Tobias Ellwood Portrait

Tobias Ellwood

Conservative - Bournemouth East

8,806 (17.9%) majority - 2019 General Election

First elected: 5th May 2005


1 APPG membership (as of 13 May 2024)
Bereavement Support
2 Former APPG memberships
Aid Match, Slovakia
National Security Strategy (Joint Committee)
11th May 2020 - 14th Nov 2023
Defence Committee
29th Jan 2020 - 14th Sep 2023
Defence Sub-Committee
5th Mar 2020 - 14th Sep 2023
Liaison Committee (Commons)
20th May 2020 - 14th Sep 2023
Committees on Arms Export Controls
6th Jul 2020 - 14th Sep 2023
Liaison Sub-Committee on Scrutiny of Strategic Thinking in Government
22nd Jun 2023 - 14th Sep 2023
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
14th Jun 2017 - 27th Jul 2019
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
15th Jul 2014 - 14th Jun 2017
Armed Forces Bill Committee
17th Jan 2011 - 8th Mar 2011
Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Jul 2007 - 6th May 2010
Opposition Whip (Commons)
10th May 2005 - 2nd Jul 2007
Environmental Audit Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 23rd Jan 2006


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Tobias Ellwood has voted in 686 divisions, and 6 times against the majority of their Party.

9 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Tobias Ellwood voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 318 Noes - 303
19 Jan 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Tobias Ellwood voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 34 Conservative No votes vs 319 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 308
30 Dec 2020 - Sittings of the House - View Vote Context
Tobias Ellwood voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 13 Conservative No votes vs 328 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 335 Noes - 212
23 Nov 2021 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Tobias Ellwood voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 18 Conservative Aye votes vs 276 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 219 Noes - 280
7 Dec 2021 - Nationality and Borders Bill - View Vote Context
Tobias Ellwood voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 15 Conservative Aye votes vs 289 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 251 Noes - 296
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Tobias Ellwood voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 97 Conservative No votes vs 224 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
View All Tobias Ellwood 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
Ben Wallace (Conservative)
(40 debate interactions)
Andrew Mitchell (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
(26 debate interactions)
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(25 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Ministry of Defence
(102 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(44 debate contributions)
Home Office
(19 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Tobias Ellwood's debates

Bournemouth East 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

This petition calls for the Government to allocate Parliamentary time for assisted dying to be fully debated in the House of Commons and to give MPs a vote on the issue. Terminally ill people who are mentally sound and near the end of their lives should not suffer unbearably against their will.

Being the first to close and still no clue as to when we can open, this seasonal industry is losing its summer profits that allows them to get through the first quarter of next year.

Even if we are allowed to open in December, 1 months profit won't be enough to keep us open in 2021. We need help

The UK hospitality industry. Responsible for around 3m jobs, generating £130bn in activity, resulting in £38bn in taxation. Yet, unlike the Arts or Sports, we do not have a dedicated Minister.

We are asking that a Minister for Hospitality be created for the current, and successive governments.


Latest EDMs signed by Tobias Ellwood

Tobias Ellwood has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Tobias Ellwood, 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.


5 Urgent Questions tabled by Tobias Ellwood

Tuesday 18th April 2023
Monday 31st October 2022
Tuesday 20th April 2021
Monday 24th February 2020

1 Adjournment Debate led by Tobias Ellwood

Wednesday 11th January 2023

Tobias Ellwood has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Tobias Ellwood has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


Latest 50 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many teams within his Department are involved in tackling coordinated inauthentic behaviour online.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology is the lead department for tackling coordinated inauthentic behaviour online and works across departments to deliver HMG’s objectives.

A number of teams in the Cabinet Office, including the National Security Secretariat and Government Security Group contribute to efforts to tackle different aspects of coordinated inauthentic behaviour online. For example, teams in the Cabinet Office are actively involved where online activity constitutes a cyber or state threat, or targets government institutions or elected officials.

Work to counter threats to UK democracy and democratic institutions, including from coordinated inauthentic behaviour is led by the Defending Democracy Taskforce.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
8th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of artificial intelligence on productivity in the Civil Service.

Government is accelerating AI adoption and seeking to deliver benefits at scale. In the Autumn Statement the Chancellor noted that there are significant opportunities presented by making greater use of AI across the public sector.

On 20 November, the Deputy Prime Minister announced an investment of £5m and the creation of the new ‘Incubator for AI’ (i.AI), an elite team of technical experts at the heart of government, that will help departments to harness the potential of AI to improve lives and the delivery of public services.

The Central Digital and Data Office, in the Cabinet Office, is undertaking analysis of its potential opportunities and impact on Civil Service productivity. This includes ongoing work to identify areas for automation of manual processes and uncover efficiency savings in the Civil Service and the wider public sector.

I refer the Rt Hon Member for Bournemouth East to my answer on 22nd June 2023 (UIN 190884).

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
20th Mar 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the potential costs of amending the Principal Civil Service Pensions Classic Scheme to grant full survivors pensions rights to those who retired before 1 October 2002.

The pensions of widows, widowers and surviving civil partners, under the Classic section of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS), cease if they remarry or cohabit. In 2018, the Government Actuary’s Department estimated the extra cost of paying all survivor pensions, regardless of remarriage or cohabitation and when it occurred. The estimated extra cost in 2018 was around £550m for reinstating pensions that had already ceased and an annual future cost of around £30m for stopping the practice going forward. The estimate was a simplified approximation based on an earlier estimate done in 2006.

Under the Classic section of the PCSPS, survivors’ pensions are only payable to a widow, widower or surviving civil partner. The cost of extending survivor benefits to unmarried partners under Classic has not been estimated explicitly but, in 2018, the Government Actuary's Department estimated that the total capital cost of extending such benefits across all public service pension schemes (including the PCSPS) would be £2.5 - 4.5bn.

The Classic section was costed, and contribution rates set, on the basis of provisions which reflected social attitudes in 1972. Changes to the survivor pension arrangements from 1 October 2002, when the Premium section of the PCSPS was introduced, were paid for by active members. It would not be appropriate to extend these to members who retired before that date, as successive Governments have concluded that retrospective improvements of this kind to public service pensions should not be made at taxpayers expense.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent progress his Department has made on implementing the Veterans’ Strategy Action Plan.

Since the Veterans Strategy Action Plan was published in January, we have delivered 24% of the over 60 cross-government commitments.


