Thangam Debbonaire Portrait

Thangam Debbonaire

Labour - Bristol West

Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

(since May 2021)

Department Event
Thursday 19th May 2022
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 26th May 2022
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 9th June 2022
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 16th June 2022
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 23rd June 2022
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 30th June 2022
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 7th July 2022
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Department Event
Thursday 14th July 2022
Leader of the House
Business Statement - Main Chamber
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
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Division Votes
Tuesday 17th May 2022
Tackling Short-term and Long-term Cost of Living Increases
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 172 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 248 Noes - 310
Speeches
Thursday 12th May 2022
Business Question
I thank the Leader of the House for the forthcoming business. If I may start with some parish news: Bristol …
Written Answers
Tuesday 26th April 2022
Children: Maintenance
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what criteria are used for determining whether a shortfall in …
Early Day Motions
Monday 11th July 2016
TREATMENT OF NON-UK CITIZENS AND REFUGEES AND EU REFERENDUM
That this House notes with deep concern that the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) noted a five-fold increase in the …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 15th November 2021
1. Employment and earnings
15 January 2021, payment of £100. Hours: 20 mins. (Registered 02 November 2021)
EDM signed
Thursday 27th May 2021
Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 161) (No. 2)
That this House believes no child in care should be placed in unregulated accommodation; welcomes measures to ban unregulated accommodation …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Thangam Debbonaire has voted in 416 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Thangam Debbonaire 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
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
(57 debate interactions)
Mark Spencer (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(23 debate interactions)
Christopher Pincher (Conservative)
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
(13 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
View all Thangam Debbonaire's debates

Bristol 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).

Thangam Debbonaire has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Thangam Debbonaire

27th May 2021
Thangam Debbonaire signed this EDM as a sponsor on Thursday 27th May 2021

Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 161) (No. 2)

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That this House believes no child in care should be placed in unregulated accommodation; welcomes measures to ban unregulated accommodation for children aged 15 and under; and regrets the failure of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 161) to extend this ban …
13 signatures
(Most recent: 24 Jan 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 10
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
24th March 2021
Thangam Debbonaire signed this EDM on Monday 12th April 2021

Immigration

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 184), dated 23 February 2021, a copy of which was laid before this House on 25 February 2021, be annulled.
82 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 40
Scottish National Party: 24
Liberal Democrat: 8
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Thangam Debbonaire's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Thangam Debbonaire, 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.


2 Urgent Questions tabled by Thangam Debbonaire

Wednesday 11th November 2020
Wednesday 22nd July 2020

Thangam Debbonaire has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Thangam Debbonaire has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Thangam Debbonaire has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


621 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
25 Other Department Questions
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps her Department is taking to help encourage businesses to eliminate those elements of companies' pay and reward structures that are defined as high risk by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The Equality Act 2010 contains strong equal pay protections – it is unlawful for employers to pay men and women differently for doing the same work, similar work, or work of an equal value.

Many employers already conduct regular equal pay audits, in order to ensure that they are not acting unlawfully, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission provides detailed guidance to assist them in completing these. In 2014, the Government strengthened equal pay protections by introducing mandatory equal pay audits for organisations that lose an equal pay claim.

Since 2017 all large employers have been required to publish specific gender pay gap (GPG) information on an annual basis; and many employers choose to take the additional step of producing an action plan. Not all causes of the GPG are within employers’ control but we want employers to tackle those that are. For example, there is evidence to show greater pay transparency helps women negotiate a better deal when they apply for a job.

On International Women’s Day this year, we called on all employers to provide salary information in all of their job adverts, and to stop asking about previous salary during recruitment. We also announced that we would be working with employers to develop a methodology to enable them to take these steps. This methodology is likely to cover how employers should go about introducing a fair and transparent pay and grading system, and so will also be encouraging organisations to exhibit best practice within their pay and reward structures which is a crucial part of ensuring equal pay as well as pay transparency.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will take steps to ensure that companies with a gender pay gap above the national average must publish an evidence-based action plan to set out how to recruit and retain women in high-value roles.

The Equality Act 2010 contains strong equal pay protections – it is unlawful for employers to pay men and women differently for doing the same work, similar work, or work of an equal value.

Many employers already conduct regular equal pay audits, in order to ensure that they are not acting unlawfully, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission provides detailed guidance to assist them in completing these. In 2014, the Government strengthened equal pay protections by introducing mandatory equal pay audits for organisations that lose an equal pay claim.

Since 2017 all large employers have been required to publish specific gender pay gap (GPG) information on an annual basis; and many employers choose to take the additional step of producing an action plan. Not all causes of the GPG are within employers’ control but we want employers to tackle those that are. For example, there is evidence to show greater pay transparency helps women negotiate a better deal when they apply for a job.

On International Women’s Day this year, we called on all employers to provide salary information in all of their job adverts, and to stop asking about previous salary during recruitment. We also announced that we would be working with employers to develop a methodology to enable them to take these steps. This methodology is likely to cover how employers should go about introducing a fair and transparent pay and grading system, and so will also be encouraging organisations to exhibit best practice within their pay and reward structures which is a crucial part of ensuring equal pay as well as pay transparency.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she plans to take to help strengthen the application of the principle of (a) equal pay for equal work and (b) equal pay for work of equal value between men and women.

The Equality Act 2010 contains strong equal pay protections – it is unlawful for employers to pay men and women differently for doing the same work, similar work, or work of an equal value.

Many employers already conduct regular equal pay audits, in order to ensure that they are not acting unlawfully, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission provides detailed guidance to assist them in completing these. In 2014, the Government strengthened equal pay protections by introducing mandatory equal pay audits for organisations that lose an equal pay claim.

Since 2017 all large employers have been required to publish specific gender pay gap (GPG) information on an annual basis; and many employers choose to take the additional step of producing an action plan. Not all causes of the GPG are within employers’ control but we want employers to tackle those that are. For example, there is evidence to show greater pay transparency helps women negotiate a better deal when they apply for a job.

On International Women’s Day this year, we called on all employers to provide salary information in all of their job adverts, and to stop asking about previous salary during recruitment. We also announced that we would be working with employers to develop a methodology to enable them to take these steps. This methodology is likely to cover how employers should go about introducing a fair and transparent pay and grading system, and so will also be encouraging organisations to exhibit best practice within their pay and reward structures which is a crucial part of ensuring equal pay as well as pay transparency.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps her Department is taking to help encourage businesses to complete horizontal pay audits requiring companies to identify whether there are patterns of unequal pay between men and women at different levels in their organisations.

The Equality Act 2010 contains strong equal pay protections – it is unlawful for employers to pay men and women differently for doing the same work, similar work, or work of an equal value.

Many employers already conduct regular equal pay audits, in order to ensure that they are not acting unlawfully, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission provides detailed guidance to assist them in completing these. In 2014, the Government strengthened equal pay protections by introducing mandatory equal pay audits for organisations that lose an equal pay claim.

Since 2017 all large employers have been required to publish specific gender pay gap (GPG) information on an annual basis; and many employers choose to take the additional step of producing an action plan. Not all causes of the GPG are within employers’ control but we want employers to tackle those that are. For example, there is evidence to show greater pay transparency helps women negotiate a better deal when they apply for a job.

On International Women’s Day this year, we called on all employers to provide salary information in all of their job adverts, and to stop asking about previous salary during recruitment. We also announced that we would be working with employers to develop a methodology to enable them to take these steps. This methodology is likely to cover how employers should go about introducing a fair and transparent pay and grading system, and so will also be encouraging organisations to exhibit best practice within their pay and reward structures which is a crucial part of ensuring equal pay as well as pay transparency.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of updating planning guidance on allowing windows of listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas to be replaced with double-glazed windows.

There is no legislation or national planning policy which specifically prohibits the installation of double-glazed windows in listed buildings or buildings in conservation areas. Original windows can be central to the special historic or architectural character of a building or area and so each case needs to be considered on its own merits. Historic England, the Government's adviser on heritage, produces a range of guidance on this matter, including Traditional Windows: Their Care, Repair and Upgrading : https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/traditional-windows-care-repair-upgrading/heag039-traditional-windows-revfeb17/ .

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals for additional means by which student accommodation providers can contribute to local authority finances.

Local planning authorities are able to collect developer contributions through the Community Infrastructure Levy and section 106 planning obligations. The levy is a set charge on most new development to help address the cumulative impact of development by funding infrastructure provision anywhere across the authority's area.

Different charges can be set for different types of development, based on viability evidence. In Bristol for example, the levy charge for student accommodation is currently £148 per square metre citywide, while the charge for other residential development in Bristol is either £103 or £74 per square metre, depending on location. Local planning authorities can also seek a bespoke section 106 planning obligation, where appropriate, to mitigate the impact of a specific development.

An Infrastructure Funding Statement, detailing an authority's request, receipt and use of developer contributions, is required to be published annually.

We are exploring replacing the existing system of developer contributions with a new Infrastructure Levy, which would also be chargeable on this type of development.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 28 October 2021 to Question 59830 on EWS1 forms, if the Government will take further steps to ensure that mortgage lenders do not request EWS1 forms for flats in buildings below 18 metres in height, in line with government guidance.

The Government strongly supports the expert group's view that EWS1s should not be required for buildings under 18 metres and continues to challenge industry on the use of the EWS1 process. Government continues to engage directly with lenders on this issue.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2021 to Question 67182 on Buildings: Fire Prevention, what assessment the Government has made of the adequacy of mechanisms to minimise disruption and ensure that cladding, insulation and other elements of a building are only removed once for remediation, including in circumstances when the funding for that remediation is from two or more sources, such as the Building Safety Fund and residents directly, and which may cover separate elements of the work.

Building owners are responsible for the safety of their building, including keeping residents informed of any building safety work they are undertaking and for making sure that any disruption to residents is minimised. There is no requirement by Government to plan or fund other works unrelated to the removal of unsafe cladding in order for Government-funded remediation to take place.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps the Government will take to ensure the delay in the Planning Inspectorate report on the Silverthorne Lane development in Bristol does not have a negative impact on the construction of the Oasis Academy Secondary School, in the event that approval for the development is granted.

The proposed school, the Oasis Academy Temple Quarter, has a current target for opening in 2025, subject to planning permission being granted. It is to be funded by the Department for Education to address a shortage of secondary places in central and east Bristol. The Planning Inspectorate is liaising with officials in my department on programming, and speaking with officials in the Department for Education in order to achieve the target.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing additional guidance to prevent leaseholders from being liable for 100 per cent of the remediation costs for replacing dangerous cladding in cases where they only own part of a flat through Help to Buy or similar shared ownership schemes.

The Government's position is that building owners and industry should make buildings safe without passing on costs to leaseholders, including shared owners and those who have purchased through the Help to Buy scheme. In line with this, building owners should pursue all routes to meet costs. For example, through warranties and recovering costs from contractors for incorrect or poor work. The Government remains committed to protecting leaseholders from unaffordable costs and will continue to examine what more can be done to protect and support all leaseholders, including shared owners and those who have purchased their homes through Help to Buy.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what the reasons are for the delay in the publication of the Planning Inspectorate report on the Silverthorne Lane development in the St Philips area of Bristol.

Following the closure of the Inquiry into the Silverthorne Lane development the Inspector is now preparing her report and recommendation for Ministers to consider. The Inspector has had to seek further evidence from parties on revisions to published guidance made after the close of the inquiry. When her report is submitted, the target date for determining the application will be published.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what provisions are in place for British nationals who are in the UK under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy or will be in the UK under the Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme and who wish to be resettled in a specific place as a result of the availability of existing support systems.

All British nationals and their families who were evacuated are being provided with the same bridging accommodation and wrap-around support as everyone else. For example, we have provided all British Nationals with cash cards to give them subsistence support whilst their Universal Credit claim is processed. British Nationals and their families are provided with bridging accommodation for as long as is needed.

We continue to work at pace to agree the right long term support offer for British Nationals and great care is being taken in the matching process to meet the needs of the families as far as possible.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what provisions are in plans to help ensure minimum disruption for residents in buildings where fire safety remediation is potentially being carried out on two parallel tracks to fix defects that are (a) covered by the Building Safety Fund and (b) beyond the remit of that fund.

Building owners are responsible for the safety of their building, including keeping residents informed of any building safety work they are undertaking and for ensuring that any disruption to residents is minimised. Likewise building owners, or their representatives, are also responsible for the planning and delivery of the remediation of unsafe cladding being funded by the Building Safety Fund. As part of the funding application building owners must inform residents of the nature of the works they intend to carry out and provide them with regular updates on the progress of the remediation and they must ensure remediation projects follow best industry practice.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in the context of remediation of fire safety defects in towerblocks, whether exemptions are possible for wooden balconies in the event that they have been treated with fire retardant material.

The Government has always been clear that a risk-based professional judgement should be made regarding the safety of a building’s external wall system and would encourage building owners to consult a competent professional who will be able to advise.

A number of factors should be considered when considering balconies including building height, balcony arrangement and location as well as consideration of other fire safety measures such as sprinklers. We cannot comment on specific building situations however we would always encourage those undertaking these assessments to use an approach proportionate to the level of risk in each building.

In April 2020, the Government published the workplan for the technical review of the statutory guidance to the Building Regulations with regards to fire safety (Approved Document B). We have commissioned research for this fundamental review which will address key fire safety issues. We have already started research on balcony spandrels and laminated glass, construction technologies and design, compartmentation and fire resistance, and other important topics. Details of the technical review are set out here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877365/Technical_review_of_Approved_Document_B_workplan.pdf

The Technical Review will provide us a robust evidence base to make any future policy decisions.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to publish detailed guidelines for local authorities on support for relatives of British nationals to be evacuated from Afghanistan under the forthcoming Afghan citizens resettlement scheme.

We recognise the vulnerability of this group and as such, British Nationals are currently being accommodated in bridging accommodation in the same way as arrivals on the ARAP and ACRS programmes. They are also able to access Universal Credit, with financial support available until this is set up for them. DLUHC is working closely with the Home Office on this and a range of issues. Further details will be announced in due course.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what advice he can give to leaseholders in buildings below 18 metres in height, where mortgage lenders are refusing to give mortgages without an EWS1 form, despite the Government's clarification that EWS1 forms are not needed in buildings of that size.

An independent expert statement in July this year was clear that there is no systemic risk of fire in residential buildings under 18 metres and that EWS1 forms should not be required by lenders on buildings under 18 metres. The Government strongly supports this position and made this clear in its written statement of 21 July.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what requirements are in place for EWS1 forms for apartment buildings which are (a) below 18 metres in height and (b) in need of remedial work according to a fire safety survey completed by the building's owners.

Following the Independent Expert Statement in July this year on Building Safety in medium and lower rise blocks of flats, the Government strongly supports the expert group's position that EWS1 forms should not be required on buildings under 18 metres. Any concerns identified in buildings under 18 metres, via an up to date statutory fire risk assessment, should be addressed primarily by risk management and mitigation, before any remediation considerations.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the rules on buildings above 18 metres tall and with potentially combustible cladding apply to those buildings originally under 18 metres tall, which are subsequently extended vertically to above 18 metres.

Details of the scope of the ban on combustible materials are provided in the circular letter which accompanied the amendments of the Building Regulations and associated amended guidance. The circular letter is available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/924452/29112018_Circular_Letter.pdf.

In summary existing blocks of flats originally under 18m tall which are subsequently extended vertically to above 18m would be undergoing a material change of use defined in regulation 5(k). In these cases, Regulations 5(k) and 6(3) provide that the construction of the external walls, and specified attachments, must be investigated and, where necessary, work must be carried out to ensure they meet the requirements of the ban.

We have published the following circular letter dealing specifically with upward extensions and the application of the Building Regulations requirements in August 2020.

The circular letter is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/924449/Building_regs_circular_032020.pdf.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, on what date successful applicants to the Community Renewal Fund will be notified; and whether he plans for the fund to extend beyond March 2022.

There has been significant interest in the UK Community Renewal Fund across the four investment priorities and bids are being assessed in line with the published assessment process. Outcomes will be announced shortly and bidders informed. We will provide further guidance on UK Community Renewal Fund as soon as possible, to enable bidders to plan for delivery once decisions have been announced.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he plans to make of the environmental impact of the proposed Whitehaven Coal Mine in Cumbria, in response to the publication of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In March of this year, the then Secretary of State called in the planning application for the proposed Whitehaven Coal Mine. A public inquiry is currently sitting, overseen by an independent planning Inspector. That inquiry will consider all relevant planning considerations, including the environmental effect of the proposal. Following the close of the inquiry, a report and recommendation will be prepared for Ministers to consider.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to tackle discrimination against people with children.

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for employers, public authorities or service providers to discriminate or harass a person because of or for reasons related to the protected characteristic of ‘sex’, or victimise them for bringing a complaint, in any of the areas covered by the Act. The prohibition on indirect discrimination may provide protection for parents – for example, it is unlawful discrimination for an employer to apply a provision, criterion or practice which puts women, who are more likely to have childcare responsibilities, at a particular disadvantage unless it can be justified.

However, as far as providing specific protection for parents under the Act - for example by making parenthood a protected characteristic – is concerned, my assessment is that a change of this sort to equality law would risk providing additional rights for some groups at the expense of others and should therefore be treated with caution as having a potentially divisive effect. We have no plans to do this.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 3 June 2020 to Question 46100 on Equality Act 2010, what the timeframe is for identifying the additional costs that local authorities may incur.

Section 36 of the Equality Act cannot commence for private companies before an assessment of local authority costs is made. This is because Section 36 applies to all types of landlords; commencement of Section 36 may require local authorities to meet additional costs regardless of the type of landlord. Departments continue to engage on quantifying additional costs.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 3 June 2020 to Question 46100, whether section 36 of the Equalities Act 2010 can commence for private companies before any assessment of local authority costs is made.

Section 36 of the Equality Act cannot commence for private companies before an assessment of local authority costs is made. This is because Section 36 applies to all types of landlords; commencement of Section 36 may require local authorities to meet additional costs regardless of the type of landlord. Departments continue to engage on quantifying additional costs.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to Answer of 3 June 2020 to Question 46100, what the timescale is for her Department to quantify the additional costs that may be incurred by local authorities.

Section 36 of the Equality Act cannot commence for private companies before an assessment of local authority costs is made. This is because Section 36 applies to all types of landlords; commencement of Section 36 may require local authorities to meet additional costs regardless of the type of landlord. Departments continue to engage on quantifying additional costs.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the consequences of the choice of date for the covid-19 lockdown in autumn 2020 and how this compared with projected consequences based on the lockdown recommendations of SAGE at that time.

Throughout the pandemic the Government has carefully balanced the economic and social implications of restrictions with the need to protect public health. This has required many difficult judgements.

The Government has always listened carefully to the views of the scientific community when making decisions; in particular, the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-groups.

Advice published in SAGE 66 was that: ‘if well-adhered to, the lockdown measures due to start in England on 5th November are likely to reduce R to less than 1. If this is sustained until 2nd December, the number of hospital admissions and deaths would be expected to fall until at least the second week of December.’

The subsequent data clearly shows that the national measures the Government put in place from 5 November until 2 December 2020 increased precautionary behaviours and reduced prevalence, which in turn reduced rates of hospitalisation and mortality.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to extend the voting franchise for local elections in England to include all resident foreign nationals holding leave to remain under the Immigration Act 1971.

British citizens, qualifying Commonwealth citizens, citizens of the Republic of Ireland, and EU citizens, are entitled to vote in local elections in England (provided they are also resident here and meet other eligibility criteria). The Government has no plans to extend the franchise for local elections to include any other resident foreign nationals.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that Government information on covid-19 is communicated effectively to people with autism.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to PQs 109552, 107140 and 907859.

We have an ongoing programme of engagement designed to reach vulnerable audiences and those who are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 guidance is available across multiple channels in a range of alternative formats, and can be found through the gov.uk accessibility statement. We have supported third parties and local support networks to deliver more detailed information for bespoke enquiries. For example, when the wearing of face coverings became mandatory for certain indoor environments, the Government produced and shared new communications to aid public understanding of groups who might be exempt. These measures were taken to ensure appropriate enforcement of regulations and to mitigate potential abuse of disabled people for perceived non-compliance.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the criteria is for adding an ethnicity to the options in the national census.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ring-fencing advertising slots bought by Public Health England for use on community radio and for non-profit local TV broadcasters.

Further to the answers given to PQs 37724 and 37725 on 27 April 2020, in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government has developed a national campaign to provide information, guidance and reassurance to the public.

The campaign spans owned, earned and paid-for channels, including local radio and TV, to maximise reach and engagement. We are constantly reviewing our use of each of these channels and amending campaign activity accordingly to ensure our messaging reaches as many people as possible.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department expects to start receiving supply of the Novavax covid-19 vaccine.

The UK will only receive a supply of the vaccines it needs to meet its vaccination programme. The Government will continue to be guided by the advice of the JCVI on which vaccines should be deployed in the UK’s vaccination programmes. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will provide advice to the Government, after taking into consideration the safety and efficacy of the Novavax vaccine.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a long-term zero carbon electricity contracts market, as recommended in the UCL policy briefing entitled Delivering competitive industrial electricity prices in an era of transition, published on 9 September 2021.

The Government has made great strides in decarbonising power supply. However the Government is also aware that reaching Carbon Budget 6 and the 2050 Net Zero target may require additional policy changes to ensure the right market mechanisms are in place.

The Government is considering how policies should evolve and will continue to be guided by its commitment to meeting carbon budgets, maintaining energy security, and ensuring value for money for all electricity users.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether officials in his Department have had discussions with representatives of Royal Mail on delays in postal services over Christmas 2021.

The Department has regular discussions with Royal Mail on a range of issues.

Ofcom, the independent regulator, monitors Royal Mail’s performance and has powers to investigate and take enforcement action if Royal Mail fails to achieve its service delivery targets.

Royal Mail is required by Ofcom to publish quality of service reports on a quarterly basis and its next report, covering the period from October to December, is expected to be published later this month.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to provide guidance to retailers on accommodating the needs of customers who use assistance dogs.

The disability provisions in the Equality Act 2010 require providers of services and facilities to the public to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ so that disabled people are not placed at a “substantial disadvantage” compared to non-disabled people.

This means that people who provide goods, services and facilities to members of the public are expected to anticipate the requirements of disabled customers and the adjustments that may have to be made for them. The Equality and Human Rights Commission have published advice and guidance for businesses selling products, such as shops and petrol stations.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons the Government has terminated its supply agreement with Valneva for their covid-19 vaccine.

As any responsible government does, we manage our vaccine supply to meet our projected needs and to offer the best protection to those who need it, when they need it. Delays to Valneva’s contracted delivery schedule have meant that their ability to deliver an effective vaccine in the timeframe contracted for was unachievable. As such the vaccine no longer aligns with its planned use in our vaccination programme. Given the maturity of the UK’s vaccination programme, and with over 80% of the UK population now double vaccinated and now an alternative (in the absence of Valneva's product) autumn/ winter vaccination campaign underway, the government has therefore taken a decision to cancel the agreement with Valneva. Due to commercial sensitivities, we cannot disclose the details of our commercial discussions with them.

UK Government officials are engaged in constructive discussions with Valneva now to seek to reach a mutually beneficial resolution to the matters.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the environmental impact of new fossil fuel exploration projects, such as the Cambo oil field, in the context of the publication of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The development proposal from Cambo is being scrutinised in line with robust regulatory procedures and no decision has yet been taken.

All previously licensed fields, such as Cambo, are accounted for in terms of projected production and estimated emissions and we are confident that they can be developed, even as we seek to achieve our commitment to net zero by 2050. Domestic production of oil and gas out to 2050 remains below that which we will consume in a Net Zero world, according to the Climate Change Committee’s scenarios.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to regulate the (a) addition and (b) labelling of perfumes in menstrual products.

The UK has a comprehensive consumer safety and protection regulatory framework that covers menstrual and sanitary products, this requires producers and distributors to ensure their products are safe before they are placed on the market.

The safety of menstrual and sanitary products is regulated by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR). Under the GPSR, manufacturers are not required to list ingredients for their product.

These regulations are within scope of the review of the Product Safety Framework which is being carried out by the Office for Product Safety and Standards. This work will ensure that the UK product safety framework continues to be fit for purpose and adequately protects consumers so that our product safety system remains one of the best in the world.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of potential effect of delaying the publication of the Heat and Buildings strategy on his Department’s ability to reduce carbon emissions in line with legally binding carbon budgets.

In order to meet our Net Zero by 2050 target, we must act now to tackle the emissions produced by heating. In order to ensure continued progress, we have set a series of legally binding “carbon budgets”, which are amongst the most stringent climate targets in the world.

The Government is planning to publish the Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out our policies and plans for the 2020s, demonstrating how they work together to ensure we are on track for net zero by the end of the decade. The Strategy will build on the content of my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan and the Energy White Paper, setting the strategic context for decision making, institutional arrangements and enabling functions that will be critical to achieving the transition to low carbon heating.

The Heat and Buildings Strategy has not delayed policy implementation. Over the last 6 months, the Government has published and delivered a number of landmark policies and consultations, including the launch of Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, and a consultation on introducing a performance based policy framework for large commercial and industrial buildings, proposals to introduce Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards on Lenders as well as increasing ambition in the Non-Domestic Private Rented Sector to EPC B by 2030, where cost-effective.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the Government's timeframe is for local authorities to issue final payments for the Local Restrictions Grant and the Additional Restriction Grant; and if he will consider extending the final payment date for those schemes.

The Government continues to provide financial support via Local Authorities for businesses that are required to close, or which are severely affected by the restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives.

At the Budget, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer further extended the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme, providing top-up funding for Local Authorities to distribute to businesses. Final payments of the ARG must be made by 31 March 2022.

Local Authorities were expected to pay eligible businesses the full allocation of the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) (Closed) as soon as possible after receipt of the funding. They must issue payments for the second round of the 2021 LRSG (Closed) by 30 June 2021. The first round of LRSG (Closed) payments, from 5 January, must be paid out by 30 April 2021.

There are currently no plans to extend these deadlines.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the number of Green Heat Grant Installers needed to meet the Government's implementation target for the Green Homes Grant scheme.

The Government is working closely with industry to ensure there are enough installers to meet demand. More than 1,100 companies are registered with TrustMark and are able to carry out measures aligned to the Green Homes Grant Scheme, with more registering every day.

BEIS officials are working actively with TrustMark scheme providers and certification bodies to support installers to get certified as quickly as possible.

Furthermore, the Department launched a £6.9m skills competition to provide training opportunities for energy efficiency and low carbon heating supply chains to deliver works and scale up to meet additional consumer demand. Funding will be provided to support training individuals with existing skills and those new to the sector in energy efficiency and clean heat measures, along with support for installation companies to gain required PAS 2030 or MCS accreditation.

The competition recently closed and the bids are currently being assessed. Training will commence once successful applicants have been informed.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Green Homes Grant scheme, how many installers had signed up to be a Green Heat Grant Installer by September 2020.

As of 2nd November, there were 1,141 businesses that are TrustMark registered and certified to install measures under the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme. BEIS will continue to monitor installer applications as the scheme progresses.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 8 October 2020 to Question 97618 on Housing: Heating, what date his Department plans to publish the Heat and Buildings Strategy; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is developing options for a how a long-term framework of policy approaches, including regulation, can combine to provide a clear direction-of-travel for industry and accelerate the uptake of low-carbon heat, initiate a transformation of our building stock, and set us on a path to decarbonising all homes and buildings. Our Heat and Buildings Strategy will be published in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which local authorities applied to the green homes grant local authority delivery scheme.

BEIS are in the process of agreeing grant offers for 57 successful projects under the Local Authority Delivery scheme that will upgrade the energy efficiency of around 11,000 low-income households across England. Once grant offers have been finalised with those Local Authorities, a list will be published on GOV.UK.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which local authorities have been allocated funding through the green homes grant local authority delivery scheme.

I refer the hon Member to the answer I gave on 22 October to Question UIN 105421.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding has been allocated in the form of vouchers under the Green Homes Grant scheme to date.

As of 16:00 on 20 October 2020, the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme had received 20,903 grant applications. Applications are currently being processed and checked for compliance with the scheme rules.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the level of demand for grants under the Green Homes scheme.

The Green Homes Grant opened to applications on the 30 September 2020. As of 16:00 on 20 October 2020, 20,903 grant applications have been received, reflecting the high levels of consumer interest there are in the scheme. BEIS will continue to monitor application data as the scheme progresses.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households have applied for grants under the Green Homes Grant scheme to date.

As of 16:00 on 20 October 2020, the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme had received 20,903 grant applications.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the incentives to improve the energy efficiency of (a) private rented accommodation and (b)(i) council-owned and (ii) housing association-owned socially rented accommodation.

The latest tranches of Energy Company Obligation (ECO2 and ECO3) are currently being evaluated, with an evaluation report expected to be published in due course. We will also be reviewing in due course the effectiveness of our recently launched incentives of the Green Homes Grant and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the announcement of 30 September 2020 on the Green Homes Scheme, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to increase the fines for non-compliance with energy efficiency requirements for landlords in the private rented sector.

The Department has recently launched a consultation on improving the energy efficiency performance of privately rented homes. As part of the consultation, we are proposing to raise the maximum financial penalty per property and per breach of the regulations from £5000 to £30000.

The consultation, published on GOV.UK at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/improving-the-energy-performance-of-privately-rented-homes, will run till the end of December 2020.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the number of homes expected to be fitted with low carbon heating systems by 2030.

