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.

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 21-40 out of 23093
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Ministry of Defence
RAF Marham: Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 30 October (HL2257), how much is being paid in incentive payments for each specific element of the infrastructure programme at RAF Marham.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 20 November 2017

I am withholding the information as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.

Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department of Health
NHS: Computers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of broken and unrepaired laptops in NHS hospitals and clinics; and whether they will take steps to ensure that NHS doctors and other clinicians have uninterrupted access to working laptops so far as is necessary for sound clinical practice.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 20 November 2017

The Department does not collect data on the number of broken and unrepaired laptops in National Health Service trusts and clinics. The provision and servicing of information technology equipment in NHS trusts is a matter for individual trusts.

Asked on: 06 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Pakistan: Terrorism
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they intend to make to the government of Pakistan to encourage it to improve its efforts to eradicate terrorist activity and extremism within Pakistan's borders.
A
Answered on: 20 November 2017

The UK and Pakistan have a shared interest in the battle against terrorism. The UK is committed to working with Pakistan to combat the terrorist threat and the extremism that sustains it. We regularly highlight to Pakistan, at the highest level, the importance of taking effective action against all terrorist groups operating in Pakistan, as Pakistan has committed to do. My colleague, the Minister for Asia and the Pacific, raised this with his counterparts when he visited Pakistan earlier this month.​ On extremism, during Pakistan's UPR this November, the UK raised deep concern over the misuse of terrorism and blasphemy laws to persecute minority communities


The UK is helping Pakistan develop its capacity to protect itself from terrorism and extremism, and prosecute those who plan and commit terrorist attacks. Our counter-terrorism assistance to Pakistan is focussed on protecting civilians, strengthening rule of law and developing civilian counter-terrorism institutions.​

Q
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department of Health
Drugs: Intellectual Property
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what incentives, if any, they plan to introduce to ensure that, following Brexit, firms continue to develop intellectual property in the UK, including for paediatric products and orphan medicines; and whether, in so doing, they will take into account any recommendations arising out of the European Commission’s current analysis of intellectual property incentives for the pharmaceutical industry.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 20 November 2017

The Prime Minister has made clear that a key priority through the negotiations will be to ensure that the United Kingdom remains one of the best places in the world for science and innovation. Part of this will be ensuring an effective Intellectual Property (IP) regime that supports UK innovation and creativity. The UK will remain one of the best places in the world to obtain and protect IP.

The Government has contributed to the European Commission’s ongoing analysis of intellectual property incentives for the pharmaceutical sector and will want to consider its recommendations in due course. The Government’s European Union Withdrawal Bill is designed to ensure that the UK exits the EU with certainty, continuity, and control, ensuring that, so far as possible, the same rules and laws will apply on the day after exit as on the day before.

Asked on: 06 November 2017
Cabinet Office
Religious Freedom: Commonwealth
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many funding proposals on freedom of religion or belief have been received by the Cabinet Office’s Commonwealth Summit Unit’s Kickstart programme; how many of those proposals were successful; and what was the value of the successful proposals.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 20 November 2017

The Kickstart Fund is designed to support preparatory work ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting next April. The Commonwealth Summit Unit received one bid on Freedom of Religion and Belief which was not successful.

The Unit is currently considering programmes for the UK's Commonwealth Chair-in-Office period, the two years following the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April 2018. While funding through the Kickstart Fund for a programme of events on Freedom of Religion and Belief has not been specifically allocated ahead of the summit, agreement has been reached that the Government will support the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in hosting a forum. This will bring parliamentarians from around the Commonwealth together for important discussions across the key challenges facing the Commonwealth, including upholding the Commonwealth Charter. The Commonwealth Summit Unit has also provided £20,000 to the Royal Commonwealth Society to support its interfaith service, which will take place in Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day in March 2018.

The Government remains firmly committed to the promotion and protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief in all countries. The Prime Minister has announced the four themes for the summit: prosperity, security, sustainability and fairness. The summit will encourage all Commonwealth members to uphold the values set out in the Commonwealth Charter, including religious freedom.

