccinations to demonstrate their vaccination status for international travel. Each country sets their own requirements for entry and border health measures. Many countries exempt under 18 year olds from proof vaccination status or accept negative test results.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people who have received their covid-19 booster jab, and who are not travelling abroad, will be able to display their vaccination records in the NHS app.

Individuals can now demonstrate their booster vaccinations using the NHS COVID Pass via the NHS App and NHS.UK for international travel. Booster and third doses are not used to generate the NHS COVID Pass as it is not required for domestic certification.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to improve transparency of the data that underpins NICE's conclusions, in response to the findings in BMJ Open (Vol 11, Issue 10, Osipenko) that documents supporting NICE TA and HST recommendations remain redacted leading to clinical and economic data of importance to patients, clinicians and researchers being concealed.

The Department has made no such assessment. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body responsible for developing guidance in line with its established methods and processes. NICE is committed to ensuring its processes for health technology evaluation are as transparent as possible and considers it essential that evidence on which its committees’ decisions are based is made available to stakeholders and the public. To ensure faster access to treatments for patients, NICE’s appraisals are conducted in parallel with the regulatory process wherever possible. NICE’s approach to handling confidential information for health technology evaluation is set out in its guide to the processes of technology appraisal.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the impact on transparency of data redaction in technology appraisals and highly specialised technology evaluations issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

The Department has made no such assessment. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body responsible for developing guidance in line with its established methods and processes. NICE is committed to ensuring its processes for health technology evaluation are as transparent as possible and considers it essential that evidence on which its committees’ decisions are based is made available to stakeholders and the public. To ensure faster access to treatments for patients, NICE’s appraisals are conducted in parallel with the regulatory process wherever possible. NICE’s approach to handling confidential information for health technology evaluation is set out in its guide to the processes of technology appraisal.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 22 July 2021 to Question 33177, on Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, whether a decision has been made on the mandatory reporting of adverse events.

A decision has not yet been made. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency continues to investigate the matter with the intention of making proposals by the end of the 2021/22 financial year.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether Health Visiting services feature in his Department’s submissions to the Spending Review.

The forthcoming Spending Review will set out the Government’s spending plans for health and social care for future years. This includes the local authority Public Health Grant, which funds health visiting services.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Review, published July 2020, what steps he is taking to fulfil recommendation six of that review, and whether he plans to make adverse event logging mandatory.

In response to the Review, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has initiated a substantial programme of work to improve how it listens to patients and the public, to evolve United Kingdom medicines and medical devices regulation, develop a more responsive system for reporting safety incidents and strengthen the evidence to support timely and robust decisions that protect patient safety.

The Agency’s Delivery Plan published on 4 July sets out how the MHRA will deliver better patient and public involvement and a more responsive safety surveillance and risk management system. This includes the transformation of the Yellow Card reporting system where work has already begun. The MHRA is reviewing the issue of making reporting of adverse events mandatory for healthcare professionals and will be discussing this with other partners in the healthcare system with a view to making firm proposals in quarter 4 of 2021/22.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department is collecting to monitor the effectiveness of NHS England guidance, Supporting pregnant women using maternity services during the coronavirus pandemic’, updated in April 2021; and what steps he is taking to ensure that parents have full access to their babies on neonatal units.

The Department is not collecting data to monitor the effectiveness of NHS England’s guidance. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked closely with trusts to adopt the actions set out in their updated guidance on and to remove barriers which prevent trusts being able to facilitate full parental presence in neonatal units. NHS England and NHS Improvement are assured that 100% of trusts report that they are actively using the guidance to ensure they are able to facilitate full parental access to their babies on neonatal units.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) serving personnel and (b) veterans have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury in the last 10 years.

Between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2020, there were a minimum of 2,202 United Kingdom armed forces regular and reserve personnel who had a record associated with a traumatic brain injury.

Data on the number of veterans diagnosed with such an injury in the last 10 years is not collected centrally.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will (a) review the list of conditions for exemption from prescription charges and (b) include (i) cystic fibrosis and (ii) other serious life-long debilitating medical conditions that do not currently qualify for free prescriptions as part of that review.

The Government has no plans to review or extend the prescription charge medical exemptions list. Around 89% of prescriptions are dispensed free of charge and extensive arrangements are already in place to help people, including those with cystic fibrosis and other life-long medical conditions. To support those with the greatest need who do not qualify for an exemption, they can spread the cost of their prescriptions by purchasing prescription pre-payment certificates. A holder of a 12-month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just over £2 per week.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 March 2020 to Question 157977 on Antenatal Care, what assurances he is providing to families who give birth to multiples in units in England and Wales that they will be seen by a multidisciplinary team of doctors, midwives and sonographers who are experts in twin pregnancies.

Women who are pregnant with more than one baby should expect to be seen by a multidisciplinary team of doctors, midwives and sonographers who are experts in twin pregnancies. The fetal medicine clinics which are being established will standardise this type of care and make it available in every part of England.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Defence on traumatic brain injuries affecting (a) serving personnel and (b) veterans.

There have been no recent discussions.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) serving personnel and (b) veterans have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury in the last 10 years.

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

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress the Government has made on the retrospective audit of mesh implants announced in January 2018.

After a pilot phase, NHS Digital is now able to receive historical data from healthcare providers on pelvic floor surgical procedures, including the use of mesh or its alternatives. Data collected will be in accordance with the data specification which has been designed in consultation with stakeholders, including patient representatives and is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/about-nhs-digital/corporate-information-and-documents/directions-and-data-provision-notices/data-provision-notices-dpns/surgical-devices-and-implants

This includes, where possible, a retrospective submission of historic data for procedures undertaken since 1 July 2017.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the publication of the MBRRACE Perinatal Confidential Enquiry into stillbirths and neonatal deaths in twin pregnancies, what steps he is taking to ensure that pregnant women expecting multiples are looked after by a multidisciplinary team of doctors, midwives and sonographers who are experts in twin pregnancies.

Multidisciplinary fetal medicine clinics are being established across England, which aim to ensure that high risk women, including women expecting multiples, have timely access to specialist advice and care at all stages of pregnancy.

The Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle is contributing to reducing perinatal mortality with a specific focus on the management of fetal growth restriction and preterm birth prevention through collaborative working across maternity and neonatal teams. The Maternity and Neonatal Safety Improvement Programme includes a major focus on preterm optimisation through interventions that require multidisciplinary working and care planning to ensure seamless care delivery.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS Long-Term Plan, what progress his Department has made in ensuring all metastatic breast cancer patients have access to a Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Health Education England is facilitating a number of initiatives to increase Clinical Nurse Specialist capacity, including the development of cancer nurses through provision of 250 training grants of up to £5,000 each in 2020/21. The grants are aimed at existing and aspiring Cancer Nurse Specialists to enable them to undertake additional training to develop specialist clinical, leadership, education or research capabilities.

The Spending Review 2020 provided £260 million to continue to grow the National Health Service workforce and support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan. Full details on funding allocations towards NHS workforce budgets, including relating to cancer, in 2021-22 will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS Long-Term Plan, how many metastatic breast cancer patients have had access to a Clinical Nurse Specialist in (a) 2016, (b) 2017, (c) 2018, (d) 2019 and (e) 2020.

This information is not available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recommendation 46 of the Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer 2015-2020, what progress his Department has made on ensuring all metastatic breast cancer patients receive holistic needs assessments.

The NHS Long Term Plan, set a clear ambition that where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer, including those with secondary cancers, should have access to personalised care by 2021, which includes the holistic needs assessment.

The latest public data from December 2019 show that 94% of trusts offered personalised care and supporting planning for breast cancer patients.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to make out-of-home calorie labelling mandatory, as proposed in his Department's July 2020 policy paper,Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives.

The Department has consulted on how the policy on calorie labelling for food and drink served outside of the home should be enforced and is considering what the final enforcement position should be. We are looking to introduce legislation in early 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December 2020 to Question 121200, what discussions he (a) has had and (b) plans to have with stakeholders on lifting the suspension on surgical mesh.

The Secretary of State has met with such stakeholders.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans NHS England has to maintain the suspension on the use of surgical mesh.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are monitoring progress on meeting the conditions of the national pause on vaginal mesh insertion procedures.

The ‘pause’ on use of vaginal mesh remains in operation and changes will only be made following consultation with stakeholders including patients, professional bodies and other National Health Service organisations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which types of cancer are subject to a Government funded audit; and what the criteria is for determining which cancers are subject to those audits.

Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership commissions, develops and manages the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme, on behalf of NHS England, Wales and other devolved administrations. The programme currently consists of over 30 national clinical audits, six clinical outcome review programmes and the National Joint Registry. There are five funded cancer audits in prostate, lung, breast cancer in older patients, oesophago-gastric and bowel cancers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will include people with dementia on the clinically vulnerable list.

Keeping people safe throughout this period, especially society’s most vulnerable, is the Government’s top priority.

Dementia has not been added to the list of health conditions defined as clinically vulnerable, due to the varied presentation and severity of the condition. However, people with dementia may fall within the category of ‘vulnerable’ by, for example, meeting the criteria on age or the other defined health conditions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on the health and wellbeing of people with dementia of excluding them from the clinically vulnerable list.

Keeping people safe throughout this period, especially society’s most vulnerable, is the Government’s top priority.  We recognise the particular challenges that people with dementia and their families are facing at this time, whether that’s because of the impact of social distancing measures or because their usual activities or support have been disrupted.

Although dementia is not listed in the definition of clinically vulnerable, people with dementia may fall within the category of ‘vulnerable’ by, for example, meeting the criteria on age or the other defined health conditions.

We commissioned research through the National Institute for Health Research on how to manage or mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia and their carers living in the community. Concise advice was produced for people with dementia and their carers respectively. These are available at the following link:

http://www.idealproject.org.uk/covid/

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many women had (a) a mastectomy and breast construction surgery on the same day and (b) delayed breast reconstruction in the financial years (i) 2015-16, (ii) 2016-17, (iii) 2017-18, (iv) 2018-19 and (v) 2019-20.

