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 2017-19 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: 20 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund on the construction industry in delivering future housing needs.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 27 July 2017

The new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), announced in November 2016, will back priority technologies where the UK has the potential to turn research strengths into a global industrial and commercial lead.

The first challenges announced as part of the ISCF will invest over £1bn in creating the UK industries of the future. There will be a wave 2 and Government will be consulting further with industry and other stakeholders over the summer.

Asked on: 27 June 2016
Department of Health
UK Permanent Representation to the EU
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will include information on twins and multiple births in any formal updates on progress towards their aim of halving the rates in England of stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injuries occurring during or soon after birth by 2030.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 07 July 2016

In November 2015, the Secretary of State announced a national ambition to halve the rates of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and brain injuries occurring during or soon after birth by 2030. This ambition applies to both single and multiple pregnancies.

The Department will publish an annual report on the progress towards achieving this aim and will include information on twins and multiple births. The first report will be published later this year.

Asked on: 27 June 2016
Department of Health
UK Permanent Representation to the EU
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether NHS England’s stillbirth care bundle will be reviewed to assess whether it is having an impact on reducing stillbirths among multiple pregnancies; and what plans they have to update it if further improvements are required.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 07 July 2016

The Saving Babies Lives care bundle covers all types of pregnancy, including multiple pregnancies. The care bundle will be evaluated so that it can be developed and refined to ensure that it continues to reflect best practice.

The Maternity Transformation Programme Board will drive forward the implementation of the National Maternity Review, Better Births, published in February this year. It will also include work to reduce the rate of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths in England. The formation of the Board marks a clear step forward towards delivering the vision laid out in the National Maternity Review, ensuring that key organisations work together to improve maternity services. Better Births makes recommendations on the use of data including the development of a set of national indicators to aid data comparison. NHS England and its delivery partners are developing plans to implement this and the report’s other recommendations, and as part of this are considering the case for a national dashboard. A copy of both Better Births and the Saving Babies Lives care bundle are attached.

The Board held its first meeting on 8 June 2016 and is chaired by Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive of Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Birmingham Women’s Hospital. The Board members and the organisations they represent are detailed in the following table.

NHS England and its delivery partners are developing plans to implement the vision set out in Better Births, the report of the National Maternity Review. These plans are likely to include commissioning guidance.

Person

Organisation

Sarah-Jane Marsh

Chair

Jane Cummings

Senior Responsible Officer, Chief Nursing Officer

Keith Willett

Deputy Chair, Medical Director for Acute Care, NHS England

Matthew Jolly

Clinical lead (obstetrics) / workstream lead (data)

Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent

Clinical lead (midwifery)

Dame Julia Cumberlege

Stakeholder Reference Group Chair / Clinical Commissioning Group Improvement and Assessment Framework Panel Chair

Flora Goldhill

Department of Health / workstream lead (best practice for safer care)

Wendy Reid / Bill Irish

Health Education England / workstream lead (workforce)

Viv Bennett

Public Health England / workstream lead (public health)

Ruth May

NHS Improvement (Director of Nursing)

Mike Durkin

NHS Improvement (Director of Patient Safety)

Jimmy Walker

Care Quality Commission

Lauren Hughes

NHS England /workstream lead (local transformation)

James Sanderson

NHS England / workstream lead (choice and personalisation)

Simon Medcalf

NHS England / workstream lead (perinatal mental health)

Tom Denwood

NHS Digital / workstream lead (technology)

Martin Campbell

NHS England / workstream lead (pricing)

David Richmond

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Cathy Warwick

Royal College of Midwives

Nigel Acheson

Regional delivery lead / Regional Medical Director, South

Roz Lindridge

Clinical Networks maternity lead / East Midlands Associate Director, Clinical Networks and Senate

Asked on: 27 June 2016
Department of Health
UK Permanent Representation to the EU
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government who will be on the NHS England’s Maternity Transformation Board, and whether they plan to introduce a national maternity dashboard to provide analysis relating to both single and multiple pregnancies.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 07 July 2016

The Saving Babies Lives care bundle covers all types of pregnancy, including multiple pregnancies. The care bundle will be evaluated so that it can be developed and refined to ensure that it continues to reflect best practice.

The Maternity Transformation Programme Board will drive forward the implementation of the National Maternity Review, Better Births, published in February this year. It will also include work to reduce the rate of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths in England. The formation of the Board marks a clear step forward towards delivering the vision laid out in the National Maternity Review, ensuring that key organisations work together to improve maternity services. Better Births makes recommendations on the use of data including the development of a set of national indicators to aid data comparison. NHS England and its delivery partners are developing plans to implement this and the report’s other recommendations, and as part of this are considering the case for a national dashboard. A copy of both Better Births and the Saving Babies Lives care bundle are attached.

The Board held its first meeting on 8 June 2016 and is chaired by Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive of Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Birmingham Women’s Hospital. The Board members and the organisations they represent are detailed in the following table.

NHS England and its delivery partners are developing plans to implement the vision set out in Better Births, the report of the National Maternity Review. These plans are likely to include commissioning guidance.

