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.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

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.
Showing 1-20 out of 29471
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
(Sheffield Central)
Asked on: 04 November 2016
Home Office
Visas: Overseas Students
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will release an anonymised version of the data which her Department and its agencies hold on visa refusal rates for higher education institutions.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 24 January 2017

I am sorry but this information is not collated centrally.

Q
Asked by Karen Lumley
(Redditch)
Asked on: 25 November 2016
Ministry of Justice
Prison Service: Vacancies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what information her Department holds on the average number of applicants received for prison officer vacancies.
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 24 January 2017

A core part of our prison safety and reform plan is the recruitment of an additional 2,500 additional prison officers. In 10 of our most challenging prisons we have already started a recruitment programme. I am pleased to say that we have already made over 300 job offers for those 400 jobs, on top of 1,400 new officers appointed in the last 12 months.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Q
Asked by Stephen Timms
(East Ham)
[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: 28 November 2016
Ministry of Justice
Prison Service: Labour Turnover
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment she has made of the reasons for high prison officer turnover; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 24 January 2017

A core part of our prison safety and reform plan is the recruitment of an additional 2,500 prison officers. In 10 of our most challenging prisons we have already started a recruitment programme, and I am pleased to say that we have already made 348 job offers for those 400 jobs, on top of 1,400 new officer appointed in the last 12 months.

To address the relatively higher numbers of new officers who leave in the first year, we are improving the support that applicants and new prison officers receive, so that they have the opportunity to explore and understand the role of the prison officer before applying and supporting them through to the completion of their training and probation. At 30 of our most challenging recruitment sites we will be giving prison governors greater freedoms to hire the staff right for them, with the expertise and skills they need.

In respect of established staff, higher staffing levels are set to improve the supervision of prisoners, operational resilience and staff engagement with prisoners; all of which will improve prison safety and encourage experienced staff to stay. The percentage of experienced staff is higher now than it was in 2010.

Q
Asked on: 02 December 2016
Cabinet Office
British Nationals Abroad: Voting Rights
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the announcement on 7 October that they intend to remove the 15-year rule on British citizens living overseas voting in parliamentary elections, whether expatriate UK citizens would also be entitled to participate in any future referendums.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 24 January 2017

The franchise for any future referendum would be determined by Parliament in the primary legislation which provides for that referendum.

Q
Asked by Melanie Onn
(Great Grimsby)
Asked on: 14 December 2016
Department for Education
Department for Education: iNHouse Communications
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has had communications with iNHouse Communications Ltd in connection with any current commercial tender process.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 24 January 2017

This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Q
Asked by Melanie Onn
(Great Grimsby)
Asked on: 14 December 2016
Department for Education
Department for Education: iNHouse Communications
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has awarded any commercial contracts to iNHouse Communications Ltd in the last five years.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 24 January 2017

The Department for Education does not hold any commercial or financial records relating to iNHouse Communications Limited. An iNHouse licenced technology solution was used to provide a one-off conference call in 2015.

Q
(Hornsey and Wood Green)
[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: 15 December 2016
Department for Communities and Local Government
Refugees: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to allocate funding to local authorities to support (a) the mental health of child refugees and (b) those child refugees diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 24 January 2017
Holding answer received on 20 December 2016

The Government has committed £129 million to assist with local authority costs over years two-five of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement scheme. This is allocated on a tariff basis over four years, tapering from £5,000 in year two to £3,700 in year three, to £2,300 in year four and £1,000 in year five. This is in addition to the first 12 months of a refugee's resettlement costs, which are funded by central government using the Official Development Assistance budget.

The grant to local authorities is not ring fenced, and can be used for example towards support for costs such as counselling, social care and other needs. Funding payments (per individual refugee) can be pooled and managed across all the refugees a local authority takes in.

For unaccompanied asylum seeking children, local authorities receive a daily rate towards the costs of care.

Refugees and unaccompanied asylum seeking children also have access to health and education services, which are funded through the normal per capita funding routes. The Government is investing £1.4 billion over the lifetime of this Parliament to drive improvement and support significant transformation in children and young people’s mental health so that there is easy access to the right support from the right service when it is needed.

Specifically, this includes £1.4 million in 2016/17 followed by £2.8 million annually, for the following three years, targeted at improved mental health support for the most vulnerable looked-after children and young people, those who are looked-after in secure children’s homes.

