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 by Lord Aberdare
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Apprentices: Taxation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made in developing the IT system to support the delivery of the Digital Apprenticeship Voucher, and what plans they have for testing and piloting that scheme.
A
Answered by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Answered on: 24 May 2016

The digital apprenticeship service is being built by the Skills Funding Agency in accordance with Cabinet Office best practice.

To ensure that the service is focused on employer and training provider needs we are performing extensive user research. The service will build on insights gathered from over 2000 employers and around 400 training providers. To make sure that the service is ready for the levy in April 2017, we plan to launch a substantial pilot with employers and providers later this year.

Further details on the apprenticeship levy and the digital apprenticeship service are available in the guide for employers which was published in April: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeship-levy-how-it-will-work

Apprenticeship levy - how it will work (Word Document, 49.88 KB)
Q
Asked by Lord Bowness
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
UK Trade with EU
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of leaving the EU on businesses that trade with the EU, and what guidance they have given to affected businesses about how they might communicate that impact.
A
Answered by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Answered on: 24 May 2016

Her Majesty’s Treasury published a comprehensive analysis of benefits and costs of membership of a reformed EU and the alternatives on 18 April. This included boxes detailing the impact of EU membership on key business sectors such as financial services, aerospace and pharmaceuticals.

According to this analysis, key sectors would be worse off due to reduced access to the Single Market. For example, losing customs-free movement of goods could cause customs delays. In time-sensitive industries, each hour of customs delay can reduce trade by 5%. Treasury analysis also provides a sectoral breakdown of the 3.3 million jobs which are linked to trade with the EU.

The Prime Minister has spoken about the benefits of EU membership at a number of businesses throughout the UK. The transcripts of these are available on the gov.uk website.

Asked on: 18 May 2016
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the timetable for deciding whether to allow a third runway at Heathrow.
A
Answered on: 24 May 2016

A number of important decisions on airport capacity were taken by the Government in December, including to accept the case for expansion in the South-East. However, we must take the time to get the decision right on a preferred scheme. The Government is further considering the environmental impacts and the best possible measures to mitigate the impacts of expansion, this work will conclude by summer 2016.

Q
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Department of Health
Accident and Emergency Departments
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether total Accident and Emergency (A&E) waiting times are calculated, for the purposes of reporting, from the time the ambulance arrives at A&E or from the time the patient enters the A&E Department.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 24 May 2016

Accident and emergency (A&E) waiting times for patients who arrive by ambulance start either when the ambulance crew hand over the patient to the A&E department, or 15 minutes after the ambulance registers its arrival at A&E, whichever is earlier.

Asked on: 18 May 2016
Department for Work and Pensions
Local Housing Allowance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they will take to protect and enhance the amount of local housing allowance paid by local authorities in England in order to meet the accommodation and support needs of persons with learning disabilities.
A
Answered by: Lord Freud
Answered on: 24 May 2016

A Written Ministerial Statement was published on 1 March 2016 to announce that the effect of the Local Housing Allowance cap for those living in social sector supported housing, including those with learning disabilities, would be deferred by a year, pending the outcome of a review.

We have done this because we understand the importance of ensuring that both those living in supported housing and those who provide this type of accommodation receive appropriate protections. This is why we are awaiting the outcome of a “Supported Accommodation” research project and subsequent policy review, to ensure support is focused on the most vulnerable and appropriate groups are safeguarded

Q
Asked by Kevin Brennan
(Cardiff West)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
HM Treasury
Iron and Steel: Non-domestic Rates
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will undertake a comparative assessment of levels of business rates applying to steel producers in the UK and in other EU member states.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 24 May 2016

The government concluded the Business Rates Review at Budget 2016. The government consulted with stakeholders, including the steel industry.

From April 2020, business rates for all businesses, including the steel industry, will be cut through a switch in the indexation of business rates from RPI to the main measure of inflation currently CPI.