There are a number of options with the potential to play an important role in decarbonising heat, including heat networks, heat pumps, hydrogen and biogas. Given the diversity of heat demand, no one solution can provide the best option for everyone - a mix of technologies and customer options will need to be available to decarbonise heat at scale.

The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out the immediate actions we will take for reducing emissions from buildings. These actions include the deployment of energy efficiency measures and low carbon heating as part of an ambitious programme of work required to enable key strategic decisions on how we achieve the mass transition to low-carbon heat and set us on a path to decarbonising all homes and buildings.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring construction businesses to hold public liability insurance that covers work experience students.

Work experience students are considered to be employees, and will be covered by the employers' liability insurance policy of a business, provided the insurer is a member of the Association of British Insurers, or Lloyds.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to support small breweries.

We fully recognise the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on small businesses, including breweries. That is why we introduced an economic package to help small businesses, such as grants, loans and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The Government is continuing to work with the hospitality sector during the pandemic, including regular engagement with representatives from the industry.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he will take to ensure the skills of engineers who are made redundant at Airbus are utilised as part of the economic recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working closely with Airbus to help the company through Covid-19 and into recovery. I appreciate this is a worrying time for workers at Airbus who may be affected; the Government will do all that we can to support affected workers through the Department for Work and Pensions and Job Centre Plus in England, and in Wales through the services offered through the ReAct programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to monitor the effect on disabled people of the new covid-19 related rules on shopping.

The Government took into account people with disabilities when developing the guidance.

The safer workplaces guidance provides some suggestions to help employers make their workplaces COVID-19 secure for their employees, visitors and customers. We expect all businesses to approach reopening in a sensible way, taking account of the Government’s guidance and discussing with neighbouring businesses and their local authorities where applicable.

Our guidance does not replace existing employment, health and safety or equalities legislation. It provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what criteria the Government is using to decide which retail businesses can open on 1 June 2020; and if he will make a statement.

Since 1 June, outdoor markets and car showrooms have been able to open. The transmission of the virus is lower outdoors and in open spaces and the COVID-secure guidelines can be more easily followed.

All other non-essential retail will be able to reopen from 15 June if the scientific and medical advice allows and they are able to follow the COVID-secure guidelines. This provides shops and other retail branches enough time to put in place the necessary social distancing measures and hygiene standards.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of applying to remove the EU State Aid cap on the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Scheme for sectors that are not affected by state aid rules.

The Government keeps its business support schemes including the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality scheme under constant review. This is why we have updated guidance to Local Authorities administering the scheme, and why, based on feedback from our stakeholders, we launched the Discretionary Grant Scheme to allow Local Authorities to support businesses which did not meet the criteria for the Small Business Grant Fund or Retail Leisure and Hospitality scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when Bristol City Council will receive guidance on the top up to local business grants scheme announced on 2 May 2020.

The Government has announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants as part of the suite of Business Support grants supporting businesses and local economies across England. Guidance, intended to support Local Authorities in administering the Discretionary Grants Fund, was published 13th May.

Guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding

This will not replace existing guidance for the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) or the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

Guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-business-support-grant-funding-guidance-for-businesses

The additional Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs. We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

Local Authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for this fund and may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need, subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria. Businesses seeking information should refer to their Local Authority for further information on their discretionary scheme. Businesses already in receipt of the SBGF, RHLGF or Self-employed Income Support Scheme are not eligible.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 6 April 2020 to Questions HL2882, what steps the package travel sector has agreed to take as a result of Government engagement with that sector on its legal obligations to customers whose holiday or travel has been cancelled as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Sector representatives are aware that the law has not changed in relation to refunds. Businesses in the sector are offering consumers refund credit notes but this must be the choice of the consumer who retains the right to a cash refund.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to waive bankruptcy fees for people who become bankrupt as a result of the economic effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

Government has no plans at this time to waive bankruptcy fees.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what (a) financial and (b) practical help he is providing to ensure that (a) people (i) self-isolating and in a (ii) vulnerable or shielded group and (b) other people who use coin-operated energy meters are able to maintain power supply during the lockdown.

The Department reached a voluntary agreement with all domestic energy suppliers to a set of principles to support energy customers impacted by COVID-19. These principles include support for prepayment meter customers, who primarily use electronic tokens, keys or cards to top up their meters. Based on individual circumstances, the support available to prepayment meter customers could include:

  • extending discretionary/ friendly credit or sending out a pre-loaded top up card;
  • enabling customers to nominate a trusted third party to be able to pick up discretionary credit sent to a shop on their behalf;
  • switching smart prepayment meters into credit mode, or extending non-disconnection periods, and;
  • taking reasonable steps to contact prepayment customers with advice on what to do in the event of self-isolation.

Many energy suppliers have provided additional support for their customers.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that protective equipment is provided for people working in food shops during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is clear that we must support people in work to follow PHE guidance during the Covid-19 outbreak. We have taken an evidence-based approach to the use of PPE. For people working in supermarkets, based on current evidence, practising good hand hygiene and social distancing is key to minimising the risk of infection.

We are in regular conversations with industry, including the British Retail Consortium and supermarket CEOs, to ensure it is well prepared to deal with a range of scenarios and operations remain in line with the latest health guidance.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance his Department has issued to shop owners on protective measures for front line food retail staff during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Government is clear that we must support people in work to do the right thing during a Covid-19 outbreak. We are in regular conversations with industry, including the British Retail Consortium and supermarket CEOs, to ensure it is well prepared to deal with a range of scenarios and operations remain in line with the latest health guidance.

We need everyone to do their bit to stop the spread of the virus. We all have a responsibility to keep a distance from others – including while shopping.

Food shops that remain open will be expected to comply with requirements on people to keep a distance from each other. We will continue working closely with supermarkets to help them meet the demand for online deliveries. We’re also working with local authorities to deliver essential items to those who are most vulnerable.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) representatives of the insurance industry on compensation for businesses affected by the outbreak of covid 19.

The Government is well prepared for this type of outbreak. The Department is frequently communicating with business representative organisations, including the Association of British Insurers, to gain current intelligence on Covid-19 and its impact on businesses.

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are currently working together to take all necessary steps to understand the effect of Covid-19 and to respond.

Last week, the Government confirmed that for those businesses which do have a policy that covers pandemics, the Government’s action is sufficient and will allow businesses to make an insurance claim against their policy.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to bring forward regulations on the amount that companies can charge when their services automatically renew; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to tackling so-called subscriptions traps and other business practices that harm consumers.

In response to specific complaints about these practices in telecoms, insurance, and cash savings, regulators (Ofcom and the FCA) are taking action to ensure that longstanding customers are not charged more. For example, Ofcom has agreed with most major mobile and broadband providers to give discounts to customers that have been paying high “out of contract” prices in mobile and broadband.

The Government will consult on stronger enforcement powers to ensure harmful trading practices like these are tackled.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the BBC on the effect of TV Licensing enforcement activities on people with (a) dementia and (b) autism; and if he will publish the minutes of those meetings.

The government meets regularly with the BBC to discuss a wide range of topics.

However, the BBC Board and TV Licensing are responsible for the enforcement and collection of the TV licence as set out in the Charter.

In relation to the BBC’s changes to the over 75 concession, the BBC has provided assurances that it will deliver the most sensitive possible handling for those who may be affected, including elderly people with complex illnesses like dementia.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether galleries that are both a retail gallery and have an accredited museum status can open at stage 2 of the Government's lockdown roadmap.

In Step 2 non-essential retail is allowed to reopen. Schedule 2, 13(5)(m) of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 sets out clearly that in Step 2 indoor attractions at museums and galleries must remain closed, but this does not include retail galleries where the majority of the art on display is for sale.

Indoor attractions at museums and galleries will be able to reopen in Step 3, no earlier than 17 May.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to direct more of the next allocation of the Culture Recovery Fund to smaller local cultural organisations and programmes.

The government has put in place one of the most comprehensive packages of business support in the world, including for the cultural sector, an announcement of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).

The CRF has seen over £1.2 billion awarded to nearly 5,000 organisations and sites since October last year, with 70% of grant funding going outside of London. A wide range of organisations from independent cinemas to heritage sites, nightclubs, local theatres, grassroot music venues and many others have been saved that otherwise would have been lost forever.

In the 2021 Budget the Chancellor announced a further £300 million for the CRF. This funding will continue to support key cultural organisations; to bridge the sector as audiences begin to return; and continue to ensure a vibrant future for the culture sector as the nation recovers from the pandemic. Further details will be announced in due course and we will continue to work closely with the sector to ensure it remains supported.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps to ensure that the criteria for the next allocations of the Cultural Recovery Fund will allow applications from organisations which exist within a wider commercial group structure.

Last year the government announced the unprecedented £1.57 billion support package for the culture sector. To date, over £1.2 billion has been allocated from the Culture Recovery Fund, reaching over 5000 individual organisations and sites.

In the 2021 Budget the Chancellor announced a further £300 million for the CRF. This funding will continue to support key cultural organisations; to bridge the sector as audiences begin to return; and continue to ensure a vibrant future for the culture sector as the nation recovers from the pandemic. Further details on this funding and its criteria will be announced in due course and we will continue to work closely with the sector to ensure it remains supported.

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to publish guidelines on the ventilation of galleries, museums and other cultural venues open to the public ahead of their reopening as covid-19 restrictions ease.

Public Health England has published guidance on the ventilation of indoor spaces which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-ventilation-of-indoor-spaces-to-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus/ventilation-of-indoor-spaces-to-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-covid-19

The Health and Safety Executive has published guidance on ventilation and air conditioning here:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation/index.htm

There are no plans for the Government to publish separate guidelines on ventilation of galleries and museums and other cultural venues; however, such venues are advised to have due regard to the the published guidance together with the Art Council England’s Government Indemnity Scheme advice, which can be found here: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/protecting-cultural-objects/government-indemnity-scheme#section-1

Good practice guidance for reopening museums published by the National Museum Directors’ Council with support from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport can be found here:

https://www.nationalmuseums.org.uk/coronavirus-update/nmdc-good-practice-guidelines-opening-museums/

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the effect on Gross Value Added in the event that festivals and other mass participation events cannot take place in summer 2021 due to the covid-19 outbreak.

We appreciate the important role that the festival sector plays in the UK’s economy, and that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to this sector. We have been working closely with the festival sector to understand the challenges it faces and to keep the situation under review.

The festival sector has estimated the total GVA for festivals to the UK economy is £1.76bn. The industry has also estimated that widespread cancellation of festivals in the summer could lead to a drop in GVA of £1bn (between June and August 2021).

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will provide sector-specific support to (a) events and festivals and (b) companies in the events supply chain where covid-19 restrictions and guidance remain in force.

We are aware that COVID-19 and related restrictions have severely impacted these sectors and their supply chains. We continue to engage with stakeholders through the Tourism Industry Council, the Festival and Outdoor Events Working Group and the Venues Steering Group. These groups include representatives from leading sector organisations and other experts to develop action plans for how we can best support the sector’s safe reopening. Pilots will run as part of the Events Research Programme to examine how such events can take place without the need for social distancing using other mitigations such as testing.

The live events and festival sectors have been eligible to access Government COVID-19 support. This includes various government-backed loans, business grants, reduction in VAT and the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes. The recently announced discretionary Local Restrictions Support Grant and Additional Restrictions Grant provides local authorities with funds to support businesses that meet the eligibility criteria. On 5th January the Chancellor announced one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring.

These sectors have also benefited from the Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF). Over £1 billion worth of funding has now been allocated across the UK, including over £800 million to almost 3800 arts, culture and heritage organisations and sites in England. Supply chain organisations were eligible for the CRF. They are recognised as a critical part of the sector. An additional £300 million was announced at Budget on 3 March for the CRF.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to make available funding from the Youth Investment Fund; and how the £30 million allocated to capital investment for 2021-22 will be distributed across the UK.

The Youth Investment Fund remains a manifesto commitment for transformative levelling up across England over the course of the parliament. In the recent announced Spending Review £30m of this was committed as capital investment for 2021-22. This will provide investment in new and refurbished safe spaces for young people, so they can access support youth workers, and positive activities out of school, including sport and culture. Further details of the timetable for allocation and how the funding will be distributed will be announced in due course.

Government recognises the significant impact of Covid-19 on young people, particularly the most vulnerable, and on the youth services that support them. A £16.5m Youth Covid-19 Support Fund has been announced which will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to bring forward (a) fines for and (b) criminal prosecutions against social media companies in the event that voluntary agreements do not result in a reduction in misinformation about the covid-19 vaccine on those companies' platforms.

We are working closely with social media platforms to help them identify and take action to remove incorrect claims about the virus, particularly around the potential Covid-19 vaccine in line with their revised terms and conditions, and to promote authoritative sources of information.

The Online Harms White Paper highlighted disinformation as potentially being in scope of the regulatory framework, and set out a list of potential steps that platforms could take ahead of regulation. Further details about how the legislation and the regulator will tackle disinformation will be published in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper. The regulator will have strong enforcement powers to deal with non-compliance, including the power to issue notices, warnings and fines.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on what date he plans to enable singing in (a) choirs, (b) audiences and (c) religious congregations as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We are committed to getting the performing arts sector fully back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so. It is a priority of my department to work with the arts and cultural sectors to address the challenges of reopening. We have released guidance to support the performing arts sector resume activity in line with the roadmap announced by the Secretary of State last month. In addition, the Government is supporting a number of studies that are currently underway to understand more about the risks associated with these activities. The findings from these studies will inform further changes in the guidance.

Singing, especially in groups, such as in choirs or in audiences - in religious settings or otherwise, is considered a higher risk activity because of the potential for aerosol production and the absence presently of developed scientific analysis to assess this specific risk. The evidence is being developed rapidly. Whilst further evidence is being developed, we advise that non-professional groups should not sing in at this stage and should only do activities in line with government guidance on social mixing.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps is taking to enable singing in (a) choirs, (b) audiences, and (c) congregations as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We are committed to getting the performing arts sector fully back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so. It is a priority of my department to work with the arts and cultural sectors to address the challenges of reopening. We have released guidance to support the performing arts sector resume activity in line with the roadmap announced by the Secretary of State last month. In addition, the Government is supporting a number of studies that are currently underway to understand more about the risks associated with these activities. The findings from these studies will inform further changes in the guidance.

Singing, especially in groups, such as in choirs or in audiences - in religious settings or otherwise, is considered a higher risk activity because of the potential for aerosol production and the absence presently of developed scientific analysis to assess this specific risk. The evidence is being developed rapidly. Whilst further evidence is being developed, we advise that non-professional groups should not sing in at this stage and should only do activities in line with government guidance on social mixing.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will produce guidance to support (a) festivals and (b) other outdoor events to reopen safely as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Events Industry Forum has published Covid-19 secure guidance on outdoor events which has been developed with input from DCMS. Event organisers should take account of government guidance on performing arts when organising outdoor events with live performances.

We will continue to work with the festivals and the outdoor events sector to develop Covid-19 secure guidance that reflects the latest government regulation and policy.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating additional financial support to the (a) We, The Curious centre in Bristol and (b) other science education centres to mitigate the financial effects of the covid-19 lockdown.

We recognise that these are extremely difficult conditions for those science education centres like We, The Curious, which also operate as visitor attractions. These organisations educate and entertain visitors of all ages on what science is.

We do not have any plans to make an assessment of the merits of allocating additional support to the We, The Curious centre, or to other science education centres. Visitor attractions will benefit from the reduced rate of VAT which the Government will temporarily apply to attractions, accommodation and hospitality from 15 July 2020-12 January 2021.

In addition, the Department for Education is funding a range of science institutions to support high-quality science education. This includes funding STEM Learning to deliver high quality CPD for teachers of science through the national network of 33 Science Learning Partnerships. STEM Learning also deliver Project Enthuse, which provides DfE-funded bursaries for teachers to attend CPD classes.

The Department for Education also funds the Institute of Physics to run the Stimulating Physics Network to provide support to schools to improve progression to physics A level, particularly by girls.

The DfE has been working with its providers to agree how to modify their science education programmes in light of the current situation. This has involved ensuring all activity prioritises the safety of staff, teachers and pupils, while continuing to support schools and teachers where possible.

Businesses and workers in the science education centre sector can also access the Government’s comprehensive economic support package. This includes the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan scheme, VAT payment deferrals for firms and £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the tourism industry in Bristol.

We recognise the COVID-19 crisis has significantly impacted tourism across the UK, including in Bristol. DCMS and VisitEngland remain in regular contact with tourism stakeholders and Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) to closely monitor the situation and to assess the economic effects in all regions.

The Chancellor has announced a host of measures to support businesses and individuals through the crisis, including those in the tourism sector. This includes the recently extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Bounce Back Loans scheme.

Through VisitEngland, we announced a £1.3 million scheme to provide financial support to DMOs at risk of closure due to COVID-19. The DMO Resilience Fund has supported a number of DMOs in the South West, including £22,400 support for Visit Bristol, helping them to continue their vital business support work.

From 4 July, people will be allowed to enjoy holidays in England. To help tourism businesses prepare, we have published reopening guidance on Gov.uk for the visitor economy as well as hotels and other guest accommodation.

We will continue to engage with stakeholders - including through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and the Visitor Economy Working Group - to assess how we can most effectively support tourism’s recovery across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the tourism industry in the UK.

We recognise that these are extremely difficult conditions for tourism businesses across the country. DCMS and VisitEngland remain in regular contact with tourism stakeholders and Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) to assess the economic effects on the industry.

I encourage affected tourism businesses to continue to explore the Government’s economic support package, which includes the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Bounce Back Loans scheme.

Through VisitEngland, we announced a £1.3 million scheme to provide financial support to DMOs at risk of closure due to COVID-19.

In preparation for parts of the sector reopening on 4 July, we have published reopening guidance on Gov.uk for the businesses in the visitor economy as well as hotels and other guest accommodation. VisitEngland have also introduced an industry standard quality mark that tourism businesses can acquire if they are compliant with COVID-19 secure guidance.

We will continue to engage with stakeholders - including through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and the Visitor Economy Working Group - to assess how we can most effectively support tourism’s recovery across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of short-term lets in Bristol.

We recognise that these are extremely difficult conditions for hospitality businesses across the country, including short term lets. My officials and I continue to engage with short term holiday accommodation stakeholders to monitor the impact. No specific assessment has been made on COVID-19’s effect on the number of short term lets in Bristol.

In preparation for parts of the sector reopening on 4 July, we have published reopening guidance on Gov.uk for hotels and other guest accommodation, including short term holiday lets.

We will continue to engage with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support tourism’s recovery across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of short-term lets in the UK.

We recognise that these are extremely difficult conditions for hospitality businesses across the UK, including those in the short term lets market. We also greatly appreciate this market’s work in housing key workers and vulnerable groups during this crisis.

My officials and I continue to engage with short term holiday accommodation stakeholders to monitor the impact. No specific assessment has been made on COVID-19’s effect on the number of short term lets in the UK.

We have worked very closely with accommodation stakeholders to prepare reopening guidance for hotels and other guest accommodation, including short term holiday lets.

As the sector reopens from 4 July onwards, we will continue to engage with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support tourism’s recovery across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on charities and voluntary organisations working with and for disabled people.

Charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises across the country undertake incredibly important work with and for disabled people. This work has become even more critical during this unprecedented crisis.

Many organisations, including those working with and for disabled people, are experiencing significant pressures due to Covid-19, through either, or both, a loss of income and increasing demand for services increases.

This is why the government has made an unprecedented £750 million package of support available, specifically for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. The £200m Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF) forms a central part of this package, and is being distributed to organisations through the National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF). Organisations, including those who work with and for disabled people, should visit the TNLCF website to learn more about how to submit an application (www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk).

Furthermore, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced a £6 million fund to support charities working with people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to support independent local (a) print, (b) online and (c) broadcast news providers during the covid-19 outbreak.

To support the vital role of local news outlets, the government has clarified that all journalists including broadcast journalists, and other ancillary staff, are ‘key workers’ for the purposes of access to childcare and educational places. The government also issued guidance to local authorities on the importance of newspaper delivery, which has been critical to the continued dissemination of public interest news.

News publishers in particular are facing existential pressures due to the steep drop in advertising revenues resulting from the impacts of Covid-19. The government has therefore sought to maximise advertising opportunities for the sector, implementing a public information campaign to ensure the distribution of authoritative, up-to-date information about Covid-19, while also alleviating publishers’ financial pressures.. The current partnership brings together over 600 titles across the UK, of which the vast majority are local papers.

For online media outlets, the government has taken steps to ensure the use of ‘keyword blocklisting’ technology is not inadvertently damaging news publishers’ online advertising revenues for Covid-19 related stories. Additionally, the Chancellor brought forward the commencement of zero-rating of VAT on e-newspapers in order to bring savings to readers and support digital publishing.

We are in regular dialogue with stakeholders about ensuring the support offered to local news outlets is as effective as it can be. Ministers are also engaged with national and local broadcasters on a regular basis to understand the impacts of Covid-19 on their day to day operations, including broadcast news provision.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will increase the Community Radio Fund for 2020-21 to provide additional support to community radio stations experiencing financial hardship as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The government is strongly supportive of the community radio sector and recognises the great value that it offers to communities across the United Kingdom, in terms of providing quality local news, information and entertainment.

The government has today announced that the £400,000 Community Radio Fund administered by Ofcom will be used to provide a lifeline for radio stations hit hardest by the coronavirus. Relevant stations will be invited to bid for emergency grants through Ofcom to help meet their core costs.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he is having with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the provision of temporary financial assistance for organisations in the creative industries who are affected by covid-19.

Last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced additional measures to support businesses and organisations that have been impacted by the pandemic.

This includes the Government stepping in to help pay people’s wages – a scheme which is one of the most generous of any in the world – paying grants to support as many jobs as necessary. Any employer in the country who promises to retain their staff, can apply for a grant to cover most of the cost of paying people’s wages. Government grants will cover 80 per cent of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month, with this limit set well above the median income. The cost of wages will be backdated to 1st March and will be open for at least three months. The Government will consider extending the scheme for longer if necessary.

We are also deferring the next three months of VAT, a direct injection of £33 billion of cash to employers which means no business will pay any VAT in March, April or May; and they will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will now be interest free for twelve months, an extension from the initial announcement of six months. We have already introduced and announced an extension to the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which is for small and medium-sized businesses. On Tuesday, the Chancellor expanded the amount that can be borrowed from £1.2 million to £5 million.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if the Government will introduce a compensation scheme for performers, events organisers and others affected by the cancellation of performances and festivals as a result of covid-19 pandemic.

Last week, the Secretary of State and Minister for Digital and Culture took calls with the creative and cultural sectors amongst others to understand the challenges that they are facing. Officials are continuing to engage with organisations daily in order to best understand how Government can support the cultural and creative sectors and regular Ministerial engagement is taking place.

Arts Council England also announced measures in support of it’s funded organisations last week. More information for those this may apply to can be found here: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19#section-2

Businesses that experience increased costs and disrupted cash flow as a result of Coronavirus are being supported. The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has already announced a host of measures to help businesses in this period with £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK, delivered through two schemes:

  • Support for liquidity amongst large firms, with a major new scheme being launched by the Bank of England to help them with any disruption to their cash flows through loans.

  • Increasing the amount businesses can borrow through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £1.2m to £5m and ensuring businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as the Government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.

£20bn of direct fiscal support for businesses in England through tax relief and cash grants to help business manage cash flow. This includes:

  • Cash grants of up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000.

  • Cash grants of £10,000 for several hundred thousand small businesses eligible for business rate relief and rural rate relief.

  • Entirely removing all eligible properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector from business rates, so that no pub, hotel, or high street shop will pay business rates for 12 months.

  • This comes on top of compensation for businesses having to cover Statutory Sick Pay that the Chancellor announced in the Budget.

As part of the government’s emergency legislation measures, Statutory Sick Pay will be available from day one for those affected by coronavirus. Anyone on zero-hour contracts who may not be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay will be able to claim Universal Credit or New Style Employment and Support Allowance, dependent on their circumstances.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will hold discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the exemption from business rates to ensure that waiver covers studios, performance spaces and other venues which are part of the creative industries even if they have a rateable value of more than £51,000 if they have to be closed as a result of Covid 19.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced last week additional measures to support businesses and organisations that have been impacted by the pandemic. Guidance for businesses can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Last week, both the Secretary of State and Minister for Digital & Culture took calls with the cultural and creative industries sector amongst others to understand the challenges that they are facing as they respond to Government advice regarding Covid-19. Ministers have been representing DCMS sectors through COBRA committees.

Officials are continuing to engage with organisations daily in order to best understand how the Government can provide further guidance and support following the announcement of these measures, and regular Ministerial engagement is taking place.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that event organisers that have been required to cancel their event due to the covid-19 outbreak will receive compensation.

Government recognises that multiple aspects of the events sector are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, including event organisers, conference centres and event suppliers.

We are taking a number of steps to make sure that the events sector is financially supported through the coronavirus crisis. My Department regularly engages with stakeholders in the sector and across Government on this developing issue. We will continue to monitor its impact on the sector and would urge events businesses to share information with VisitBritain via their Tourism Industry Emergency Response group.

The Chancellor has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency. This includes a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, tax relief and cash grant measures, plus £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK. I am also writing to the Chancellor to provide clarity guidance for the events sector on business rate relief.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support schools with rising energy costs.

I refer the hon. Member for Bristol West to the answer I gave on 22 March 2022 to Question 138095 and on 28 March 2022 to Question 145876.

The department recognises that schools will be facing cost pressures in the coming months, particularly due to the increase in energy prices. We are looking carefully at how this will impact schools and considering what additional support we can offer. Cost increases should be seen in the wider context of funding and support for schools.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that (a) administrative and (b) communication support is available to maintain relationships between birth and adoptive families (i) during and (ii) after child adoption processes where safe and appropriate.

Local authorities have a legal duty to provide a comprehensive adoption service.

This specifically includes 'Assistance, including mediation services, in relation to arrangements for contact between an adoptive child and a natural parent, natural sibling, former guardian or a related person of the adoptive child.'

As set out in our ‘Adoption Strategy: achieving excellence everywhere’, the department will be working with Regional Adoption Agencies to develop and trial what good practice around contact looks like, with a view to setting national standards in this area. This will include working closely with birth parents and those with lived experience.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to support families with the cost of childcare.

The department knows that the cost of childcare is a key concern for parents, which is why the government has made an unprecedented investment in childcare over the past decade, with over £3.5 billion spent in each of the past three years on early education entitlements.

The government’s range of childcare offers includes 15 hours free early education for all three and four-year-olds, regardless of parental income or working status. This helps children to develop social skills and prepare them for school, regardless of their background.

In 2013, the offer was extended to the most disadvantaged two-year-olds, providing a developmental boost to disadvantaged children who are less likely to use formal childcare, but who stand to benefit from it the most.

In 2017, the department introduced 30 hours free childcare for working parents of three and four-year-olds. To be eligible for this, a lone parent must earn from just over £7,400 a year, and a couple, where both parents are working, from just over £14,800 per year, to access 30 hours. This can save parents over £6,000 per year.

The department have also introduced tax-free childcare, which is available for working parents of children aged 0-11 (or up to 16 if their child is disabled), with the same income thresholds as 30 hours free childcare. This scheme can save parents up to £2,000 per year (or up to £4,000 for children with disabilities) and can be used alongside 30 hours free childcare.

Working parents on Universal Credit may also be eligible for help with up to 85% of their childcare costs through the childcare element of Universal Credit. This is subject to a monthly limit of £646 for one child or £1108 for two or more children aged 0-16.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse's Investigation Report into Child sexual exploitation by organised networks, what assessment the Government has made of the the implications for its policies of that report's recommendations; and whether the Government plans to accept and implement recommendation six of that report on unregulated placements.

The department welcomes the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s report on child sexual exploitation in organised networks and its findings. The department will carefully consider the inquiry’s recommendations and will respond within the inquiry’s deadline of six months.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government provides a crown guarantee to the Universities Superannuation Scheme via the Office for Students.

The Department for Education agreed to guarantee liabilities due to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) built up by the Higher Education Funding Council for England prior to its cessation in 2018. The department also agreed to guarantee future liabilities due to the USS built up by the Office for Students (OfS), in the event that there is winding up of the OfS or its successor body if no other body assumes the OfS’ functions.

The department’s liability in acting as guarantor for the USS was originally valued at £5 million, as recorded in the remote contingent liabilities section of the Department for Education’s 2017/18 financial year annual report and accounts. The liability valuation has remained at £5 million for all subsequent years, as shown in the department’s annual reports and accounts: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dfe-annual-reports.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
28th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending access to the Adoption Support Fund to allow foster children who have experienced trauma to apply for funding for therapeutic services.

The Adoption Support Fund was developed in recognition that children who have left the care system, through adoption or special guardianship orders, were not getting the therapeutic support necessary for them to attach to their new permanent parents and carers.

The law is very clear that children in foster care must have a care plan that sets out their needs and how their local authority will meet them. The care plan should include information about the child’s emotional and behavioural development, and how any emotional or behavioural difficulties are to be managed. It must also include what support should be available to the foster carer to meet the needs of the child.

From 2019 to 2021, the government have invested over £1 million to pilot high quality mental health assessments to maximise learning and inform changes needed to the mental health assessments of looked after children going forward.

