Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2015-16 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Chi Onwurah
(Newcastle upon Tyne Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 04 July 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Manufacturing Industries: North East
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what meetings he has had with manufacturers in the North East on the (a) immediate effect of the result of the EU referendum and (b) short to long-term effects of the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 30 August 2016
Holding answer received on 07 July 2016

On 28 June my Rt hon Friend the then Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Sajid Javid) chaired a Business Roundtable with representatives from the UK’s largest sectors that included manufacturing representatives who also cover those based in the North East.

Q
(Bristol North West)
Asked on: 01 July 2016
Department for International Trade
Overseas Trade
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the Government plans to meet with the (a) Australian, (b) New Zealand and (c) Canadian governments to discuss the potential effect on trade with those countries of the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Dr Liam Fox
Answered on: 26 August 2016

Until we have left the EU, the UK will remain a member of the EU with all of the rights and obligations that membership entails. In due course, Britain will be leaving the EU. This offers us an opportunity to forge a new role for ourselves in the world: to negotiate, in time, our own trade agreements and to be a positive and powerful force for free trade. We recognise the need for a smooth transition which minimises disruption to our trading relationships. It would be wrong to set out unilateral positions at this stage. Already though we have seen expressions of interest in future trade deals with the United Kingdom, such as from the Prime Minister of Australia.

Q
(Cardiff South and Penarth)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 04 July 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Iron and Steel: Manufacturing Industries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what discussions he has had with representatives of the UK steel industry on the implications of the outcome of the EU referendum for that industry; and what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on support for the steel industry of the outcome of the EU referendum.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 26 August 2016
Holding answer received on 07 July 2016

We are committed to working closely with the UK steel sector through the Steel Council, which is co-chaired by my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Chair of UK Steel, to maximize all opportunities to improve the sector’s competitiveness. This is also the forum for the Government and the Steel sector to work together to assess the implications of the outcome of the EU referendum. On 28 June, Ministers from the former Department of Business, Innovation and Skills held a special round table of business leaders, including the Chair of the Steel Council, to start to explore post-referendum issues.

On 20 July, my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and I visited Port Talbot when we met with local Tata Steel management, employees and trade unions.

The Government’s top priority for steel has not changed in the light of the EU referendum. The process for selling Tata Steel’s remaining UK assets remains ongoing and we continue to work closely with Tata and potential bidders to seek to secure a sustainable future for UK steel production.

Q
Asked by Dan Jarvis
(Barnsley Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 05 July 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Trade Agreements: China
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what discussions the Government has had with the government of China on a potential free trade agreement between the UK and China.
A
Answered by: Dr Liam Fox
Answered on: 26 August 2016
Holding answer received on 11 July 2016

In due course, Britain will be leaving the EU. This offers us an opportunity to forge a new role for ourselves in the world: to negotiate, in time, our own trade agreements and to be a positive and powerful force for free trade. But it would not be appropriate to provide a running commentary on initial discussions with individual countries. My Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister has established the Department for International Trade to promote British trade across the world and ensure the UK takes advantage of the huge opportunities open to us. We will engage fully with a broad range of stakeholders, including both governments and business over the coming weeks and months as we prepare for the negotiation with the EU and other international partners.

Grouped Questions: 41849 | 41850
Q
Asked by Dan Jarvis
(Barnsley Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 05 July 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Trade Agreements: India
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what discussions the Government has had with the government of India on a potential free trade agreement between the UK and India.
A
Answered by: Dr Liam Fox
Answered on: 26 August 2016
Holding answer received on 11 July 2016

In due course, Britain will be leaving the EU. This offers us an opportunity to forge a new role for ourselves in the world: to negotiate, in time, our own trade agreements and to be a positive and powerful force for free trade. But it would not be appropriate to provide a running commentary on initial discussions with individual countries. My Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister has established the Department for International Trade to promote British trade across the world and ensure the UK takes advantage of the huge opportunities open to us. We will engage fully with a broad range of stakeholders, including both governments and business over the coming weeks and months as we prepare for the negotiation with the EU and other international partners.

Grouped Questions: 41848 | 41850
Q
Asked by Dan Jarvis
(Barnsley Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 05 July 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Trade Agreements: USA
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what discussions the Government has had with the US administration on a potential free trade agreement between the UK and the US.
A
Answered by: Dr Liam Fox
Answered on: 26 August 2016
Holding answer received on 11 July 2016

In due course, Britain will be leaving the EU. This offers us an opportunity to forge a new role for ourselves in the world: to negotiate, in time, our own trade agreements and to be a positive and powerful force for free trade. But it would not be appropriate to provide a running commentary on initial discussions with individual countries. My Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister has established the Department for International Trade to promote British trade across the world and ensure the UK takes advantage of the huge opportunities open to us. We will engage fully with a broad range of stakeholders, including both governments and business over the coming weeks and months as we prepare for the negotiation with the EU and other international partners.