Recent achievements delivered through the Strategy Action Plan include;

  • Provision of £150k in grant funding to charities to aid the development of best practice to ensure that veteran charities are inclusive and promote accessibility to female veterans

  • Appointment of the first Veterans Commissioner for Wales, Colonel James Phillips

  • Completion of a scoping study looking into the design of a service offering the digital verification of veteran status, with a further investment of £1m provided to develop this project further

  • Continued support to phase 4 of the King’s Centre for Military Health Research longitudinal study through over £1.2m in funding being provided over the next two years. This study looked at the health and wellbeing of UK Armed Forces Personnel and for the first time, this will also look at topics including social mobility, taking the insights beyond health and wellbeing.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to review and amend retained EU law to help reduce costs for businesses and consumers.

The Government is carrying out a major cross-government drive to reform, repeal and replace outdated retained EU law, that will aim to cut £1 billion of red tape for UK businesses, ease regulatory burdens and contribute to the Government’s mission to unite and level up the country.

We are also reforming our regulatory framework to ensure we only regulate where absolutely necessary and where it is likely to be the most impactful intervention.

7th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether (a) she and (b) other Ministers in her Department plan to visit Bournemouth in the next six months.

The ministerial team within the Department for Business and Trade do not have any visits currently scheduled to visit Bournemouth in the next 6 months. We are still planning a forward look for this period of time, however, so this is subject to change.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of UK business support for the reconstruction of Ukraine.

UK businesses mobilised quickly in support of Ukraine and have become an effective partner for Ukraine’s reconstruction.

The Department for Business and Trade works in partnership with British Businesses and the Government of Ukraine on their reconstruction priorities in the immediate, medium and long term.

The UK has received repeated praise and thanks from the Government of Ukraine for its innovative approach, agility and commitment. Successful examples include the London Conference Framework on war risk insurance to underpin reconstruction and an energy partnership to provide long-term sustainable support to a critical sector in Ukraine.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to support and encourage small businesses in (a) Bournemouth East constituency and (b) the South West.

The Department supports small businesses in the South-West through Help to Grow: Management, the Business Support Helpline and Growth Hubs.

The Dorset Growth Hub supports small businesses in Bournemouth East through services such as bid-writing support and a business innovation programme.

The Start Up Loans Company, part of the Government-owned British Business Bank, is also supporting regional businesses. As of October 2023, 12 SMEs in Bournemouth East have received start up loans to the value of £150,200, and 493 SMEs in the South-West have received start up loans to the value of £6,270,084.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps the Government is taking to help support women in business.

The Government has set an ambition to increase the number of female entrepreneurs by half by 2030, equivalent to 600,000 new entrepreneurs. The Government is delivering on this ambition through a range of initiatives working with the private sector, including the Investing in Women Code, Investing in Women Hub, and the Angel Investment Taskforce. In 2022, a record 150,000 women-led companies were started, representing 20% of new incorporations.

The Start Up Loans Company, part of the Government-owned British Business Bank, has provided over 100,000 loans to entrepreneurs since the programme started in 2012. Of these, 40% have been to women.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, when the Government expects the first modular nuclear reactor to operate in the UK; and what stages must be passed through to achieve that.

In 2023 Great British Nuclear launched a technology selection process for Small Modular Reactors, with the aim of identifying those technologies best able to facilitate a project Final Investment Decision by the end of the next Parliament and operational projects in the mid-2030s, potentially releasing billions of pounds of private and public investment.

In October 2023 six technology vendors were down-selected and announced.

The next stage of the competitive selection process will be launched within weeks. The ambition is to announce in 2024 which of the six companies the Government will support.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how much and what proportion of the UK's energy needs are met by gas imports; and what is the source of those imports (a) by volume and (b) as a proportion of the total.

Gas imports were equivalent to 18 per cent of total gross energy supply (production + imports), and 56 per cent of total gross gas supply in the last five years (2018-2022) (DUKES 1.1).

Gas imports by origin are published in Energy Trends 4.4.

17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, for what reason Band E properties in (a) England will be excluded from the Great British Insulation Scheme and (b) Scotland and Wales will be included in that scheme.

The Government chose to offer support to households in Council Tax bands A-D in England and A–E in Scotland and Wales. These Council Tax bands capture a similar proportion of eligible homes in each nation, around 81%, 86%, and 87% for England, Scotland and Wales respectively.

These Council Tax bands serve as a proxy for income, ensuring the scheme proportionately captures low- to mid-income households in each nation. Such households are more likely to be at risk of struggling to pay their energy bills and are ineligible for support through other energy efficiency schemes.

25th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to help improve digital inclusion for people that are unable to access the internet.

The Government recognises that access to the internet is increasingly essential for full participation in society and has taken steps to ensure households across the UK are able to access fast, reliable mobile and broadband services.

The Government has worked closely with the telecoms industry to ensure superfast broadband connections extend to over 97% of the UK. Similarly, 4G mobile coverage is available to 99% of the population from at least one network provider. The Government is also investing £5 billion through our flagship Project Gigabit programme to bring gigabit broadband to reach hard-to-reach communities.

We recognise that infrastructure is only part of the story. To support those for whom cost may be a barrier, the Government has worked closely with the telecoms industry to ensure market provision of broadband and mobile social tariffs. These low-cost, commercial products are available from 28 different providers, across 99% of the UK and start at just £10 per month.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the commencement of production of small modular reactors in the UK as soon as possible.

The Government has awarded up to £210m to support development of the Rolls Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design. The Rolls-Royce SMR entered the Generic Design Assessment process in April becoming the first SMR to begin UK nuclear regulation.

The Government has also announced the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund (FNEF) of up to £120m to support future nuclear projects, including SMRs, addressing barriers to entry.

The British Energy Security Strategy sets out the Government’s intention to take two Final Investment Decisions on new nuclear projects in the next parliament and to initiate a selection process for projects in 2023, including SMRs.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department is taking steps to encourage business investment to (a) Bournemouth East constituency and (b) the South West.

This Department is committed to supporting business investment across Bournemouth East and the South West. The Government provided over £3bn in business covid grants to the South West alone and continues to support Bournemouth-based businesses through the investment of £231,000 in the Dorset Gateway which provides fully funded business support including helping businesses look at inward investment opportunities. The Government is also investing £375,000 in Dorset’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in 2022/23 to support and incentivise local businesses in Bournemouth and across Dorset.

20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support local businesses in (a) Bournemouth and (b) England.

The Government is investing £375,000 in Dorset’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to support local businesses in Bournemouth and across Dorset. We have also invested £231,000 in the Dorset Gateway to provide fully funded business support for a range of businesses including SMEs and start-ups. During Covid, we provided nearly £27 billion to local authorities across England through a package of business support including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, business rates relief, grants and loans. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council received £240m of business grant support and reported making over 34,000 payments worth £167m to their businesses.