The following table shows the number of finished consultant episodes (FCE) where a procedure has mention of mastectomy and breast reconstruction on the same episode and FCEs where a code for reconstruction appears but not a code for mastectomy where the patient is female for each of the years 2015/16 to 2019/20.

Financial year

Mastectomy and reconstruction

Reconstruction without mastectomy

2015-16

4,802

3,533

2016-17

4,743

3,554

2017-18

4,762

3,701

2018-19

4,813

3,780

2019-20

4,673

3,561


Notes:

  1. A FCE is a continuous period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider.
  2. Figures do not represent the number of different patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the same stay on hospital or in different stays in the same year.
Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many women had mastectomies in the financial years (a) 2015-16, (b) 2016-17, (c) 2017-18, (d) 2018-19 and (e) 2019-20.

The following table shows the count of finished consultant episodes (FCE) with a procedure of mastectomy, where the patient is female for each of the years 2015/16 to 2019/20.

Financial year

FCEs

2015-2016

17,618

2016-2017

16,959

2017-2018

16,711

2018-2019

17,106

2019-2020

17,007


Notes:

  1. A FCE is a continuous period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider.
  2. Figures do not represent the number of different patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the same stay on hospital or in different stays in the same year.
Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many women had breast reconstruction surgery in the financial years (a) 2015-16, (b) 2016-17, (c) 2017-18, (d) 2018-19 and (d) 2019-20.

The following table shows the number of finished consultant episodes (FCE) with a procedure mention of breast reconstruction and where the patient is female for each of year periods 2015-16 to 2019-20.

Financial Year

FCEs

2015-16

8,335

2016-17

8,297

2017-18

8,463

2018-19

8,593

2019-20

8,234


Notes:

  1. A FCE is a continuous period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider.
  2. Figures do not represent the number of different patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the same stay on hospital or in different stays in the same year.
Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how long on average women wait between having a mastectomy and breast reconstruction; and if he will make a statement.

The total number of finished consultant episodes (FCE) for reconstructive surgery in 2019-20 was 8,018. Of these, 6,061 had a mastectomy within the previous five years. Of these 4,557 reconstructive surgeries were on the same day as a mastectomy, with a mean waiting time of 194 days and a median waiting time of zero days.

Their were a total of 1,505 reconstructive surgeries which did not take place during the same FCE, with a mean waiting time between mastectomy and reconstructive surgery of 836 days and a median waiting time of 762 days.

A FCE is a continuous period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. These figures do not represent the number of different patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the same stay on hospital or in different stays in the same year.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the additional resources required to (a) manage and (b) clear the breast screening backlog created as a result of covid-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have made good progress in clearing the backlog of appointments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: all local National Health Service breast screening services are operational and are working to ensure that these women are invited for screening as quickly as possible.

Services have been advised to prioritise women aged 53 who have not yet been screened and women aged 71 or over awaiting a breast screening invitation, together with women assessed as being at very high risk of developing breast cancer. NHS England and NHS Improvement have also made funding available to trusts to support the adaptation of mobile breast screening units in order to enhance their safe use and so maximise the number of units available to screen women.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the proportion of patients that have had a shorter course of breast radiotherapy as a result of covid-19.

The latest available data from the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service on radiotherapy episodes shows weekly counts up to May 2020. For the week commencing 25 May 2020 the proportion of breast radiotherapy being delivered as part of a shorter course was 65% (346 episodes).

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many veterans have died from covid-19 since March 2020.

The number of veterans who have died from COVID-19 since March 2020 is not collected centrally. The overall number of COVID-19 deaths can be found on the Government COVID-19 webpage at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/deaths

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that patients whose breast reconstruction surgery has been delayed due to covid-19 will be able to access that surgery in areas where there are time limits on breast reconstruction operations.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have been clear that breast reconstruction surgery should be provided as soon as practically and safely possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the National Maternity and Perinatal Audit, what steps he is taking to ensure that maternity units implement the recommendations highlighted in the report to follow NICE guidance on multiple births.

The Twins and Multiple Births Association’s Quality Improvement Programme, funded by the Department, statistically proved that implementing the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance reduces twin stillbirths, neonatal deaths and neonatal admissions.

Based on the evidence generated through the Quality Improvement Programme, the Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle (Version Two) strongly encourages providers and commissioners to implement NICE guidance and stipulates best practice for multiple pregnancies.

The NHS Long Term Plan highlights the Department’s aim to roll out the Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle across every maternity unit in England.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to implement the recommendations in the July 2020 Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review report.

We have welcomed this report and we are considering Baroness Cumberlege’s recommendations carefully.

It is important – for the sake of patients and especially those who have suffered greatly – that we give this independent report the full consideration it deserves.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to tackle regional health inequalities in the North East.

Health inequalities are associated with the conditions in which people live. In challenging circumstances, Public Health England (PHE), NHS England and NHS Improvement and the North East Directors of Public Health are working to improve these conditions and are committed to supporting the regional economies.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 requires health bodies and local government to have due regard to reducing health inequalities and this is embedded throughout the NHS Long Term Plan. This can be viewed at the following link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/long-term-plan/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the correlation between health inequalities and (a) covid-19 death rates, (b) developing covid-19 complications and (c) contracting covid-19.

On 2 June 2020, Public Health England (PHE) published a report on disparities in risks and outcomes of COVID-19. This can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-review-of-disparities-in-risks-and-outcomes

The review presents findings based on surveillance data available to PHE at the time of its publication, including through linkage to broader health data sets.

Outcomes reported include diagnosis rates for laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations, death rates for confirmed cases, death rates from all causes, excess mortality, and the risk of death among people with confirmed COVID-19.

Diagnosis rates were based on laboratory confirmed cases under Pillar 1 testing. The majority of testing under this pillar has been offered to those in hospital with a medical need as well as National Health Service key workers, rather than the general population. Confirmed cases therefore represent the population of people with severe disease, rather than all of those who get infected.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to support local authorities in implementing a health-in-all-policies approach.

Public Health England provides support to local authorities through its national and local health improvement teams and has published guidance and resources to support local authorities to adopt a health-in-all policies approach.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to bring forward a prevention White Paper with proposals for tackling health inequalities.

The Prevention Green Paper, ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’, consultation closed on 14 October 2019 and attracted over 1,600 responses. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the response has been delayed. We intend to publish the Government response in due course, but do not currently have plans to publish a White Paper on prevention.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the (a) diagnosis and treatment of and (b) support for women with ovarian cancer.

On 8 June 2020, the National Cancer Director and the National Clinical Director for Cancer issued a further letter of guidance to NHS cancer services on ‘Second phase of NHS response to COVID-19 for cancer services’. The letter notes that the work for local systems and Cancer Alliances to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer should now be well advanced, so that referrals, diagnostics and treatment can be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand. The new guidance is based on three key principles: capacity, fairness and confidence. Cancer Alliances should work with their regional teams to provide such services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on reform the Mental Health Act 1983.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Luton South (Rachel Hopkins MP) on 14 July 2020 to Question 68461.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 30 June 2020 to Question 64109 on Baby Care Units: Coronavirus, what plans he has to introduce rapid covid-19 testing for parents of babies in neonatal care.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, neonatal services have been working hard to support parents to care for their babies while still ensuring that services are safe.

Information produced by the British Association of Paediatric Medicine sets out that the same arrangements for testing should be offered to parents of babies in neonatal care as are applied to staff, in order to minimise unnecessary separation. This includes testing of symptomatic parents and testing of suspected contacts.

Current clinical advice is that asymptomatic testing can be conducted where clinically appropriate for outbreak investigation and infection control. These decisions are made by local decision makers based on patient and procedural risk.

The sixth week of NHS Test and Trace figures published on 16 July show anyone getting a test at a regional test site or mobile testing unit can expect their result by the next day.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to ensure that NHS breast screening units are adequately resourced to manage the backlog of appointments that have accrued during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service is working with Public Health England to prioritise individuals most at risk of breast cancer and make best use of the capacity available in the system. This includes working on a tool which will enable local providers to model capacity against demand for breast screening and identify where targeted actions are needed to increase the availability of and access to appointments.

In addition, funding has been made available to local teams to adapt mobile breast screening units so that appointments can go ahead safely.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the NHS is taking to reschedule breast screening appointments that were cancelled as a result of covid-19 outbreak.

Where local breast cancer screening providers took the decision to postpone screening appointments, the National Health Service is now working with them to ensure services are restored as soon and as safely as possible.

Screening services are already urgently working to prioritise individuals who are at high risk of breast cancer and guidance has been issued to local teams to help to manage this.

As always, women should contact their general practitioner as soon as possible if they have any concerns.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of potential increased demand for the Healthy Start voucher scheme.

The Department is modelling the impact of the potential increase in demand for the Healthy Start voucher scheme.

Healthy Start is a statutory scheme which we are committed to.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the planned timescale is for the Healthy Start consultation which his Department committed to in June 2018 in Chapter 2 of Childhood Obesity: a plan for action.

The consultation was postponed until after European Union exit. The Department is working to review the operation of the Healthy Start scheme and is considering opportunities to improve the scheme. This includes developing a digital approach, which will make it easier for families to apply for, receive and use Healthy Start benefits.

Healthy Start vouchers can be used to buy, or be put towards the cost of:

- Plain fresh or frozen, fruit and vegetables with no added ingredients such as fat (oil), salt, sugar or flavourings. They can be whole, chopped, packaged or loose;

- Plain whole, semi-skimmed & skimmed cow’s milk, that is pasteurised, sterilized long-life or UHT; and

- Cow’s milk-based infant formula labelled as suitable from use from birth

The Healthy Start scheme is kept under continuous review. Frozen fruit and vegetables were added to the scheme in 2011 and the Government has recently amended the Healthy Start Scheme and Welfare Food Regulations to introduce pulses and canned fruit and vegetables into the Scheme from 1 October 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Public Health England's report, Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19, published in June 2020, what plans his Department has to conduct further research into the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on BAME populations with (a) diabetes and (b) obesity; and if he will make a statement.

