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 by Jon Trickett
(Hemsworth)
Asked on: 04 September 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Department for Communities and Local Government: Redundancy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2017 to Question 3360 on redundancy, how much of the £15,805,000 paid in redundancy payments was paid to (a) men and (b) women.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 20 October 2017

Total exit packages agreed by the Department for Communities and Local Government and its Agencies and NDPBs in 2015-16.

Male: 147

Female: 175

Total: 322

Under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme rules, there is a very clear formula that must be followed when setting the exit package for a member of staff.

In 2015/16, in line with the scheme rules, staff -

  • Received 4 weeks’ pay for every year of reckonable service, up to a maximum of 21 years.

  • Compensation was based on final FTE salary.

  • Reckonable service for part time workers would be based on actual hours worked during part time periods (Qualifying service x Actual hours worked / Full time hours).

Male (£)

Female (£)

Total (£)

Cost of Exit Packages agreed by core Department and its agencies and NDPBs in 2015/16

£7,933,500.00

£7,871,500.00

£15,805,000.00


The table below shows the average time spent in service at each grade for those that left on voluntary exit.

Grade

Male

Average Time in CS

Female

Average Time in CS

AO

4

17

4

15

EO

15

28

32

23

HEO

18

25

29

22

SEO

15

19

21

19

G7

21

26

28

18

G6

13

22

6

19

SCS

4

12

2

26

Total

90

23

122

20

Grouped Questions: 8372
Q
Asked by Jon Trickett
(Hemsworth)
Asked on: 04 September 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Department for Communities and Local Government: Redundancy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2017 to Question 3360 on redundancy, how many of the 322 exits negotiated by the departmental group were for (a) men and (b) women.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 20 October 2017

Total exit packages agreed by the Department for Communities and Local Government and its Agencies and NDPBs in 2015-16.

Male: 147

Female: 175

Total: 322

Under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme rules, there is a very clear formula that must be followed when setting the exit package for a member of staff.

In 2015/16, in line with the scheme rules, staff -

  • Received 4 weeks’ pay for every year of reckonable service, up to a maximum of 21 years.

  • Compensation was based on final FTE salary.

  • Reckonable service for part time workers would be based on actual hours worked during part time periods (Qualifying service x Actual hours worked / Full time hours).

Male (£)

Female (£)

Total (£)

Cost of Exit Packages agreed by core Department and its agencies and NDPBs in 2015/16

£7,933,500.00

£7,871,500.00

£15,805,000.00


The table below shows the average time spent in service at each grade for those that left on voluntary exit.

Grade

Male

Average Time in CS

Female

Average Time in CS

AO

4

17

4

15

EO

15

28

32

23

HEO

18

25

29

22

SEO

15

19

21

19

G7

21

26

28

18

G6

13

22

6

19

SCS

4

12

2

26

Total

90

23

122

20

Grouped Questions: 8371
Q
Asked by Kate Green
(Stretford and Urmston)
Asked on: 06 September 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Travellers: Caravan Sites
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, how many affordable residential pitches have been (a) started and (b) completed in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 20 October 2017

The table below shows the number of new affordable residential traveller pitches (a) started and (b) completed in each of the last five financial years. Delivery during this period was recorded under the 2011-15 Traveller Pitch Funding programme and the 2015-18 Affordable Homes Programme.


2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17

a - started pitches 112 240 196 9* 34*


b - completed pitches 4 39 420 52 36*

* Relate to 15-18 AHP

Q
Asked by Kate Green
(Stretford and Urmston)
Asked on: 06 September 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Travellers: Caravan Sites
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, how many (a) starts and (b) completions have occurred for Gypsy and Traveller sites under the Affordable Homes Programme 2015-18 in each local authority area.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 20 October 2017

The table below shows the number of new affordable residential pitches (a) started and (b) completed on traveller sites in each local authority area under the 2015-18 Affordable Homes Programme. All other local authority areas not listed in this table show a nil-return.

Local Authority

a) Started pitches

b) Completed pitches

Central Bedfordshire

2

2

Darlington

22

22

Harlow

12

12

Solihull

7

0

Total

43

36*

*36 total relates to the total amount of completed pitches in the programme of the 2015-18 Affordable Homes programme.

