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
(North Durham)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Ministry of Defence
Navy: Engineers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many fully trained (a) Marine Engineers and (b) Weapons Engineers served in the Royal Navy in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 08 December 2017

The trained regular strength of Royal Navy Weapon Engineers and Marine Engineers, as at 1 April each year from 2012 to 2017 is given below:

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Weapon Engineer

Officer

669

649

613

601

568

562

Rating

2,643

2,430

2,303

2,246

2,979

3,132

Marine Engineer

Officer

557

544

521

507

480

483

Rating

3,979

3,724

3,410

3,219

3,166

3,289

Notes:

  1. Communication and Information Specialists (CIS) were not counted in Engineer branches until August 2015. They are therefore included in the Weapon Engineering figures for April 2016 and April 2017 but not for earlier years.
  2. The Weapon Engineer figures for April 2016 and April 2017 include 1,005 and 1,227 CIS personnel respectively.
Q
Asked by Gill Furniss
(Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Department of Health
NHS: Migrant Workers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the recent fall in EU immigration on trends in NHS recruitment during Winter 2017.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 08 December 2017

The latest data available from NHS Digital shows as at June 2017 there was an increase of over 5% in the number of EU27 nationals employed in NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups compared with June 2016.

Ensuring appropriate staffing over winter is essential. NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the National Health Service to ensure that plans are in place to meet the demands put on the service. This includes necessary staffing levels.

As announced in the Autumn Budget, an extra £335 million, on top of the previously announced £100 million will be provided to relieve pressure on accident and emergency departments. An additional £1 billion of funding will be spent on meeting adult social care needs, supporting the social care market and reducing pressure on the NHS this year.

Q
(North Durham)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Ministry of Defence
Navy: Engineers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the (a) outflow (b) inflow and (c) netflow of fully trained Royal Navy (i) Marine Engineers and (ii) Weapons Engineers has been in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 08 December 2017

The intake and outflow for trained regular, Royal Navy Marine and Weapons Engineer officers and ratings by Financial Year (FY) from 2012-13 to 2016-17 is given in the attached table.

Q
(North Durham)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Ministry of Defence
Navy: Engineers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many former fully trained Royal Navy (a) Marine Engineers and (b) Weapons Engineers have rejoined the (i) regular naval service (ii) reserve naval service in the last two years.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 08 December 2017

The intake to trained regulars and trained Royal Naval Reserve between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2017 for personnel who were previously trained Weapon Engineers or Marine Engineers is given below:

Intake to Trained Regulars

Intake to Trained Royal Naval Reserve

Weapon Engineer

15

15

Marine Engineer

10

10

Notes:

  1. Intake to the Royal Naval Reserve includes seamless transfers between the Regulars and the Reserves.

  1. Data only includes personnel who have outflowed from the Regular Trained Strength since 1 September 2006.

  1. Data have been rounded to the nearest 5.
Q
(North Durham)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Ministry of Defence
Navy: Engineers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the average age of Royal Navy (a) Marine Engineers and (b) Weapons Engineers has been in each of the last 10 years.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 08 December 2017

The average age of trained regular Royal Navy Weapon Engineers and Marine Engineers, as at 1 April each year from 2008 to 2017 is given below:

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Weapon Engineer

Officer

39

39

40

40

40

40

40

40

40

40

Rating

32

31

31

31

32

32

32

31

32

32

Marine Engineer

Officer

39

39

40

40

40

39

39

39

39

39

Rating

31

31

31

31

31

31

31

31

31

32

1. Average age provided is mean age at last birthday. 2. In 2008 one rating with an unknown specialisation has been excluded.

3. Communication and Information Specialists were not counted in Engineering branches until August 2015. They are therefore included in the Weapon Engineering figures for April 2016 and April 2017 but not for earlier years.

Q
Asked by Alan Mak
(Havant)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Department for Education
Schools: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children in England (a) are in schools rated good or outstanding and (b) were in such schools in 2010.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 08 December 2017

On 30 November 2017, Ofsted released their latest inspection data as at 31 August 2017, reporting there were 6,768,836 children in England in Good or Outstanding schools. The proportion of children in England in Good or Outstanding schools as at 31 August 2017, is 87%. The latest Ofsted First Release publication can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/maintained-schools-and-academies-inspections-and-outcomes-as-at-31-august-2017.