The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR’s Recovery and Learning Call will fund research to better understand and manage the health and social care consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic beyond the acute phase. The research will focus specifically on health outcomes, public health, social care and health service delivery and to mitigate the impact of subsequent phases and aftermath. Research on the effect of COVID-19 on people with obesity and diabetes and with black, Asian and minority ethnic populations is in scope.

This follows on from the UK Research and Innovation-NIHR Rapid Response Rolling Call for COVID-19 research that could make a significant contribution to the understanding, prevention and/or management of the COVID-19 outbreak. A highlight notice on ethnicity formed part of this initial call.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Public Health England's report, Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19, published in June 2020, what plans his Department has to conduct further research into the effect of covid-19 on people with (a) diabetes and (b) obesity; and if he will make a statement.

The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR’s Recovery and Learning Call will fund research to better understand and manage the health and social care consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic beyond the acute phase. The research will focus specifically on health outcomes, public health, social care and health service delivery and to mitigate the impact of subsequent phases and aftermath. Research on the effect of COVID-19 on people with obesity and diabetes and with black, Asian and minority ethnic populations is in scope.

This follows on from the UK Research and Innovation-NIHR Rapid Response Rolling Call for COVID-19 research that could make a significant contribution to the understanding, prevention and/or management of the COVID-19 outbreak. A highlight notice on ethnicity formed part of this initial call.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Public Health England's report, Disparities in the risk and outcomes of covid-19, published in June 2020, what meetings he has had with (a) Ministers and (b) officials in her Department on conducting further research into adverse outcomes from covid-19; and whether those meetings included discussion on the the role of (i) obesity and (ii) diabetes and covid-19, and if he will make a statement.

Research (NIHR). The UK Research and Innovation-NIHR Rapid Response Rolling Call has funded a large post-hospitalisation study. The study, announced in July, will establish a The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has had a number of meetings looking at research into outcomes of Covid-19 with Ministers across the Department, the Chief Medical Officer, Deputy Chief Medical Officers and other Public Health England officials.

The Department invests over £1 billion a year in health and care research through the National Institute for Health national consortium and a research platform embedded within clinical care to understand and improve long-term outcomes for survivors following hospitalisation with COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to expand rapid testing for covid-19 in hospitals to the parents of newborn babies in neonatal units.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, services have been working hard to support parents to care for their babies as much as possible while still ensuring that services are safe.

Testing is a key part of the United Kingdom’s response to COVID-19, and, following the publication of the Government’s Testing Strategy we have rapidly expanded our capacity.

We are now providing testing to anyone with symptoms (England and Northern Ireland; over fives in Wales and Scotland) Current clinical advice is that asymptomatic testing can be conducted where clinically appropriate, for outbreak investigation and infection control. These decisions are made by local decision makers based on patient and procedural risk.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the level of access to neonatal units by parents of new-born babies.

The Government recognises that these are challenging times for everyone, but that it is an especially stressful time for parents with babies in neonatal intensive care units.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, services have been working hard to support parents to care for their babies as much as possible while still ensuring that services are safe.

The Department has no plans to introduce a bespoke fund to cover subsistence costs for parents with a baby receiving neonatal care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government is providing funding for the charity Bliss to support families with babies that require neonatal care during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the Government’s United Kingdom-wide £750 million package of support for the voluntary sector announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in April 2020.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will introduce a subsistence fund to provide funding for parents from low-income families in England to spend time with their new-born babies in neonatal units.

The Government recognises that these are challenging times for everyone, but that it is an especially stressful time for parents with babies in neonatal intensive care units.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, services have been working hard to support parents to care for their babies as much as possible while still ensuring that services are safe.

The Department has no plans to introduce a bespoke fund to cover subsistence costs for parents with a baby receiving neonatal care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government is providing funding for the charity Bliss to support families with babies that require neonatal care during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the Government’s United Kingdom-wide £750 million package of support for the voluntary sector announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in April 2020.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to ensure that parents in England are (a) encouraged and (b) financially supported to spend time with their newborn children in neonatal units during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that these are challenging times for everyone, but that it is an especially stressful time for parents with babies in neonatal intensive care units.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, services have been working hard to support parents to care for their babies as much as possible while still ensuring that services are safe.

The Department has no plans to introduce a bespoke fund to cover subsistence costs for parents with a baby receiving neonatal care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government is providing funding for the charity Bliss to support families with babies that require neonatal care during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the Government’s United Kingdom-wide £750 million package of support for the voluntary sector announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in April 2020.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of (a) the number of British Army Veterans born overseas have paid for NHS healhcare and (b) the total amount paid for that healthcare in the latest period for which figures are available.

This data is not collected centrally.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the North East having the highest covid-19 infection rates in the UK, for what reason no covid-19 testing kits were allocated to Queen Elizabeth Gateshead Microbiology department in week the commencing 11 May 2020.

Whilst across the United Kingdom there are enough testing supplies to deliver our testing strategy, our testing supplies team are working with the regional pathology networks to address any localised supply issues as and when they arise. We are ensuring the required capacity is available across the local network, and making sure tests are sent to Pillar 2 when appropriate to make best use of the available capacity across the system. We will continue to build increased resilience across the National Health Serivce for sites reliant on proprietary systems through supporting the pathology networks and by supporting deployment of open source reagents nationally.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government plans to provide for people who have cystic fibrosis and others who are extremely vulnerable and who may need to remain outside education or work long term.

Public safety throughout this period is the Government’s top priority. This includes keeping safe society’s most vulnerable.

Shielding advice is kept under continuous review, to take into account currently available evidence. Guidance and support will remain in place until it is safe to remove it. Any changes in advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable will be communicated to them directly through a range of channels.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish sex-disaggregated data on covid-19 (a) infection and (b) mortality.

The Government currently publishes cases by region at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-track-coronavirus-cases

We do not currently publish sex-disaggregated data on COVID-19 infection and mortality. We are keeping the what information we publish under regular review.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of potential demand for pelvic health clinics.

NHS England advise that academic research indicates that a significant number of women experience incontinence and other pelvic floor conditions following pregnancy. Through feedback from National Health Service staff and patient representatives, NHS England have assessed that there is a need for the NHS to do more to help women recover from the physical impact of pregnancy.

Local Maternity Systems have all been asked to develop a local plan to improve postnatal care and they have been specifically asked to consider pelvic health as part of this. In addition, the NHS Long Term Plan commits investment to ensure that women have access to multidisciplinary pelvic health clinics and pathways. These clinics will be available in limited areas from 2020/21 and rolled out across the country by 2023/24.

NHS England and the British Medical Association have agreed a 6-8 week postnatal maternal check for all mothers from 1 April. This will including a focus on pelvic health, which should help improve rates of detection postnatally.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to restrict the sale of energy drinks to people aged under 16.

The Government confirmed it will end the sale of energy drinks to children under the age of 16 in chapter three of the childhood obesity plan, published in July 2019 as part of ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’. We will be setting out the full policy in our consultation response as soon as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made on the consultation on the fortification of flour.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Newport East (Jessica Morden MP) on 4 February 2020 to Question 10331.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to issue guidance to local authorities on the (a) timescale and (b) implementation process for the routine commissioning of PrEP.

The Department is continuing to work closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and local authorities to plan for routine commissioning of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) from April 2020. NHS England and NHS Improvement have already agreed to fund the on-going costs of drugs for PrEP going forward. We will provide information on how other elements of the programme will be funded, including the timescale and implementation process, and how commissioners will be supported very shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information he holds on the level of risk of (a) HPV infection and (b) HPV-caused diseases among boys aged 14-15 compared with boys aged 12-13.

Public Health England does not hold information on the level of risk of either human papillomavirus (HPV) infection or HPV-caused diseases among boys aged 14-15 compared with boys aged 12-13.

The latest data on HPV infection in young 16-18-year-old women has shown HPV 16 and 18 infections to be less than 2%. Infection rates in their male sexual partners are expected to be correspondingly low. Data to the end of 2018 can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hpv-prevalence-in-sexually-active-young-females-in-england

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the availability of atezolizumab with nab-paclitaxel on the NHS for breast cancer patients with PDL1 positive metastatic triple negative breast cancer.

Atezolizumab is not currently routinely available on the National Health Service for breast cancer patients with PD-L1-positive, triple-negative, advanced breast cancer. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently developing recommendations on the use of atezolizumab for this indication through its appraisal programme and published its draft guidance for consultation in October 2019. NICE’s appraisal has been delayed while commercial discussions with the company, Roche, are ongoing. NICE will aim to publish its guidance on the use of atezolizumab as soon as possible following the completion of their commercial discussions. If NICE is able to recommend use of the drug following the commercial discussions, atezolizumab will be eligible for funding through the Cancer Drugs Fund from the point of NICE’s draft guidance. If NICE is able to recommend use of atezolizumab it will be routinely funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement for NHS patients in line with NICE’s recommendations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to promote the health benefits of exclusively breastfeeding babies; and what steps his Department is taking to enable babies born prematurely to receive a human milk based diet.

The Government is committed to supporting mothers to breastfeed their babies where possible, especially during the first six months. We would like to see more mothers breastfeeding and doing so for longer and are working with our partners including Public Health England (PHE), NHS England, UNICEF and others to achieve this goal.

Support and information, including on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, is provided through various sources. Examples include NHS Choices, the National Breastfeeding Helpline, PHE’s Start4life, UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative and local peer support parents. The PHE interactive Breast-Feeding Friend voice product ‘chatbot’ is now available through Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and provides live breastfeeding support to new mums at any time of day.