Q
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Libya: Sexual Offences
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to efforts (1) to document allegations of systematic rape and sexual violence carried out against prisoners and detainees in Libya, and (2) to share documented evidence with the International Criminal Court.
A
Answered on: 20 November 2017

(1) More progress needs to be made on improving respect for the human rights of prisoners and detainees in Libya, although the political and security context in Libya remains very challenging. The UK Government does not document individual allegations of rape and sexual violence in Libya but does engage regularly with human rights organisations and the UN on these issues. The 2016 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights report outlines UK activity in further detail. Through our programming we have worked with the Libyan authorities to improve conditions in detention centres in Libya. For example, so far this year, the Department for International Development has supported more than 20,000 emergency interventions in areas which include healthcare, psychosocial support, hygiene kits and safe shelter. We also provide specific support to women and girls, to protect them from the heightened risks of sexual and gender based violence.

(2) The United Kingdom has a legal obligation to cooperate with the International Criminal Court. We have a centralised system for responding to all requests from the Office of the Prosecutor and we have established guidelines and set standard procedures to ensure we share information with the International Criminal Court where appropriate.

Asked on: 06 November 2017
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Private Sector
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the performance of privatised prison services in the past year; and whether they intend to review the case for returning those services to the public sector.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 20 November 2017

We have robust processes in place to closely monitor privately managed prisons and will not hesitate to take action if and when standards fall short. There is a HMPPS Controller based in every privately managed prison, accountable for providing assurance that the contracts are delivered in accordance with agreed contractual delivery indicators, and that the prison provides safe, decent and secure services. Senior Contract Managers (SCMs) provide an additional level of operational assurance and support for the Controllers.

Privately managed prison contracts set out a strict performance framework, consisting of prescriptive performance targets. Failure by the provider to meet performance targets results in performance points and, potentially, financial remedies being applied against the provider. It is important to recognise, however, that privately managed prison providers achieve the majority of their contractual targets.

Any decision to revoke a contract to operate a privately managed prison will be made after following a clear process and where the operator fails to improve performance despite this process. We do not currently anticipate any such action taking place against any privately managed prison.

Privately managed prisons have been a key feature of the prison estate for over 20 years and will continue to play an important role.

Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department of Health
Rickets
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to designate a group of health care professionals to be accountable and responsible for the prevention of rickets and its complications.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 20 November 2017

The Government has no plans to designate a group of healthcare professionals focused on the prevention of rickets.

Rickets can generally be prevented by ensuring that children have a healthy, balanced diet, spend some time outside in the sun and take appropriate supplements containing ten micrograms of vitamin D. There is already a range of resources available to increase awareness of the need for vitamin D supplements, including advice on the NHS Choices website on the importance of vitamin D for bone health, and supplements are readily available over the counter and through the Healthy Start vitamins scheme.

In August the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) updated its public health guidance on increasing vitamin D supplement use among population groups at risk of vitamin D deficiency, in the light of the 2016 Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition report on Vitamin D and health. A copy of Vitamin D: supplement use in specific population groups is attached. This guideline includes recommendations on how to: increase access to and availability of vitamin D supplements, including for at-risk groups such as the BAME community, ensure health professionals recommend vitamin D supplements, raise awareness of the importance of these supplements amongst the population, and monitor provision and uptake of vitamin D supplements. Local commissioners will wish to consider how best to take forward these recommendations in respect of local BAME populations.

The Government has made no formal assessment of the research referred to. Given the widespread availability of vitamin D supplements and clear guidance to health professionals and the public the Government does not believe there is a need for further strategies to prevent rickets.

Vitamin D supplement use (PDF Document, 265.69 KB)
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department of Health
Rickets: Ethnic Groups
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what analysis they have undertaken of the steps necessary to protect members of the BAME community from the risk of rickets and its complications.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 20 November 2017

The Government has no plans to designate a group of healthcare professionals focused on the prevention of rickets.

Rickets can generally be prevented by ensuring that children have a healthy, balanced diet, spend some time outside in the sun and take appropriate supplements containing ten micrograms of vitamin D. There is already a range of resources available to increase awareness of the need for vitamin D supplements, including advice on the NHS Choices website on the importance of vitamin D for bone health, and supplements are readily available over the counter and through the Healthy Start vitamins scheme.

In August the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) updated its public health guidance on increasing vitamin D supplement use among population groups at risk of vitamin D deficiency, in the light of the 2016 Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition report on Vitamin D and health. A copy of Vitamin D: supplement use in specific population groups is attached. This guideline includes recommendations on how to: increase access to and availability of vitamin D supplements, including for at-risk groups such as the BAME community, ensure health professionals recommend vitamin D supplements, raise awareness of the importance of these supplements amongst the population, and monitor provision and uptake of vitamin D supplements. Local commissioners will wish to consider how best to take forward these recommendations in respect of local BAME populations.

