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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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
(Lichfield)
Asked on: 15 January 2018
Cabinet Office
Emergencies: Mobile Phones
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a Wireless Emergency Alert system in the UK similar to that currently available in the United States.
A
Answered by: Mr David Lidington
Answered on: 19 February 2018

Cabinet Office worked with the police, the communications providers and behavioural scientists and undertook geographically limited, but realistic, trials of mobile alerting culminating in 2014. Mobile alerting is kept under review as part of our ability to warn and inform the public about emergencies through a range of channels.

Q
Asked by Norman Lamb
(North Norfolk)
Asked on: 23 January 2018
Cabinet Office
Government Chief Scientific Adviser
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many meetings he had with the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser between October and December 2017.
A
Answered by: Mr David Lidington
Answered on: 19 February 2018

The Minister for the Cabinet Office did not have any meetings with the Government Chief Scientific Adviser between October and December 2017.

The Government Chief Scientific Adviser regularly meets Ministers throughout Government.

Q
Asked by Tulip Siddiq
(Hampstead and Kilburn)
Asked on: 01 February 2018
Attorney General
Travellers: Discrimination
Commons
To ask the Attorney General, how many successful prosecutions there have been under the Equality Act 2010 for discrimination against the Gypsy and Traveller communities.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 19 February 2018

There was one prosecution under s175 (1)(a) and 2 of the Equalities Act in 2011/12. This creates offences in relation to access to public service vehicles. In accordance with CPS Retention Policy a case involving an offence under section 175 of the Equalities Act 2010 would be archived one year following sentencing. Therefore, no further information is held about the case in question.

Section 9 of the Equality Act 2010 defines the protected characteristics of ‘race’. Race includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins. Ethnic or national origins include being from a Roma or Traveler background, therefore the CPS prosecutes crimes against the Gypsy and Traveller communities under other legislation, in particular hate crimes against the community.

A programme of CPS mandated training for prosecutors, including racially aggravated crime, was developed and completed by the start of 2017.

Q
(North Durham)
[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: 02 February 2018
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the savings which need to be realised by his Department over the 10 years to 2026-27.
A
Answered by: Gavin Williamson
Answered on: 19 February 2018

In the 2015 Spending Review, the Ministry of Defence agreed to an efficiency target of £7.4 billion between 2016 and 2021. These efficiencies will be sustainable and their enduring benefits, when carried forward a further five years, will release a total of around £20 billion of efficiency savings over the 10 years to 2025-26 - or £23 billion by 2026-27.

As a Department, we have also delivered over £5 billion of efficiency savings between 2010-2016, and are making good progress towards our Spending Review 2015 target.

Asked on: 05 February 2018
HM Treasury
Child Tax Credit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 25 January (HL4633), how many families have had their tax credits reduced as a result of the two-child limit, in each month, since the introduction of that limit in April 2017.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 19 February 2018

The government considered the impact limiting support in tax credits and Universal Credit has on different groups during its development. We published an Impact Assessment during the passage of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 which shows the number of Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit claimants who were expected to be affected by the policy over the next five years.

There will be no cash losers as a direct result of this policy. Those claiming Child Tax Credit for more than two children born before 6 April 2017 will not see a reduction in those payments.

Grouped Questions: HL5368
Asked on: 05 February 2018
HM Treasury
Child Tax Credit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 25 January (HL4633), of those families affected by the two-child limit for tax credits introduced in April 2017, how many (1) had one or more parents in work, (2) were lone parent families, and (3) were two-parent families, broken down by month; and what was the number of children involved in each family.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 19 February 2018

The government considered the impact limiting support in tax credits and Universal Credit has on different groups during its development. We published an Impact Assessment during the passage of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 which shows the number of Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit claimants who were expected to be affected by the policy over the next five years.

There will be no cash losers as a direct result of this policy. Those claiming Child Tax Credit for more than two children born before 6 April 2017 will not see a reduction in those payments.

Grouped Questions: HL5367
Asked on: 05 February 2018
HM Treasury
Child Tax Credit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 25 January (HL4634), with reference to their commitment to publishing statistics relating to exceptions to the limit on Child Tax Credits support to two children, what is their criteria for "sufficient cases".
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 19 February 2018

Statistics on exceptions to the limit on Child Tax Credit support to two children will be published when there are enough cases to enable meaningful analyses and breakdowns of exception statistics into sub-categories (such as the type of exception), without compromising normal statistical standards regarding disclosure.