Official statistics released by Ofsted showed there were 4,855,336 children in England in Good or Outstanding schools as at 31 August, 2010. The proportion of children in England in Good or Outstanding schools as at 31 August 2010, was 66%. See Ofsted’s Dataview site for details.

https://public.tableau.com/profile/ofsted#!/vizhome/Dataview/Viewregionalperformanceovertime.

Grouped Questions: 116904
Q
Asked by Alan Mak
(Havant)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Department for Education
Schools: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of children in England (a) are in schools rated good or outstanding and (b) were in such schools in 2010.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 08 December 2017

On 30 November 2017, Ofsted released their latest inspection data as at 31 August 2017, reporting there were 6,768,836 children in England in Good or Outstanding schools. The proportion of children in England in Good or Outstanding schools as at 31 August 2017, is 87%. The latest Ofsted First Release publication can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/maintained-schools-and-academies-inspections-and-outcomes-as-at-31-august-2017.

Official statistics released by Ofsted showed there were 4,855,336 children in England in Good or Outstanding schools as at 31 August, 2010. The proportion of children in England in Good or Outstanding schools as at 31 August 2010, was 66%. See Ofsted’s Dataview site for details.

https://public.tableau.com/profile/ofsted#!/vizhome/Dataview/Viewregionalperformanceovertime.

Grouped Questions: 116902
Q
Asked by Alan Mak
(Havant)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Department for Education
Schools: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of schools in England (a) are rated good or outstanding and (b) were so rated in 2010.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 08 December 2017

This is a matter for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to you and a copy of her reply will be placed in the libraries of the House.

Q
(North Durham)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Ministry of Defence
Army: Reserve Forces
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the Army Reserve total (a) inflow, (b) outflow and (c) netflow was for the (i) Infantry, (ii) Royal Artillery, (iii) Royal Corps of Signals, (iv) Army Medical Services, (v) Adjutant General's Corps, (vi) Royal Armoured Corps, (vii) Army Air Corps, (viii) Royal Engineers, (ix) Royal Logistics Corps, (x) Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and (xi) Intelligence Corps in each month in the last two years.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 08 December 2017

The Army Reserve total inflow, outflow and netflow for the requested Capbadges is shown in the attached tables:

116908 - Army Reserve Inflow and Outflow (Excel SpreadSheet, 19.46 KB)
Q
(Tottenham)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
Home Office
Knives: Crime
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to reduce knife crime
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 08 December 2017

Our work to tackle knife crime is centred on four key strands: working with the police on operations and enforcement; work on the legislative framework; to work with retailers on responsible sales of knives; and early intervention and prevention.

We are encouraging police forces to undertake a series of coordinated national weeks of action to tackle knife crime under Operation Sceptre. It includes targeted stop and searches, weapon sweeps, test purchases of knives from retailers, the use of surrender bins, and educational activities. A record thirty-two police forces took part in the week of action in July.

We have agreed a set of commitments with major retailers to prevent the underage sales of knives in their stores and online. The agreement also covers staff training and displays and packaging.

We are keeping the legislative framework under review and we have taken action to ban zombie knives in August 2016. In addition on 14 October we launched a consultation on new legislation on offensive weapons. The proposals include placing restrictions on the online sale of knives, creating a new offence of possession of an offensive or dangerous weapon in a private place, and updating existing legislation. We have launched a community fund to support local communities to tackle knife crime.

We are also supporting youth violence intervention and prevention work in hospital emergency departments including supporting the voluntary sector organisation, Redthread, undertake work in London hospitals and pilots its approach shortly in Nottingham and Birmingham.

Q
(North Durham)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Ministry of Defence
Army: Reserve Forces
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the Army Reserve total intake was for each month in the last two years.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 08 December 2017

Intake into the Army reserve for each month over the last two years is show below:

Month

Army FR20 Inflow

October 2015

630

November 2015

550

December 2015

270

January 2016

550

February 2016

490

March 2016

360

April 2016

400

May 2016

440

June 2016

520

July 2016

500

August 2016

390

September 2016

470

October 2016

450

November 2016

420

December 2016

270

January 2017

400

February 2017

400

March 2017

430

April 2017

350

May 2017

420

June 2017

420

July 2017

360

August 2017

390

September 2017

480

Notes:

The Army FR20 population consists of Group A Army Reserves, some Sponsored Reserves and those personnel serving on Full Time Reserve Service contracts who were previously Army Reservists.