17th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department is providing funding to Bournemouth Tourism Centre.

The Bournemouth Tourist Information Centre forms part of the Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for Bournemouth. Bournemouth engages with the DCMS’s arms-length body and the national tourist board, VisitEngland.

DMO funding varies greatly but generally they receive their funding from or a combination of local authority and private sector funding and membership fees.

During the pandemic, VisitEngland ran the Destination Management Resilience Fund. Funding from this was awarded to Bournemouth through their Coastal Business Improvement District, with the aim of alleviating the financial pressure many DMOs in all regions of England were facing.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has plans to increase tourism in Bournemouth East constituency.

As set out in the government’s Tourism Recovery Plan, we are committed to supporting the tourism industry’s return to pre-pandemic levels across England including Bournemouth East and other coastal destinations.

DCMS’s arms-length body and the national tourist board, VisitBritain, promotes Bournemouth and other coastal destinations on their websites and social media.

VisitBritain works with Bournemouth’s Destination Management Organisation who attend their best practice calls and have engaged in discussions related to marketing activity. Bournemouth engaged with VisitBritain’s Escape the Everyday campaign to create dedicated content and itineraries. VisitBritain has also supported specific initiatives, such as the Beach Check App, which was aligned to responsible travel.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to make a statement about the department's relationship with the War Grave's Commission.

The Department does not currently have a direct relationship with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, however Historic England and the Commission have recently published a Joint Policy Statement that establishes a shared understanding of how the Commission cares for and manages memorials in cemeteries and churchyards to servicemen and women who have lost their lives in service for this country. The statement also establishes a common understanding of the Commission’s on-going responsibilities towards this aspect of our heritage.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Spring Budget 2024, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of locating one of the 15 new special free schools in Bournemouth.

The department received a total of 85 applications from local authorities to open a special free school in the most recent, very competitive application round, including two applications from Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole Council.

The department plans to select 15 successful applications from the pool of applications. This will remain a competitive process. The approach means the department can move quickly to appoint trusts to run these schools.

The department plans to announce those local authorities which have been successful for the additional special free schools by May 2024.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
5th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to increase childcare provision in (a) Bournemouth East constituency and (b) the South West.

Under Section 6 of the Childcare Act 2006, local authorities are responsible for ensuring that the provision of childcare is sufficient to meet the requirements of parents in their area. Part B of the early education and childcare statutory guidance for local authorities highlights that local authorities are required to report annually to elected council members on how they are meeting their duty to secure sufficient childcare, and to make this report available and accessible to parents.

In the government’s 2023 Spring Budget, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced transformative reforms to childcare for parents, children and the economy. By the 2027/28 financial year, this government expects to be spending in excess of £8 billion every year on free hours and early education, helping families with pre-school children with their childcare costs. This represents the single biggest investment in childcare in England ever and is set to save working families using the full 30 funded hours up to £6,500 per year from when their child is nine months until they are five years old by September 2025.

Funding will be key to delivering the existing and expanded childcare entitlements. The department has substantially uplifted the hourly rate paid to local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers. In the 2024/25 financial year, the department is investing over £400 million additional funding to deliver a significant uplift to hourly rates, building on the £204 million of additional funding paid in September.

To support the sector further to deliver the expansion of childcare support, the government is confirming that the hourly rate that providers are paid to deliver the free hours offers will increase in line with the metric used in the Spring Budget 2023. This reflects that workforce costs are the most significant costs for childcare providers and represents an additional £500 million of investment over financial years 2025/26 and 2026/27.

Alongside increasing funding rates, the government is allocating £100 million in capital funding to local authorities in the 2023/24 financial year to support the expansion of childcare places for eligible working parents and to increase the supply of wraparound care in primary schools. The funding is anticipated to deliver thousands of new places across the country.

Following the department’s consultation on changes to the early years foundation stage framework, the department has introduced flexibilities that aim to make things easier for providers, as well as continuing to explore how the department can support the sector to deliver the additional places that will be required.

The department is ensuring a phased implementation of the expansion to the 30 hours offer to allow the market to develop the necessary capacity. On 2 February 2024, the department launched ‘Do something big, Work with small children’, a new national recruitment campaign to support the recruitment and retention of talented staff to support the expansion of the 30 hours offer. This campaign will raise the profile of the sector, support the recruitment of talented staff, and recognise the lifelong impact those working in early years and childcare have on children and their families.

The department is also continuing to monitor the sufficiency of childcare places across the sector. The department’s childcare and early years provider survey shows that both the number of places available and the workforce has increased since 2022.

The department has regular contact with each local authority in England about their sufficiency of childcare and any issues they are facing.

Where local authorities report sufficiency challenges, the department discusses what action the local authority is taking to address those issues and, where needed, supports the local authority with any specific requirements through the department’s childcare sufficiency support contract.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress her Department has made on expanding Family Hubs to (a) Bournemouth East constituency and (b) the South West.

The £12 million family hubs transformation fund (TF1) is supporting 13 local authorities, including Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP), with the costs of transforming to a Family Hub model of service delivery and a strong Start for Life offer at its core. Further information about BCP's Family Hubs can be found on their website at: https://www.fid.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/family-information-directory/information/family-hubs/family-hubs-early-help-and-outreach-centres.

As part of the Family Hubs Start for Life programme, the department is also investing £300 million in 75 local authorities. Funding has been targeted to the most deprived local authorities, ensuring families get the support they need. This will fund a network of Family Hubs and specific support within those hubs for parent–infant mental health, infant feeding services, parenting support, home learning environment, and to establish parent-carer panels. In addition, all 75 local authorities will publish their Start for Life offer and the department will be providing funding for trials of innovative workforce models to a smaller number of local authorities.

As part of the Family Hubs Start for Life programme, the department is funding 4 local authorities in the South West, which are Bristol, Cornwall, Plymouth and Torbay. Further information on Family Hubs in Bristol is available at: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/residents/social-care-and-health/children-and-families/help-for-families/family-hubs. Further information on Family Hubs in Torbay is available at: https://torbayfamilyhub.org.uk/. Further information on Family Hubs in Plymouth is available at: https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/family-hubs. Further information on Family Hubs in Cornwall is available at: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/childrens-services/family-hubs/.

The department is currently in year 2 of the programme, and all local authorities have opened at least one Family Hub and are focusing on delivering the minimum expectations as set out in the Family Hubs and Start for Life local authority guide by March 2025. This guide is accessible at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/family-hubs-and-start-for-life-programme-local-authority-guide.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to support Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council to reduce the time taken to complete education, health and care plans.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission conducted a joint inspection of the local area of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole in June 2021 and identified eight areas of significant weaknesses. Following this inspection, the Local Area Partnership were required to produce a Written Statement of Action.

