Tom Hunt Portrait

Tom Hunt

Conservative - Ipswich

First elected: 12th December 2019


Lifelong Learning (Higher Education Fee Limits) Bill
15th Mar 2023 - 23rd Mar 2023
Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill
1st Mar 2023 - 8th Mar 2023
Child Support (Enforcement) Bill
22nd Feb 2023 - 1st Mar 2023
Equipment Theft (Prevention) Bill
25th Jan 2023 - 1st Feb 2023
Education Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 8th Nov 2022
Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill
7th Sep 2022 - 12th Oct 2022
Public Order Bill
25th May 2022 - 21st Jun 2022
Skills and Post-16 Education [HL] Bill
24th Nov 2021 - 7th Dec 2021
Judicial Review and Courts Bill
27th Oct 2021 - 23rd Nov 2021
Test Committee
7th Jan 2019 - 1st Feb 2020


Department Event
Wednesday 28th February 2024
09:25
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Fifth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
28 Feb 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Non-Domestic Rating (Rates Retention: Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2024
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Wednesday 28th February 2024
09:25
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Fifth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
28 Feb 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Non-Domestic Rating (Rates Retention: Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2024
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Monday 4th March 2024
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral questions - Main Chamber
4 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Monday 22nd April 2024
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral questions - Main Chamber
22 Apr 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 277 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 44 Noes - 285
Speeches
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Immigration Rules and Border Security
There is a certain irony about Opposition Members going on about border security, when a lot of them tried to …
Written Answers
Wednesday 7th February 2024
Innovate UK
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she has made a recent assessment of the …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Tuesday 9th May 2023
Cladding Remediation Works (Code of Practice) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to make provision for a statutory Code of Practice to set standards for cladding remediation works in occupied …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Ipswich Town Football Club
Address of donor: Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 2DA
Amount of donation or …
EDM signed
Wednesday 21st February 2024
No confidence in the Speaker
That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker.
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 3rd November 2021
Schools and Educational Settings (Essential Infrastructure and Opening During Emergencies) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision for educational settings including early years, schools, colleges and universities to be classified as essential …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Tom Hunt has voted in 908 divisions, and 12 times against the majority of their Party.

22 Mar 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 33 Conservative No votes vs 320 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 253
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 42 Conservative No votes vs 298 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 82
24 Jun 2020 - Demonstrations (Abortion Clinics) - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 43 Conservative No votes vs 56 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 213 Noes - 47
27 Apr 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 320 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 320 Noes - 256
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
28 Apr 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 32 Conservative No votes vs 321 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt 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
18 Oct 2022 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 103 Conservative No votes vs 113 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 297 Noes - 110
7 Mar 2023 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 107 Conservative Aye votes vs 109 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 116 Noes - 299
16 Jan 2024 - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 57 Conservative Aye votes vs 262 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 58 Noes - 525
16 Jan 2024 - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 58 Conservative Aye votes vs 262 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 68 Noes - 529
17 Jan 2024 - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - View Vote Context
Tom Hunt voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 59 Conservative Aye votes vs 266 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 65 Noes - 536
View All Tom Hunt 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)
(31 debate interactions)
Robert Jenrick (Conservative)
(28 debate interactions)
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(20 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(128 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(63 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(32 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Judicial Review and Courts Act 2022
(4,117 words contributed)
Public Order Act 2023
(3,110 words contributed)
Finance Act 2023
(1,808 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Tom Hunt's debates

Ipswich 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).

Petitions with highest Ipswich signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

Call on the government to consider holding debates in Parliament between MPs and university students to raise/discuss issues that affect them. It will allow students to voice their opinions and concerns about tuition fees of £9250 a year which are too high, particularly as grants have been removed

Undocumented Migrants are suffering in silence, with no access to adequate Financial support, or any help. The Government should grant an urgent Amnesty of 5years to those with no criminal record so that they could live their lives as normal human beings and pay tax to help the UK economy.

Chris Packham, Ruth Tingay and Mark Avery (Wild Justice) believe that intensive grouse shooting is bad for people, the environment and wildlife. People; grouse shooting is economically insignificant when contrasted with other real and potential uses of the UK’s uplands.

Government should support vulnerable children & #endchildfoodpoverty by implementing 3 recommendations from the National Food Strategy to expand access to Free School Meals, provide meals & activities during holidays to stop holiday hunger & increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme

The government should allow BTEC students to achieve teacher predicted grades rather than being forced into a system that is unethically downgrading thousands of students grades.

Schools can be a breeding ground for the spread of coronavirus. Children are mingling at schools and returning to families who are potentially vulnerable, keeping rates high.

It's only been since schools opened that infection rates have been high in Kent, and keeping them open may keep it high.

Cancel all standardise testing for year 11 and year 12 students in 2021. By replacing tests with smaller amounts of course work and teacher assessment, students would have a fair chance at achieving their target grades and it would relieve stress for teachers and students.

Please don’t send students back until we know we have had the priority groups vaccinated such as the elderly, the extremely clinically vulnerable, and those with underlying health conditions.

The Government is refusing to release official research on the characteristics of grooming gangs, claiming it is not in the “public interest”.

We, the British public, demand the release of the official research on grooming gangs undertaken by the Government in full.

The Home Secretary said what happened to victims of child sexual exploitation gangs was “one of the biggest stains on our country’s conscience.” Last year local authorities identified 18,700 suspected victims of child sexual exploitation. We want an independent public inquiry into Grooming Gangs.

Legislate to allow parents to have the option to remove their children from school if there is a pandemic e.g. Coronavirus or similar without negative action by schools or local authorities. They shouldn’t lose the child’s place in the school or face any kind of prosecution.

We propose to amend the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to make pet theft a specific offence, distinct from that of inanimate objects; and in sentencing, the courts must consider the fear, alarm or distress to the pet and owners and not monetary value.

Pet Theft Reform 2020: Revise the sentencing guidelines in the Theft Act 1968 to reclassify pet theft as a specific crime. Ensure that monetary value is irrelevant for the categorisation of dog and cat theft crime for sentencing purposes. Recognise pet theft as a category 2 offence or above.

Illegal immigrants are entering the UK in many different ways, including small boats from France which are not stopped by either French or British forces.

I would like the government to review and increase the pay for healthcare workers to recognise the work that they do.

To revoke the Immigration Health Surcharge increases for overseas NHS staff. The latest budget shows an increase of £220 a year for an overseas worker to live and work in the UK, at a time when the NHS, and UK economy, relies heavily on them.

We would like the government to support and regard social care: financially, publicly and systematically on an equal par as NHS. We would like parliament to debate how to support social care during COVID-19 and beyond so that it automatically has the same access to operational and financial support.

Give NHS workers who are EU and other Nationals automatic UK citizenship if they stay and risk their own lives looking after the British people during the COVID crisis.


Latest EDMs signed by Tom Hunt

21st February 2024
Tom Hunt signed this EDM on Wednesday 21st February 2024

No confidence in the Speaker

Tabled by: William Wragg (Conservative - Hazel Grove)
That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker.
60 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 36
Scottish National Party: 23
Independent: 1
View All Tom Hunt's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Tom Hunt, 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.


Tom Hunt has not been granted any Urgent Questions

4 Adjournment Debates led by Tom Hunt

2 Bills introduced by Tom Hunt


A Bill to make provision for a statutory Code of Practice to set standards for cladding remediation works in occupied buildings; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 9th May 2023
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision for an offence in relation to the sending of flashing images; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 20th June 2022

255 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
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Attorney General, what guidance her Department has issued on the prosecution of pro-Hamas demonstrators.

On 13 October, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) published further prosecution guidance on protests and demonstrations in light of the Middle East conflict. This compliments the already extensive prosecution guidance on hate crime and offences committed during protests.

A link to the CPS statement can be found here:
https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/cps-prosecution-guidance-protests-and-demonstrations-light-middle-east-conflict

The CPS provided additional prosecutors to offer advice and assistance to policing in real-time, including in the Met command centre, during recent protests. The CPS continues to work closely with its operational partners to ensure a coordinated and consistent response.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
6th Sep 2023
To ask the Attorney General, what the process is for the (a) liquidation, (b) declamation and (c) possession of a residential building by the Crown.

An interest in a freehold property owned by a company in liquidation will be dealt with by the appointed liquidator, who will decide how best to deal with the property interest to achieve the best outcome for creditors.

Where the property interest is onerous, for example it is not readily saleable or may give rise to a liability, the liquidator may seek to disclaim it.

Once disclaimed the freehold property interest, in the absence of any other owner or a vesting order, may pass to the Crown Estate according to the legal principle of escheat.

The Crown Estate does not usually seek to take possession of property subject to escheat and does not assume the responsibilities ordinarily attributable to a property owner. It therefore does not manage or insure properties subject to escheat.

The Crown Estate is not bound to dispose of property subject to escheat, or to dispose of such property to any particular purchaser. Normal policy is to dispose of such property to an appropriate purchaser where it is possible to do so.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Attorney General, whether she is taking steps to reduce the time spent by police officers collecting information which must be redacted before it is shared with the Crown Prosecution Service to comply with data protection law.

The recently published revised Disclosure guidelines for 2022 includes a new annex on data protection and redaction which provides clear, practical advice on data protection and redaction. The annex supports investigators in making more refined decisions about what material is necessary to provide to the CPS unredacted, and to make proportionate decisions regarding when personal information must be redacted. The redaction annex was developed with the support of the Information Commissioner’s Office, and robustly complies with data protection law.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
1st Dec 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made on the potential merits of the inclusion of statistics on Kannada speakers in census releases from the Office for National Statistics.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the Hon. Member's Parliamentary Question on 1 December is attached.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether her Department is taking steps to help promote careers in (a) carpentry, (b) brick laying, (c) roofing and (d) other trade industry jobs outside of traditional education routes.

Trades and professions in construction are skilled roles. New entrants to construction can join the industry through an apprenticeship, T-levels and further and higher education qualifications.

This Department works jointly with the Department for Education and the construction industry through the Construction Skills Delivery Group to promote opportunities and all skills routes for the new generation of construction workers, and for ongoing career progression, to support all construction roles.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to support small businesses with employing more staff.

Government has taken action to support small businesses by reversing the National Insurance rise, saving small businesses approximately £4,200 on average, as well as raising the Employment Allowance to £5,000.

The network of 38 Growth Hubs across England provides access to information and advice to SMEs, alongside our free Business Support Helpline. Businesses can also use the Apprenticeship Service to find out about funding to pay for apprenticeships.

Furthermore, small businesses can access the Recovery Loan Scheme which helps smaller businesses access loans and other kinds of finance up to £2 million per business group so they can grow and invest.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she has made a recent assessment of the adequacy of the application process for grants from Innovate UK; and if she will take steps to help ensure that small businesses are not disadvantaged in that application process.

Innovate UK (IUK) offers extensive support services and funding opportunities for businesses of all sizes, including micro and SMEs. In 22/23 it supported 3,000 SMEs with grants, a 47% increase from 2020.

IUK’s processes meet Cabinet Office Grant Standards, and are audited internally and externally to ensure they are fair and robust. IUK recently published a Declaration to Support Businesses to Grow and Scale setting out how it is refining its approach to supporting businesses. This included pledging to halve the average time to process grant applications.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what assessment she has made of the potential economic benefits of extending 5G coverage to businesses in Ipswich.

Ofcom reports on 5G coverage in its Connected Nations reports, but this is not currently available on a constituency or local authority basis. According to Ofcom, (basic) ‘non-standalone’ 5G is available with a high degree of confidence from at least one mobile network operator outside 77% of UK premises.

5G connectivity can potentially provide significant economic benefits to businesses across the UK, and our forthcoming Wireless Infrastructure Strategy will articulate a clear vision for how advanced wireless infrastructure, including 5G, can become an integral part of the fabric of the UK's economy and society.

24th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to extend 5G coverage in Ipswich.

Ofcom reports on 5G coverage in its Connected Nations reports, but this is not currently available on a constituency or local authority basis. According to Ofcom, (basic) ‘non-standalone’ 5G is available with a high degree of confidence from at least one mobile network operator outside 77% of UK premises.

5G connectivity can potentially provide significant economic benefits to businesses across the UK, and our forthcoming Wireless Infrastructure Strategy will articulate a clear vision for how advanced wireless infrastructure, including 5G, can become an integral part of the fabric of the UK's economy and society.

24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of Government support for small businesses with energy costs.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme provides a discount on the wholesale element of gas and electricity bills to ensure that all eligible businesses, that receive their energy from licensed suppliers, are protected from high energy costs over the winter period.

This support is preventing insolvencies and protecting jobs and livelihoods. Following an HMT-led review, the new Energy Bill Discount Scheme, will run from April until March 2024, and continue to provide a discount to eligible businesses. The support offered through the EBRS and EBDS schemes is in addition to a package of support including recent fuel duty and VAT cuts, business rate holidays and government backed loans worth around £400 billion.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps his Department has taken to support small businesses with energy costs.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme provides a discount on the wholesale element of gas and electricity bills to ensure that all eligible businesses, that receive their energy from licensed suppliers, are protected from high energy costs over the winter period.

This support is preventing insolvencies and protecting jobs and livelihoods. Following an HMT-led review, the new Energy Bill Discount Scheme, will run from April until March 2024, and continue to provide a discount to eligible businesses. The support offered through the EBRS and EBDS schemes is in addition to a package of support including recent fuel duty and VAT cuts, business rate holidays and government backed loans worth around £400 billion.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of Sizewell C on levels of employment in Ipswich.

The proposed Sizewell C Nuclear Power station is subject to a live planning application, which is entirely separate from the ongoing commercial negotiations on the project. Given the Department’s statutory responsibility for determining individual planning applications for energy projects, the Government is unable to comment on specific matters related to this application, including the socio-economic impacts, as this could be seen as prejudicing the decision-making process.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of Sizewell C on the UK's energy security.

New nuclear projects are important for ensuring a low-carbon, low-cost and resilient electricity system, to help us reach our world-leading emission reduction targets and ensure our energy security and prosperity.

The Government has set out its ambition to increase our plans for the deployment of civil nuclear power up to 24GW by 2050. The Government have been in negotiations on the Sizewell C project since January 2021. If approved, Sizewell C would make a substantial contribution to this objective by producing 3.2GW of low carbon electricity, enough to power around 6 million homes or 7 percent of UK electricity.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take urgent steps to ensure that floating bar and restaurant businesses that are not eligible for business rates are able to access the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund has been designed to support smaller businesses in some of the sectors which have been hit hardest by the measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The scheme has been tied to the business rates system and rating assessments, which together provide a framework for Local Authorities to make payments as quickly as possible.

On 1 May 2020 the Business Secretary announced that a further up to £617 million is being made available to local authorities. This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs such as rents rather than business rates. We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in a range of shared workspaces, 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 may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to help improve the level of physical activity in Ipswich through (a) grassroots sport and (b) other means.

Sport and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health and this government is committed to ensuring that everyone, regardless of background, should have access to and benefit from quality sport and physical activity opportunities.

Since 2018, the government has invested £528,357 into a range of grassroots sport projects within Ipswich through Sport England, for example the Ipswich BMX club, the School Games Organisers and through National Leisure Recovery Fund.

The Government also invests £18 million each year in community sport facilities via the Football Foundation. In partnership with the Football Association and Premier League, this results in £70 million being invested into community sport facilities every year.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has made an assessment of the impact of free public Wi-Fi on footfall in town centres.

The Department has not made an assessment on the impact of free public Wi-Fi on footfall in town centres. However, we know that good quality digital infrastructure, including in public spaces, has substantial social and economic benefits, and this can play a role in supporting our broader policy objectives, including Levelling Up. We are developing a Wireless Infrastructure Strategy to set out a strategic framework for the development, deployment and adoption of 5G and future networks.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the impact of increasing grassroots sport opportunities on the level of physical activity undertaken in local authority areas.

Sport and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health and this government is committed to ensuring that everyone, regardless of background, should have access to and benefit from quality sport and physical activity opportunities.

Since the government launched its sports strategy, Sporting Future in 2015, we have achieved a huge amount.

Sport England has allocated over £1.5 billion to nearly 5,000 grassroots organisations across the UK, increasing opportunities for individuals all over the country to get active.

In 2020 alone, Sport England distributed over £340 million of Exchequer and Lottery funding to support the development of grassroots sport in England, in addition to £100 million through the National Leisure Recovery Fund.

The Government also invests £18 million each year in community sport facilities via the Football Foundation. In partnership with the Football Association and Premier League, this results in £70 million being invested into community sport facilities every year.

The Government has also recently announced a £30 million package to refurbish 4,500 park tennis courts throughout the country in partnership with the Lawn Tennis Association.

On top of this, the Prime Minister has committed to delivering the grassroots pitches every community needs and this has already resulted in an investment of £25 million by the government in 2021/22 to upgrade and improve facilities across the UK. At the Spending Review, a further £205 million was pledged over the next three years, targeted at the communities most in need, with the aim of increasing participation in sport among under-represented groups, as part of the government’s levelling up plans.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of provision of sporting opportunities for young people in Ipswich.

The Government is committed to ensuring that all children and young people have the opportunity to engage in sport and physical activity. A key driver of the government’s School Sport and Activity Action Plan is to ensure that all children and young people have access to at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. This is supported by £320 million per year through the PE and sport premium.

Sport England have, since 2016, invested £1,408,100 in different projects in Ipswich. Of that sum, £511,214 went towards 13 different projects which specifically targeted young people. 19 schools in Ipswich have also benefited £145,778 through other funding streams.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will (a) refund community radio stations' Ofcom transmitter and relay licence fees to support those stations during the covid-19 outbreak and (b) take steps to ensure that those stations do not incur those costs in future.

This is a matter for Ofcom, who are responsible for setting and collecting licence fees from radio broadcast licence holders, including those payable by community radio stations.

Ofcom have taken steps to engage with community radio stations that are struggling to meet fees, and have made arrangements with a number of broadcast licence holders that are having difficulties. Community stations should contact Ofcom if they have fees that they are unable to pay as the result of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) quantitative and (b) qualitative data is used by Ofsted inspectors to assess the adequacy of SEND provision in schools.

This is a matter for His Majesty’s Chief Inspector. I have asked the Chief Inspector to write to my hon. Friend, the Member for Ipswich directly and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data her Department holds on the number and proportion of education, health and care plans that included personal budgets in each of the last five years.

When a local authority draws up or reviews an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, the child’s parents, or the young person from age 16, can request a personal budget. Local authorities must include information on personal budgets as part of their published Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) local offer.

Statutory guidance for local authorities on personal budgets is included in the 0 to 25 years SEND Code of Practice. This can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25.

The number and proportion of EHC Plans that included personal budgets in each of the last five years are as follows:

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023

Number of personal budgets

15,712

20,346

22,233

25,259

18,887

Number of EHC plans

353,995

390,109

430,697

473,255

517,049

Proportion of EHC plans including a personal budget

4.4%

5.2%

5.2%

5.3%

3.7%

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has issued guidance for local authorities on the inclusion of personal budgets in education, health and care plans.

When a local authority draws up or reviews an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, the child’s parents, or the young person from age 16, can request a personal budget. Local authorities must include information on personal budgets as part of their published Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) local offer.

Statutory guidance for local authorities on personal budgets is included in the 0 to 25 years SEND Code of Practice. This can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25.

The number and proportion of EHC Plans that included personal budgets in each of the last five years are as follows:

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023

Number of personal budgets

15,712

20,346

22,233

25,259

18,887

Number of EHC plans

353,995

390,109

430,697

473,255

517,049

Proportion of EHC plans including a personal budget

4.4%

5.2%

5.2%

5.3%

3.7%

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has had recent discussions with Ofsted on the steps it takes to collect data on the (a) skills training, (b) further education, (c) apprenticeships, (d) work and (e) other activities taken up by post-17 school leavers with special educational needs and disabilities.

Since data collection is not part of Ofsted’s role, there have been no recent discussions on the steps Ofsted takes to collect data. Ofsted is a separate government department responsible for inspecting and reporting on the quality of post-16 education and training provided by further education colleges and training providers. As set out in Ofsted’s Further Education and Skills Handbook, the quality of provision for learners with high needs and with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is always considered during the provision of any type of inspection. The handbook is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-education-and-skills-inspection-handbook-eif/further-education-and-skills-handbook-for-september-2022. Before making any final judgement on overall effectiveness, inspectors must evaluate the extent to which the education and training provided meets the needs of all learners, including learners with SEND and those who have high needs.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
14th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data her Department holds on the number of schools that received an Ofsted inspection in 2023 and did not receive a grade of outstanding as a result of judgments on their SEND provision.

There is no central record of whether Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision alone is the cause of a school not receiving an outstanding overall effectiveness judgement.

Ofsted has confirmed that individual inspection reports will always provide detail on a school’s SEND provision, including strengths and weaknesses. Provision for pupils with SEND is looked at across all of Ofsted’s key judgements and through its safeguarding assessment, as set out in the school inspection handbook. In assessing the quality of a school’s education, inspectors will consider a number of factors, including; how well the school identifies, assesses and meets the needs of pupils with SEND; whether leaders are suitably ambitious for all pupils with SEND; whether the curriculum is coherently sequenced to meet all pupil’s needs starting points and aspirations; as well as how well pupils with SEND are prepared for their next steps in education, employment and training and their adult lives.

Where schools are falling short in their provision for pupils with SEND, Ofsted judgements will reflect this.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in what timeframe parents can expect to hear whether their child’s school is affected by reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

Nothing is more important than the safety of children and staff. It has always been the case that where we are made aware of a building that may pose an immediate risk, the Department takes immediate action.

It is the responsibility of those who run schools – academy trusts, Local Authorities, and voluntary-aided school bodies – who work with their schools on a day-to-day basis, to manage the safety and maintenance of their schools and to alert us if there is a concern with a building.

The Department has acted decisively and proactively to tackle this issue. This Government has taken more proactive action on RAAC than any other in the UK. The Department issued comprehensive guidance in 2018, and subsequent years, to all responsible bodies highlighting the potential risks associated with RAAC and supporting them to identify this within their buildings, as well as to take appropriate steps in meeting their obligations to keep buildings safe. The most recent guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reinforced-autoclaved-aerated-concrete-estates-guidance.

There are over 22,000 schools and colleges in England, and the vast majority are unaffected. A significant proportion of the estate was built outside the period where RAAC was used, with around one third of the estate built since 2001, therefore, the Department has focused efforts on buildings built in the post-war decades.

The Department issued a questionnaire in March 2022, asking responsible bodies to inform the Department of any suspected RAAC identified in their estates. Responsible bodies have submitted questionnaires for over 98% of schools with blocks built in the target era, of which there are 14,900. We are pressing all remaining schools to get checks completed, to determine which schools require surveys.

The Department is contacting responsible bodies to help them respond to this request and to advise on what needs to be done, so that they can establish whether they believe they have RAAC. This work will continue until we have a response for all target era schools.

Schools and colleges where RAAC is suspected are being fast tracked for surveying, which is used to confirm whether RAAC is actually present. All schools and colleges that have already told us they suspect they might have RAAC will be surveyed within a matter of weeks, in many cases in a matter of days.

All schools where RAAC is confirmed are provided with a dedicated caseworker to support them and help implement a mitigation plan and minimise the disruption to children’s learning.

Across Government, Departments have been asked to report on the current picture of suspected and confirmed RAAC in their estates as soon as possible. This will be updated on a regular basis as new buildings are identified and surveying and remediation are carried out. The Department for Education published lists of education settings confirmed as having RAAC on Wednesday 6 September, and committed to providing further updates.