The pilots generated considerable learning and we will be working closely with NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure learning from the pilots is embedded in service delivery for looked after children moving forward, building on the commitment in the NHS Long-Term plan. The department aims to support pilot sites to embed and sustain the learning and good practice from the pilot within their local areas.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department will make a final decision on school exams going ahead in 2022.

We are determined to press ahead with examinations this year. We regularly engage with stakeholders throughout the education sector and there continues to be widespread support for examinations to go ahead.

Together with Ofqual, we consulted on and have confirmed a range of adaptations to GCSE and A/AS level exams. By 7 February, exam boards will be releasing advance information about the focus of the content of examinations in most GCSE and A/AS level subjects. Combined with the choice of content or topics in some GCSEs, and a transition year for grading, this package provides unprecedented support, reflecting the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have been clear our intention is for examinations to go ahead, but think it is right that we continue to have contingency plans in place for the unlikely event that examinations cannot go ahead fairly or safely, and have confirmed that students would receive teacher assessed grades instead.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to improve provision of social services to protect vulnerable children.

Local authorities children’s social care spending on the most vulnerable children – those needing a social worker, children in care, and care leavers – has increased by over £3 billion since financial year 2012-13.

The department takes robust action when an authority does not meet its requirements to protect all children and young people. Local authorities rated inadequate by Ofsted receive comprehensive support from the department. Those performing well are supported to share best practice.

In this financial year, 2021-22, we have invested £5.7 million to expand our sector-led improvement (SLI) programme so that 19 of our strongest performing local authorities are able to work with their peers, to improve children’s social care services. Since July 2021, SLI partners have worked with 42 local authorities, the majority of which are judged to be inadequate or require improvement by Ofsted, and have delivered around 5,500 days of support to the sector.

We are investing over £4 million over the three years to March 2024 to support the development of corporate and political leadership across children’s services, working closely with the Local Government Association. 146 local authorities out of a total of 151 have benefited from the programme to date.

We have also invested £22.2 million in the COVID-19 Regional Recovery and Build Back Better Fund this year, which seeks to support local authorities to work together to address COVID-19 pressures, where a regional approach would be beneficial in addressing issues that face the sector.

Looking to the future, this government is committed to making a real difference to the needs, experience and outcomes of vulnerable children and families supported by children’s social care. To do this, we need to make fundamental changes to the current system. That is exactly why this government launched the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, a bold and broad review with the aim of contributing to ambitious and deliverable reforms.

The review will share its final recommendations in spring 2022 and the government will then consider and respond to them. Further, the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’s death and the Joint Targeted Area Inspection of Solihull will make sure we learn what needs to be changed nationally, and that we can understand and strengthen local work to safeguard children.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she made of the impact on (a) children aged five to 11 who are clinically extremely vulnerable or who have a close relative who is immunosuppressed and (b) the staff working with those children who are either clinically extremely vulnerable or have a close relative who is immunosuppressed, of allowing children aged five to 11 in families where there is a confirmed covid-19 case to continue attending school; and if she will make a statement.

The department will always prioritise the health and welfare of staff, pupils and students.

At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, shielding was introduced as one of the few ways to support those who, at the time, were considered clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV).

The situation is now very different to when shielding was first introduced. We know a lot more about COVID-19 and what makes someone more or less vulnerable to the virus. The vaccine continues to be successfully rolled out, and other treatments and interventions are becoming available.

We are committed to protecting education, which is why the safety measures are based on the latest scientific advice and strike a balance between managing transmission risk with measures such as regular testing, enhanced ventilation and hygiene, and reducing disruption to face-to-face learning.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have not advised people to shield since 1 April 2021, and people previously identified as CEV were advised to follow the same guidance as the general population. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do.

All children and young people previously considered CEV were advised to return to childcare and education provision when shielding paused on 1 April. The decision to include children as part of the CEV group was based on the information that we had at the time. Now that we have more evidence, the clinical review panel has been able to recommend that all children and young people are no longer considered to be CEV and have been removed from the Shielded Patient List. However, if a child or young person has been advised to isolate or reduce their social contact by their specialist, due to the nature of their medical condition or treatment, they should continue to follow the advice of their specialist.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised that children aged 5 to 11 in a clinical risk group, and household contacts of individuals who are immunosuppressed, should be offered 2 10mcg doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, with an interval of 8 weeks between the first and second doses. The NHS is working through updated guidance and will set out how this is going to be operationalised in due course.

Vaccines remain an effective measure against COVID-19. We recommend all school staff take up the offer of a vaccine.

Education providers should continue to ensure good hygiene for everyone, maintain appropriate cleaning regimes, keep spaces well ventilated and follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19. They should continue to conduct risk assessments for their particular circumstances and take appropriate action in line with our guidance, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

It is important that we reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education, particularly given that the direct clinical risks to children are extremely low. The evidence is clear that being out of education causes significant harm to educational attainment, life chances, mental and physical health, which is why children should continue to attend their education provision, unless they are symptomatic or test positive for COVID-19. All students and pupils aged 5 and above are strongly advised to take seven daily lateral flow device tests if they are identified by Test and Trace as a close contact of a confirmed positive case.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will review the resources provided to local authorities in order to meet the service standards set out in the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice.

The department announced on 16 December that high needs funding for children and young people with complex needs is increasing in financial year 2022-23 by £1 billion to over £9.1 billion.

This unprecedented increase of 13% comes on top of the £1.5 billion increase over the last 2 years and will continue to support local authorities and schools with the increasing costs they are facing. Every local authority will attract an increase of at least 12% per head of the 2 to 18-year-old population in financial year 2022-23, with some local authorities seeing increases of up to 16% compared to the previous year.

As well as substantial increases in high needs funding for all local authorities, we are also targeting extra support for those authorities in the most financial difficulty and reviewing the overall system of support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The SEND Review is considering all elements of the SEND system, and the outcome of that review will be published in the first quarter of 2022 as a green paper for full public consultation.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the Government will offer additional support and resources to local authorities' early intervention teams within their education departments.

In the autumn Budget a package of £500 million for ‘Early Help’ was announced. This includes a £300 million package to transform ‘Start for Life’ services and create a network of family hubs in half of council areas in England and a £200 million uplift to the ‘Supporting Families’ programme.

The additional funding provided for ‘Supporting Families’ takes the total investment to £695 million over the next 3 years, around a 40% real-terms uplift in funding for the programme by financial year 2024-25.

The ‘Supporting Families’ key workers consider the whole family’s needs and work through a multi-agency approach which includes schools and education specialists.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in what ways (a) young people and (b) others in Bristol West constituency are able to engage with his Department on its Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a range of measures at COP26 to put climate change and sustainability at the heart of education. These included a draft Sustainability and Climate Change strategy for the education and children’s services systems, a new National Education Nature Park and Climate Leaders Award.

From December 2021 to March 2022, working groups of sector representatives and a group of young people, reflecting a diverse range of voices, backgrounds, and experiences, will bring together feedback on the draft Sustainability and Climate Change strategy from those they represent.

The department has set up a youth panel to ensure we can listen to the views of young people as we further develop the strategy. Young representatives from larger organisations such as the Student Climate Commission, Teach the Future, the UK Sustainable Schools Network and the Green Skills Youth Council will share the views of the children and young people from their networks at the youth panel meetings. The department encourages all interested stakeholders to feed their views in via these organisations.

The department will work closely with the working groups and with delivery partners across government to refine and build on the strategy ahead of publication of a final version in April 2022. We will also continue to engage with a wide range of stakeholders through bi-lateral meetings and topic specific workshops.

The department will be launching an informal online survey early next year for interested stakeholders. We will publish the details of the survey in the new year and will make it available to schools and young people.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy, how his Department selected the user groups chosen to feedback on that Strategy.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a range of measures at COP26 to put climate change and sustainability at the heart of education. These included a draft Sustainability and Climate Change strategy for the education and children’s services systems, a new National Education Nature Park and Climate Leaders Award.

From December 2021 to March 2022, user groups of sector representatives and a group of young people, reflecting a diverse range of voices, backgrounds, and experiences, will bring together feedback on the draft Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy from those they represent. Youth representation will also be included in the sector group.

The department will work closely with these groups and with delivery partners across government to refine and build on the strategy ahead of publication of a final version in April 2022.

In recruiting members to each user group, we have been mindful of the need to balance the range of voices with the need for focused and meaningful discussion. The department has used the advice and views of sector leaders and experts to help us select participants in each group, seeking to ensure each one represents a key organisation working in the field or group of recognised stakeholders. This will allow us to more effectively access a broad range of opinions in a short space of time. Organisations such as the Early Years Alliance, teaching unions, Association of Colleges, and UniversitiesUK are amongst the participants and we would encourage interested stakeholders to feed in their views via these representatives.

The department will also continue to engage with a wide range of stakeholders through bi-lateral meetings, topic specific workshops and an informal public survey.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of schools in Bristol have received carbon dioxide monitors.

During the Autumn term, the department provided CO2 monitors to all state-funded education providers, including early years, schools and further education colleges, backed by £25 million in government funding.

We have now delivered on our public commitment with over 353,000 monitors delivered in the Autumn term. Feedback suggests that schools are finding the monitors helpful to manage ventilation and, in the majority of providers, existing ventilation measures are sufficient.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent progress his Department has made on reviewing the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice.

The department is currently conducting a major review of the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system. In the first three months of 2022 we will launch a consultation on our proposals. We will need to consider the outcome of our consultation to determine whether any legislative changes are required in relation to any parts of the SEND system.

The SEND Code of Practice is statutory guidance about the exercise of SEND functions under Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014. We will therefore be consulting on updating the Code as part of delivering a reformed SEND system.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support the Government provides for parents who wish to pursue complaints with academy schools about their provision of support for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Local authorities must make disagreement resolution services available to parents and young people for matters relating to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). These services can be used for disagreements between parents or young people and schools, including academies, about the SEND provision made for a child or young person, whether they have education, health and care plans or not. Further information about these services can be found on the local authority’s local offer website.

All academies must have a complaints procedure, which complies with Part 7 of the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014. If a complainant has completed the school’s complaints procedure, or if they feel they have been prevented from doing so, they can complain to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). The ESFA will consider whether an academy has followed the correct process in handling a complaint, but the ESFA cannot change an academy’s decision about a complaint. Further information on the ESFA’s remit in considering complaints more fully is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/complain-about-an-academy/complain-about-an-academy. Guidance on taking forward complaints about SEND support is available here: https://www.gov.uk/complain-about-school/sen-complaints.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of returning to a 26 weeks from the request for assessment for local authorities to finalise Education and Health Care Plans, as was the case for the previous statementing process.

The education, health and care plan (EHCP) needs assessment system was introduced as part of the new special educational needs and disability (SEND) Regulations in 2014 and is different from the assessment for a statement of special educational needs that had previously been in place.

The time limit of 20 weeks was set to reflect the changed process of assessment as well as responding to the need to ensure a smoother and swifter system for determining special educational provision for children and young people.

The department is currently looking at the EHCP process as a whole as part of the SEND Review.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government plans to replace Local Authority Monitoring and Brokerage Grant funding by increasing the money allocated to schools directly in the event that the grant funding is withdrawn.

The department has consulted on plans for reforming how local authorities fund their school improvement functions and will publish a government response early in the new year. The department is continuing to deliver year on year, real term per pupil increases to school funding. We are investing a further £4.7 billion by financial year 2024-25 for the core schools budget in England, over and above the Spending Review 2019 settlement for schools in financial year 2022-23.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a centralised system that pays for bursaries for trainee educational psychologists.

Since 2020, we have increased the number of educational psychologists whose training we fund, from 160, to over 200 per academic year. This is delivered through contracts with two consortia, led by the University of Manchester, and University College London.

The department funds trainees’ bursary payments for the first year of their training course, while bursaries for the second and third years are funded by the local authorities where the trainees are deployed. We do not have plans to introduce a centralised system for this.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking with universities to increase the number of places on training courses for educational psychologists.

Since 2020, we have increased the number of educational psychologists whose training we fund, from 160, to over 200 per academic year. This is delivered through contracts with two consortia, led by the University of Manchester, and University College London.

The department funds trainees’ bursary payments for the first year of their training course, while bursaries for the second and third years are funded by the local authorities where the trainees are deployed. We do not have plans to introduce a centralised system for this.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment the Government has made of the capacity of local authorities, educational settings and health and care services to provide a high level of support and choice for families, as set out in the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice.

The department closely monitors a range of data and intelligence to assess the operation and delivery of the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) system. This includes data on:

  • special educational needs in schools via the annual collection of data from schools
  • the numbers of new assessments, plans and placements
  • local authority expenditure and dedicated schools grant assessment on spend/financial sustainability including Section 251 returns
  • feedback from local authorities and the Parent and Pupil Panel survey
  • inspection or revisit reports from the local area SEND inspections undertaken by Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The government recognises that the current SEND system does not deliver the outcomes we want or expect for children and young people with SEND, their families or the people and services who support them. The SEND Review is seeking to improve the outcomes for children, with high expectations and ambitions. We need to build a financially sustainable system, where there is clear accountability. The Review will publish as a green paper for full public consultation in the first three months of 2022.

The department, with SEND advisers and NHS England advisers, provides support and challenge to 89 local authority/health/social care areas who, following their Ofsted and CQC inspection or revisit, were required to produce a written statement of action (71 local authorities) or accelerated progress plan (19 local authorities) to improve the local areas’ ability to meet their statutory duties as set out in the SEND Code of Practice. In addition, the department commissions specialist support from delivery partners and delivers training programmes to local authorities, health and social care staff across the country on their statutory assessment duties.

We recognise that pressures on high needs budgets have contributed to some local authorities finding it difficult to manage their dedicated schools grant funding.

By financial year 2021-22, annual funding allocations to local authorities for high needs will have increased by more than £2 billion, or one third, since 2019-20. As a result of the recent Spending Review, overall funding for the core schools budget, from which high needs funding is drawn, will increase by a further £4.7 billion by financial year 2024-25, compared to previous plans, representing further real terms per pupil increase each year. We will announce how that increase will be split between mainstream schools and high needs in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to make non-local authority maintained schools accountable for providing support for children with Education and Health Care Plans additional to the support set out in those plans.

Local authorities are statutorily responsible for securing the provision specified in the education, health and care (EHC) plans they maintain, working with their relevant health partners. Where an EHC plan names a local authority maintained school, an academy, a non-maintained special school, a maintained nursery school, a general further education college or an independent special school or specialist post-16 institution on my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education's approved list, it is statutorily required to admit the child or young person. The local authority remains responsible for securing the provision and monitoring its effectiveness, for example through the annual review process.

An EHC plan must identify the special educational needs of the child or young person, with any relevant health and social care needs, must set long-term outcomes and must specify provision to deliver them. A child or young persons EHC plan should therefore identify all the additional special educational provision which they require over and above that ordinarily available in the school.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support he has made available to local authorities following the increased age range eligible for support from 19 to 25 brought in under the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice.

When the high needs funding block of the dedicated schools grant (DSG) was created in financial year 2013-14, it included the extension to age 25. The expected additional cost to local authorities was considered by:

  • Moving all funds previously allocated to supporting young people aged 16-25 with high needs through the previous funding system, into the high needs block of the DSG; and
  • Increasing the high needs block further to reflect the likely increase in numbers of young people requiring high needs funding.

£272 million was added to the DSG in the financial year 2013-14, and £390 million in the financial year 2014-15, to take account of the extended age range to 25 covered by the DSG. The difference between the two years is mainly because some of the changes post-16 started in August 2013 rather than at the start of the financial year in April 2013.

These increases in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 financial years were consolidated into the funding baseline that informed the 2015 Spending Review settlement reached between the department and HM Treasury. Local authorities’ increased spending, including on 16-25-year-olds, was also considered in subsequent baselines used for allocations of high needs funding through the DSG, and for informing overall Spending Review settlements.

The autumn 2021 Spending Review delivers an additional £4.7 billion for the core schools' budget by financial year 2024-25. This settlement includes an additional £1.6 billion for schools and high needs in the financial year 2022-23, on top of the funding we announced in the summer of 2021, following the previous Spending Review. We will confirm in due course how this additional funding for the financial year 2022-23, and the two subsequent years, will be allocated for schools and high needs.

In 2017 the department produced guidance for local authorities about education, health and care (EHC) plans for 19 to 25-year-olds with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This non-statutory guidance is primarily for local authorities. It aims to support them in making fair and consistent decisions about when they should maintain an EHC plan beyond the age of 19 or issue an EHC plan to a young person aged 19 or over, in line with their duties under the Children and Families Act 2014, and as described in the SEND Code of Practice.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate the Government has made of the proportion of Education and Health Care Plans that have been issued within 20 weeks nationally.

The number and percentage of education, health and care (EHC) plans that have been issued within the statutory timescale of 20 weeks is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/9641146e-f32a-4f3f-925c-bde4cc238be0.

The latest published data shows that 58.0% (31,446) of EHC plans issued in 2020, excluding exceptions, were issued within 20 weeks.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the Government will provide additional support to local authorities to meet increased demands for statutory assessments for Education and Health Care Plans for children, beyond specific support from the Department for Education and Ofsted to manage historical backlogs.

The Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities is responsible for local government funding, including funding necessary to support local authorities to meet their statutory duties with regards to all children's services, including special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services.

This year, local authorities have access to £51.3 billion to deliver their core services, including SEND services. Local authorities have the flexibility to spend according to local needs and priorities, including to undertake education, health and care needs assessments.

The autumn 2021 Spending Review delivered an additional £4.7 billion for the core schools' budget by financial year 2024-25. That includes an additional £1.6 billion for schools and high needs in financial year 2022-23, on top of the funding we announced last summer. The department will confirm in due course how this additional funding for 2022-23, and for the two subsequent years, will be allocated for schools and high needs. Increasing funding for schools should help to reduce the demand for statutory assessment, thereby reducing the burden on local authorities.

We have introduced the ‘safety valve’ intervention programme for those local authorities with the very highest percentage dedicated schools grant deficits. The programme requires the local authorities involved to develop substantial plans for reform to their high needs systems, with support and challenge from the department, to rapidly place them on a sustainable footing, including appropriately managing demand for education. The department will help these local authorities with additional funding over time to contribute to their historic deficits, contingent on delivery of reforms and targets set out in published agreements.

The department will continue to work with other government departments, including the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, to ensure the Spending Review reflects the needs of children’s services.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to publish the outcome of discussions with the Department of Health and Social Care on providing an exemption to the student finance equivalent or lower qualification rules for paramedicine.

The Department for Education continues to work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care on the possibility of extending the equivalent or lower qualification exemption to those studying paramedic science degrees.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department is issuing to universities on continuing study abroad programmes for students for the academic year 2021-22.

For any forthcoming international mobility in education, regardless of how it is funded, we expect all universities, colleges and schools managing these to follow the relevant Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for the destination country and to highlight this to their participants, being aware that the situation can change.

We suggest anyone who may be affected discuss their placement with their provider, being conscious that their placement may not be able to continue as originally planned, but there may be opportunities for it to start at a later date if the situation changes and this is feasible. Participants should be ready to comply with local isolation, testing or quarantine requirements, and will need to rely on the local health system.

Turing Scheme and Erasmus+ mobilities will both be in operation during the 2021/22 academic year.

Current government guidance for Turing Scheme, Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps travel is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#travel-guidance-for-erasmus-and-european-solidarity-corps-exchanges.

FCDO travel advice per country can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when applications will open for students to apply for postgraduate student loans for the academic year 2021-22.

The Student Loans Company launched its application system for postgraduate loans for the 2021/22 academic year on 28 June 2021.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that students taking GCSEs and A Levels have access to set texts for upcoming assessments.

Students should have confidence in their grades this year. Awarding organisations have provided assessment materials, guidance, and training to support centres to make fair, consistent, and evidence based decisions which are without bias. Ofqual has also published information for centres about making objective judgements this year.

For the 2021 summer series, reasonable adjustments for disabled students and access arrangements should have been in place when evidence was generated. Where they were not, centres should take that into account when coming to their judgement. Teachers have had the flexibility to substitute or discount evidence where reasonable adjustments were not applied. For all assessments completed in the summer term, centres should have ensured students had access to reasonable adjustments. Special circumstances that may lead a teacher to disregard a piece of evidence or to replace it with another piece of evidence would cover instances where students were not provided with their approved access arrangements or reasonable adjustments when completing their work. This also applies where temporary illness or injury, bereavement, or some other event outside of the student’s control might have temporarily affected their performance.

This year, teachers have assessed their students based on what they were taught, not what they missed. Regarding the use of set texts, the Department expects students to have been assessed on the specific texts taught by their schools. Schools should follow their own processes for ensuring students have access to set texts, as they would in any other year.

Centres should follow the schools operational guidance on equipment when using classroom based resources, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#system-of-controls.

Where schools have taught remotely, they should follow the guidance on remote education, which refers to the provision of resources, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#system-of-controls.

Where only some of the text has been taught, teachers had the flexibility to focus their assessments on the proportion taught.

Deadline for centres to submit their teacher assessed grades was 18 June so centres have therefore completed their assessments for the 2021 series.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to schools to ensure that the individual circumstances of pupils can be taken into consideration and discretion exercised in awarding GCSE grades.

Students should have confidence in their grades this year. Awarding organisations have provided assessment materials, guidance, and training to support centres to make fair, consistent, and evidence based decisions which are without bias. Ofqual has also published information for centres about making objective judgements this year.

For the 2021 summer series, reasonable adjustments for disabled students and access arrangements should have been in place when evidence was generated. Where they were not, centres should take that into account when coming to their judgement. Teachers have had the flexibility to substitute or discount evidence where reasonable adjustments were not applied. For all assessments completed in the summer term, centres should have ensured students had access to reasonable adjustments. Special circumstances that may lead a teacher to disregard a piece of evidence or to replace it with another piece of evidence would cover instances where students were not provided with their approved access arrangements or reasonable adjustments when completing their work. This also applies where temporary illness or injury, bereavement, or some other event outside of the student’s control might have temporarily affected their performance.

This year, teachers have assessed their students based on what they were taught, not what they missed. Regarding the use of set texts, the Department expects students to have been assessed on the specific texts taught by their schools. Schools should follow their own processes for ensuring students have access to set texts, as they would in any other year.

Centres should follow the schools operational guidance on equipment when using classroom based resources, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#system-of-controls.

Where schools have taught remotely, they should follow the guidance on remote education, which refers to the provision of resources, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#system-of-controls.

Where only some of the text has been taught, teachers had the flexibility to focus their assessments on the proportion taught.

Deadline for centres to submit their teacher assessed grades was 18 June so centres have therefore completed their assessments for the 2021 series.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether (a) schools and (b) teachers in England will receive additional financial support to carry out the work associated with providing pupils with teacher assessment grades.

This year, due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, students are being awarded grades determined by their teachers and based on a range of evidence. Assessing students and determining their standard of performance is an important part of teachers’ roles in a typical year. Nevertheless, many elements of the approach to awarding qualifications in 2021 have been designed with workload in mind. The Department is regularly engaging with teacher unions and other sector representatives to ensure the processes developed, and the guidance that supports them, reflects their feedback. The Joint Council for Qualifications and the exam boards have published extensive guidance and materials for schools and colleges to support teachers with their assessment, marking and making their judgements of students’ performance in these challenging circumstances.

Exceptionally for 2021, the Department is providing additional funding to centres for teachers to process priority appeals following results day. This will be £75 per each priority appeal. In addition, we are providing funding to awarding organisations so that state-funded schools will not need to pay a fee for formal appeals this year. Last year, we announced the biggest pay rise the teaching profession has seen since 2005, with above-inflation rises to the teacher pay scales. We are also committed to introducing a £30,000 starting salary.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what research his Department has carried out or commissioned on the effect of hunger and poverty on children's ability to learn effectively.

The government supports the provision of nutritious food in schools, which ensures that pupils are well nourished, develop healthy eating habits and can concentrate and learn. Under the benefits-related criteria, there are currently 1.6 million pupils eligible for and claiming a free school meal, and a further 1.4 million infant-aged children who benefit from our Universal Infant Free School Meals policy.

The government also funds breakfast clubs in over 2,450 schools to support more than a quarter of a million children in the most disadvantaged areas of the country. Up to £24 million will be available to extend our support for school breakfast clubs until 2023, to make sure that thousands of children in disadvantaged areas have a healthy start to the day. We know that breakfast clubs can bring a wide range of benefits for children. An evaluation by the Education Endowment Foundation found that supporting schools to run a free-of-charge, universal breakfast club before school delivered an average of 2 months’ additional progress for pupils in key stage 1 with moderate to low security. Breakfast club schools also saw an improvement in pupil behaviour and attendance.

Backed by an investment of up to £220 million, the Holiday Activities and Food programme ran nationwide throughout the 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. This programme builds on pilots of the scheme since 2018, including last summer’s programme, which supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities. We have developed this programme, as we know that disadvantaged children are more likely to experience unhealthy holidays (in terms of nutrition and physical exercise), are less likely to take part in enriching activities and can experience isolation during the holidays.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether a student who receives a positive result on a school-based lateral flow test may return to school and stop self-isolating, if they receive a negative result on a PCR test.

In January, confirmatory PCR testing for pupils and students taking lateral flow tests in an assisted setting at school or college was paused. This was the same across all other sectors and NHS Test and Trace set out at the time that this was expected to be a temporary measure until prevalence was reduced. NHS Test and Trace and Public Health England have kept the changing clinical circumstances under review and have now advised that, due to the ability for PCR to now detect and track new variants and the lower prevalence of COVID-19, confirmatory PCR testing should now be reintroduced.

If you conduct a lateral flow test at home or receive a supervised school/college-based lateral flow test (LFT) as part of the rapid asymptomatic testing programme and it is positive then you, your close contacts, and other members of your household should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance. All positive results from rapid tests, whether conducted at home or at a school or college, will then need to be confirmed with a PCR test within two days of the positive LFT. This should be booked immediately either online or by calling 119. Whilst awaiting the PCR result, you and your close contacts should continue to self-isolate. If the PCR test is negative, provided it was taken within two days of the positive LFT, it overrides the LFT and you can return to school or college and you, your close contacts, and other members of your household can stop self-isolating.

NHS Test and Trace guidance is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what specific support his Department will provide to help enable current in Year 10 pupil to be adequately prepared for GCSEs at the end of next academic year.

The Government recognises that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education and are committed to helping pupils make up lost education due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

We know that it is important that pupils in this cohort are able to obtain a grade safely and fairly and we will continue to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on all pupils to ensure that those due to take exams in 2022 are supported to move on to the next stage of their lives fairly.

The Department has appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to oversee the long-term plan to help schools support pupils make up their education over the course of this Parliament. Sir Kevan will engage with parents, pupils, and teachers in the development of this broader approach and review how evidence-based interventions can be used to address the impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on education. We will share further details in due course.

As an immediate step, on 24 February 2021, the Department committed an additional £700 million to support summer schools, tutoring, early language interventions and additional support to schools to help pupils make up their education. This builds on the £1 billion catch-up package announced in June 2020, which included a Catch-up Premium, shared across state primary and secondary schools to support schools to make up for lost teaching time over this academic year. It also includes the National Tutoring Programme which provides schools with access to high-quality, subsidised tuition in this academic year and next.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of offering the same provision of catch-up support available to state maintained schools to schools run by Community Interest Companies for pupils with state maintained places.

In June 2020, the Government announced a £1 billion catch up package that included a £650 million catch up premium. Independent schools with pupils who have an education, health and care plan or special educational needs and disability support funded by the local authority attract catch up premium funding at a rate of £240 per pupil. Mainstream schools attract funding of £80 per pupil. We have applied additional weighting to specialist schools, recognising the significantly higher per pupil costs they face.

In February 2021, the Government announced a further £700 million Education Recovery plan. As well as a range of measures to support all pupils to recover lost education, the plan includes significant funding aimed at addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils. This includes a one-off £302 million recovery premium for the next academic year that will be allocated to schools on the same methodology as the pupil premium. This will provide each mainstream school with £145 for each eligible pupil and special (including special units within a mainstream school), alternative provision and hospital schools with £290 per pupil across the 2021-22 academic year.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that teacher assessed grades for the 2020-21 academic year are equitable in the (a) state and (b) private sector; and if he will publish guidance on that matter.

Pupils are working hard in preparation for their GCSEs, AS and A levels this year and teachers have made tremendous efforts to provide high quality education both in the classroom and remotely. Given the ongoing disruption to education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, we announced in January that GCSE, AS and A level exams will not go ahead as planned this summer. Fairness to young people is fundamental to the Department and Ofqual’s decision making. We want to ensure all young people have the confidence that, despite exams not going ahead, they will receive a grade that reflects their ability and enables them to progress.

This year, teachers will not be asked to judge the grade a pupil might have achieved if the COVID-19 outbreak had not occurred. They will be asked to make an evidence-based judgement of the grade each pupil is performing at. Guidance will be provided to teachers by the end of March 2021, to support them in making assessments fairly and consistently.

Schools and colleges will have a range of supporting materials available to help them in marking and awarding grades. There will also be a process for both internal and external quality assurance to support teachers to do what is needed and ensure as much consistency as possible. Head teachers will have to confirm to the exam boards that the requirements for quality assurance have been met at the time of submitting the grades for their centre. Exam boards quality assurance will check the evidence to support grades submitted at a sample of centres, to ensure consistency in approach between centres. The sample of centres subject to these checks will be drawn to ensure representation of all types of centres, including state and private schools and colleges.

