Covid-19 Departmental Backlogs

Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons on 25th November 2021.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

What steps his Department is taking to support other Departments to tackle backlogs resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Paymaster General

As we come out of the crisis phase of the covid response, the Government have put the recovery of public services at the heart of their building back better and levelling-up agenda, and we have already laid the foundation for recovery. Earlier this year, in the 2021-22 spending review, the Government allocated £55 billion to the public sector through key initiatives such as the £1 billion elective recovery fund, the £30 billion plan for jobs, £3 billion in education recovery, the £4.8 billion levelling-up fund, and almost half a billion pounds in criminal justice system recovery. This work continues at pace across Government, and the Cabinet Office continues to work closely with Departments as they all build the world-class public services the UK deserves.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

I thank the Paymaster General for that excellent answer, and I thank the Government for all they have done for business and for every sector through the pandemic; it is much appreciated.

I want to ask specifically about education. Will the Paymaster General outline whether additional education funding, above the £3 billion that he referred to, has been considered to bring some of our children back to where they should be? I am very concerned, as all in the House are, about the education of children. How, specifically, can we ensure that the children who have lost out can still catch up and have time to do so?

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Paymaster General

As is so often the case, the hon. Gentleman is so right in his focus on education. Of course, the Government recognise the importance of education for all our young people, at primary, secondary and tertiary level. That recognition manifests itself in the extra funding that the Government have supplied, through the Department for Education, to the education sector. There is the £3 billion education recovery fund, and I will be very happy to write to the hon. Gentleman with more details about the breakdown of those sums.