The promotion of breastfeeding is one of the six high-impact areas for health visiting. The mandated contact points are an opportunity for health visitors to support parents around infant feeding. Contact takes place antenatally, at 10 to 14 days and six to eight weeks after birth. Further information on ‘Early years high impact area three: Breastfeeding’ can be viewed at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/754791/early_years_high_impact_area_3.pdf

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidelines on postnatal care and neonatal care sets out standards for supporting women to breastfeed whether their babies are born at term or preterm, including being supported to express milk.

The Department’s Toolkit for High-Quality Neonatal Services states that as a standard maternity and neonatal services should encourage breastfeeding and the expression of milk through the provision of information and dedicated support.

The ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’ consultation, invited views on how we can do more to support mothers to breastfeed. The consultation closed in October 2019. We will set out our response to the consultation by spring 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the WHO recommendation that member states temporarily suspend HPV vaccination programmes for boys.

The implications of the World Health Organization’s advice on temporarily suspending human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programmes for boys are due to be discussed at the next meeting of the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in February 2020. The Department does not currently have plans to suspend the HPV vaccination programme for boys in England, but will take account of the JCVI’s advice in any future review of its policy on this issue.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the cost-effectiveness of a HPV vaccination programme for boys too old to be eligible for the universal programme; and if he will make a statement.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination for boys aged 12-13 was rolled out nationally in September 2019. There are no plans for a catch-up HPV vaccination programme for older males as evidence suggests that they are already benefitting greatly from the indirect protection, known as herd protection, that has built up from 10 years of the girls’ HPV vaccination programme. The priority is to make sure that as many eligible 12-13-year-old boys and girls as possible are offered protection from HPV infection from the 2019-20 school year.

In April 2018, the HPV vaccination programme was extended to include men who have sex with men offering protection for males at particularly high risk up to the age of 45.

The current United Kingdom approach is supported by the best available evidence and by recommendations from our independent experts, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will introduce a catch-up HPV vaccination programme for males and females up to the age of 26.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination for boys aged 12-13 was rolled out nationally in September 2019. There are no plans for a catch-up HPV immunisation programme for older males as evidence suggests that they are already benefitting greatly from the indirect protection, known as herd protection, that has built up from 10 years of the girls’ HPV vaccination programme. The priority is to make sure that as many eligible 12-13-year-old boys and girls as possible are offered protection from HPV infection from the 2019-20 school year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, of 28 January 2020, Official Report column 658, when the additional allocation of funds will be made available to cover the routine commissioning of PrEP ; and from what funding stream that money will be allocated.

The Department is continuing to work closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and local authorities to plan for routine commissioning of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) from April 2020. NHS England and NHS Improvement have already agreed to fund the on-going costs of drugs for PrEP going forward. We will provide information on how other elements of the programme will be funded shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what funding mechanism he plans to use for the routine commissioning of PrEP.

The Department is continuing to work closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and local authorities to plan for routine commissioning of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) from April 2020. NHS England and NHS Improvement have already agreed to fund the on-going costs of drugs for PrEP going forward. We will provide information on how other elements of the programme will be funded shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, from which budget he plans to fund the non-drug costs of the routine commissioning of PrEP.

The Department is continuing to work closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and local authorities to plan for routine commissioning of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) from April 2020. NHS England and NHS Improvement have already agreed to fund the on-going costs of drugs for PrEP going forward. We will provide information on how other elements of the programme will be funded shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what meetings representatives of (a) NICE and (b) NHS England have had with Roche on atezolizumab with nab-paclitaxel for breast cancer patients since the publication of NICE's draft guidance on that drug in October 2019.

NHS England and NHS Improvement has advised that it has met with Roche to discuss potential commercial arrangements for atezolizumab with nab-paclitaxel for breast cancer patients.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has advised that it held a telephone call with Roche on 23 January 2020 regarding atezolizumab with nab-paclitaxel for breast cancer patients and that it has been in contact with Roche by email since the publication of NICE's draft guidance in October 2019.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the publication of the NICE draft guidance on atezolizumab with nab-paclitaxel for certain breast cancer patients on 3 October 2019, what the timetable is for (a) a second committee meeting and (b) issuing final guidance on that drug.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has advised that it does not yet have a confirmed date for the second appraisal committee meeting or for the publication of final guidance.

Under NICE’s processes, if the outcome of the committee meeting is the publication of a final appraisal document, final guidance would be expected 80 days later, unless NICE receives an appeal against the document.

NICE’s appraisal is currently delayed while commercial discussions between the company, NHS England and Roche, are ongoing. NICE will aim to publish its guidance on the use of atezolizumab as soon as possible following the completion of commercial discussions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has for a public consultation on healthy start vouchers.

The Department is considering a range of options for consulting on Healthy Start vouchers. The consultation was postponed until after European Union exit and we are now considering opportunities to improve the Healthy Start Scheme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department (a) has completed its monitoring of the School Meals Coalition and (b) plans to publish the findings of that monitoring; and for what reason the Government has not joined the School Meals Coalition.

The UK Government warmly welcomed the Secretary General's convening of the UN Food Systems Summit last year. The Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment delivered a UK national statement at the September Summit and led the UK's pre-Summit Delegation in July 21, using both opportunities to highlight the UK's leadership commitments on famine prevention and nature as well as our COP26 ambition on sustainable agriculture. The UK Government continues to engage with several coalitions emerging from the UN Food Systems Summit, and has been monitoring them.

FCDO's assessment of evidence from the international development community, is that supporting women and children from when they are conceived up to their second birthday is the most effective way to avert malnutrition and its long-term consequences globally. In the current context of worsening global food security - a situation exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine - the FCDO has committed to direct £3 billion to prevent famine and alleviate suffering through humanitarian aid, targeted at countries most affected.

We do not currently intend to join the School Meals Coalition or publish details of our engagement with this group. While the UK Government supports school meals in the UK, membership could send a message that was inconsistent with best practice in addressing global hunger and malnutrition.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of the UK becoming a signatory member of the School Meals Coalition established at the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit.

The UK Government warmly welcomed the Secretary General's announcement of the UN Food Systems Summit. The Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment personally delivered a UK national statement at the September Summit and led the UK's pre-Summit delegation in July. The Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment used both opportunities to highlight the UK's leadership commitments on famine prevention and nature as well as our COP26 ambition on sustainable agriculture.

The FCDO is monitoring several UN Food Systems Summit coalitions, including the School Meals Coalition, to understand their ambitions as well as the expectations of Member States who express support. While HMG supports school meals in the UK, the coalitions are international as well as domestic in scope and UK membership of the School Meals Coalition would have implications for our international development strategy. FCDO's assessment, based on evidence, is that supporting women and children from when they are conceived up to their second birthday is the most effective way to avert malnutrition and its long-term consequences.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to question 18532 answered on 3 March 2020, what discussions officials of his Department have had with (a) representatives of the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and (b) the Head of the Pensions Department in the Kenyan National Treasury on the non-payment of pensions to former Kenyan civil servants.

This matter is the responsibility of the Kenyan authorities. FCDO officials spoke to the Kenyan High Commission in London last month for an update on the non-payment of pensions to former Kenyan civil servants. I can confirm that the Kenyan Treasury Pensions Department was in touch with Crown Agents Bank in the UK at the beginning of October to request additional information in order to take this matter forward. We will stay in touch with both parties (the Kenyan Treasury Pensions Department and Crown Agents Bank), and continue to encourage them to resume pension payments as soon as possible.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions officials of his Department have had with (a) representatives of the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and (b) the Head of the Pensions Department in the Kenyan National Treasury on the non-payment of pensions to former Kenyan civil servants.

This matter is the responsibility of the Kenyan authorities. However, the British High Commission in Nairobi has written to the Kenyan Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and the Head of the Department for Pensions in the Kenyan National Treasury seeking an explanation for non-payment of pensions to former Kenyan civil servants and the lack of increase in line with inflation. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is now helping the Kenyan National Treasury to contact Crown Agents Bank (the bank chosen to make the pension payments) in the UK to expedite the reinstatement of the pensions.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the eligibility of wholesalers for Local Authority Discretionary Funds.

The Treasury has engaged closely with other Departments, including the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government throughout the design and implementation of grant support for businesses.

Local authorities in England have received £1.6 billion of discretionary funding through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) to support their local economies and help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. This funding is for additional business support, to complement the Local Restrictions Support Grant for closed businesses.

We encourage local authorities to use their ARG allocations to set up a discretionary grant scheme using this funding for those businesses who are affected by closures, but which are not legally closed themselves, such as wholesalers. However, local authorities run the application schemes for the ARG, and will have significant discretion when it comes to deciding which businesses receive payments. Businesses should contact their local authorities for more information.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will meet with the Federation of Wholesale Distributors to discuss the extension of Business Rates Relief to food service wholesalers.

The Government has been in contact with the Federation of Wholesale Distributors and understands the impact that COVID-19 has had on businesses in the sector.

This year the Government has provided an unprecedented business rates holiday for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties due to the direct adverse effects of COVID-19, worth about £10 billion, and has frozen the business rates multiplier for all businesses for 2021-22.

The Government has provided various schemes to support firms, including wholesalers, including Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, Bounce Back Loans, grants and VAT deferrals.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much and what proportion of the 2020-21 education budget that resulted from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy will be passed on to departmental budgets for investment in children's health initiatives as part of the 2021-22 Spending Round.

In 2016 the government announced investment in a number of children’s health initiatives alongside the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, including doubling the primary sports premium to £320m a year from September 2017, and introducing the National Schools Breakfast Programme from March 2018.

Spending Review 2020 has now concluded and confirmed the Department for Education’s overall budget for 2021-22. The DfE will confirm funding from within that settlement allocated to these schools programmes in 21-22 in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much revenue has been raised from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy in 2020-21 to date; and which programmes and organisations have received funding as a result of that revenue.