We have also established an independent Expert Working Group to develop care pathways to support an integrated approach to meeting the needs of looked-after children with mental health difficulties. In November 2016 we announced that we will be piloting, from spring, how mental health can be better assessed as part of the health assessment for looked-after children entering care.

Asked on: 19 December 2016
Ministry of Justice
Civil Proceedings: Third Party Financing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of the rapid expansion of third party litigation, they plan to introduce statutory regulation of funders.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 24 January 2017

The Government does not believe that the case has been made out for moving away from voluntary regulation, as agreed by Parliament during the passage of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. The market for third party litigation funding, remains at a relatively early stage in its development in this jurisdiction and we are not aware of specific concerns about the activities of litigation funders. The Government has not therefore undertaken a formal assessment of the effectiveness of the voluntary code of conduct or the membership of the Association of Litigation Funders. The last Government gave Parliament an assurance that it will keep third party litigation funding under review and this Government is ready to investigate matters further should the need arise.

Grouped Questions: HL4214 | HL4216
Asked on: 19 December 2016
Ministry of Justice
Civil Proceedings: Third Party Financing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether it is the case that fewer than half the number of UK based firms, and no overseas based firms, have joined the Association of Litigation Funders; and what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the voluntary code of conduct drafted by the Association.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 24 January 2017

The Government does not believe that the case has been made out for moving away from voluntary regulation, as agreed by Parliament during the passage of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. The market for third party litigation funding, remains at a relatively early stage in its development in this jurisdiction and we are not aware of specific concerns about the activities of litigation funders. The Government has not therefore undertaken a formal assessment of the effectiveness of the voluntary code of conduct or the membership of the Association of Litigation Funders. The last Government gave Parliament an assurance that it will keep third party litigation funding under review and this Government is ready to investigate matters further should the need arise.

Grouped Questions: HL4213 | HL4216
Asked on: 19 December 2016
Ministry of Justice
Civil Proceedings: Third Party Financing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to introduce regulations to ensure that third party litigation funders are subject to the same statutory duties and obligations as apply to law firms operating in the same field.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 24 January 2017

The Government does not believe that the case has been made out for moving away from voluntary regulation, as agreed by Parliament during the passage of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. The market for third party litigation funding, remains at a relatively early stage in its development in this jurisdiction and we are not aware of specific concerns about the activities of litigation funders. The Government has not therefore undertaken a formal assessment of the effectiveness of the voluntary code of conduct or the membership of the Association of Litigation Funders. The last Government gave Parliament an assurance that it will keep third party litigation funding under review and this Government is ready to investigate matters further should the need arise.

Grouped Questions: HL4213 | HL4214
Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 20 December 2016
Home Office
Syria: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the number of foreign fighters who have left Syria, and of the proportion of them who may return to Europe.
Answered on: 24 January 2017

Approximately 850 UK linked individuals of national security concern have travelled to engage with the Syrian conflict. We estimate that just under half have returned and approximately 15% are now dead. This number includes all those of national security concern, not just those affiliated with Daesh.

We estimate that many foreign terrorist fighters from across Europe will choose to remain in the conflict zones, a significant proportion of which are likely to be killed in combat or join other extremist groups in the region. However some may attempt to return to their country of origin.

Q
Asked by Gareth Thomas
(Harrow West)
Asked on: 20 December 2016
Department for Education
Department for Education: Credit Unions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department permits its employees to join a credit union through payroll deductions; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 24 January 2017

The department does not currently offer the facility for employees to join a credit union through payroll deductions. We will be considering whether to introduce this as part of our offer to staff.

Q
Asked by Gareth Thomas
(Harrow West)
Asked on: 20 December 2016
Women and Equalities
Government Equalities Office: Credit Unions
Commons
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether the Government Equalities Office permits its employees to join a credit union through payroll deductions; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 24 January 2017

The department does not currently offer the facility for employees to join a credit union through payroll deductions. We will be considering whether to introduce this as part of our offer to staff.

Q
Asked by Anna Turley
(Redcar)
[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: 06 January 2017
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Social Networking: Regulation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to amend Ofcom's duties to include the regulation of social media platforms; and if she will make an assessment of the adequacy of the non-imposition of a general duty to monitor in Article 15 of E-Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC as it relates to the means by which social media platforms might be expected to monitor abusive content.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 24 January 2017

Social media companies are already subject to a variety of different regulations and we have no plans to amend Ofcom's duties to regulate in this area. Government expects online industries to ensure that they have relevant safeguards and processes in place, including access restrictions, for children and young people who use their services.

