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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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 on: 04 July 2016
Department for Education
Pupils: EU Nationals
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the referendum on the UK membership of the EU, whether school children from other EU countries enrolled in British schools will be able to complete their education in the UK without interruption.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 26 July 2016

As a matter of principle all children resident in the UK are entitled to receive a free state-school education. We want to reassure European citizens living in the UK that there will be no immediate changes in their circumstances.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 05 July 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Department for Energy and Climate Change: UK Withdrawal from EU
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of which policy areas within his Department's remit will be affected by the outcome of the EU referendum.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 26 July 2016

The Government’s guiding principle throughout the process of leaving the EU will be to ensure the best possible outcome for the British people.

At this stage, it is not possible to assess the implications of the outcome of the EU referendum on the potential solar jobs figures set out in the Impact Assessment.

Q
Asked by Andrew Percy
(Brigg and Goole)
Asked on: 06 July 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Renewable Energy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timetable is for publishing the Government's analysis of whole system costs.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 26 July 2016

Following peer review by experts in the field of whole system impacts, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will publish the methodology report of the Whole System Impacts of Electricity Generation Technologies project in due course.

Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 06 July 2016
Department for Education
Literacy: Young People
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to improve teenage literacy, in the light of the 2016 OECD report Building skills for all: A review of England, which stated that the UK has the lowest literacy rates among 16 to 19 year-olds out of 23 developed countries.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 26 July 2016

We are pleased that the OECD recognises in their review the changes we have made in recent years to ensure that all young people leave full-time education with a high standard of English.

The primary National Curriculum emphasises the teaching of early reading through systematic phonics and the importance of accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar. At secondary school pupils are expected to read a wide range of texts fluently and with good understanding.

We have reformed GCSEs to ensure they are more stretching and provide greater assurance of core literacy than the old GCSE. We are also taking action to improve the rigour and relevance of English Functional Skills qualifications, which are taken by many students and apprentices aged 16 and over.

To ensure all young people have every opportunity to secure proficiency in English, since 2014 we have required every 16-19 year old not holding a good pass in GCSE English and mathematics to continue to study these subjects as part of their 16-19 study programme. We have also embedded English and mathematics into our work-based training programmes such as apprenticeships and traineeships.

Last summer’s GCSE results show that over 4,000 more students aged 17 and over secured GCSE English at grades A*-C than the previous year.

Q
Asked by Jess Phillips
(Birmingham, Yardley)
Asked on: 07 July 2016
Department for Education
Teachers: Internet
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many visits her Department's teaching blog has received on average each week since that blog was established.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 26 July 2016

The teaching blog has received an average of 758 visits per week, and 15,938 visits in total. The costs are only in staff time and image usage of £2.50 per image as the blog is hosted on the GOV.UK platform. The blog is run by the Department’s social media team as a small proportion of one member of staff’s overall workload.

Grouped Questions: 42149 | 42151
Q
Asked by Jess Phillips
(Birmingham, Yardley)
Asked on: 07 July 2016
Department for Education
Teachers: Internet
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much her Department has spent on its teaching blog since that blog was established.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 26 July 2016

The teaching blog has received an average of 758 visits per week, and 15,938 visits in total. The costs are only in staff time and image usage of £2.50 per image as the blog is hosted on the GOV.UK platform. The blog is run by the Department’s social media team as a small proportion of one member of staff’s overall workload.

Grouped Questions: 42150 | 42151
Q
Asked by Jess Phillips
(Birmingham, Yardley)
Asked on: 07 July 2016
Department for Education
Teachers: Internet
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many staff of her Department work on its teaching blog.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 26 July 2016

The teaching blog has received an average of 758 visits per week, and 15,938 visits in total. The costs are only in staff time and image usage of £2.50 per image as the blog is hosted on the GOV.UK platform. The blog is run by the Department’s social media team as a small proportion of one member of staff’s overall workload.

Grouped Questions: 42150 | 42149
Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 07 July 2016
Department for Education
Department for Education: Babies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what facilities are available for (a) lactating mothers and (b) the changing of babies in her Department.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 26 July 2016

The Department for Education’s main office in London has a facility for both nursing mothers and baby changing. This room is clearly signed as a baby changing area and contains a baby changing fold down work top, wipes, and chairs for nursing mothers to sit comfortably.

Other Department sites in Coventry, Darlington, Manchester and Sheffield also have a room available for use by nursing mothers and baby changing which contain seating, worktop areas and wipes.