HMRC’s October publication of receipts for the year to date shows that the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) has provisionally raised £223m in revenue in 2020-21. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hmrc-tax-and-nics-receipts-for-the-uk

There is no formal link between SDIL revenues and individual programmes. However, the Government will continue to invest in supporting public health and tackling obesity, including the Department for Education’s primary sports premium.

25th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many families with children received the £20 per week uplift in Working Tax Credit basic element payments in the North East in each month since that uplift was introduced.

The latest available information on the number of families with children receiving Working Tax Credit at the English regional level is for April 2020. In April 2020, the number of families with children receiving Working Tax Credit in the North East was 40,200.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-and-working-tax-credits-statistics-provisional-awards-geographical-analyses-december-2013

Information on following months is not readily available. The next update to this publication will provide statistics relating to December 2020 and will be available in January 2021.

Finalised annual information on families with children receiving Working Tax Credits is published once a year and updated each July.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-and-working-tax-credits-statistics-finalised-annual-awards-2018-to-2019

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
11th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support he is providing to Peer2Peer lending platforms.

The Government monitors the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector on an ongoing basis and engages regularly with P2P platforms and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), who are responsible for the regulation of the sector.

The Government believes that P2P providers deliver innovative forms of finance for both consumers and business, and can provide healthy competition in the financial services market and, as such, is keen to see the sector continue to grow and evolve.

P2P platforms are eligible to access finance under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), where they can access loans up to £50 million under the latter, depending on the size of the platform. Under CLBILS, borrowers can apply for finance facilities, including overdrafts, of up to £25 million for businesses with a turnover between £45 million and £250 million, and up to £50 million to businesses with a turnover of over £250 million.

Those P2P platforms that facilitate loans to businesses can also apply to become accredited lenders under these schemes. More information on eligibility criteria and registering to become an accredited lender, can be found on the British Business Bank’s website here: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils-2/become-a-cbils-accredited-lender/

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the Leader of the House on allocating parliamentary time for legislative proposals on dormant assets.

As you may be aware, the Government recently launched a consultation on expanding the dormant assets scheme beyond bank and building society accounts to include a wider range of financial assets. The Government is committed to this expansion, unlocking substantial sums of unclaimed assets for good causes while maintaining and improving consumer protection.

It is right and proper that the feedback from this consultation shapes any future dormant assets legislation. The Government will engage with the Leader of the House on the introduction of this legislation when appropriate.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Government plans to review the purposes for which funds raised under the dormant assets scheme can be committed.

As you may be aware, the Government recently launched a consultation on expanding the dormant assets scheme beyond bank and building society accounts to include a wider range of financial assets. That consultation set out the way that money from dormant assets is distributed, in line with the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008.

The Act specifies that funds in England must be used for causes related to youth, financial capability and inclusion, or social investment. The scheme’s focus on creating impact in these three areas was agreed through a public consultation at its inception. It enables the scheme to create a lasting legacy, driving systemic change to address entrenched social issues and protects this impact from being diluted.

The scheme is based on voluntary industry participation and enjoys widespread support from the banks and building societies who continue to contribute to it. The Government currently has no plans to change how the distribution of dormant assets funding functions. This includes the causes to which the funds are directed.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will create a community wealth fund dedicated to improving outcomes for the most deprived neighbourhoods over the long term into which all new assets listed under the proposed expanded dormant assets scheme must be paid.

As you may be aware, the Government recently launched a consultation on expanding the dormant assets scheme beyond bank and building society accounts to include a wider range of financial assets. That consultation set out the way that money from dormant assets is distributed, in line with the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008.

The Act specifies that funds in England must be used for causes related to youth, financial capability and inclusion, or social investment. The scheme’s focus on creating impact in these three areas was agreed through a public consultation at its inception. It enables the scheme to create a lasting legacy, driving systemic change to address entrenched social issues and protects this impact from being diluted.

The scheme is based on voluntary industry participation and enjoys widespread support from the banks and building societies who continue to contribute to it. The Government currently has no plans to change how the distribution of dormant assets funding functions. This includes the causes to which the funds are directed.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will introduce a tax on waste incineration.

At Budget 2018, the Government announced that a tax on the incineration of waste would not be taken forward at that point. All taxes remain under review.

31st Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the soft drinks industry levy has been spent on since that levy was introduced.

The 2016 Budget announced funding for a number of programmes linked to the revenue from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy. The funding has been allocated to a number of programmes to support pupil health and wellbeing which include:

Doubling funding for the primary physical education and Sport Premium to £320 million a year from 2017.

Providing £100 million in 2018/19 for the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how long is the average wait for applicants to the online pathway of the Ukraine Family Scheme Visa between uploading the supporting documents and UKVI contacting the visa applicant about the decision.

The Home Office does not capture the average wait times for applicants to the online pathway of the Ukraine Family Scheme, which could include additional steps like contacting applicants to request further information to progress their case.

To capture these numbers would require a manual trawl of data and to do so would incur disproportionate cost.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent estimate he has made of the number of outstanding requests for records of deceased service personnel.

Across all three Services of the Armed Forces there is currently approximately a six month backlog of requests for Service records of deceased personnel. The administration work associated with officials providing these records, which are primarily in hardcopy, can only be undertaken if physically present in the office. This has been impacted by reduced staffing levels because of Government Covid-19 restrictions requiring social distancing, local Tier restrictions, and staff shielding. Additionally, there has been an increase in applications received during the lockdown periods in the last 12 months, which has further contributed to a backlog forming. It is anticipated that as soon as restrictions are lifted, in line with the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, the backlog should start to reduce.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department has taken to expedite requests for records of deceased service personnel during the covid-19 outbreak.

Across all three Services of the Armed Forces there is currently approximately a six month backlog of requests for Service records of deceased personnel. The administration work associated with officials providing these records, which are primarily in hardcopy, can only be undertaken if physically present in the office. This has been impacted by reduced staffing levels because of Government Covid-19 restrictions requiring social distancing, local Tier restrictions, and staff shielding. Additionally, there has been an increase in applications received during the lockdown periods in the last 12 months, which has further contributed to a backlog forming. It is anticipated that as soon as restrictions are lifted, in line with the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, the backlog should start to reduce.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether there is a backlog of requests for records of deceased service personnel.

Across all three Services of the Armed Forces there is currently approximately a six month backlog of requests for Service records of deceased personnel. The administration work associated with officials providing these records, which are primarily in hardcopy, can only be undertaken if physically present in the office. This has been impacted by reduced staffing levels because of Government Covid-19 restrictions requiring social distancing, local Tier restrictions, and staff shielding. Additionally, there has been an increase in applications received during the lockdown periods in the last 12 months, which has further contributed to a backlog forming. It is anticipated that as soon as restrictions are lifted, in line with the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, the backlog should start to reduce.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many active-duty military deaths there have been by suicide from 1990 to date.

Between 1990 and 2020 (latest data available), there have been 683 coroner confirmed suicides in the regular Armed Forces, the annual numbers have been presented in the Table.

Table: UK regular Armed Forces suicide and open verdict deaths by year, numbers

1990-2020

Year All Coroner confirmed suicides

All 683

1990 50

1991 48

1992 37

1993 43

1994 34

1995 43

1996 32

1997 26

1998 19

1999 30

2000 37

2001 16

2002 15

2003 25

2004 20

2005 22

2006 12

2007 10

2008 10

2009 15

2010 7

2011 15

2012 20

2013 9

2014 10

2015 8

2016 13

2017 16

2018 17

2019 15

2020 9

Source: Defence Statistics Health

1 Figures are for regular personnel and only those reservists who have died whilst on operational deployment. Figures include male and female personnel.

The latest statistics have been published on gov.uk at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-armed-forces-suicide-and-open-verdict-deaths-index

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to Answer of 23 November 2020 to Question 116426 on Armed Forces: Charities, if he will correct his answer to that Question.

The correct response to the hon. Member's Question (116426) was submitted on 24 November 2020.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 16 November 2020 to Question 114088, when he plans to publish Danuta Gray's review into progress implementing the recommendations of the Wigston Review.

The Ministry of Defence intends to publish Danuta Gray's review and its response by the end of the year.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 16 September 2020 to Question 88829 on Inappropriate Behaviours in the Armed Forces Review, (a) if the follow-up report to the Wigston Review was submitted to the Secretary of State by 15 October 2020 and (b) if he will publish that report in the public domain.

Danuta Gray's review into progress implementing the recommendations of the Wigston Review was submitted to the Secretary of State for Defence in October 2020. The Secretary of State has committed to publishing the report in the public domain.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he plans to bring forward proposals to implement the Government’s policy on the further incorporation of the Armed Forces Covenant into law.

This Government is committed to introducing legislation to strengthen the Armed Forces Covenant, and it will be brought forward next year in the Armed Forces Bill.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the effect of ESS reducing contracted hours for cleaners at his Department's bases on levels of covid-19 transmission at those bases.

The Ministry of Defence maintains a contract with ESS which sets output requirements which are subject to regular assurance. It is the responsibility of ESS to determine the level of staffing required to meet the stipulated outputs.

In line with BEIS guidance on COVID secure ways of working, the Ministry of Defence's Heads of Establishment have been working closely with local contracting teams to establish a clear understanding of the local cleaning priorities.

In circumstances in which Heads of Establishment identify cleaning priorities that could be delivered by the contracted labour source but are additional to the current scope of the contract, there is a well-defined process for them to raise a change request for the extra cleaning resource required.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many veterans have contracted covid-19 while living in Veteran specific accommodation projects.

The Ministry of Defence does not track service personnel once they have left the Armed Forces and therefore the information requested is not held.

1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what discussions he has had with ESS on proposed pay cuts and redundancies for caterers and cleaners at his Department's bases.

The Ministry of Defence maintains a contract with ESS which sets out output requirements. These outputs are subject to regular assurance and audit. It is the responsibility of ESS to determine the level of staffing required to meet the stipulated outputs and to ensure that quality and delivery thresholds are hit.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of ESS making (a) caterers and (b) cleaners redundant on service personnel.