The figures include untrained & trained personnel.

Figures include soldier, officer and JPA officer cadets.

Inflow includes people joining from outside the UK Armed Forces and those transferring from other parts of the UK Armed Forces.

Inflow includes people joining from outside the UK Armed Forces and those transferring from other parts of the UK Armed Forces.

Figures have been rounded to 10 for presentational purposes; numbers ending in "5" have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

Q
(Tottenham)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Home Office
Organised Crime
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to tackle the (a) organised crime, (b) gang activity and (c) drug dealing across county operating across county boundaries.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 08 December 2017

The Home Office is leading a cross-Government programme of work to tackle the issue of county lines working with partners including the police and the National Crime Agency.

We are taking a range of actions including: raising awareness in key sectors of the threat of county lines; legislating to enable police to shut down the mobile phone lines used to facilitate drug deals (the Drug Dealing Telecommunication Restriction Orders); supporting local and strategic reviews to strengthen resilience in areas at risk of county lines; and working with the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to take full advantage of powers in the Modern Slavery Act when making charging decisions against county line gang members.

The Home Office provides support to tackle county lines in various ways; including Publication of guidance for frontline professionals on how to identify potential victims of county lines and appropriate referral routes; match funding reviews for local areas facing new gang related threats including county lines; funding a pilot support service for exploited young victims caught up in county lines drugs running between London and Kent; funding through the EGVE Local Projects Fund delivering legislation to provide police and the NCA with the power to go to court to seek closure of phone numbers involved in county lines drug dealing.

Q
(Edinburgh West)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Department for Transport
Aviation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what criteria control the number of night flights arriving at and departing from airports, and, with reference to the Civil Aviation Authority's recent assessment of Edinburgh Airport's proposed new flight path, whether that Airport has reached capacity for night flights.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 08 December 2017

Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports are designated for the purpose of noise regulation under the Civil Aviation Act 1982. The Government sets night flight restrictions at these airports through a noise quota and a movement limit.

For all other UK airports, operating restrictions such as on night flights are agreed at the local level, usually through the planning process.

With regard to the assessment of Edinburgh Airport’s proposed new flight paths by the Civil Aviation Authority, this assessment related to airspace changes and not the capacity of the airport at night.

Q
Asked by Jack Lopresti
(Filton and Bradley Stoke)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Kurds: Foreign Relations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the reasons are for changing the name of the British Consulate General in the Kurdistan region to the British Consulate General Erbil on his Department's Facebook page; and what his policy is on UK relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 08 December 2017

​The British Consulate General in Erbil has not changed its name. Its Facebook page was recently changed from a monolingual (English) to a bilingual (English and Kurdish) version. Subsequently, the Kurdish name on the site was shortened as the previous title exceeded the maximum allowed characters in Kurdish. The British Consulate General in Erbil has informed local media and officials of the change. The British Government continues to support the security, stability and prosperity of the Kurdistan Region within a unified Iraq.

Q
(Sevenoaks)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Department for Education
Faith Schools: Admissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will remove the 50 per cent faith admissions cap.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 08 December 2017

The proposal to remove the 50% cap on faith admissions in faith free schools is set out in the ‘Schools that work for everyone’ consultation document. The department plans to respond on this in due course.

Q
(Lewisham East)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Department for Transport
Cycling: Safety
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to commence the second phase of the review of cycle safety announced on 21 September, into wider road safety issues.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 08 December 2017

The Department expects to publish a Call for Evidence early in 2018. Preliminary discussions regarding Phase Two have already started.

Q
(Easington)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Department for Transport
Tonnage Tax
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 24 November 2017 to Question 113639, on shipping: ownership, how many of the vessels on each of the three routes in the table are in company groups which qualify for the Tonnage Tax scheme.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 08 December 2017

It is not possible to identify which companies qualify for the Tonnage Tax scheme from the information held by the department.

For example, information on whether a company operates ships which are strategically and commercially managed in the UK, which is a requirement to be a qualifying company for the Tonnage Tax scheme, is not held for companies not currently part of the scheme.