A decision will be made in due course regarding any assessment of the adequacy of the non-imposition of a general duty to monitor in Article 15 of E-Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC of the eCommerce Directive.

Q
Asked by Lord Beecham
Asked on: 09 January 2017
Ministry of Justice
Forensic Science: Legal Aid Scheme
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they plan to take in response to the comments in the Annual Report of the Forensic Science Regulator, published on 6 January, on current legal aid rates for experts and funding for forensic science cases, particularly for defence provision via legal aid.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 24 January 2017

The Ministry of Justice and the Legal Aid Agency is working with the Forensic Science Regulator in order to further consider the issues raised in the report.

Asked on: 09 January 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Peace Negotiations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will consider a future political settlement in Syria which includes President Assad.
Answered on: 24 January 2017

​We believe that a genuine political settlement is the only sustainable solution to the Syrian crisis. The atrocities the Asad regime has committed make it impossible for him to unite the country and bring peace to Syria. Syria needs a transition away from the rule of Asad to a new government, which is able to meet the needs of the Syrian people, and with which the international community could cooperate fully in the fight against terrorism. The internationally agreed Geneva Communiqué of 2012 – ratified by UN Security Resolution 2254 - sets out how this could happen and lead to a process in which the Syrian people could fairly and freely decide their future.

Asked on: 09 January 2017
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Religious Practice
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they are working with prison chaplains and faith groups to protect prisoners’ right to practise their faith.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 24 January 2017

The Prison Service is committed to enabling prisoners to practice their religion, and all prisons have multi faith chaplaincy teams to enable and facilitate this. Instructions and guidance on religious practice in prisons is set out in PSI 5/2016 (Faith and Pastoral Care for Prisoners).

Formal assurance visits (which include a focus group with prisoners) are made to each prison regularly by a member of the Chaplaincy HQ team to assure the Governor/Director and Head of Chaplaincy of compliance with the PSI. In this way, and through the use of the application system by which prisoners can request to see a Chaplain, any issues or barriers can be identified in a systematic way by local prison management and HQ. The Head of Chaplaincy meets regularly with Faith Advisers for the National Offender Management Service, as well as faith based organisations.

Grouped Questions: HL4425
Asked on: 09 January 2017
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Ministers of Religion
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the barriers to accessing chaplaincy in prisons.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 24 January 2017

The Prison Service is committed to enabling prisoners to practice their religion, and all prisons have multi faith chaplaincy teams to enable and facilitate this. Instructions and guidance on religious practice in prisons is set out in PSI 5/2016 (Faith and Pastoral Care for Prisoners).

Formal assurance visits (which include a focus group with prisoners) are made to each prison regularly by a member of the Chaplaincy HQ team to assure the Governor/Director and Head of Chaplaincy of compliance with the PSI. In this way, and through the use of the application system by which prisoners can request to see a Chaplain, any issues or barriers can be identified in a systematic way by local prison management and HQ. The Head of Chaplaincy meets regularly with Faith Advisers for the National Offender Management Service, as well as faith based organisations.

Grouped Questions: HL4424
Asked on: 09 January 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Forced Marriage
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to revise their policy of not paying for the repatriation of British citizens forced to marry abroad, and whether they will provide the Forced Marriage Unit with the relevant funds.
Answered on: 24 January 2017

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is not funded to provide financial assistance to British nationals overseas. However, we can provide emergency loans on a discretionary basis, in very exceptional circumstances, when people want to return home from overseas and they are unable to do this via any other means. Emergency loans are from public funds and therefore we have an obligation to recover the money.

The Government recognises the risks that victims of forced marriage can face and the challenges that they may encounter on the return to the UK. This is why emergency loans are offered to assist British nationals in these circumstances. Through the joint FCO and Home Office Forced Marriage Unit, we work very closely with partner organisations in the UK, including the police, social services and healthcare professionals, to ensure that those at risk are appropriately protected.

We regularly review all aspects of our consular policy and as such will be reviewing our policy on issuing emergency loans in early 2017.

Q
Asked by John Healey
(Wentworth and Dearne)
Asked on: 10 January 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Consumer Advice, Protection, Standards and Enforcement for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Independent Review
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what his response is to the findings and recommendations of the Bonfield Review, Each Home Counts, December 2016.
A
Answered by: Gavin Barwell
Answered on: 24 January 2017

This Department welcomes the publication of the Each Home Counts Review and we will work with industry to understand how the sector proposes to implement the recommendations of the review.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 1-20 out of 29471
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100