Schools will contact parents where RAAC is identified and inform them of any impacts on their child. The vast majority of schools are unaffected. Any parents that are unsure if their child’s school is affected should contact their school directly.

While some short term disruption is inevitable, all available measures will be taken to minimise disruption to pupil learning and ensure that pupils continue to receive face-to-face teaching. Where there is any disturbance to face-to-face education, schools will prioritise attendance for vulnerable children and young people and children of key workers. The guidance published by the Department in August also includes guidance on provision for pupils with SEND and sets out expectations that schools continue to provide free school meals to eligible pupils.

The Department will fund emergency mitigation work needed to make buildings safe, including installing alternative classroom space where necessary. Where schools and colleges need additional help with revenue costs, like transport to locations or temporarily renting a local hall or office, the department will provide that support for all reasonable requests. The Department will also fund longer term refurbishment projects, or rebuilding projects where these are needed, to rectify the RAAC issue in the long term.

All previously confirmed Schol Rebuilding Programme projects announced in 2021 and 2022 will continue to go ahead. A full list of confirmed projects can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme-schools-in-the-programme.

Further information on RAAC in education settings is available on the Education Hub: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2023/09/06/new-guidance-on-raac-in-education-settings/.

6th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what process her Department has put in place for identifying schools at risk of closure due to reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

Nothing is more important than the safety of children and staff. It has always been the case that where we are made aware of a building that may pose an immediate risk, the Department takes immediate action.

It is the responsibility of those who run schools – academy trusts, Local Authorities, and voluntary-aided school bodies – who work with their schools on a day-to-day basis, to manage the safety and maintenance of their schools and to alert us if there is a concern with a building.

The Department has acted decisively and proactively to tackle this issue. This Government has taken more proactive action on RAAC than any other in the UK. The Department issued comprehensive guidance in 2018, and subsequent years, to all responsible bodies highlighting the potential risks associated with RAAC and supporting them to identify this within their buildings, as well as to take appropriate steps in meeting their obligations to keep buildings safe. The most recent guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reinforced-autoclaved-aerated-concrete-estates-guidance.

There are over 22,000 schools and colleges in England, and the vast majority are unaffected. A significant proportion of the estate was built outside the period where RAAC was used, with around one third of the estate built since 2001, therefore, the Department has focused efforts on buildings built in the post-war decades.

The Department issued a questionnaire in March 2022, asking responsible bodies to inform the Department of any suspected RAAC identified in their estates. Responsible bodies have submitted questionnaires for over 98% of schools with blocks built in the target era, of which there are 14,900. We are pressing all remaining schools to get checks completed, to determine which schools require surveys.

The Department is contacting responsible bodies to help them respond to this request and to advise on what needs to be done, so that they can establish whether they believe they have RAAC. This work will continue until we have a response for all target era schools.

Schools and colleges where RAAC is suspected are being fast tracked for surveying, which is used to confirm whether RAAC is actually present. All schools and colleges that have already told us they suspect they might have RAAC will be surveyed within a matter of weeks, in many cases in a matter of days.

All schools where RAAC is confirmed are provided with a dedicated caseworker to support them and help implement a mitigation plan and minimise the disruption to children’s learning.

Across Government, Departments have been asked to report on the current picture of suspected and confirmed RAAC in their estates as soon as possible. This will be updated on a regular basis as new buildings are identified and surveying and remediation are carried out. The Department for Education published lists of education settings confirmed as having RAAC on Wednesday 6 September, and committed to providing further updates.

Schools will contact parents where RAAC is identified and inform them of any impacts on their child. The vast majority of schools are unaffected. Any parents that are unsure if their child’s school is affected should contact their school directly.

While some short term disruption is inevitable, all available measures will be taken to minimise disruption to pupil learning and ensure that pupils continue to receive face-to-face teaching. Where there is any disturbance to face-to-face education, schools will prioritise attendance for vulnerable children and young people and children of key workers. The guidance published by the Department in August also includes guidance on provision for pupils with SEND and sets out expectations that schools continue to provide free school meals to eligible pupils.

The Department will fund emergency mitigation work needed to make buildings safe, including installing alternative classroom space where necessary. Where schools and colleges need additional help with revenue costs, like transport to locations or temporarily renting a local hall or office, the department will provide that support for all reasonable requests. The Department will also fund longer term refurbishment projects, or rebuilding projects where these are needed, to rectify the RAAC issue in the long term.

All previously confirmed Schol Rebuilding Programme projects announced in 2021 and 2022 will continue to go ahead. A full list of confirmed projects can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme-schools-in-the-programme.

Further information on RAAC in education settings is available on the Education Hub: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2023/09/06/new-guidance-on-raac-in-education-settings/.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department is taking steps to ensure that (a) critical race theory and (b) white privilege and other contested terms are not taught in schools.

Political issues relating to racial and social justice can be taught in a balanced and factual manner, just as pupils are often taught about a range of different views on other topics, but schools should not teach contested theories and opinions as fact.

The Department is aware that there has been increasing focus on political impartiality in schools over the last few years. This has been challenging for head teachers, teachers and staff with a lack of clarity about what the legal duties in this area really mean.  That is why the Department has published clear and comprehensive guidance to help those working with and in schools to better understand legal duties on political impartiality. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/political-impartiality-in-schools.

As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver these subjects. It is important that schools take full responsibility for ensuring lessons and materials are age appropriate, suitable and politically impartial, particularly when using materials produced by external organisations. When teaching, schools should consider the age of pupils and their religious and cultural background.

2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what special educational needs and disabilities qualifications are required for people that issue education, health and care plans on behalf of local authorities.

Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans are a fundamental part of the vision described in the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan, published in March 2023. The department recognises the vital role that local authority staff play in supporting families in the SEND system. We will consider the skills and training that these teams receive and, when consulting on amending the SEND Code of Practice, we will propose new guidance on delivering a responsive and supportive SEND casework service to families.

The department does not play a direct role in the monitoring of timeliness or quality of EHC plans. Officials do monitor key performance indicators, including statutory timeliness and tribunal rates. This evidence can inform decisions to provide improvement support to local areas, which includes training and workshops on EHC plan quality. It is the role of Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission to monitor the quality of EHC plans through their Area SEND inspections.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department monitors the standard of provision of Education, Health and Care Plans.

Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans are a fundamental part of the vision described in the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan, published in March 2023. The department recognises the vital role that local authority staff play in supporting families in the SEND system. We will consider the skills and training that these teams receive and, when consulting on amending the SEND Code of Practice, we will propose new guidance on delivering a responsive and supportive SEND casework service to families.

The department does not play a direct role in the monitoring of timeliness or quality of EHC plans. Officials do monitor key performance indicators, including statutory timeliness and tribunal rates. This evidence can inform decisions to provide improvement support to local areas, which includes training and workshops on EHC plan quality. It is the role of Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission to monitor the quality of EHC plans through their Area SEND inspections.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many young people have not been admitted to the school named in their education, health and care plan in each of the last five years.

The department does not have access to individual Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans and, as a result, we are unable to make an assessment of how many young people are not admitted to the school named in their plan.

Starting from summer 2023, the department plans to collect data from local authorities on the capacity of special schools and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) units and resourced provision in mainstream schools, as well as forecasts of the numbers of specialist placements local authorities expect to make in SEND units and resourced provision, special schools (of all types) and alternative provision (AP). We expect this to be an annual data collection forming part of the existing School Capacity Survey, which will support local authorities in managing their specialist provision.

The department is investing £2.6 billion between now and 2025 to fund new special and AP places and improve existing provision, including opening 33 new special free schools, with a further 48 in the pipeline.

In the SEND and AP Improvement Plan of March 2023, we set out our proposal to require local authorities to provide families with a tailored list of settings as part of an amended process for naming a placement in an EHC plan.

A tailored list would allow local authorities to give clear choices to families and better meet the needs of children and young people, while supporting them to manage placements in a way that ensures financial sustainability for the future.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether parents with young people with SEND have applied to the Fair Access Protocol.

The Department does not hold information on which children are referred to local Fair Access Protocols.

Parents do not apply for a school place via the Fair Access Protocol directly. Parents are referred to the Protocol when they are having difficulty in securing a school place in-year, and it can be demonstrated that reasonable measures have been taken to secure a place through the usual in-year admission procedures.

Children with special educational needs, disabilities or medical conditions but without an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan are eligible for the Fair Access Protocol. Paragraph 3.17 of the Schools Admissions Code outlines the groups of children who are eligible for a place via the Fair Access Protocol.

All children whose EHC plan names a school must be admitted to the school.

17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that schools provide effective support for children with Education, Health and Care Plans in (a) Ipswich constituency and (b) England.

The department is committed to ensuring that children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), wherever they live, get the support they need, including those with education, health and care (EHC) plans. The SEND and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan outlines the department’s mission to create a single, national SEND and AP system with the proposal to develop national standards as a fundamental part of this. The standards will set out what support should be available and who is responsible for providing it, to give families confidence and clarity on how the needs of children and young people will be met. As these standards will apply nationally, Ipswich is automatically included.

The plan also sets out proposals to improve the assessment and planning process for EHC plans, by introducing standardised forms and processes, and supporting guidance to provide greater consistency.

Quality teaching and support is vital for all children with SEND to reach their potential. The department will introduce a new leadership level Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator National Professional Qualification for schools. We are also taking steps to build teacher expertise in meeting the needs of children with SEND through a review of the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework and Early Career Framework.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to increase the number of young adults joining the Trade Industry through training schemes such as apprenticeships.

The department has invested in a range of programmes aimed at encouraging young people and adults to train, retrain and get the skills they need for employment, including in the Trade industry.

We are providing an extra £1.6 billion in 16-to-19 education by the 2024/25 financial year, compared with 2021/22. This includes up to £500 million extra a year for T Levels when fully rolled out.

The Adult Education Budget, which is £1.34 billion in the 2022/23 financial year, fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3, to support them to gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship or further learning.

The department has introduced T Levels, which are two-year, level 3, technical study courses that offer young people a choice of high-quality training. 16 T Levels are now available in further education providers across the country, with T Levels in Construction leading to careers in plumbing and heating engineering, carpentry and joinery, bricklaying, plastering & painting and decorating, along with many other trade occupations.

There are nearly 100 high-quality employer-designed apprenticeship standards available in the construction sector. The department is increasing investment in apprenticeships to £2.7 billion by 2024/25 to support more apprenticeship opportunities, and we continue to offer £1,000 payments to employers when they take on apprentices aged 16 to 18, or 19 to 24 where they have an education, health and care plan. In addition, our Career Starter apprenticeships campaign is promoting apprenticeships that offer great opportunities to those leaving full-time education, such as Engineering Fitter and Plumber.

We have introduced Skills Bootcamps which are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people over the age of 19 the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills, with an offer of a job interview with an employer on completion. Training is available in skill areas such as construction, engineering and other technical sectors including courses in welding, electrical installation and plumbing amongst others.

Following the recent Budget announcement of an additional £34 million investment in the 2024/25 financial year, building upon the £550 million investment across the 2022/25 financial years, we will target making 64,000 training places a year available by 2024/25 to ensure that even more adult learners across all areas of the country can access Skills Bootcamps.

The Free Courses for Jobs offer gives eligible adults the chance to access high value Level 3 qualification for free. This offer includes many qualifications that are delivered flexibly and online. Qualifications are available across the country in a wide range of sectors including building, construction and engineering.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to improve teacher's knowledge of neurodiversity conditions.

All teachers are teachers of special education needs and disabilities (SEND), and high quality teaching is central to ensuring that pupils with SEND are given the best possible opportunity to achieve at school.

Quality teaching is the most important in-school factor in improving outcomes for all children, particularly those with SEND. From September 2020, all new teachers have benefited from at least three years of evidence based professional development and support, starting with Initial Teacher Training (ITT) based on the new ITT Core Content Framework (CCF), and followed by a new two year induction underpinned by the Early Career Framework (ECF).

All courses must be designed so that trainee teachers can demonstrate that they meet the Teachers’ Standards at the appropriate level. This includes the requirement in Standard 1, that teachers must set goals that stretch and challenge pupils of all backgrounds, abilities and dispositions as well as Standard 5, that all teachers must have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with SEND.

The CCF sets out a minimum entitlement of the knowledge and experiences that trainees need to enter the profession in the best position possible to teach and support all pupils to succeed. The Department will be conducting a review this year of the CCF and ECF to identify how the frameworks can equip new teachers to be more confident in meeting the needs of pupils with SEND.

17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to provide skills training opportunities for neurodiverse adults.

The department is continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB), which was £1.34 billion in the 2022/23 financial year. The AEB fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, and neurodivergent adults, from pre-entry to level 3, to help them gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship, or further learning.

The AEB includes learning support funding to enable colleges and training providers to meet the additional needs of learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and meet the costs of reasonable adjustments as set out in the Equality Act 2010. Learning Support can cover a range of needs including an assessment for dyslexia, funding to pay for specialist equipment or helpers, and arranging signers or note takers.

The department is working to ensure that a learning difficulty or disability is not a barrier to people who want to realise the benefits of an apprenticeship. To ensure that employers are supported to create new apprenticeship opportunities, we provide targeted financial support directly to training providers to help remove barriers for people with a learning difficulty or disability.

Providers can access learning support funding of £150 per month where a reasonable adjustment is delivered and evidenced. Employers can access the Department for Work and Pensions’ Access to Work scheme to better support apprentices with disabilities.

The department has also improved the Find an Apprenticeship service to allow people to identify Disability Confident Employers offering opportunities. The department has launched a Disabled Apprentice Network in partnership with Disability Rights UK to provide valuable insight and evidence on how to attract and retain people with disabilities into apprenticeships.

Additionally, the department’s skills offers include Skills Bootcamps and Free Courses for Jobs. Skills Bootcamps are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills, with an offer of a job interview with an employer on completion.

There are now hundreds of Skills Bootcamps available across the country, offering training in digital, technical (including engineering and manufacturing), construction, logistics (HGV driving), and skills that support the green economy, including heat pump engineer and electric vehicle maintenance and repair and zero carbon construction.

The Free Courses for Jobs offer gives eligible adults the chance to access high value level 3 qualification for free, which can support them to gain higher wages or a better job. The courses available offer good wage outcomes and address skills needs in the economy, empowering adults with the tools they need to secure a better job.

Adults in England without a full level 3 are eligible for these qualifications. In addition, adults in England are also eligible if they are earning under the National Living Wage annually, or £18,525 from April 2022, or are unemployed, regardless of their prior qualification level. There are over 400 qualifications on offer in areas such as engineering, social care and accounting, alongside many others. These qualifications have been identified for their strong wage outcomes and ability to meet key skills needs.

Both of these offers are open to all eligible learners, including adults with a disability or for neurodiverse adults.

Neurodiverse adults and those with disabilities can access free, up-to-date, and impartial information, advice and guidance on the full range of skills training opportunities through the National Careers Service. Discussions are tailored to meet the individual needs and circumstances of each customer. Adults with special educational needs and/or disabilities are one of six priority groups who are eligible for more targeted support from careers advisers. The website https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/ is regularly updated, with a programme of continuous improvement. The content currently includes around 800 job profiles, a course directory and information on how to find a job, build a CV, and interview techniques.


Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help provide skills training opportunities for adults with disabilities.

The department is continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB), which was £1.34 billion in the 2022/23 financial year. The AEB fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, and neurodivergent adults, from pre-entry to level 3, to help them gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship, or further learning.

The AEB includes learning support funding to enable colleges and training providers to meet the additional needs of learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and meet the costs of reasonable adjustments as set out in the Equality Act 2010. Learning Support can cover a range of needs including an assessment for dyslexia, funding to pay for specialist equipment or helpers, and arranging signers or note takers.

The department is working to ensure that a learning difficulty or disability is not a barrier to people who want to realise the benefits of an apprenticeship. To ensure that employers are supported to create new apprenticeship opportunities, we provide targeted financial support directly to training providers to help remove barriers for people with a learning difficulty or disability.

Providers can access learning support funding of £150 per month where a reasonable adjustment is delivered and evidenced. Employers can access the Department for Work and Pensions’ Access to Work scheme to better support apprentices with disabilities.

The department has also improved the Find an Apprenticeship service to allow people to identify Disability Confident Employers offering opportunities. The department has launched a Disabled Apprentice Network in partnership with Disability Rights UK to provide valuable insight and evidence on how to attract and retain people with disabilities into apprenticeships.

Additionally, the department’s skills offers include Skills Bootcamps and Free Courses for Jobs. Skills Bootcamps are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills, with an offer of a job interview with an employer on completion.

There are now hundreds of Skills Bootcamps available across the country, offering training in digital, technical (including engineering and manufacturing), construction, logistics (HGV driving), and skills that support the green economy, including heat pump engineer and electric vehicle maintenance and repair and zero carbon construction.

The Free Courses for Jobs offer gives eligible adults the chance to access high value level 3 qualification for free, which can support them to gain higher wages or a better job. The courses available offer good wage outcomes and address skills needs in the economy, empowering adults with the tools they need to secure a better job.

Adults in England without a full level 3 are eligible for these qualifications. In addition, adults in England are also eligible if they are earning under the National Living Wage annually, or £18,525 from April 2022, or are unemployed, regardless of their prior qualification level. There are over 400 qualifications on offer in areas such as engineering, social care and accounting, alongside many others. These qualifications have been identified for their strong wage outcomes and ability to meet key skills needs.

Both of these offers are open to all eligible learners, including adults with a disability or for neurodiverse adults.

Neurodiverse adults and those with disabilities can access free, up-to-date, and impartial information, advice and guidance on the full range of skills training opportunities through the National Careers Service. Discussions are tailored to meet the individual needs and circumstances of each customer. Adults with special educational needs and/or disabilities are one of six priority groups who are eligible for more targeted support from careers advisers. The website https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/ is regularly updated, with a programme of continuous improvement. The content currently includes around 800 job profiles, a course directory and information on how to find a job, build a CV, and interview techniques.


Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help educate young people about knife crime.

The Department works across Government to support all young people to lead happy, healthy and safe lives, and to foster respect for others.

The statutory guidance on relationships, sex and health education contains content that can help address the underlying causes of gun and knife crime. This includes references to situations that often lead young people to carry weapons, such as criminal exploitation though involvement in gangs and county lines drugs operations. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

Gun and knife crime can also be taught as part of a school’s wider curriculum. Schools can choose to include lessons on weapons awareness and gangs as part of their personal, social, health and economic education or citizenship curriculum.

The Department works across Government on wider initiatives to prevent serious violence. As part of the cross Government Beating Crime Plan, the Department has worked with other government departments to make over £45 million available to fund specialist support in mainstream and alternative provision schools in the areas where serious violence like knife crime most affects young people.

One cross government project that the Department is implementing is the Alternative Provision Specialist Taskforces (APST). This places multidisciplinary taskforces of specialists, including speech and language therapists, youth workers, family support workers, and mental health workers in schools in 22 areas where serious violence is most prevalent. The Department works closely with cross Government partners, including the Youth Justice Board and NHS England to deliver the APST programme, including the placement of their frontline specialists in schools.

The Department continues to work with other departments and stakeholders on curriculum content and will be reviewing the statutory guidance this year, looking at areas of the guidance that need to be strengthened.

2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessments her Department has made regarding the adequacy of skills training opportunities in the local labour market to support the Sizewell C nuclear power plant project.

The new Local Skills Improvement Plans bring together employers, skills providers and other local stakeholders to identify the key skills needed in an area and to determine the changes required to local skills provision. For the Norfolk and Suffolk area, the Secretary of State for Education designated the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce to lead the Local Skills Improvement Plan.

At a national level, the Green Jobs Delivery Group, which brings together representatives from government, business, industry, trade unions and academia, is the key vehicle for achieving our green skills aims and is examining nuclear skills needs.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has approved five apprenticeship standards for the nuclear industry, with another in development. The Free Courses for Jobs offer includes the ECITB level 3 Certificate and Diploma in Nuclear Engineering and Science.

Skills Bootcamps are short, flexible courses designed to meet the needs of employers. In additional to the national Skills Bootcamp offer, New Anglia LEP, in partnership with Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils, is using Department for Education grant funding to run Skills Bootcamps that meet local needs. Some of these new skills, such as construction, are valuable for the development of Sizewell C. It is expected that the Skills Bootcamp offer will develop as the Sizewell C project progresses.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to paragraph 5.64 of the Autumn Statement, whether Sir Michael Barber has been asked to provide an assessment of the adequacy of funding for further education colleges.

Sir Michael Barber has been appointed to provide private advice to my righ hon. Friends, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Education, on the implementation of the department’s current skills reforms programme. As part of those reforms, the department is investing £3.8 billion more in further education and skills over the Parliament, to ensure people can access high-quality education and training, including T Levels, that lead to good jobs.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of further education college funding for (a) 16-19 provision, (b) adult education and (c) apprenticeships.

The department is investing a further £3.8 billion in further education and skills over this parliamentary session to ensure people across the country have access to the skills they need to build a fulfilling career in jobs the economy needs. Providers of post-16 education, including further education colleges, can benefit from the investment announced in the 2021 Spending Review, which made available an extra £1.6 billion for 16-19 education in the 2024/25 financial year, compared with 2021/22 - the biggest increase in 16-19 funding in a decade. This will help to fund the additional students anticipated in the system, 40 extra hours per student, and provide an affordable increase in funding rates per 16-19 student, including an up-front cash boost which will see the national rate of funding increase by over 8% in 2022/23, from £4,188 to £4,542 per student.

The department are continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) at £1.34 billion in the 2022/23 academic year. The AEB fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3, to help them gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship or further learning.

As part of the department’s £2.5 billion investment aimed at re-skilling and up-skilling opportunities for adults, we have introduced the Free Courses for Jobs offer and Skills Bootcamps. The Free Courses for Jobs offer enables learners without a level 3 qualification (or learners with any qualification level but earning below the National Living Wage) to gain a qualification for free. Skills Bootcamps are 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.

The department is committed to supporting more employers in using apprenticeships to develop the skilled workforces they need, and to supporting more people to benefit from the high-quality training that apprenticeships offer. To support more employers and learners to access apprenticeships we are increasing funding for apprenticeships in England to £2.7 billion by the 2024/25 financial year.

The department is also investing £2.8 billion of capital funding for skills over the Spending Review period, including to improve the condition of further education estates, create more post-16 places and support the rollout of T Levels.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of places in special schools for children with SEND in Ipswich constituency.

Local authorities must ensure there are sufficient good school places for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The Children and Families Act 2014, requires local authorities to keep the provision for children and young people with SEND under review, including its sufficiency, working with parents, young people, and providers.

There are currently six special schools within Ipswich, providing 368 places to children up to the age of 16 with SEND, including social, emotional, and mental health needs and specific learning difficulties. Two of the six schools, The Bridge School and Sir Bobby Robson School, are yet to be inspected by Ofsted. Two schools, Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy and Stone Lodge Academy, are rated Good. The other two schools, West Lodge School and New Skill Centre, are rated Requires Improvement.

The department continues to support Suffolk local authority and academy trusts with special schools in Ipswich in a range of ways, to help their efforts with providing sufficient good special school places for children with SEND in Ipswich.

14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many pupils in Ipswich constituency are waiting for special school places.

The department does not collect data on how many children are waiting for school places on a constituency basis. However, each January, the department collects data from local authorities, covering the number of children and young people and the type of provision attended. This includes mainstream schools, special schools, alternative provision, pupils educated elsewhere, and those awaiting provision.

The most recent return shows that in January 2022, there were 1,503 children of compulsory school age across England with education, health and care (EHC) plans who were not in education and awaiting provision. This is up from 1,460 in January 2021. In Suffolk, in January 2022, there were 36 children of compulsory school age with EHC plans not in education and awaiting provision, up from 26 in January 2021.