Asked on: 05 February 2018
HM Treasury
Child Tax Credit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 25 January (HL4635), how they are measuring and monitoring the impact of the two-child limit for Child Tax Credits on the well-being of children in large families affected by that policy.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 19 February 2018

The government is committed to supporting all families. The government provides a range of support in addition to Child Tax Credit. Child Benefit is paid for each child in a household, at £20.70 per week for the first child and £13.70 a week for each subsequent child. To help working parents, the government has doubled the free childcare available for 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours a week for 38 weeks a year (or 1140 hours per year), saving families in total around £5,000 a year per child. The government is committed to ensuring that the potential impacts on families of its policies are carefully taken into account as part of the policymaking process by applying the Family Test.

Asked on: 05 February 2018
Home Office
Visas: Skilled Workers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the occupations and salaries of foreign workers for whom restricted certificates of sponsorship under Tier 2 (General) were allocated by the Home Office in the January 2017 allocation.
Answered on: 19 February 2018

The specific information requested is not included in statistics published by the Home Office.

The number of restricted certificates of sponsorship granted, and the points threshold, for each monthly allocation since April 2016 is published on the Home Office website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employer-sponsorship-restricted-certificate-allocations/allocations-of-restricted-certificates-of-sponsorship

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 05 February 2018
Home Office
Undocumented Migrants: Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the estimate by the Thomas Coram Foundation that there are some 120,000 children in the UK without regular immigration status, of whom half were born here; what are their proposals for improving this situation in line with the best interests of the child; and whether free legal advice is, or will be, available to such children who wish to claim citizenship.
Answered on: 19 February 2018

Any non-European Economic Area national child wishing to remain in the UK to settle here must apply for leave under the family Immigration Rules. These Rules give direct effect to the Secretary of State’s statutory duty in section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, to have regard, as a primary consideration, to a child’s best interests in making an immigration decision affecting them.

Comprehensive information about applying for citizenship is available on the GOV.UK website. If an individual wishes to seek additional legal advice there are a number of sources available, including regulated immigration advisers. Whether a person is charged for that advice would depend on the organisation concerned and the individual’s situation.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 05 February 2018
Home Office
Deportation: Young People
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children with temporary leave to remain after reaching the age of 18 were deported to their countries of origin, in each of the last three years for which figures are available.
Answered on: 19 February 2018

The Home Office does not hold the data requested in a reportable format. The data requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The Home Office only returns an unaccompanied child with no lawful basis to remain in the UK if it is satisfied that safe and adequate reception arrangements are in place in the country to which they are to be removed.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 05 February 2018
Home Office
Deportation: Young People
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment of the best interests of the individual child is provided before a deportation at the age of 18 is approved.
Answered on: 19 February 2018

The Government’s duty under Section 55 of the Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Act 2009 applies to those under the age of 18. In the case of vulnerable adults aged 18 and over, a risk assessment is completed prior to removal or deportation to ensure their safety and security is protected.

Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department for Education
Construction: Training
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address skill shortages in the construction industry.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 19 February 2018

The construction industry needs to attract, retain and develop individuals with the appropriate skills, so it can meet the country’s ambition to build 1.2 million new homes by 2022 and upgrade our infrastructure.

The government is working with the construction industry to help meet this challenge, as set out in the construction sector deal announced in November last year. We are reforming technical education and apprenticeships, which will help train the workforce of the future in line with the industry’s needs. The department recently announced reforms to the Construction Industry Training Board, which oversees industry training, to improve its effectiveness and accountability.

In the Autumn Budget 2017, we announced a new National Retraining Scheme, including an additional £34 million to help adults retrain and develop the necessary skills to work in the construction industry. We expect to launch this construction skills fund in the coming months.

Q
Asked on: 05 February 2018
Home Office
Visas: Occupied Territories
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 29 January (HL4714), what assessment they have made of the reasons why (1) their immigration statistics show that 19 per cent of Israeli settlers living illegally on Palestinian land were refused entry to the UK in 2017 whereas 32 per cent of Palestinians were refused entry, and (2) in the last four years the Palestinian refusal rate has been over three times the Israeli refusal rate.
Answered on: 19 February 2018

All applications are assessed on a case by case basis, according to the individual circumstances and against the part of the Immigration Rules which relates to the purpose for which they are seeking entry. The nationality of the applicant only determines whether an application is decided before departure or on arrival.

All non-EEA citizens seeking to enter the UK are assessed against the criteria set out in the published Immigration Rules (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules). These are the same regardless of nationality.