The Ministry of Defence maintains a contract with ESS which sets out output requirements. These outputs are subject to regular assurance and audit. It is the responsibility of ESS to determine the level of staffing required to meet the stipulated outputs and to ensure that quality and delivery thresholds are hit.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 10 September 2020 to Question 85970 on Inappropriate Behaviours in the Armed Forces Review, what the terms of reference are for Danuta Gray’s one year on review of the Wigston report.

Danuta Gray began her Review on 15 July 2020 and the terms of reference are attached.

The Review seeks to assess progress made against the Wigston recommendations over the past year. Tackling unacceptable behaviour requires a culture change, therefore Ms Gray's Review has engaged with personnel at all ranks and grades, with Non-Executive Directors and private sector experts; it has also been informed by a range of studies and feedback. Culture change is a long-term process and the Wigston Review estimated it would take five to ten years to make a measurable difference; it is too early to consult on a wider basis, but future work is likely to include liaison with Service charities.

11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 10 September 2020 to question 85970 on Inappropriate Behaviours in the Armed Forces Review, whether he has plans in place for the consultation of (a) charities, (b) Community Interest Companies and (c) other stakeholders for Danuta Gray’s one year on review of the Wigston report.

Danuta Gray began her Review on 15 July 2020 and the terms of reference are attached.

The Review seeks to assess progress made against the Wigston recommendations over the past year. Tackling unacceptable behaviour requires a culture change, therefore Ms Gray's Review has engaged with personnel at all ranks and grades, with Non-Executive Directors and private sector experts; it has also been informed by a range of studies and feedback. Culture change is a long-term process and the Wigston Review estimated it would take five to ten years to make a measurable difference; it is too early to consult on a wider basis, but future work is likely to include liaison with Service charities.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what consultation process he has put in place for the chair of the people committee’s review into his Department’s progress implementing the Wigston review recommendations.

At the request of the Secretary of State, Danuta Gray (Non-Executive Director and Chair of the People Committee) agreed to conduct a 'one year on' review of the Wigston Report. The review commenced on the first anniversary of the Wigston Report (15 July 2020) and will run for three months. It will examine the progress that has been made by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Head Office and the Armed Forces in implementing the recommendations. In conducting the review, Ms Gray is keen to understand the experience and perspective of the widest range of Defence personnel possible and will therefore engage with senior officers from the single Services and MOD Civil Service, as well as a broad range of personnel at ranks and grades below that. A report will be published later in the year.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the review of the Prosecutor’s Protocol has begun, and when that review is planned to (a) conclude and (b) be published.

In June 2020 the Secretary of State for Defence decided to give fresh consideration to the Service Justice System Review recommendation on legislative changes to the jurisdiction of the Court Martial for the offences of murder, manslaughter and rape when committed in the UK. The circumstances in which such offences are tried by Court Martial are currently referred to in a Prosecutors' Protocol. The fresh consideration of the Service Justice System Review recommendation is underway and the work is due to be completed by autumn 2020.

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Education on the potential merits of including all bereaved armed services children in the Virtual Schools framework as set out in the Scotty’s Little Soldiers' Abeona pilot project in partnership with Norfolk County Council.

I am grateful for the excellent support that Scotty's Little Soldiers provides to bereaved Service children. When I met with Scotty's Little Soldiers, on 4 February 2020, I was heartened to hear about their work, including the Abeona pilot programme.

While the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has no plans to discuss this matter with the Department for Education, MOD officials are engaged with Scotty's Little Soldiers and partners at the local level to understand the benefits of the programme in Norfolk and to learn whether this might be more widely applicable.

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many female armed forces service personnel were (a) absent without leave (b) charged with desertion or (c) registered with military and civilian police as a missing person in each year since 2015.

The information available on female Armed Forces Service personnel who have been absent without leave (AWOL) or charged with desertion in each of the last five years is provided in the tables below.

The Ministry of Defence holds no information on missing persons in the United Kingdom as this is a matter for the civilian police forces. There are no records of any female Service personnel being reported to the Service Police as a missing person overseas in the last five years.

Year

Recorded AWOL

2015

5

2016

~

2017

0

2018

5

2019

~

2020 (as at 21 July)

~

Year

Charged with Desertion

2015

~

2016

~

2017

0

2018

0

2019

0

2020 (as at 21 July)

0

Notes:

Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5 to preserve anonymity. Where the number is less than 5, the symbol ~ has been used. All figures are single Service estimates and are not official statistics produced by Defence Statistics.

The AWOL figures in the table are for the number of AWOL offences reported, not the

number of personnel who have gone AWOL. An individual may be recorded as AWOL more than once in this time period.

The figures for Recorded AWOL and Desertion charges have been compiled from different sources and have not been cross-checked.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what financial support is available to female veterans who require child care when they access specialist support or therapy.

The requested information is not held by the Ministry of Defence. This type of support would be provided by the Local Authority in the specific geographical area that the female veteran resided.

However, NHS England actively encourage all their providers to offer veterans flexible appointments that help them to access services (in terms of time or location) and have partnership arrangements with Armed Forces charities that can provide assessed childcare support and funding.

The Government provides a significant package of childcare support to parents and carers, including our 30 hours offer for working parents of three and four year olds which has rolled out successfully, benefiting around 600,000 children in the first two years of delivery.

All three and four year olds, and the most disadvantaged two year olds, are able to access 15 hours a week of early education. From September 2017, the Government doubled the childcare entitlement for working parents of three and four year olds to 30 hours per week.

The Government also offers Tax-Free Childcare for every £8 parents pay their provider via an online account, the government will pay £2 up to a maximum contribution of £2,000 per child each year, for children under 12. There is also support available for parents with childcare costs outside of the free early education entitlements for lower income families. For example, eligible families can get help with 85% of their childcare costs through Universal Credit, subject to a monthly limit of £646 for one child or £1,108 for two or more children.

Further information on all Government childcare offers can be found at the following link: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to ensure that female service personnel are provided with sanitary products when on operations.

The policy on provision of sanitary products to Service personnel overseas is currently under review.

I will write to the hon. Member to update her once that review is completed.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 4 June 2020 to Question 51724 on the Veterans UK Helpline, how many cases have been logged by the Veterans UK Helpline service in each month since January 2019.

The Ministry of Defence's Veterans UK helpline is a telephony and email service providing veterans with help and assistance on a wide range of veterans' issues. The helpline does not log claims or cases but where necessary, queries are referred onto the most appropriate part of Veterans UK for resolution and reply. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to her Question 59390 on 18 June 2020 which details the number of emails and calls per month from January 2019.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 4 June 2020 to Question 51724 on the Veterans UK Helpline, how many emails to the helpline were recorded in each month of 2020.

The number of emails to the Veterans UK Helpline recorded for each month in 2020 were:

Month

Jan 20

Feb 20

Mar 20

Apr 20

May 20

1 Jun to 15 Jun 20

Emails Received

2,577

2,006

2,419

3,975

3,781

2,087

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 4 June 2020 to Question 51724 on the Veterans UK Helpline, how many (a) calls and (b) emails were recorded by the Veterans UK Helpline service in each month of 2019.

The number of calls and e-mails received by the Veterans UK Helpline each month between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019 is as follows:

Month

Calls Received

Emails Received

January 2019

13,291

1,990

February 2019

11,284

2,382

March 2019

11,291

1,909

April 2019

13,522

1,933

May 2019

11,644

1,568

June 2019

10,308

1,919

July 2019

11,825

2,020

August 2019

10,401

1,840

September 2019

10,646

1,917

October 2019

12,091

2,206

November 2019

11,098

1,976

December 2019

8,302

1,728

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the answer of 4 June 2020 to Question 51724 on the Veterans UK Helpline, when the telephone service of the Veterans UK Helpline will be in full service.

COVID -19 workplace guidelines currently restrict the number of staff who are able to attend the workplace safely. The reduced capacity is however dealing with the level of calls being received and the email process continues to be an option for customers wanting contact Veterans UK. The email only service adequately coped with the demand from customers and all requests for help have been responded to.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 4 June 2020 to Question 51724 on the Veterans UK Helpline, how many calls to that telephone service were recorded in each month of 2020.

From 1 January 2020 to 8 June 2020, I can confirm the following number of telephone calls were recorded by the Veterans UK Helpline:

Month

Calls Recorded by the Veterans UK Helpline

January 2020

9,733

February 2020

9,114

March 2020 (up to 22 March)

7,595

Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, on 23 March 2020 the Veterans UK helpline was adapted to an email-only service. A partial telephony service resumed on 3 June 2020 and has recorded 459 calls up to 8 June 2020.

The Veterans UK helpline operators have responded to all 9,000 enquiries received by email since the email-only service was introduced on 23 March. This service remains in place alongside the reduced telephony service. All demand for help and assistance is being met.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to strengthen the Armed Forces Covenant.

The Government is committed to introducing legislation and it will be brought forward at the earliest opportunity.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his oral contribution of 12 May 2020, Official Report, Column 122, when the Government plans to reopen the Veterans UK helpline.

The Veterans UK helpline never closed. The COVID-19 situation necessitated the delivery of services differently. The Veterans UK helpline was adapted to enable veterans to hear recorded service information on topics they may have needed help with, and written enquiries could still be submitted in the normal manner via email. Call backs and referral to the Veterans Welfare Service were provided where urgent or vulnerable callers were identified.

The Veterans UK helpline is now accepting a limited number of telephone calls and officials are working to restore as full a telephony service as soon as possible.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many British Commonwealth personnel are in receipt of (a) a War Disablement Pension or (b) the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

Information on the nationality of War Pension recipients is not recorded centrally.