The government has worked hard to deliver on the steel industry’s key asks. We (a) secured state aid approval to compensate for energy costs, (b) secured flexibility over EU emissions regulations, (c) published guidance so that the true value of UK steel can be taken into account in major procurement decisions, and (d) continue to tackle unfair trading practices at an EU and an international level

Grouped Questions: 37180
Q
Asked by Kevin Brennan
(Cardiff West)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
HM Treasury
Iron and Steel: Non-domestic Rates
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the effects of the level of business rates on capital investment in the UK steel industry.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 24 May 2016

The government concluded the Business Rates Review at Budget 2016. The government consulted with stakeholders, including the steel industry.

From April 2020, business rates for all businesses, including the steel industry, will be cut through a switch in the indexation of business rates from RPI to the main measure of inflation currently CPI.

The government has worked hard to deliver on the steel industry’s key asks. We (a) secured state aid approval to compensate for energy costs, (b) secured flexibility over EU emissions regulations, (c) published guidance so that the true value of UK steel can be taken into account in major procurement decisions, and (d) continue to tackle unfair trading practices at an EU and an international level

Grouped Questions: 37170
Q
Asked by Peter Kyle
(Hove)
[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 May 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Technology: Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, how much of the adult skills budget, excluding apprenticeships, was spent on engineering and manufacturing technologies courses at (a) level 2, (b) level 3, (c) level 4, and (d) level 5-6 in the last financial year for which data is available.
A
Answered by: Nick Boles
Answered on: 24 May 2016
Holding answer received on 23 May 2016

Table 1 shows estimated funding values for Adult Skills Budget provision (excluding Apprenticeships) in the Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies sector subject area, by level, in the 2014-15 financial year.

Figures for estimated funding come from the Individualised Learner Record and provide an indication of the level of government funding. They should not be treated as actual spend, since spending is not reported by sector subject area.


Table 1: Estimated Adult Skills Budget Funding for Non-Apprenticeship provision in Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies by Level, 2014-15

Level

Estimated Funding (£100,000's)

Level 2

500

Level 3

149

Level 4

1

Level 5 and 6

0

Notes:

1) Figures show estimated (notional) funding and should not be treated as actual spend.

2) Figures do not include estimated (notional) funding for LEOP, EOP or learners with an advanced learning loan which is not available.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Higher Education: Males
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, if he will take steps to increase the proportion of men going to university.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 24 May 2016

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone with the potential has the opportunity to benefit from higher education, irrespective of their background or gender.

In the last academic year we saw record numbers of applicants and entrants to higher education, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In our recent guidance to the Director of Fair Access, we asked him to include among his areas of focus support for white working class boys who are among the groups with the lowest participation rates. Universities expect to spend more than £745 million through access agreements agreed with the Director of Fair Access on measures to improve access and success for students from disadvantaged backgrounds - up significantly from £404 million in 2009.

Q
Asked by Peter Kyle
(Hove)
[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 May 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Apprentices: Taxation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, when officials of his Department last met representatives of the devolved administrations to discuss (a) how the apprenticeship levy will operate and (b) the proportion of the apprenticeship levy that each of the devolved administrations will receive.
A
Answered by: Nick Boles
Answered on: 24 May 2016
Holding answer received on 23 May 2016

The digital apprenticeship service will support the English apprenticeship system from April 2017 and my officials engage regularly with their devolved administration counterparts to discuss the implementation of the apprenticeship levy and the new digital service.

Apprenticeships are a devolved policy and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will continue to determine their arrangements for supporting employers to access and pay for apprenticeships.

Discussions are continuing with the devolved administration on funding arrangements.

Q
Asked by Jack Dromey
(Birmingham, Erdington)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Cabinet Office
EU Grants and Loans
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what level of funding was awarded to the UK from the DAPHNE and Progress programmes in each year to 2014; to which Departments this funding was awarded; and which regions received action grants under which headings.
A
Answered by: Matthew Hancock
Answered on: 24 May 2016

This information is not held centrally.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Cabinet Office
Divorce
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many divorces between people aged 30 and under took place in the UK in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Mr Rob Wilson
Answered on: 24 May 2016

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Referral Letter (PDF Document, 119.74 KB)
Q
Asked by Steve McCabe
(Birmingham, Selly Oak)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Cabinet Office
Census: Armed Forces
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether questions about the armed forces community will be included in the next national census; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mr Rob Wilson
Answered on: 24 May 2016

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Referral Letter (PDF Document, 63.1 KB)
Q
(Brent North)
[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 May 2016
Cabinet Office
Lobbying
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his Department's news story of 27 April 2016, Update on a new clause to be inserted into grant agreements, whether his Department plans to hold a formal consultation on the proposed anti-lobbying clause.
A
Answered by: Matthew Hancock
Answered on: 24 May 2016

As I made clear in the House on 27 April, we are committed to protecting taxpayers' money from being wasted on government lobbying government. We are pausing the implementation of this clause into grant agreements, pending a review of the representations made.