Where local authorities are failing to deliver consistent outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), the department works closely with them using a range of improvement programmes and SEND specialist advisors to address weaknesses.

The department has appointed a SEND specialist advisor to work closely with the Council and has approved a robust package of sector led improvement support from Bedford Borough Council. Amongst a wide range of support, the specialist advisor and Bedford Borough Council are supporting the Council with meeting the 20 week timescales within the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan process and improving the quality of EHC plans being produced.

Alongside this support, the department has issued the Council with a statutory direction for SEND services on 26 February 2024. This is due to the inadequate progress the Council has made following the Written Statement of Action Plan since their local area SEND inspection in June 2021. In line with the direction, the department will be working closely with the local area to ensure they are supported in addressing issues and driving improvements to services.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help reduce school absences in Bournemouth.

The government understands how important regular school attendance is for children’s education, wellbeing and life chances. The department has a national strategy for tackling absence which will impact all schools, including those in Bournemouth.

At the heart of this strategy are clearer and more consistent expectations, which are set out in guidance and seek to promote both a ‘support first’ ethos and one in which attendance is everybody’s business. Through the guidance, schools are now expected to publish an attendance policy, appoint an attendance champion, and use data to identify and then support pupils at risk of becoming persistently absent. This guidance will ensure there is greater consistency for managing attendance across all schools and different local authority areas.

The department has established a daily data pilot that provides near real-time attendance data to schools, trusts and local authorities to help them target their efforts most effectively. The department has employed ten expert attendance advisers who are working with every local authority in the country and several multi-academy trusts to put in place effective plans to deliver the new attendance expectations.

The department has also formed an Attendance Action Alliance, comprised of national leaders from critical sectors like health, social care and policing who are taking action to promote stronger attendance through their workforces. Through this alliance, the department has launched a series of attendance hubs to enable schools with excellent attendance levels to share resources and advice with other schools in similar circumstances. These have recently expanded to 32 in number, which will support improvements across 2,000 schools who are responsible for the attendance of over 1 million pupils.

Alongside this work, the department is also hoping to improve the existing evidence base on effective interventions to improve attendance. The department recently announced a plan to launch a new £15 million pilot next academic year supporting at least 10,800 pupils across ten new priority education investment areas. This programme will be evaluated and the effective practice shared with schools and local authorities.

The attendance strategy is also underpinned by significant wider investment. This includes £5 billion worth of direct investment in education recovery, including £400 milion on teacher training opportunities and up to £1.5 billion on tutoring. Furthermore, the government is spending £2.9 billion annually on the pupil premium, on top of £1.3 billion on recovery premium. Schools must spend the pupil premium on evidence informed approaches, including attendance strategies and attendance. Recent analysis by the Education Endowment Foundation of school strategy statements found that 75% of schools in England identified poor attendance as a priority.

The government has also invested an extra £200 million on the Supporting Families programme increasing the budget to £695 million by 2024/25, to help an additional 300,000 families facing multiple problems. Sustained good attendance is a key outcome of the programme.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that children with special educational needs and disabilities have adequate educational support to achieve (a) GCSEs and (b) other qualifications.

The department wants all children and young people to be able to reach their full potential and receive the right support to succeed in their education and as they move into adult life.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to make sure a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) gets the special educational provision they need. This includes monitoring the progress of children and young people ahead of formal examinations and providing support where needed, including arranging diagnostic tests where appropriate.

Access arrangements can be agreed with exam boards before an assessment for candidates with specific needs, including SEND, to help them access assessments to show what they know and can do without changing the demands of the assessment. The intention behind an access arrangement is to meet the needs of an individual candidate without affecting the integrity of the assessment.

​​The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) or equivalent for a school or college must lead on the access arrangements process, fully supported by teaching staff and members of the senior leadership team. SENCos are responsible for taking appropriate steps to gather an appropriate picture of need, demonstrate normal ways of working for candidates, and ensure that approved access arrangements are put in place for internal school tests, mock examinations and examinations.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to support parents of primary-aged children with childcare outside of school hours.

In the Spring Budget 2023, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a transformative set of childcare reforms aimed at increasing labour market participation. This included the largest ever investment in childcare, including expansions of early years entitlements and wraparound childcare.

The government’s ambition for wraparound childcare is that, by 2026, all parents and carers of primary school-aged children who need it will be able to access term time childcare in their local area from 8am-6pm. This will help to ensure that parents have enough childcare to work full time, more hours and with flexible hours.

To support this ambition, the government announced that it will provide up to £289 million of start-up funding over two academic years from September 2024 to support local authorities and providers in England to introduce or expand childcare provision on either side of the school day, which parents of primary school-aged children will be able to pay to access.

This programme will focus on primary school-aged children from reception to year 6, Monday to Friday during term time. The department’s expectation is that all wraparound provision is 8am-6pm, enabling parents to work a full day with travel time, unless data shows that local demand is for different hours, for example reflecting local labour market patterns.

Parents should expect to see an expansion in the availability of wraparound care from September 2024, with every parent who needs it able to access term-time wraparound childcare by September 2026.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to provide (a) activities and (b) food support for children over school holiday periods.

The department has invested over £200 million every year since 2022 in free holiday club places for children from low-income families, through the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme, with all 153 local authorities in England delivering in the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays.

The HAF Programme supports disadvantaged children and their families with enriching activities, providing them with healthy food, helping them to learn new things, and improving socialisation.

While the Programme is targeted primarily towards children in receipt of benefits-related free school meals, local authorities also have flexibility to use up to 15% of their funding to target and support other children and families that align with the local authorities’ own priorities.

Since 2022, the HAF programme has provided 10.7 million HAF days to children and young people in this country. The expansion of the programme year-on-year has meant a total of 5.4 million HAF days provided between Christmas 2022, Easter and summer 2023. Based on reporting from local authorities, over 680,000 children and young people attended the holiday activities and food programme in the 2023 summer holidays, including over 5,900 children and young people from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Over Easter 2023, local authorities reported that over 394,000 children attended the programme across the country, of which over 4,400 young people attended from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Over Christmas 2022, local authorities reported over 315,000 children attended the programme across the country, of which 1,800 young people attended from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help families with the cost of school bus fares in (a) Bournemouth East constituency and (b) the South West.

The Department’s school travel policy aims to make sure that no child is prevented from accessing education due to a lack of transport. Local Authorities must arrange free home to school travel for children of compulsory school age who attend their nearest school and would not be able to walk there because of the distance, their special educational needs, disability or mobility problem, or because the nature of the route means it would be unsafe for them to do so. There are extended rights to free travel for children from low income families.