As part of their quality assurance process, schools and colleges will be given guidance on the use of previous performance data for their centre to help benchmark their results. The use of previous performance data is intended for guidance only and will not limit grades awarded for a student if supported by evidence.

We understand that whilst some independent schools choose to take qualifications regulated by Ofqual, many also choose international GCSEs, which are not regulated by Ofqual and are not part of the arrangements for summer 2021 that apply to GCSEs, A/AS levels and VTQs. We have worked closely with the exam boards who have confirmed that exams in England for their international GCSEs will not go ahead and pupils will be awarded grades using teacher assessment.

26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of an educational recovery plan to support all pupils that have had their education disrupted as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to helping all children and young people make up learning lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, committed to work with parents, teachers and pupils to develop a long-term plan to help pupils make up their learning over the course of this Parliament. As an immediate step to support early years settings, schools and colleges, on 24 February, we committed an additional £700 million to support summer schools, tutoring, early language interventions and additional support to schools to help pupils make up their learning. This builds on the £1 billion from last year and brings the total available to £1.7 billion.

We have also appointed Sir Kevan Collins as the Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on this broader plan. The objectives of the Education Recovery Commissioner as outlined in the terms of reference are to advise on the design and implementation of potential interventions that will help students catch up learning lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The terms of reference for the Education Recovery Commissioner is published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/960070/Terms_of_reference.pdf#:~:text=Education%20Recovery%20Commissioner%3A%20role%20specification%20and%20terms%20of,approach%20for%20education%20recovery%2C%20with%20a%20particular%20focus.

The Department will continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on pupils and their catch-up needs to help target support across the system effectively.

26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2021 to Question 96101 on Coronavirus: Children, what steps his Department is taking to monitor common covid-19 symptoms in children; and how the data on the most common covid-19 symptoms in children is taken into account when setting covid-19 testing criteria for children.

Monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms and criteria for Test and Trace are clinical issues, and therefore fall within the responsibility of the Department of Health and Social Care. As part of the return to face-to-face education from 8 March, all secondary school and further education college students will be offered regular asymptomatic testing for COVID-19, receiving four tests on their return with three of these on site. Thereafter, students will receive twice-weekly home tests.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to monitor schools' ability to include education on gender stereotyping as required by the statutory guidance on Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education.

The new subjects of Relationships Education (for primary aged pupils), Relationships and Sex Education (for secondary aged pupils) and Health Education (for all pupils in state-funded schools) became mandatory from September 2020. The statutory guidance sets out the content to be covered for each subject, which includes teaching about treating everyone with respect regardless of their background and characteristics, and how stereotypes can cause damage or might encourage prejudice.

As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver the content of the new subjects so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs of all of its pupils. In light of challenges faced by schools because of the impact of COVID-19 and school closure, schools may choose to focus this year’s RSHE teaching on the immediate needs of their pupils, with particular attention to the importance of positive relationships, as well as mental and physical health, introducing a more comprehensive RSHE programme in September 2021.

All schools must follow the principles of the Equality Act 2010 – the need to eliminate discrimination, to promote equality of opportunity and to foster good relations between different groups in society.

In September 2020, the Department published a support package to help all schools increase their confidence and the quality of their RSHE teaching practice. This includes teacher training modules, non-statutory implementation guidance, and training for teachers led by Teaching Schools.

Ofsted’s routine graded school inspections are currently suspended. When those inspections resume, inspectors will take account of the relationships education taught in each school as part of its evaluation of pupils’ personal development.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 22 January 2021 to Question 137960 on pupil premium allocation, how many pupils in (a) mainstream and (b) special educational needs schools (i) were eligible for the Pupil Premium as of 1 October 2020 and (ii) became eligible for Free School Meals between 2 October 2020 and 21 January 2021.

The January 2021 census will be used to determine pupil premium eligibility for alternative provision and pupil referral units for the financial year 2021-22. Pupil premium eligibility for mainstream and special schools will be based on the October 2020 census. The Department will confirm pupil premium allocations for the financial year 2021-22 in June 2021.

Data on the number of pupils who have become eligible for free school meals since 2 October 2020 is currently being collected in the spring school census and is not yet available.

The Department publishes information on pupil premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found via this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make financial support available to playscheme and breakfast club providers during the covid-19 outbreak.

We appreciate that the wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial pressures as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is for this reason that the government has made a range of financial packages of support available for businesses to access throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, as well as a £594 million discretionary fund for councils and the devolved administrations to support local businesses that may not be eligible for other support, during the current national lockdown. More information on this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

Additionally, we have encouraged all local authorities to consider which local grants could be used to bolster this part of the childcare sector in their areas, to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for children of critical workers and vulnerable children. This includes funding streams such as the holiday activities and food programme. The expanded programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, will be expanded to reach all local authority areas over the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.

The National School Breakfast Programme continues to be funded, and our suppliers Family Action along with Magic Breakfast are working closely with participating schools to make sure that children can still receive healthy breakfasts during this period, including for children staying at home.

Family Action have reported that more than 1,000 schools in disadvantaged areas are registered to receive breakfast deliveries from this programme during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will support further education colleges to provide safe in-person practical exams where necessary.

Following the recent announcement by the government that it is no longer viable for some exams and assessments to go ahead this academic year, exams and assessments for vocational and technical qualifications that require a student to demonstrate professional or occupational competence can continue to proceed in February and March 2021, with protective measures in place in line with Public Health England’s measures. The position on exams and assessments scheduled for April 2021 onwards is being considered in our joint consultation with Ofqual.

Where exams and assessments can continue, public health guidance has been produced for all exam centres on the arrangements they should have in place to deliver exams and assessments, including those of a practical nature: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/responsibility-for-autumn-gcse-as-and-a-level-exam-series/public-health-arrangements-for-autumn-exams.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 21 January 2021 to Question 137964 on Further Education: Computers, by which date further education providers will have (a) received invitations to order devices for students as part of the Government’s Get Help with Technology Programme and (b) received those devices.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

As of 1 February 2021, this includes over 927,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities.

Education settings for 16 to 19 year olds, including schools with sixth forms, further education (FE) and sixth form colleges, and other FE institutions will be able to order laptops and tablets to further support disadvantaged students to access remote education. The vast majority of settings with eligible pupils have already been invited to do so. Orders are currently being fulfilled within 5 working days.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the mass asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges, what support his Department is providing to schools to carry out serial testing to all close contacts after finding a positive case of covid-19.

The Department has currently paused daily contact testing, previously known as serial testing, in all but a small number of secondary schools and colleges, where it will continue alongside detailed evaluation. This is following updated advice from NHS Test and Trace and Public Health England which concluded that, in light of the higher prevalence and rates of transmission of the new variant of the virus, further evaluation work is required to make sure that daily contact testing is achieving its aim of breaking chains of transmission.

We will be working closely with the small number of secondary schools and colleges that will be continuing daily contact testing as part of the evaluation.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to mass asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges, what support his Department has provided for school staff to carry out track and trace for students and staff who test positive for covid-19.

In collaboration with the Department of Heath and Social Care and NHS Test and Trace, the Department has provided help and support to all schools and colleges in scope. This support can vary, depending on the settings, but at a minimum all schools and colleges have had access to the following:

  1. Published guidance including: Handbook, How to Guide, Standard Operating Procedure, FAQs.
  2. We have run a number of webinars to help educational settings understand what is required and how best to implement test and trace.
  3. Provided access to an online training package.
  4. Access to a dedicated Department for Education Helpline.
  5. Supplies of lateral flow antigen test kits and PPE.

Additionally, state funded secondary schools, further education colleges and special schools have been able to access further support to help with setting testing sites up, which includes:

  1. Through a triage process, additional support in setting up the testing sites, which in some cases may be on the ground support from the military.
  2. Funding is also being provided to help with the set up costs of the testing sites within the educational settings.

The Department is also liaising with the Community Testing Programme to ensure that those educational settings that are not within scope can access this programme.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, by what date all laptops are planned to be delivered to schools in Bristol West constituency that have not yet received their allocation.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, by securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. As of Monday 25 January 2021, over 870,000 laptops and tablets had been delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities across England, who are responsible for distributing them onward to disadvantaged children and families.

Regional figures for delivery of devices are currently not available for the period requested and figures by Parliamentary constituency are also not available.

All schools, academy trusts and local authorities have now been given the opportunity to order devices. Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, academy trusts or local authorities to lend to the children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Figures on the number of devices delivered, broken down by Local Authority and Academy Trust are available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data/2021-week-4.

Where schools need additional devices above their allocations, they should contact the Department for Education’s service team at covid.technology@education.gov.uk. They should include the number of disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11 who require support and an explanation of how they have gathered this evidence.

We have also partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data for the academic year to help disadvantaged children get online. We are grateful to EE, O2, Smarty, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone for their collaboration.

We have also delivered 54,000 4G wireless routers for pupil and care leavers without connection at home.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support he plans to provide to schools in Bristol West constituency that need more laptops provided than their current allocation in order to ensure that all students can access online learning during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, by securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. As of Monday 25 January 2021, over 870,000 laptops and tablets had been delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities across England, who are responsible for distributing them onward to disadvantaged children and families.

Regional figures for delivery of devices are currently not available for the period requested and figures by Parliamentary constituency are also not available.

All schools, academy trusts and local authorities have now been given the opportunity to order devices. Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, academy trusts or local authorities to lend to the children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Figures on the number of devices delivered, broken down by Local Authority and Academy Trust are available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data/2021-week-4.

Where schools need additional devices above their allocations, they should contact the Department for Education’s service team at covid.technology@education.gov.uk. They should include the number of disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11 who require support and an explanation of how they have gathered this evidence.

We have also partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data for the academic year to help disadvantaged children get online. We are grateful to EE, O2, Smarty, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone for their collaboration.

We have also delivered 54,000 4G wireless routers for pupil and care leavers without connection at home.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when further education institutions will receive further information on the (a) Government provision of laptops for students and (b) date by which those institutions should expect to receive the laptops which have been allocated to them.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

For those learners aged 16-19 in both schools and further education (FE) settings, we had existing means of supporting disadvantaged learners through the 16-19 bursary fund. We, therefore, asked schools and FE providers to use this to meet the tech needs of their most disadvantaged students.

During the summer, we enabled schools and FE providers’ to boost their bursary funds to meet any extra costs for student technology needs.

Many FE providers have reported challenges in procuring devices due to the current global shortage caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Procurement and distribution of devices by Government provides a reliable supply of devices.

We have now extended the Get Help with Technology programme to provide disadvantaged 16 to 19 year olds with technological support. This is part of the £400 million investment to help children and young people continue their education at home and to get any online social care services they need. We expect to be able to invite most eligible FE providers, including colleges, sixth form colleges and school sixth forms, to order devices before the end of January. Other FE providers, such as independent training providers and special post-16 institutions will also be in scope if they have learners receiving free meals.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason his Department's policy is that from April 2021 pupil premium allocations will be calculated based on the number of eligible pupils recorded by schools in their census in October 2020 and not the January 2021 census.

On 17 December 2020 we confirmed that the pupil premium will continue in 2021-22 with the same per pupil funding rates as in 2020-21. This is expected to increase pupil premium funding to more than £2.5 billion in 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals.

For mainstream and special educational needs schools, we will base eligibility for the 2021-22 pupil premium funding on the October 2020 census. In previous years, we have used the January census to determine pupil premium eligibility. Moving to the October census brings the administration of the pupil premium in line with the rest of schools’ core budgets (most notably the national funding formula, and local school funding formulae), which calculate schools’ budgets for the coming year on the basis of the October census. The move to the October census simplifies the school funding system, and provide both schools and the Department with greater certainty around future funding levels earlier in the year.

Alternative Provision and Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) will continue to be funded based on the January census, since there is no census for alternative provision in October, and the October census is not representative of the number of pupils in PRUs across a full academic year.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) devices and (b) 4G wireless routers had been allocated to schools in Bristol West to support education requirements as at 24 October 2020.

The Department has invested over £195 million to support remote education and access to online social care. This includes delivering over 220,000 laptops and tablets during the summer term for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access to a digital device. The Department is adding to this support by making over 340,000 additional laptops and tablets available this term to support disadvantaged children that might experience disruption to their education. Since September 2020, over 100,000 of these have been delivered to schools. This represents an injection of over half a million laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Summer term delivery data, which includes Bristol Council, can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/912888/Devices_and_4G_wireless_routers_progress_data_as_of_27_August_2020.pdf.

Current delivery data, as of 22 October 2020, can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/929064/Ad-hoc_stats_note_shipped_data_231020_FINAL.pdf.

A summary of attendance in education settings during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The Get Help With Technology scheme is intended to enable schools to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 who do not have access to a laptop or tablet privately or through school. Support is provided when schools report disruption to face-to-face education. Schools can order laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children across all year groups who are shielding as a result of official or medical advice, for all year groups who attend hospital schools, and for those completing their Key Stage 4 at a further education college. Subject to availability, we expect to deliver orders within 48 hours of the ordering being received.

The Department allocated a number of devices to each school. To arrive at this allocation, the Department has used data on the number of pupils eligible for free school meals in each school. The Department expects that pupils’ device needs will be met to some extent by existing school laptops and tablets.

The Department estimated the number of disadvantaged pupils without access to an internet connection using data on pupils eligible for free school meals in each school, taking into consideration estimations by Ofcom and reflecting that some pupils would already have access to a private internet connection.

In the context of significant demand, we have updated our allocation process to more accurately align orders with the number of students typically self-isolating, ensuring as many children as possible benefit from receiving a device this term.

Schools, local authorities, and academy trusts can request additional devices if their allocation from the Department does not meet their needs. These requests can be submitted to: covid.technology@education.gov.uk.

Laptops and tablets are owned by the local authority, academy trust, or school who can lend unused laptops and tablets to children and young people who need them most, and who may experience disruption to face-to-face education due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of school pupils (a) self-isolating in Bristol and (b) self-isolating elsewhere who need a device and 4G wireless router as of 17 November 2020.

The Department has invested over £195 million to support remote education and access to online social care. This includes delivering over 220,000 laptops and tablets during the summer term for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access to a digital device. The Department is adding to this support by making over 340,000 additional laptops and tablets available this term to support disadvantaged children that might experience disruption to their education. Since September 2020, over 100,000 of these have been delivered to schools. This represents an injection of over half a million laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Summer term delivery data, which includes Bristol Council, can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/912888/Devices_and_4G_wireless_routers_progress_data_as_of_27_August_2020.pdf.

Current delivery data, as of 22 October 2020, can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/929064/Ad-hoc_stats_note_shipped_data_231020_FINAL.pdf.

A summary of attendance in education settings during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The Get Help With Technology scheme is intended to enable schools to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 who do not have access to a laptop or tablet privately or through school. Support is provided when schools report disruption to face-to-face education. Schools can order laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children across all year groups who are shielding as a result of official or medical advice, for all year groups who attend hospital schools, and for those completing their Key Stage 4 at a further education college. Subject to availability, we expect to deliver orders within 48 hours of the ordering being received.

The Department allocated a number of devices to each school. To arrive at this allocation, the Department has used data on the number of pupils eligible for free school meals in each school. The Department expects that pupils’ device needs will be met to some extent by existing school laptops and tablets.

The Department estimated the number of disadvantaged pupils without access to an internet connection using data on pupils eligible for free school meals in each school, taking into consideration estimations by Ofcom and reflecting that some pupils would already have access to a private internet connection.

In the context of significant demand, we have updated our allocation process to more accurately align orders with the number of students typically self-isolating, ensuring as many children as possible benefit from receiving a device this term.

Schools, local authorities, and academy trusts can request additional devices if their allocation from the Department does not meet their needs. These requests can be submitted to: covid.technology@education.gov.uk.

Laptops and tablets are owned by the local authority, academy trust, or school who can lend unused laptops and tablets to children and young people who need them most, and who may experience disruption to face-to-face education due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how schools can contact his Department urgently to request additional laptops or other connectivity devices to assist children who cannot attend school as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; what the waiting time is for delivery of those devices; and what the eligibility requirements are for schools to request additional devices.

The Department has invested over £195 million to support remote education and access to online social care. This includes delivering over 220,000 laptops and tablets during the summer term for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access to a digital device. The Department is adding to this support by making over 340,000 additional laptops and tablets available this term to support disadvantaged children that might experience disruption to their education. Since September 2020, over 100,000 of these have been delivered to schools. This represents an injection of over half a million laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Summer term delivery data, which includes Bristol Council, can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/912888/Devices_and_4G_wireless_routers_progress_data_as_of_27_August_2020.pdf.

Current delivery data, as of 22 October 2020, can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/929064/Ad-hoc_stats_note_shipped_data_231020_FINAL.pdf.

A summary of attendance in education settings during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The Get Help With Technology scheme is intended to enable schools to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 who do not have access to a laptop or tablet privately or through school. Support is provided when schools report disruption to face-to-face education. Schools can order laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children across all year groups who are shielding as a result of official or medical advice, for all year groups who attend hospital schools, and for those completing their Key Stage 4 at a further education college. Subject to availability, we expect to deliver orders within 48 hours of the ordering being received.

The Department allocated a number of devices to each school. To arrive at this allocation, the Department has used data on the number of pupils eligible for free school meals in each school. The Department expects that pupils’ device needs will be met to some extent by existing school laptops and tablets.

The Department estimated the number of disadvantaged pupils without access to an internet connection using data on pupils eligible for free school meals in each school, taking into consideration estimations by Ofcom and reflecting that some pupils would already have access to a private internet connection.

In the context of significant demand, we have updated our allocation process to more accurately align orders with the number of students typically self-isolating, ensuring as many children as possible benefit from receiving a device this term.

Schools, local authorities, and academy trusts can request additional devices if their allocation from the Department does not meet their needs. These requests can be submitted to: covid.technology@education.gov.uk.

Laptops and tablets are owned by the local authority, academy trust, or school who can lend unused laptops and tablets to children and young people who need them most, and who may experience disruption to face-to-face education due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) effect on school budgets of the cost of supply teachers as a result of staff and (b) capability of schools to meet the costs of staff absence.

Following last year’s Spending Review, core school funding is increasing by £2.6 billion in the financial year 2020-21 and will increase by £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively, compared to 2019-20. On average, schools are attracting 4.2% more per pupil this year compared to 2019-20.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding allocations as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and this has ensured they have been able to continue to pay for staff and meet their other regular financial commitments.

The Department for Education’s Guidance for schools on full opening sets out the options available for schools seeking to manage staffing capacity and absences as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools. In addition to using supply teachers and other temporary staff, schools can also consider using existing staff more flexibly, including support staff and Initial Teacher Training trainees, or volunteers, as would usually be the case.

As stated in our guidance, schools should continue to use their existing resources to manage staffing capacity. Where schools do hire agency workers, we recommend they consider using the Department’s and the Crown Commercial Service’s agency supply deal, as this offers a list of preferred suppliers that must be transparent about the rates they charge. This is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/deal-for-schools-hiring-supply-teachers-and-agency-workers.

The Department continue to work with stakeholders and representative bodies to understand staffing capacity and are keeping the situation under close review.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of pupils missing school as a result of staff absence for covid-19 related reasons.

Schools remain open during the period of the new national restrictions. Where schools implement the system of controls outlined in the published schools guidance, in line with their own workplace risk assessment, Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirm that these measures create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced.

As a result, on current evidence, PHE and DHSC advise that schools are not currently considered high risk settings when compared to other workplace environments.

It is therefore appropriate for teachers and other school staff to attend the workplace. Accordingly, we expect that staff – apart from the clinically extremely vulnerable who should work from home during the period of national restrictions – will attend school.

The Department for Education’s guidance for schools on full opening sets out the options available for schools seeking to manage staffing capacity as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

In addition to using supply teachers and other temporary or peripatetic teachers, schools can also consider using existing staff more flexibly, including support staff and Initial Teacher Training trainees, or volunteers, as would usually be the case.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to clarify Government guidance on higher education team sport during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

Arrangements for sporting activities in higher education (HE) during the period of national restrictions are set out in this guidance document: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-new-national-restrictions-guidance.

Where sporting activities are part of an educational course, students can continue those activities and providers will need to ensure that these take place in a COVID-secure way. Similarly, programmes for elite athletes in HE may also continue. Unless team sporting activities are part of educational courses or elite performance programmes, they would not be possible.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to students who are (a) care leavers and (b) estranged from their families during the covid-19 outbreak.

I wrote to universities and other higher education (HE) providers on 20 March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, to highlight the vulnerability of care leavers and estranged students, and asked them to prioritise these groups for additional support.

Last month, I met with a group of 12 care leavers and estranged students to formally discuss the issues that they face in both entering and succeeding in HE. Following that discussion, I asked officials to make sure that the end-of-term Christmas guidance, which will be published shortly, pays particular attention to the needs of vulnerable students.

The government has worked closely with the Office for Students (OfS) to help clarify that HE providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. Providers were able to use the OfS’s Student Premium funding worth around £23 million per month for April to July this year and £256 million for the academic year 2020/21, starting from August, towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of mental health support.

The government also invested over £100 million to help provide laptops and devices for disadvantaged children and young people so they can access education and social care services remotely. As part of this, we have provided devices for care leavers, including those who are studying at university.

Care leavers attending HE courses are treated as independent students when their entitlement to living costs is assessed. This means that, in nearly all cases, they will qualify for the maximum loan for living costs. Care leavers undertaking HE also qualify for a £2,000 HE bursary from their local authority.

Additional bursaries are offered by some HE providers for care leavers, and students estranged from their families.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he will take to ensure that there is adequate home-school provision and support for children who are unable to return to school in September 2020 because they are shielding.

We now know much more about COVID-19 and so in future there will be far fewer children and young people advised to shield whenever community transmission rates are high. Therefore, the majority of pupils will be able to return to school. Shielding advice for all adults and children will pause on 1 August, subject to a continued decline in the rates of community transmission of COVID-19.

This means that even the small number of pupils who will remain on the shielded patient list can also return to school, as can those who have family members who are shielding.

Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. Schools should monitor engagement with this activity.

Further information is available in our guidance on the full reopening of schools:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will work with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to provide the (a) We the Curious centre in Bristol and (b) other science education centres with additional financial support in response to revenue lost as a result of the covid-19 lockdown.

The Department for Education (DfE) is funding a range of science institutions to support high-quality science education. This includes funding STEM Learning to deliver high quality continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers of science through the national network of 33 Science Learning Partnerships. STEM Learning also deliver Project Enthuse, which provides DfE-funded bursaries for teachers to attend CPD at the National STEM Learning Centre in York. In addition to this, we fund the Institute of Physics to run the Stimulating Physics Network to provide support to schools to improve progression to physics A level, particularly by girls.

The DfE has been working with its providers to agree how to modify their science education programmes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This has involved ensuring all activity prioritises the safety of staff, teachers and pupils and exploring what can be delivered remotely.

The Government has provided a range of financial support to charities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Information on the range of financial support, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, available to charities can be can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

The DfE does not provide funding to We the Curious. Funding for charities is a matter for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing children to repeat a year in school if their parents feel they have fallen behind as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We do not currently anticipate that, as a general rule, children and young people will need to repeat a school year as a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, it remains possible for headteachers to agree this in individual cases, if they think it is appropriate. It is important for parents to remember that all children in any year group will be in the same position and schools will be planning carefully to take this into account in their teaching and their support for pupils as they return.

We have announced a package of support worth £1 billion to ensure that schools have the support they need to help children and young people make up for lost teaching time, with extra support in the form of a tutoring programme for those who need it most. This package of measures includes:

  • A universal catch up premium for schools of £650 million to help them make up for lost teaching time.
  • A new £350m National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils.

Once a child has been admitted to a school it is for the headteacher to decide how best to educate them.

22nd May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Command Paper 239 entitled Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government's Covid-19 recovery Strategy, if he will consider allowing community spaces such as church halls and community centres to offer space for groups for pre-school age children due to move to primary school in September.

From 1 June, places of worship and community centres are allowed to open for providers on the early years register which usually use those premises. Information about this can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Providers should ensure they are acting in line with the protective measures and safe working guidance as well as the planning guide for early years and childcare settings. They should also ensure they are managing risks related to other users of the premises.

Guidance on protective measures and safe working guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

The planning guide for early years settings can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-early-years-and-childcare-settings-from-1-june.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to provide (a) financial and (b) other support to students who have lost income and are struggling to pay their rent 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.

Government guidance makes clear how important it is that institutions operate a non-eviction policy, so that no student is required to leave halls if their contract is up, if their rental agreement does not cover holiday periods or if they are unable to pay their rent. This is particularly important in the case of international students, care leavers and students estranged from their families.

Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year.

We have worked closely with the Office for Students to enable higher education providers to draw on existing funding to increase hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. As a result, providers will be able to use the funding worth around £23 million per month for June and July, towards student hardship funds.

Students with a part-time employment contract should speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19), which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment. We have also asked that higher education providers pay particular attention to the additional financial hardships that are being faced by student staff who have been reliant on income from campus-based jobs at this time.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to provide Statutory Sick Pay to (a) teachers and (b) other staff supplied to schools by agencies in the event that schools close as a result of covid-19.

The Government is asking all schools to close from Friday 20 March until further notice, except for children of critical workers and vulnerable children, as part of the country’s ongoing response to coronavirus.

Schools will continue to be fully funded. That will ensure that they are able to continue to pay all their staff, and meet their other regular financial commitments, throughout these difficult times.

The Government has announced changes to statutory sick pay to support those affected by coronavirus. Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools have the funds and access to supplies to ensure continuous provision of soap, gel and other hygiene materials required to respond to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department understands the sector’s concerns about the additional cost pressures associated with COVID-19, especially following our announcement on 18 March, about schools only remaining open to make provision for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

The Department recognises that schools may face additional costs as a result of COVID-19. We are working with other Government departments and public sector buying organisations with the aim of prioritising schools. All schools will continue to receive core funding payments as normal, and we will put in place a new process to reimburse schools for exceptional costs that they face as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department will discuss how best to deliver this funding with stakeholders over the next few days. We will publish details of the scheme shortly and we trust that this will give head teachers the reassurances they need to enable them to concentrate on their vital role in supporting the nation through this crisis.

23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of banning the caging of commercially reared egg-laying hens.

The Government shares the public's high regard for animal welfare. We are delivering a series of ambitious reforms, as outlined in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare. We are actively exploring options for improving the welfare of farm animals and are considering the case for introducing further reforms, in areas such as the use of cages for laying hens.

In coming to an assessment of the potential merits of banning cages for laying hens we will wish to consult all interested organisations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of banning the export licensing of Paraquat.

We take our trade and international obligations for human health and the environment seriously and continue to monitor action in other countries and learn from their experiences.

The export of paraquat from Great Britain (GB) is regulated under the GB Prior Informed Consent (PIC) regulatory regime for the export and import of certain hazardous chemicals. Companies intending to export any of these chemicals from the GB must notify the importing country via the exporter’s Designated National Authority. For GB, the Designated National Authority is The Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Paraquat additionally requires the explicit consent of the importing country before export can take place. The exchange of information that PIC provides allows the importing countries to make informed decisions on the import of those chemicals and on how to handle and use them safely. This process is kept under review.

We believe it is essential that the use of actives that are known to be hazardous to human health or the environment should be subject to scientific risk assessment, mitigation and regulatory protections. That is why we support notification of the export of Paraquat under GB PIC and support its listing under the Rotterdam convention.

We also believe in evidence based international policy making through the use of scientific committees, such as the Chemical Review Committee, and support the strengthening of the international science:policy interface for chemicals and pesticides to support global decision making.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has for the licensing of genetically modified crops for use in the UK.

Currently no genetically modified (GM) crops are being grown commercially in the UK, but GM products are marketed as food and feed.

Defra is committed to following a science-based approach to GM crop approval. Under current rules, GM crops and the products derived from them must be authorised before they can be used. This authorisation is dependent on a favourable risk assessment from our independent scientific experts. Defra’s policy is to maintain high standards that protect people, animals and the environment.

Defra is currently reviewing the responses to the Government’s recent consultation on genetic technologies, which included early engagement to start gathering views on wider GM reform. The consultation ended on 17 March and a Government response will be published within three months of it closing.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of setting specific targets for biodiversity recovery in the UK; and whether the Government has plans to introduce targets for biodiversity recovery.

Domestic biodiversity policy is devolved in the UK and each nation is bringing forward its own plans and policies, while we continue to collaborate on UK-wide approaches to biodiversity recovery.

The Environment Bill creates a power to set long-term, legally binding environmental targets for England. It requires the Government to set, and achieve, at least one target in each of four priority areas, including biodiversity.

In our policy paper published in August 2020, we set out the objectives for targets currently under consideration. These include improving the condition of our protected sites, increasing species populations, and restoring and improving the quality of habitats, which together would recover biodiversity.

Legally binding long-term targets will be supported by interim targets, covering up to five years. These will allow for an ongoing assessment of whether the Government is on track to meet its long-term targets.

We will want to ensure that, for biodiversity, these targets align with international goals and targets to be set through the Convention on Biological Diversity for 2030.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the recommendations of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature UK Peatland Programme, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of banning the burning of peat.