Grouped Questions: 41848 | 41849
Q
(Carmarthen East and Dinefwr)
Asked on: 13 July 2016
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans he has to protect public services in future negotiations on trade agreements.
A
Answered by: Dr Liam Fox
Answered on: 26 August 2016

My Rt Hon Friend the Prime Minister has established the Department for International Trade to promote British trade across the world and ensure the UK takes advantage of the huge opportunities open to us.

The trade agreements the UK is currently party to include specific guarantees for public services. Decisions on how to deliver public services for the best outcomes for UK citizens are made by the UK Government. The Government wants to ensure the continued provision of quality public services.

Q
(Pendle)
Asked on: 12 July 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Business: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what work his Department is undertaking on identifying EU regulations that have a cost to British businesses that could be repealed or replaced.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 25 August 2016

In the short term, the Government will continue to seek the amendment or repeal of EU rules within the framework of the European Commission’s Regulatory Fitness (REFIT) programme, in order to minimise the regulatory burdens imposed on UK businesses. The REFIT programme was established in 2012 to review the stock of existing EU legislation in order to identify burdens, inconsistencies, gaps or ineffective measures and address them.

Building on the work of the Red Tape Challenge and the current Cutting Red Tape programme, we will continue our engagement with business to gather their views on their priorities for reducing EU regulatory burdens wherever possible once the UK has left the EU. My Rt Hon Friend the former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Member for Bromsgrove (Sajid Javid) chaired a roundtable with business leaders, to discuss the challenges faced by businesses and ensure that the negotiation of the UK’s future relationship with the EU is carried out in the interest of UK companies, investors, potential investors and workers.

Q
(Liverpool, Wavertree)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 12 July 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
EU Grants and Loans: Liverpool City Region
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding from the (a) European Regional Development Fund and (b) European Social Fund was spent in (i) Liverpool, Wavertree constituency and (ii) each borough of the Liverpool City Region in each year since 2010.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 25 August 2016

Information is not held for individual constituencies or boroughs. Figures are recorded for Merseyside and are from the 2007-13 programming period where projects could spend money up to the end of 2015, with some reimbursements taking place in 2016.

The figures for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) are:

Year

£m Merseyside

2009

£77.30

2010

£25.00

2011

£28.80

2012

£27.00

2013

£29.70

2014

£21.60

2015

£33.50

2016

£20.75

Total

£263.65

For the European Social Fund (ESF) figures as follows:

Year

£m Merseyside

2010

£44.04

2011

£20.58

2012

£11.61

2013

£8.75

2014

£7.70

2015

£9.93

2016

£0.29

Total

£102.90

Q
(Leicester South)
Asked on: 18 July 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Ministerial Policy Advisers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whom he has appointed as his special advisers.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 25 August 2016

A list of Special Advisers in Government will be published in due course.

Q
(Blaydon)
Asked on: 18 July 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
British Airways: Conditions of Employment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will investigate whether TUPE provisions have been applied to British Airways IT workers' jobs that have been outsourced in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 25 August 2016

When a business changes owner, TUPE regulations may apply. Outsourcing part of their business is a commercial decision taken by British Airways and it is not a matter for the Government to investigate such decisions.

Q
Asked by Martyn Day
(Linlithgow and East Falkirk)
Asked on: 18 July 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Companies: Registration
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what information his Department holds on the level of address fraud in the registration of companies; and if his Department will seek to review the process and legislation for the registration of companies in order to avoid such fraud in future.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 25 August 2016

As part of its responsibility for maintaining the UK companies register, Companies House undertake some basic checks on companies during the incorporation process. The Government has no current plans to require additional processes and checks before registration.

Companies House maintains statistics on the nature of the complaints it receives about alleged address fraud.

Companies House follows up on all complaints received about newly incorporated companies and works closely with law enforcement agencies where fraudulent activity is suspected. It is an offence under the Companies Act to submit false information to Companies House.