The department does not collect data about the specific circumstances of the children awaiting provision. The department knows that this category includes children and young people in a wide range of circumstances, including some who are in an education setting, but awaiting provision in another setting (including those currently attending a mainstream school who are to move to a special school), and some who have only recently moved into the area. The local authority keeps its special school place provision under continual review and has detailed plans for increasing the number of good places available in Ipswich and across Suffolk.

To support these plans, the department collaborates with Suffolk local authority on helping all schools in the county to continually improve their whole-school special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) approach, including ensuring that academies fulfil their obligations to pupils with SEND. While statutory responsibility for providing SEND places rests with Suffolk local authority, the department actively supports the local authority to secure sufficient, good quality SEND places in Suffolk, including in Ipswich.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the impact of supported apprenticeships on (a) improving the confidence and (b) the future employability of SEND pupils.

Apprenticeships are jobs and are available for all people of all backgrounds, including people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), to start an exciting career in a variety of industries.


In recent years, the department has seen an improved representation of learners who have declared SEND starting apprenticeships, and we want this to continue. The department has improved its ‘find an apprenticeship’ service to allow people to identify Disability Confident employers offering opportunities and ensuring apprenticeships are available to all.


In partnership with the Disability Rights UK, the department has launched a Disabled Apprentice Network to provide valuable insight and evidence on how to attract and retain disabled people into apprenticeships. Disability Rights UK published a report during National Apprenticeship Week 2022 to support employers to improve the diversity of their apprenticeship programmes, whilst highlighting the barriers people may face when undertaking an apprenticeship. In this report, the apprentices identified the opportunity to build confidence, skills, and networks with people with different experiences and gain paid work experience as the key points which influenced them towards undertaking an apprenticeship.


To ensure that more people who declare learning difficulty or disability (LDD) feel confident to undertake apprenticeships, the department has lowered the English and maths requirements to apprenticeships for a defined group of individuals with LDD. We have also introduced British Sign Language (BSL) as an alternative to English Functional Skills for those who have BSL as their first language.


Furthermore, the department makes £1,000 payments to employers and providers for taking on 16 to 18 year olds, or those aged 19 to 24 with an education, health and care (EHC) plan. We also offer £150 per month to help providers make reasonable adjustments for eligible apprentices with special educational needs. Providers can claim additional funding if the cost of support exceeds this rate.


More widely, the department is investing up to £18 million over the next three years to build capacity in the supported internships programme, providing extra support to people with EHC plans to build the necessary skills they need to secure and sustain paid employment or transition into an apprenticeship if they wish to do so.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much SEND pupils receive per pupil in Ipswich constituency under the area cost adjustment to the basic entitlement factor; and how that figure compares to the UK average.

Suffolk County Council, in which Ipswich is located, will attract a year-on-year increase in its high needs allocation of 12.5% per head of their 2-18 population this financial year, bringing its total high needs funding allocation in 2022-23 to £96.1 million.

Suffolk County Council’s allocation of high needs funding is calculated through a national funding formula (NFF) that includes an element of funding based on the number of pupils in special schools in the county, which contributes to the cost of the place funding for those schools. This basic entitlement factor allocates a per-pupil amount of £4,660, to which an area cost adjustment is added, that reflects higher staffing costs in some areas of the country, such as London. The area cost adjustment weightings and basic entitlement per-pupil amounts for each local authority in England are set out in the published NFF calculations which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-funding-formula-tables-for-schools-and-high-needs-2022-to-2023. The Impact of the schools NFF, 2022 to 2023 spreadsheet shows how the financial year 2022/23 NFF allocations have been calculated. This shows that Suffolk’s area cost adjustment is 1.000. How area cost adjustment is calculated is set out here in Annex A: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-funding-formula-tables-for-schools-and-high-needs-2022-to-2023.

A significant proportion of overall funding for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is delivered through the schools NFF and subsequently through each local authority’s local schools funding formula. The information collected from local authorities or schools does not allow us to make a comparative assessment of total SEND or high needs funding on an overall per-pupil basis, at local authority or constituency level, or taking into account the severity of pupils’ needs.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make a comparative assessment of the higher needs funding per pupil (a) in Ipswich and (b) across England on average for pupils with (i) mild to severe and (ii) severe needs.

Suffolk County Council, in which Ipswich is located, will attract a year-on-year increase in its high needs allocation of 12.5% per head of their 2-18 population this financial year, bringing its total high needs funding allocation in 2022-23 to £96.1 million.

Suffolk County Council’s allocation of high needs funding is calculated through a national funding formula (NFF) that includes an element of funding based on the number of pupils in special schools in the county, which contributes to the cost of the place funding for those schools. This basic entitlement factor allocates a per-pupil amount of £4,660, to which an area cost adjustment is added, that reflects higher staffing costs in some areas of the country, such as London. The area cost adjustment weightings and basic entitlement per-pupil amounts for each local authority in England are set out in the published NFF calculations which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-funding-formula-tables-for-schools-and-high-needs-2022-to-2023. The Impact of the schools NFF, 2022 to 2023 spreadsheet shows how the financial year 2022/23 NFF allocations have been calculated. This shows that Suffolk’s area cost adjustment is 1.000. How area cost adjustment is calculated is set out here in Annex A: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-funding-formula-tables-for-schools-and-high-needs-2022-to-2023.

A significant proportion of overall funding for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is delivered through the schools NFF and subsequently through each local authority’s local schools funding formula. The information collected from local authorities or schools does not allow us to make a comparative assessment of total SEND or high needs funding on an overall per-pupil basis, at local authority or constituency level, or taking into account the severity of pupils’ needs.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of provision for specialist education settings in Ipswich.

There are currently six special schools within Ipswich providing 368 places to children (up to age 16) with special educational needs, including social, emotional and mental health needs and specific learning difficulties. More information on the special schools can be found here: https://www.get-information-schools.service.gov.uk/Establishments/Search?tok=8UB4PirD.

Two of the six schools (The Bridge School and Sir Bobby Robson School) are yet to be inspected by Ofsted. Two schools (Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy and Stone Lodge Academy) are rated good. The other two schools (West Lodge School and New Skill Centre) are rated requires improvement (to be good). Further queries regarding the adequacy of specialist educational settings should be directed to Ofsted.

15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what was the average funding per pupil in mainstream schools in (a) Ipswich and (b) England in each of the last three years.

This 2022/23 financial year, schools in the Ipswich constituency area are attracting an average of £5,089 per pupil through the schools national funding formula (NFF). This compares to a national average of £5,358 per pupil through the NFF.

In the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021, a further national increase in the core schools budget of £1.6 billion in the 2022/23 financial year was announced. This has been allocated to schools through the schools supplementary grant (SSG). Schools in the constituency attracted an additional £149 per pupil on average in the 2022/23 financial year through the SSG, compared to a national average of £156. This is additional to the NFF figures set out above.

In the 2021/22 financial year, schools in the Ipswich constituency area attracted an average of £4,944 per pupil through the NFF. The national average in 2021/22 was £5,212.

In the 2020/21 financial year, schools attracted an average of £4,575 per pupil through the NFF, when the national average was £4,828 per pupil. These figures do not include the funding for the teachers’ pay grant and teachers’ pension employer contribution grant, which were allocated as separate grants in 2020/21. This funding was rolled into the NFF from 2021/22. Therefore, the 2021/22 and 2022/23 NFF figures cannot be directly compared to the 2020/21 figures.

The constituency of Ipswich sees lower levels of funding per pupil than the national average. This is primarily due to the national average including schools in more expensive areas, such as London, that attract higher funding per pupil to reflect the higher costs they face. Schools in Ipswich also have a higher than average number of pupils per school. This means that they receive less than the average, per pupil, in respect of the school-led elements of the NFF that are provided at a fixed rate, such as the lump sum that each school is allocated.

The above figures relate to the amount of funding allocated through the schools NFF. The actual amount of funding schools received may be different, as it is determined by the Suffolk local authority’s local funding formula for schools.

On top of this funding, pupil premium funding rates are increasing by 2.7% in the 2022/23 financial year, meaning that the per pupil funding rate will be the highest, in cash terms, since its introduction. For Ipswich, total pupil premium funding will increase to over £5.7 million in the 2022/23 financial year, from £5.3 million this year. This will ensure that this targeted investment continues to support the most disadvantaged children in our schools.

In the 2022/23 financial year, the department will be allocating approximately £2,000 per pupil, for all pupils who have been eligible for free school meals at any point in the last six years (FSM6), through the NFF, the pupil premium and a 2022/23 school supplementary grant together.

The department has also committed almost £5 billion for an ambitious, multi-year education recovery plan to support young people to catch up on missed learning and invest in what we know works: teacher training, evidence-based support, including tutoring and extra education opportunities. This includes the time-limited recovery premium grant providing over £300 million of additional funding for state-funded schools in the 2021/22 academic year and £1 billion across the 2022/23 and 2023/24 academic years.

Ipswich has been selected at a Priority Education Investment Area (EIA). As a result, the department will offer intensive investment, in addition to the significant support available to all EIAs, so that we can drive improvement further and faster.

In all 55 EIAs, the department will be taking steps to support underperforming schools to make the necessary improvements, build trust capacity, support improved digital connectivity in the schools that need this most and offer the levelling up premium, worth up to £3,000 tax free, to eligible teachers. Our additional support to Priority EIAs includes a share of around £40 million of funding to address local needs, such as those acting as a barrier to improvement at primary and priority access to a number of other department programmes.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the impact on pupils' learning of inclusive learning teams in each further education college.

The government is committed to ensuring that all learners, including learners with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), have access to a world-class education that sets them up for life and supports them to achieve positive outcomes.

Whilst it is for individual colleges to decide how best to support learners with SEND, they must have regard to the SEND code of practice and use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision called for by the student’s special educational needs.

Ofsted is the body responsible for assessing the quality of further education colleges, rather than my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education. The quality of provision for learners with special educational needs and/or SEND is always considered by Ofsted on inspection.

As of 31 August 2021, 80% of colleges inspected by Ofsted are rated Good or Outstanding.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential impact on primary school education in Ipswich of the priority education investment area status.

The department was pleased to announce Ipswich as a Priority Education Investment Area (EIA) as part of the recent Schools White Paper, Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child.

The White Paper set out the department's vision for a school system that helps every child to fulfil their potential founded on achieving word-class standards of literacy and numeracy and confirmed the headline ambitions. At primary, this is for 90% of children to achieve the expected standards in reading, writing and maths by the end of Key Stage 2, and for performance in the worst performing areas to have improved by over a third – by 2030.

In Priority EIAs, the department will offer intensive investment in addition to the significant support available to all EIAs, so that they can drive improvement further and faster. This has the potential to transform pupils’ outcomes at primary and secondary, by overcoming entrenched barriers to improvement and strengthening the school’s system in these areas. In existing opportunity areas, like Ipswich, the department will refine the focus on their Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 headline ambitions and build on the good work that is already underway.

In all 55 EIAs, the department will be taking steps to support underperforming schools to make the necessary improvements, build trust capacity, support improved digital connectivity in the schools that need this most and offer the Levelling Up premium, worth up to £3,000 tax free, to eligible teachers. The department’s additional support to Priority EIAs includes a share of around £40 million of funding to address local needs, such as those acting as a barrier to improvement at primary and priority access to a number of other Department for Education programmes.

My hon Friend, the Minister for the School System, and I will be writing to all MPs with Priority EIAs in their constituencies to update them on our next steps for the programme, following the briefing session we held on 27 April.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the impact on children’s wellbeing of receiving an early diagnosis of dyslexia.

Early identification of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including dyslexia, is crucial in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people. It can ensure they receive the support they need to flourish in their education, and as they move into adult life.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, every mainstream school is required to identify and address the SEND of the pupils they support. They also must endeavour to make sure that every child or young person gets the support they need to succeed in their education.

The department’s SEND code of practice is clear that meeting the needs of a child with dyslexia is not dependent on a diagnostic label or test. Instead, the department expects teachers to monitor the progress of all pupils and put support in place where needed.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the funding of academy chain branches in Ipswich receiving comparatively less than the equivalent branch in London Tower Hamlets, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of regional disparities in funding for the provision of education for SEND students on the resource availability for those students in Suffolk.

There are three key reasons why per pupil school funding rates are different in Tower Hamlets and Suffolk.

The first reason is historical. The national funding formula (NFF) replaced a system which was unfair, untransparent, and out of date, where similar schools and local areas received very different levels of funding with little or no justification. The NFF is improving fairness, so that funding is more closely matched to current needs, rather than historic differences. However, in this move to greater fairness it is also important to maintain stability for schools. The NFF ensures that all schools receive a minimum per-pupil increase in their pupil-led funding, while providing the greatest gains for areas which have been relatively lower funded historically. We believe this strikes the right balance between fairness and stability.

Secondly, it is right that schools with high numbers of pupils with additional needs – such as those indicated by measures of deprivation, low prior attainment, or English as an additional language – receive extra funding to help them meet the needs of all their pupils. The proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals, for example, is higher in Tower Hamlets than in Suffolk, and the funding system reflects this. In addition, schools in more expensive areas, such as London, attract higher funding per pupil than other parts of the country to reflect the higher costs they face.

Thirdly, the current funding system allows for local variation in how funding allocations are determined for individual schools. Local authorities are responsible for designing a local funding formula, within certain parameters, to determine final budgets for schools in their area. This means that there continues to be significant differences in the way in which some local authorities allocate funding. The government has recently put forward its proposals to complete its reforms to the school’s, which will determine schools’ budgets directly rather than through local formulae set independently by each local authority. This will level up the school funding system so that all schools across the country are funded on a fair, consistent basis.

We are also aware that some local authorities have found it difficult to meet the increasing costs of provision for children and young people with education, health and care plans. The right response to tackling this is a multi-faceted approach which looks to the heart of the issues: significant increases in high needs funding nationally; targeted intervention for the local authorities which have struggled the most; and reform from the cross government special education needs and disabilities (SEND) review.

We announced in summer 2021 that high needs funding will increase by £780 million, or 9.6%, in 2022-23 compared to 2021-22; this follows the increase of more than £1.5 billion over the previous two years. This will bring the total high needs budget to £8.9 billion, an increase of over a third since 2019-20. Suffolk County Council’s provisional high needs allocation for 2022-23 is £92.5 million, an increase of 8.1% per head of population aged 2-18 years, compared to 2021-22.

In addition, the autumn 2021 Spending Review will deliver an additional £4.7 billion for the core schools’ budget by 2024-25, compared to previous plans. That includes an additional £1.6 billion for schools and high needs in 2022-23, on top of the funding we previously announced. We 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.

1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how his Department plans to allocate the £8.6 million funding announced for 2021-22 for supporting participation of parents and young people in the SEND system.

The department is committed to strengthening the participation of parent carers and young people in the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) system, as evidenced by the £8.6 million provided in 2021-22 to support the effective involvement of parent carers and young people in designing SEND policies and services.

At a local level, this includes providing development support and making available up to £17,500 to each Parent Carer Forum (PCF) to strengthen parent carer participation, an increase of £2,500 compared to 2020-21. Our funding also supports coproduction at a national level, including via FLARE, a national engagement group of disabled young people with representation from each region, and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums.

In addition, the £8.6 million of investment includes funding to ensure families are able to access high quality and impartial information, advice and support, including continued provision of a national helpline to provide advice for families.

1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help strengthen participation of parents and young people in the SEND system.

The department is committed to strengthening the participation of parent carers and young people in the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) system, as evidenced by the £8.6 million provided in 2021-22 to support the effective involvement of parent carers and young people in designing SEND policies and services.

At a local level, this includes providing development support and making available up to £17,500 to each Parent Carer Forum (PCF) to strengthen parent carer participation, an increase of £2,500 compared to 2020-21. Our funding also supports coproduction at a national level, including via FLARE, a national engagement group of disabled young people with representation from each region, and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums.

In addition, the £8.6 million of investment includes funding to ensure families are able to access high quality and impartial information, advice and support, including continued provision of a national helpline to provide advice for families.

1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether a school can receive a Good rating from Ofsted where the inspection found an inadequate provision for SEND.

These are matters for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to you directly and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of Ofsted’s school education inspection framework involves consideration of SEND provision.

These are matters for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to you directly and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is possible for a school to be graded by Ofsted as outstanding or good if there are concerns that special educational needs provision is not being provided at an equivalent level.

This is a matter for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to you directly and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to make the flying of the Union Flag compulsory at all schools.

Schools play an important role in preparing pupils for life in modern Britain. This involves supporting pupils to understand the society in which they grow up and developing their sense of British identity.

Schools are free to display the national flag of the United Kingdom and it is a matter for individual schools to decide. The Department for Education does not provide specific guidance or restrictions on this.

Whilst the Government has a policy on flying the Union Flag above government buildings, this does not extend to schools.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of increasing financial support to pre-schools during the covid-19 outbreak to help prevent the closure of those pre-schools.

The government recognises the importance of supporting the early years sector financially during the COVID-19 outbreak.

That is why on 20 July 2020 we announced that we will continue to fund childcare at the same level as before the COVID-19 outbreak, until the end of the calendar year. This will give nurseries and childminders another term of secure income, regardless of how many children are attending. Early years settings will continue to benefit from a planned £3.6 billion funding in the 2020-21 financial year to create free early education and childcare places for children.

In addition to this, the government has provided a package of support for individuals and businesses which are directly benefitting providers of childcare. This includes business rates relief and grants, the extended Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Job Retention bonus and the extended Job Retention scheme, which will remain open until December 2020, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Around £60 million per year of supplementary funding is also being provided to local authorities, to enable them to protect maintained nursery schools’ funding. On 24 August 2020, we announced that we will continue to provide this for the whole of the 2020-21 academic year.

We continue to work closely with both local authorities and the early years sector organisations to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the sector.

10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure schools are covid-19 secure during winter 2020-21 when ensuring ventilation in classrooms and outdoor socialising for pupils could become more difficult.

On 2 July we published guidance to help schools prepare for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. The guidance can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The above guidance sets out a ‘system of controls’ which provides a framework for school leaders to put in place a range of proportionate protective measures for children and staff, which also ensure that all pupils receive a high quality education that enables them to thrive and progress. Measures include minimising contacts between groups and maintaining distance where possible, encouraging regular handwashing, and enhanced cleaning.

This includes advice that once the school is in operation, it is important to ensure good ventilation and maximising this wherever possible, for example, by opening windows and propping open doors, as long as they are not fire doors, where safe to do so (bearing in mind safeguarding in particular). Arrangements for ventilation will vary in each setting based on individual circumstances.

Advice on this can be found in Health and Safety Executive guidance on air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus outbreak available at https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation.htm.

Whilst schools are encouraged to utilise outdoor space, this may be less practical throughout the winter months. The use of outdoor spaces is one element of the protective measures that schools have available to limit the transmission of coronavirus. There cannot be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, and school leaders will be best placed to understand the needs of their schools and communities and to make informed judgments about how to balance delivering a broad and balanced curriculum with the measures needed to manage risk.

10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support the mental health of students affected by summer 2020’s exam results.

On Monday 17 August, Ofqual confirmed that there no longer would be a standardisation process for AS and A levels or GCSEs. Instead, all students will be awarded the centre assessment grade submitted by their school or college, unless it is lower than their calculated grade, in which case the calculated grade will stand. Unless there is evidence that a processing error has been made, these grades will be final. This means that students can be certain about their grades as a basis for the next steps in their lives.

Individual young people's mental wellbeing is affected in different ways by issues in their lives. It is important that they receive support where they need it, including from their school. The government has provided a wide range of training and resources to schools and colleges to help them support the wellbeing of their pupils. This includes launching the Wellbeing for Education Return programme which is providing £8 million to local authorities to provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and practical skills they need to support teachers, students and parents, to help improve how they respond to the emotional impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The training materials include examples of supporting students around loss and disappointment, including over exam results.

This is additional to longer term work to improve support, including the new mental health support teams that we are rolling out across the country, linked to schools and colleges.

The Office for Students (OfS) have provided up to £3 million to fund the Student Space platform to bridge gaps in mental health support for students. Student Space is a collaborative mental health resource to support students at English and Welsh universities through the unique circumstances created by the COVID-19 outbreak. It provides a range of information, access to dedicated support services (phone or text), details of the support available at each university, and tools to help students manage the challenges of student life.

The government has also worked closely with the OfS to help clarify that higher education providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. Providers are able to use the OfS student premium funding worth around £256 million for 2020-21 academic year starting from August towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of mental health support.

10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support prospective apprentices while apprenticeship opportunities are reduced as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow. This government is committed to ensuring people of all ages can continue to benefit from the high-quality training that an apprenticeship offers. Through our ‘Plan for Jobs’, a total of £1.6 billion is to be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships.

To help support employers to offer new apprenticeships, employers are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for those 25 and over. We have introduced flexibilities to enable apprentices to continue to train during the outbreak and we encourage employers to take advantage of these flexibilities and the new payments. For apprentices who need to find a new employer, due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have launched the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices, providing clear, accessible advice and guidance to individuals, while supporting their next steps. This includes our vacancy sharing service which works with employers to identify new apprenticeship opportunities which these apprentices can apply for.

We are supporting those who may be interested in an apprenticeship in the future, promoting apprenticeships in schools through our Apprenticeship Support & Knowledge programme, and tripling the scale of our traineeship programme to help young people progress onto an apprenticeship or other employment. We have also announced £101 million for a new offer to give 18 and 19-year-old school and college leavers the opportunity to study high value level 2 and 3 courses when there are not employment opportunities available to them.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on reopening schools in that country during the covid-19 pandemic.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has not had discussions with his Israeli counterpart on reopening schools in that country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is important during this pandemic that we engage internationally and learn from each other on shared challenges in education. Official-level discussions are continuing to take place with counterparts in other countries on all aspects of the education response to the pandemic. However, each country will make their own decisions based on a range of local information, including infection rates and the structure of their education system.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to help ensure that student renters and university accommodation providers reach agreement to refund rental payments where students have not been in residence in that accommodation as a result of the covid-19 lockdown.

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.

The government urges universities and private hall providers to be fair in their decisions about rent charges for this period. A number of universities and large companies have waived rents for the summer term or released students early from their contracts. Students who are tenants with individual private landlords can discuss with them the possibility of an early release from their tenancy agreement.

It is important to stress that accommodation providers should not have instructed any student to return home. If any accommodation provider did formally instruct a student to leave the property then it would be unacceptable to continue to charge student rents.

Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the current 2019/20 academic year. Government guidance makes clear that tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability during the Covid-19 outbreak.

If a student thinks that their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/; https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and: https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the welfare of vulnerable children who are not attending school during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

Our latest guidance on supporting vulnerable children is available here:

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

We are committed to ensuring the safety and protection of vulnerable children and young people, particularly during the current period. Schools and other educational settings remain open for these children and local authorities are maintaining contact with them. Our guidance explains how education providers can support vulnerable children, including to monitor and encourage attendance.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State has written to all educational establishments and Directors of Children’s Services in England to encourage attendance for these children. He also stressed the need for schools, local authorities and social workers to maintain contact and support services throughout this period. Officials in the department and re-deployed Ofsted Inspection teams are working with local authorities directly to ensure systems and processes for maintaining contact with vulnerable children are robust in every local authority in England, and to share good practice. We have asked local authorities and educational settings to ensure every vulnerable child knows that their setting is there to support them.

13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to allocate additional (a) funding and (b) resources to special educational needs provision in (a) Suffolk and (b) England.