Q
Asked by Toby Perkins
(Chesterfield)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment: Complaints
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints have been made to his Department about Capita assessments for personal independence payments in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 08 December 2017

When the Department receives a complaint regarding a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment these are passed directly to Capita to provide a response. DWP do not collect data on these cases. Capita advise that they have received the following complaints regarding PIP: 2013 - 16.5% of caseload; 2014 - 3.8% caseload; 2015 – 1.1% caseload; 2016 – 1.5% caseload and 2017 (to October) - 1.6% caseload. These are inclusive of those cases received by DWP and forwarded on to Capita.

Q
Asked by Toby Perkins
(Chesterfield)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people who previously qualified for disability living allowance have not been awarded personal independence payments following assessments by Capita.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 08 December 2017

DWP case managers make decisions on all claims based on the PIP2 questionnaire completed by the claimant, any additional evidence they have submitted, the report from the assessment provider and any additional information the assessment provider has requested, for example information from the claimant’s GP.

The table below shows the number of claimants who have undergone a Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) reassessment with our assessment providers, IAS and Capita. We previously answered this question for IAS under PQ 109416.

Table 1: Outcomes of DLA to PIP reassessments after assessment by Assessment Provider to 31st July 2017

Disallowed After Assessment

Awarded

Total

Disallowance Rate

IAS (Atos)

125,680

523,800

649,480

19%

Capita

64,280

198,220

262,500

24%

Total

189,960

722,020

911,980

21%

The figures are the outcome of the first DWP decision on each DLA to PIP reassessment claim assessed under Normal Rules only, prior to any reconsideration, appeal action and award review, after the claimant underwent an assessment by IAS or Capita. Figures include decisions made between 8th April 2013 and 31st July 2017 as recorded on Department systems. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 and are for Great Britain only.

The Department is committed to ensuring PIP claimants receive a high quality functional assessment. We continue to work closely to ensure a consistent approach is being taken across the country.

We closely monitor assessment providers to make sure that the quality of the service, that the nurses, physiotherapists and other health professionals who carry out the assessments provide, is as high as it should be. We are continually working with the assessment providers to further improve the quality of assessments, including clinical coaching, feedback and support available to each assessor. The Department has put in place an independent audit of assessments to ensure that the advice provided to the Department's decision makers is of suitable quality, fully explained and justified. In addition, there are other safeguards in place to ensure correct decisions are made, such as DWP decision makers being able to ask the provider for clarification or advice or returning the report to the provider if they believe that it does not provide sufficient information for them to make a decision.

Grouped Questions: 116939
Q
Asked by Toby Perkins
(Chesterfield)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of any difference between the proportion of personal independence payment claims that are unsuccessful following assessment by Atos and Capita.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 08 December 2017

DWP case managers make decisions on all claims based on the PIP2 questionnaire completed by the claimant, any additional evidence they have submitted, the report from the assessment provider and any additional information the assessment provider has requested, for example information from the claimant’s GP.

The table below shows the number of claimants who have undergone a Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) reassessment with our assessment providers, IAS and Capita. We previously answered this question for IAS under PQ 109416.

Table 1: Outcomes of DLA to PIP reassessments after assessment by Assessment Provider to 31st July 2017

Disallowed After Assessment

Awarded

Total

Disallowance Rate

IAS (Atos)

125,680

523,800

649,480

19%

Capita

64,280

198,220

262,500

24%

Total

189,960

722,020

911,980

21%

The figures are the outcome of the first DWP decision on each DLA to PIP reassessment claim assessed under Normal Rules only, prior to any reconsideration, appeal action and award review, after the claimant underwent an assessment by IAS or Capita. Figures include decisions made between 8th April 2013 and 31st July 2017 as recorded on Department systems. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 and are for Great Britain only.

The Department is committed to ensuring PIP claimants receive a high quality functional assessment. We continue to work closely to ensure a consistent approach is being taken across the country.

We closely monitor assessment providers to make sure that the quality of the service, that the nurses, physiotherapists and other health professionals who carry out the assessments provide, is as high as it should be. We are continually working with the assessment providers to further improve the quality of assessments, including clinical coaching, feedback and support available to each assessor. The Department has put in place an independent audit of assessments to ensure that the advice provided to the Department's decision makers is of suitable quality, fully explained and justified. In addition, there are other safeguards in place to ensure correct decisions are made, such as DWP decision makers being able to ask the provider for clarification or advice or returning the report to the provider if they believe that it does not provide sufficient information for them to make a decision.

Grouped Questions: 116936
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