Q
(Leicester South)
Asked on: 19 July 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Companies: Ownership
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has responsibility for the public register of beneficial ownership of UK companies.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 25 August 2016

The register of people with significant control will be held at Companies House, which is an agency of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Q
(Leicester South)
Asked on: 19 July 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Companies: Ownership
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how the public register of beneficial ownership of UK companies can be accessed.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 25 August 2016

Companies House’s register of the information provided by UK companies on their People with Significant Control (PSCs) is public and freely accessible, and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/companies-house .

Since 30 June, companies have been required to provide information on their PSCs to Companies House as the Confirmation Statement (formerly the annual return) becomes due. The register will therefore build up over time and be complete from 29 June 2017.

Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 21 July 2016
Department for Education
Schools: Vocational Guidance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Nash on 13 July (HL1032), how many teachers have (1) the Qualification in Career Guidance, (2) the Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development, and (3) both qualifications.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 25 August 2016

Schools have a legal duty to secure independent careers guidance for all pupils in years 8-13. Statutory guidance which underpins the duty states that schools should have a strategy for careers guidance which is developed in accordance with the needs and circumstances of their pupils. Schools should consider a number of principles for good practice, including the role that careers professionals can play in supporting pupils as one element of a varied careers programme.

The statutory guidance encourages schools to search for qualified careers practitioners in their area on the UK Register of Career Development Professionals. Individuals providing careers development services can apply to join the register if they are professionally qualified in a career development subject to a minimum of Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) Level 6, adhere to the Career Development Institute Code of Ethics and undertake and record a minimum of 25 hours continuing professional development each year. As at August 2016 there were over 1,200 people on the register.

Asked on: 19 July 2016
Department for Education
Apprentices
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the changes that have transferred policy on apprenticeships and the responsibility for the Institute for Apprenticeships to the Department for Education, how they plan to ensure that employers and business leaders are involved in future development of policy on apprenticeships.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 24 August 2016

Prior to recent Government changes, the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills were jointly responsible for apprenticeships policy. The Department for Education remains fully committed to working with and involving employers and business leaders in the development and implementation of apprenticeships policy.

The Institute for Apprenticeships will be employer-led and have responsibility for ensuring the quality of apprenticeship standards in England. The board will comprise primarily of employers, business leaders and their representatives. This will ensure that employers are fully engaged and continue to play a key role in improving apprenticeship quality.

Employer-led groups will continue to develop apprenticeship standards that meet their skills needs. Over 1,400 employers are currently involved in designing the new apprenticeship standards.

Q
Asked by Tim Loughton
(East Worthing and Shoreham)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 18 July 2016
Department for Education
Primary Education: Admissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when she plans to open the consultation on changes to the School Admissions Code to increase the rights of parents to choose when their child enters reception class.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 23 August 2016

We are considering a number of possible changes to the way in which the school admissions system works and we will want to consult on any changes we believe would be helpful. We will announce the timetable for consultation in due course.

Q
Asked on: 21 July 2016
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Private Sector
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have undertaken an analysis of the risks and benefits of profit-making companies managing custodial institutions in the light of the serious allegations against some members of the G4S staff at Medway Secure Training Centre and the subsequent transfer of that centre to government control.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 18 August 2016

The allegations at Medway STC are shocking and completely unacceptable. Decisive action has already been taken, which includes the appointment of a new centre manager and senior management team. G4S have been removed from the running of Medway and since 1 July the centre has been under new leadership.

The safety and rehabilitation of young offenders is extremely important. We will be responding to the Charlie Taylor review with our plans for reform shortly.

Well-run prisons are fundamental to the proper functioning of our justice system, and a vital part of our reform plans.

Private providers play an important role in the prison estate. Performance of all providers is closely monitored and we will not hesitate to take action where standards fall short. Our providers are contractually required to cooperate with performance monitoring and audit by the Ministry.

Q
(Barnsley East)
Asked on: 12 July 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Iron and Steel: Manufacturing Industries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the effect of the recent change in the value of the pound on the purchasing power of British steel companies.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 15 August 2016

My Department regularly reviews the impact of changing economic conditions on business including in specific sectors such as steel. We also talk regularly to companies to understand their view on market conditions including in formal meetings such as sector councils.

Steel companies are impacted differently by exchange rates depending on the balance of raw materials they import from outside the UK and the location of their export markets.

Asked on: 18 July 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Departmental Responsibilities
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will continue to lead on consumer affairs; and if so, which minister has responsibility for that area.
A
Answered by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Answered on: 15 August 2016

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will continue to lead on consumer affairs. Margot James MP is the Minister for Small Business, Consumers, and Corporate Responsibility.

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