While there continues to be scientific debate over aspects of the environmental impact of managed burning, there is a large and increasing body of literature that provides evidence that overall managed burning is damaging to peatland. This literature includes a systematic evidence review published by Natural England in 2013 synthesising the findings from 124 studies.

We have always been clear of the need to phase out rotational burning of protected blanket bog to conserve these vulnerable habitats. This is why we have brought forward legislation that will limit burning of vegetation on protected deep peat.

This legislation represents a crucial step in meeting the Government’s nature and climate change mitigation and adaptation targets, including the legally binding commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

We will be setting out further measures to restore, protect and manage England’s peatlands this year as part of a package of measures to protect England’s landscapes and nature-based solutions.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the welfare of (a) animals and (b) domestic pets during the covid-19 lockdown.

We are working closely with a wide range of stakeholders to respond quickly and effectively to emerging issues which may impact animal welfare.

We are having regular meetings with the livestock industry to discuss the specific issues affecting each sector and to consider what interventions might be appropriate. We have provided detailed guidance on how to safely care for farm animals whilst maintaining social distancing. We are encouraging farmers to consider the financial support schemes introduced by the Government, including a specific Dairy Response Fund, which will be open to applications from 18 June and will provide up to £10,000 each to help those dairy farmers most in need of support.

The Government recognises that the zoos sector, including aquariums, faces unique circumstances and we are committed to working with the industry to understand the impacts. We have been engaging closely with the main industry association, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), and with individual zoos about the best way forward, also taking expert advice from Defra's Zoos Expert Committee.

Zoos are eligible to apply for a range of support schemes including the Job Retention Scheme, VAT deferral, Business Rates Relief, the Business Interruption Loan schemes, the option to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay and grant funding of up to £25,000. In addition, specifically for zoos in severe financial distress, the Government introduced a £14 million Zoos Support Fund for licensed zoos in England on 4 May.

As announced by the Prime Minister on 10 June, outdoor areas of zoos and safari parks will be allowed to reopen from 15 June, subject to appropriate social distancing measures being in place. This includes keeping indoor exhibitions, such as reptile houses and those in aquariums, closed, and ensuring other amenities like cafes offer take-away services only. The move follows close work by the Government with the zoo industry to ensure visitor numbers can be managed and safeguards are put in place. The decision to relax restrictions on these select outdoor attractions is part of the Government’s careful approach to easing the lockdown in phases, guided by the advice of scientific and medical experts and the fact the risk of transmission is much lower outdoors.

Officials continue to meet weekly with BIAZA and with the CEOs of the largest charitable zoos and aquariums in England providing a valuable forum to monitor concerns and seek insights from key sector representatives on current issues.

We are in regular contact with animal welfare charities to discuss their concerns and to see what actions can be taken so that the welfare of animals can be maintained through these difficult times.

We have also responded to, and continue, to respond to individual enquires from pet owners and pet related businesses.

To assist animal owners in these difficult times, the Government has issued the following guidance for owners and their animals which can be found on the GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-people-with-animals. Throughout this crisis, veterinarians have been classed as key workers and practices have been permitted to remain open.

The Government has sought the expert advice of the Animal Welfare Committee on the potential impact of Covid-19 on animal welfare and the actions that might be taken to mitigate the risks. Their report, published on 4 June, will help inform our future actions in addressing the wider impact of Covid-19 on animal welfare: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awc-opinion-on-the-animal-welfare-issues-related-to-covid-19

We continue to remain in close contact with the animal welfare sector about the situation facing organisations working with animals and to understand the impacts on the sector and their needs.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure supermarkets do not run out of food as a result of 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 are working around the clock to ensure people have the food and products they need. Industry is adapting quickly to any changes in demands, and food supply into and across the UK is resilient.

The Secretary of State is in regular dialogue with industry, including the British Retail Consortium and supermarket chief executives to discuss any additional support the Government can provide. To help supermarkets respond to this unprecedented demand we have already introduced new measures to keep food supply flowing. We have issued guidance to local authorities to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets so that shelves can be filled up quicker, and we have implemented extensions to drivers’ hours.

We fully recognise the additional pressures on our food supply chain as a result of recent events. The UK’s major supermarkets have last weekend issued a statement to encourage everyone to shop as they normally would and pull together to support those staying at home.

We will continue to work closely with the industry over the coming days and months.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has in place to ensure that water utility companies (a) repair leaks in their networks and (b) take other steps to reduce water waste.

The Government welcomes the water industry commitment of a 50% leakage reduction by 2050. This commitment forms part of a target set by Ofwat which is bound to financial penalties or rewards based upon performance as part of the Price Review (PR) process.

In PR19 Ofwat set out a £51 billion five-year investment package for the 2020-25 period, including requirements for water companies to cut leaks by 16% and reduce mains bursts by 12%

Water companies provide data to the Environment Agency on water losses. In 2018-19 reporting period 1570.5 Ml/d was lost.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 5 May to Question 39526 on Equality Act 2010, what criteria her Department used to decide on the timeframe for the commencement of the provisions of the Equalities Act 2010.

My Department and others involved are working to quantify the additional costs that a commencement of the remainder of Section 36 of the Equality Act 2010 may require local authorities to meet. Agreement on this figure, and whether and how best such costs can be met, will be a key factor in determining the timescale for commencement.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions his Department has had with the Angolan Government on the recent droughts in that country.

Southern Africa is facing an urgent humanitarian crisis due to drought and other climate-related and economic factors. In southern Angola over 500,000 people are experiencing crisis-level food insecurity. The UK is pushing to put this crisis on the international agenda. On a recent visit to the country, I met with Angola’s Minister for Environment and discussed the drought and more broadly the humanitarian situation facing the wider region.

DFID is supporting the regional response through our contributions to multilaterals, notably the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The CERF has so far allocated just over £4.8 million to the response in Angola. Through Regional Vulnerability Analysis and Assessment (RVAA) programme, led by the Southern Africa Development Community, the UK is supporting assessments to inform humanitarian and resilience responses, including in Angola.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to support people affected by recent droughts in Angola.

Southern Africa is facing an urgent humanitarian crisis due to drought and other climate-related and economic factors. In southern Angola over 500,000 people are experiencing crisis-level food insecurity.

The UK is pushing to put this crisis on the international agenda. DFID is supporting the regional response through our contributions to multilaterals, notably the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The UK is the largest overall contributor to the CERF since its inception. The CERF has so far allocated approximately £4.8 million to the response in Angola.

Through Regional Vulnerability Analysis and Assessment (RVAA) programme, led by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the UK is supporting assessments to inform humanitarian and resilience responses, including in Angola.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on the use of automatic number-plate recognition cameras in school streets,.

A set of regulations is due to be laid in December. This will allow English local authorities outside London, with civil parking enforcement powers, to apply for a Designation Order granting powers to enforce moving traffic contraventions, based on evidence obtained from CCTV camera equipment that has been certified by the Secretary of State. Local authorities so designated, will then be able to enforce access restrictions for school streets. Local authorities in London have these enforcement powers already. Automatic number-plate recognition technology is not certified for the purpose of moving traffic enforcement.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Written Statement, Planning Update, published on 19 October 2021, HCWS333, if he will provide more information on the environmental matters under consideration.

The reasons for the extension are as set out in the Written Ministerial Statement. As this is a live planning application, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further. Should any further information be required from any party, a letter will be issued and published on the relevant project page of the Planning Inspectorate's website. I want to assure you that we are progressing this application as quickly as possible.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with South Western Railway on the planned withdrawal of their Bristol to Salisbury train service.

The Department tasked South Western Railway with finding timetable efficiencies which could be actioned for the December 2021 timetable change. South Western Railway identified Bristol to Salisbury services, which are also provided by Great Western Railway. As a consequence of this, the Department agreed to the removal of these direct South Western Railway Bristol to Salisbury services on the basis that there is sufficient capacity provided by Great Western Railway.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason Ecuador remains on the covid-19 travel red list.

Ecuador has been on the red list since 15 January 2021 due to the ongoing presence of variants of concern. Government scientists will continue to engage with countries still on the red list and keep the evidence on variants of concern, especially Lambda and Mu, under close review in order to ensure the UK’s approach remains proportionate.

Decisions on red country assignment and associated border measures will continue to be taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments alongside wider public health factors.

The data for all countries and territories will be kept under regular review and the Government will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress he has made on plans to complete the electrification of the Great Western Railway line between Bath and Bristol.

Electrification of the railway between Bath and Bristol has been recognised as a priority in Network Rail’s Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy. We are working with Network Rail to consider how decarbonisation priority investment proposals are taken forward through the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to monitor the effect of the recent industrial dispute at the DVLA in Swansea on (a) employees of that organisation and (b) the public; and if he will make a statement.

The safety and welfare of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) staff is of paramount importance as it has been throughout the pandemic. Extensive measures are in place to support the wellbeing of staff and information on the services available to staff is regularly communicated.

The DVLA’s online services remain available and are the quickest and easiest way to transact. Motorists are strongly advised to use these channels where possible. Paper applications are taking longer to process because of reduced numbers of staff on site. The ongoing industrial action by the Public and Commercial Services union is inevitably harming some of the most vulnerable in society, as these are often the people who rely on less automated services which require DVLA staff to be working on site.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department plans to publish the outcome of its consultation on Electric Vehicle Charging in Residential and Non-residential Buildings that closed in October 2019.

We are analysing the feedback from respondents and aim to make an announcement early next year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the (a) merits of recent requests to provide covid-19 testing at airports and (b) potential merits of allocating funding to airport management companies to enable them to provide that service.

The Government is actively working on the practicalities of using testing to release people from self-isolation earlier than 14 days. The Global Travel Taskforce is working at pace to consider how testing, technology and innovation can drive a recovery for international travel and tourism, without adding to infection risk or infringing on our overall NHS test capacity.

Public Health England prepared a paper on the effectiveness of ‘double testing’ travellers coming to the UK. The paper is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phe-investigation-into-the-effectiveness-of-double-testing-travellers-incoming-to-the-uk-for-signs-of-covid-19-17-june-2020.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 17 May 2019 to Question 252001 on Bus Service Operators Grant, by what date he plans to bring forward plans to reform the Bus Service Operators Grant.

At the present time it is still our intention to proceed with plans to reform the Bus Service Operators Grant, however due to the ongoing pandemic these plans have temporarily been placed on hold and no specific date is envisaged at this time. The digitalisation of the grant process has also been placed on hold, however the department is committed to delivering this as part of the Governments Digital by Default Agenda and we aspire to resuming this before the end of the year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure the provision of medical examinations to maintain an adequate level of certified Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers.

The Government has temporarily waived the requirement for bus and lorry drivers to provide a medical report when renewing their licences. This change was announced on 17 April 2020 for those applying to renew licences that expire on or after 1 January 2020.

It remains a legal requirement for drivers to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency of the onset or worsening of a medical condition that may impact their driving.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what changes he is making to the requirement for heavy goods vehicle drivers to be periodically tested for a Certificate of Professional Competence while test centres are closed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Most professional lorry and bus drivers must complete 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to maintain their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification. This is evidenced by a Driver CPC card (sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card’ or ‘DQC’).

Periodic training is available remotely from commercial providers, via online video platforms. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency encourages drivers to continue to undertake training wherever possible, but not as an activity that needs extra travel and only in compliance with general government advice.

The validity of DQCs with expiry dates from 1 February 2020 to 31 August 2020 have been extended by 7 months.

Drivers will not be issued with a new card to reflect the new expiry date, and must continue to carry their DQC.

Drivers who have a DQC that has an expiry date from 1 September 2020 must not drive until it is renewed.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of pay increases for each level of staff employed in Highways England in the last ten years.

Highways England was established on 1 April 2015. The Department for Transport has not carried out an assessment of the adequacy of pay increases for each level of staff in Highways England over the period since its establishment.

Responsibility for setting pay levels within Highways England sits with the Company, overseen by its Remuneration Committee. Annual pay increases within Highways England are based on a number of factors, including affordability and guidance from the Department for Transport and the Cabinet Office.

I would like to assure you that the Secretary of State is placing significant focus on pay in the Department’s arm’s length bodies.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken against pension scheme trustees that have paid Pension Protection Fund levies when their pension schemes were subsequently found to be ineligible for payments into the Fund.

Government Departments are required to reflect any guarantees given in their Annual Report and Accounts. These accounts are laid before Parliament annually.

The Pension Protection Fund will only invoice eligible schemes; but it would refund any levies from schemes that are subsequently found to be ineligible, including where a scheme can demonstrate that it had a historic crown guarantee.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) is able to refund PPF levies payments where a pension scheme had been paying the levy and then been found to be ineligible for paying into that fund.

Government Departments are required to reflect any guarantees given in their Annual Report and Accounts. These accounts are laid before Parliament annually.

The Pension Protection Fund will only invoice eligible schemes; but it would refund any levies from schemes that are subsequently found to be ineligible, including where a scheme can demonstrate that it had a historic crown guarantee.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps (a) her Department or (b) the Pension Protection Fund are taking to monitor proactively which pension schemes have a guarantee from a public authority.

Government Departments are required to reflect any guarantees given in their Annual Report and Accounts. These accounts are laid before Parliament annually.

The Pension Protection Fund will only invoice eligible schemes; but it would refund any levies from schemes that are subsequently found to be ineligible, including where a scheme can demonstrate that it had a historic crown guarantee.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what criteria are used for determining whether a shortfall in child maintenance payments is deemed non-compliant with an Order for Child Maintenance.

Non-Compliance is considered as any Child Maintenance payment that is not paid in full and on time as per the payment schedule which is issued to the customer.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether multi-employer last man standing pension schemes that have a guarantee from a public authority for one or more employers are eligible for the Pension Protection Fund.

Under the Pension Protection Fund (Entry Rules) Regulations 2005, schemes which have a guarantee from a public authority are not eligible for the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and do not usually pay the PPF levy.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that Jobcentre Plus clients who need interpreters are provided with interpreting services at appointments with their Work Coach.

DWP offers interpreting and translation services under the Language Services Contract, currently provided by The Big Word. All DWP staff, including Work Coaches, have access to spoken and non-spoken face to face interpreting, telephone interpreting, British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation through the video relay services, and written translation. These services are readily available to support customers who have additional communication needs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of financial support requirements of people with long covid.

This government has a strong safety net that helps people who are facing hardship and are unable to support themselves financially, and we have taken steps to strengthen that safety net as part of the government’s response to the pandemic.

Disability benefits do not include or exclude by condition, instead they look at the needs arising from a long-term health condition or disability. People living with a condition arising from exposure to the Covid-19 virus can access the financial support that is available through Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit, New Style ESA or Pension Credit depending on individual circumstances. They are also able to access Personal Independence Payment in the same way as other people with long-term conditions or disabilities.

As research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of Covid-19 is ongoing, we are collaborating across Government to monitor emerging evidence and consider our response.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the impact on UK economic growth and economic productivity of the decrease in the proportion of defined benefit pensions scheme assets invested in company equities and increase in the proportion invested in government debt over the period 2008 to 2020.

It is for trustees to decide how funds in defined benefit (DB) occupational pension schemes are invested. They have a fiduciary duty to do so in the best interest of all their members. As most DB schemes are now closed, and the time available before benefits must be paid is reducing, a gradual shift towards investment in lower risk assets is to be expected.

It is the responsibility of the sponsoring employer to fund the promised benefits in a DB scheme, and these are not dependent on investment performance.

While DB provision has been in long term decline, since the introduction of Automatic Enrolment in 2012, defined contribution pension schemes have grown rapidly. As they are typically much less mature than DB schemes, they will tend to invest in higher proportions of return seeking assets such as equities. This Government is removing barriers to schemes investing directly in the UK economy through private markets, including by encouraging consolidation and requiring schemes to publish the net returns of their default arrangements.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the impact on defined benefit pension scheme members' (a) costs and (b) returns of the decrease in the proportion of defined benefit pensions scheme assets invested in company equities and increase in the proportion invested in government debt over the period 2008 to 2020.

It is for trustees to decide how funds in defined benefit (DB) occupational pension schemes are invested. They have a fiduciary duty to do so in the best interest of all their members. As most DB schemes are now closed, and the time available before benefits must be paid is reducing, a gradual shift towards investment in lower risk assets is to be expected.

It is the responsibility of the sponsoring employer to fund the promised benefits in a DB scheme, and these are not dependent on investment performance.

While DB provision has been in long term decline, since the introduction of Automatic Enrolment in 2012, defined contribution pension schemes have grown rapidly. As they are typically much less mature than DB schemes, they will tend to invest in higher proportions of return seeking assets such as equities. This Government is removing barriers to schemes investing directly in the UK economy through private markets, including by encouraging consolidation and requiring schemes to publish the net returns of their default arrangements.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the HMRC data errors that created incorrect pension information on the check your state pension online service in 2019 have now been fully corrected.

DWP has worked closely with HMRC since issues were first raised around forecasts for State Pension. A change to the Check your State Pension forecast service was applied in April 2021.

This change ensures that individuals who are at greatest risk of having errors or omissions on their National Insurance record that may affect their State Pension forecast, are identified at the point where they request a State Pension forecast. Such individuals are advised that HMRC will take the corrective action needed in order to update their National Insurance record. Once this work is completed, a State Pension forecast will be made available.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to establish an inquiry into the (a) governance of and (b) role of the Pensions Regulator in the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

No. The Pensions Regulator was created in 2004 by the then Labour Government to be independent.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to eradicate the need for foodbanks.

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation. There is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level.

We take the issue of food insecurity seriously, which is why we added internationally used food security questions to the Family Resources Survey in 19/20 and published the data in March this year. (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/family-resources-survey-financial-year-2019-to-2020). Food insecurity data from the Family Resources survey for 20/21 is not yet available.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending an estimated £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2020/21. This included around £7.4 billion of Covid-related welfare policy measures.

We introduced our Covid Winter Grant Scheme providing funding to Local Authorities in England to help the most vulnerable children and families stay warm and well fed during the coldest months. It will now run until June as the Covid Local Support Grant, with a total investment of £269m.

We are investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme which has been expanded to every local authority across England this year. Children eligible for benefits-related Free School Meals will have the option to join a holiday club programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays in 2021. We also increased the value of Healthy Start Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25 in April.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty in all its forms. We are investing over £30 billion in our ambitious Plan for Jobs which is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information she holds on the number of households in (a) in Bristol West constituency and (b) the UK who used a (i) food bank, (ii) food club and (iii) similar organisation for the first time during the covid-19 outbreak.

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation. There is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level.

We take the issue of food insecurity seriously, which is why we added internationally used food security questions to the Family Resources Survey in 19/20 and published the data in March this year. (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/family-resources-survey-financial-year-2019-to-2020). Food insecurity data from the Family Resources survey for 20/21 is not yet available.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending an estimated £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2020/21. This included around £7.4 billion of Covid-related welfare policy measures.

We introduced our Covid Winter Grant Scheme providing funding to Local Authorities in England to help the most vulnerable children and families stay warm and well fed during the coldest months. It will now run until June as the Covid Local Support Grant, with a total investment of £269m.

We are investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme which has been expanded to every local authority across England this year. Children eligible for benefits-related Free School Meals will have the option to join a holiday club programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays in 2021. We also increased the value of Healthy Start Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25 in April.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty in all its forms. We are investing over £30 billion in our ambitious Plan for Jobs which is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will review the adequacy of financial support available for self-employed people who are adopting children.

The Government recognises that it is crucial to the success of an adoption placement that an adopter is able to take time off work to care for and bond with their child.

We recognise that affordability may limit the time away from work that some self-employed adopters can take which is why statutory adoption guidance says that Local Authorities should consider making a payment - equivalent to Maternity Allowance - in cases where adopters do not qualify for any statutory payment because of their self-employed status.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to Answer of 13 July 2020 to Question 69600 and Answer of 1 July 2020 to Question 63208, what progress has been made on implementing the decision of the court of appeal on 22 June 2020 on universal credit systems taking account of the day that a monthly salary is paid.

On 20th October I laid secondary legislation in response to the Court of Appeal Judgment made on 22 June in the case of Johnson, Woods, Barrett and Stewart, which concerned claimants who receive two calendar monthly payments of earnings in one Universal Credit assessment period. This will allow us to reallocate a payment of earnings reported via the Real Time Information service to a different Universal Credit assessment period, either because it was reported in the wrong assessment period or (in the case of calendar monthly paid employees) it is necessary to maintain a regular payment cycle. This will mean that claimants who are paid calendar monthly will therefore have one salary payment taken into account in each assessment period. It also means that certain claimants will also benefit from any applicable work allowance.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 22 July 2020 to Question 905164, what new and existing data sources her Department is monitoring to understand the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on people who are (a) disabled or (b) have a health condition; and if she will publish her Department's analysis of that data.

We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people and those with health conditions using a range of sources. There will however be a period until the data needed to fully assess the impact becomes available.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is publishing a rolling programme of data and articles relating to the social and economic impacts of COVID-19, with specific outputs on disabled people in Great Britain.

The ONS also publishes quarterly statistics on the labour market status of disabled people.

The Department for Work and Pensions publishes statistics annually on the employment of disabled people. The first report was published in March 2020, including data from the Labour Force Survey, Annual Population Survey and Understanding Society.

Research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of COVID-19 and the number of people likely to be experiencing them is ongoing.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will carry out a review into deaths of benefits claimants.

The Department interacts with millions of people, and among them are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. There are many reasons why people pass away whilst claiming a DWP benefit and it would not be appropriate for the Department to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of every individual. This is a consideration and decision for a Coroner.

As a department we want to do all we can to ensure people get the support they need. We are striving towards becoming a learning organisation, for example through the Serious Case Panel, which considers themes and systemic issues that come out of serious cases and makes recommendations for improvements.

Where the Department is made aware of a death and there is a suggestion or allegation that the Department’s actions or omissions may have negatively contributed to the customer’s circumstances an Internal Process Review will be conducted. Internal Process Reviews are not designed to identify or apportion blame, but to look at whether processes were followed correctly and what learning we can derive from this.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 14 July to Question 69599, what steps she is taking to bring the performance at the Bristol personal independence payment assessment centre back to the published service standard of 90% of claimants being examined within 30 minutes of their appointment time; and if she will make an estimate of when that standard will be achieved.

All face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits are currently suspended in line with public health advice. During the Covid-19 period we continue to assess people based on written evidence alone, where that is possible, and have introduced telephone assessments. Telephony-based assessments do not fall within the same waiting time criteria. Once face-to-face assessment are reinstated we will work closely with suppliers to improve the waiting times whilst maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 5 May 2020 to Question 40669 on universal credit, prior to raising the local housing allowance to the 30th percentile, what assessment she made of the levels of need this would match.

Raising the local housing allowance (LHA) rate to the 30th percentile ensured over 1 million households will see an increase, on average, of £600 this year.

This increase means that 30% of properties in each broad rental market area charge a rent within the LHA rate, with the exception of 15 rates in central and inner London where the national maximum caps continue to apply. The national caps have also been increased and are now based on the Outer London LHA rate plus 20%.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the timescale is for changing universal credit systems and processes to reflect the ruling by the Court of Appeal on 22 June 2020 on the need to take account of the day that a monthly salary is paid.

I refer the Rt.Hon Member to the answer I gave on 1 July 2020 to Question UIN 63208:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-23/63208/

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the performance figures are for the Bristol assessment centre against the consultation centre target that 90 per cent of all claimants are seen within 30 minutes of their consultation time, for the last 12 months.

For the last 12 months, the percentage of individuals seen at the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Bristol Assessment Centre within 30 minutes of their appointment time is 77.9%. This covers the period July 2019 to the 17 March 2020 when face-to-face assessments were suspended. We continue to work closely with suppliers to improve the waiting times whilst maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Health and Safety Executive inspectors are operating in Bristol.

There are currently 40 full-time equivalent (FTE) Inspectors based in Bristol.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 13 May 2020, HCWS234 on Construction update, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of staffing at the Health and Safety Executive to (a) monitor and (b) enforce the guidance provided in that written statement.

Individual employers and those in control of construction sites have a legal responsibility of ensuring appropriate measures are in place to protect workers from Covid-19 on construction sites. Nevertheless, the Government recognises the important role that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) plays as Great Britain’s health and safety regulator and has announced that additional funds are being made available to support them in their regulatory work relating to Covid-19. HSE is currently developing plans for carrying out proactive checks of workplaces including construction sites to ensure that appropriate measures are in place. In addition, HSE continues to address reported workplace concerns with employers, including those relating to Covid-19.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the proportion of new claimants of universal credit whose housing costs are not covered by the local housing allowance set at the 30th percentile.

No such assessment has been made.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to introduce benefits for self-employed people whose work is reduced because of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Chancellor has announced a Self-Employed Income Support Scheme that will help millions of people across the UK, with those eligible receiving a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years. This covers 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.

The scheme brings parity with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, whereby the Government committed to pay up to £2,500 each month in wages of employed workers who are furloughed during the outbreak.

We have temporarily relaxed the application of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for all self-employed claimants affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 to ensure that the self-employed can access UC at a more generous rate and those applying for Contributory ESA will be able to claim from day 1 – as opposed to day 8 - without the need for a face-to-face assessment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 134034, tabled by the hon. Member for Bristol West, on 3 March 2022.

There are several safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines already in deployment the United Kingdom. The Government will continue to be guided by the advice of the independent Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on which vaccines should be deployed in the UK’s vaccination programmes. The JCVI has discussed the potential use of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine (Nuvaxovid) in the national vaccination programme. Its considerations will be published in due course and kept under review.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that healthcare workers recruited for the NHS who are not UK nationals can acquire the necessary documents as soon as possible.

All regulated healthcare professionals are required to register with the relevant professional regulator, such as the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, in order to practice in the United Kingdom. All regulators have procedures in place to assess the skills, knowledge and experience of healthcare professionals who have qualified overseas to ensure that they meet standards of practice in the UK. The regulators are independent and are responsible for these arrangements.

The Department is currently consulting on legislative changes which will provide the General Dental Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council with greater flexibility to put in place alternative routes to registration for international applicants.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will request the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to publish the interactive drug analysis profiles for each covid-19 vaccine.

The Yellow Card scheme is the safety monitoring system operated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This scheme encourages reports of suspected adverse reactions from healthcare professionals, patients and the public for the purpose of detecting signals of new or changing safety issues. Data is used for the purpose of regulation and is held by the MHRA in confidence.

The MHRA publishes weekly summaries of Yellow Card data associated with the COVID-19 vaccines, including detailed analyses of safety signals to support understanding of the vaccine safety profiles. More specific and contextualised data from reports of suspected adverse reactions associated with COVID-19 vaccines such as the type of data included in interactive drug analysis profiles will be available by the end of 2022.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to improve ambulance response times in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group area.

In the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group area, three Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers are supporting patient handover at acute hospitals. Agency staffing is supporting front line paramedics on the clinical support desk, providing additional clinical triage to help avoid unnecessary ambulance responses. Staff have been redeployed to the Bristol clinical hub as appropriate to work as call takers, dispatch support clinicians and clinical validation. There has been engagement with acute trusts on handover delay issues, including monthly and daily meetings and information on pressures at acute hospital has been used to inform where ambulance patients are transported to.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has asked the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to provide advice on the use of the Novavax covid-19 vaccine in the UK vaccination programme.

There are several safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines already in deployment the United Kingdom. The Government will continue to be guided by the advice of the independent Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on which vaccines should be deployed in the UK’s vaccination programmes. The JCVI has discussed the potential use of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine (Nuvaxovid) in the national vaccination programme. Its considerations will be published in due course and kept under review.

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, when the Government plans to bring forward its proposed consultation on nutritional information labelling for alcoholic drinks.

The consultation will be launched in due course.
Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to support councils to deliver social care services for older and disabled people.

We will invest £5.4 billion over the next three years to reform adult social care. This includes more than £3.6 billion to reform the social care charging system, enabling local authorities to move towards paying providers a fair rate for care and over £1.7 billion to begin improvements across the social care system in England.

The provisional Local Government Finance Settlement proposes an additional £3.5 billion for councils - an increase in local authority funding for 2022/23 of over 4% in real terms. As part of this settlement, local authorities will have access to over £1 billion specifically for social care in 2022/23.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the level of unmet demand for specialist beds for young people with eating disorders in (a) the South West and (b) Bristol.

No formal assessment has been made. NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to work with system leaders and regions to prioritise service delivery and investment to meet the needs of vulnerable young people.

We are investing a further £79 million extra in 2021/22, which will allow 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services. NHS England and NHS Improvement are also investing £40 million in 2021/22 to address the impact of COVID-19 on children and young people’s mental health. Of this, £10 million capital funding is providing extra beds at units which provide care for young people with the most complex needs, as well as £1.5 million for additional facilities for children under 13 years of age, including for those with eating disorders.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the impact on young people's mental and physical health of lack of spaces in specialist services for young people with eating disorders.

While no formal assessment has been made, we continuously monitor access to services. NHS England and NHS Improvement work with system leaders and regions to prioritise service delivery and investment for vulnerable young people. We are investing £79 million in 2021/22 to enable 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Government plans to make an announcement on the provision of covid-19 vaccination to children aged five to 11 who are clinically extremely vulnerable or a close family member of someone who is immunosuppressed.

General practitioners (GPs) and hospital consultants are currently identifying eligible children and the National Health Service will contact their parents or carers. GPs will contact immunosuppressed individuals to advise that their family member is eligible for vaccination. We expect deployment to begin by the end of January 2022 with appointments offered by the NHS locally.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that frontline medical staff are able to get a vaccine exemption recorded on their NHS covid pass in cases where those individuals have a legitimate health reason for not having the covid-19 vaccine.