Most central Government funding for home to school travel is made available to Local Authorities through the Local Government Finance Settlement (LGFS) administered by the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). DLUHC will bring forward proposals for the LGFS 2024/25 in the usual way later in the year. Local Government spending will be carefully considered to ensure councils can continue to deliver vital services.

The Department provides grant funding to Local Authorities as a contribution towards the cost of extended rights travel for children from low income families. This is just under £45.8 million in the 2023/23 financial year. The Department will shortly be calculating Local Authorities’ allocations of this grant for 2024/25.

Fares and concessions on public transport are set by transport operators and it is for them to decide whether and how to implement any concessions for children travelling to school. The Government is offering support to help people with costs such as childcare, bills and transport. The Government’s dedicated website provides more information about cost of living support, which is available at: https://helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk/.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make it her policy to legislate for an additional statutory duty of care for students in higher education.

It is a departmental priority that students are provided with the mental health support they need so that everyone, regardless of the challenges they face, is given the opportunity to thrive.

The department understands the arguments for a statutory duty of care and shares the aims of those calling for this, which are to protect those who study at university and to prevent future tragedies. If creating a statutory duty of care in this space was the right way to achieve this, it would have the government’s full backing. However, the department believes creating such a duty for higher education (HE) providers is not the most effective way to improve outcomes for students.

Currently, a duty of care exists in common law as part of the law of negligence. This legal position is recognised in Universities UK guidance. The department is aware that the decision in Abrahart v. University of Bristol is being appealed in the High Court and will be monitoring this closely.

There are other relevant legal protections that already apply. The Equality Act 2010 imposes a duty on providers to make reasonable adjustments where students with a mental health disability would otherwise be put at a substantial disadvantage. Providers must also fully observe health and safety obligations and requirements to safeguard vulnerable adults, as well as contractual obligations.

There may be unintended consequences of legislating at this time. There is a risk that a one-size-fits-all prescriptive approach might stifle new and innovative practices, given there is no consensus yet on which interventions are most effective. While HE providers need to provide excellent pastoral services, we must be careful not to place a duty on them which requires them to provide services the NHS has more specialism in delivering.

The department believes there are more effective solutions to improve outcomes for students in the near term. Our approach is focussed on three pillars:

  • Funding and resourcing vital services
  • Spreading and implementing best practice
  • Clear responsibilities for providers and protection for students.

As part of the first pillar, the department has asked the Office for Students (OfS) to distribute £15 million this academic year so support can be targeted towards students who are starting university for the first time. This funding will also enable effective partnerships between providers and local NHS services so students can better navigate the pathways for mental health provision.

Through our second pillar, we are challenging the sector to deliver on supporting student mental health, including by setting a target for all eligible universities to sign up to the Mental Health Charter by September 2024. The department is confident the sector will rise to the challenge, having made great progress with the production of robust frameworks for best practice over recent years If we do not see a proactive and positive response from the sector, the department will not hesitate to ask the OfS to explore targeted regulation to protect student interests.

We have also made clear to the sector that we expect all relevant providers to follow broader best practice guidance shared with them by Universities UK and mental health experts.

Through work with the LEARN Network, the Student Support Champion Professor Edward Peck has identified areas for further improvement, which forms the third pillar of our approach. To deliver on this, Edward Peck will Chair a Higher Education Mental Health Implementation Taskforce, which will produce a plan for better early identification of students at risk, a University Student Commitment on dealing with students sensitively on disciplinary issues, and a set of clear targets for improvements in practice by providers. The Taskforce will include parent and students, mental health experts, and sector representatives. An interim plan is expected to be put in place later this year, with a final report to follow by May 2024.

The department wants to ensure all universities can learn from tragic instances of suicide by ensuring lessons are shared across the sector. A National Review of University Suicides will be commissioned, to be carried out by an independent organisation.

We owe it to our students to do even more to protect their mental health and wellbeing. This can only be achieved by the government, the sector, experts, parents, and students working together collectively towards this shared goal.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has plans to fund British Sign Language classes for families with deaf children.

The department understands the great importance of British Sign Language (BSL) for bridging barriers to communication between hearing and deaf people. We also appreciate the vital need for families with deaf children to be able to access BSL courses, as early access to language is essential to help children learn and thrive.

Funding is available through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) for qualifications in or focussing on BSL, up to and including level 2. These qualifications include, for example, the Level 1 Award in BSL which allows learners to communicate in BSL on a range of topics that involve simple, everyday language use, thereby giving them the basic skills and confidence in production and reception of BSL. It will depend on an individual’s circumstances as to whether they are entitled to free provision or expected to meet part of the cost (through co-funding).

About 60% of the AEB has been devolved to Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority, who determine which provision to fund for learners who live in their areas. The Education and Skills Funding Agency provides the remaining funding for learners who live in non-devolved areas. Where community learning providers offer BSL courses, those providers are responsible for determining the course fees, including levels of fee remission.

For some BSL courses, Advanced Learner Loans (ALLs) are available, and parents can find more information about which qualifications are eligible here: https://www.qualifications.education.gov.uk/Search. More general information about the provision of ALLs is available at: https://www.gov.uk/advanced-learner-loan.

For parents learning BSL on an AEB funded course, there is also additional support available. The AEB provides funding to colleges and providers to help adult learners overcome barriers preventing them from accessing learning. Providers have discretion to help learners meet costs such as transport, accommodation, books, equipment, and childcare. Learning support funding also helps colleges and training providers to meet the additional needs of learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and the costs of reasonable adjustments, as set out in the Equality Act 2010.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to support parents of deaf children in Bournemouth East constituency.

The department recognises the importance of supporting parents of all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including deaf children or those with a hearing impairment.

On 2 March 2023, the government published the SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan in response to the Green Paper. The Improvement Plan outlines the department’s approach to building capacity to achieve the behaviours and culture required for the successful implementation of these policy reforms. These reforms will give families greater confidence that their child will be able to fulfil their potential through improved mainstream provision in their local setting.

For those children and young people with SEND who do require an education, health and care (EHC) plan and specialist provision, the department will ensure they get prompt access to the support they need, and that parents do not face an adversarial system to secure this.

We will strengthen accountability across the system so that everyone is held to account for supporting children and young people with SEND.

The department also works closely with Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole local authority to ensure that all children’s needs are met, including support with its written statement of action.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when she plans to answer Question 165328 from the Rt Hon Member for Bournemouth East, tabled on 14 March for answer on 17 March.