Grouped Questions: 37115
Q
(Brent North)
[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 May 2016
Cabinet Office
Lobbying
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his Department's news story of 27 April 2016, Update on a new clause to be inserted into grant agreements, how long his Department plans to spend on the review of representations received on the anti-lobbying clause; and whether his Department will continue to consider representations made after the date of that announcement.
A
Answered by: Matthew Hancock
Answered on: 24 May 2016

As I made clear in the House on 27 April, we are committed to protecting taxpayers' money from being wasted on government lobbying government. We are pausing the implementation of this clause into grant agreements, pending a review of the representations made.

Grouped Questions: 37114
Q
(Brent North)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Cabinet Office
Lobbying
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his Department's news story of 27 April 2016, Update on a new clause to be inserted into grant agreements, what guidance his Department has given to departments which have already inserted an anti-lobbying clause into grant agreements made with organisations since the start of the current financial year.
A
Answered by: Matthew Hancock
Answered on: 24 May 2016

As I made clear in the House on 27 April, we are committed to protecting taxpayers' money from being wasted on government lobbying government. We are pausing the implementation of this clause into grant agreements, pending a review of the representations made.

Q
(Northampton South)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Cabinet Office
Census: Sikhs
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make representations to the Office for National Statistics on including a separate ethnicity box for Sikh in the (a) 2021 census and (b) 2017 test questionnaire.
A
Answered by: Mr Rob Wilson
Answered on: 24 May 2016

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Referral Letter (PDF Document, 113.14 KB)
Q
Asked by Toby Perkins
(Chesterfield)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Department for Communities and Local Government
Local Government: Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what mechanisms are in place to ensure that the pensions of people enrolled in pooled local government pension schemes are safeguarded in the event of a failed infrastructure project that received investment from that fund.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 24 May 2016

Local government pension scheme benefits are set out in statute and are not linked to the investment performance of funds. However, those responsible for investment decisions should have regard to the need to achieve an appropriate balance between risk and return and act in the best interests of scheme members and local taxpayers.

Q
Asked by Helen Goodman
(Bishop Auckland)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
HM Treasury
Taxation: Tanzania
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether HM Revenue and Customs is in discussions with Tanzania about a tax treaty between the UK and Tanzania.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 24 May 2016

The UK is not currently involved in active treaty discussions with Tanzania.

Discussions with Malawi over a new tax treaty began some years ago, and substantive agreement has been reached at official level. The Government of Malawi have stated that they hope to be in a position to sign the new treaty in the near future.

The UK has negotiated a treaty with Lesotho and are currently seeking to arrange signature.

The UK is currently involved in negotiations with Ghana in agreeing a new tax treaty.

Nepal has approached the UK to begin negotiation of a tax treaty. We are seeking suitable dates for discussions.

Grouped Questions: 37145 | 37146
Q
Asked by Helen Goodman
(Bishop Auckland)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
HM Treasury
Taxation: Africa
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress has been made in updating tax treaties between the UK and (a) Malawi, (b) Lesotho and (c) Ghana.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 24 May 2016

The UK is not currently involved in active treaty discussions with Tanzania.

Discussions with Malawi over a new tax treaty began some years ago, and substantive agreement has been reached at official level. The Government of Malawi have stated that they hope to be in a position to sign the new treaty in the near future.

The UK has negotiated a treaty with Lesotho and are currently seeking to arrange signature.

The UK is currently involved in negotiations with Ghana in agreeing a new tax treaty.

Nepal has approached the UK to begin negotiation of a tax treaty. We are seeking suitable dates for discussions.

Grouped Questions: 37144 | 37146
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