Individuals can apply for a medical exemption through the NHS COVID Pass Service via 119. The guidance on medical exemptions sets out that applications will be clinically reviewed by a general practitioner, specialist clinician or midwife. The domestic NHS COVID Pass does not distinguish on the basis of COVID-19 status. Individuals should use their medical exemption confirmation letter to evidence their medical exemption status for vaccination as a condition of deployment purposes.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timetable is for allocating additional funding for dementia research.

The Government has committed to invest £375 million in neurodegenerative disease research over the next five years to fund projects into a range of diseases including dementia. This funding will be provided through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The NIHR and UKRI rely on researchers submitting high-quality applications to access funding therefore details of allocations and timescales are not currently available.

All applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. A new dementia strategy, which will set out our plans on dementia for England for future years, will be published in 2022. The strategy will include our ambitions for dementia research.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of analysis by the Alzheimer's Society that the adult social care sector will need at least £3.9 billion per annum to maintain current standards and keep up with demographic changes and changes to the National Living Wage.

The provisional local Government finance settlement proposes making available over £1 billion of additional resource to local authorities specifically for social care in 2022-23. Councils will also have access to funding from grant covering all services, including the 2022-23 Services Grant, and from council tax to meet the inflationary and demographic pressures facing social care.

In addition to this increased local Government funding, the Government will provide £5.4 billion over 2022-23 to 2024-25 for adult social care reform. The funding available to councils means overall local Government spending will increase by 4%, including the investment in adult social care reform.

No assessment has been made of the figure quoted by the Alzheimer’s Society. Local Government finance settlement provides funding to allow councils to increase their spending on the vital public services they provide, such as adult social care, and will ensure those services can respond effectively to rising demand and cost pressures.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Dementia Strategy in the People at the heart of care: adult social care reform White Paper, what budget will be allocated to the delivery of the Dementia Strategy.

We will be setting out our plans on dementia for England for future years in 2022. We are currently working with stakeholders and have established task and finish groups to develop the strategy. We will consider the funding implications as part of forthcoming business planning for the next financial year.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many care home residents are yet to receive a covid-19 booster vaccine.

As of 6 February 2022, 15,215 or 4.5% of residents in all adult care homes were reported as yet to receive two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 42,163 or 12.1% were reported as yet to receive the booster dose. A proportion of these residents will be medically exempt from vaccination or may not currently be eligible due to COVID-19 infection or other practical reasons. Residents may also have received their vaccination or booster dose, but it may not yet have been reported.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time is for patients wishing to be seen in at designated Long Covid clinics as of 13 December 2021.

The information is not available in the format requested. Since September 2021, information on activity and demographics of patients who have been referred to a post-COVID-19 assessment service in England have been published as part of the official statistics publication, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-post-covid-assessment-service/

The most recent publication of 9 December covered the period from 27 September to 24 October 2021. The attached table shows the waiting times of patients who had an initial assessment at a post-COVID-19 assessment service in this period. Data on waiting times was first added to this publication in October 2021, for the period from 2 August. As this is a relatively new data collection and this is experimental data, some variation may be due to incomplete data submissions.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the NHS app will be updated to register when an immunosuppressed person has had a third primary covid-19 vaccination dose, rather than a booster.

Third vaccinations are currently recorded in the same section as booster doses in the NHS App. The functionality was immediately available at the start of the booster vaccination programme and is clinically accurate in recording details of the vaccine received. This information is updated on general practitioner records and the NHS COVID Pass.

More than 87% of the severely immunosuppressed cohort has received a third primary dose. An assessment of retrospectively updating records in the immediate future was made and it was determined that this could risk data quality issues. We are reviewing plans to record third primary doses via the NHS App in the longer term.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of (a) the adequacy of the provision of therapeutic support for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and (b) the impact of any gaps in that provision on the education of young people.

No specific assessment has been made. However, we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health services, including therapies to disabled children. On 5 March 2021 we announced that as part of the £500 million for mental health recovery, £79 million will be used to expand mental health services for children, including disabled children. We have provided over £34 billion support for health services in response to COVID-19 in 2021/22. This includes £2 billion to tackle the elective backlog and reduce waiting times for patients, including disabled children. We have also invested £4.9 billion in the 2020/21 academic year to support the recovery of children and young people’s education.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 70280 tabled by the hon. Member for Bristol West.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer to Question 70280.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to encourage uptake of the covid-19 vaccine among pregnant women.

Vaccine toolkits for local services, stakeholders, partners and employers include guidance on the concerns of pregnant women. We have shared case stories of women of childbearing age who have received the vaccine during or after pregnancy. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Chief Midwifery Office and ‘media medics’ have made appearances on media to reassure people about concerns. At a local level we have also supported webinars and engagement sessions focused on women’s vaccines concerns and tailored to specific demographic groups. We have also introduced new communications content focused on younger age groups. This includes drawing on the support of social media sites which have a broad reach across younger women.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with regional teams and providers to ensure that advice on vaccination in pregnancy, including the risks and benefits of vaccination to pregnant women, is being offered antenatally and that information materials are available across antenatal and primary care settings. NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked maternity and primary care services to support all general practitioners, practice nurses, midwives and obstetricians to give objective, evidence-based advice to women on vaccination in pregnancy at every antenatal contact. For healthcare professionals, there is a checklist to aid discussions on the potential benefits and risks of COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy and to gain informed consent.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to prioritise pregnant women for the covid-19 booster vaccine.

On 29 November 2021, we updated our advice for all those aged 18 years old and above, including pregnant women and those individuals with severe immunosuppression who have had three primary doses, will be eligible for a booster vaccination.


The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that women who are pregnant should be offered vaccination at the same time as non-pregnant women, based on their age and clinical risk group. As such, pregnancy alone is not currently a cause for prioritisation for a COVID-19 booster dose at this time. The Government has accepted this advice. The JCVI will review data as it emerges and consider further advice on booster vaccinations in the rest of the population.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to prevent online sales of products containing nicotine to under-18s.

The Children and Young Persons (Sale of Tobacco etc.) Order 2007 and The Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015 ensure that tobacco and nicotine inhaling products can only be purchased by those who are aged 18 years old and over. This applies to both in person and online sales. The Department will consider whether the regulatory framework needs to be strengthened to protect young people from accessing products containing nicotine online.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to provide the covid-19 vaccine to five to 11 year olds (a) in general and (b) who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

No COVID-19 vaccine is currently authorised in the United Kingdom for use in children aged five to 11 years old by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the independent regulator.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will continue to review data on the potential benefits and risks of vaccination of children aged five to 11 years old and will issue separate advice in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the covid-19 vaccine mandate for social care workers, what assessment the Government has made of the extent of face-to-face social care provision that falls outside of CQC regulation, including services that a social care provider classes as outreach services.

We have not made a specific assessment. However, Skills for Care data from 2020/21 suggests that 20% of the workforce providing home care and 12% providing residential care not including care homes worked for employers not registered with the Care Quality Commission and therefore will fall outside the scope of the regulations. Including those working in non-registered day and community settings, this is potentially 24% of the total workforce.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that the Cancer Patient Experience Survey takes equal account of the experience of cancer patients who have survived and not survived cancer; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 10 November 2021 to Question 70278.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that funding for maternity services is adequate to (a) safeguard the health of mothers and babies and (b) secure good working conditions for midwives.

In March 2021, we announced £95.6 million to support the recruitment of 1,200 midwives and 100 consultant obstetricians to ensure safe staffing levels and personalised midwifery care for women and babies. The Department has commissioned the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to develop a new workforce planning tool to improve calculations of medical staffing requirements to provide safe, personalised care tailored to communities. We have also provided £6.8 million to support Local Maternity Systems to implement Equity and Equality Action Plans and implement targeted and enhanced Continuity of Carer to improve equity and safe outcomes for mothers and babies.

The NHS People Plan includes a focus on healthy working environments and safe spaces for staff to rest and recuperate. The National Health Service has established a People Recovery Task Force to develop a framework and interventions which will ensure that all NHS staff, including midwives, are safe and able to recover. We have invested £43 million in staff mental health support for 2021/22, in addition to £15 million in 2020/21. Forty mental health hubs are providing outreach and assessment services to help frontline staff receive rapid access to mental health services.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to provide under-16s with an NHS Covid Pass for travel overseas.

A small proportion of children over 12 years old have or will receive full vaccination following the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s advice. International standards for travel require a full course to be recognised as ‘fully vaccinated’. We are exploring ways to provide fully vaccinated 12 to 15 year olds with a travel NHS COVID Pass.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that elderly and clinically vulnerable hospital inpatients are provided with the covid-19 booster jab if more than six months have passed since their second vaccine dose.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s letter of 15 September 2021 to COVID-19 vaccination providers sets out that hospital hubs are expected to support the opportunistic vaccination of inpatients who require a COVID-19 booster vaccination.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure the (a) experiences of and (b) quality of life for people with a cancer with a poor one year prognosis are monitored by national mechanisms so issues in care and support can be identified and addressed.

All people with a cancer diagnosis, including those diagnosed with less survivable cancers, are invited to complete the Cancer Quality of Life Survey. This is an initiative aimed specifically at supporting long term survivorship. For cancer patients who sadly do not survive for 18 months from diagnosis other approaches to assessing their experience, such as the Cancer Patient Experience Survey, will be more appropriate.

The Cancer Patient Experience Survey will capture experiences from people treated for cancer, including people with less survivable cancers. Due to the need for statistical robustness, there is a time lag between the experience of treatment and the survey questionnaires being sent out. This creates an issue for capturing insight about the experience of patients with less survivable cancers.

The Picker Institute Europe, which carries out the survey on behalf of NHS England and NHS Improvement, reviewed the survey in 2018 and as a result guidance to trusts was amended to streamline and speed up preparations for the survey.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the suitability of the new NHS England Quality of Life survey for people diagnosed with a cancer with a poor one year prognosis.

All people with a cancer diagnosis, including those diagnosed with less survivable cancers, are invited to complete the Cancer Quality of Life Survey. This is an initiative aimed specifically at supporting long term survivorship. For cancer patients who sadly do not survive for 18 months from diagnosis other approaches to assessing their experience, such as the Cancer Patient Experience Survey, will be more appropriate.

The Cancer Patient Experience Survey will capture experiences from people treated for cancer, including people with less survivable cancers. Due to the need for statistical robustness, there is a time lag between the experience of treatment and the survey questionnaires being sent out. This creates an issue for capturing insight about the experience of patients with less survivable cancers.

The Picker Institute Europe, which carries out the survey on behalf of NHS England and NHS Improvement, reviewed the survey in 2018 and as a result guidance to trusts was amended to streamline and speed up preparations for the survey.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to bring forward covid-19 vaccine booster jabs for people who were participants in the AstraZeneca vaccine trials last year.

On 29 November 2021, we announced updated advice that all individuals aged 18 years old and over will be eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccination. This includes participants in the AstraZeneca vaccine trials. Trial participants for a COVID-19 vaccine which has since been approved, such as AstraZeneca, can access a booster dose from any vaccine centre when invited to do so.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assistance he is providing to health bodies and people in the South West affected by the false negative covid-19 test results in the South West; and if he will make a statement.

Investigations are ongoing.

On 15 October 2021, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) alerted the public and endeavoured to contact every person who may have been affected, recommending a further test if they were likely to be infectious. Briefings were held with local authorities, Directors of Public Health and public health teams. Samples were diverted to other laboratories to ensure there was no loss of testing provision in the South West. The UKHSA, the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities and NHS England continue to support the regional Directors of Public Health.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the new contract with Immensa to deliver further covid-19 tests was agreed before or after the discovery of false negative covid-19 test results by the company for people testing in the South West.

The contract was awarded to Immensa Health Clinic Ltd in August 2021 prior to the recent findings under investigation.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date it became known that Immensa had delivered false negative covid-19 test results to people in the South West.

The UK Health Security Agency identified this incident on 12 October 2021.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of the false negative covid-19 test results returned by Immensa on (a) people affected and (b) rates of transmission in the South West region.

Investigations are ongoing.

On 15 October 2021, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) alerted the public and endeavoured to contact every person who may have been affected, recommending a further test if they were likely to be infectious. Briefings were held with local authorities, Directors of Public Health and public health teams. Samples were diverted to other laboratories to ensure there was no loss of testing provision in the South West. The UKHSA, the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities and NHS England continue to support the regional Directors of Public Health.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on enabling British citizens who received their covid-19 vaccinations overseas to be certified as vaccinated by the NHS Covid Pass.

A pilot launched on 30 September in England for residents vaccinated abroad to request that their vaccines are uploaded to the national database. Vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, the Food and Drug Administration or Swissmedic are accepted for the NHS COVID Pass. We are working to understand which non-Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved vaccines we would be confident to recognise in the NHS COVID Pass.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what lessons the Government has learned from the faults with PCR testing discovered at the Immensa laboratory in Wolverhampton; and if he will make a statement.

The investigation into the Immensa Laboratory in Wolverhampton is ongoing and the UK Health Security Agency will update their findings in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 23 July 2021 to Question 35720 on Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme, how much funding was allocated to supporting parents on a low income engage with the care of their babies in neonatal care in 2021-22; and how that spending was monitored.

The information requested is not held centrally. Details of discretionary payments made by local trusts for travel expenses is not collected centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether definitions used for clinically extremely vulnerable people or others asked to shield initially during the covid-19 outbreak included diabetes; and whether he has reviewed those definitions with regard to the inclusion of diabetes.

The United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers identified specific medical conditions that placed people at the greatest risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. It was determined that a blanket inclusion of everyone with a diagnosis of diabetes was not appropriate. As the shielding programme has now ended, there is no longer a centrally defined clinically extremely vulnerable group.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that NHS 111 call handlers who are employed by private contractors receive a comparable rate of pay to NHS 111 call handlers who are directly employed by the NHS.

Private providers determine the rates of pay for their staff according to their employment contracts and local conditions. However, some contractors may choose to mirror arrangements used in the National Health Service, including annual pay awards.

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, pursuant to the Answer of 28 September 2021 to Question 51725 on Travel: Quarantine, what is the reason for the differing requirements for quarantine for those people vaccinated in the UK and those vaccinated overseas.

Once within the United Kingdom, domestic self-isolation regulations apply. If an individual who was vaccinated outside of the UK is the contact of a positive case, they are not exempted from self-isolation. This is because there are no means of verifying their vaccination status as it is not recorded by the National Health Service.

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 the Government is taking to ensure that people who have received their first and second doses of the covid-19 vaccine in different nations of the UK can prove their vaccination status using the NHS Covid app.

For a NHS COVID Pass to be issued, both vaccine doses must be recorded in national vaccine databases. NHS Digital has established bi-directional live data flows between England and Wales and England and Scotland. The NHS App can demonstrate vaccines administered in England, Wales and Scotland for residents registered with a general practitioner in England. Data flows will be established with Northern Ireland shortly.

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 funding is being provided for bereavement support for people whose family members have died from covid-19.

Since March 2020, the Government has given over £10.2 million to mental health charities, including bereavement support charities, to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing due to the impact of COVID-19. We continue to take a cross-Government approach to assess what is needed to provide support to bereaved individuals during this incredibly difficult time, whether they have been bereaved due to COVID-19 or other causes.

Gillian Keegan
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 29 April 2021 to Question 188120 on dental services, what the timeframe is for bringing forward proposals on addressing the key challenges facing the delivery of National Health Service dentistry.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with the sector to explore these challenges and how they could be addressed. NHS England and NHS Improvement have established advisory and technical working groups, with membership from the dental profession. These groups are exploring new contractual arrangements to bring forward proposals for change. Any proposed contractual changes will be negotiated with the British Dental Association and may involve legislative changes. It is therefore not possible to set out when these changes could be implemented.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing (a) a single, established dataset to monitor referrals for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) assessments and treatments and (b) b) a maximum waiting time standard from referral for an assessment of ADHD to the point of diagnosis.

We have no plans to do so.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence do not recommend a maximum waiting time standard from referral for an assessment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to the point of diagnosis.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing healthcare support for people with long covid.

COVID-19 is a new disease and we continue to increase our understanding of the physical, psychological and rehabilitation needs for those experiencing long-term effects of the virus. On 15 June, NHS England and NHS Improvement published a new 10-point plan and announced an additional £100 million expansion of care for patients, taking the total investment in ‘long’ COVID-19 support in England to £134 million. This includes £70 million to facilitate the expansion of Post-Covid Assessment Clinics and £30 million for an enhanced service for general practice.

Fourteen paediatric hubs have been established in England to provide advice and help coordinate care for children and young people up to the age of 18 years old. Also, the ‘Your COVID Recovery’ online service, provides a digital, interactive, personalised recovery programme for people recovering from COVID-19.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what impact assessment he has carried out on the policy of requiring travellers to the UK from EU countries who are fully vaccinated against covid-19 to isolate when a member of their party has tested positive for covid-19.

No separate impact assessment has been made. Travellers to the United Kingdom are treated in the same way as any other individual. All those testing positive must self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status or where they were vaccinated. If they have been fully vaccinated in the UK, they are exempt from self-isolation if identified as a close contact. If they were vaccinated abroad, regardless of whether they received a vaccine approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, they are required to self-isolate if identified as a close contact.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that people who were participants in the Valneva vaccine trial have their vaccination status recognised by foreign countries for the purpose of international travel.

The Government continues to make the case internationally, including through groups such as the G7, G20, European Commission and the World Health Organization, that anyone on a COVID-19 vaccine trial should be treated the same in terms of certification as someone who has received a deployed vaccine. Ultimately it is for Governments to set their inbound travel policy, including for clinical trial participants on Valneva and other trials.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of waiting times for access to NHS diagnosis and treatment services for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; what methodology is used to make that estimate; and whether those waiting times are within target.

No recent estimate has been made. Currently there is no a single, established dataset to monitor referrals for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) assessments and treatments nationally or the provision of wider ADHD services as assessments, diagnosis and provision of support to people with ADHD may be undertaken in a variety of care settings. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence does not recommend a maximum waiting time standard from referral for an assessment of ADHD to the point of diagnosis.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2021 to Question 28233 on General Practitioners: Software, what steps he is taking to reduce the time taken to correct superannuation deductions that are double deducted, incorrectly deducted or not deducted through the new Primary Care Support England (PCSE) system.

Primary Care Support England (PCSE) Online is in its post-implementation support phase, which is intended to ensure that any early issues are identified and resolved. NHS England continues to work with PCSE, NHS Pensions and other stakeholders, including general practitioner practices, to rapidly identify and resolve any outstanding issues that have emerged since the new system has come into operation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of the use of personalised vaccines as a treatment for brain tumours.

At present, no vaccine therapies are licensed for use as a treatment for brain cancer. Such treatments are used within either experimental or early stage trial settings, therefore they are not routinely available to patients.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the cancer treatment drug Sacituzumab Govitecan, also known as Trodelvy, will be available for prescription and use in the NHS.

Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan) does not yet have a marketing authorisation for use in Great Britain and is not yet available for routine prescribing. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is currently considering a marketing authorisation application for Trodelvy through the accelerated process for Project Orbis medicines.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is also currently developing guidance for the National Health Service on whether Trodelvy represents a clinically and cost effective use of NHS resources. It expects to publish draft guidance in spring 2022. Interim access arrangements may be considered for medicines licensed through the Project Orbis pathway where NICE guidance is not anticipated to be published in line with the three month timeframe. NICE and NHS England and NHS Improvement are actively engaging with Gilead to see how interim access arrangements may be applied.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 28 June 2021 to Question 20431 on Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme, for what reason providing breastmilk and establishing an attachment with a premature baby is classified as a family visit and not a medical reason for being in hospital under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s guidance sets out the support and access for partners and parents of babies in neonatal critical care should be provided by National Health Service trusts. Parents of babies in neonatal critical care are partners in their baby’s care and neonatal units should identify how to safely facilitate parental presence at all times of day.

Eligibility for the full or partial payment of NHS travel expenses depends upon being in receipt of a qualifying benefit, being named on an NHS Low Income Scheme and referral by a primary care provider to receive non-primary care services. If these criteria are met individuals would be recompensed for their travel costs. Additionally, trusts have discretion to make a payment if they deem it appropriate.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of pancreatic cancer patients were prescribed pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy in England in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018 and (e) 2019.

The information requested is not held centrally. While the NHS Business Services Authority holds prescription data relating to drugs dispensed within a community setting, no data is collected on the clinical condition of the patient.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to modify the labelling of topical steroid medications to include clear warnings against over-use.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is conducting a review of topical steroid withdrawal. The review is discussing alterations to labelling, guidance and communications with health care professionals. We have consulted on these topics with healthcare experts in the field including those in the National Health Service, patient representatives and other stakeholders. We are considering updates to the product information and further communications to health care professionals and the MHRA expects to issue more information on this in the next few months.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the NHS on guidance for GPs and patients on the correct use and dosage of topical steroids.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is conducting a review of topical steroid withdrawal. The review is discussing alterations to labelling, guidance and communications with health care professionals. We have consulted on these topics with healthcare experts in the field including those in the National Health Service, patient representatives and other stakeholders. We are considering updates to the product information and further communications to health care professionals and the MHRA expects to issue more information on this in the next few months.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with stakeholders on the recognition of topical steroid withdrawal as an official condition by the NHS.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is conducting a review of topical steroid withdrawal. The review is discussing alterations to labelling, guidance and communications with health care professionals. We have consulted on these topics with healthcare experts in the field including those in the National Health Service, patient representatives and other stakeholders. We are considering updates to the product information and further communications to health care professionals and the MHRA expects to issue more information on this in the next few months.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure pancreatic cancer patients are considered for pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy at the point of diagnosis in England.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Slough (Mr Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP) on 10 June 2021 to Question 11722.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the prescription rates of pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy for inoperable pancreatic cancer patients in England who are not treated in specialist centres.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Slough (Mr Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP) on 10 June 2021 to Question 11722.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to improve the speed and consistency of information and payments to GP practices using the new Primary Care Support England (PCSE) payment software.

Primary Care Support England (PCSE), a service operated by Capita on behalf of NHS England and NHS Improvement, implemented a new general practitioner payment and pensions system, PCSE Online, on 1 June 2021. Since June the new payments system has successfully processed over 187,000 payment lines, totalling £970 million. Payments to general practice are made on a set schedule in line with contractual deadlines and NHS England and NHS Improvement has advised that all expected payments have been made, including any corrections that were made in-month to ensure that all contractual deadlines were met. PCSE has advised that it continues to work with stakeholders to monitor the new system and address any issues.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme to include the travel costs of parents visiting their newborn babies in neonatal units.

The Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS) is part of the NHS Low Income Scheme and was set up to provide financial assistance to those patients in receipt of a qualifying benefit who do not have a medical need for ambulance transport, but who require assistance with their travel costs. The HTCS is not setup to provide financial assistance to people visiting hospital inpatients.

There are currently no plans to extend the remit of the HTCS. Other possible sources of help with travel expenses for patients and visitors include hospital endowment funds, education departments, adult social care department and charities such as the Family Fund. Additionally, some trusts provide accommodation for parents in hospital.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on providing young people with information about HIV and reducing anti-HIV stigma as part of the Sex and Relationships elements of Personal, Health and Social Education lessons.

There have been no recent discussions. However, as part of the Government’s commitment to reaching zero new HIV transmissions in England by 2030, the Department is currently developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan, which are planned for publication later this year. Officials continue to engage with the Department of Education the consideration of issues relating to HIV and how they are covered in the statutory curriculum in schools, as part of the ‘intimate and sexual relationships’ lessons under Personal, Health and Social Education.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his the Government is taking to increase public awareness of HIV prevention through HIV testing campaigns.

HIV Prevention England (HPE), the national HIV prevention campaign funded by Public Health England (PHE) and delivered by the Terrence Higgins Trust, aims to promote HIV testing and other safer sex interventions amongst black African communities, men who have sex with men and other groups in which there is a higher or emerging burden of infection. HPE operate an annual campaign promoting HIV testing during National HIV Testing Week.

PHE’s Reproductive Health, Sexual Health and HIV Innovation Fund has supported a range of projects between 2017 and 2020 that deliver new approaches to HIV testing among the most affected populations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will reintroduce NHS ear wax syringing services.

Decisions about the funding and provision of health services, including ear wax removal, are the responsibility of local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). They should plan services to meet the needs of local communities including continuing to ensure there is appropriate access to ear wax services.

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 service depending on the arrangements in place in the local area.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken to address discrepancies between life expectancy in different wards of birth.

The Government will publish a white paper later this year, setting out bold new policy interventions to improve living standards in all parts of the country.

The new Office for Health Promotion support collaboration across Government on the wider determinants of health. We will reinforce the role of local authorities as champions of health in their communities and enhance the National Health Service’s public health responsibilities on prevention.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of funding for specialist support for services to support children with eating disorders in the South West; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating additional funding for those specialist support services to that region.

We have made no specific assessment.

The funding made available to support the 2021/22 National Health Service operational planning and contracting round is ongoing. Through this process, local systems will work with their partner organisations, including clinical commissioning groups and local authorities in the South West, to agree their mental health finance planning for financial year 2021/22, which will include funding for eating disorders services. NHS England and NHS Improvement will review the plans against expected trajectories such as on waiting times targets for children and young people’s eating disorder services, seek assurance on any major divergences and establish recovery plans where needed.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there is adequate funding for support services for children and young people with eating disorders in the South West at (a) community services, (b) in-patient services and (c) psychiatry services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s programmes of work for children and young people’s mental health, including eating disorders, are focussed on community mental health services and inpatient services.

The funding and provision of health services, including mental health services, are the responsibility of local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) which have the flexibility to allocate funding according to local need. CCGs are required to meet the mental health investment standard (MHIS), which means increasing the spending on mental health by at least as much as their overall budget increases and therefore increase their spend on mental health. Latest data shows that 99% of CCGs are on track to meet the MHIS in 2020/21.

Under the NHS Long Term Plan, funding for children and young people’s mental health services will grow faster than both overall National Health Service funding and total mental health spending. This means that children and young people’s mental health services will for the first time grow as a proportion of all mental health services, which will themselves also be growing faster than the NHS overall.

We have also announced an extra £79 million in 2021/22 to significantly expand children’s mental health services, including allowing 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to improve rates of early diagnosis of HIV.

We recognize the importance of HIV testing for improving early diagnosis and will set out our plans for its wider access in the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and the HIV Action Plan, planned to be published this year.

Access to and provision of HIV testing, including online and self-sampling services, is the responsibility of local authorities. There is no comprehensive data available on the number of local authorities that provide HIV self-sampling services. Public Health England’s framework for the national HIV self-sampling service was set up in 2015 and is used by many local authorities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing free at-home HIV testing that is available nationwide all year round.

We recognize the importance of HIV testing for improving early diagnosis and will set out our plans for its wider access in the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and the HIV Action Plan, planned to be published this year.

Access to and provision of HIV testing, including online and self-sampling services, is the responsibility of local authorities. There is no comprehensive data available on the number of local authorities that provide HIV self-sampling services. Public Health England’s framework for the national HIV self-sampling service was set up in 2015 and is used by many local authorities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ensuring that (a) student finance and (b) NHS bursaries are available to people who already have a degree and who wish to study for an undergraduate five-year medicine degree.

Student finance and National Health Service bursaries are already available, subject to certain conditions, for people who have a degree and who wish to study for an undergraduate five-year degree in medicine.

Those who wish to undertake a standard five year course in medicine and who already hold an equivalent or higher qualification that does not meet eligibility requirements for a four-year graduate entry medical programme, can apply for a partially means-tested maintenance loan and supplementary grants from Student Finance England (SFE) for the first four years of their course. Students will usually be expected to self-fund their annual tuition fees for those first four years. In year five of their course, they can also apply for a reduced rate, non-means tested maintenance loan from SFE.

Provided these students meet the NHS Business Services Authority eligibility criteria, they can apply for an NHS Bursary for the fifth year of study.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will make pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) available at pharmacies.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is now routinely available in the specialist sexual and reproductive health services throughout the country.

The settings in which PrEP to be made available outside of sexual health services, such as pharmacies, will be considered as part of our ongoing work on the development of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and the HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to review the provision of NHS dentistry.

The Department has asked NHS England and NHS Improvement to work with the British Dental Association, to build on the learning from the dental contract reform programme to bring forward implementable proposals, and address the key challenges facing the delivery of National Health Service dentistry.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ensuring that (a) student finance and (b) NHS bursaries are available for people who already have a degree who wish to study for an undergraduate (five-year) medicine degree.

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

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the Government requires social care workers entering the UK to pay for PCR tests on day 2 and day 8 after arrival when those tests are available to UK-based social care workers free of charge.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to end the disparity in maternal health outcomes between white women and black, asian and minority ethnic women.

We have established the Maternity Inequalities Oversight Forum to bring together experts to address the inequalities for women and babies from different ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic groups. Additionally, the Chief Midwifery Officer for England is leading work to understand why mortality rates are higher, consider evidence about what will reduce mortality rates and take action to improve equity in outcomes and experience of care for mothers and their babies.