The Nottingham site is a conference centre, with overnight accommodation facilities. This site is able to prepare a suitable hotel room for nursing mothers and baby changing when required.

Asked on: 07 July 2016
Department for Education
Pupils: EU Nationals
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the outcome of the referendum on the UK's membership of the EU, what steps they are taking to reassure young pupils from European backgrounds who fear that they may be forced to leave the UK.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 26 July 2016

As a matter of principle all children resident in the UK receive a free state-school education. We want to reassure European citizens living in the UK that there will be no immediate changes in their circumstances.

Q
Asked by Mr Jamie Reed
(Copeland)
Asked on: 08 July 2016
Department for Education
Overseas Students: EU Nationals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students from other EU countries are registered to attend UK universities in the academic year 2016-17.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 26 July 2016

Interim data on the number of EU domiciled applicants accepted to study full-time undergraduate courses in the 2016/17 academic year will be published by UCAS on 29th September. The UCAS timetable of statistical releases can be found at the following link: https://www.ucas.com/corporate/data-and-analysis/ucas-undergraduate-releases/ucas-undergraduate-timetable-data-and

As at 26th May, 49,600 EU domiciled individuals (excluding UK) had applied to attend UK higher education institutions for the 2016-17 academic year. This does not include those studying at postgraduate level or on a part-time basis.

Information on enrolments in all modes and levels of study will be included in the 2016/17 Higher Education Statistics Agency’s (HESA) Student Record, which will be available from January 2018.

Asked on: 08 July 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
North Korea: Sanctions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the US Treasury decision to impose sanctions on North Korean senior officials in the light of reported human rights abuses; and whether they plan to impose similar sanctions.
Answered on: 26 July 2016

The US decision to designate senior members of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) regime follows its decision to introduce the US North Korea Sanctions Policy Enhancement Act in February 2016. The British Government shares the objective of maintaining pressure on the DPRK to fulfil its international human rights obligations and is deeply concerned by the human rights situation in the DPRK. It regularly consults with partners such as the US, the EU and regional partners on the best way to achieve this.

Asked on: 08 July 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Guo Feixiong
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China about the case of Guo Feixiong; and what response they have received.
Answered on: 26 July 2016

The former Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), raised the case of Guo Feixiong with the Chinese Ambassador on 3 December 2015, who said the case was being handled according to Chinese law. More recently, we supported an EU statement on 22 June 2016. That statement called for Guo, along with several other individuals detained for seeking to protect the rights of others, such as their right to freedom of expression, to be released.

We continue to monitor Guo’s case and report on it via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy. We will raise Guo’s case at the next round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue.

Asked on: 08 July 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Ethnic Groups
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information they have about (1) land confiscation, (2) military activity, (3) health, (4) education, (5) drug use and its consequences, (6) local drug supply and drug use, (7) the killing of civilians, (8) arbitrary taxation, and (9) the displacement of villagers and forced recruitment, in Burma’s Karen state; and whether they plan to discuss those issues with the new government of Burma.
Answered on: 26 July 2016

The British Government follows events in Burma's Karen State closely, including those listed in the noble Lord's question. Staff from our Embassy in Rangoon visit regularly. Many of these issues are connected to the legacy of conflict. We play a key role in international efforts to resolve the conflict across Burma. As part of these efforts, we have supported both the previous and current Governments of Burma, as well as the Ethnic Armed Groups that are party to the conflict (including the Karen), to find a negotiated political settlement. In addition, the Department for International Development (DFID) has a major development programme in Burma, of which Karen State is a beneficiary, including on health and education. For example, DFID works with several non-government organisations to fund programmes for the prevention and treatment of malaria which is prevalent in Karen State, and to establish community based schools and centres for early childhood development. The UK discusses conflict-related issues with the Government of Burma on a regular basis.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 08 July 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Philippines: Offences against Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of the Philippines regarding the enforcement of the Anti-Child Pornography Act 2009, in particular the provisions requiring internet service providers to filter and block images of child abuse.
Answered on: 26 July 2016

The Philippines is a committed partner in the WePROTECT Global Alliance and is serious about tackling child sexual exploitation online and offline. We have ongoing and regular dialogue with the Philippine Government on child sexual exploitation, including the implementation of the Anti-Child Pornography Act 2009. The Philippine Government is working to ensure the Act is fit for purpose. The Philippine Interagency Council against Child Pornography has requested that the Department of Justice order internet service providers to comply with the Act.