Q
(Coventry South)
[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: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Electoral Register
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the UK voter registration system.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 20 October 2017

The most recent formal assessment of register quality, based on the 1 December 2015 registers
and published in July 2016, found that individual electoral registration boosted the accuracy of the
register by 4 per cent

Alongside individual registration, the successful introduction of online registration has transformed
the way citizens can register. It now takes just a few minutes to apply to register and nearly 30
million citizens have taken the opportunity to do so in the last three years. In large part thanks to
online registration, the parliamentary register used for the 2017 general election was the largest
ever at nearly 47 million

2.9 million applications were submitted between the calling of the election and the registration
deadline date, with 622,000 applications coming on deadline day itself

The government has continued to modernise the registration process and to make it more
accessible, as underscored, for example by recent policy commitments on making it easier for
survivors of domestic abuse to register anonymously.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Electoral Register: Disclosure of Information
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the timetable is to bring forward proposals to improve data-sharing in the voter registration process.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 20 October 2017

Electoral Returning Officers (EROs) already have wide powers to access data to improve
the quality of the register. The Cabinet Office is working with administrators and their
representatives and the Electoral Commission to investigate additional potential use of
data to aid EROs in their registration duties.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Electoral Register
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will conduct a review of all election and electoral registration deadlines which includes the consideration of deadlines for the registration of electors, overseas electors and absent voting.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 20 October 2017

The Government keeps elections processes and policy under review and Cabinet Office
officials are actively discussing timetables and other processes with the Association of
Electoral Administrators and the Electoral Commission to understand the issues and
identify practicable solutions that put electors first.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Elections: ICT
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the (a) current use of electronic forms of electoral counting and (b) potential merits of introducing such electronic forms of counting for other types of elections.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 20 October 2017

Electronic counting is used in only a small number of polls. However, in considering
whether to extend the use of electronic counting, we would need to take into account the
cost, accuracy and integrity of adopting it more widely. In previous polls electronic counting
has been more expensive and has not been as quick as expected in some circumstances

We therefore currently have no plans to further its use.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 13 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Elections: Costs
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will take steps to ensure that all costs properly incurred in (a) the administration of elections, including electoral registration costs directly attributable to the election, are reimbursed to returning officers and their employing local authorities and (b) delivering electoral registration are automatically provided to local authorities without the need to revert to the justification-led bidding process.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 20 October 2017

The process for reimbursing properly incurred costs for electoral events is overseen by the
Election Claims Unit. Once claims have been received and properly scrutinised, expenses
necessarily incurred for the effective and efficient delivery of the poll will be reimbursed

The Election Claims Unit aims to settle claims within 12 months of them being received.

The majority of electoral registration activity is funded by local authorities across England,
Scotland and Wales. The law does not allow for claims for electoral events to include costs
of electoral registration.

Q
Asked by Martyn Day
(Linlithgow and East Falkirk)
Asked on: 13 September 2017
Cabinet Office
General Election 2017
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the findings of the report, Turned Out 2017, published by the RNIB on problems experienced by blind and partially sighted voters at the 2017 General Election; and if he will implement that report's recommendations before local authority elections take place in 2018.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 20 October 2017

I welcome the report by the RNIB on the experiences of blind and partially sighted people
at the 2017 General Election. The Government will consider these recommendations as
part of our current Call for Evidence on the experience of disabled people in registering to
vote and voting and will look at the evidence as a whole in planning how to take forward
any changes.

Q
Asked by Norman Lamb
(North Norfolk)
Asked on: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Government Chief Scientific Adviser
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many meetings he has had with the Government Chief Scientific Adviser in the last three months.
A
Answered by: Damian Green
Answered on: 20 October 2017

The First Secretary has not had meetings with the Government Chief Scientific Adviser in
the last three months.

Q
Asked on: 02 October 2017
Ministry of Justice
Prison Service: Recruitment
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions the Secretary of State for Justice has had with the Prison Officers' Association regarding recruitment and retention in the Prison Service, and when he next plans to meet staff representatives.
A
Answered on: 20 October 2017

Much communication has taken place between the Secretary of State and the Prison Officers’ Association through written correspondence. The Secretary of State spoke with the POA on 21 June 2017 and met with them on 29 June 2017 to discuss several important subjects, including Prison Officer recruitment and retention.

The Prisons Minister also plans to meet with the POA on 23 October 2017.

Q
Asked on: 02 October 2017
Ministry of Justice
Prison and Probation Service: Mental Health Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment the Secretary of State for Justice has made of the current provision of mental health assessments and treatment in the prison and probation systems.
A
Answered on: 20 October 2017

We take mental health provision very seriously and are committed to working closely with health partners to ensure that offenders are assessed at the appropriate time and are able to access the treatment and support required for their mental health needs.