Q
Asked by Scott Mann
(North Cornwall)
Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Countryside Stewardship Scheme: North Cornwall
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many and what proportion of farmers in north Cornwall have taken up the Entry Level Stewardship scheme since 2015.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 19 February 2018

Entry Level Stewardship closed for new applications in 2014. There have been no new Entry Level Stewardship applications since 2015 in North Cornwall or elsewhere.

In 2015, the Environmental Stewardship Scheme was replaced by Countryside Stewardship, which offers 5 year land management agreements beginning on the 1st January in the year following application. In North Cornwall we have approved 83 Countryside Stewardship agreements with a 1st January 2016 start date and 102 with a 1st January 2017 start date.

Q
Asked by Diana Johnson
(Kingston upon Hull 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: 05 February 2018
Department for Transport
Railways: Franchises
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many directly awarded rail franchise agreements have been made by his Department in each year since 2004-05.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 19 February 2018
Holding answer received on 08 February 2018

Direct Awards were not used prior to 2012. Since then, the following awards have been made:

Direct Award made

Franchise

2013

Essex Thameside

2013

Great Western

2014

Thameslink Great Northern

2014

Northern

2014

West Coast

2014

East Anglia

2014

South Eastern

2015

Trans-Pennine Express

2015

Great Western 2

2015

East Midlands

2015

West Midlands

2016

Cross Country

2018

West Coast 2

Direct Awards have been used primarily to smooth the franchising schedule and allow us to deliver the best possible value and benefits to passengers including to help minimise disruption through periods of major improvements or change.

Direct Awards may be used, for example, when significant operational change makes mounting a competition challenging.

Each Direct Award delivers new passenger benefits and service improvements in exchange for the contract extension before the new long-term franchise is competed.

Q
(Easington)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Fireworks: Prosecutions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many prosecutions there have been under the Fireworks Regulations 2004 in the last five years.
A
Corrected answer by: Andrew Griffiths
Corrected on: 19 February 2018
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 14 February 2018.
The correct answer should have been:

The Ministry of Justice has provided the following information:

The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates’ courts for offences under the Fireworks Regulations 2004, from 2006 to 2016 (latest available data), can be viewed in the attached table.

Court proceedings data for 2017 are planned for publication in May 2018.

Prosecutions under Fireworks Regulations 2006-16 (Excel SpreadSheet, 10.45 KB)
A
Answered by: Andrew Griffiths
Answered on: 14 February 2018

The Ministry of Justice has provided the following information:

The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates’ courts for offences under the Fireworks Regulations 2004, from 2006 to 2016 (latest available data), can be viewed in the attached table.

Court proceedings data for 2017 are planned for publication in May 2018.

Prosecutions under Fireworks Regulations 2006-16 (Excel SpreadSheet, 10.45 KB)
Q
(Huddersfield)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Attorney General
Unexplained Wealth Orders
Commons
To ask the Attorney General, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Crown Prosecution Service has the resources necessary to implement the new unexplained wealth orders.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 19 February 2018

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has adequate resources to undertake work relating to unexplained wealth orders.

The Home Office will provide funding to the value of £70,500 in 2017-18 in order to support CPS POC and the ROCU/RART network to develop the knowledge and skills required in order to investigate cases appropriately and to conduct High Court civil litigation.

Asked on: 06 February 2018
Women and Equalities
Public Sector: Equality
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they have not bought into force section 1 of the Equality Act 2010; and whether they will now do so following recommendations by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Answered on: 19 February 2018

This Government is committed to creating a country that works for everyone, where success is based on merit, not privilege, and where everyone has the chance to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them. That is why the Government has in place a number of strategies to address social mobility and improve outcomes for those who experience disadvantage.

Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 is the public sector duty regarding socio-economic inequalities, which the Government has no plans to commence in England.

We believe that specific programmes designed to address social mobility problems in particular areas will be a more effective approach than blanket and potentially burdensome legislation of this type.

Asked on: 06 February 2018
HM Treasury
Personal Income
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 31 January (HL Deb, col 1584), on what data they base their claim that income inequality is lower than in 2010; and whether those data take account of housing costs.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 19 February 2018

This statistic is based on the ONS’s ‘Household disposable income and inequality in the UK: financial year ending 2017’ report, released January 2018. It shows that the Gini coefficient for disposable income inequality is lower than it was in 2010.

This measure of disposable income takes account of direct taxes and benefits, but does not take account of housing costs. The ONS do not publish a Gini coefficient on an after housing cost basis.

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