As part of the boost to school funding, announced at the spending round last year, mainstream schools in Suffolk will attract £433.1 million this coming year, which will help them provide resources for their pupils with special educational needs. In England the overall increases for schools will be £14.6 billion over 3 years - £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23.

For 2020-21, these overall increases include £780 million additional high needs funding, bringing the total funding for children and young people with the most complex needs to £7.2 billion. Every local authority will see an increase in high needs funding of at least 8% per head of population aged 2 to 18. Suffolk county council will receive £75.5 million of high needs funding in 2020-21, 11.1 million more than in 2019-20. This increase will help the council and other local authorities with the resources they need to support those young people who need the most support, including those with education, health and care plans.

Allocations for high needs in 2021-22 and 2022-23 will be announced in due course.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that teacher training courses provide for an adequate understanding of special educational needs.

The quality of teaching is the most important in-school factor for improving the educational achievements for all children and that this is particularly important for pupils with additional needs.

The new Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework ( ITT CCF), published on 1 November 2019, has been designed to ensure the training of teachers includes the support for all pupils to succeed, including those pupils identified within the four areas of need set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) code of practice. The ITT CCF is based on the best evidence of what works. The framework therefore deliberately does not detail approaches specific to particular additional needs, but what makes the most effective teaching.

When developing the framework, the Department held stakeholder consultations, events and meetings, including SEND themed events. While there were a range of views about things that could or should be included in the framework, there was consensus that our approach of ‘quality-first teaching’, would be the best way to improve outcomes for all children, particularly those with special educational needs.

In addition to the mandated minimum set out in the ITT CCF, the Department expects ITT providers and their partners to continue to tailor their curricula to the needs of their trainees and the children in the schools where they train and will work.

17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help improve the environmental condition of the River Gipping in Suffolk.

The Environment Agency, whilst taking account of the aspirations of other river users, works with partners to restore a more naturally functioning river which will support natural habitats and a rich biodiversity.

Using Defra’s Water Environment Improvement Fund, the Environment Agency has worked with Suffolk Wildlife Trust on several projects to enhance wildlife and the resilience of the river environment to the impacts of climate change. The Environment Agency has also funded Groundwork to deliver the Yellow Fish Project (http://oilcare.org.uk/avoid-pollution/yellow-fish) which focused on pollution prevention messages to the community, businesses and schools in the towns of Needham Market and Stowmarket in 2019/20. A further Yellow fish project is currently running in Ipswich in 2023-4 including on the lower River Gipping funded by the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency continues to hold water companies to account to reduce pollution, tackle storm overflows and invest more into the environment; work with farmers to support environmentally friendly farming that doesn’t damage water quality; respond to environmental incidents to stop and reverse damage to our rivers as well as prosecute the most serious polluters. As well as the protection of water quality, the Environment Agency has a permitting and regulatory system that protects water quantity. Additionally the Environment Agency has a regulatory role to ensure that physical modification does not reduce the ecological and biological value of the river. This could include things such as the removal of bankside trees and vegetation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the environmental condition of the River Gipping in Suffolk.

The Environment Agency monitors the water quality, ecology (plants, invertebrates and fish) rainfall, river flows and groundwater levels of the River Gipping and its catchment. The Environment Agency delivered a fish survey report in 2019 for the River Gipping which indicated that fish populations within the river are stable, with an average of 10 species being recorded at each of the five survey sites. A further survey was completed this year and the results are still being analysed. The river is currently at Moderate Ecological Potential, with a target to achieve Good Ecological Potential by 2027. The main sources of pollution are agriculture and the water industry and there is a growing threat from plastics and forever chemicals.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the environmental condition of the River Gipping in Suffolk.

The Environment Agency monitors the water quality, ecology (plants, invertebrates and fish), rainfall, river flows and groundwater levels of the River Gipping and its catchment. The Environment Agency delivered a fish survey report in 2019 for the River Gipping which indicated that fish populations in the river are stable, with an average of 10 species being recorded at each of the five survey sites. A further survey was completed this year and the results are still being analysed.

The river is currently at Moderate Ecological Potential, with a target to achieve Good Ecological Potential by 2027.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help improve the environmental condition of the River Gipping in Suffolk.

The Government is committed to improving water quality. In August 2022 we launched the storm overflows plan which will require water companies to deliver their largest ever environmental infrastructure investment - £56 billion capital investment over 25 years. In December we announced our ambitious suite of legally binding Environment Act targets, including four targets to address pressures on the water environment. The Environment Agency works with partners to restore a more naturally functioning river which will support natural habitats and a rich biodiversity. Using Defra’s Water Environment Improvement Fund, the Environment Agency has worked with Suffolk Wildlife Trust on several projects to enhance wildlife and the resilience of the river environment to the impacts of climate change. The Environment Agency has also funded Groundwork to deliver the Yellow Fish Project (http://oilcare.org.uk/avoid-pollution/yellow-fish) which focused on pollution prevention messages to the community, businesses and schools in the towns of Needham Market and Stowmarket in 2019/20.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that roles in seasonal agricultural work are advertised to people in the UK to limit the need to import foreign workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The ongoing impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak have meant that there will be a shortfall in the numbers of workers who usually travel to the UK from Europe to work during the harvest season, with the demand for workers peaking from late May through the summer.

Farming leaders have already kick-started a recruitment drive for work on farms, with thousands of British people already expressing an interest in picking up seasonal agricultural work over the coming weeks and months. With many British workers furloughed from their jobs, and students having to put their summer plans on hold, the Government is supporting industry efforts to help farmers bring in this year’s harvest, working to build on these numbers.

The majority of roles for the early part of the harvest season have already been filled. We are closely monitoring the situation and we will shortly be launching a public- facing campaign to highlight the roles available from late May onwards and to encourage people to apply. The Government has confirmed that those who have been furloughed from their jobs due to coronavirus, and who are contractually allowed to work for another employer, can take on this seasonal work.

A new Government-industry digital hub for seasonal work information and job opportunities has been launched to provide guidance on getting into farm work and links to the available jobs and recruiters. The website can be found at pickforbritain.org.uk and will be updated regularly over the coming weeks to help match jobs to workers as the demand grows.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to support (a) trade and (b) investment between the UK and Bangladesh.

The Government is working with Bangladesh to strengthen our trading relationship and support investment through our Trade and Investment Dialogue.

Under the UK’s Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), 100% of goods exported from Bangladesh are eligible for duty-free access to the UK, while the Department for International Trade’s (DIT’s) reform of the rules of origin for Least Developed Countries will help Bangladesh integrate into global supply chains.

Working with UK Export Finance, DIT ensures that UK-based Bangladeshi companies selling goods and services of UK origin are eligible for support. The UK Centres of Expertise also support Bangladesh trade through technical assistance and the SheTrades Commonwealth programme directly supports women entrepreneurs.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his planned timetable is for the commencement of works upgrading (a) Haughley and (b) Ely junctions.

The Prime Minister's Network North announcement confirmed government support for the Ely Area Capacity Enhancement and upgrades to Haughley Junction. My officials have been engaging with their counterparts at Network Rail to consider next steps in progressing these important schemes and an update on next steps will be provided in due course.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with Network Rail on upgrading (a) Haughley and (b) Ely junctions.

The Prime Minister's Network North announcement confirmed government support for the Ely Area Capacity Enhancement and upgrades to Haughley Junction. My officials have been engaging with their counterparts at Network Rail to consider next steps in progressing these important schemes and an update on next steps will be provided in due course.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his planned timetable is for the reallocation of HS2 funding to Network Rail for upgrading (a) Haughley and (b) Ely junctions.

The Prime Minister's Network North announcement confirmed government support for the Ely Area Capacity Enhancement and upgrades to Haughley Junction. My officials have been engaging with their counterparts at Network Rail to consider next steps in progressing these important schemes and an update on next steps will be provided in due course.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential benefits to road users in (a) Ipswich and (b) Suffolk of the upgrading of (i) Ely North Junction and (ii) Haughley Junction.

The Ely Area Capacity Enhancements (EACE) scheme would increase freight train capacity into the port of Felixstowe from 36 to 42 trains per day, as well as increasing passenger service capacity. This is the equivalent of 98,000 lorry journeys every year, which would improve road safety and reduce road congestion.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the announcement that the Ely Junction and Haughley Junction rail projects will receive Government funding, what the timescales are for the delivery of each project.

We have committed to Ely as part of £36bn Network North programme. We are currently considering next steps for the delivery of the Ely Area Capacity Enhancements (EACE) and Haughley junction upgrade rail projects. All schemes will be subject to the development and approval of business cases and will undergo all formal governance, in line with relevant fiscal and legal duties. We are working with Network Rail on next steps and will update stakeholders in due course.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to expedite delivery of the Haughley Junction rail project, north of Stowmarket.

We are currently considering next steps for the delivery of the Ely Area Capacity Enhancements (EACE) and Haughley junction upgrade rail projects. All schemes will be subject to the development and approval of business cases and will undergo all formal governance, in line with relevant fiscal and legal duties. We are working with Network Rail on next steps and will update stakeholders in due course.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of train station ticket office closures on passengers in Ipswich constituency.

Under the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement, when proposing major changes to ticket office opening hours (including closures) operators are required, amongst other things, to take into account the adequacy of the proposed alternatives in relation to the needs of passengers. We would also expect operators to consider equality related needs of passengers and make this clear in the notice sent to other operators and passenger groups.

Together with the rail industry, we want to improve and modernise the passenger experience by moving staff out from ticket offices to provide more help and advice in customer focused roles. No currently staffed station will be unstaffed as a result of industry changes. Train operators will ensure staff are well located to meet passenger needs in future.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to (a) improve road quality and (b) reduce the number of potholes.

The Government is investing more than £5.5 billion between 2020 and 2025 into local highways maintenance, which is enough to fill millions of potholes, repair dozens of bridges, and resurface roads up and down the country. It is up to local authorities to determine how best to spend this funding, based on local needs and priorities. Well-planned maintenance to prevent potholes and other defects from forming in the first place is vital, and the Department has worked with groups including the UK Roads Leadership Group and the Association of Directors, for Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) to raise standards and encourage good practice in highway maintenance.

In 2019, Government provided £22.9 million into the ADEPT Live Labs programme, empowering local authorities to drive innovation, use new materials, and create new techniques for highways that can be deployed throughout the country’s local road network. This research programme concluded in June 2022.

Based on the success of this previous programme, Government is now supporting a second round of Live Labs (‘Live Labs 2’). The Government has provided £30 million for seven carbon and climate change-related projects working across four interconnected thematic areas including a UK centre of excellence for materials. These are being led by local authorities working alongside commercial and academic partners.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for bus services in Suffolk.

The Government pays over £200 million directly to bus operators every year through the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) to help keep fares down and maintain a larger network than would otherwise be possible. The Government also provides £42 million annually in BSOG funding to Local Transport Authorities, of which Suffolk County Council receives almost £615,000, to fund socially necessary bus services.

Since 1 January, the majority of single bus journeys in England outside London have been capped at £2 thanks to Government support via the Bus Fare Cap Grant. The initial phase of the scheme, through to 31 March, is backed by up to £60 million. On 17 February, we announced that we will provide up to £75 million to extend the £2 bus fare cap until 30 June 2023

This takes total Government funding to over £2 billion in emergency and recovery funding to Local Transport Authorities and bus operators since March 2020, of which Suffolk County Council has been allocated over £5 million. This is in addition to the funding we have provided directly to bus operators to maintain bus services through this route.

Suffolk County Council has also been allocated £824,737 in capacity and capability funding for bus service improvements for the period 2021/22 to 2024/25. This funding is intended to support them with employing dedicated resource for the next three years to help deliver their Bus Service Improvement Plans and Enhanced Partnerships.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help improve bus services in Suffolk.

The Government pays over £200 million directly to bus operators every year through the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) to help keep fares down and maintain a larger network than would otherwise be possible. The Government also provides £42 million annually in BSOG funding to Local Transport Authorities, of which Suffolk County Council receives almost £615,000, to fund socially necessary bus services.

Since 1 January, the majority of single bus journeys in England outside London have been capped at £2 thanks to Government support via the Bus Fare Cap Grant. The initial phase of the scheme, through to 31 March, is backed by up to £60 million. On 17 February, we announced that we will provide up to £75 million to extend the £2 bus fare cap until 30 June 2023

This takes total Government funding to over £2 billion in emergency and recovery funding to Local Transport Authorities and bus operators since March 2020, of which Suffolk County Council has been allocated over £5 million. This is in addition to the funding we have provided directly to bus operators to maintain bus services through this route.

Suffolk County Council has also been allocated £824,737 in capacity and capability funding for bus service improvements for the period 2021/22 to 2024/25. This funding is intended to support them with employing dedicated resource for the next three years to help deliver their Bus Service Improvement Plans and Enhanced Partnerships.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of existing rail infrastructure in supporting the Freeport East project.

We recognise the potential opportunities for the UK generated by Freeport East at the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich, as well as the value of rail access to ports, with schemes such as the partial doubling of the Felixstowe branch line completing in 2019. Freeport status will be considered in relation to transport upgrades in the region.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an estimate of the average number of days of disrupted service from weekend engineering works in the last 12 months on rail lines in England comparable to the London to Ipswich service.

The comparison requested cannot be done at short notice as it takes time for the data to be created. Network Rail will write to the MP and a copy of the letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

It is worth noting that it is difficult to make such a comparison. The Great Eastern Mainline (GEML) has 20 miles of four-track from London as far as Shenfield.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is taking steps to complete the proposed upgrades to Ely North junction under the Ely area capacity enhancement scheme.

We are carefully reviewing the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline for England and Wales, following the Autumn Statement. We remain committed to publishing an update on RNEP and this will confirm the status of the Ely Area Capacity Enhancement, including upgrades to Ely North Junction.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is taking steps to restore a full two-track junction at Haughley Junction in Suffolk.

Following the Autumn Statement on 17 November we are reviewing the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) for England and Wales, including the Haughley Junction scheme, and will publish an update to the RNEP in due course.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is taking steps to support local authorities in reducing traffic congestion in town centres.

The causes of congestion can be systemic, for example increasing population and urbanisation, or more localised, for example network pinch points, inadequate public transport or road works. Measures to combat congestion can be aimed at increasing capacity and / or decreasing demand.

Local traffic authorities have a statutory duty under the Traffic Management Act 2004 to manage their networks with the aim of ‘securing the expeditious movement of traffic’. The Department for Transport helps local authorities in achieving this by supporting sustainable alternative modes and providing design and other guidance as well as investment in infrastructure and innovative, data-led solutions.

The Government has already made record amounts of funding available to local authorities for investment in active travel schemes since the start of the pandemic. The second statutory Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, published in July of this year, reiterated the Government’s commitment to this important agenda and set out the funding that is projected to be spent on it from 2020/21 to 2024/25.

The National Bus Strategy asked that all English Local Transport Authorities outside London publish Bus Service Improvement Plans, setting out local visions for the step-change in bus services that is needed, driven by what passengers and would-be passengers want. We have awarded over £1 billion to deliver service improvements, bus priority and ambitious fares initiatives.

The Government continues to invest in new technologies and the use of data to better manage road networks and provide accurate data about events such as congestion, to road users. For example, the department has invested several million pounds in creating ‘Street Manager’, a data platform which helps highway authorities and utility companies to plan and co-ordinate their road works.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help reduce the (a) frequency and (b) disruption to service from weekend engineering works on rail services from London to Ipswich.

The Great Eastern Main Line is a very busy line, not just with passenger services throughout the day, but also freight services which can run during the night. Identifying opportunities to close the line can be challenging but carrying out essential maintenance and upgrades can improve reliability and the passenger experience. As the line is so busy and frequently used by heavy freight trains, some of the equipment wears out more quickly. Network Rail needs to strike a balance between the disruption caused by engineering work and the need to run a safe, reliable service.

Network Rail recently looked at whether it remains appropriate for the rail industry to carry out engineering works on bank holiday weekends and during holiday periods. Network Rail aims to ensure there is always a strong case for engineering works, which considers the varied impact on passengers and businesses across different regions and industries. It will continue to work to better understand how disruption impacts long-term travel patterns by rail and to provide passengers with information about disruption as far as possible in advance through a wide range of outlets.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many times the London to Ipswich rail service has been disrupted by weekend engineering works in the last 12 months.

In 2022, there have been eight single days (two Saturdays and six Sundays) of disruption due to weekend engineering works and 11 full weekends of disruption.

There will also be disruption from a blockade from 27 December 2022 to 3 January 2023 (with five days in 2022). This means in 2022 there will have been a total of 35 days of disruption due to weekend engineering works.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much investment the region of the East of England has received in rail transport infrastructure in comparison to the other regions of England since 2019.

Regional figures on public sector capital expenditure estimates are published in HM Treasury’s Country and Regional Analysis (CRA):

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/country-and-regional-analysis

Capital expenditure has been used as a proxy for spending on infrastructure.

Capital railway expenditure attributed to the East of England for the financial years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 was £1.8bn. This was approximately 7% of all UK capital railway expenditure (see the attached Table 1).

14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made on the impact of park and ride schemes on congestion in Town centres.

The details of how park and ride schemes operate are a matter for local authorities and bus operators concerned.

As set out in the National Bus Strategy published last year, the Government want to see an expansion of park and ride sites in local areas. We have asked Local Transport Authorities to consider parking proposals in their Bus Service Improvement Plans, to improve bus services and encourage modal shift to public transport.

New Local Transport Plan guidance, that we plan to consult on later this year, will also encourage local authorities to consider park and ride sites in their local transport plans if this is something that is appropriate for their area.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the impact of rail strikes on the Port of Felixstowe.

The Department has been working closely with Network Rail and Freight Operating Companies, and those bodies with key users of rail freight such as the port of Felixstowe, to minimise disruption as far as possible during the strikes to protect critical freight flows in key industries. As part of this Network Rail is prioritising keeping essential freight routes open as far as possible, including lines to and from major ports like London Gateway, Felixstowe and Liverpool, to mitigate disruption to supply chains. Whilst a full service is not being run, there will continue to be rail freight provision for the port of Felixstowe throughout the strike period that will mitigate impacts on their operations. Departmental officials are engaged with the port, Network Rail and freight operating companies to monitor impacts.

Whilst there will be impacts on the port of Felixstowe, their current capacity levels mean that this should not cause any major congestion issues for the port at this time.

The Department maintains close engagement with the port and will be discussing mitigations and impacts with the port, post- strike, in order to inform actions for future strikes (if needed).

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of rail strikes on the Greater Anglia line.

We deeply regret the decision of the rail unions to hold three days of strikes. They will adversely affect students taking examinations and have negative impacts on working people and the wider economy.

We committed £16 billion to support the railways through the pandemic - taxpayers’ money - equivalent of £600 for every household in this country or £160,000 per rail worker in this country.

Department officials are working with the industry, including Greater Anglia and Network Rail, to provide some services on key routes, including on the Greater Anglia network but these services will be very limited.

15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average salary of a train driver employed by Greater Anglia.

Each train operating company, including Greater Anglia, is responsible for its own employees and the Department does not hold this information.

However, the median gross annual pay for train and tram drivers was approximately £59,000 in 2021.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of Freeport East on demand for rail freight transport in the East of England.

As part of Freeport bidding and business case process, consideration has been given to existing transport capabilities and capacity. Freeport East benefits from good existing road and rail freight links. Significant investment has enabled freight trains to operate into the port each day and means it is the UK’s busiest and best rail connected port. Freeports are in the initial stages of set-up and exact details of future growth and potential demand are not clear, and so no specific demand assessments have been made.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what cost benefit analysis his Department has made of upgrading Haughley Junction.

My Department commissioned Network Rail to undertake analysis on upgrades to Haughley Junction. This work concluded in 2020 and confirmed that both options to deliver an upgrade to Haughley Junction represent “Poor” Value for Money.

1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many accidents have occurred between Junction 55 and Junction 57 of the A14 trunk road which have resulted in its closure in each year from (a) 2010 to (b) 2020.

The attached table contains the number of traffic collisions reported by Highways England from 2015 for the A14 between junctions 55 and 57, which resulted in a lane closure being implemented:

Date from previous years is not readily available.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will remove the requirement that 10 to 15,000 homes be provided in addition to the homes contained within the Suffolk local plans in order for funding to be allocated for the proposed Ipswich Northern Bypass.

I understand the Cabinet of Suffolk County Council has taken the decision to cease development of the proposed Ipswich Northern Bypass scheme, removing it from consideration for funding as part of the Major Road Network and Large Local Majors Programme. Should this remain a priority and development of the scheme resumes, there will be further opportunities for funding.

However, local planning and housing decisions are outside of the Department’s purview and it is not the Department’s policy to specify planning requirements for road schemes to be funded. The Department would simply require a local financial contribution to this scheme.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps Network Rail plans to take to ensure that disruption is minimised for rail users in Ipswich when closing sections of track from Ipswich to London at weekends to carry out engineering works.

Carrying out engineering works is essential to ensure that the railway remains safe for passengers and staff and changes can be made to improve passenger journeys, for example to prevent infrastructure failures that cause delays. Network Rail seeks to minimise the impact this essential work has on passengers. This includes planning to carry out as much work as possible overnight or while trains are running during the day. Where possible, Network Rail also divert trains from their usual routes (as was done through Colchester area while track improvements to improve reliability were delivered over Christmas and New Year). Where sections of the railway have to be closed, Network Rail seeks to maximise the amount of work undertaken to reduce the number of times an area needs to be closed. They also work with operators to provide passengers with advance notice so they know how their journeys will be affected and what alternatives are available.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he plans to take with Highways England to prevent the need for the Orwell Bridge in Suffolk to be closed during periods of high wind.

Highways England is aware of the impact any closure of the Orwell Bridge has during high winds. Any decision to close it is not taken lightly and is made on safety grounds alone.

Highways England commissioned a study in October 2018 which will help determine whether the current closure threshold is appropriate. Highways England has meetings planned with stakeholders later this month to present and discuss the findings and next steps. The study will then be published on Highways England’s website.

24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to support people with disabilities into employment.

A range of Government initiatives are supporting disabled people and people with health conditions, to start, stay and succeed in work. These include:

  • Increasing Work Coach support in Jobcentres for people with health conditions receiving Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance;
  • Disability Employment Advisers in Jobcentres offering advice and expertise on how to help disabled people, and people with health conditions, into work;
  • The Work and Health Programme and Intensive Personalised Employment Support, providing tailored and personalised support for participants;
  • Access to Work grants towards extra costs of working beyond standard reasonable adjustments;
  • Disability Confident encouraging employers to think differently about disability and health, and to take positive action to address the issues employees face in the workplace;
  • The Information and Advice Service providing better integrated and tailored guidance on supporting and managing health and disability in the workplace; and
  • Support in partnership between the DWP and the health system, including Employment Advice in NHS Talking Therapies, which combines psychological treatment and employment support for people with mental health conditions.
Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department is taking steps to advertise the services of veteran work coaches to veterans transitioning to civilian employment.

The Department remains committed to the Armed Forces Covenant and will do what is necessary to help and support members of the Armed Forces Community to transition to civilian life. We introduced our new model for Armed Forces Champions in 2021, which comprises 50 Armed Forces Champions working alongside 11 Group Leads at managerial level. It means for the first time that there is at least one Armed Forces Champion in each Jobcentre Plus District and resources in the new network are targeted where there are particularly high levels of demand.

In addition to the Armed Forces Champions roles, all Work Coaches are trained to provide veterans and others with the help and support they need.

We have also introduced an Armed Forces “identifier” on to the Universal Credit system, giving customers the opportunity to tell us whether they are a veteran or currently serving. This will help us ensure that veterans and serving personnel receive any additional support they need, whether directly from a Work Coach or through sign-posting to other support.