I can confirm that a response to Question 165328 has been provided to the right hon. Member for Bournemouth East.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
14th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to support the provision of early years childcare in Bournemouth East constituency.

In the Spring Budget 2023, the government announced a number of transformative reforms to childcare for parents and children. This government will expect to be spending in excess of £8 billion every year on free hours and early education by 2027/28, helping working families with their childcare costs. This announcement represents the single biggest investment in childcare in England.

From September 2025, working parents will be able to access 30 hours of free childcare a week for 38 weeks a year, from the point their child is 9 months to when their child starts school. The department is ensuring a phased implementation of the expansion to the 30 hours offer to allow the market to develop the necessary capacity. We are working closely with the sector on the implementation of these reforms.

The government will also increase support for those parents on Universal Credit who face the highest childcare costs, by increasing the Universal Credit childcare cost maximum amount and providing support with childcare costs upfront rather than arrears.

The reforms announced build on the department’s current early education entitlements that the government offers, which includes a universal 15 hour offer for all 3 and 4-year-olds, a 15 hour offer for the most disadvantaged 2-year-olds, the existing 30 hours offer for 3 and 4-year-olds, Tax-Free Childcare, and Universal Credit Childcare.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, also announced that the hourly rates for the entitlements will be substantially uplifted, on top of additional investments announced at the 2021 Spending Review and on 16 December 2022.

We will provide £204 million from September 2023, increasing to £288 million by 2024/25, or local authorities to further increase hourly funding rates to providers, with further uplifts to follow each year. This will include an average 30% increase in the national average 2-year-old hourly rate from September 2023 and means that the average hourly rate for 2-year-olds will rise from the current £6 per hour in 2023/24 to around £8 per hour. The average 3 and 4-year-old rate will rise in line with inflation to over £5.50 per hour from September 2023, with further uplifts beyond this.

This funding is in addition to the £4.1 billion that the government will provide by 2027/28 to facilitate the expansion of the new free hours offer.

The government is investing up to £180 million in a package of training, qualifications, expert guidance, and targeted support for the early years sector to support the learning and development of the youngest and most disadvantaged children.

Designed to support all areas of the early years sector, the Early Years Education Recovery Programme offers national programmes focusing on continuing professional development, with training on child development, communication and language, early maths and personal, social and emotional development, leadership of settings, supporting caregivers in their home learning environment, and speech and language skills of children in reception year.

The department will be providing additional funding for qualifications for graduate level specialist training leading to early years teacher status, accredited level 3 early years Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators qualification, and improving the Early Years level 3 qualification. We will also be providing support and guidance to early years settings through Stronger Practice Hubs and Experts and Mentors.

The department acknowledges that recruitment and retention are key issues for the early years sector. Supporting this workforce continues to be a priority for the department, and we are working proactively with the sector and local authorities to grow, develop, and support the workforce.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the School Rebuilding Programme will include funding to any educational institutions in Bournemouth East constituency.

On 16 December 2022, the Department announced the next round of 239 schools to be included in the School Rebuilding Programme, prioritised on the basis of their condition. A list of these schools is available in the attached table.

Of the 400 schools selected so far, none are in Bournemouth East constituency. There are six schools in Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole Local Authorities.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps his Department has taken to support students' mental health following the outbreak of covid-19.

In the longer term, the department is offering all state schools and colleges a grant to train a senior mental health lead by 2025, enabling them to introduce effective, whole school approaches to mental health and wellbeing. Over 8,000 schools and colleges are already receiving grants and this year, we are providing an additional £10 million, so two thirds of state schools and colleges will have access to a grant by March 2023.

In further education, we are investing over £800 million across the next 3 academic years to fund an average of 40 additional learning hours for band 5 and T Level students in 16 to 19 education. The additional hours can be used to support areas, including mental health and wellbeing, where these are a barrier for students effectively accessing teaching and learning.

Whilst it is for higher education (HE) providers to determine what welfare and counselling services they need to provide to their students to offer that support, the government and the Office for Students (OfS) are proactive in funding and promoting effective practice in this area, ensuring that providers can access evidence to inform their approaches.

We have worked with the OfS and Student Minds to provide Student Space, which is designed to work alongside existing services, to bridge any gaps in support for students arising from the pandemic. Funded with up to £3.6 million by the OfS and the HE Funding Council Wales, Student Space has now received a funding commitment of £262,500 annually, for three years, to extend this provision of online mental health support to all students in England and Wales to 2026.

We have also asked the OfS to distribute £15 million of funding in the 2022/23 financial year to give additional support for transitions from school or college to university, and through targeting funding to support partnership working with NHS services to provide pathways of care for students.

In the Budget and Spending Review for 2021, the government announced £82 million to create a network of family hubs in 75 areas. This is part of a wider £302 million package to transform services for parents, carers, babies and children in half of council areas across England. The 75 local authorities eligible to receive the funding were announced on 2 April 2022. Information on support for vulnerable families can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/infants-children-and-families-to-benefit-from-boost-in-support.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department are taking to encourage schools to increase the number of pupils admitted on pupil premiums.

Admission arrangements are set and applied locally. Provided they are lawful and comply with the School Admissions Code, it is for the school’s admission authority to decide what admissions criteria to set, and how they are applied.

In 2014, the Code was revised to allow school admissions authorities to choose to prioritise children in receipt of pupil premium in their admissions oversubscription criteria. The Department published guidance for schools on how they can best use this criterion.

The recent School’s White Paper, ‘Opportunity for All’, made clear that trusts, as admission authorities, will be expected to act inclusively, providing the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children with the opportunity to attend the best schools.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will increase funding for schools and colleges in the context of rising inflation.

Schools and colleges will benefit from the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee, which commences on the 1 October 2022 and will be available until at least 31 March 2023. This will cap how much schools and colleges need to spend on their energy, giving greater certainty over their budgets over the winter months.

The Government is also providing schools with the largest cash boost in a decade. Following the 2021 Spending Review, core schools funding (including funding for both mainstream schools and high needs) will increase by £7 billion in 2024/25, compared to 2021/22. This includes a £4 billion increase in 2022/23 compared to the previous year which is a cash increase of 7% per pupil. A further £1.5 billion will be available in 2023/24.

The 2021 Spending Review has also made available an extra £1.6 billion for 16-19 education in the 2024/25 financial year, compared with financial year 2021/22.

The 2021 Spending Review announced a total of £19.4 billion of capital funding to support the education sector between 2022/23 and 2024/25. We are investing £6 billion in 2022/23, including £1.8 billion to help maintain and improve the condition of school buildings; over £700 million to create new places and improve facilities for children and young people with SEND or who require alternative provision; and nearly £530 million for new mainstream school places. In addition, we have announced £750 million to create new places and improve facilities for children and young people with SEND or who require alternative provision for 2024; and £940 million to create new mainstream school places needed for 2024 and 2025.