Under measures set out in the 2021/22 Planning Guidance, most women from black, Asian and mixed ethnicity backgrounds will be placed on a continuity of carer pathway by March 2022. This will ensure that thousands of women receive safe and personal maternity care, improving outcomes for both mother and baby and reducing health inequalities.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2021 to Question 166476, what equality impact assessment has been done on HIV prevention drug PrEP only being available in sexual health services; and what assessment he has made of the (a) benefits and (b) risks for diverse communities of PrEP being available in (i) GP practices, (ii) pharmacies, and (iii) other NHS services.

No equality impact assessment has been completed. Public Health England, in collaboration with stakeholders, is currently developing a monitoring and evaluation framework for the routine commissioning of the HIV prevention drug pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). This will use established surveillance systems and include measures of PrEP need and use among key population groups to inform equitable delivery and access. The provision of PrEP, including the settings in which PrEP should be made available outside of specialist sexual health services, will be considered as part of the development of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish in 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that pharmacies are being supported to remain financially viable throughout the covid-19 outbreak.

Discussions are ongoing with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee about additional funding for costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of its ongoing assessment of COVID-19 costs incurred by the sector the Government will take account of the £370 million increased advance payments paid to community pharmacies.

The support package for community pharmacy also included general COVID-19 business support, funding for Bank Holiday openings, social distancing measures and the medicine delivery service to shielded patients, free personal protective equipment and non-monetary support including the removal of some administrative tasks, flexibility in opening hours and the delayed introduction of new services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that HIV/AIDS support services are available throughout the country.

We are developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish in 2021. We will consider issues relating to the role and future need for HIV support services in England as part of the process to develop both the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to develop a Patient Group Direction so that the HIV prevention drug PrEP can be made available in pharmacies.

In March 2020, we announced that the HIV prevention drug pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) would be routinely available across England in 2020/21. This year we provided £11 million to local authorities for routine commissioning of PrEP and this is now in place in the majority of areas in the country. Routine commissioning of PrEP, alongside other measures, will take us closer to our ambition of zero new HIV transmissions in England by 2030.

Provision of PrEP, including the settings in which PrEP should be made available outside of specialist sexual health services, will be considered as part of the development of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish in 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to include the HIV prevention drug PrEP in the Core GP contract.

In March 2020, we announced that the HIV prevention drug pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) would be routinely available across England in 2020/21. This year we provided £11 million to local authorities for routine commissioning of PrEP and this is now in place in the majority of areas in the country. Routine commissioning of PrEP, alongside other measures, will take us closer to our ambition of zero new HIV transmissions in England by 2030.

Provision of PrEP, including the settings in which PrEP should be made available outside of specialist sexual health services, will be considered as part of the development of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish in 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to implement a new public health campaign to support ending HIV-related stigma.

HIV Prevention England (HPE) is the national HIV prevention campaign funded by Public Health England and currently delivered by the Terrence Higgins Trust. One of HPE’s core aims is to reduce levels of HIV related stigma within black African communities for both men and women, men who have sex with men and in the community more widely. As part of the Government’s commitment to end new HIV transmissions in England by 2030, we will be developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish in 2021. We will consider issues related to HIV stigma as part of this process.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to (a) implement and (b) publish a timetable for the implementation of the recommendations of the HIV Commission's report entitled How England will end new cases of HIV, published in 2020.

We will be considering the recommendations set out in the HIV Commission to help shape our upcoming Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan on reaching the zero new transmissions by 2030 target, which we plan to publish in 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle health inequalities experienced by people with HIV and AIDS.

The Government has committed to developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan, which we plan to publish in 2021. We will consider issues related to health inequalities experienced by people living with HIV, tackling stigma and discrimination and other relevant issues as part of the process to develop the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and HIV Action Plan.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether a parent or carer of a child told to isolate as part of the Self-Isolation Service Hub at education settings are eligible for the Test and Trace payment support if they must stay at home to care for their child; and how that adult can obtain a reference number from Track and Trace to apply for support from the local authority.

The Government has expanded eligibility for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme to include a parent or guardian who has to stay off work to look after a child who is self-isolating. We are working closely with all 314 local authorities in England to implement this change as quickly as possible, including establishing the best way in which that parent or guardian can prove that their child has been told to self-isolate if they are not informed by NHS Test and Trace.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has commissioned an assessment of the effect on vaccine take-up of materials promoting covid-19 vaccines in languages other than English.

No such assessment has been commissioned.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has commissioned an assessment of the level of engagement with materials promoting the covid-19 vaccination campaign in languages other than English.

No such assessment has been commissioned.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the guidance published on 6 January 2021 on A testing service for homecare workers in England, when he plans to publish guidance on access to covid-19 testing for domiciliary care workers not registered with the Care Quality Commission and other personal assistants.

Access to regular testing for personal assistants in England began on 17 February 2021. Personal assistants are responsible for ordering test kits every 28 days or an employer can order test kits for them. Detailed guidance on testing for personal assistants is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-personal-assistants

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data is being shared with local authorities on local take-up of covid-19 vaccines, by ethnicity.

Public health teams have access to vaccination event data for the sustainability and transformation partnerships (STP) for their local authority. This is presented in the validated vaccination events dashboard and the COVID-19 vaccination equalities tool.

The dashboard provides views of all vaccination activity at all sites within a STP by delivery model, site, dose, vaccine type and vaccination uptake across ethnicity, age and other key Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation cohorts. The tool allows local authorities to track age cohort by ethnicity and Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) compared to a national average and an adjustable uptake target. It also identifies gaps between uptake targets and current vaccinations in each age cohort, both by ethnicity and IMD group. Additionally, local authorities can access a daily dataset to view testing and case data. This data is only available for age cohorts over 70 years of age and for lower tier local authorities includes data by detailed ethnic group.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which languages (a) written and (b) video materials promoting covid-19 vaccines have been translated into.

Our communications include targeted information and advice via TV, radio and social media. This has been translated into 19 languages including Bengali; Chinese; Filipino; Gujarati; Hindi; Mirpur; Punjabi; Urdu; Turkish; Tagalog; Spanish; Somali; Romanian; Polish; Nepali; Kurdish; Farsi; Arabic; and Albanian. Public Health England has also published British Sign Language, braille, and large print versions. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-what-to-expect-after-vaccination

Print and online material, including interviews and practical advice has appeared in over 600 national, regional, local and specialist titles including media for Asian, Bangladeshi, Bengali, Gujarati and Pakistani communities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of vaccine recipients have (a) stated an ethnicity on their vaccination form, (b) explicitly refused to do so and (c) have not responded.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently publishing weekly vaccinations by ethnicity. This includes a ‘Not stated/Unknown’ category. We do not collect data on those who refuse to state their ethnicity.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department is collecting on people who refuse covid-19 vaccinations.

The Department does not collect data on people who refuse COVID-19 vaccinations.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how may patients are on the NHS England waiting list for time critical heart surgery.

This data is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients have died whilst waiting for heart surgery in England since March 2020.

This information is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many heart operations have been carried out by NHS England since March 2020.

The latest data shows that 215,127 heart operations were carried out between March and December 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and have severe needle phobia to receive the covid-19 vaccine.

Vaccinators have received the appropriate training to make sure everyone feels safe. The process is overseen by clinicians who if required would be able to provide further assistance. We recommend that individuals with a needle phobia contact the vaccination centre directly prior to attendance to determine what mitigations they have for relevant patients and if any special arrangements could be identified to help the recipient feel more comfortable.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that parents and carers of children who are clinically extremely vulnerable are able to receive the covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is the independent body made up of scientists and clinical experts who advise the Government on prioritisation of vaccines at a population level. At present, there is very limited data on vaccination in adolescents, with no data on vaccination in younger children. The JCVI advises that only those children at very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes, such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities that require residential care, should be offered vaccination as part of phase one.

The Public Health England Green Book, which provides guidance for health professionals and immunisation practitioners, also sets out that children under 16 years of age, even if they are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), are at low risk of serious morbidity and mortality, and given the absence of safety and efficacy data on the vaccine, are not recommended for vaccination.

Parents and carers of children who are CEV will be prioritised for vaccination if they are frontline health or social care workers, or if they are an unpaid carer who is in receipt of carers allowance or are the sole or primary carer for a child who is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. All other parents and carers will be vaccinated alongside other adults of the same age, or earlier if they have an underlying health condition themselves which makes them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 21 January 2021 to Question 137961 on Paramedical Staff: Students, by what date his Department and the Department for Education plan to reach a decision through those discussions.

Discussions with the Department for Education on the student finance equivalent or lower qualification rules for paramedicine are ongoing. A decision will be dependent on business planning for the 2021/22 financial year following the outcome of Spending Review 2020.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there will be an increase in the number of student medicine places in the 2021-22 academic year.

The Government temporarily lifted the cap on medical school places for students who completed A-Levels in 2020 and who had an offer from a university in England to study medicine, subject to their grades. This ensured a place in 2020 or 2021 for every eligible student and meant that the overall number of domestic training places available for those applying to a medical school for the 2021/22 academic year remains unchanged.

The Government currently has no plans to increase the number of places beyond this. However, we are committed to ensuring that the number of medical school places reflect England’s workforce requirements and continues to monitor the effectiveness of current arrangements.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people in England employ their own personal assistants for health and social care at home.

Data from Skills for Care’s ‘Individual Employers and the Personal Assistant Workforce’ report estimates that in 2019/20, approximately 70,000 people in England employed their own personal assistant/s (PAs) with funding from social care direct payments, dispersed by local authorities. The Department does not hold data on numbers of individuals who employ PAs outside of social care direct payments.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how personal assistants providing home social and/or health care for their clients who also employ them directly will be notified of their appointment to receive the covid-19 vaccine.

Local authorities and employers are working together to identify and instruct frontline social care workers that are eligible to receive the vaccine, including personal assistants as outlined in the Government’s recently published Standard Operating Procedure.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's guidance, updated on 6 January 2021, A testing service for homecare workers in England, for what reason personal assistants were excluded from the guidance on regular testing for care workers.

On 23 November, we extended asymptomatic testing to all registered domiciliary care workers to help protect staff and people who receive care. Offering routine asymptomatic testing to directly employed or self-employed individual staff, such as personal assistants, presented additional logistical challenges which we worked to overcome.

Regular weekly polymerase chain reaction testing for personal assistants launched on 17 February 2021. Personal assistants can order four test kits every 28 days from the Government’s test portal.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the guidance for eligibility for regular covid-19 testing for (a) personal assistants providing social and health care in the homes of their clients and (b) people working for agencies not registered with CQC is planned to be updated.

On 23 November 2020, we began offering Care Quality Commission registered domiciliary care organisations access to regular, weekly COVID-19 testing for their carers looking after people in their own homes. We have also extended testing to personal assistants.

Agency staff working for care homes or domiciliary care organisations should access regular testing through the organisation they are working for. Agency staff working for an individual receiving care will be able to access testing in the same way as personal assistants.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the ethical implications for people who received a first dose of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine, but had their second dose postponed or cancelled.

The four United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers agree with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation that prioritising the first doses of vaccine for as many people as possible on the priority list will protect the greatest number of at risk people overall in the shortest possible time. It will have the greatest impact on reducing mortality, severe disease and hospitalisations and protect the National Health Service and equivalent health services.

On 11 January, NHS England set out operational guidance on the need to reschedule all appointments to receive the second dose in the twelfth week. This will help deliver the public health duties identified above and to vaccinate as many people, as quickly as possible, including frontline health and care workforce.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when social care providers will receive access to the £149 million grant to support the roll out of rapid lateral flow testing for covid-19 for residential care workers; and how that funding can be accessed.

On 23 December we announced £149 million to support the rollout of lateral flow testing in care homes. On 15 January, we announced the details of how this additional grant can be used to cover expenditure from 2 December 2020 to 31 March 2021. The grant will be paid to local authorities in a single instalment in January 2021.

Local authorities should pass 80% of this funding to care homes within their geographical area on a ‘per beds’ basis. The remaining 20% can be allocated at the local authority’s discretion to support the care sector to implement increased lateral flow testing.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what modelling has been undertaken on the optimal strategy for the national covid-19 vaccination programme; and if he will publish that modelling.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination is based on a range of evidence including a review of United Kingdom epidemiological data on the impact of the pandemic so far and data on demographic and clinical risk factors for mortality and hospitalisation from COVID-19. The JCVI takes account of a range of scientific information including modelling work and this is cited in the minutes and published statements from the Committee. These are available at the following link:

https://app.box.com/s/iddfb4ppwkmtjusir2tc

The modelling work by Warwick University which informed phase one advice is available at the following link:

http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/149402/1/WRAP-Modelling-optimal-vaccination-strategy-SARS-CoV-2-2021.pdf

The modelling work which informed the advice for extending the interval between the first and second dose is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement

The modelling work that informed the JCVI’s phase two interim advice is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/university-of-warwick-covid-19-vaccine-impact-forecast-13-january-2021

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of ensuring that local vaccine centres are able to offer covid-19 vaccines at risk of expiring to non-priority groups.

No vaccines should be wasted. All vaccination centres should have a backup list people in the cohorts currently being vaccinated, who can be called in case doses would be wasted. If no members of the currently vaccinated cohorts are available, it is recommended that members of the priority cohorts next in line be vaccinated.

In the unlikely case the above is not possible, and where the general practitioner practice can demonstrate exceptional circumstances showing that it is clinically appropriate and where resources would otherwise have been wasted, then individuals present on site should be vaccinated based on clinical judgement. This is in line with the Enhanced Service Specification for the COVID-19 vaccination programme 2020/21.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ensuring that student finance is available for people who already have a degree who wish to study for a degree in paramedic science, as is the case with medicine and allied subjects.

The Department of Health and Social Care is in discussions with the Department for Education about providing an exemption to the student finance equivalent or lower qualification rules for paramedicine. This would allow paramedic students with a degree to access both tuition fee and maintenance loan payments subject, as with all students, to the individual’s eligibility whilst undertaking a second degree.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will provide weekly figures on the number of covid-19 vaccination doses which were wasted as a result of (a) supply chain issues and (b) appointment no-shows.

Data on wastage of vaccination doses is not currently held centrally. Work is ongoing across the vaccination programme to standardise and increase the information available for management purposes. However, no vaccines should be wasted. All vaccination centres should have a reserve list of people in the cohorts currently being vaccinated who can be called in case doses would be wasted. If no members of the currently vaccinated cohorts are available, it is recommended that members of the priority cohorts next in line be vaccinated.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to respond to the letter from the Hon Member for Bristol West reference ZA6937 sent by email to the Minister for Health, Suicide Prevention and Patient Safety on 28 October 2020 and resent on 1 December 2020.

We are working to provide all Members and external correspondents with accurate answers to their correspondence, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The hon. Member’s letter will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that asymptomatic domiciliary care workers providing intimate care for clinically extremely vulnerable people and others with vulnerabilities are able to access regular covid-19 testing.

On 23 November 2020, we began offering domiciliary care organisations access to regular, weekly COVID-19 testing for their carers looking after people in their own homes from an online portal.

Domiciliary care workers are able to access weekly PCR tests to administer at home, which will help identify more asymptomatic cases and protect care recipients who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the evidence base was for the Government's decision to allow health services to delay the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine; and for what reason the Government's policy on that matter differs to the advice of the manufacturer and the World Health Organization.

The United Kingdom’s decision to delay the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine has been taken based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination Immunisation (JCVI), as well as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

After studying the available data, it’s clear both vaccines provide substantial protection within two to three weeks of vaccination from severe COVID-19 disease. The Government is advised on the safety, efficacy and strategy for the vaccines by independent scientists including those from the JCVI and the Commission on Human Medicines Expert Advisory Group. While we are monitoring different countries’ vaccination plans and rollouts, the approach taken in the UK is based on the advice of the world’s leading clinicians and scientists.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to reply to named day Question 114249, tabled by the hon. Member for Bristol West on 11 November 2020.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s question will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to communicate (a) covid-19 risks, (b) guidance and (c) mitigation measures to non-English language speakers.

Since March 2020, Public Health England has translated key public guidance on COVID-19 in multiple languages including Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (traditional), Chinese (simplified), French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi and Urdu. These include shielding guidance in Bulgarian, Hindi and Nepali. Examples of guidance documents that have been translated are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Local councils have also produced translations into various community languages.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for how long European Health Insurance Cards remain valid in respect of people travelling to an EU country before 31 December 2020 and who do not return before the end of the transition period.

The Withdrawal Agreement protects United Kingdom and European Union nationals, including UK insured individuals, who find themselves in a ‘cross-border situation’ over 31 December 2020. For example, someone whose holiday begins before, but ended after, the 31 December 2020 would be covered. People in this situation will be able to continue to use their European Health Insurance Card to access ‘needs-arising treatment’ until they leave that country by travelling to another EU Member State or returning to the UK.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to enable single-parent carers of adult disabled children to form a bubble during the covid-19 outbreak with another household as is permitted for cared-for people under the age of 18.

The Government knows that social distancing restrictions are difficult for everyone, especially those with caring responsibilities. We have tried to reduce the impact of restrictions so that carers, including those with adult children with disabilities, continue to receive support during this time. From 2 December, if someone is the only adult in their household who does not need continuous care as a result of a disability, they can form a support bubble with another household of any size.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the supply of flu vaccinations for all people eligible for NHS flu vaccinations in Bristol West.

General practitioners (GPs) and community pharmacists are responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season. The Department has procured additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine to ensure more flu vaccines are available this winter. GPs, community pharmacists and trusts who have exhausted their own supply are now able to order from this central stock.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with local areas to ensure that local providers are supported to meet increased demand for the flu vaccination this winter. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has granted dispensation to allow the movement of vaccines locally between practices and other National Health Service provider organisations this season, to help address local shortages.

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 potential merits of enabling parent and child groups for pre-school age children to continue during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

Reducing social contact is the most important factor in driving down transmission. However, the Government knows that rules about social distancing are difficult for everyone, especially those with young children.

Support groups for new parents can continue to be held, as can support groups for new parents in community settings, such as a place of worship, community centre or hall, or library, that are essential to deliver in person. These groups can continue with up to 15 participants where the purpose is to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. Where these are held in Ofsted registered settings, they should follow Government guidance on COVID-19 for early years and childcare providers which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures

Informal groups, such as those organised by a parent, need to comply with the gathering and household mixing rules. In practice during the period of national restrictions this means these groups should only meet virtually.

When national restrictions apply, in determining the limit of 15 participants, children under the age of five are not counted towards the limit.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of defining soft tissue therapy as a health service for the purposes of covid-19 restrictions.

No specific assessment has been made.

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, with reference to section 3.4 of his Department's publication of 13 October 2020 on COVID-19: provision of night shelters - Operating principles for commissioners and providers of night shelters for people experiencing rough sleeping, whether cohorting is recommended as a response for a person who is (a) symptomatic of, (b) tested positive and (c) is identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive for covid-19 in any context other than accommodation for people experiencing rough sleeping.

The document ‘COVID-19: provision of night shelters - Operating principles for commissioners and providers of night shelters for people experiencing rough sleeping’ was published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and recommends cohorting in communal night shelters where isolation is not immediately possible. This approach is intended to mitigate some of the health risks when people do not have access to accommodation that helps to keep them safe from COVID-19, or who need care if they have symptoms or a positive test.

For people in accommodation where they are able to self-isolate, the relevant guidance is available in ‘Stay at home: Guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19’ at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what use NHS Test and Trace is making of information from credit checking agencies.

In order to request a Home Test, a user must first verify their identity using a service provided by TransUnion. Identity verification is built into the process in order to minimise the risk of fraudulent ordering.

If an individual is not willing or able to undertake the identity verification provided by TransUnion, they should call 119 for further assistance, or seek to book an appointment at a regional test site or mobile testing unit, where a member of staff will confirm their identity in person.

TransUnion provides identity verification checks as part of the registration process for a home test kit. This is not a credit check and will not affect an individual’s credit score.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many of the local covid-19 lockdown restrictions introduced by the Government to date have included restrictions on entering premises which have been introduced through legislation.

No local COVID-19 regulations have included specific restrictions on entering premises.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to highlight the common symptoms of covid-19 in children that differ from those commonly seen in adults.

Evidence suggests that while children can contract COVID-19, it is less often than adults and appears to take a milder course.

The National Health Service has published general COVID-19 advice on symptoms which is available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/

The NHS has published specific advice for parents and carers of very young children regarding when to seek medical help if the child has a raised temperature. This is available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/coronavirus-in-children

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he will allow young people of school age to access a covid-19 test in the event that they have (a) gastrointestinal symptoms, (b) sore throat and (c) runny nose, which are commonly found in young people with covid-19.

Children should only have a test if they have any of the three COVID-19 symptoms:

- a high temperature;

- a new continuous cough; and

- a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste.

Parents and guardians who are unsure about whether to get a test should check the official list of symptoms which are available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the period for new mothers to receive (a) free prescriptions and (b) dental care due to the restrictions places on health facilities during the covid-19 lockdown.

The Government has made no such assessment and there are currently no plans to extend the period of maternity exemption certificates.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will review the (a) effect and (b) adequacy of the guidance on the use of electro-convulsive therapy on women.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines for the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) based on the most up to date available clinical evidence. NICE has also produced guidance, ‘Depression in adults: recognition and management’, which includes recommendations on when to use of ECT for complex and severe depression. The Department expects commissioners and providers of services to pay due regard to these guidelines. NICE keeps its guidance under regular review


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is tightly regulated under the Mental Health Act 1983 and practitioners should only administer the treatment when all other options have been exhausted. The Mental Health Act 1983: Code of Practice provides statutory guidance on the usage of ECT to ensure patients are treated with dignity and respect.

The Independent Review of the Mental Health Act made 154 recommendations, including proposing further safeguards on the use of ECT. We have committed to publishing a White Paper which will set out the Government’s response to Sir Simon Wessely’s Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983 and pave the way for reform of the Act.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Jul 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 findings of the Maternal, Newborn and Infant Clinical Outcome Review Programme's 2019 publication entitled Saving Lives, Improving Mothers' Care, on the elevated risk of maternal death for Black and Asian women.

Analysis of maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths, undertaken by MBRRACE-UK, shows that poor outcomes are much higher for mothers and babies from Black/Black British and Asian/Asian British ethnic groups and women living in the most deprived areas of the country.

Work to reduce health inequalities around maternal and perinatal mortality rates is being led by Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE, Chief Midwifery Officer. This includes understanding why mortality rates are higher, considering evidence about what will reduce mortality rates and taking action to reduce mortality rates. The work is multi-disciplinary and involves a range of stakeholder groups, including users of maternity services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy that ethnic information should be included on death certificates.

The recent Public Health England report ‘Beyond the Data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups’ recommended the mandatory collection of ethnicity data at death certification. How to take this forward is being considered by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) as part of the wider work she is leading to improve the quality of data on ethnic disparities and COVID-19.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to improve maternal mortality rates for Black women.

Analysis of maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths, undertaken by MBRRACE-UK, shows that poor outcomes are much higher for mothers from Black/Black British and Asian/Asian British ethnic groups and women living in the most deprived areas of the country.

Work to reduce health inequalities around maternal mortality rates is being led by Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE, Chief Midwifery Officer. This includes understanding why mortality rates are higher, considering evidence about what will reduce mortality rates and taking action to reduce mortality rates. The work is multi-disciplinary and involves a range of stakeholder groups, including users of maternity services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department uses to assess the suitability of companies for involvement in the NHS test and trace service for covid-19; what contractual obligations those companies have; and how those obligations are monitored.

Guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to COVID-19 was published on 18 March at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0120-responding-to-covid-19

Authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. Available options include direct award due to extreme urgency; direct award due to absence of competition or protection of exclusive rights; call off from an existing framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system; call for competition using a standard procedure with accelerated timescales and extending or modifying a contract during its term.

The Department assesses the suitability of companies against information already held if they are on a Government framework contract or through direct discussions and information exchanges if they are not. Contracts are placed in line with Departmental terms and conditions which include clauses for contract management.

The Department has a contract management function which supports operational contract managers within the business and the Test and Trace contracts follow the same approach.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is using NHS volunteers to help with the covid-19 track and trace programme; and if he will make a statement.

The new NHS Test and Trace service was launched on 28 May across England. 27,000 contact tracing staff have been recruited to support this service with staff being a mix of paid call handlers and health professionals. They are in addition to existing public health experts from Public Health England and local government.

As these roles are professional paid roles, NHS Volunteer Responders are not currently being used to support the programme.

To increase self-isolation compliance, the Test and Trace programme ensures that people who are contacted to self-isolate are aware of the support offered by NHS Volunteer Responders which includes volunteers being able to help with food shopping, medication delivery and check in and chat phone calls.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the continued supply of epilepsy medication in the event that the UK exits the transition period without a trade agreement with the EU.

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January and is now in a Transition Period until 31 December 2020. During this time, it remains our objective to negotiate a future relationship with the EU and in our respective published negotiating documents, we have both stated objectives to reach an agreement on trade in goods. The UK’s published approach sets out how we want to facilitate trade in medicinal products and support high levels of patient safety.

The Department has well-established procedures to deal with medicine shortages, whatever their cause, and will always work closely with the pharmaceutical industry and National Health Service to help ensure patients continue to have access to the medicines and treatments they need, including epilepsy medication, under all scenarios.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to extend or amend the training of doctors as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Health Education England (HEE) is leading the Future Doctor Programme to support the ambitions of the NHS People Plan and establish a clear view of what the National Health Service, patients and the public require from future doctors. The Programme will identify requirements for reform of medical education and training and will incorporate lessons from the response to COVID-19.

Through the ongoing Annual Review of Competency Progression, HEE is reviewing junior doctor training progress and the impact of COVID-19, to ensure programmes can be amended or extended and any gaps in training addressed where necessary. HEE has also worked with the General Medical Council and Royal Medical Colleges to minimise the need for training extensions due to the impact of cancelled exams.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken through monitoring to ensure that personal protective equipment used in the NHS and social care sector is not manufactured in conditions that breach human rights.

The Government has a robust triage process which ensures that we discard orders that do not meet technical assurance standards, commercial due diligence and checks for risk and fraud.

The Government ensures that the modern slavery clause is in our personal protective equipment contracts and we undertake factory inspections to ensure compliance.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken to ensure that health guidance on covid-19 for people with underlying conditions has been made available in community languages.

Public Health England provides health guidance for the public on households with possible COVID-19 infection and shielding advice for COVID-19 for people with underlying health conditions. This information has been translated into the following languages: Bengali, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Simplified Chinese - Mandarin, Traditional Chinese - Cantonese, Urdu and Welsh.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued to care homes on the (a) clinical and (b) other criteria that should be taken into account on whether a resident with symptoms of covid-19 should be taken to hospital for treatment.

Guidance on supporting care home residents who may require hospital care is set out in the ‘Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home’ guidance published on 2 April 2020. This includes assessing the appropriateness of hospitalisation as per the resident’s treatment plan, following infection prevention and control guidelines for patient transport, and informing the receiving healthcare facility that the incoming patient has COVID-19 symptoms.

Our Adult Social Care Action Plan, published on 15 April 2020, confirms that where a care home resident is suffering from more severe COVID-19 symptoms, the individual may need to be admitted to hospital. Decisions should always be made in line with clinical need.

Additionally, on 1 May 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement published a letter: ‘COVID-19 response: Primary care and community health support care home residents.’ The letter reiterates that secondary care providers should accept referrals and admissions from care home residents where clinically appropriate.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we will continue to review our guidance in line with the latest scientific advice.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people aged over 70 who had no underlying health conditions have (a) needed hospital treatment, ( b) needed ICU treatment or (c) died as a result of covid-19.

Information on the number of people aged over 70 with no underlying health conditions who have needed hospital or intensive care unit treatment as a result of COVID-19 is not held in the format requested.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) provides monthly data on deaths involving the COVID-19, by age and pre-existing health conditions. These figures include deaths where COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate. For age group 70 and over, 2,445 deaths that occurred in March and April 2020 had no pre-existing health conditions. The ONS defines a pre-existing condition as any condition that either preceded the disease of interest (in this instance, COVID-19) in the sequence of events leading to death, or was a contributory factor in the death, but was not part of the causal sequence.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the maintenance of an adequate provision of paediatric bladder and bowel services during the covid-19 outbreak for people that are (a) subject to protection plans, (b) looked after and (c) that are subject to high levels of professional concern.

Throughout the pandemic the National Health Service has encouraged children, young people and their families to continue accessing services should they need it. The NHS is working to ensure that services continue to be available for patients. This includes access the paediatric bladder and bowel services.

Using the Child Protection Information System (CPIS), NHS England and NHS Improvement can track children who have a protection plan or looked after status. However, it should be noted that CPIS does not have a specific medical diagnosis for bladder or bowel conditions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating funding to Rett UK to enable it to maintain the provision of providing support to people with Rett syndrome.

On 8 April 2020 the Chancellor announced £750 million to support the charity sector in response to COVID-19. This fund comprises three elements:

- £360 million will be allocated by central government to charities in England based on evidence of service need. This will include up to £200 million support for hospices, with the rest going to organisations like St John Ambulance and the Citizens Advice Bureau as well as charities supporting vulnerable children, victims of domestic abuse, or disabled people. The Department of Health and Social Care is working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and HM Treasury to work through which voluntary sector organisations are making an essential contribution to the COVID-19 response and may be eligible for funding;

- £370 million will support charities working with vulnerable people. In England, this support will be provided through the National Lottery Community Fund. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working with the National Lottery Community Fund to develop eligibility, application and assessment criteria for this part of the fund, which will be launched imminently. Applicants will be assessed on the extent to which they meet the objectives of the fund, which are to reduce temporary closures of essential charities and to reduce the burden on the public services, including the National Health Service; and

- The Government will match the public donations to the BBC Big Night In fundraising event, which took place on 23 April, starting with a contribution of at least £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.