We also have a range of other support arrangements in place for members of the Armed Forces community. For example, veterans are given early voluntary entry to the Work and Health Programme.

Information about the support is readily available on gov.uk and can be accessed using the following link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jobcentre-plus-services-for-the-armed-forces-and-their-families

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's timescales are for introducing the social care cap.

As announced in the Autumn Statement, we listened to the concerns of local Government and took the difficult decision to delay the planned adult social care charging reforms. The funding intended for charging reform has been retained in local authority budgets to address current pressures and ensure that local authorities have the capacity and system readiness to deliver reform successfully.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government cover NHS costs on behalf of asylum seekers.

The information requested is not held centrally. Those seeking asylum or temporary or humanitarian protection are exempt from paying for National Health Service treatment in England, where they have made a valid application, until their application is finally determined. Devolved Administrations are responsible for NHS charging in their areas.

18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the (a) number of foreign nationals who have received NHS treatment in the last year and (b) the proportion of that figure who have paid back the NHS for their treatment.

The information requested is not held centrally. Those seeking asylum or temporary or humanitarian protection are exempt from paying for National Health Service treatment in England, where they have made a valid application, until their application is finally determined. Devolved Administrations are responsible for NHS charging in their areas.

17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the availability of dental appointments in (a) Ipswich constituency and (b) England.

In September 2022, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlines how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to dental care across England, including in Ipswich. These will increase access to National Health Service dentistry whilst making the NHS dental contract more attractive to dental practices.

The changes we have implemented include a contractual requirement for NHS dentists to keep their NHS.UK profiles up to date to make it easier for patients to seek treatment, adherence to risk-based recall intervals, and enabling dentists to make better use of their team resources. The contractual changes of 28 December 2022 also provide for the commissioning of 110% of contracted Units of Dental Activity so that practices can deliver more NHS care, particularly in those areas where NHS dentistry is less prevalent.

In circumstances where parents are unable to access an urgent dental appointment for their child directly through a NHS dental practice, they are advised to contact NHS 111 for assistance.

We are holding further discussions with the British Dental Association and other stakeholders for additional reforms of the NHS Dental System coming shortly this year.

17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the accuracy of autism diagnoses of females.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines on autism set out that clinicians should pay attention to the under-diagnosis of females when assessing for suspected autism, and we expect integrated care boards to have due regard to these guidelines when commissioning services.

To support integrated care systems to make the best use of their resources and set out how autism assessment pathways can best be delivered, NHS England published a national framework and operational guidance for autism assessment services, on 5 April 2023. These documents are intended to help the National Health Service and local authorities improve autism assessment services and improve the experience for adults and children who are going through an autism assessment. They also set out what support should be available before an assessment and what support should follow a recent diagnosis of autism.

We will continue to work with colleagues across NHS England, professional bodies, and people with lived experience so that those historically under-identified groups, including, but not limited to females, are better identified for access to good quality autism assessments where the multidisciplinary team have the competency to recognise and adjust for a wide range of needs.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of dentists offering services on the NHS.

Since 2020/21 (during COVID), there has been an increase of 539 dentists delivering National Health Service care and an 120% increase in courses of treatment delivered.

In September 2022, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlines how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to dental care. These will increase access to NHS dentistry by adults and children, whilst making the NHS dental contract more attractive to dental practices.

We have taken action to implement these changes, including through regulations that came into effect on 25 November 2022.

NHS England is holding further discussions with the British Dental Association and other stakeholders for additional reforms of the NHS Dental System planned to take place in 2023.

25th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the planned new accident and emergency department at Ipswich Hospital on (a) ambulance waiting times and (b) capacity pressure at the hospital.

East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) have considered the impact of the planned new accident and emergency department at Ipswich hospital on ambulance waiting times and capacity pressures as part of the NHS England assurance process.

ESNEFT anticipates that the new Urgent Treatment Centre at Ipswich hospital will ease pressure on the hospital’s Emergency Department, freeing up staff to focus on providing care for the most critically ill and seriously injured patients.

25th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the announcement made in the Women's Health Strategy published in July 2022, what assessment he has made of the impact on patients of the additional breast screening units his Department plans to fund in East Suffolk and North Essex NHS foundation trust.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust has benefited from the additional funding with new mammography equipment installed at Colchester Hospital, to replace an existing machine. This installation is expected to take place within the next few months.

Additionally, the trust’s mobile breast screening unit will be receiving a £12,000 technology upgrade as part of this programme. This upgrade will allow staff at the unit to send images back to the hospital digitally, improving efficiency.

These upgrades will benefit patients through efficiency upgrades allowing staff to spend more time in clinical settings.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support people with eating disorders.

Under the NHS Long Term Plan, we will invest almost £1 billion extra in community mental health care for adults with severe mental illness by 2023/24. This will give 370,000 adults with severe mental illnesses, including eating disorders, greater choice and control over their care and support them to live well in their communities. As part of this we are expanding community eating disorder services capacity, including crisis care and intensive home treatment.

NHS England has also established 15 adult eating disorder provider collaboratives which cover the whole of England. These provider collaboratives are working to redesign the pathway for adults with eating disorders to bring care closer to home.

Since 2016, investment in children and young people's community eating disorder services has risen every year, with an extra £54 million per year from 2022/23. This extra funding will enhance the capacity of community eating disorder teams across the country.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce waiting times at (a) East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust and (b) Ipswich Hospital.

It is the responsibility of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), of which Ipswich Hospital is a part of, to take the steps required to reduce waiting times at the trust. ESNEFT have established an admission avoidance programme, where only patients who need to be in hospital are admitted, following systematic triage by ambulance and community care services, reducing bed occupancy in the hospitals.

The trust now run extended clinics and operating lists throughout evenings and weekends to significantly increase the number of patients seen. This includes all services from consultations to diagnostic tests. The new established Community Diagnostic Centre at Clacton Hospital is providing a range of diagnostic services for outpatients and general practitioner referrals and are currently offer computerised tomography scans within just two weeks of referral. ESNEFT are reforming to provide more in the community, using virtual wards and establishing an effective discharge system.

10th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of NHS dental care provision in Ipswich constituency.

No assessment has been made.

In September 2022, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlines how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to dental care, including in Ipswich. These will improve access to National Health Service dentistry by adults and children, whilst making the NHS dental contract more attractive to dental practices. We have implemented these changes, including through regulations that came into effect on 25 November 2022. NHS England is holding further discussions with the British Dental Association and other stakeholders for additional reforms of the NHS Dental System planned to take place in 2023

10th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase access to NHS dentistry in Ipswich constituency.

In September 2022, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlines how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to dental care, including in Ipswich. These will improve access to National Health Service dentistry whilst making the NHS dental contract more attractive to dental practices. We have taken action to implement these changes, including through regulations that came into effect on 25 November 2022.

NHS England is holding further discussions with the British Dental Association and other stakeholders for additional reforms of the NHS Dental System planned to take place in 2023.

20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure an adequate supply of antibiotics for children.

The Department is working urgently with manufacturers and wholesalers to explore what can be done to expedite deliveries and bring forward stock they have to help ensure it gets to where it is needed, to meet demand as quickly as possible and support access to these vital medicines, including antibiotics for children.

Serious Shortage Protocols have been issued across the United Kingdom for penicillin medicines, which will help mitigate local supply issues by allowing pharmacists to supply alternative forms of the medicine, or alternative antibiotics, if they do not have the product stated on the prescription.

The Department has well-established procedures to deal with medicine supply issues and works closely with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the pharmaceutical industry, NHS England and others within the supply chain to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised when they do arise.

20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of missed GP appointments in (a) Ipswich constituency and (b) England.

Local National Health Service organisations and general practitioner practices make their own arrangements for preventing and dealing with missed appointments. Innovative solutions to reduce rates of missed appointments are on the rise by using text message or email reminders, online cancellation forms, or offering remote appointments for those who do not need a physical examination.

20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to prevent (a) ambulance and (b) nursing strikes in Suffolk.

The independent pay review body process (PRB) is the established mechanism for determining pay uplifts in the public sector, including for staff working in the National Health Service (NHS).

The PRBs are made up of industry experts who carefully consider evidence submitted to them from a range of stakeholders, including government and trade unions. They base their recommendations on several factors including the economic context, cost of living, recruitment and retention, morale, and motivation of NHS staff. We carefully consider their reports when we receive them. For the pay settlement in 2022-23, we accepted their recommendations in full.

Ministers have met unions several times over recent months and we are clear that it is important that we keep talking about how together we can make the NHS a better place to work. We are in regular communication with NHS England about how they can support this, and reduce the likelihood of strike action.

15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the (a) quality and (b) availability of mental health services in the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust.

We are working with the NHS England, the Care Quality Commission and local partners to ensure high quality patient outcomes at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Local partners are assessing how mental health services may operate in future, with options being developed for improving service delivery.

Ministers will be hosting a meeting with Hon. Members from across Norfolk and Suffolk and NHS system partners on 12 December to discuss the improvement work that is being taken to improve services at the Trust.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the quality of the provision of the ambulance service in the East of England.

Ambulance services are assessed through monthly performance data on response times. In June 2022, the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s mean Category 1 response time was 10 minutes and 15 seconds, against the standard of seven minutes.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
7th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what was the average waiting time for an NHS dentist appointment in (a) Ipswich and (b) the UK in the latest period for which data is available.

The information requested is not collected centrally, as appointments for National Health Service treatment in England are managed by dental practices.

7th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to require dentists to spend 50 per cent of their time working for the NHS for the first five years after they qualify.

There are currently no plans to do so. Health Education England’s ‘Advancing Dental Care Review’, published in September 2021, made recommendations to address recruitment, retention and attract newly qualified dentists into the National Health Service. These recommendations will be implemented through the Dental Education Reform Programme.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement are negotiating with the British Dental Association on reforms to the dental contract to ensure that working in the NHS is more attractive for new dentists.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the availability of steel on the health infrastructure plan; and what steps he is taking to tackle any issues arising from the availability of steel.

No specific assessment has been made. The Department is aware of pressures on the supply chain related to rising inflation and market capacity constraints and keeps this under review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the most effective interventions for increasing levels of physical activity in a local authority area.

The national framework for physical activity, Everybody Active Every Day enables local authorities to support communities to lead more active lives. This includes setting out the evidence base on successfully enabling people to become more active and options for action at each level of the public health system, including local authorities. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidance on physical activity and the environment emphasises that local authorities should prioritise the creation and maintenance of environments which encourage people to be active. Local authorities can access physical activity data at community level through the Public Health Outcomes Framework and Sport England Active Lives survey.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of the average level of physical activity in Ipswich and other local authority areas in England.

To support local monitoring of physical activity in relation to the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMOs’) guidelines, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities produces estimates of physical activity for each local authority in England from Active Lives Adult Survey data and present estimates from the Active Lives Children and Young People Survey.

In 2020/21, an estimated 54.1% of adults in Ipswich aged 19 years old and over reported achieving recommended physical activity levels, which was lower than the average for the East of England at 65.7% and 65.9% in England. During the academic year 2020/21, an estimated 40.2% of children and young people in Ipswich aged five to 16 years old in Ipswich met the CMOs’ guidelines of participating in sport and physical activity for an average of 60 minutes or more every day. This was similar to the average for the East of England at 43.2% and 44.6% in England.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact on elderly Ipswich residents of moving elective surgeries from Ipswich to Colchester hospital.

No formal assessment has been made. The creation of a new surgical centre at Colchester will not remove access to orthopaedic services from Ipswich Hospital. A locally commissioned patient transport service will be available to all residents who cannot access other methods of attending the centre.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made on the development of practice guidance aimed at local authority adult safeguarding teams to bring local practice in line across the England.

In January 2022, the Chief Social Worker for Adults published an independent briefing ‘Revisiting safeguarding practice' to support social workers and other local authority adult safeguarding practitioners to carry out their duties effectively under the Care Act 2014.

We are also preparing to introduce a new duty for the Care Quality Commission to assess local authorities’ delivery of adult social care duties under Part 1 of the Care Act as part of the Health and Care Bill, which we anticipate will include adult safeguarding. These assessments will provide a greater understanding of practice and provision at local level and enable good practice to be shared nationally.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent comparative assessment his Department has made of the equity of statutory income allocation for children's and adult’s hospice provision; and whether it is his policy that children's hospice funding should be equitable to funding for adult hospices.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for commissioning local services. NHS England and NHS Improvement expect CCGs to ensure that the provision of palliative and end of life care (PEoLC) services, including children’s and adult’s hospice provision, effectively meets the needs of the local population and ensures high quality personalised care.

NHS England is increasing its contribution to children’s PEoLC by match-funding CCGs which commit to increase their investment in local children’s PEoLC services, including hospices. This will increase support from £11 million to £25 million a year by 2023/24. In addition, over £400 million has been made available to adult and children’s hospices since the start of the pandemic to increase National Health Service capacity. NHS England and NHS Improvement are reviewing current models of care, commissioning pathways and financial formulas to ensure the sector support children, young people, their families and loved ones.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support the retention of care worker staff in (a) general and (b) trusts in which a high proportion of the workforce have left over the last 12 months.

In September 2021, we announced an investment of at least £500 million for the adult social care workforce across three years to deliver new qualifications, progression pathways and wellbeing and mental health support. This will enable a five-fold increase in public spending on the skills, training and wellbeing of care workers, registered managers and others, with the aim of improving retention in the sector. Through the NHS People Plan we are also investing in staff wellbeing, flexible working and other retention initiatives.

To address staffing challenges this winter, on 21 October we announced a new £162.5 million Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund for local authorities to manage workforce supply in their local areas.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of the relative timings of lifting covid-19 restrictions for mixed-household socialising in (a) pubs and hospitality settings and (b) homes on the mental wellbeing of (i) people with autism and (ii) other vulnerable people who may find pubs and hospitality settings inaccessible environments.

We have made no specific assessment.

Throughout the pandemic, we have engaged with stakeholders to understand how the changes to COVID-19 policy and guidance impact people with autism.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the merger of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals on (a) the effectiveness of Ipswich hospital and (b) the adequacy of the services it provides to users in Ipswich.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.
Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of supporting grassroots initiatives to improve mental health in local communities.

The Government is supportive of grassroots initiatives to improve the mental health of local communities.

The Department is providing £5.23 million in grant funding to Mind to administer the Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund, which is helping local and national voluntary and community sector organisations support people who are experiencing mental ill-health.

As part of this work, the National Survivor User Network is administering a smaller fund to support community and user-led groups and organisations which might not otherwise be eligible for a grant. Grants of up to £2,000 were made available to support community action, peer support, mutual aid and other activities.

We are also providing £12.5 million of funding between 2016/17–2020/21 to the Time to Change mental health anti-stigma campaign which empowers people with lived experience of mental health to work with schools and employers to implement local grassroots mental health anti-stigma campaigns.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the importance of offering elective orthopaedic surgery close to where people live in respect of the Government's response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Any changes to NHS services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic should be based on clinically-led decisions at the local level.

The National Health Service is working to separate COVID-19 and non- COVID-19 services, to minimise the risk of transmission.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of a two-site improvement option which would allow Ipswich Hospital to continue to provide orthopaedic surgery in proposals to remove elective orthopaedic surgery from Ipswich Hospital to a new centre in Colchester.

It is for local commissioners to determine how to best deliver services to meet local needs. It is right that decisions on local services and service models are made by local commissioners, who can best assess how to meet the needs of people in their area. For any significant system reconfiguration, we expect all local parts of the system to be talking to the public and stakeholders regularly — it is vital that people can shape the future of their local services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of effect of the proposals to remove elective orthopaedic surgery from Ipswich Hospital on (a) Ipswich patients' ability to get to and from surgery at a new centre in Colchester and (b) the delivery of trauma services remaining at Ipswich Hospital.

It is for local commissioners to determine how to best deliver services to meet local needs. It is right that decisions on local services and service models are made by local commissioners, who can best assess how to meet the needs of people in their area. For any significant system reconfiguration, we expect all local parts of the system to be talking to the public and stakeholders regularly — it is vital that people can shape the future of their local services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the proposals to make Ipswich Hospital the only general hospital in the East of England not to offer elective orthopaedic surgery on access to such surgery in that region.

It will always be for local commissioners to determine how to best deliver services to meet local needs. It is right that decisions on local services and service models are made by local commissioners, who can best assess how to meet the needs of people in their area.

NHS Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT), is a national clinically-led quality improvement programme that has made recommendations for improving orthopaedic services. These recommendations include the establishment of robust regional networks with regional centres to ensure appropriate critical mass for complex and low volume cases. There is good evidence that these centres offer patient excellent results.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure available university resources are being used to develop tests for covid-19.

The Department is working closely with the universities sector to ensure any available university resources are being deployed in the national testing effort. As a result of our engagement several universities are now conducting research to develop novel solutions and testing methods as well as providing expertise, equipment and workforce to laboratories for COVID-19 testing purposes.

21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of equipping frontline NHS staff with general service respirators from military and civilian authority stocks during the covid-19 outbreak.

The United Kingdom Government and devolved administrations are committed to ensuring that those on the frontline in responding to COVID-19 are provided with the critical personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to do their job safely.

The UK holds stocks of PPE, including respirators through national stockpiles. We are doing everything we can to increase levels of critical PPE through buying as much available product from existing global markets and working with suppliers to make more products. This includes increasing capacity amongst existing PPE manufacturers wherever possible and working with businesses across the economy to divert their manufacturing capacity to PPE products. A technical assurance process is in place, supported by the Health and Safety Executive, Public Health England, and other regulatory bodies so that new and alternative products are checked for effectiveness and safety.

On 10 April 2020, the plan for a national effort on PPE was published at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/879221/Coronavirus__COVID-19__-_personal_protective_equipment__PPE__plan.pdf

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to strengthen relations with the Republic of Cyprus.

The bilateral relationship between the UK and Cyprus has never been stronger. Our shared commitment to working together on a wide range of priority areas is underlined in the 2019 Defence and Security Co-operation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the comprehensive bilateral MoU signed last year. In June the Foreign Secretary hosted Foreign Minister Kombos for wide-ranging discussions. They discussed multiple bilateral initiatives, including the UK's recent technical support for Cyprus in refreshing its approach to sanctions enforcement, and re-affirmed our commitment to accelerate implementation of other issues covered in the MoU.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department have taken to support Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh since January 2023.

The UK has been a leading donor to the Rohingya response in Bangladesh, providing a total of £362 million of support since 2017. Minister Trevelyan visited Bangladesh in March this year and announced £5.26 million to support the World Food Programme and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to feed 449,000 people and provide pressure cookers to reduce the consumption of cooking gas. In May, the UK announced £2.3 million to support healthcare, shelter rebuilding and site management for refugees and host communities in the aftermath of Cyclone Mocha. Most recently in July, the UK announced a further £10 million of assistance for refugees and host communities for food provision, water, sanitation and hygiene.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to provide aid and support to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

The UK Government has been a leading donor to the Rohingya response in Bangladesh, contributing £350 million to the crisis since 2017. Our support has provided food, water, sanitation, shelter, healthcare and protection services to Rohingya refugees and vulnerable host communities.

I (Minister Trevelyan) visited Bangladesh in March this year and witnessed the challenges facing the Rohingya first hand. During my visit, I announced a further £5.26 million for the response. This funding has helped the World Food Programme feed 449,000 people and provided pressure cookers to help reduce the consumption of cooking gas. The UK will continue to work with the UN and the Government of Bangladesh to provide support to the Rohingya whilst they remain in Bangladesh.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to provide international development charities with funding to increase their aid capabilities.

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are important partners in delivering UK aid, developing policy and tackling the biggest challenges. The International Development Strategy sets out our commitment to working in partnership with CSOs, large and small from across the UK, as well as southern-based CSOs. The strategy also commits us to increase the speed we engage partners through grants.

The FCDO continues to partner with civil society to deliver impact with UK aid and we are currently considering our future approach to central funding. Engagement with the sector will be key to shaping this offer, and we will take particular care to include engagement with local actors.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support girls' education in Bangladesh.

The UK is investing up to £54.5 million over the next eight years to improve education outcomes for girls in Bangladesh. We support approximately 360,000 marginalised children, particularly girls, to gain foundational literacy and numeracy. The UK also provides technical assistance to strengthen primary and secondary education. This includes improving students' reading skills, online teacher education, and performance monitoring systems. Approximately 88,250 children who dropped out of school during the pandemic, are receiving catch-up education to complete their primary years. The UK is also one of the largest contributors (15 per cent) to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) fund. Between 2020 and 2023, Bangladesh will receive $79.7 million from GPE.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

The UK is committed to supporting the Government of Bangladesh with the Rohingya response. We have been a leading donor in Bangladesh, having contributed £345 million to the crisis since 2017. Our support continues to provide food, water, sanitation, shelter, healthcare and protection services to Rohingya refugees and vulnerable host communities.

We work closely with UN agencies and the Government of Bangladesh to provide basic services to Rohingya who have sought refuge in Bangladesh. We have led efforts in international fora to keep the spotlight on the protracted Rohingya crisis, including through our role as penholder on Myanmar in the UN Security Council.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of the potential impact of Morocco's Western Sahara Autonomy Proposal on the Western Sahara region; and whether she has made an assessment of the viability of that proposal.

We take note of the proposals presented by the parties to the UN Secretary-General (UNSG) in 2007. We strongly support the work of Staffan de Mistura as the UNSG's Personal Envoy to Western Sahara and encourage all concerned to make the most of this opportunity for a renewed political process to reach a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, based on compromise, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the UK’s partnership with Rwanda on development opportunities in that country.

The UK is a longstanding partner to Rwanda, having provided official development assistance (ODA) to support Rwanda's social and economic development since the 1990s. Our development cooperation has delivered huge benefit to the people of Rwanda, helping to lift 2 million people out of poverty. The Migration and Economic Development Partnership builds on this, whilst also delivering a much-needed solution to global migration challenges, and will provide a substantial boost to the development of Rwanda, including on jobs, skills and opportunities to benefit both migrants and host communities.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what progress has been made on negotiating a new international agreement restricting Iran's (a) nuclear programme, (b) ballistic missile programme and (c) financial support for terror groups.

The UK is committed to finding a diplomatic way forward that brings the US back into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), returns Iran to compliance with its commitments, and restores the benefits of the deal. Our diplomats are working hard to negotiate a solution and we welcome the constructive discussions in Vienna so far. But we have always been clear that any sustainable solution will need to address a range of issues, in particular Iran's nuclear programme but also regional security concerns, including Iran's ballistic missile programme and destabilising activity throughout the region. This includes political, financial and military support to a number of militant and proscribed groups. We are committed to engaging regional partners in any future negotiations on regional security.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the reforms to the curriculum to strengthen anti-extremist education in Jordan since 2015.

We frequently engage with the Government of Jordan on countering violent extremism, and Jordan has - in recent years - improved the content of its curriculum. We do not assess that the Jordanian curriculum contains materials that promote engagement with Daesh or other extremist groups, or promotes violent extremist behaviour.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
14th Nov 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a reduced apprenticeship levy contribution for companies which take on apprentices with SEND.

The government keeps all taxes under review.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of increasing covid-19 infections in China on the rate of inflation in the UK.

Since mid-2021, inflation has been pushed higher by global pressures, such as supply chain disruptions from Covid-19 and Russia’s war against Ukraine, which has raised energy prices. More recently, tightening in the labour market means that domestic factors are now playing a role.

The Government is mindful of both the domestic and international risks that might affect the UK economy. We monitor these risks closely, including the rise in Covid-19 cases in China.