Person

Organisation

Sarah-Jane Marsh

Chair

Jane Cummings

Senior Responsible Officer, Chief Nursing Officer

Keith Willett

Deputy Chair, Medical Director for Acute Care, NHS England

Matthew Jolly

Clinical lead (obstetrics) / workstream lead (data)

Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent

Clinical lead (midwifery)

Dame Julia Cumberlege

Stakeholder Reference Group Chair / Clinical Commissioning Group Improvement and Assessment Framework Panel Chair

Flora Goldhill

Department of Health / workstream lead (best practice for safer care)

Wendy Reid / Bill Irish

Health Education England / workstream lead (workforce)

Viv Bennett

Public Health England / workstream lead (public health)

Ruth May

NHS Improvement (Director of Nursing)

Mike Durkin

NHS Improvement (Director of Patient Safety)

Jimmy Walker

Care Quality Commission

Lauren Hughes

NHS England /workstream lead (local transformation)

James Sanderson

NHS England / workstream lead (choice and personalisation)

Simon Medcalf

NHS England / workstream lead (perinatal mental health)

Tom Denwood

NHS Digital / workstream lead (technology)

Martin Campbell

NHS England / workstream lead (pricing)

David Richmond

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Cathy Warwick

Royal College of Midwives

Nigel Acheson

Regional delivery lead / Regional Medical Director, South

Roz Lindridge

Clinical Networks maternity lead / East Midlands Associate Director, Clinical Networks and Senate

Q
Asked by Lord Wigley
Asked on: 13 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to support the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Project.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 26 July 2017

The Government is currently assessing the recommendations of the Hendry Review on tidal lagoons and will publish a response in due course.

Q
Asked by Lord Teverson
Asked on: 10 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of the United States in regard to their intended withdrawal from the Euratom Treaty; and what subjects were covered during those discussions.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 25 July 2017

The Department has had several discussions with officials from the United States on civil nuclear cooperation when the UK leaves Euratom, including a future Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with the United States.

Our aim is clear: we want to maintain continuity of our mutually successful civil nuclear co-operation with Euratom and international partners.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 11 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by Lord Prior of Brampton on 11 July (HL Deb) on Good work: the Taylor review of modern working practices, why no reference was made to zero-hours contracts; what consideration they are giving to increasing the level of employment rights protections afforded to workers employed under such contracts towards the level afforded to full-time workers, or the self-employed; and whether they intend to introduce a right to weekly guaranteed minimum paid hours.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 24 July 2017

The oral statement referred to was to bring to the notice of the House the publication of the independent Matthew Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. Zero hours contracts are just one example of a working practice in the UK labour market and Matthew in his review has considered the labour market as a whole. I refer the noble Lord to the full transcript of the statement where zero hours contracts are discussed.

This Government will give the report the careful consideration it deserves and will respond in full later this year.

Extract from Official Report (PDF Document, 770.49 KB)
Q
Asked by Lord Teverson
Asked on: 10 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the International Atomic Energy Authority following, and in connection with, their decision to withdraw from the Euratom Treaty.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 21 July 2017

The Department engages regularly with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to ensure that the UK continues to meet international standards for nuclear safeguards and nuclear non-proliferation. In addition, my officials have held discussions in London and Vienna with the IAEA to discuss the arrangements that need to be put in place ahead of the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom.

Q
Asked by Lord Teverson
Asked on: 10 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government when they expect to have a UK safeguarding authority that is authorised and approved by the International Atomic Energy Authority to replace the responsibilities undertaken on the UK’s behalf by Euratom.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 21 July 2017

The Government announced in the Queen’s Speech its intention to introduce legislation to establish a domestic nuclear safeguards regime, to enable the UK to meet international safeguards and nuclear non-proliferation obligations after we leave Euratom. This primary and secondary legislation will provide the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) with the powers needed to take on the role and responsibilities required to meet our international safeguards and nuclear non-proliferation obligations. The ONR is taking its preparatory work forward as a top priority in parallel with the legislative programme.

Q
Asked by Lord Freyberg
Asked on: 28 June 2016
Department of Health
Iraq: Minority Groups
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Prior of Brampton on 27 June (HL645), why no information is available of the number of patients who have died to date, particularly for those patients who consented prior to that answer.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 07 July 2016

Genomics England participants have consented to the collection of long term health data via the Health and Social Care Information Centre. This includes data on death but these data are collected and checked in accordance with standard procedures which means that there is a delay in linking to the whole genome sequencing data.

Q
Asked by Lord Freyberg
Asked on: 28 June 2016
Department of Health
Middle East: Minority Groups
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Prior of Brampton on 27 June (HL645), how many of the 8,408 rare disease genomes and 1,671 cancer genomes have been shared with Genomics England's commercial interpretation partners.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 07 July 2016

Genomics England has confirmed that 293 rare disease and 310 cancer genomes have been sent to their clinical interpretation partners. Genomics England expects this flow to increase steadily as further links with clinical interpretation providers are established.

Asked on: 10 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the benefits and costs to the UK of membership of the European Union Intellectual Property Office.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 July 2017

The Government recognises the importance of an effective and balanced intellectual property regime to support the UK's innovative and creative industries and to make the UK an attractive place for inward investment.