As of 31 March 2019, approximately 209 British Commonwealth personnel, as defined by the British Nationality Act 1981, were in receipt of an ongoing payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

Figures covering the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 will be published on the Gov.UK website within the next four weeks, at the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/armed-forces-compensation-scheme-statistics-index

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish his Department’s plan to support armed forces charities during the covid-19 outbreak.

Armed Forces charities play a significant role in supporting our serving personnel, veterans and their families, no more so than at this time. That is why I announced a £6 Million COVID-19 Impact Fund for the Armed Forces Charity Sector on 12 May 2020 (Official Report: Column 127). This Fund is being administered by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund, on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and the Office for Veterans' Affairs within the Cabinet Office. Applications to it are now open with decisions on awards expected to be made on 15 June 2020.

Details on how to apply to the fund and the full eligibility criteria can be found on the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund website:

https://covenantfund.org.uk/2020/05/12/emergency-funding-for-frontline-armed-forces-charities-working-with-armed-forces-communities/.

In addition, Armed Forces charities are also able to apply to the £370 Million National Lottery Community Fund announced by the Chancellor on 8 April 2020 and utilise other COVID-19 financial support mechanisms including the Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when armed forces charities will receive Government funding during the covid-19 outbreak.

Armed Forces charities play a significant role in supporting our serving personnel, veterans and their families, no more so than at this time. That is why I announced a £6 Million COVID-19 Impact Fund for the Armed Forces Charity Sector on 12 May 2020 (Official Report: Column 127). This Fund is being administered by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund, on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and the Office for Veterans' Affairs within the Cabinet Office. Applications to it are now open with decisions on awards expected to be made on 15 June 2020.

Details on how to apply to the fund and the full eligibility criteria can be found on the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund website:

https://covenantfund.org.uk/2020/05/12/emergency-funding-for-frontline-armed-forces-charities-working-with-armed-forces-communities/.

In addition, Armed Forces charities are also able to apply to the £370 Million National Lottery Community Fund announced by the Chancellor on 8 April 2020 and utilise other COVID-19 financial support mechanisms including the Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what information his Department holds on the number of veterans who have died from suicide in the (a) most recent year for which information is available and (b) last five years.

The Government takes the welfare of Service personnel and veterans very seriously. Whilst we recognise that suicide affects wider society, not just the Armed Forces, any such death is one too many and a tragedy for all concerned.

Suicide data for veterans of the UK Armed Forces is not currently captured by the Government. However, the Ministry of Defence (MOD), alongside the Office for Veterans Affairs within the Cabinet Office, are working to improve data collection of the veteran community, as envisioned by the ‘Strategy for our Veterans’.

The MOD has commissioned a new study to investigate causes of death, including suicide, amongst all those who served in the UK Armed Forces between 2001 and 2014, covering combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, encompassing veterans and those still serving:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-study-into-iraq-and-afghanistan-veterans-launched. MOD officials are continuing to work with colleagues in NHS Digital, the Health Research Authority and National Records Scotland to overcome challenges and are hopeful that the initial report will be published later this year.

The MOD also publishes studies on the causes of death, including suicide, of veterans from the 1982 Falklands war: (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/causes-of-deaths-among-the-uk-armed-forces-veterans-of-the-1982-falklands-campaign) and from the 1990/91 Gulf war: (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/causes-of-deaths-that-occurred-among-the-uk-veterans-of-the-199091-gulf-conflict). Both studies show that the suicide rates amongst veterans were lower than comparative rates in the civilian population.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when his Department plans to publish the preliminary findings of the study into causes of death of military personnel who were deployed to conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 and 2014.

The Government takes the welfare of Service personnel and veterans very seriously. Whilst we recognise that suicide affects wider society, not just the Armed Forces, any such death is one too many and a tragedy for all concerned.

Suicide data for veterans of the UK Armed Forces is not currently captured by the Government. However, the Ministry of Defence (MOD), alongside the Office for Veterans Affairs within the Cabinet Office, are working to improve data collection of the veteran community, as envisioned by the ‘Strategy for our Veterans’.

The MOD has commissioned a new study to investigate causes of death, including suicide, amongst all those who served in the UK Armed Forces between 2001 and 2014, covering combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, encompassing veterans and those still serving:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-study-into-iraq-and-afghanistan-veterans-launched. MOD officials are continuing to work with colleagues in NHS Digital, the Health Research Authority and National Records Scotland to overcome challenges and are hopeful that the initial report will be published later this year.

The MOD also publishes studies on the causes of death, including suicide, of veterans from the 1982 Falklands war: (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/causes-of-deaths-among-the-uk-armed-forces-veterans-of-the-1982-falklands-campaign) and from the 1990/91 Gulf war: (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/causes-of-deaths-that-occurred-among-the-uk-veterans-of-the-199091-gulf-conflict). Both studies show that the suicide rates amongst veterans were lower than comparative rates in the civilian population.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the potential merits of recording the number of street homeless veterans moved to temporary accommodation during the covid-19 outbreak.

During the COVID-19 pandemic MHCLG asked all local authorities to provide information on their rough sleeping cohort in order to support local authorities to make offers of accommodation to people who were sleeping rough, in shared sleeping sites, such as night shelters, or considered to be at risk of rough sleeping, to reduce the risk faced by some of the most vulnerable in society. This collection of data does not record information on whether someone is a veteran or not.

H-CLIC (Homelessness Case Level Information Collection) is still the main vehicle to capture more detailed data on those offered assistance under a Housing Act duty. Any rough sleeper helped under a Housing Act duty should have their data recorded on the H-CLIC system, including those that are ex-armed forces personnel. We anticipate publishing H-CLIC data for the April 2020 to June 2020 period in autumn 2020.

In May 2020, we published the latest H-CLIC data for the October to December 2019 period. In this dataset, there were 470 households that required additional support because they contained ex armed forces personnel. This represents less than 1 per cent, of the 67,280 households that were owed a homelessness duty.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans his Department has to record the number of street homeless veterans.

In April 2018, my Department introduced Homelessness Case Level Information Collection (H-CLIC). H-CLIC captures information on all those who engage with local authority homelessness services, including support need resulting from being in the armed forces.

In addition, the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) is a multi-agency database which records information, including former armed forces service, about people seen rough sleeping by outreach teams in London across the year.

There are?a number of?existing support services available to?veterans who are experiencing, or are at risk of, homelessness. This includes the?Veterans Gateway, an online web and telephone resource for?veterans, providing access to a housing specialist who has up-to-date information regarding vacancies.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to record the (a) gender, (b) age, (c) ethnicity and (d) nationality of people who are street homeless.

My Department’s annual Rough Sleeping?Snapshot?Statistics provide information about the estimated number of people sleeping rough across local authorities in England on a single night. This data includes demographic information such as age, gender and nationality. These statistics do not currently include ethnicity of people sleeping rough.

The most recent national figures, from the Official 2019 Rough Sleeping Snapshot, showed that the?number of people sleeping on our streets on a single night fell for the second year?in a row. These statistics are available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/rough-sleeping-snapshot-in-england-autumn-2019.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when there will be a minister in place responsible for the communities portfolio.

My noble Friend Lord Greenhalgh is the minister responsible for the communities portfolio.

15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the (a) impact of defendant neurodiversity in convictions deemed unsafe on appeal and (b) prevalence of defendant neurodiversity in collapsed trials.

Information on defendant neurodiversity is not collected. Information on trial outcomes can be found at National statistics overview: Criminal court statistics quarterly: April to June 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of people who received a custodial sentence aged (a) 13 to 18 and (b) 19 to 21 who were receiving treatment for a mental health condition prior to sentencing since 2018.

The Ministry of Justice takes mental health provision very seriously and is committed to working closely with health partners to ensure that offenders are able to access the treatment and support required for their mental health needs. NHS England and NHSE Improvement (NHSE/I) are responsible for commissioning healthcare services, including mental health treatment, in all prisons in England.

The full information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. This is because it would require manually searching case files. However, the questions can, in part, be answered by published statistics in the Criminal Justice Statistics annual report data tools.

The Ministry of Justice publishes court outcomes by offence, remand status, sex, age and several other characteristics. This information from 2010 to 2020 is available in Criminal Justice Statistics 2020 annual report here, see in the following data tools:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-december-2020

  • Outcomes by offence data tool
  • Remands: Magistrates’ court data tool
  • Remands: Crown Court data tool

Note that offences are recorded under the specific offence recorded in law, so while violence is an offence group, gang-related violence is not centrally held in the court proceedings database and could only be obtained by manually searching court records at disproportionate costs. The same applies for address/local authority of defendants. In addition, some of the information requested in the above questions (regarding: education in alternative provision; exclusion from school; and treatment for a mental health condition) is not centrally held in the court proceedings database or Prison-NOMIS (Prison National Offender Management Information System) database and can only be provided by manually searching court and prison records (where medical and personal records were self-declared) at disproportionate cost.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of people with a custodial sentence aged (a) 13 to 18 and (b) 19 to 21 who had previously been educated in (i) alternative provision, (ii) received a fixed term exclusion from school and (iii) were permanently excluded from school before receiving a custodial sentence in each year since 2015.

The government recognises the importance of education and schooling in preventing young people being drawn into criminality and offending.

The cross-government Beating Crime Plan published in July announced a targeted investment of over £45 million in specialist support in both mainstream schools and Alternative Provision (AP) in serious violence hotspots, to support young people at risk of involvement in violence to re-engage in education.

The AP Specialist Taskforces programme aims to provide intensive multi-agency support to vulnerable children and young people in AP most at risk of disengaging with education, being criminally exploited by gangs, and becoming involved in county lines and knife crime.

In addition, the government is also introducing ‘SAFE Taskforces’ in serious violence hotspots which will be led by local mainstream schools, to protect young people from serious violence who are truant and at risk of being permanently excluded. SAFE Taskforces will work directly with the police, social care, Violence Reduction Units and voluntary sector organisations to identify those at risk to re-engage them in education.