The independent Office for Budget Responsibility is the government’s official forecaster and will publish its next forecast on the economy, including for inflation, on 15 March.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of Freeport East on (a) skills and (b) employment opportunities in (i) Ipswich and (ii) the Ipswich area.

Freeports will increase trade, create employment and attract investment. The Government announced eight Freeports, including Freeport East, at the Budget. Each will now prepare their business cases, to agree with Government their plans and expected impacts.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what further assessment his Department has made of the effect of plans to introduce a reverse VAT charge for building and construction services on the (a) liquidity of mid-market construction firms and (b) Government's infrastructure plans.

The Government remains committed to introducing the VAT reverse charge for building and construction. VAT fraud in this sector still presents a significant risk to the Exchequer.

There are several UK anti-fraud reverse charge measures and their impact on business and supply chains is now well understood and explained in the Impact Assessment. The Government has listened carefully to industry concerns regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and has further delayed the introduction of the reverse charge by a period of five months from 1 October 2020 until 1 March 2021.

HMRC will continue to work closely with the construction industry, providing support and communications to ensure that businesses are fully aware and can prepare for cashflow challenges ahead of the implementation date.

15th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to allow access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for businesses where HMRC had not received the necessary Real Time Information submissions through no fault of the businesses; and what steps he is taking to put in place an appeals system to deal with such cases.

Employees furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) must have been on their employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and HMRC must have received an RTI (Real Time Information) submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.

The Government set up the CJRS to operate at significant scale and with limited manual intervention. The eligibility requirements are designed to ensure as many people as possible are included in the scheme while allowing HMRC to verify claims using RTI data, mitigating the risk of fraud. Processing claims for the CJRS in cases where HMRC did not have RTI data would significantly slow down the system and increase the risk of fraud.

9th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to enable police forces to charge the organisers of marches for the cost of policing them.

The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental part of our democracy, but this right must be balanced with the rights of others to go about their daily lives without disruption.

The government recognises that there will be unexpected and exceptional events that can put financial pressure on forces. In these cases, Police and Crime Commissioners can apply to the Home Office for special grant funding to meet additional costs that would be incurred from policing these events.

The Government is proposing a total police funding settlement of up to £18.4 billion in 2024-25, an increase of up to £842.9 million when compared to 2023-24. This includes £34m for Special Grant funding. The core purpose of Special Grant funding is to support the police with costs of unexpected events and these are considered on a case-by-case basis.

The Government regularly reviews legislation to ensure it adequately reflects challenges that are likely to be faced today. Where gaps in the legislation are identified, we will seek to address them.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking with English-language testing organisations to help ensure that people coming to (a) study and (b) settle in the UK have attained an International English Language Testing System for UK Visas and Immigration score of at least 5.5 or equivalent.

English proficiency levels are defined within the Immigration Rules relevant to each immigration route. Home Office commercial arrangements with our secure English language testing suppliers require all tests to meet the requirements of the relevant Immigration Rules.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the Novotel in Ipswich being taken over by her Department on (a) tourism in Ipswich and (b) the local economy.

For the safety of asylum seekers and staff in the hotels the Home Office does not publicly comment on individual hotels which may or may not be utilised.

The Home Office recognises the strain that local authorities, are facing at this time and the challenges that hotel accommodation brings. We are committed to work with local authorities through our multi-agency meetings to ensure sites are successfully managed and the impact on the local communities is minimised.

The Home Office is committed to making every effort to reduce hotel use and limit the burden on the taxpayer. This is why we are delivering a range of alternative accommodation sites, maximising hotel space, operationalising the Illegal Migration Act and continuing our hard work to clear the asylum backlog by the end of 2023.

12th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent progress her Department has made on reducing levels of theft from shops.

Following the recent police commitment to investigate all reasonable lines of enquiry I have made clear to forces I expect them to take a zero-tolerance approach to retail crime. The Home Office is supporting Pegasus which will provide a national picture of organised retail crime. I continue to work with the sector to tackle this important issue.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether it is her Department's policy to assess the age of every person that arrives in the UK illegally on a small boat.

The Home Office will only conduct an age assessment in circumstances where an individual who arrives does not have genuine documentary evidence of their age and where there is doubt about their claimed age.

An initial age assessment is conducted as a first step to prevent individuals who are clearly an adult or child from being subjected unnecessarily to a more substantive age assessment and ensure that new arrivals are routed into the correct accommodation and processes for assessing their asylum or immigration claim.

The Home Office will only treat an individual claiming to be a child as an adult, without conducting further enquiries, if two Home Office members of staff independently determine that the individual's physical appearance and demeanour very strongly suggests they are significantly over 18 years of age. The lawfulness of this process was endorsed by the Supreme Court in the case of R (on the application of BF (Eritrea)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] UKSC 38.

Where doubt remains and an individual cannot be assessed to be significantly over 18, they will be treated as a child for immigration purposes until further assessment of their age by a local authority or the National Age Assessment Board (NAAB) which launched in March 2023. This will usually entail a careful, holistic age assessment, known as a ‘Merton compliant age assessment’, which are undertaken by social workers and must adhere to principles set out in case law by the Courts.

Separately, secondary legislation laid by the Ministry of Justice will, once approved by Parliament, authorise the use of x-rays in scientific age assessments, paving the way for the Home Office to improve their ability to effectively determine the age of illegal entrants making disputed claims to be children. Age assessment is an important process to help to prevent asylum seeking adults posing as children as a way of accessing support they are not entitled to, and allow genuine children to access age-appropriate services.

Legislation will then be laid by the Home Office, taking forward powers under the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, which will specify that x-rays of teeth and bones of the hands and wrist and MRIs of knees and collar bones can be used as part of the age assessment process.

17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce levels of theft from shops in Suffolk.

The Home Office works closely with retailers and trade associations such as the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), and police partners via the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) to understand the crime trends retailers are experiencing and to work together to tackle these issues.

The NRCSG has produced practical resources to provide guidance on partnership working and encourage engagement with Business Crime Reduction Partnerships (BCRPs) to help ensure businesses and police can work effectively together to identify the trends and types of crimes that affect businesses and to ensure incidents are dealt with appropriately at a local level.

In addition, the National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) co-ordinates Safer Action Business Days (SABA), where police, BCRPs and retailers work in partnership to carry out days of action to prevent crime against businesses, including shoplifting.

The Home Office collects and publishes information on the number of shoplifting offences reported to and recorded by the police in England and Wales, on a quarterly basis. These are available at Police Force Area and can be accessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-recorded-crime-open-data-tables

The table below shows the police recorded crime figures for Suffolk

Number of shoplifting offences recorded by the police in England and Wales (excluding Devon and Cornwall)

Year

Suffolk

England & Wales*

2015/16

3,707

330,622

2016/17

3,751

363,349

2017/18

4,145

374,646

2018/19

4,171

367,725

2019/20

4,155

353,053

2020/21

2,174

224,343

2021/22

2,582

270,410

YE Dec 21

2,396

251,774

YE Dec 22

3,114

309,511

Many shoplifting offences are not reported to the police. The 2021 Commercial Victimisation Survey, which provides estimates of crime against the Wholesale and Retail sector in England and Wales, showed that 25% of premises were victims of theft by customers in the 12 months prior to taking part in the survey. Of those victims, 39% said they experienced customer theft once a week or more.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment her Department has made of levels of theft from shops (a) nationally and (b) in Suffolk.

The Home Office works closely with retailers and trade associations such as the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), and police partners via the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) to understand the crime trends retailers are experiencing and to work together to tackle these issues.

The NRCSG has produced practical resources to provide guidance on partnership working and encourage engagement with Business Crime Reduction Partnerships (BCRPs) to help ensure businesses and police can work effectively together to identify the trends and types of crimes that affect businesses and to ensure incidents are dealt with appropriately at a local level.

In addition, the National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) co-ordinates Safer Action Business Days (SABA), where police, BCRPs and retailers work in partnership to carry out days of action to prevent crime against businesses, including shoplifting.

The Home Office collects and publishes information on the number of shoplifting offences reported to and recorded by the police in England and Wales, on a quarterly basis. These are available at Police Force Area and can be accessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-recorded-crime-open-data-tables

The table below shows the police recorded crime figures for Suffolk

Number of shoplifting offences recorded by the police in England and Wales (excluding Devon and Cornwall)

Year

Suffolk

England & Wales*

2015/16

3,707

330,622

2016/17

3,751

363,349

2017/18

4,145

374,646

2018/19

4,171

367,725

2019/20

4,155

353,053

2020/21

2,174

224,343

2021/22

2,582

270,410

YE Dec 21

2,396

251,774

YE Dec 22

3,114

309,511

Many shoplifting offences are not reported to the police. The 2021 Commercial Victimisation Survey, which provides estimates of crime against the Wholesale and Retail sector in England and Wales, showed that 25% of premises were victims of theft by customers in the 12 months prior to taking part in the survey. Of those victims, 39% said they experienced customer theft once a week or more.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department have made of the impact of immigration levels on housing availability.

Net migration is too high and this Government is determined to bring it down to sustainable levels to help protect public services and housing supply against unsustainable pressure.

That is why on 23 May, the Government introduced a package of measures to help deliver its goal of reducing net migration. The package includes removing the right for international students to bring dependants unless they are on research postgraduate courses, and removing the ability for international students to switch out of the student route into work routes before their studies have been completed.

We keep all our immigration policies under review to ensure that they best serve the UK and reflect the public’s priorities.

17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department are taking to provide the police with support to stop disruptive protests.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 is already in force. This raised the maximum penalty for wilful obstruction of the highway, put public nuisance on to a statutory footing, and brought much needed updates to the Public Order Act 1986. The police are already using the public nuisance measure to tackle disruptive.

The Government intended to add further measures to the PCSC Bill but these were blocked in the Lords. Consequently, we introduced the Public Order Bill, which is now passing through Parliament and will further improve the police’s ability to respond to highly disruptive tactics. For example, lock-on offence and the associated stop and search power will allow the police to pro-actively prevent the selfish minority of protesters from causing serious disruption to the lives of the hard-working majority.

The Government will continue to work closely with the police going forwards to make sure they are able to make full use of these powers.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent progress her Department has made on reducing drug related anti-social behaviour in England.

On 27 March we published the Anti-social Behaviour (ASB) Action Plan. The ASB Action Plan commits to tackling ASB across five key themes: stronger punishment; making communities safer; building local pride; prevention and early intervention; and improving data, reporting and accountability for action.

This plan is backed by £160m of funding. This includes up to £60m to fund an increased police and other uniformed presence to clamp down on anti-social behaviour, targeting hotspots. Initially we will work with 10 police force areas, but from 2024 we will support a hotspot approach across every police force area in England and Wales.

We are also providing up to £50m to support the provision of Immediate Justice, by issuing out of court disposals with conditions to swiftly repair any damage – the aim being for them to start within 48 hours of the offence. This will start in 10 initial trailblazer police force areas and be rolled out nationally in 2024.

Specifically in relation to drug misuse, an expansion in Drug Testing on Arrest is already underway and the ASB Action Plan commits to going further, including expanding testing to all Class A drugs. In addition, the ASB Action Plan announced our intention to ban nitrous oxide. This builds on the government’s 10-year Drug Strategy ‘From Harm to Hope’. The strategy sets out an ambitious long-term vision for real change and is underpinned by a record investment of £3 billion from 2022-25. Much of this investment is in creating a world-class treatment and recovery system, including a phased expansion to deliver at least 54,500 new high-quality drug and alcohol treatment places. This will help to tackle the cycle of crime and reoffending which drugs fuel.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
24th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to support local authorities in preventing violent crime associated with anti-social behaviour.

Tackling violent crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) are top government priorities and we are working tirelessly to keep young people, families, and communities safe. We know that involvement in anti-social behaviour can be an early indicator that someone may be more likely to become involved in violence, and so we take a joint approach to these challenges.

Estimates from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) showed there were 1.1 million violent offences in the year to September 2022, no significant change compared with the year ending March 2020 and a 38% fall compared with the year ending March 2010.

This year the Government has made £130m available to tackle serious violent crime. This includes £64m for Violence Reduction Units (VRUs), set up in the 20 areas worst affected by serious violence, which bring together partners including local authorities, to tackle the drivers in their area. VRUs deliver a range of early interventions and prevention programmes to divert people away from a life of crime. Our £30m ‘Grip’ police enforcement programme operates in the same 20 areas as VRUs and is helping to drive down violence by using highly data-driven process to identify violence hotspots – often to individual street level – and target operational activity in those areas. In the first three years of funded delivery, the Grip and VRU programmes have collectively prevented an estimated 136,000 violence offences.

To help combat ASB, we have provided the police, local authorities, and other local agencies with a range of flexible tools and powers that they can use to respond quickly and effectively to ASB through the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The Act allows local areas to decide how best to deploy these powers depending on specific circumstances.

To further support local authorities, in July 2021 the Beating Crime Plan was published, which laid out the Government’s plan for tacking crime and ASB and committed to working with local agencies and partners to drive down ASB using the full range of powers and tools in the 2014 Act.

Lastly, at 31 December 2022, we have recruited 16,753 additional police officers in England and Wales through the Police Uplift Programme, 84% of the target of 20,000 officers by March 2023. By the end of March 2023, we will have the highest number of officers on record with over 148,400 in post surpassing the previous peak of 146,030 officers in March 2010.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Feb 2023
What recent progress her Department has made on allocating Safer Streets funding.

We have invested £120 million through four rounds of the Safer Streets fund supporting 270 projects helping to tackle Neighbourhood Crime, Anti-Social Behaviour and Violence Against Women and Girls.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner has already received over £1m for three projects lead by Ipswich Borough council. This includes £499,588 in the current round to target anti-social behaviour and violence against women and girls in the night-time economy.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to deter knife crime among young people.

Tackling knife crime amongst young people is a top government priority and we are working tirelessly to keep young people, families, and communities safe. At the Home Office we are redoubling our efforts with a twin-track approach, combining tough enforcement to get dangerous weapons off the streets – including through stop and search methods – with programmes that steer young people away from crime.

This financial year we have invested £64m in our network of Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) which bring together local partners to tackle the drivers of violence in their area. VRUs are delivering a range of early intervention and prevention programmes to divert people away from a life of crime. They have reached over 215,000 vulnerable young people in their third year of funding alone.

Our £30m ‘Grip’ programme operates in these same 20 areas as VRUs and is helping to drive down violence by using a highly data-driven process to identify violence hotspots – often to individual street level – and target operational activity in those areas. In their first three years of funded delivery, these programmes have collectively prevented an estimated 136,000 violence without injury offences.

In addition, the Serious Violence Duty which commenced on 31st January requires a range of public bodies to work together to prevent and reduce serious violence in their local area. Of course, the Home Office is not able to tackle violence alone, and we work closely with a range of government departments to build protective factors against violence.

For instance, we work with the Department for Education as we know that education is a powerful protective factor against violence for young people. The Government is investing over £45 million to fund specialist support in both mainstream and Alternative Provision (AP) schools in the areas where serious violence is most damaging to local communities.

Additionally, we are also delivering the £3.3 million Creating Opportunities Forum with the Department for Work and Pensions to provide meaningful employment-related opportunities and raise the aspirations of young people at risk of serious violence.

The Government remains wholly committed to preventing youth violence and keeping young people safe from harm.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to support the police with preventing knife crime.

Tackling knife crime is a priority and the Government is determined to crack down on the scourge of violence devastating our communities.

The Government is supporting the police every step of the way in this effort. including through the recruitment of 20,000 additional officers and increased police funding.

The Government is proposing a total police funding settlement of up to £17.2 billion in 2023/24, an increase of up to £287 million when compared to 2022/23. Assuming full take up of precept flexibility, overall police funding available to PCCs will increase by up to £523 million (3.6% in cash terms) next year.

Suffolk Police’s funding will be up to £157.0m in 2023/24, an increase of up to £6.1m when compared to 2022/23.

15,343 additional uplift officers have been recruited in England and Wales through the Police Uplift Programme, 77% of the target of 20,000 additional officers by March 2023, as at 30 September 2022. Suffolk Constabulary has recruited 128 additional uplift officers against a total three-year allocation of 179 officers, as at 30 September 2022.

The Government has made £130m available this financial year (22/23) to tackle serious violence, including murder and knife crime. This includes:

  • £64m for Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) which bring together local partners to tackle the drivers of violence in their area. VRUs are delivering a range of early intervention and prevention programmes to divert people away from a life of crime. They have reached over 260,000 vulnerable young people in their second year alone.
  • Our £30m ‘Grip’ programme operates in these same 20 areas as VRUs and is helping to drive down violence by using a highly data-driven process to identify violence hotspots – often to individual street level – and target operational activity in those areas. In 2020, a 90 day trial of this approach in Southend resulted in an overall fall in violence in the hotspots of around 30% over the period of the trial.

The combination of these two programmes has prevented an estimated 49,000 violent offences in their first two years of activity.

The Government is also supporting the work of the police with new legislation. Knife Crime Prevention Orders have been requested by the police to help steer those most at risk away from serious violence. They are being piloted by the Metropolitan Police in London before they are rolled out more widely.

Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) were introduced in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 and will give the police powers to take a more proactive approach and make it easier to target those already convicted of knife and offensive weapon offences, giving them the automatic right to search these offenders.  SVROs will be piloted in the Sussex, West Midlands, Merseyside and Thames Valley Police areas before a decision is made on national rollout.

The Government also continues to encourage police forces to undertake a series of coordinated national weeks of action to tackle knife crime under Operation Sceptre. The operation includes targeted stop and searches, weapon sweeps of hotspot areas, surrender of knives, including through amnesty bins, test purchases of knives from retailers, and educational events. The latest phase of the operation took place between 14 to 20 November 2022. Officers seized 653 knives, and 6380 were either surrendered or seized during sweeps.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent steps her Department has taken to reduce the number of asylum-seekers housed in hotel accommodation.

The enduring solution to this challenge is to stop the illegal, dangerous and unnecessary small boat crossings that are overwhelming our asylum system. Not only is every crossing attempt a potential tragedy, as we have seen far too often, but the people arriving via these small boats have travelled through, and have left, safe countries with fully functioning asylum systems to reach the UK.

We are taking a range of steps to reduce our dependency on hotels to support those already in the asylum system. All local authority areas in England, Scotland and Wales became an asylum dispersal area by default in April 2022. This is increasing the number of suitable properties that can be procured for destitute asylum seekers across the UK, ensuring a fair spread across the country and reducing our reliance on hotels. We also intend to bring forward a range of alternative sites, such as disused holiday parks, former student halls, and surplus military sites, to add thousands of places at half the cost of hotels.

The Home Office is tackling the asylum legacy caseload so that people can exit the system, either by returning to their home country, or granting them asylum so they can begin to make a contribution to the UK. The Home Office has already increased the number of its asylum caseworkers from 597 in 2019/20 to more than 1,000 today, and we are on course to add a further 500 caseworkers by March 2023. We are also improving the productivity of these decision-makers by re-engineering the caseworking process from top to bottom. This includes conducting more focused interviews and streamlining and digitising the caseworking process.

These reforms will speed up decision making, reduce the number of asylum seekers who are awaiting a decision and ease the pressure on local authorities by reducing our dependency on hotels and the number of asylum seekers accommodated in them.

15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to support local authorities in deterring anti-social behaviour in town centres.

The Government is committed to tackling and preventing anti-social behaviour (ASB). We know the serious impact that persistent ASB can have on both individuals and the wider community.

We provided the police, local authorities and other local agencies with a range of flexible tools and powers that they can use to respond quickly and effectively to ASB through the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

It is for local areas to decide how best to deploy these powers depending on the specific circumstances. The Home Office published statutory guidance to support local areas to make effective use of these powers. The guidance sets out the importance of focusing on the needs of the victim and the local community, as well as ensuring that the relevant legal tests are met.

The Home Office announced in March this year that ASB would be one of the primary crime and issue types being targeted in the next rounds of the Safer Streets Fund. This funding goes towards local projects aimed at increasing the safety of public spaces for all with a particular focus on addressing neighbourhood crime, anti-social behaviour and tackling violence against women and girls. At the end of July, we announced the outcome of Round Four of the Safer Streets Fund, investing an additional £50 million and supporting 111 projects across England and Wales.

We are committed to ensuring that policing has the resources it needs to cut crime and increasing the number of police officers by 20,000 by March 2023. These 20,000 additional officers will be on top of recruitment to cover retirement and those leaving the police.

Police forces in England and Wales have recruited 15,343 additional uplift officers as at 30 September 2022, through the Police Uplift Programme, 77% of the 20,000 officer target by March 2023.

It is for Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners, as operational leaders and elected local representatives respectively, to decide how best to respond to local.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an estimate of the number of pet thefts in the last 12 months compared to the 12 months prior.

Information on the scale of pet theft was gathered as part of the recent Pet Theft Taskforce and evidence included data from 33 police forces in England and Wales on trends in reported dog thefts from 2015 to 2020 and is available here:

Pet theft taskforce report - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Pet Theft Taskforce estimated that around 2,000 dog thefts were reported to the police each year (2019 and 2020) in England and Wales. The Pet Theft Taskforce recommended exploring options which would lead to improving the consistency of recording and collection data on pet thefts by all police forces across England and Wales and government across the entirety of the criminal justice system.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for acquisitive crime has written to all forces asking them to ensure details about stolen dogs are recorded consistently. Operation Opal (the NPCC’s national intelligence unit focused on serious organised acquisitive crime) has suggested that forces across England and Wales are seeing a fall in the number of these crimes, and we are pressing for a further update on the data.

The Government is acting on the recommendations of the Task Force which includes introducing a new dog abduction offence which has been added by the Government to the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, bolstering the raft of measures it already includes to further protect pets, livestock and kept wild animals.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of the Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda on the number of small boats crossing the English Channel.

Successfully implementing our ambitious and world-leading Migration and Economic Development Partnership will require a concerted effort but allowing this deadly trade of evil people smuggling gangs to continue is not an option for any humanitarian nation.

Long-lasting change will not happen overnight, it requires a long-term plan. This arrangement with Rwanda is part of a suite of measures aimed at deterring small boat crossings and as with all policies its impact will be kept under review.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential impact on residents of using town centre buildings to house asylum seekers.

When procuring accommodation, our accommodation providers will consult on each new property to be procured, this provides Local Authorities with an opportunity to set out concerns about the impact on local services, regeneration schemes and anti-social behaviour.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to review the police allocation formula.

The Police Funding Formula Review is currently in progress, with ministers having confirmed their intention to introduce a new formula before the end of this Parliament.

The technical phase of the Review, which will deliver proposals for new funding arrangements, is underway, and a public consultation will take place before any new funding arrangements are implemented.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she has taken to (a) capture data on and (b) provide support for older victims of domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse has no place in our society and this Government is committed to improving our support to those who suffer at the hands of abusers. Our landmark Domestic Abuse Act will strengthen our protection of victims and ensure perpetrators feel the full force of the law. The Government recognises that older people can also be victims of domestic abuse and the new statutory definition of domestic abuse encompasses such victims.

Data on domestic abuse-related offences recorded by the police by age of victim can be found in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) publication ‘Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview: November 2021 in Tables 4 and 10 here: Domestic abuse prevalence and victim characteristics - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

The age range for respondents eligible for the domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking self-completion module of the Crime Survey England and Wales (CSEW) was expanded in April 2017, changing from adults aged 16 to 59 years to adults aged 16 to 74 years. For future data collections as part of CSEW, the ONS will be removing the upper age limit when estimating the number of adults affected by domestic abuse. This will allow us to better monitor the prevalence of domestic abuse amongst older people and further integrate older people’s experiences into conversations and policy decisions around domestic abuse.