The Government has made no formal assessment of the research referred to. Given the widespread availability of vitamin D supplements and clear guidance to health professionals and the public the Government does not believe there is a need for further strategies to prevent rickets.

Vitamin D supplement use (PDF Document, 265.69 KB)
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department of Health
Rickets
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of research published in Endocrine Connections finding (1) that the UK does not provide information to new parents before discharge on the necessity of infant vitamin D supplementation, and (2) that the vitamin D supplementation programme in infants is not monitored.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 20 November 2017

The Government has no plans to designate a group of healthcare professionals focused on the prevention of rickets.

Rickets can generally be prevented by ensuring that children have a healthy, balanced diet, spend some time outside in the sun and take appropriate supplements containing ten micrograms of vitamin D. There is already a range of resources available to increase awareness of the need for vitamin D supplements, including advice on the NHS Choices website on the importance of vitamin D for bone health, and supplements are readily available over the counter and through the Healthy Start vitamins scheme.

In August the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) updated its public health guidance on increasing vitamin D supplement use among population groups at risk of vitamin D deficiency, in the light of the 2016 Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition report on Vitamin D and health. A copy of Vitamin D: supplement use in specific population groups is attached. This guideline includes recommendations on how to: increase access to and availability of vitamin D supplements, including for at-risk groups such as the BAME community, ensure health professionals recommend vitamin D supplements, raise awareness of the importance of these supplements amongst the population, and monitor provision and uptake of vitamin D supplements. Local commissioners will wish to consider how best to take forward these recommendations in respect of local BAME populations.

The Government has made no formal assessment of the research referred to. Given the widespread availability of vitamin D supplements and clear guidance to health professionals and the public the Government does not believe there is a need for further strategies to prevent rickets.

Vitamin D supplement use (PDF Document, 265.69 KB)
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department of Health
Rickets
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to develop strategies to implement a rickets prevention policy alongside the existing infection prevention policy of vaccinations, in the light of evidence published in Endocrine Connections demonstrating that the UK has the worst adherence to infant vitamin D supplementation in Europe.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 20 November 2017

The Government has no plans to designate a group of healthcare professionals focused on the prevention of rickets.

Rickets can generally be prevented by ensuring that children have a healthy, balanced diet, spend some time outside in the sun and take appropriate supplements containing ten micrograms of vitamin D. There is already a range of resources available to increase awareness of the need for vitamin D supplements, including advice on the NHS Choices website on the importance of vitamin D for bone health, and supplements are readily available over the counter and through the Healthy Start vitamins scheme.

In August the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) updated its public health guidance on increasing vitamin D supplement use among population groups at risk of vitamin D deficiency, in the light of the 2016 Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition report on Vitamin D and health. A copy of Vitamin D: supplement use in specific population groups is attached. This guideline includes recommendations on how to: increase access to and availability of vitamin D supplements, including for at-risk groups such as the BAME community, ensure health professionals recommend vitamin D supplements, raise awareness of the importance of these supplements amongst the population, and monitor provision and uptake of vitamin D supplements. Local commissioners will wish to consider how best to take forward these recommendations in respect of local BAME populations.

The Government has made no formal assessment of the research referred to. Given the widespread availability of vitamin D supplements and clear guidance to health professionals and the public the Government does not believe there is a need for further strategies to prevent rickets.

Vitamin D supplement use (PDF Document, 265.69 KB)
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Brexit: Impact Assessments
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government why, in its sectoral impact assessments for leaving the EU, the Department for Exiting the EU has not undertaken an impact assessment of the natural environment; and whether it intends to do so.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 20 November 2017

As Parliamentary Under Secretary Robin Walker said in his opening remarks to the House on 1st November, the Government has not produced a series of sectoral impact assessments. The Government has produced a wide mix of qualitative and quantitative analysis, contained in a range of documents developed at different times since the referendum. It is constantly evolving and being updated based on our discussions with industry and our negotiations with the EU, but it is not, and nor has it ever been, a series of impact assessments examining the quantitative impact of Brexit on these sectors. The Secretary of State has said that he will provide sector analysis to the Exiting the European Union Committee in an informative and accessible way as soon as is possible.

Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Pesticides
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will apply the precautionary principle to authorisation of use of pesticides after Brexit.
A
Answered on: 20 November 2017

Our approach to the regulation of Plant Protection Products upon exit from the European Union will be to convert existing EU regulations into UK law through the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill at the point of exit.

The EU Plant Protection Product regulation makes specific reference to the precautionary principle and this will therefore be retained when we convert that EU regulation into our national law.

Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food Poverty
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 16 October (HL1662), whether they have any plans to gather evidence of the level of food security in the UK in addition to the ONS surveys on spend on food and of people's experience of food security.
A
Answered on: 20 November 2017

We have recently commenced a review of the UK Food Security Assessment, to update and refresh the suite of indicators within it. It is a comprehensive analysis of all aspects of food security, including household food security.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) continue to monitor household spending on food through its Living Costs and Food Survey. The ONS does not conduct a survey recording experiences of household food security.

Q
Asked by Lord Laird
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for Transport
Motorcycles: Noise
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have to reduce the noise level of motorcycles on public roads.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 20 November 2017

Technical standards for noise from new motorcycles are set at an International level by both the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). These provisions were updated in 2014 and took effect for new machines from 2016.

The European Commission is planning to introduce new legislation concerning emissions and noise from motorcycles. An independent research-based investigation is currently underway to establish the noise limits and these are expected to take effect in 2020. We anticipate these will be implemented through the UNECE where the UK will continue to play a key role beyond our withdrawal from the EU.

The motorcycle industry are represented at the UNECE discussions and Department for Transport officials also hold routine discussions with them outside this forum.

Q
Asked by Lord Laird
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Northern Ireland Office
Northern Ireland Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government on which dates in the last five years the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland held briefings about developments and policy in the province; and who attended each of those meetings.
A
Answered on: 20 November 2017

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland holds a range of meetings on developments and policy, including regular events for Parliamentarians with an interest in Northern affairs.

External meetings are published on the Northern Ireland Office website, which can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/northern-ireland-office.

Q
Asked by Lord Laming
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Ministry of Justice
Care Proceedings
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the proposal by the President of the Family Division that children should be dealt with in new "problem-solving" courts.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 20 November 2017

The Ministry of Justice works with other departments to achieve the best outcomes for children both outside and within the court process. We are committed to ensuring that young people in the youth justice system receive the support they need to prevent them from committing further offences, with youth offending teams leading a multi-agency approach involving the courts, children’s services and other local services as appropriate. We recognise that problem-solving approaches can provide alternatives to a traditional court process, and may lead to improved outcomes for children and their families. We are supportive of such approaches in family proceedings, for example Family Drug and Alcohol Courts and the current piloting of settlement conferences.

Q
Asked by Lord Lexden
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Northern Ireland Office
Northern Ireland Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth on 24 October (HL1962), whether they will set a date for the formal conclusion of their talks with the Northern Ireland political parties on the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive.
A
Answered on: 20 November 2017

The priority of the Government remains the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland. We continue to work with the parties and support them in their efforts to reach an agreement which will enable the formation of a Northern Ireland Executive. This involves keeping under continuous review the most effective means of encouraging progress.

Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Welfare Assistance Schemes
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Buscombe on 23 October (HL1902), what kinds of flexible help local authorities are able to target on those in need of urgent help where they have closed local welfare assistance schemes.
Answered on: 20 November 2017

Under Section 2 of the Local Government Act 2000, local authorities may do anything which they consider is likely to promote or improve the economic, social or environmental well-being of their area. To achieve these objectives they may give financial assistance to any person. Such local spending decisions are best made by people who understand their communities and who are best placed to make the right call. The issue of local authority spending priorities is ultimately a matter for local discretion.

Q
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department of Health
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the BMJ best practice guidance on chronic fatigue syndrome published in July, whether there are any National Health Service tests available for autoimmune and metabolic dysfunction.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 20 November 2017

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for commissioning many healthcare services to meet the needs and requirements of their local population, including those for people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). In doing so, CCGs will commission services that reflect the needs of local people and that support improvements in health and healthcare outcomes.

The current National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on ME/CFS does not recommend routine autoimmune or metabolic testing but advises that diagnosis should be made after all other possible diagnoses have been excluded. Shared decision making should take place during diagnosis and all phases of care between the person with ME/CFS and healthcare professionals.

On 20 September 2017, NICE announced plans to undertake a full review of the guidance.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 21-40 out of 23093
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100