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 41-60 out of 33862
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 10 January 2018
HM Treasury
Imports: VAT
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many companies made declarations on payments of upfront VAT when importing goods into the UK from outside the EU in each of the last five financial years.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 19 January 2018

The number of businesses importing goods into the UK from outside the EU is set out at Table 4 of HMRC’s quarterly Trade Statistics publication.

https://www.uktradeinfo.com/Statistics/RTS/RTS%20Releases/RTS_Q3_2017.xls

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 10 January 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Community Transit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what progress has been made on negotiations for the inclusion of the UK as a separate contracting party to the Common Transit Convention.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 19 January 2018

The Customs Future Partnership Paper published in August 2017 sets out our objectives for a future customs relationship with the EU, and the two approaches that most closely meet these objectives. The paper indicated UK membership of the CTC could form part of our potential future relationship with the EU.

Having moved beyond the first phase of the negotiations, the Government looks forward to negotiating the UK's future customs relationship with the European Union.

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 10 January 2018
HM Treasury
Imports: VAT
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps HMRC is taking to provide (a) collection mechanisms, (b) IT systems, and (c) repayments for companies in preparation for the levying of upfront VAT at the point of importation of goods into the UK from the EU if the UK leaves the EU VAT area.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 19 January 2018

The Government recognises the importance of VAT accounting treatment to business, and is exploring options to mitigate any cash-flow impacts for business as a result of potential changes following EU exit. The Government’s aim is to keep VAT processes as close as possible to what they are now.

Grouped Questions: 122080 | 122139 | 122140
Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 10 January 2018
HM Treasury
VAT
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will list those territories that are outside the EU but part of the EU VAT area.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 19 January 2018

The Isle of Man; the UK Sovereign Base Areas on the island of Cyprus; and the Principality of Monaco are not formally part of the EU VAT area. They are treated as if they are because of their relationship with the UK, Cyprus and France respectively.

Q
(East Yorkshire)
Asked on: 10 January 2018
HM Treasury
Motorways: Speed Limits
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much money has been raised by average speed cameras, installed on a temporary basis because of roadworks on motorways in England during the last 12 months for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Elizabeth Truss
Answered on: 19 January 2018

All revenue generated from speed cameras – through fixed penalty notices issued by local police forces or speeding fines issued by the courts are transferred into the Consolidated Fund, which is regarded as central Government’s current account. Fines are considered a tax-type revenue and Government departments and their agencies are legally obliged to surrender these receipts to the Treasury. Revenue surrendered to this account is usually transferred in bulk and not ring-fenced for any specific area of government spending but will be used towards general government expenditure. This includes Supply payments to government departments which are drawn from the Consolidated Fund in line with amounts voted by Parliament to finance their net expenditure. As a result, we are unable to provide the information you have requested.

Q
Asked by Lord Farmer
Asked on: 10 January 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Pornography: Internet
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their forthcoming internet safety strategy will address the harms of pornography to adults, including to their interpersonal relationships; whether any measures to mitigate such harms were included in the Internet Safety Strategy green paper published in October 2017; and, if not, why not.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 19 January 2018

Evidence has shown that the easy availability and nature of online pornography is changing the way children understand healthy relationships, sex and consent. The Digital Economy Act 2017 will require commercial providers of online pornography to have robust age verification controls in place to prevent children from accessing pornographic material online, as is already the case offline. We do not have plans to restrict adults' access to this content and this issue was not specifically highlighted in the Internet Safety Strategy.

The Strategy does look more widely at how we can build users' digital literacy skills and includes initiatives which will help users access the benefits of the Internet, while managing potential risks.

Asked on: 10 January 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Brexit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prepare for a "no deal" Brexit; and what impact the absence of a designated "no deal" Minister will have on such preparations.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 19 January 2018

We want our future relationship with the EU to be a deep and special partnership, taking in both economic and security cooperation. We are confident that a future partnership between the UK and EU is in the interests of both sides, so we approach these negotiations anticipating success. We do not want or expect a no deal outcome.

However, a responsible government should prepare for all potential outcomes, including the unlikely scenario in which no mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached. That is exactly what we are doing across the whole of Government.

The Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the European Union continues to be responsible for conducting negotiations in support of the Prime Minister and leading policy work to ensure a smooth exit from the EU. The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Steve Baker, continues to support this work including remaining responsible for contingency planning.

Q
Asked by Lord Truscott
Asked on: 10 January 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
BBC: Equal Pay
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Ashton of Hyde on 9 January (HL Deb, cols 130–34), whether they intend to make representations to the BBC regarding their duties under the Equality Act 2010.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 19 January 2018

The Government is clear that as a public service broadcaster funded by the licence fee, the BBC has a responsibility to set an example for others and lead the way in promoting equality in the workplace, and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport speaks to the BBC on this. The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the regulatory body responsible for policing equal pay and it is for them, not the Government, to investigate this matter and take further action if necessary.

Q
Asked on: 11 January 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Brexit: Wales
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received from the Welsh Assembly any formal indication of its intention to reconsider withholding legislative consent to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill; and if such consent continues to be withheld, what action they intend to take.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 19 January 2018

The December 2017 interim report on legislative consent from the Welsh Assembly’s External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee recommends “that the Assembly withhold its consent for the Bill in its current form” but notes that “this is an interim report and, should the Bill be amended, [the committee] will issue a further report.”

We continue to have positive discussions with the devolved administrations and legislatures to find an agreed approach to clause 11 of the Bill and we intend to bring forward amendments during the Bill’s Lords stages. We are committed to achieving legislative consent for this vital piece of legislation.

Q
(Mid Dorset and North Poole)
Asked on: 11 January 2018
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will publish the (a) results of the Measuring the Quality of Prison Life survey from each of the last five years and (b) the reports generated for each prison based on that survey.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 19 January 2018

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service carry out Measuring the Quality of Life surveys of individual prisons on a rolling programme.

On Thursday 26 October, the Ministry of Justice launched Justice Data, a new public facing platform for presenting published performance data. The website will be accessible at https://www.data.justice.gov.uk/prisons and includes a year of MQPL performance on Safety and Decency.

Until 2016/17 the scores for some dimensions of the prisoner surveys were included in the Prison Rating System (PRS) which was published annually. The results for 2016/17 can be found on gov.uk at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/prison-annual-performance-ratings-2016-to-2017 and previous years will be available in the PRS reports at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/prison-and-probation-trusts-performance-statistics

The PRS has been replaced with the Custodial Performance Tool and certain dimensions of the prisoner survey such as safety are part of this assessment. I have no plans to publish the reports of the Measuring the Quality of Life surveys as they are produced purely for management information.

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 11 January 2018
Department for Transport
Public Transport: Motor Vehicles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information her Department holds on the age of service vehicles in (a) London and (b) England and Wales.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 19 January 2018

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) holds technical records for public service vehicles (PSV) which includes the date of manufacture and the date of first registration. However, PSV operators are not required to specify to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner (OTC) where vehicles on their operator licence are geographically based. Neither the DVSA nor the OTC can therefore differentiate between vehicles based in London and England and Wales.

Q
Asked by Chris Ruane
(Vale of Clwyd)
[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: 11 January 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Urban Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the cumulative effect of the closure of (a) banks, (b) post offices, (c) building societies and (d) pubs on the sustainability of high streets.
A
Answered by: Andrew Griffiths
Answered on: 19 January 2018
Holding answer received on 16 January 2018

The Government does not make assessments of the impact bank, post office, building society branch, or pub closures have on the sustainability of high streets. While the decision to close a branch remains a commercial judgement for individual banks and building societies, the impact on communities must be understood, considered and mitigated where possible.

The industry’s Access to Banking Standard, launched in May 2017, commits banks and building societies to ensure personal and business customers are better informed about branch closures and the reasons for them closing, along with the options they have locally to continue to access banking services, including specialist assistance for customers who need more help. The Access to Banking Standard is monitored and enforced by the independent Lending Standards Board.

99% of banks’ personal and 95% of banks’ business customers are now able to withdraw cash, deposit cash and cheques, and make balance enquiries at a Post Office counter via its network of 11,600 branches. At Autumn Budget 2017, the then Economic Secretary to the Treasury wrote to the Post Office and UK Finance to ask them to raise public awareness of the banking services available at the Post Office for individuals and SMEs.

Since 2010, Government has invested over £2billion in to the Post Office network, with a further £370m announced on 20 December. This has led to the most stable number of branches in the network for decades.

The Post Office continues to meet its access criteria with 99.7% of the total population living within 3 miles of a Post Office.

The Government recognises the importance of pubs to communities and the high street. To support pubs and local industries, and recognising that alcohol duties already rose by inflation earlier this year, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor announced at Autumn Budget 2017 that he was freezing all alcohol duties. Pubs play an important role in local communities and help promote responsible drinking. Freezing beer duty rates this year helps pubs: the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) estimate around two thirds of the alcohol sold in pubs is beer. At Spring Budget 2017, the Chancellor announced a package of support for pubs in England with their business rates. This provided a £1,000 discount to all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000. This scheme was extended by an additional year into 2018/19 at Autumn Budget.

Additionally, the Chancellor brought forward the planned switch in the indexation of business rates from RPI to CPI by two years to 2018. This will benefit all businesses on the UK high street and represents a cut in business rates every year from April 2018. In total, the switch from RPI to CPI is worth £4.1bn by 2023.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 11 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Rohingya: Sexual Offences
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to improve the UK's diplomatic response following sexually violent incidents resulting from the current, ongoing Rohingya crisis.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 19 January 2018

The Government has been clear in it's condemnation of the terrible atrocities that have occurred in Rakhine State and has now raised Burma five times at the UN Security Council. The Burmese authorities must heed the call of the UN Security Council to make Rakhine safe for refugee returns and ensure accountability for human rights violations. We have made clear to the governments of Burma and Bangladesh that any returns must have international oversight.

As one of the largest bilateral donors to Bangladesh, UK aid is helping to provide psychological support to over 10,000 women suffering from the trauma of war and over 2,000 survivors of sexual violence. We are supporting the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to operate five mobile medical teams and five health posts for sexual violence survivors, and we are supporting UNICEF protection initiatives including 30 Child Friendly Spaces.

Following the deployment of civilian experts last November we are now working to reduce any further risks of gender based violence and to create a safer environment for women and girls in the camps. We are also working to determine how the PSVI Team of Experts can best support the gathering of evidence of sexual violence for future accountability purposes.

Q
Asked by Alex Chalk
(Cheltenham)
Asked on: 11 January 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Local Government Services: Disability
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to ensure local authorities provide support to people with disabilities who are unable to travel due to extreme weather in winter months.
A
Answered by: Rishi Sunak
Answered on: 19 January 2018

Local authorities have responsibilities to provide care and support for vulnerable persons in their area. Where it appears a person, including those with a disability, has a care need local authorities have, under the Care Act 2014, a duty to assess the care and support needs of that person and following an assessment meet those care and support needs.

Q
Asked by John Lamont
(Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)
Asked on: 11 January 2018
HM Treasury
Income Tax: Scotland
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the proposal to raise income tax in Scotland on cross-border trade, employment and the location of businesses.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 19 January 2018

The Scottish government announced proposals in December which will raise income tax for many Scottish taxpayers.

These decisions are a matter for the Scottish Government, following devolution of unprecedented income tax powers, giving the Scottish government more autonomy and accountability. Therefore, it is for the Scottish Government to decide whether to increase income taxes for Scottish taxpayers.

Analysis published by the Scottish Government shows nearly all of the benefit for lower earners in Scotland is a result of personal allowance increases, and that if the UK Government had not increased the personal allowance everyone in Scotland earning over £26,000 would pay more because of these changes.

Meanwhile, this UK Government will continue to operate an income tax system that best supports a strong and prosperous UK economy – an economy that has grown continuously for 19 quarters, with a deficit that has been reduced by three quarters since 2010 and an unemployment rate at its lowest in over 40 years.

We also continue to support lower earners by cutting income tax. As a result of successive increases to the personal allowance, 1.2m individuals will be taken out of income tax altogether by 2018-19 (compared to 2015-16), and a typical basic rate taxpayer will pay £1,075 less income tax in 2018-19 than in 2010-11.

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 11 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
West Bank: Demolition
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the effect of planned demolitions in the West Bank village of Susiya on the viability of a future Palestinian state incorporating Area C of the occupied West Bank.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 19 January 2018

​We are gravely concerned by the proposals to demolish around 30% of the structures in the West Bank village of Susiya. Senior officials most recently raised the planned demolitions in Susiya with the Israeli Ambassador to London on 8 January. I visited Susiya and discussed the threat of forcible transfer with the Susiya Bedouin community on 21 August 2017 during my visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We encourage Israel to cease its counter-productive policy of demolitions, and provide a transparent route to construction for Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank. Demolitions and evictions of Palestinians from their homes cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians; call into question Israel’s commitment to a viable two-state solution; and, in all but the most exceptional cases, are contrary to International Humanitarian Law.

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 11 January 2018
HM Treasury
Imports: VAT
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will estimate the cost to the public purse in (a) 2019-2020, (b) 2020-2021 and (c) 2021-2022 of implementing a system of payments of upfront VAT by companies when importing goods into the UK from the EU in the event that the UK leaves the EU VAT area on 29 March 2019.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 19 January 2018

The Government recognises the importance of VAT accounting treatment to business, and is exploring options to mitigate any cash-flow impacts for business as a result of potential changes following EU exit. The Government’s aim is to keep VAT processes as close as possible to what they are now.

Grouped Questions: 122080 | 122083 | 122140
Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 11 January 2018
HM Treasury
Imports: VAT
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the effect on small and medium-sized businesses of implementing a system of payments of upfront VAT by companies when importing goods into the UK from the EU in the event that the UK leaves the EU VAT area on 29 March 2019.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 19 January 2018

The Government recognises the importance of VAT accounting treatment to business, and is exploring options to mitigate any cash-flow impacts for business as a result of potential changes following EU exit. The Government’s aim is to keep VAT processes as close as possible to what they are now.

Grouped Questions: 122080 | 122083 | 122139
Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 11 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Waste: Exports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) amount and (b) proportion of municipal waste collected as recyclable waste is exported.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 19 January 2018

Data on exports of waste materials generally is published by HMRC and is available at the following link https://www.uktradeinfo.com/Pages/Home.aspx

In 2015 the UK exported 14 million tonnes of scrap materials (recyclable materials left over from product manufacturing and consumption, which had a monetary value including textiles, rubber, plastic, paper, copper, aluminium, nickel, lead, zinc, tin and ferrous metals (Digest of waste and Resources Statistics 2017 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/607416/Digest_of_Waste_and_Resource_Statistics__2017_rev.pdf

Data is not held in the specific format requested.

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 11 January 2018
HM Treasury
Imports: UK Trade with EU
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the effect on small and medium-sized businesses of changes in the costs of importing goods into the UK in the event that the UK leaves the EU customs union on 29 March 2019.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 19 January 2018
The Government has been clear that, as we leave the EU, we will also leave the EU customs union. Future customs arrangements are dependent on the outcome of the negotiations with the EU. The Government is engaging with businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises, in every sector and region of the UK economy to assess the effect of EU Exit on them.
Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 41-60 out of 33862
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100