Last week, we published the Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan which will seek to transform the whole of society’s response in order to prevent offending, support victims and pursue perpetrators, as well as to strengthen the systems processes in place needed to deliver these goals. The Plan is informed by the unprecedented 180,000 responses we received to our Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Call for Evidence, and relevant data,

literature, and input from experts.

The Plan, investing over £230 million into tackling these crimes, sets out a holistic package of support to ensure that every victim or survivor can get the support they need. We will also monitor their needs and reflect changes in our policy. This individualised approach will help to take the onus off victims and survivors by ensuring support is tailored to them, no matter how complex their needs.

The Plan sets out several key indicators we will use to determine its effectiveness, and we will monitor changes in the prevalence of domestic abuse through the Crime Survey for England and Wales. This year (2021-22) the Home Office is providing the organisation Hourglass with just over £200,000 to support elderly victims of domestic abuse. This funding will also provide casework support, train specialist independent domestic violence advocates and enhance their helpline. This means that Hourglass now operates the UK’s only 24/7 helpline to support older victims of domestic abuse.

The Home Office and the Department of Health and Social Care are jointly leading the Safe Care at Home Review. The Terms of Reference for the review were published on 24th February 2022. The review is looking at the protections and the support available to adults at risk of or experiencing abuse in their own homes from people providing their care, including older victims who are more likely to have care and support needs. As part of the review, we are coordinating inputs from disabled people, carers organisation and other interested parties. The Review is expected to complete before the end of 2022.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to Police funding for England and Wales 2015 to 2022; Police Force Area Population Statistics for England & Wales, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of disparities in funding per resident for police forces on levels of policing in urban Ipswich.

It has been clear for some time that the current police funding formula is out of date and no longer accurately reflects demand on policing. A new review of the funding formula is now underway and will rightly consider all aspects of the formula, including an evidence-based assessment of drivers of the risk of crime and demand on policing, and issues that affect costs at a local level.

Reviewing the funding formula will ensure a fairer distribution of the circa £8 billion of annual core grant funding to the 43 police forces in England and Wales. I have previously confirmed the Government’s intention to complete this work before the next General Election.

23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to bring forward legislative proposals to amend human rights legislation in order to prevent the unsafe crossings across the English channel by illegal immigrants.

The Nationality and Borders Bill, which is part of our New Plan for Immigration, seeks to build a fair, but firm asylum and illegal migration system.

The Bill will tackle unsafe crossings of the Channel by giving enhanced powers to Border Force, introducing longer sentences for illegal entry and increasing the maximum penalty for people smuggling to life imprisonment.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to intercept boats crossing the English channel before the arrival of those boats onshore.

These are dangerous and unnecessary crossings, which are often illegally-facilitated and which we are determined to end. We are working closely with the French to prevent these crossings and to go after the criminality that profits from them.

Those efforts have seen numbers of gendarmes reservists doubled, enabling wider ranging deployment. Technology and intelligence capabilities are also being used to prevent crossing attempts and to inform operational responses on beaches and inland. Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is paramount in the approach taken by both ourselves and the French once migrant vessels are at sea. The French continue to stop the majority of those attempting to cross, and over twice as many crossings have been prevented so far in 2021 compared to the same point in 2020.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions officials in her Department are having with representatives of the College of Policing on removing the obligation on police forces to record non-crime hate incidents.

Officials regularly meet College of Policing representatives to understand how practices and policies can improve.

The Home Secretary also recently wrote to the College of Policing on this important issue.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many fines for exceeding the speed limit have been issued between Junction 55 and Junction 57 of the A14 trunk road for each year from (a) 2010 to (b) 2020.

The Home Office collects and publishes data on the number of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) issued for speed limit offences. These data can be found in the ‘Police Powers and Procedures, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin, which can be accessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/police-powers-and-procedures-england-and-wales

Detailed information on the location where the offence took place is not collected or held by the Home Office.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to better protect shop workers from abuse and violence in the workplace as set out in the British Retail Consortium's Shopworkers' Protection Pledge, published in September 2020; and what steps her Department is taking to help reduce the number of incidences of abuse and violence towards shop workers in the workplace (a) at all times and (b) during the covid-19 outbreak.

The existing Sentencing Assaults guidelines by the Sentencing Council already requires courts to treat the fact that an offence was committed against those working in the public sector or providing a service to the public as an aggravating factor, making the offence more serious. The Government does not consider that a change to the law is required

The Government is working closely with retailers through the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) co-chaired by the British Retail Consortium to deliver a programme of work which aims to provide better support to victims, improve reporting, increase data sharing and raise awareness of this despicable crime.

Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the Sentencing Council published interim guidance in April that clarifies that, when sentencing assault offences relating to the transmission of Covid-19, the courts should treat this as meriting a more severe sentence.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the lack of a specific offence of pet theft on (a) the police's ability to record pet theft and (b) the incentives for the police to investigate pet theft with regard to the severity of sentences upon successful prosecution.

The Government understands the distress caused by the theft of a pet, which is already a criminal offence under the Theft Act 1968 and carries a maximum penalty of 7 years’ imprisonment. We expect the police to record all such crimes reported to them so that they can determine how best to investigate

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department has taken to tackle increased instances of pet theft during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government understands the distress caused by the theft of a pet, which is already a criminal offence under the Theft Act 1968 and carries a maximum penalty of 7 years’ imprisonment. We expect the police to record all such crimes reported to them so that they can determine how best to investigate

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of preventing people from arriving in the UK if they do not have pre-arranged accommodation in which to spend 14 days in quarantine.

The Government will require all international arrivals not on a short list of exemptions to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days on arrival into the UK. Where international travellers are unable to demonstrate where they would self-isolate, they will be required to do so in accommodation arranged by the Government.

All international arrivals will be required to supply their contact and accommodation information and they will also be strongly advised to download and use the NHS contact tracing app.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the cost of Government-arranged accommodation for international arrivals who have not arranged accommodation in which to quarantine for 14 days will be paid for from the public purse.

Where people arrive and are non-symptomatic, they are expected to have arranged their own accommodation.

If for some reason they require different accommodation, they can use the government organised hotel booking service where all costs will fall to the traveller.

Existing immigration rules allow for a traveller who has insufficient funds to support themselves during a visit to be refused entry to the UK.

Where people arrive and are symptomatic, and they do not have suitable accommodation to self-isolate, the government will provide suitable accommodation until such time as they either complete the 14 day period, recover from their symptoms or have a test which confirms they do not have the virus. In this circumstance the traveller will be expected to cover all other expenditure during the period they are in a government quarantine facility.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to (a) prevent illegal arrivals through unauthorised crossings of the English Channel and b) remove those people that entered the UK illegally.

Keeping our border secure is the Government’s highest priority and it is committed to doing everything it can to stop these dangerous Channel crossings which are putting vulnerable lives at risk.

Through joint-working with France, the UK has funded the continued deployment of gendarme reservists along the coast of northern France, who are patrolling constantly in order to detect attempted crossings by migrants. Funding has been allocated, among other projects, for further improvements at ports in northern France and on the ground, this now includes drones, specialist vehicles and detection equipment to stop small boats leaving European shores.

Intelligence flows are also key to dismantling the organised crime groups behind crossings. We have restructured and repurposed our approach to support the growing intelligence feeds which is used to inform and direct how and where resource is deployed.

The majority of countries who are signatories to the Dublin Regulations which governs the return of those seeking asylum in the UK to a third country have announced temporary suspension of transfers to and from all EU Member States due to the Coronavirus. Returns to third-countries can still take place where there is a suitable route of return.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of reducing foreign nationals' air access to the UK to help tackle the spread of covid-19.

Our approach to international travel and checks at the border must be informed by the scientific and medical evidence and advice provided by SAGE and Public Health England. Any decision to implement additional restrictions on international travel to the UK or on arrival at ports/airports will be made by Ministers based on the consideration and advice of SAGE/PHE.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to encourage recently retired police officers back to service to deal with additional pressures on the force during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 22 April, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury made a written statement confirming that the relevant tax rules are temporarily suspended. This means that that retired officers who re-join the police to support Government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak will not be subject to punitive tax charges which may otherwise deter officers from returning to serve during this period.

The written ministerial statement is available at https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-04-22/HCWS196/

The Government is committed to ensuring that police forces and officers have the support and resources they need to meet the increased demands of the COVID-19 outbreak.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to purchase water cannons for use in public disorder situations.

There are no plans to introduce water cannon into UK policing. The Home Office works closely with the National Police Chiefs Council on police capability and the measures that can be used in response to public disorder.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if her Department will take steps to ensure that the College of Policing's Hate Crime Operational Guidance is amended to remove the requirement that police forces record non-crime hate incidents.

The College of Policing has revised its operational guidance on hate crime to help provide clarity on responding to non-crime hate incidents, among other things. The College has consulted on this draft revised operational guidance and plans to publish this in due course to support forces dealing with hate crimes and hate incidents.

The College of Policing is independent from Government and its role is clear: setting high professional standards; sharing what works best; acting as the national voice of policing; and ensuring police training and ethics is of the highest possible quality.

7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she will take to ensure equitable funding for Suffolk constabulary by changing the police funding formula.

The Government is committed to supporting the police, including through the 20,000 additional officers announced in the Chancellor’s September 2019 statement.

The funding formula will be considered in the context of the next Spending Review.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of accusations of discrimination against white men in recruitment decisions by the Royal Air Force on quality of recruits.

There has been no reduction in the quality of recruits joining the Royal Air Force (RAF) and all individuals joining the RAF must meet the required standard. Defence will continue to do all it can to attract the best people from the widest pool of talent, whatever their background, gender or ethnicity.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department is taking steps to help neurodiverse people make a contribution to the work of the armed forces.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 22 November 2022 to Question 89028.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has taken recent steps to increase the number of joint training exercises between the British and Cypriot armed forces.

The UK Armed Forces and the Cypriot Armed Forces have a long-standing and fruitful bilateral defence relationship. The UK regularly participates in joint exercises with the Cypriot Armed Forces, including Ex APHRODITE SHIELD earlier this year and annual participation in Ex ARGONAUT, Ex NEMESIS and Ex CAMBRIAN PATROL.

Our Armed Forces' participation in joint exercises with the Cypriot Armed Forces is driven through the Bilateral Defence Cooperation Programme (BDCP). First signed in 2016, and reviewed at annual Staff Talks, the implementation of the BDCP has resulted in the growth of our bilateral defence relationship with the Republic of Cyprus. We continue to explore opportunities to deepen our co-operation across the breath of defence, including through joint training exercises.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent steps he has taken with the Secretary of State for Education to increase the number of Combined Cadet Forces in state schools.

Through the joint Department for Education (DfE) and Ministry of Defence (MOD) Cadet Expansion Programme (CEP), over 250 new cadet units have opened in state schools, with priority given to less affluent areas. Prior to CEP, 75% of school units were in independent schools, with 25% in state schools. There are now over 500 cadet units in UK schools, and now more than 60% of these units are in the state sector.

Since 2021, DfE have been providing additional funding for state schools in England to help with the administrative support of Combined Cadet Force (CCF) contingents. This funding, which DfE has recently extended until the end of Academic Year 2023-24, directly supports School Staff Instructors who are vital for the sustainment of a school's CCF unit.

DfE and MOD are continuing to work on the Government's ambition to increase the number of cadets in schools to 60,000 by April 2024, ensuring that more children in state schools have the opportunities that have long been a feature of the independent sector.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he plans to bring forward the date of the planned rollout of Challenger 3 battle tanks to the Army.

The intent remains to build 148 Challenger 3 Main Battle Tanks, as set out in the 2021 Defence Command Paper. The programme is on schedule to achieve Initial Operating Capability in 2027 and Full Operating Capability in 2030.

More broadly, the number of Challenger 3 remains under review to ensure the Army's Main Battle Tank fleet is sufficient to meet Defence's needs.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help increase the uptake of job transition services for veterans.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) works collaboratively with the Office for Veterans’ Affairs and with other Government Departments to support Service leavers and veterans transition into civilian employment. The MOD provided significant input into the Government’s Veterans' Strategy Action Plan: 2022 to 2024 and is a member of the newly formed Veteran Employers Group, which is chaired by the Minister for Veterans Affairs.

Resettlement services are offered to all personnel leaving the Armed Forces, with employment support and training delivered through the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) to all Regular Service leavers. The CTP is the official provider of Armed Forces resettlement support to all Service Leavers, regardless of time served. The CTP is a partnering agreement between the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Right Management Ltd, who are global career development and outplacement specialists and part of the ManpowerGroup.

This resettlement provision is designed to help personnel leaving the Armed Forces to prepare for entering the civilian job market and to make a successful transition to employment or achieve the wider vocational outcome they seek. Resettlement support is available from two years prior to leaving and two years after discharge. The provision entitles Service leavers to resettlement support which, depending on their discharge category, includes duty time, financial assistance and access to CTP Services. The CTP provision is individually tailored and includes workshops, seminars, one-to-one career consultancy, resettlement training advice and vocational training, together with job finding support.

The latest statistics show that 78% of Service leavers used a billable CTP Service ( Career Transition Partnership ex-service personnel employment outcomes statistics: index - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) ). For those Service leavers looking to transition into civilian employment when leaving the Armed Forces, around 83% are successfully employed within six months of leaving the Armed Forces. Moreover, the satisfaction rates of Service leavers accessing CTP support are typically around 90%.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help support veterans transitioning to civilian employment.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) works collaboratively with the Office for Veterans’ Affairs and with other Government Departments to support Service leavers and veterans transition into civilian employment. The MOD provided significant input into the Government’s Veterans' Strategy Action Plan: 2022 to 2024 and is a member of the newly formed Veteran Employers Group, which is chaired by the Minister for Veterans Affairs.

Resettlement services are offered to all personnel leaving the Armed Forces, with employment support and training delivered through the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) to all Regular Service leavers. The CTP is the official provider of Armed Forces resettlement support to all Service Leavers, regardless of time served. The CTP is a partnering agreement between the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Right Management Ltd, who are global career development and outplacement specialists and part of the ManpowerGroup.

This resettlement provision is designed to help personnel leaving the Armed Forces to prepare for entering the civilian job market and to make a successful transition to employment or achieve the wider vocational outcome they seek. Resettlement support is available from two years prior to leaving and two years after discharge. The provision entitles Service leavers to resettlement support which, depending on their discharge category, includes duty time, financial assistance and access to CTP Services. The CTP provision is individually tailored and includes workshops, seminars, one-to-one career consultancy, resettlement training advice and vocational training, together with job finding support.

The latest statistics show that 78% of Service leavers used a billable CTP Service ( Career Transition Partnership ex-service personnel employment outcomes statistics: index - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) ). For those Service leavers looking to transition into civilian employment when leaving the Armed Forces, around 83% are successfully employed within six months of leaving the Armed Forces. Moreover, the satisfaction rates of Service leavers accessing CTP support are typically around 90%.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to increase access for neurodiverse people to serve in the Armed Forces.

Entry requirements are kept under continual review. This ensures they are fair to everyone with aspirations of an Armed Forces career and are informed by the latest evidence.

We value diversity and are committed to recruiting and retaining the best people possible. It is also essential that all new entrants to the Armed Forces have the capacity to serve in all respects for the period of their engagement, ensuring operational efficiency, safety for the individual and safety for others. Consequently, there are a number of conditions that are a bar to Service

Candidates with Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dyspraxia can serve in the Armed Forces, if they meet the selection, training and performance standards. While other conditions such as Autism and ADHD may be a bar to Service entry, this is not automatically the case. Every application is considered on a case by case basis by recruiting clinicians, who will make an individual assessment of the condition, its severity and the need for treatment. If an application is rejected on medical grounds, a candidate can appeal the decision to the recruiting Service, providing additional medical evidence if required.

There is also an executive waiver process where the employing Service may, exceptionally, recruit someone who does not meet the existing entry standards. This may include individuals with unique specialist skills. Again, this would be determined on a case by case basis.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to support leaseholders at The Mill in Ipswich with rectifying (a) cladding and (b) structural issues.

I want to see a good resolution for Leaseholders at the Mill. Our priority is finding a way to keep the residents safe in their homes and make sure unsafe cladding is remediated. The department are working at pace with the building’s Insolvency Practitioners, Ipswich Borough Council and Homes England to find solutions.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of local authorities sending homeless people to be accommodated in main towns of other local authorities.

The Homelessness Code of Guidance is clear that local authorities should, as far as possible, avoid placing homeless households out of their borough. However, where there is a limited supply of suitable accommodation, we are aware that sometimes it is necessary to place households in temporary accommodation outside of the local area.

Legislation stipulates that where temporary accommodation is provided, it must be suitable, taking account of the needs of the household. If a local authority places a household into accommodation in another local area, they are required by law to notify the local authority of any placement, to minimise disruption to schooling or employment.

17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to support residents who are evacuated from high-rise residential buildings as a result of flooding.

Flooding in buildings, unless part of a major, wide-area incident, is normally locally managed. In terms of supporting evacuated residents in such circumstances, normally a building owner or insurer will provide alternative accommodation.

Local authorities also have statutory duties to assist households that are homeless or threatened with homelessness (subject to households being eligible, including having recourse to public funds and being habitually resident).

Local authorities must take reasonable steps to prevent and/or relieve homelessness for eligible households. They must also provide temporary accommodation until long-term settled housing is secured for households that have priority need; this includes any household with a dependent child and households that are homeless as a result of an emergency such as flood, fire or other disaster.

17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department is taking steps to ensure that freeholders have a responsibility to provide housing (a) of an equal or higher standard and (b) in the same area for people served with a prohibition notice.

As I set out in my answer given to Question UIN 152313 on 6 March 2023, building owners are legally responsible for making sure their buildings are safe. Should the residents of an unsafe building need to be evacuated, the Government expects building owners to provide suitable alternative accommodation until residents can return home, at the building owner’s expense. It is the responsibility of building owners to avoid evacuation and decanting where it is possible to do so.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has had recent discussions with (a) Principle Estate Management, (b) Railpen and (c) Grey GR on taking steps to help ensure that residents evacuated from Cardinal Lofts in Ipswich on 20 February 2023 receive suitable temporary accommodation.

Building owners are legally responsible for making sure their buildings are safe. Should the residents of an unsafe building need to be evacuated, the Government expects building owners to provide suitable alternative accommodation until residents can return home, at the building owner's expense.

Building owners do not have unqualified rights to evacuate their buildings. If a building owner needs to evacuate residents from a building, they must comply with the terms of the lease. If the building owner does not have express rights under the lease to evacuate a building, they must seek consent from the residents for the evacuation and we expect building owners to agree the terms for evacuating with residents before they leave.

Should a building owner unlawfully evacuate a building, residents may be entitled to damages from the building owner. The building owner may also be committing a criminal offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. Local authorities also have a legal duty to step in as a last resort and provide alternative accommodation should residents be at risk of becoming homeless.

In terms of Cardinal Lofts, the Department is closely monitoring the situation, and I am being kept updated. Officials have held meetings with Railpen (the owner of Grey GR), Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service and Ipswich Borough Council.

Officials have stressed the importance of residents being provided with temporary accommodation that meets their needs and have made clear that the Government expects this accommodation to be provided, at Railpen's expense, until residents can return home safely.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
24th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to ensure residents evacuated from residential buildings deemed to be unsafe are given suitable temporary accommodation.

Building owners are legally responsible for making sure their buildings are safe. Should the residents of an unsafe building need to be evacuated, the Government expects building owners to provide suitable alternative accommodation until residents can return home, at the building owner's expense.

Building owners do not have unqualified rights to evacuate their buildings. If a building owner needs to evacuate residents from a building, they must comply with the terms of the lease. If the building owner does not have express rights under the lease to evacuate a building, they must seek consent from the residents for the evacuation and we expect building owners to agree the terms for evacuating with residents before they leave.

Should a building owner unlawfully evacuate a building, residents may be entitled to damages from the building owner. The building owner may also be committing a criminal offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. Local authorities also have a legal duty to step in as a last resort and provide alternative accommodation should residents be at risk of becoming homeless.

In terms of Cardinal Lofts, the Department is closely monitoring the situation, and I am being kept updated. Officials have held meetings with Railpen (the owner of Grey GR), Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service and Ipswich Borough Council.

Officials have stressed the importance of residents being provided with temporary accommodation that meets their needs and have made clear that the Government expects this accommodation to be provided, at Railpen's expense, until residents can return home safely.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department is taking steps to regulate the kinds of materials that may be used to wrap residential buildings during cladding remediation works.

Remediation is vital to make buildings safe but we recognise that remediation projects can cause significant disruption to residents and negatively affect their welfare, in particular the wrapping of buildings whilst unsafe cladding is removed and replaced.

Fundamentally, building owners are responsible for making their buildings safe without delay, and decisions on the approach are down to them. As part of this they must ensure that works are taken forward efficiently in a way that minimises disruption to residents.

To that end, we are reviewing what expectations should be placed on those responsible for remediating unsafe buildings. We plan to work with the sector to develop a Code of Practice, taking account of residents' needs, with the intention of it being introduced later this year.

I am keen to continue to work with colleagues where there are concerns on this issue.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
10th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has made estimate of the number of jobs that will be created for Ipswich residents by the Freeport East project.

Details of the number of jobs that the Freeport East project is estimated to contribute to can be found here.

20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has taken steps to implement the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents: working group report, published 18 July 2019.

As part of a fair and just housing system, the Government is committed to making sure that homeowners and tenants are protected from abuse and poor service. This commitment includes raising professionalism and standards amongst property agents (letting, estate and managing agents), protecting consumers while defending the reputation of good agents from the actions of rogue operatives. We therefore welcome the ongoing work being undertaken by the industry itself to raise professionalism and standards across the sector, including on codes of practice for property agents.

The Government is considering the recommendations in the final report on the regulation of property agents from Lord Best’s working group. We will continue to work with industry on improving best practice.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential economic benefits of the Suffolk devolution deal for (a) Suffolk and (b) Ipswich.

The Suffolk devolution deal will put Suffolk County Council, in partnership with Suffolk's district and borough councils, including Ipswich, in control of setting economic strategy locally. The deal will grant Suffolk County Council control of a 30-year investment fund worth £480 million, over £5.8 million to support the building of new homes on Brownfield land, and powers to improve local skills. This will help drive growth and take forward local priorities over the longer term, giving the directly elected leader and local constituent councils more flexibility to decide how best to spend money on key local priorities. Ipswich will be able to take advantage of the overarching benefits of the deal to the whole region and the new relationship between Suffolk and central government.

12th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of existing licensing frameworks for letting and managing agents in England.

Letting or property agents in England for the private rented sector, who hold client money are required by law to sign up to one of six Government approved Client Money Protection schemes. These give tenants and landlords confidence that they can recover any money held by the agent on their behalf that the agent fails to repay - for example because of misappropriation or insolvency.

It is also a legal requirement for letting and managing agents in England to belong to one of the two Government approved redress schemes.

Felicity Buchan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential economic benefits to Ipswich of the Freeport East project.

Freeport East is fully operational with both tax and custom sites designated. The Department is now working with the Freeport to secure final approval of the Freeport's Full Business Case, which is expected shortly. As part of this process, the Department has considered the potential economic benefits to the Freeport East outer boundary area.

The Freeports programme monitoring and evaluation strategy sets out the approach the Department will take to measure the economic benefit in the wider Freeport area.

6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure completion of the Freeport East project.

Freeport East is fully operational with both tax and custom sites designated. The Department is now working with the Freeport to secure final approval of the Freeport's Full Business Case, which is expected shortly. As part of this process, the Department has considered the potential economic benefits to the Freeport East outer boundary area.