We are investing £2.8 billion of capital funding in skills over the Spending Review period, including funding to improve the condition of the further education college estate. This investment also provides funding for specialist equipment and facilities for T Levels, capital funding for more places for 16-19 year olds, and for Institutes of Technology.

Every school’s circumstances are different, and where schools are in serious financial difficulty, they should contact their local authority or the Education and Skills Funding Agency. Support for colleges is available from the Further Education Commissioner and the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help improve post-18 education options for young people in the Bournemouth East constituency.

The department is continuing to invest in adult education for adults aged 19 and over, through the Adult Education Budget (AEB), which was £1.34 billion in each of the 2019/20, 2020/21, and 2021/22 academic years. The AEB fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above, from pre-entry to level 3, to support adults to gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship, or further learning.

As part of the £2.5 billion National Skills Fund, Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with an employer.

Eligible learners in Bournemouth aged 19 and over can also take advantage of the free level 3 courses for job offers. Over 400 qualifications are on offer, which have been identified for their strong wage outcomes and ability to meet key skills needs. A list of these qualifications can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/find-a-free-level-3-qualification/list-of-free-level-3-qualifications-available-to-eligible-adults.

Adults can also be supported to access qualifications not included in the free courses for jobs offer through Advanced Learner Loans. Advanced Learner Loans are income-contingent loans that provide extensive coverage of regulated level 3 to level 6 qualifications, helping to meet the up-front tuition fees.

The department also wants to see more people in Bournemouth benefit from apprenticeships that offer high-quality training and opportunities for progression. There are over 640 high-quality, employer-designed apprenticeship standards available in a variety of industries. To support the growth of apprenticeships across the country, we are increasing apprenticeships funding to £2.7 billion by 2024/25.

The department continues to work with employers and providers to develop traineeships that provide clear progression routes for 16 to 24-year-olds, providing an opportunity to further develop skills. These include English, maths, and digital skills, alongside work preparation training and a work placement. It also includes support to help them prepare for progression into an apprenticeship, or another job.

Bournemouth and Poole College is developing new post-18 options for adults and progressing younger students, including shorter higher education (HE) provision, which is more directly linked to immediate careers to support adults who might not normally engage with HE. Around two thirds of the college’s 1,900 apprentices are adults participating across a broad range of sectors. The college will be introducing two new apprenticeship programmes in 2023/24. It will also be creating new engagement and progression strands for under-skilled adults through its recent Strategic Development Fund for investing in electric vehicle charging point training.

25th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help maintain (a) Bournemouth's coastline and (b) the cleanliness of bathing water.

The Government is taking a range of steps to maintain Bournemouth’s coastline. The Environment Agency (EA) has developed and maintains a strong professional partnership with the local authority, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, through which the EA has jointly secured an investment of £36 million between 2020 and 2027 for a flood management scheme to better protect 3,361 homes from coastal erosion and deliver over £1 billion of benefit to the local community. £17.5 million was invested between 2015 and 2020 in beach management to renourish the beach and replace timber groynes. Additionally, there are currently works on site at Hengistbury Head to the eastern end of Poole Bay to repair and upgrade the vital coastal asset known as ‘Long Groyne’ with new rock, at a cost of £12 million. In addition, there are numerous ongoing studies into flood and erosion risk, such as investigating more locally sustainable sources of beach nourishment for Bournemouth, and the delivery of a cliff management strategy for the whole of Poole Bay to better manage historic poor drainage and land instability of the cliff top.

The Government is committed to improving the quality of our bathing waters. Almost 90% of bathing waters in England met the highest standards of ‘good' or ‘excellent’ in 2023, up from just 76% in 2010 and despite the classification standards becoming stricter in 2015. Bournemouth has eight designated bathing waters; last season one was classified as ‘good’ and seven as ‘excellent’.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council in tackling fly-tipping.

The PM’s Anti-social Behaviour Action Plan sets out how we will help councils across the country take tougher action against those who fly-tip. Last year we raised the upper limit on the fixed penalty notices councils can issue for fly-tipping to £1,000 and from 1 April 2024 income from these penalties will be ringfenced for enforcement and clean-up specifically.

With the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group, we are also developing a toolkit to help councils and others tackle fly-tipping. This includes guides on raising awareness of the household and business waste duty of care, presenting robust cases to court and setting up effective local partnerships. The toolkit, and other resources, are available at https://www.keepbritaintidy.org/national-fly-tipping-prevention-group.

We have also published a selection of case studies from projects which have received funding through our fly-tipping intervention grant scheme so that others can learn about those interventions which were most successful. These can be found at https://www.keepbritaintidy.org/fly-tipping-intervention-grant-scheme.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council with (a) recycling and (b) rubbish collections.

The Government is introducing Simpler Recycling to ensure that across England, people will be able to recycle the same materials, no longer needing to check what their council will accept for recycling. The costs to deliver the new duties on local authorities for this reform will be funded by a combination of Packaging Extended Producer Responsibility payments provided to local authorities for the cost of collecting and managing household packaging waste through efficient and effective services, and reasonable new burdens funding from the Government to provide weekly food waste collections. We have brought forward up to £295 million in capital funding to roll out weekly food waste collections across England. This will cover the cost of additional bins and vehicles. Initial grants have now been issued to local authorities, including Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, for their transitional capital funding allocation for financial year 2023/24. Transitional resource costs will be paid from the 2024/25 financial year and ongoing resource costs paid from 1 April 2026.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what flood defence measures his Department is putting in place to help protect agriculture.

Farmers and land managers have an increasingly important role to play in reducing the risk of flooding and coastal erosion as we adapt to climate change, through measures such as natural flood management.

In addition to protecting homes, the flood investment programme also protects agricultural land. In our six-year record £5.2 billion floods investment programme, the amount of funding a project can attract will depend on the damage it will avoid and the benefits it will deliver. A project's impact on agricultural land is included as part of the funding calculator and attracts funding. Since 2015 we have protected over 900,000 acres of agricultural land. Approximately 40% of schemes, and 45% of investment, better protects properties in rural communities. Government assistance is sometimes provided in particularly exceptional circumstances. For example, on Saturday 6th January the Government announced farmers who have suffered uninsurable damage to their land as a result of Storm Henk will be able to apply grants of up to £25,000 through the Farming Recovery Fund towards reinstatement costs for farmers adversely affected by exceptional flooding.

There are also measures that benefit flood risk mitigation under all three components of the Environmental Land Management schemes. As announced on 4th January, farmers and other land managers will be paid for a variety of land management actions that support flood risk mitigation, including new actions to manage grasslands and arable land for flood resilience and updated actions to store flood water on agricultural land. These actions will be available from later this year, through a streamlined single application process. The first round of Landscape Recovery included a focus on restoring England’s streams and rivers: the selected projects will restore water bodies, rivers, and floodplains to a more natural state, reduce of nutrient pollution, benefit aquatic species, and improve flood mitigation and resilience to climate change. Many of the Landscape Recovery Round 2 projects that are centred around rivers are also aiming to deliver similar environmental outcomes, including flood mitigation.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help flood affected areas in (a) Bournemouth East constituency and (b) the South West.

a) Bournemouth East is at risk of flooding from the sea, Christchurch Harbour, the River Stour and Surface Water. The Environment Agency and Bournemouth, Poole & Christchurch Council are working in partnership to ensure plans are in place to reduce the flood and coastal erosion risk both now and into the future taking account of climate change. Work is underway on the Lower Stour and Christchurch Bay Flood Risk Management Strategies. These strategies will inform future investment needed to both reduce flood risk and adapt to climate change. The Environment Agency and Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council are capturing information from recent flood events and will build this into their Strategies and future investment plans. Both organisations are also engaging with affected communities.

As part of the Government’s 6- year £5.2 billion (2021/22-2026/27) capital investment programme £22.7m of Flood Defence Grant in Aid (FDGiA) is being invested in Bournemouth East. This will better protect 3003 properties from flooding or coastal erosion. On the coast we are investing in the Bournemouth Beach Management Programme to reduce the risk of coastal erosion. Work is underway and includes groyne replacement, beach recharge, and redevelopment of the long groyne at Hengistbury Head.

Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Council are developing surface water management plans that will identify high risk locations and measures necessary to reduce the risk of surface water flooding, these plans will take account of recent flooding.

b) Across the South West the Environment Agency and Local Authorities are similarly working with local communities to help them recover from flooding over the last few months.

The Flood and Coastal Risk Management capital programme (2021/22 – 2026/27) has planned FDGIA capital investment of £696m for the South West ONS region*. This investment is forecast to better protect around 21,300 properties from flooding and coastal erosion.

*Please note that allocations are reviewed each year and are subject to change, and numbers for properties better protected are forecasts which are also subject to change. Totals may not include projects that are cross-boundary across multiple ONS regions.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support farmers with rising input costs.

The Government is supporting farmers through a range of measures. We are updating prices in our environmental land management schemes with an average 10% uplift. We are making Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) simpler, with more choice about what farmers can do and more actions made available, to better reflect the full spectrum of farming interests. What is more, 50 new actions are being added to our environmental land management schemes, many of which support food production, making it easier for the Government’s support to fit into farmers’ business plans. And specific actions in the SFI, such as different cropping systems, better plant management methods and other Nutrient Management and Integrated Pest Management actions, will support farmers in improving soil health, reducing their reliance on costly inputs.

We are also keen to support farmers through technology. Later this month, Defra will be inviting farmers to apply for share of an initial £15 million for innovations, like robotic mechanical weeding technology, that can be implemented right away. More grants will be launched this year to help farmers grow more, sell more and make their businesses more sustainable and resilient for the future. We will also look at ways to make grants and schemes even easier to access, including the potential to streamline the application process for schemes. Farmers can now apply for SFI and the Countryside Stewardship Mid-Tier through one single application, meaning they’ll have the same actions and get the same support with less paperwork.

More broadly, we are supporting British farmers in the marketplace. British farmers are rightly proud of producing food that meets and often exceeds our world leading animal welfare and environmental standards. And British consumers want to buy this top-quality food. This is why we will rapidly consult on clearer labelling, to protect farmers and consumers. We also want the public sector to procure more high quality, sustainable food produced by farmers, and Parliament has in fact recently passed legislation following our exit from the European Union which enables a greater emphasis on the public benefits of this public sector procurement. We will also update the government buying standards for food and catering to emphasise the importance of buying food with high environmental and welfare standards, which will further support British farmers and food producers.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to hold water service providers accountable for sewage spillages.

The Government is clear that the amount of sewage discharged into our waters is unacceptable. That is why our Plan for Water sets out more investment, stronger regulation and tougher enforcement to tackle widespread sources of pollution.

We are making the water industry accountable on a scale never seen before. To achieve this, we have ensured that 100 per cent of storm overflows in England are now monitored, dramatically increasing the information we have on storm overflow activity.

We have also legislated to introduce unlimited penalties on water companies which breach their environmental permits and expand the range of offences to which penalties can be applied, giving the Environment Agency the tools, they need to hold water companies accountable. Furthermore, using new powers granted to Ofwat by the Government, Ofwat is ensuring company dividends are linked to company performance, for customers and the environment.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the progress of the Sustainable Farming Incentive.

Over 8,500 farmers have applied to the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) and more than 6,000 agreement offers have been issued.

On 4 January updated payment rates were announced, with the average value of an SFI agreement increasing by 10%. Around 50 new paid-for actions will be added to the SFI and Countryside Stewardship schemes from summer 2024, giving farmers more choice and an offer for all farm types and locations.

From this summer, farmers will be able to apply for Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier and SFI actions through a single application process, making it easier for farmers and land managers to see what is available to them and access the funding in a more straightforward way.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to improve the quality of coastal water in Bournemouth.

The Dorset/Hampshire coastal waterbody extends from Portland Bill to the southern tip of the Isle of Wight. Its Water Framework regulations status overall is Good. It is considered ‘Probably At Risk’ due to alien species. The Environment Agency (EA) are taking no direct local action in this regard as global warming and shipping are the main risk factors.

Most bathing waters in the vicinity are classified as Excellent. Boscombe Pier bathing water is classified as Good. It was subject to an investigation by Wessex Water in the 2020 - 2025 investment round. This has been completed and no water company interventions were identified that would improve bathing water quality to a robust Excellent status.

There are a handful of storm overflows that discharge to Poole Bay. As a minimum, Wessex Water will be required to reduce spill frequencies to ensure at least Good bathing water quality at local beaches by 2035 under the requirements of the Environment Act. The EA have significantly driven up monitoring and transparency from water companies in recent years, so that everyone can see how often and for how long storm overflows are used. All the data is published online. The operation of local storm overflows are included in the Surfers Against Sewage “Safer Seas Service”. This site includes the Environment Agency Pollution Risk Forecast warnings. Further details of this service can be found at http://www.sas.org.uk/safer-seas-service/.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)