The full information requested by the question could only be obtained at disproportionate cost as it would require a manual review of cases.

In 2019, the Ministry of Justice published a one-off piece of analysis in collaboration with the Department for Education on understanding the educational background of offenders which will cover some of the issues raised in the question. The analysis compares male and female offenders’ educational attainment, pupil characteristics (such as Special Educational Needs), persistent absence and exclusion.

See pages 45-51 in the Women and the Criminal Justice System 2019 report here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/women-and-the-criminal-justice-system-2019

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of people aged (a) 13 to 18 and (b) 19 to 21 who have returned to custody after release for reoffences related to (i) violence and (ii) gang related violence (A) in England and (B) by the person's home local authority address in England, since 2018.

The Government is committed to tackling crime and serious violence. The Beating Crime Plan was published in July and introduces bold new measures to drive down crime and tackle the underlying causes of repeat offending. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will protect the public by giving the police the tools needed to tackle crime and disorder, and by addressing the root causes of serious violent crime using multi-agency approaches to prevention.

The full information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. This is because it would require manually searching case files. However, the questions can, in part, be answered by published statistics in the Criminal Justice Statistics annual report data tools.

The Ministry of Justice publishes court outcomes by offence, remand status, sex, age and several other characteristics. This information from 2010 to 2020 is available in Criminal Justice Statistics 2020 annual report here, see in the following data tools:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-december-2020

  • Outcomes by offence data tool
  • Remands: Magistrates’ court data tool
  • Remands: Crown Court data tool

For example:

40742 - 40743: in the Remands: Magistrates’ court tool, filter on ‘age range’, ‘sex’ and ‘offence group’.

40744 – 40745: in the Outcomes by offence data tool, filter on ‘age range’, ‘sex’ and ‘offence group’.

Note that offences are recorded under the specific offence recorded in law, so while violence is an offence group, gang-related violence is not centrally held in the court proceedings database and could only be obtained by manually searching court records at disproportionate costs. The same applies for address/local authority of defendants.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of girls aged (a) 13 to 18 and (b) 19 to 21 who have been given a custodial sentence for offences related to (i) violence and (ii) gang related violence (A) in England and (B) by the person's home local authority address in England, since 2018.

The Government is committed to tackling crime and serious violence. The Beating Crime Plan was published in July and introduces bold new measures to drive down crime and tackle the underlying causes of repeat offending. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will protect the public by giving the police the tools needed to tackle crime and disorder, and by addressing the root causes of serious violent crime using multi-agency approaches to prevention.

The full information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. This is because it would require manually searching case files. However, the questions can, in part, be answered by published statistics in the Criminal Justice Statistics annual report data tools.

The Ministry of Justice publishes court outcomes by offence, remand status, sex, age and several other characteristics. This information from 2010 to 2020 is available in Criminal Justice Statistics 2020 annual report here, see in the following data tools:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-december-2020

  • Outcomes by offence data tool
  • Remands: Magistrates’ court data tool
  • Remands: Crown Court data tool

For example:

40742 - 40743: in the Remands: Magistrates’ court tool, filter on ‘age range’, ‘sex’ and ‘offence group’.

40744 – 40745: in the Outcomes by offence data tool, filter on ‘age range’, ‘sex’ and ‘offence group’.

Note that offences are recorded under the specific offence recorded in law, so while violence is an offence group, gang-related violence is not centrally held in the court proceedings database and could only be obtained by manually searching court records at disproportionate costs. The same applies for address/local authority of defendants.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of girls aged (a) 13 to 18 and (b) 19 to 21 who have been remanded in custody for offences related to (i) violence and (ii) gang related violence (A) in total and (B) by home local authority area in England since 2018.

The Government is committed to tackling crime and serious violence. The Beating Crime Plan was published in July and introduces bold new measures to drive down crime and tackle the underlying causes of repeat offending. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will protect the public by giving the police the tools needed to tackle crime and disorder, and by addressing the root causes of serious violent crime using multi-agency approaches to prevention.

The full information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. This is because it would require manually searching case files. However, the questions can, in part, be answered by published statistics in the Criminal Justice Statistics annual report data tools.

The Ministry of Justice publishes court outcomes by offence, remand status, sex, age and several other characteristics. This information from 2010 to 2020 is available in Criminal Justice Statistics 2020 annual report here, see in the following data tools:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-december-2020

  • Outcomes by offence data tool
  • Remands: Magistrates’ court data tool
  • Remands: Crown Court data tool

For example:

40742 - 40743: in the Remands: Magistrates’ court tool, filter on ‘age range’, ‘sex’ and ‘offence group’.

40744 – 40745: in the Outcomes by offence data tool, filter on ‘age range’, ‘sex’ and ‘offence group’.

Note that offences are recorded under the specific offence recorded in law, so while violence is an offence group, gang-related violence is not centrally held in the court proceedings database and could only be obtained by manually searching court records at disproportionate costs. The same applies for address/local authority of defendants.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of people aged (a) 13 to 18 and (b) 19 to 21 who have been remanded in custody for offences related to (i) violence and (ii) gang related violence (A) in total and (B) by home local authority area in England since 2018.

The Government is committed to tackling crime and serious violence. The Beating Crime Plan was published in July and introduces bold new measures to drive down crime and tackle the underlying causes of repeat offending. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will protect the public by giving the police the tools needed to tackle crime and disorder, and by addressing the root causes of serious violent crime using multi-agency approaches to prevention.

The full information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. This is because it would require manually searching case files. However, the questions can, in part, be answered by published statistics in the Criminal Justice Statistics annual report data tools.

The Ministry of Justice publishes court outcomes by offence, remand status, sex, age and several other characteristics. This information from 2010 to 2020 is available in Criminal Justice Statistics 2020 annual report here, see in the following data tools:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-december-2020

  • Outcomes by offence data tool
  • Remands: Magistrates’ court data tool
  • Remands: Crown Court data tool

For example:

40742 - 40743: in the Remands: Magistrates’ court tool, filter on ‘age range’, ‘sex’ and ‘offence group’.

40744 – 40745: in the Outcomes by offence data tool, filter on ‘age range’, ‘sex’ and ‘offence group’.

Note that offences are recorded under the specific offence recorded in law, so while violence is an offence group, gang-related violence is not centrally held in the court proceedings database and could only be obtained by manually searching court records at disproportionate costs. The same applies for address/local authority of defendants.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of girls with a custodial sentence aged (a) 13 to 18 and (b) 19 to 21 who have been assessed for (i) autism, (ii) special educational needs and (iii) an Education, Health and Care Plan whilst in custody in England since 2018.

his information could only be collated at disproportionate cost.

The Ministry of Justice has published a one-off piece of analysis in collaboration with the Department for Education on understanding the educational background of offenders. The analysis compares the genders in a matched young offender cohort, broken down by sentencing disposal, educational attainment, pupil characteristics (such as Special Educational Needs), persistent absence and exclusion. See pages 45-51 in the Women and the Criminal Justice System 2019 report here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/women-and-the-criminal-justice-system-2019

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of boys with a custodial sentence aged (a) 13 to 18 and (b) 19 to 21 who have been assessed for (i) autism, (ii) special educational needs, (iii) an Education, Health and Care Plan whilst in custody in England since 2018.

his information could only be collated at disproportionate cost.

The Ministry of Justice has published a one-off piece of analysis in collaboration with the Department for Education on understanding the educational background of offenders. The analysis compares the genders in a matched young offender cohort, broken down by sentencing disposal, educational attainment, pupil characteristics (such as Special Educational Needs), persistent absence and exclusion. See pages 45-51 in the Women and the Criminal Justice System 2019 report here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/women-and-the-criminal-justice-system-2019

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners in England and Wales have (a) dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties, (b) speech and language difficulties and (c) other special educational needs and disabilities.

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) is committed to meeting the needs of all vulnerable offenders, including those with learning disabilities, difficulties and speech, language and communication needs. All individuals who come into contact with the Criminal Justice System (CJS) need to be able to access the right support to help them engage with their sentence.

For those who go into learning and where screening indicates an issue, education suppliers assess them to ensure the right adaptations and support arrangements are put in place.

The available data on offender learning participation, and learner characteristics, is published by the Department for Education. Data on learning difficulties and/or disabilities amongst those prisoners who engage in prison education is available via the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fe-data-library-education-and-training

In addition, prison officer training covers disabilities and responding sensitively and appropriately to behaviours.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent estimate his Department has made of the level of undiagnosed (a) dyslexia, (b) other specific learning difficulties, (c) speech and language difficulties and (d) other special educational needs and disabilities in prisons.

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) is committed to meeting the needs of all vulnerable offenders, including those with learning disabilities, difficulties and speech, language and communication needs. All individuals who come into contact with the Criminal Justice System (CJS) need to be able to access the right support to help them engage with their sentence.

For those who go into learning and where screening indicates an issue, education suppliers assess them to ensure the right adaptations and support arrangements are put in place.

The available data on offender learning participation, and learner characteristics, is published by the Department for Education. Data on learning difficulties and/or disabilities amongst those prisoners who engage in prison education is available via the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fe-data-library-education-and-training

In addition, prison officer training covers disabilities and responding sensitively and appropriately to behaviours.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to support prisoners with (a) dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties, (b) speech and language difficulties and (c) other special educational needs and disabilities.

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) is committed to meeting the needs of all vulnerable offenders, including those with learning disabilities, difficulties and speech, language and communication needs. All individuals who come into contact with the Criminal Justice System (CJS) need to be able to access the right support to help them engage with their sentence.

For those who go into learning and where screening indicates an issue, education suppliers assess them to ensure the right adaptations and support arrangements are put in place.

The available data on offender learning participation, and learner characteristics, is published by the Department for Education. Data on learning difficulties and/or disabilities amongst those prisoners who engage in prison education is available via the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fe-data-library-education-and-training

In addition, prison officer training covers disabilities and responding sensitively and appropriately to behaviours.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)