In order to inform our position in the upcoming negotiations with the EU, the Government continues to undertake a rigorous and extensive programme of analysis, which includes intellectual property. The UK's future relationship with the EUIPO will be a matter for negotiations and so it would not be appropriate for me to discuss the details of any analysis now.

Q
Asked by Lord Teverson
Asked on: 10 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what negotiations they have undertaken with other members of Euratom to continue the work of the Joint European Torus project at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy after 2018; and what result they hope to achieve.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 July 2017

The Government is committed to ensuring that the UK continues to lead the world in fusion research [1]. We have taken action to secure the future of the Joint European Torus (JET) facility by guaranteeing the UK’s share of JET costs until the end of 2020.This underwriting of UK JET costs aims to provide the certainty needed to secure the extension of the JET contract and minimise the uncertainty around the future of this world class facility. The relevant Written Ministerial Statement can be found here:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2017-06-27/HCWS13/.

[1] A 2016 independent review by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) found the UK fusion research programme to be ‘of world-class quality, in facilities, people and impact’.

WMS on JET 27.06.17 HCWS13 (PDF Document, 55.34 KB)
Asked on: 11 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the benefits and costs to the UK of membership of the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 July 2017

The European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency is funded from the European Union budget. It is a Union Agency established to deliver the EU’s satellite navigation programmes Galileo and EGNOS. The Agency will be responsible for operating the systems, managing the services provided and for promoting their adoption to create new industrial markets.

The Government recognises the benefits our involvement in these programmes brings for the UK.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the TUC estimate that some 500,000 workers are on zero-hours contracts or in insecure temporary employment; and what percentage of the total workforce aged 21 to 65 this represents.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 July 2017

The latest ONS Labour Force Survey shows that the number of people who report they are on a ‘zero hour contract’ in their main employment was 905,000 in the 4th quarter of 2016, which represents 2.8% of those in employment ages 16-65+, with nearly 70% happy with their hours.

Due to the age categories in which ONS reports this data, it is not possible to get a figure for 21 to 65 years old.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government how many workers aged 21 to 65 are recognised as self-employed; and what percentage of the total workforce this represents.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 July 2017

The latest ONS Labour Force Survey shows the number of people reporting to be self-employed was 4.8 million in the 4th quarter of 2016.

Due to the age categories in which ONS reports this data, it is not possible to get a figure for 21 to 65 year olds.

However, as a proportion of the total number of people in employment (31,713,000), self-employed people between the ages of 25 and 64 account for 13.1% of total employment. Self-employed people between the ages of 18 and 64 account for 13.7% of total employment.

Q
Asked by Lord Rennard
Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government whether, and how, the wider social costs and benefits of regulations are taken into account by Government departments in (1) achieving their policy objectives for the business impact target, (2) the implementation of the One in, Three out rule announced by the Business Secretary on 3 March 2016, and (3) the application of the requirement to identify £3 in savings for each £1 of additional cost when assessing proposed new regulations.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 July 2017

HM Treasury’s Green Book guidance on policy appraisal and evaluation sets out how the economic, financial, social and environmental assessments of a policy, or specification of regulations, should be combined. The Government has not yet decided how its better regulation system will operate in this Parliament. This includes any One-In, Two-Out policy and the setting of a target in respect of the economic impact of new regulation on business for this Parliament as required under section 21 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

Q
Asked by Lord Rennard
Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government whether the Regulatory Policy Committee is empowered to rate an impact assessment as inadequate on the grounds that it does not adequately consider the wider social costs and benefits of proposed regulatory measures.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 July 2017

The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) comments on the Government’s performance in assessing regulatory impacts as set out in Impact Assessments. These assessments should address the wider societal costs and benefits. The RPC sets out its view on the analysis contained in the impact assessments in its published Opinions and annual reports. Under its current remit, the RPC cannot rate an impact assessment as ‘not fit for purpose’ in relation to wider societal impacts at final stage. The Government has not yet decided what approach it will take to deliver better regulation during the current Parliament.

Q
Asked by Lord Rennard
Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what estimates of (1) the value of lives saved, and (2) additional life years gained, they use when classifying proposed regulatory measures as “in”, “out” or “zero net cost” in departmental submissions to the Regulatory Policy Committee.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 July 2017

HM Treasury’s Green Book guidance on policy appraisal and evaluation sets out how the economic, financial, social and environmental assessments of a policy, or specification of regulations, should be combined. It includes guidance on appraising social impacts, such as health and welfare benefits and prevented fatality and how to weight such considerations against other impacts.

Asked on: 05 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the forecast by Barclay's Analysts that the Hinckley Point nuclear power station project will suffer cost overruns of £4.5 billion and a four year delay for completion, and what would be the cost per megawatt hour (MWH) of electricity if those forecasts were realised.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 19 July 2017

The Government negotiated a very competitive deal which ensures consumers won’t pay a penny until the station begins generating electricity.

Any construction cost overruns or schedule delays are the responsibility of the developer.

The Strike price of £92.50 per megawatt hour (2012 prices) set in the Hinkley Point C Contract for Difference will not change as a result of any construction cost increases or delays to completion.

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