Charities can also access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme; and, they are able to benefit from the three-month VAT deferral scheme. Charity shop premises will benefit from the new enhanced retail rate relief at 100%.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when she plans to publish the Government's response to its consultation on reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

We have listened closely to all those who engaged with our consultation and we plan to publish our response this summer, subject to the Government's COVID-19 response.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of testing all healthcare workers and GPs for covid-19 even if they are not displaying symptoms.

We are now testing all National Health Service workers and patients without symptoms where there is a clinical need. This is in line with NHS England guidance. Used in the correct circumstances, testing of asymptomatic individuals can have a number of benefits, including:

- Developing understanding of prevalence and incidence of infection and how both change over time;

- Exploring key vectors of transmission and effectiveness of public health interventions; and

- Supporting infection control, providing an ability to proactively identify those who are yet to develop COVID-19 symptoms.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care how many student nurses are being used to work on wards caring for patients with covid-19; to what extent hours worked on those wards by student nurses will count towards their required placement hours; and if those student nurses are being recompensed for hours worked beyond their placement requirements.

As of 23 April 2020, 21,287 second and third year student nurses opted to work in the National Health Service during the COVID-19 emergency. These students are starting to be deployed and Health Education England will start to report on the number from the beginning of May 2020.

The hours that students who opt to work on the wards during the emergency period will count towards the required number of placements hours, these students will receive a salary and have automatic NHS pension entitlement at the appropriate band.

Alongside receiving a salary these students will continue to receive their student maintenance loan and NHS Learning Support Fund payments.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what contractual terms his Department has agreed with providers of private hospitals being used for NHS purposes during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the independent sector to increase capacity and resource within the National Health Service, adding around 8,000 beds and 20,000 clinical staff. This will ensure that more facilities are available for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Under the agreement, the independent sector will be reimbursed at cost.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure pharmacies do not run out of medical supplies as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The country is well prepared to deal with any impacts of COVID-19 and we have stockpiles of generic drugs in the event of any supply issues.

We are working closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need. Precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department used to approve Calea UK Ltd as the supplier of total parenteral nutrition to the NHS.

The criteria used to approve manufacturers is set out in the “guide to good manufacturing practices” and is monitored via inspection processes performed by the Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA). If a company has met these standards, an “authorize to manufacture” is granted. If upon routine re-inspections, the manufacturing processes do not meet the acceptable standard, further actions are taken, as with the case of Calea UK Ltd.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Commercial Medicines Unit (CMU) is responsible for awarding framework agreements for England, in line with procurement regulations, for parenteral nutrition. All suppliers including Calea UK Ltd are required to provide available production capacity, satisfy quality, safety, finance and governance requirements and evidence that they hold a licence with the MHRA and meet its regulatory requirements.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what monitoring his Department undertakes on the compliance of Calea UK Ltd with improvements agreed between the company and the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority in their provision of Total Parenteral Nutrition to NHS patients.

The Department is in regular dialogue with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and they have advised it continues to work closely with the company to ensure that they make the necessary changes. The MHRA Inspectors have made on-site technical visits, carried out further inspections and its senior management has met with the company on a number of occasions to discuss the improvements which need to be implemented. The MHRA has recently advised that progress is being made and it is currently awaiting the results of a third-party audit, carried out on behalf of the company, which will independently assess the measures implemented to date. Once the MHRA has reviewed the outcome of this audit they anticipate carrying out further inspections to confirm that the company has implemented the necessary changes to bring their aseptic procedures into compliance.

In addition to Calea UK Ltd, there are four commercial operations authorised to provide Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) to the National Health Service. There are a number (approximately 40) of NHS units also authorised by the MHRA for manufacture and supply of TPNs across the NHS.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether Calea UK Ltd is the sole provider of total parenteral nutrition to the NHS.

The Department is in regular dialogue with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and they have advised it continues to work closely with the company to ensure that they make the necessary changes. The MHRA Inspectors have made on-site technical visits, carried out further inspections and its senior management has met with the company on a number of occasions to discuss the improvements which need to be implemented. The MHRA has recently advised that progress is being made and it is currently awaiting the results of a third-party audit, carried out on behalf of the company, which will independently assess the measures implemented to date. Once the MHRA has reviewed the outcome of this audit they anticipate carrying out further inspections to confirm that the company has implemented the necessary changes to bring their aseptic procedures into compliance.

In addition to Calea UK Ltd, there are four commercial operations authorised to provide Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) to the National Health Service. There are a number (approximately 40) of NHS units also authorised by the MHRA for manufacture and supply of TPNs across the NHS.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Health and Social Care, how many people detained at an immigration detention centre were assessed for a mental illness in 2019.

The information is not available in the requested format.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the availability of naloxone for preventing death caused by heroin overdose.

No assessment has been made on the adequacy of the availability of naloxone for preventing death caused by heroin overdose.

Local authorities are responsible for assessing local needs and commissioning drug prevention, treatment and harm reduction services to meet these needs. This includes making sure they have sufficient coverage of naloxone to prevent drug-related deaths.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the trends in the level of heroin-related deaths in (a) the UK and (b) Bristol.

Spending on health care, including drug treatment services is a devolved matter. In England, local authorities are responsible for the commissioning and uptake of drug treatment services. They are funded to do so through the public health grant. In 2019-20, £3.1 billion has been provided for public health services, including drug treatment.

Any death related to drug use is an avoidable tragedy. Heroin-related deaths are rising across the United Kingdom, including in Bristol. This increase is linked to an ageing group of older heroin users with multiple and complex needs and in increasingly poor health. Half of opiate-related deaths occur among those who have never – or have not for several years – been in drug treatment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what level of funding his Department has made available for drug addiction treatment in (a) the UK (b) Bristol.

Spending on health care, including drug treatment services is a devolved matter. In England, local authorities are responsible for the commissioning and uptake of drug treatment services. They are funded to do so through the public health grant. In 2019-20, £3.1 billion has been provided for public health services, including drug treatment.

Any death related to drug use is an avoidable tragedy. Heroin-related deaths are rising across the United Kingdom, including in Bristol. This increase is linked to an ageing group of older heroin users with multiple and complex needs and in increasingly poor health. Half of opiate-related deaths occur among those who have never – or have not for several years – been in drug treatment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of the Government recognising Somaliland as a sovereign state.

The UK - in line with the rest of the international community - does not recognise Somaliland as an independent state. Our policy remains that it is for Somaliland and the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) to come to an agreement about their future relationship and for neighbours in the region and the African Union to take the lead in recognising any new arrangements. We continue to support and encourage dialogue between the FGS and Somaliland Government.

The UK nevertheless maintains a permanent diplomatic presence in Hargeisa and enjoys a strong relationship with Somaliland authorities, political parties, civil society and diaspora in the UK. UK assistance in Somaliland is also significant, supporting security, enhancing stability and promoting economic, human and social development.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions officials in her Department have had with their Chinese counterparts on the wellbeing of tennis player Peng Shuai.

On 20 November, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office called on the Chinese authorities to assure the safety of Peng Shuai. We have also raised the matter with the Chinese authorities, and continue to follow the case closely.

Everyone should be allowed to speak out without fear of repercussions. All reports of sexual assault, anywhere in the world, should be investigated.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the standard and adequacy of covid-19 quarantine arrangements for UK citizens on arrival in specific countries when publishing travel guidance on those countries.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Travel Advice provides information to help British nationals make informed decisions about foreign travel and remains under constant review to ensure it reflects our latest assessment of risks to British nationals. The border entry requirements in overseas destinations are the responsibility of host governments. FCDO Travel Advice pages have an entry requirements section that reflects the current rules at each destination. We encourage British nationals to monitor our travel advice when planning their trip.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what process she is establishing for evacuating from Afghanistan people who have Family Reunion Visas to join relatives with leave to remain in the UK.

We stand by our commitment to help all remaining British nationals, and those Afghans eligible to come to the UK to travel by whatever routes are available. We are clear that the Taliban must ensure safe passage for these people out of Afghanistan and any engagement with them will emphasise this first and foremost. We have been in frequent contact with neighbouring countries and Rapid Deployment Teams (RDT) have been sent to Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to reinforce our Embassy staff to process arrivals from Afghanistan. An RDT also deployed to Doha to help those in transit via Qatar. The Home Office are currently working to develop the eligibility criteria for the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), which will be announced in due course.
Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the reduction in the overall aid budget, what steps he is taking to help ensure that organisations in the UK that are funded by Government to provide development assistance overseas are able to plan their work for the next three years.

We know that aid organisations, like many others, are facing challenges as a result of the pandemic. We will work together with these organisations to work through the implications for them and their work of the temporary reduction to Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). FCDO's planned budget allocations for Financial Year 2021/22 will be published in our Annual Report later this year. FCDO cannot publish multi-year budgets at present as the government has not yet concluded a multi-year Spending Review.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what provision is being made for UK citizens who are residing overseas and in priority categories for covid-19 vaccination.

We are closely following other countries' plans to roll out vaccines. We are providing information through Travel Advice pages and 'Living In' guides on gov.uk to inform British Nationals of healthcare options available to them and how they can receive a vaccine locally. The UK is playing a leading international role to ensure global access to vaccines. For example we are contributing the equivalent of £330m a year, totalling £1.65bn, for the next five years to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance that provides equitable access to safe and effective vaccines for 190 economies.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including in the permitted reasons for international travel during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown the reuniting of close family members.

From 5 November to 2 December 2020, travelling away from home, including internationally, is restricted from England except in limited circumstances such as for work or for education. Different rules apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Travellers should follow the rules that apply to them.

FCDO travel advice aims to inform British nationals so they can make decisions about travelling abroad. We do not enforce our travel advice and it remains an individual's decision whether travel is essential or not. Only individuals can make an informed decision on whether or not to travel based on their personal circumstances, their judgement of the risks, and the relevant legislation or regulation where they are resident.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what effect reports of human rights violations by Sri Lanka's security forces have on the extent of UK programmes operating in that country.

We are concerned about the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, including instances of harassment, intimidation and surveillance of civil society groups and human rights defenders. The Minister of State for South Asia and Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has raised these concerns with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. The UK Government made our concerns clear in statements delivered on behalf of the Core Group on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in February, June and September, as well as reiterating our ongoing commitment to justice and accountability for victims of conflict and human rights violations.

Our programmes in Sri Lanka are designed to promote peacebuilding and reconciliation. These include the resettlement of victims of conflict, support to civil society and human rights organisations, and work to build the capacity of the security forces to support vulnerable groups, for example our work on sexual and gender based violence with the Sri Lanka Police Service.

All UK assistance is subject to robust Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) assessments that analyse the potential human rights, international humanitarian law, political and reputational risks of any proposed assistance to ensure that it supports our values and is consistent with our domestic and international human rights obligations.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when his Department next plans to publish the annual report on human rights and democracy abroad.

We intend to publish the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's 2019 Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report before Parliament rises for the summer recess.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department plans to provide repatriation flights for British citizens stranded in Sudan during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has committed up to £75 million to help thousands of British people return home from priority countries where there is the greatest need. We have so far helped 27 British nationals return from Sudan to the UK on three separate commercial charter flights. Through our embassy in Khartoum, officials are in regular contact with those British nationals who have expressed a desire to return to the UK. Our travel advice and social media pages are also regularly updated to ensure that those wishing to return are aware of further developments. We will continue to work to bring British nationals back to the UK where commercial options do not exist, focusing on the most vulnerable. We are still working through future plans, identifying where needs are greatest, and where charter flights will have the greatest impact on vulnerable British nationals overseas.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department plans to provide repatriation flights for British citizens stranded in Panama during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has committed up to £75 million to help thousands of British people return home from priority countries where there is greatest need. As of 30 April, we have brought back more than 21,000 people on 102 flights organised by the Foreign Office from 21 different countries and territories. We have helped 85 British nationals in Panama access commercial repatriation flights, including a group of 46 people who were attending the Tribal Gathering festival. Our Embassy in Panama City has provided domestic transportation, safe passage documentation, and secure access to multiple exceptional departure options.

We will continue working to bring British nationals back to the UK where commercial options do not exist, focusing on the most vulnerable. We are still working through future plans, identifying where needs are greatest, and where charter flights will have the greatest impact on vulnerable British nationals overseas. British Embassy Panama City's Travel Advice and social media channels are updated frequently with information on lockdown measures and departure options, where available. Those affected can contact the Embassy directly by emailing BEPanama.CV@fco.gov.uk.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many British citizens are waiting to be allocated a repatriation flight from India; and what steps his Department is taking to secure sufficient repatriation flights for British citizens.

Repatriations from India is one of our largest Covid-19 repatriation operations, based on the number of Britons there and the absence of commercial options. The scale of the challenge is immense. As all of India is under lockdown, we continue to engage with state authorities to enable British Nationals (BN) to reach airports.

As of 5 May, we have chartered 52 flights from 11 Indian cities including Delhi, Goa, Mumbai and others in Punjab, Gujarat and Bengal. Over 12,000 people have returned home on UK charter flights and we continue to work day and night to return more on daily flights from across India. The UK Government has arranged a fifth round of special charter flights departing from Amritsar from 5 May to 11 May.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Cyprus on a pardon for the woman convicted of lying to police following allegations of rape in Ayia Napa on 17 July 2019; and if he will make a statement.

Whilst I am unable to go into the details of the case I can confirm that consular staff continue to provide assistance to the family.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing the rates of tax relief on vehicle mileage for work vehicles.

The Government sets the Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAPs) rates to minimise administrative burdens. AMAP rates aim to reflect running costs including fuel, servicing and depreciation. Depreciation is estimated to constitute the most significant proportion of the AMAP rate.

Employers are not required to use the AMAPs rates. Instead, they can agree to reimburse the actual cost incurred, where individuals can provide evidence of the expenditure, without an Income Tax or National Insurance charge arising.

Alternatively, they can choose to pay a different mileage rate that better reflects their employees’ circumstances. However, if the payment exceeds the amount due under AMAPs, and this results in a profit for the individual, they will be liable to pay Income Tax and National Insurance contributions on the difference.

The Government keeps this policy under review.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress has been made on implementing the recommendations of the Morse Review into the Loan Charge; and what work remains outstanding.

The Government announced the Loan Charge at Budget 2016, deciding that the Loan Charge is the right way to tackle and draw a line under the use of Disguised Remuneration (DR) schemes.

The Independent Loan Charge Review was led by Lord Morse in 2019. The Review drew upon all the available evidence and expert advice to consider the appropriateness of the Loan Charge as a policy response and its impact on individuals, reflecting the main concerns that had been raised by MPs and campaigners.

The Government recognised the concerns raised by the Review and accepted 19 of the Review’s 20 recommendations. The Government implemented a number of changes to the Loan Charge, which were enacted in Finance Act 2020.

On 3 December 2020, HMRC published a full report to Parliament on the implementation of the review recommendations. This report set out how HMRC had delivered the 19 recommendations which were accepted by the Government.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the cost of taxi trips for care home staff that were paid for by the Infection Control Grant are treated by HMRC as a benefit in kind for employees and so are taxable; and if he will instruct HMRC to publish updated guidance on that matter.

The provision or reimbursement of the costs of taxis, or similar road transport, for travel between an employee’s home and workplace will not be taxed if all the following conditions are met:
  • the employee has to work later than usual, and until at least 9pm,
  • this happens irregularly,
  • by the time the employee finishes work, either public transport has stopped, or it would not be reasonable to expect them to use public transport.

Where the employer funds the provision or reimbursement of costs of transport using the Infection Control Grant, the same conditions apply.

Where the conditions are not met, the provision of transport or reimbursement of the costs of transport to employees for travel between the employee’s home and workplace will be taxable.

HMRC updated its guidance on paying or refunding transport costs during coronavirus (COVID-19) on 23 March 2021: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-treat-certain-expenses-and-benefits-provided-to-employees-during-coronavirus-covid-19#paying-or-refunding-transport-costs

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to provide support for people who have lost money in the Premier FX collapse.

Premier FX, an authorised payment institution, was placed into administration in August 2018 on the application of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and subsequently entered insolvency.

An FCA investigation, which reported in February 2021, found that Premier FX had misled its customers by informing them that it was able to hold their funds indefinitely, that their funds would be held in secure, segregated client accounts and that their funds would be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. As a result, the FCA has publicly censured Premier FX for breaches of the Payment Services Regulations. The FCA continues to investigate whether there were breaches of its rules by other parties and, if so, will take action, including steps to recover redress for any breaches that may have caused of contributed to losses from customers.

The Government has great sympathy for the creditors of Premier FX and encourages them to continue to engage with the insolvency process.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will review the level of VAT levied on the Cycle to Work scheme following the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

There are no current plans to change the VAT rate on the Cycle to Work Scheme. VAT registered businesses are normally able to reclaim any VAT incurred on the purchase of bicycles and safety equipment provided to their employees under the scheme.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what proportion of people who have benefitted from stamp duty relief for first time buyers have been women in each year since the introduction of that relief.

HM Revenue & Customs do not directly hold information on the sex or gender of first-time buyers, as this information is not a mandatory requirement for the independent calculation of the amount of Stamp Duty Land Tax liable on the purchase of a property.
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of making house purchases above £250,000 outside London eligible for Help to Buy ISA bonuses.

The Help to Buy: ISA scheme aims to help those that are struggling to save enough to get onto the housing ladder. The property price cap allows the Government to target support at the first-time buyers who need it the most. Since the scheme launched in 2015, 359,250 property completions have been supported through the scheme with a mean property value of £174,281, below the average first-time buyer house price of £204,964 and well within the property price cap outside London of £250,000.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2021 to Question 153293, on Buildings: Insulation, what additional funding the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish governments will receive through the Barnett formula as a result of the £3.5 billion announced on 10 February 2021 for the removal of unsafe cladding on buildings over 18 metres.

The Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government made an oral statement to the House of Commons on building safety on 10 February 2021.

The Barnett formula is applied to changes in departmental funding. Therefore, the level of Barnett will be confirmed at future fiscal events and spending reviews when there are changes to the level of funding for MHCLG.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
17th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of retaining the Museums and Galleries Exhibitions Tax Relief sunset clause beyond its current expiration date of April 2022.

Since the Museums and Galleries Exhibitions Tax Relief (MGETR) was introduced in 2017, the Government has provided a total of £20 million of support to 1,345 exhibitions.

The Government has committed to reviewing MGETR before its expiry in 2022. Further information will be provided in due course.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the announcement of 10 February 2021, Government to bring an end to unsafe cladding with multi-billion pound intervention, what the Barnett consequentials are from that announcement of funding.

The Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government made an oral statement to the House of Commons on building safety on 10 February 2021.

The devolved administrations will receive additional funding through the Barnett formula at future fiscal events and spending reviews, except where new departmental spending is funded by an England-only levy. The devolved administrations can implement their own levies should they choose to do so.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment the Government has made of the effect of the UK's withdrawal from the European Customs Union on businesses in the UK that import goods from third countries via the EU.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) ensures there will be zero tariffs or quotas on trade between the UK and the EU, where goods meet the relevant rules of origin, and also includes provisions to facilitate trade and address non-tariff barriers. At the same time, it takes the UK out of the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market and enables the UK to develop an independent trade policy and take full advantage of the new international trading opportunities available.

Rules of origin are a standard feature of trade agreements and serve to protect UK industry from unfair competition by ensuring that products from third countries cannot unduly benefit from the TCA. The rules of origin in the TCA were developed in close consultation with stakeholders to reflect the needs of UK-EU supply chains.

The Government has always been clear that leaving the Single Market and Customs Union will result in new customs processes for businesses trading with the EU. There will also necessarily be some circumstances where goods do not satisfy rules of origin requirements, including where products contain significant inputs from countries outside the UK or EU. The Government has published detailed guidance on rules of origin in the TCA and is working with businesses and trade associations to ensure that businesses understand any new requirements.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will negotiate with the EU to ensure that businesses in the UK importing goods from the EU which originate from non-EU countries do not have to pay duty if the goods have had the duty paid in the EU.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) ensures there will be zero tariffs or quotas on trade between the UK and the EU, where goods meet the relevant rules of origin, and also includes provisions to facilitate trade and address non-tariff barriers. At the same time, it takes the UK out of the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market and enables the UK to develop an independent trade policy and take full advantage of the new international trading opportunities available.

Rules of origin are a standard feature of trade agreements and serve to protect UK industry from unfair competition by ensuring that products from third countries cannot unduly benefit from the TCA. The rules of origin in the TCA were developed in close consultation with stakeholders to reflect the needs of UK-EU supply chains.

The Government has always been clear that leaving the Single Market and Customs Union will result in new customs processes for businesses trading with the EU. There will also necessarily be some circumstances where goods do not satisfy rules of origin requirements, including where products contain significant inputs from countries outside the UK or EU. The Government has published detailed guidance on rules of origin in the TCA and is working with businesses and trade associations to ensure that businesses understand any new requirements.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure lenders extend the repayment period for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans from six to 10 years in the event that such requests are made by borrowers.

As part of the Winter Economy Plan, the Chancellor announced our intention to allow lenders to extend the repayment period for CBILS loans where this is needed, to a maximum of 10 years. Since then, we have worked at pace alongside BEIS and the British Business Bank to implement this policy, in line with EU State Aid rules. I can confirm that the British Business Bank has now begun updating scheme documentation with lenders to allow for the extension of a CBILS facility in this way – this process is expected to complete shortly.

I should be clear that CBILS term extensions will be offered at the discretion of lenders, unlike the “Pay As You Grow” options for Bounce Back loans. Extensions will be limited to those borrowers that lenders assess are in difficulty and will benefit from the extension, and only for the duration required, meaning that lenders may offer an extension to 7 years, for example, rather than the maximum 10 years allowed.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of owner-occupiers of residential properties who have deferred mortgage payments during the covid-19 outbreak who (a) have received payments through the (i) Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and (ii) Self- Employed Income Support Scheme, (b) have not received payments through either of those schemes and are not claiming benefits, (c) have not received payments through either of those schemes and are not eligible for benefits and (d) are still in paid work.

The Government announced the availability of the 3-month payment holiday in March. Since then over 2 million mortgages have been granted a payment holiday. The Government does not hold data regarding the employment status of those borrowers that have taken a payment holiday.

So far, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has helped 1.2 million employers across the UK furlough 9.6 million jobs, protecting people’s livelihoods (as at midnight 16 August 2020). The value of the scheme is £35.4bn.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of Exchequer, what discussions he has had with representatives of the mortgage sector on the availability to first-time buyers of mortgages requiring a minimum deposit of (a) 10 per cent, (b) 15 per cent and (c) 20 per cent.

The Chancellor and I are in regular discussions with mortgage lenders regarding the availability of competitive mortgage products on the market (including high loan-to-value mortgages).

There has been a reduction in the number of products at all loan-to-value (LTV) levels as lenders have focused resources towards their existing customers requiring support. While this has limited the availability of higher LTV lending some products do remain available, and overall mortgage lending is recovering, with the number of mortgage approvals approaching pre-Covid levels.

Ultimately the availability of mortgage products are commercial decisions and lenders make decisions on their own risk appetite, considering factors such as market conditions and the funding they possess.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing additional support to wet-led pubs based in town centres that will not benefit from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and who have reduced revenues as a result of people working from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

The hospitality sector, including wet-led pubs, continues to have access to a range of government support measures including, but not limited to:

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England, saving around 350,000 ratepayers a combined £10bn.
  • A VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • Measures to make it easier to claim back duty on spoiled beer, wine and cider.
  • A business grant worth £10,000 or £25,000 for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which has supported 1.4 million jobs across the hospitality sector and which runs until October
  • Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until September 30, 2020
  • Access to affordable, government backed finance through Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBLS) for and larger firms, along with the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises.

In addition to this unprecedented package of support for businesses, the Summer Economic Update announced a VAT rate reduction from 20% to 5% - worth £4.1bn – for hospitality, accommodation and attractions, and the £500m Eat Out to Help Out scheme which entitles every diner to a 50% discount of up to £10 per head on their meal, at any participating restaurant, café or pub on Monday to Wednesdays throughout August. Over 85% of pubs serve food and will benefit from both schemes. All pubs, including wet-led pubs will also benefit from the proposed regulatory easements in the Business and Planning Bill, which will make it easier, quicker and cheaper to set up furniture in adjacent outdoor spaces and to automatically convert all current licenses to allow pubs to sell off-licence.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with representatives of the insurance industry on the payment of business interruption insurance for business operations in relation to the covid-19 restrictions.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector to understand and influence its response to this unprecedented situation. The Government is also working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure that the rules are being upheld during this crisis.

For those businesses which have an appropriate policy that covers government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable diseases, the Government’s social distancing instructions are sufficient to allow businesses to make a claim against their insurance, provided the other terms and conditions in their policy are met.

Furthermore, to resolve uncertainty for customers making business interruption claims, on 1 May the FCA outlined its intention to seek a court declaration, on an agreed and urgent basis, for a selected number of key issues. Subsequently on 1 June, the FCA announced the policy wordings that would be tested in the court action and insurers it had invited to participate directly, along with an initial list of policy wordings and insurers that will potentially be impacted by the Court’s decision on the representative sample. The FCA expects to publish a final list of all the relevant insurers and policies that may have impacted wordings shortly, and expects a court hearing to take place in late July.

However, most businesses have not purchased insurance that covers losses from COVID-19. Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.

The Government recognises that businesses who do not have appropriate insurance cover will require support from elsewhere. As such, businesses should explore the full package of support set out by the Chancellor, which includes measures such as business rates holidays, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and wage support.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with representatives of the insurance industry on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on small training colleges that provide industry-specific qualifications.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector to understand and influence its response to this unprecedented situation. The Government is also working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure that the rules are being upheld during this crisis.

For those businesses which have an appropriate policy that covers government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable diseases, the Government’s social distancing instructions are sufficient to allow businesses to make a claim against their insurance, provided the other terms and conditions in their policy are met.

Furthermore, to resolve uncertainty for customers making business interruption claims, on 1 May the FCA outlined its intention to seek a court declaration, on an agreed and urgent basis, for a selected number of key issues. Subsequently on 1 June, the FCA announced the policy wordings that would be tested in the court action and insurers it had invited to participate directly, along with an initial list of policy wordings and insurers that will potentially be impacted by the Court’s decision on the representative sample. The FCA expects to publish a final list of all the relevant insurers and policies that may have impacted wordings shortly, and expects a court hearing to take place in late July.

However, most businesses have not purchased insurance that covers losses from COVID-19. Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.

The Government recognises that businesses who do not have appropriate insurance cover will require support from elsewhere. As such, businesses should explore the full package of support set out by the Chancellor, which includes measures such as business rates holidays, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and wage support.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether rubber gloves manufactured by Malaysian company Top Glove have been imported into the UK in the last six months.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are responsible for the collection and publication of data on UK imports and exports of goods to and from the UK. HMRC release this information monthly, as a National Statistic: the Overseas Trade in Goods Statistics.

The trade data collected does not enable HMRC to determine the manufacturer of goods.

There is aggregated trade data available for the goods and the periods requested on the uktradeinfo.com website, under ‘Build your own data tables’. The site also contains a ‘Help’ function with information on how to extract trade data.

Trade data relating to the value of rubber gloves imported from Malaysia can be searched for using commodity codes 4015110000 for surgical gloves and 4015190000 for other rubber gloves. These data sets may include gloves manufactured outside but imported through Malaysia, and exclude gloves manufactured within Malaysia but imported indirectly through other countries.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Answer of 29 November 2017 to Question 115096 on Revenue and Customs: Disability, what recent assessment he has made of whether HMRC's Regional Centre in 3 Glass Wharf, Bristol meets the 2018 edition of British Standard 8300.

HMRC aim to deliver excellent workplaces for all of their staff. This means allowing people to access and work in their buildings confidently, independently and with dignity regardless of their age, disability, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

3 Glass Wharf, Bristol meets building regulations required by law. Building Standard 8300 (BS8300) brings together a further range of inclusive design guidance, with the previous 2009 edition being revised in 2018. The 2009 version sought provision well beyond those required by building regulations, with the 2018 edition going still further. Planning permission was granted and construction commenced before the 2018 revision.

Standards are considered voluntary guidance, without the force of law, and are not retrospective. However, HMRC have decided to go further than what is required by law and have additional reasonable work planned at 3 Glass Wharf, beyond the 2009 version, in relation to the 2018 edition of BS8300.

HMRC have a number of policies and processes in place that are designed to ensure the needs of colleagues requiring adjustments are met. Health Related Special Leave is one element. As a person’s health and medical conditions are sensitive, HMRC’s HR systems do not record the reason for granting special leave. The reason for an individual’s Special Leave is only recorded by their manager and is not collated as part of a data set.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Answer of 29 November 2017 to Question 115096 on Revenue and Customs: Disability, how many HMRC staff have been granted Health Related Special Leave because they are awaiting reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 to be made at the HMRC Regional Centre in 3 Glass Wharf, Bristol.

HMRC aim to deliver excellent workplaces for all of their staff. This means allowing people to access and work in their buildings conf