In April 2016, the British Embassy participated in an Online Child Sexual Exploitation technical working group, hosted by the Philippine Committee for the Special Protection of Children. Experts from the Philippine Department of Justice, prosecutors, representatives from UNICEF, other diplomatic missions and foreign law enforcement also participated. The Act and other legislation formed part of the discussion. In June 2016, the National Crime Agency participated in further discussions on the Philippine Government’s strategy and the WePROTECT national model.

We have supported the Philippine Government’s participation at the WePROTECT Summits in London and most recently in Abu Dhabi. The National Crime Agency also works closely with Filipino partners in the fight against child sexual exploitation and provides training on the forensic analysis of digital media.

Q
Asked by Lord Judd
Asked on: 11 July 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Occupied Territories: Housing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the most recent Quartet Report's statement that Israel's "continuing policy of settlement and construction" was "steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution", what specific actions they plan to take in response to the recent decisions by the government of Israel to approve new settlements and to provide a further $18 million to support settlements.
Answered on: 26 July 2016

On 5 July, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), issued a statement expressing deep concerns about the announcement of new Israeli settlement units in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson statement, on 22 June, also expressed concern about Israel’s decision to provide an additional £12 million of funding for settlements. The position of the UK on Israeli settlements is clear: they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and make a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, harder to achieve. We will continue to raise our objections to settlements with the Israeli government.

Grouped Questions: HL1130
Q
Asked by Lord Judd
Asked on: 11 July 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Occupied Territories
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what specific action they are taking in response to the number of Israeli settlers in occupied Palestinian territories.
Answered on: 26 July 2016

On 5 July, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), issued a statement expressing deep concerns about the announcement of new Israeli settlement units in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson statement, on 22 June, also expressed concern about Israel’s decision to provide an additional £12 million of funding for settlements. The position of the UK on Israeli settlements is clear: they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and make a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, harder to achieve. We will continue to raise our objections to settlements with the Israeli government.

Grouped Questions: HL1129
Q
Asked by Melanie Onn
(Great Grimsby)
[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: 11 July 2016
Department for Education
Teachers: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the performance of the National Allocation Scheme relating to initial teacher training as part of National Teaching School programme.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 26 July 2016

There is no ‘National Allocation Scheme’, but this year we have used recruitment controls for the purpose of recruitment to Initial Teacher Training (ITT). Information on these recruitment controls can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-itt-recruitment-controls

In response to feedback from the sector from previous years, we changed the approach to initial teacher training (ITT) allocations for 2016-17 recruitment. The National College for Teaching and Leadership did not allocate a specific number of places to individual organisations for postgraduate ITT courses due to start in the 2016-17 academic year. Instead, eligible schools, School Centred Initial Teacher Training providers (SCITTs) and higher education institutions (HEIs) are able to recruit (subject to a limited number of controls) as many trainees as they feel they need until the overall system has recruited sufficient trainees.

The Census data which will be published online later in 2016 will indicate the number of trainees recruited by subject.

Q
Asked by Melanie Onn
(Great Grimsby)
[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: 11 July 2016
Department for Education
Teachers: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress her Department has made on regionalisation of the initial teacher training programme.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 26 July 2016

We are monitoring recruitment at a regional level in all subjects to ensure that the regional balance of initial teacher training (ITT) provision is maintained. We reserve the right to control recruitment in particular regions for all ITT routes and courses. It is important to maintain the regional balance of ITT provision and consequently we may use recruitment controls to prevent significant geographical variation in the distribution of provision compared to previous years. However, we will not operate with regional targets.

Q
Asked by Jess Phillips
(Birmingham, Yardley)
Asked on: 12 July 2016
Department for Education
Ofsted: Staff
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many staff were employed by Ofsted in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13, (c) 2013-14, (d) 2014-15 and (e) 2015-16.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 26 July 2016

These are matters for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw. I have asked him to write to you and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House libraries.

Grouped Questions: 42503 | 42506
Q
Asked by Jess Phillips
(Birmingham, Yardley)
Asked on: 12 July 2016
Department for Education
Ofsted: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the total net budget of Ofsted was in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13, (c) 2013-14, (d) 2014-15 and (e) 2015-16.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 26 July 2016

These are matters for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw. I have asked him to write to you and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House libraries.

Grouped Questions: 42502 | 42506
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