Health services in English prisons are commissioned by NHS England. In the community, NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups are responsible for commissioning health services, including mental health services, for the general population in their locality, including offenders on probation. NHS England are responsible for making assessments of the current provision of mental health assessments and treatment in the prison systems in England. We are committed to working closely with them to support this responsibility.

Mental Health is devolved to the Welsh Government and NHS Wales. Local Health Boards are commissioned to deliver these services in public sector prisons in Wales, which includes mental health assessments and treatment. There are separate arrangements for the private prison HMP Parc.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Community Plant Variety Office: National Institute of Agricultural Botany
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what talks he has had with the EU Commission to ensure that the Community Plant Variety Office continues commissioning variety testing contracts to the National Institute of Agricultural Botany after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 20 October 2017

The issue of the CPVO and their commissioning was discussed with the Commission on 26 September. Future arrangements for plant variety testing will be subject to negotiation with the EU.

Q
(Gainsborough)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
National Holocaust Memorial Centre and Learning Service
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what discussions the Government had with Historic England on the proposal to build the Holocaust Memorial and Holocaust Learning Centre in Victoria Tower Gardens (a) before the site was announced and (b) subsequently; on what dates those discussions were held; and what observations Historic England has made of that proposal.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 20 October 2017

Historic England was consulted in August and September 2016 (ahead of the launch of the design competition in September 2016). They have subsequently played a formal role providing detailed input to the design competition assessing the design proposals, presenting to the shortlisted design teams at a site briefing session in November 2016 and contributing to the meetings of the Competition Jury’s Supporting Panel in February and March 2017.

Historic England’s role in the Supporting Panel was to help the Jury identify those proposals which have effectively acknowledged the heritage significance and its policy context, and conversely those which do not appear to have done so or where significant doubts or uncertainties remain.

The UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation also provided a briefing to the UNESCO Mission to Westminster in February 2017.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Home Office
British National (Overseas): Passports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many valid British National Overseas passports are currently in issue.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 20 October 2017

The number of valid British National Overseas passports in circulation as of 31 of December 2016 was 152,351.

Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Prior of Brampton on 15 February (HL5165), what are the greenhouse gas emissions targets, broken down by local authority; and what assessment they have made of progress against each of those targets over the last seven years.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 October 2017

Local Authorities are not mandated to have greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets. However, many cities and places have set their own targets following the Paris Agreement. Over 30 places are members of international agreements such as the Covenant of Mayors and, within the UK, over 70 places have now signed up to UK100 with a political commitment to use 100% clean energy by 2050.

The Government has recently announced support for every Local Enterprise Partnership to develop their own energy strategy and we are developing plans to support local places to build the capacity to deliver more local low carbon projects across England over the next two years.

Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Education
Department for Education: Food
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the total amount of food waste generated by DfE offices for each of the last five years.
Answered on: 20 October 2017

The amount of waste disposed of by composting or anaerobic digestion over each of the last five years was as follows:

  • 2012-13: 25 tonnes
  • 2013-14: 16 tonnes
  • 2014-15: 24 tonnes
  • 2015-16: 17 tonnes
  • 2016-17: 15 tonnes

The majority of this was food waste (which includes inedible waste such as fruit peel and coffee grounds) but also includes other compostable waste such as tissue paper.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Home Office
Domestic Violence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many incidents of domestic violence were reported to police authorities in England and Wales in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 20 October 2017

The Office for National Statistics publishes information on the number of incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police. This information is published in a cross government statistical bulletin ‘Domestic abuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2016’, which can be found here:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/domesticabuseinenglandandwales/yearendingmarch2016

Q
Asked by Darren Jones
(Bristol North West)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Home Office
Emergency Services Network
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the monthly cost to the public purse is of the delay in the roll-out of the new Emergency Services Network for (a) charges to Airwave and (b) any other costs.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 20 October 2017

The costs of upgrading to the Emergency Services Network and the costs to extend Airwave contracts for the emergency services are available in the public domain at:

https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Upgrading-emergency-service-communications-the-Emergency-services-Network.pdf

and

https://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/b15926/Minutes%20-%20Appendix%201%20-%20Transcript%20of%20Item%205%20Tuesday%2018-Jul-2017%2010.00%20GLA%20Oversight%20Committee.pdf?T=9

Any delay in rollout impacts the date by when the savings from ESN will start to be realised. These savings will represent 50% of the cost of Airwave. The cost of delay is therefore the opportunity cost of not being able to realise the cost savings of ESN sooner.

Up to the end of 2016/17, the Programme has already delivered £77m of cash releasing benefits on existing Airwave contracts. These are benefits that would not have been obtained under the previous contractual agreements.

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