The Freeports programme monitoring and evaluation strategy sets out the approach the Department will take to measure the economic benefit in the wider Freeport area.

6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment he has made of progress of the Freeport East project.

Freeport East is fully operational with both tax and custom sites designated. The Department is now working with the Freeport to secure final approval of the Freeport's Full Business Case, which is expected shortly. As part of this process, the Department has considered the potential economic benefits to the Freeport East outer boundary area.

The Freeports programme monitoring and evaluation strategy sets out the approach the Department will take to measure the economic benefit in the wider Freeport area.

23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of regulatory frameworks for ensuring that management companies communicate with residents of buildings (a) before and (b) whilst undertaking remedial cladding works.

Building owners must make their buildings safe without delay. It is unacceptable that some are deliberately holding up remediation works by refusing to sign legal agreements that allow Government funding to be released.

Regulatory bodies, the Secretary of State, and leaseholders have legal powers to compel building owners to fix their buildings. We are working with regulators to ensure that rogue building owners are held to account. The Department is already pursuing legal action against Grey GR, the owner of Vista Tower in Stevenage.

Building owners need to minimise the impact of remediation works on residents, and contractors undertaking work should consider carefully how to make work less disruptive and intrusive where possible, listening to residents of the buildings undergoing remediation. Secondary legislation under the Building Safety Act 2022 will include new legal requirements to share information with residents, and new rights for residents to request further information from building owners, including about remediation works.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an estimate of the average length of delay in receiving replacement cladding material for building remediation projects in England in the latest period for which data is available.

We publish data which shows when building remediation projects are starting on site and when they are complete. As these buildings vary in size, complexity and cladding type this means that the corresponding time to complete the projects also varies. We therefore monitor Government funded projects against the forecast start and completion dates submitted by building owners, taking action whenever these dates are at risk of slipping by involving expert support to help remove any blockages and maintain the pace of remediation.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to ensure an adequate supply of replacement cladding for building remediation projects.

From the outset of the Building Safety Fund, the Department has engaged industry to ensure sufficient capacity exists to meet demand and to have arrangements in place to address any blockages in the supply chain. We therefore provide direct expert support to Government funded projects, in the form of client side remediation advisors, and run a series of market engagements to highlight options and solutions to address challenges.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department is taking steps to ensure cladding replacements on residential buildings are (a) completed in a timely manner and (b) carried out with consideration for the living standards of residents who remain in the building while those works are underway.

Building owners must make their buildings safe without delay. It is unacceptable that some are deliberately holding up remediation works by refusing to sign legal agreements that allow Government funding to be released.

Regulatory bodies, the Secretary of State, and leaseholders have legal powers to compel building owners to fix their buildings. We are working with regulators to ensure that rogue building owners are held to account. The Department is already pursuing legal action against Grey GR, the owner of Vista Tower in Stevenage.

Building owners need to minimise the impact of remediation works on residents, and contractors undertaking work should consider carefully how to make work less disruptive and intrusive where possible, listening to residents of the buildings undergoing remediation. Secondary legislation under the Building Safety Act 2022 will include new legal requirements to share information with residents, and new rights for residents to request further information from building owners, including about remediation works.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the impact of parking costs on footfall in town centres.

My department is aware of the important link between parking provision and the vitality of our high streets and town centres, especially where transport infrastructure does not allow citizens to use public transport. We know that parking costs may have an impact on whether citizens decide to drive to town centres, but these also need to be balanced against other factors like the availability of adequate accessible parking and attractive alternatives to driving.

My department is currently developing a new, consolidated Code of Practice for the private parking industry which will raise standards and stop unfair practices in the private parking sector. This includes considering the right level of charges for motorists who have fallen foul of parking restrictions.

Furthermore, in the Build Back Better High Streets Strategy, we also committed to consider how we can further improve local authority parking to make high streets more accessible to shoppers, including working with councils to ensure that parking space supply and parking tariffs support high streets strategies, and are joined up with local transport plans.

15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the levels of funding required to achieve the Government's objectives under its levelling up agenda in the east of England.

Government is providing substantial investment to achieve our levelling up ambitions in the East of England. This includes £287 million through the town deals programme, supporting twelve towns, including Ipswich, to drive growth and regeneration and an initial £87 million of investment through Round 1 of the Levelling Up Fund, funding five projects across the region. Both Norfolk and Suffolk have been invited to agree early county deals to provide them with more powers and freedom to achieve their levelling up ambitions and further investment will be provided across the East of England through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of identifying Ipswich as a priority levelling up area.

The Government recognises that towns such as Ipswich are crucial to the success of the levelling up agenda. That is why we are investing £25 million in Ipswich though the Towns Fund programme, which will support eleven vital projects across the town.

This funding, coupled with £1,381,860 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), will make a tangible difference to the lives of people living in Ipswich, helping the town to reach its full potential and unlock local opportunities for all.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on levels of community engagement.

A national programme of events and celebration is planned around the momentous occasion of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. While London provides the backdrop to celebrations including the Trooping of the Colour, the Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Platinum Party at the Palace, and the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, community activity is planned right across the United Kingdom. Events include street parties, the lighting of beacons and pageants, with communities coming together to enjoy a weekend of celebrations.

My department are working closely with colleagues in DCMS to map community engagement and activity across the United Kingdom. To date there are over 200,000 local celebration events planned, including 70,000 big Jubilee lunches organised by local communities, with 4,000 events promoted on the Platinum Jubilee event map https://platinumjubilee.gov.uk/events/. We continue to communicate with local councils to encourage their continued involvement and support of the upcoming celebrations.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using the Levelling Up Fund to support grassroots sport.

Culture and heritage is one of three investment themes for round one of the Levelling Up Fund. Under this investment theme, places were given the opportunity to come forwards with proposals including around creating new cultural and creative spaces such as sports or athletics facilities.

The first round of the Levelling Up Fund awarded funding to multiple projects which will support grassroots sport in local communities, including the creation of a new community sports hub in Newcastle upon Tyne. The next round of the Fund, opening in spring 2022, will provide further funding opportunities.

Michael Gove
Minister for Intergovernmental Relations
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will identify the 17 buildings in Suffolk affected by unsafe cladding; and what steps he is taking to ensure tenants in those buildings are aware that their homes have unsafe cladding.

The Government does not disclose the names and locations of individual buildings with unsafe cladding out of concerns for public safety. It should be noted that the owners of each of the affected buildings have been informed, who we expect will ensure that their residents are kept fully informed as part of their responsibilities.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress his Department has made on identifying solutions to support leaseholders with (a) the incidental costs of waking watches and (b) other incidental costs with the exception of remediation incurred as a result of dangerous cladding having been installed on their leasehold properties.

The most effective way to make buildings with unsafe cladding safe and eliminate the need for interim measures and associated costs is to have the unsafe cladding removed as quickly as possible. That is why we are prioritising £1.6 billion public subsidy on remediation of unsafe cladding. However, we recognise residents’ concerns about the cost of waking watch measures and the lack of transparency of these costs. That is why we have collected and published information on waking watch costs. This will enable those that have commissioned it to make comparisons and challenge providers on unreasonable costs. The data is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-programme-waking-watch-costs.

The Government also welcomes the National Fire Chiefs Council's update to its guidance on Simultaneous Evacuation published in October (available at: www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Simultaneous-evacuation-guidance). We have asked the Fire Protection Board to advise Fire and Rescue Services on how best to operationalise the revised guidance including looking into other measures such as installing building-wide fire alarm systems to reduce the dependency on waking watches wherever possible.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a funding mechanism whereby the Government (a) covers the up front cost of all urgent remediation works for dangerous cladding and (b) subsequently recovers the cost of that work over a period of time from those responsible for installing the cladding.

The Government is making £1.6 billion available to support the remediation of unsafe cladding but this does not absolve building owners of their responsibility to ensure their buildings are safe. The remediation of over 50 per cent of privately owned high-rise residential buildings with unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding will be paid for by building owners and developers, or through warranty or insurance claims - without passing the cost to residents and leaseholders. We expect building owners and developers to step up in a similar way for other kinds of unsafe cladding.

The Government has asked Michael Wade to accelerate work with leaseholders and the financial sector to develop proposals to protect leaseholders from unaffordable costs of remediating historic defects. The Government is determined to remove barriers to fixing historic defects and identify financing solutions that protect leaseholders from unaffordable costs; but we must also ensure that the bill does not fall on taxpayer. It?is likely?our solution will?be a combination of options as there is no one quick fix.?We will update leaseholders as soon as we can, and before the Building Safety Bill returns to Parliament.

For both the Private Sector ACM Fund and the Building Safety Fund applicants are required to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to recover the costs of replacing the unsafe cladding from those responsible through insurance claims, warranties and/or legal action. Where they are able to successfully recover damages relating to the removal and replacement of unsafe non-ACM cladding, Government will require building owners to repay any amounts recovered which relate to the removal and replacement of the unsafe cladding up to the amount provided through the funding.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential benefits of implementing the recommendations in the Law Commission’s Commonhold Report on (a) flat owners’ ability to make key decisions about the management and costs of their building and (b) preventing the exploitation of leaseholders by landlords.

The Government wants to see commonhold reinvigorated as an alternative tenure to leasehold for flats, which is why we asked the Law Commission to look at how this could be done and what changes to legislation are required to support a wider take up of the tenure in the future.

The Law Commission report on commonhold was published in July, alongside reports on enfranchisement and Right to Manage. They are comprehensive and thorough reports and we will now take the time to consider these in detail and set out our preferred way forward in due course.

10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what support his Department is providing to local homeless charities during the covid-19 outbreak.

Charities, and the thousands of people who volunteer with them, make a real difference to vulnerable people’s lives. We all need to work together to break the homelessness cycle and we are committed to drawing on as much expertise and experience as we can. Many of the projects we fund involve joint working with voluntary organisations as delivery partners, and in response to Covid-19 we have worked in partnership with the voluntary sector and faith and community groups.

MHCLG announced £6 million of emergency funding to provide relief for frontline homelessness charitable organisations who are directly affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. This is part of a £750 million package of government support for UK charities who may have been impacted by the pandemic. This Covid-19 Homelessness Response Fund was delivered by Homeless Link and applications closed on Wednesday 27 May.

Following a successful bidding process, over 130 charities across England benefitted from the £6 million emergency Fund. Further detail regarding the organisations who have been funded can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/charities-to-benefit-from-support-for-rough-sleepers-during-pandemic.

The Department also funds work to support a wide range of the homelessness sector – including voluntary organisations and independent providers of learning:

  • Homeless Link are funded £800,000 to support the work of the single homelessness sector. This includes a leadership programme for leaders and managers of single homelessness services; the provision of practical support for frontline workers; maintaining the Homeless England database; and a research programme.
  • The National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS), which is run by Shelter, is funded by MHCLG to provide free training and expert advice to local authority and public authority staff including those with a duty to refer. For 2020/21 the Department has committed £1.95 million of grant funding to NHAS to ensure that frontline staff have the right skills and legal knowledge effectively to support individuals at risk of homelessness or rough sleeping.
  • MHCLG has funded StreetLink, a service run by Homeless Link and St Mungo’s, since its inception in 2012.
  • In 2020/21 MHCLG provided £200,000 of grant funding to Housing Justice. This fund works to equip faith and community night shelters to develop good practice and to help faith and community groups to be more coordinated and linked-in with other homelessness provision (statutory, commissioned and other third sector) and provide a route away from the street.
28th Apr 2020
What steps his Department is taking to help renters affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government has put in place an unprecedented package to support renters during this time. Legislation to increase eviction notice periods, coupled with the Court Service’s suspension of proceedings, mean no renter currently faces the threat of eviction.

We have strengthened the welfare safety-net to help households experiencing financial hardship.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the (a) ban on evictions for renters and (b) mortgage holidays for landlords during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make it the Government's policy that landlords and tenants work together to establish an affordable repayment plan for rent arrears.

Any decision to alter the duration of the emergency measures brought in to support landlords and tenants during this time will be informed by Public Health England guidance. The Government will take further action, including extending the measures, if necessary


The Government is constantly monitoring the measures it has announced in response to COVID-19, including mortgage holidays. If, following the three-month mortgage holiday, a landlord is unable to begin paying their mortgage, they should reach out to their lender to discuss their options.

The Government has delivered unprecedented financial support to assist tenants with living costs, including rental payments. We have?also?been clear?in guidance?that there is a need for landlords to offer support and understanding to tenants – and any guarantor – who may see their income fluctuate.?This could include reaching a temporary agreement not to seek possession action for a period of time and instead, pause payments or accept a lower level of rent, or agree a plan to pay off arrears at a later date.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure the allocation of the additional £1.6 billion support for local authorities is adequate for borough councils in two-tier systems.

MHCLG continues to work with local agencies, including local authorities, on their preparedness to manage a Covid-19 outbreak.

Allocations of the additional £1.6 billion support for councils to respond to coronavirus were announced on Tuesday 28 April. This is a significant package of support which responds to the range of pressures councils have told us they are facing and takes the total amount provided to local councils to over £3.2 billion. Across both waves of funding, almost 70 per cent of district councils will receive £1 million or more in support, whilst 90 per cent of the funding will go to social care authorities. These allocations provide more funding to lower tier authorities than the first wave of funding.

13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that local planning authorities accelerate the delivery of housing set out in their local plans.

In 2018 we introduced a Housing Delivery Test and published the 2019 measurement on 13 February 2020.

On 12 March the Secretary of State set out this Government's plans for housing and planning following the announcements at Budget. This includes continuing to raise the Housing Delivery test threshold to 75 per cent in November 2020, setting a deadline for all local authorities to have an up-to-date local plan by December 2023, and consulting on reforming the New Homes Bonus to reward delivery.

In addition, in the Spring we will be publishing bold and ambitious Planning White Paper which will propose measures to accelerate planning.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to extend the community housing fund for five years.

The Community Housing Fund provides the principal source of Government support for the community-led housebuilding sector. The Fund is delivered outside London by Homes England and within London by the Greater London Authority. Capital and revenue grants are available to community-based groups wishing to take forward schemes to build locally affordable housing.

The Community Housing Fund is currently scheduled to close in March 2020. Ministers are considering all budgets in the round and allocations for 2020/21 will be confirmed through a business planning exercise. Allocations for future years will be considered at the next fiscal event.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will allocate additional funds for the replacement of (a) aluminium composite material and (b) high pressure laminate cladding.

The Government has committed £600 million for the removal and replacement of unsafe ACM cladding on high-rise residential buildings. Government intervention is wholly exceptional, and is based on the unparalleled fire risk ACM poses. We are aware of concerns leaseholders have about meeting the cost of remediation of fire safety issues other than ACM cladding remediation on high-rise buildings. Building safety is the responsibility of the building owner, and they should consider all routes to meet costs, protecting leaseholders where they can – for example through warranties and recovering costs from contractors for incorrect or poor work.

10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to (a) abolish the Greater Cambridge City Deal and (b) transfer the functions and funding allocated to that deal to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Government has no plans to abolish the Greater Cambridge City Deal. The Greater Cambridge City Deal Investment Funds are subject to a 5-yearly Gateway Review process. We are currently undertaking this review with the Greater Cambridge Partnership and expect to conclude it by the end of the financial year.

If the local area wants to propose changes to governance arrangements, they should bring forward proposals, agreed by all the signatories, and my officials could consult with the relevant departments to consider Government’s response.

10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans the Government has to create an East Anglian Mayor and combined authority to cover Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The Government wants to see more devolution across the country, and we welcome locally backed proposals. The English Devolution White Paper will provide further information on our plans for full devolution across England, increasing the number of mayors and doing more devolution deals.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating funding from the Stronger Towns Fund to Ipswich based on the work of the Ipswich Vision Board.

We are pleased to confirm that Ipswich has been selected as one of the first 100 places to benefit from the £3.6 billion Towns Fund. We have been in touch with colleagues in Ipswich and will be working with them to develop their Town Deal. I hope you will continue to play an active role in shaping their plans.

1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the recommendations of the Education Select Committee's prison education report of May 2022, what steps he is taking to provide individual learning plans for those in the prison system linked to their sentence plan.

We are working to ensure that every prisoner has a Personal Learning Plan.

Since April 2019, 35,832 have been created, and we are further developing these plans to bring together key information on the prisoner’s learning and support needs, as well as their aspirations and goals. In this way, we will ensure that everyone working with the prisoner on their education, skills and work pathways is aware of their individual needs.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to improve data collection on the rate of learning disabilities among those in the prison system.

The implementation of Personal Learning Plans for all prisoners, together with the introduction, by 2024, of Neurodiversity Support Managers (NSMs) in all English and Welsh prisons, will help us to improve data collection in relation to prisoners who may need support with their learning and development.

As of January 2023, 51 NSMs have been recruited, and we are actively championing Autism Accreditation across the prison estate to increase support for neurodivergent people.

Since April 2019, 173,885 Learning Difficulties and Disabilities assessments have been conducted, with 91,987 prisoners receiving active support.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
9th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of removing the requirement for grandparents to seek the leave of the court before applying for a child arrangement order.

If they have not been living with the child(ren) concerned for one year immediately preceding the application, grandparents will first need to seek the permission of the court to apply for a child arrangements order. This requirement is not designed to be an obstacle but to sift out applications that are not in the child’s best interests. The welfare of the child is the paramount consideration in any decision the court makes, including in relation to who a child lives with or spends time with, and as such the current requirements in place are seen as the best method to ensure the safety and welfare of the child.

It is our intention to consult on measures to encourage and support more parents and other parties such as grandparents to resolve their disputes without needing to come to court.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether the Government is taking steps to ensure that the legal framework adequately allows grandparents to maintain relationships with their grandchildren following parental separation.

The Government understands the difficulties that some grandparents face in continuing relationships with their grandchildren following disputes arising from parental separation and that grandparents often play an important role in children’s lives and can provide stability in families.

Grandparents who are excluded from the lives of their grandchildren and are unable to agree an informal, family-based arrangement with their grandchildren’s parents can attempt mediation before applying for a court order. The existing legal framework allows all grandparents to seek leave of the court to make an application for a child arrangements order or a special guardianship order. The court will determine based on the individual facts of the case, whether they can spend time with their grandchildren and if so, what sort of contact would be in the child’s interest. The child’s welfare will be the court’s paramount consideration in these cases.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to his Department's plan to open a new regional office in Ipswich, announced on 1 February 2022, when he expects that new office to open, and what estimate he has made of the number of jobs which that new office will create in Ipswich.

We are currently planning to open a Justice Collaboration Centre in Ipswich in late summer this year. The MoJ will be moving roles away from London through a national talent location strategy which relies on roles becoming vacant to then be advertised nationally to one of our 7 hubs. This allows MoJ to attract the best talent regardless of their location.

Due to this strategy, it is difficult for MoJ to estimate the number of jobs that may be created in Ipswich; however, this does mean the opening of the regional office will create new opportunities for the people of Ipswich, and its locality, to access good quality civil service jobs in the MoJ.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what cost-benefit analysis his Department has conducted on screening all prisoners for learning disabilities.

Screening for Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LDD) is delivered in prisons by contractors. The number of assessments carried out increased during the pandemic with more learners being supported.

As part of the MoJ’s Action Plan response to the Justice inspectorate’s review of Neurodiversity in the Criminal Justice System, the Cross Government Neurodiversity Working Group will consider current screening tool use, including assessing practicality, affordability and value for money. To help improve support for neurodivergent people, a new role of lead for neurodiversity is also being introduced in the Accelerator prisons with the view to expanding the role across the estate.

We have recently commissioned external research to evaluate current provision and are awaiting the findings. Our response to the recommendations from the recently published HMIP/OFSTED report, ‘Prison education: a review of reading education in prisons’ will include a review of all initial assessments taking place within custody.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department has taken to monitor older people’s experience of the criminal justice system.

We recognise that some older people can need additional support to access services.

Vulnerable victims, including some older victims, may face specific barriers to engaging victim support services or the criminal justice system. The Victims’ Code sets out a clear framework of 12 key overarching entitlements that set out what all victims can expect from all criminal justice agencies. Vulnerable victims are eligible for enhanced support under the Code, such as being offered a referral to a specialist support service, being contacted sooner after key decisions and having access to special measures when giving evidence.

We have also recently consulted on a Victims’ Bill, which will build on the foundations provided by the Victims’ Code to substantially improve victims’ experiences of the criminal justice system. The consultation committed to placing the Code in legislation, and explored options in relation to using victims’ experiences to drive improvements, and making clearer and sharper lines of accountability if victims do not receive their entitlements from criminal justice agencies.

We also recognise that older individuals in the criminal justice system can face barriers to accessing services which can rehabilitate them. We are developing an ageing prison population strategy currently, with the aim of ensuring older prisoners are rehabilitated successfully, reducing reoffending and better protecting the public.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people convicted of pet theft offences have been awarded a prison sentence in each of the last three years; and what the average length was of those sentences.

The Government is sympathetic to the emotional trauma which the theft of a much-loved pet can cause. The Sentencing Council’s guidelines on theft now take account of the emotional distress on the victim caused by any theft offence, including theft of a pet, meaning that the courts will now take this into account when considering the appropriate sentence.

There are different theft offences under the Theft Act 1968 any of which could relate to the theft of pets depending on the individual circumstances of the case. Centrally held information on theft offences does not identify if a pet specifically was stolen. The information may be held on court records but to be able to identify cases in which pets were stolen would require access individual court records which would be of disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that (a) pet sentience and (b) emotional harm to pet owners is considered in sentencing for pet theft offences.

The Government is sympathetic to the emotional trauma which the theft of a much-loved pet can cause. The Sentencing Council’s guidelines on theft now take account of the emotional distress on the victim caused by any theft offence, including theft of a pet, meaning that the courts will now take this into account when considering the appropriate sentence.

There are different theft offences under the Theft Act 1968 any of which could relate to the theft of pets depending on the individual circumstances of the case. Centrally held information on theft offences does not identify if a pet specifically was stolen. The information may be held on court records but to be able to identify cases in which pets were stolen would require access individual court records which would be of disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure that the use of coronavirus as a weapon is treated as an aggravating factor in sentencing.

It is vital that offenders using coronavirus to threaten others during this pandemic face the full force of the law.

Such behaviour is an assault and where this is directed at an emergency worker we have recently doubled the maximum penalty for assault from 6 to 12 months’ imprisonment. We have already seen significant sentences imposed on those using coronavirus as a threat.

Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for our independent Courts. On 8 April 2020, the Sentencing Council also published interim guidance for sentencers in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The interim guidance clarifies that, when sentencing common assault offences involving threats or activity relating to transmission of Covid-19, courts should treat this as an aggravating feature of the offence, meaning a more severe penalty could be imposed than would have been the case absent the aggravating factor (subject always to the maximum penalty for the offence).

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure that inmates found to have used social media in prison are punished appropriately.

We do not tolerate the use of mobile phones in our prisons and will seek to punish those responsible.

The Prison Service’s Digital Media Investigations Unit (DMIU) works with prisons to identify offenders accessing websites and shuts these down quickly. In 2019, 387 social media profiles were removed.

Prisoners found guilty of using phones or other devices to upload information to social media websites can face punishments including prosecution in court which can result in sentences of up to two years’ further imprisonment.

We are investing an extra £100 million across the prison estate to fund additional staff, X-ray body scanners, baggage scanners and drug detection technology at prison gates, so that we can stop phones from entering prisons. The same investment will fund cutting-edge phone detection and blocking technology so that we can stop phones that do enter from working, or detect and retrieve them. Additionally, we are building a new digital forensics facility, which will enhance our capability to exploit intelligence from seized phones.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport