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
(Tottenham)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
HM Treasury
Treasury: Brexit
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of the Civil Service workforce in his Department dedicated to planning for (a) the UK leaving the EU and (b) projects relating to the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 17 October 2017

A large proportion of the Treasury’s work is in some way related to exiting the European Union and this fluctuates over time as it interacts with Treasury’s other priorities. It is not possible, therefore, to accurately determine the proportion of the Treasury’s workforce engaged on EU Exit work at any one time.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
War Memorials: Barnet
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with Barnet Council on ensuring that the war memorial that contains its Jewish history will not be moved due to proposed road works.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 17 October 2017

My officials are in contact with Barnet Council about the proposed road works which could impact on the War memorial in Golders Green. The Council have reiterated that moving the memorial would not happen without proper consultation and have confirmed that there has been no consultation on anything specific about the site.

Q
Asked by Tulip Siddiq
(Hampstead and Kilburn)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Transport
Housing: Demolition
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many properties in (a) the London Borough of Camden and (b) the UK have been demolished as a consequence of High Speed Rail 2.
A
Answered by: Paul Maynard
Answered on: 17 October 2017

Within the London Borough of Camden, the demolition of the National Temperance Hospital main building has occurred together with the partial demolition of the National Temperance Hospital Insul Wing. No other demolitions have been completed along the rest of the route.

Q
Asked by Rosie Cooper
(West Lancashire)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Local Government: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what criteria local authorities must consider when deciding to purchase private land and properties.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 17 October 2017

Local authorities contemplating the use of their compulsory purchase powers to acquire land and properties should consider, amongst other things, whether there is a compelling case in the public interest for doing so. They should also take account of government's guidance on the compulsory purchase process, which was published in October 2015.

The Local Government Act 1999 (Part 1, Section 3) requires an authority to carry out the functions designated to it in accordance with the ‘best value duty’. This requires that "A best value authority must make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which its functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness”. The duty applies to the full range of an authority’s activities.

Local authorities have the freedom to borrow and invest, including in land and property purchases, without government consent, provided that their borrowing is affordable. Control is exercised through four statutory codes that local authorities are required to have regard to, two prepared by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and two prepared by DCLG. This framework is known as the “Prudential System”. We are currently working with CIPFA to revise the statutory codes and guidance and the intention is for these to be in place early in 2018.

Q
Asked by Rosie Cooper
(West Lancashire)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Private Property: Repairs and Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what guidance is available to local authorities on dealing with private properties in a state of disrepair that may cause structural damage to adjacent properties.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 17 October 2017

Local authorities have powers under sections 76 to 79 of the Building Act 1984 to require the owners of buildings in a dangerous state of disrepair to take such action as required to remove the danger or to demolish the building. If the owner refuses to do so the local authority itself may take the necessary action.

Q
(Tottenham)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Department for Communities and Local Government: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of the Civil Service workforce in his Department dedicated to planning for (a) the UK leaving the EU and (b) projects relating to the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 17 October 2017

Exit is an all-of-government operation. The Department for Exiting the European Union is doing detailed work with departments to prepare for the upcoming negotiations by understanding the risks and opportunities of leaving the EU and coordinating planning. Staff within the EU Exit team lead on providing advice to Ministers on EU Exit and exit-related issues. Members of staff across my Department also provide advice and analysis on EU Exit issues as required. Given the interactions between EU exit work and the Department’s other priorities, it would not be possible to give an accurate figure.

Q
Asked by Andrew Gwynne
(Denton and Reddish)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will review the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 17 October 2017

While we do not currently plan to review the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012, we are clear that council decision-taking must be transparent and open.

Q
Asked by Thelma Walker
(Colne Valley)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Homelessness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to reduce homelessness in (a) England, (b) West Yorkshire, (c) Kirklees and (d) Colne Valley.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 17 October 2017

This Government is committed to preventing and reducing homelessness in England. That is why we are aiming to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminate it altogether by 2027. We will set up a rough sleeping and homelessness taskforce and pilot a Housing First approach to tackle rough sleeping.

We are implementing the most ambitious legislative reform in decades, the Homelessness Reduction Act, to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place by ensuring more people get the help they need earlier.

We are also investing over £550 million until 2020 to prevent and reduce homelessness and rough sleeping, including through our £50 million Homelessness Prevention Programme. This is supporting 84 projects working across England to deliver an end-to-end approach to homelessness prevention.

Q
Asked by Andrew Gwynne
(Denton and Reddish)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Transport
Parking: Private Sector
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many private parking companies have had access to DVLA data suspended because they have been found not to follow the trade association's code of practice.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 17 October 2017

In the last financial year, two private parking companies had been suspended from receiving data from the Driver and Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA) because they had been found not to follow the accredited trade association's code of practice.

Q
Asked by Andrew Gwynne
(Denton and Reddish)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Temporary Accommodation: Fire Prevention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what guidance his Department issues to local authorities to ensure that (a) private hostels, (b) bed and breakfasts and (c) other unsupported temporary accommodation providers have adequate fire safety measures.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 17 October 2017

Time spent in temporary accommodation ensures no family is without a roof over their head. The Government is assisting areas to ensure that families spend no longer than 6 weeks in B&Bs, which includes protecting and maintaining the homelessness prevention funding at £315 million. We have also replaced Department of Work and Pension’s Temporary Accommodation Management Fee with a Flexible Homelessness Support Grant which local authorities can use more strategically to prevent and tackle homelessness. This amounts to £402 million over the two years from 2017/18.

While the number of households in temporary accommodation is below the 2004 peak, the law is clear that households with dependent children should only be accommodated in B&B in an emergency and for no longer than six weeks, which commences when the household moves in.

Local authorities have a duty to ensure that any accommodation provided for a homeless household under the homelessness legislation must be suitable.

Part B (Fire safety) of the Building Regulations sets requirements for fire safety where building work takes place, typically including the erection, extension or alteration of a building. Guidance is issued by the Secretary of State in Approved Documents, specifically Approved Document B (Fire Safety) Volume 1 (dwellinghouses) and Volume 2 (Buildings other than dwellinghouses).

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 also applies to premises that provide sleeping accommodation, other than where they are a private home. The Fire Safety Order requires a ‘responsible person’ (usually the owner, employer or landlord) to carry out and review regularly a fire risk assessment of a premises to ensure adequate and appropriate fire safety measures are in place to manage the risk that lives could be lost in the event of a fire.

The Government has produced guidance to help those with fire safety responsibilities in sleeping accommodation to comply with the provisions of the Fire Safety Order – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-risk-assessment-sleeping-accommodation. The extent to which the fire protection measures in place in any particular building comply with these provisions is a matter for the responsible person’s risk assessment.

DCLG publishes regular statistics on rough sleeping, statutory homelessness, temporary accommodation and homelessness prevention and relief, including the numbers of households in B&B for over 6 weeks. These are published at national, London and local authority level. The latest statistics can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/homelessness-statistics.

Grouped Questions: 106734
Q
(Birmingham, Hall Green)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Homelessness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, when he plans to bring into force the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017; and whether he plans to provide additional funding to councils to ensure the performance of their responsibilities under that Act.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The Government is committed to preventing and reducing homelessness. The timely commencement of the Homelessness Reduction Act will ensure that local authorities intervene at earlier stages to prevent homelessness. It is our intention to commence the Act in April 2018. On Monday 16 October I updated the House on a commitment I made to fund the administrative costs of the additional new duties contained within the Act in line with the new burdens doctrine. Following further discussions with local authorities, the Government is providing an additional £11.7 million in new burdens funding taking the total amount from £61million to £72.7 million.

Q
Asked by Andrew Gwynne
(Denton and Reddish)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Non-domestic Rates
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether it remains his Department's policy to publish a list of local authorities that have notified that they have re-billed for each of the three rates relief schemes; and what the reasons are for the time taken to publish that data.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The Department for Communities and Local Government published the list of local authorities that notified the Department that they have re-billed each of the three rates relief. It is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-relief-schemes-2017-rebilling-progress

Q
(Tottenham)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Social Rented Housing: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what estimate his Department has made of the number of homes for social rent that will be completed in (a) London and (b) England in (i) 2017, (ii) 2018, (iii) 2019 and (iv) 2020.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 17 October 2017

We have not made such estimates as the Mayor has overall responsibility for affordable housing policy and delivery in London. However data does show that in the first year of the new Mayoral administration there were no new homes for social rent started with GLA support – the first year on record this has fallen to zero.

Q
Asked by Andrew Gwynne
(Denton and Reddish)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Housing: Fire Prevention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will place in the Library copies of all correspondence between his Department and the Local Government Association in the last three years relating to residential fire safety.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The information requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Q
Asked by Andrew Gwynne
(Denton and Reddish)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Devolution: Yorkshire and the Humber
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will place in the Library the results of the research commissioned by his Department relating to a One Yorkshire devolution deal.
A
Answered by: Jake Berry
Answered on: 17 October 2017

My Department has not commissioned any research relating to devolution in Yorkshire. It is for local leaders to put forward any devolution proposal on an appropriate geography and commanding wide support. We would welcome and consider any such proposal that did not

cut across the Sheffield City Region deal.

Q
Asked by Andrew Gwynne
(Denton and Reddish)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Bed and Breakfast Accommodation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, in how many cases during (a) 2015, (b) 2016 and (c) 2017 homeless families were unlawfully placed in bed and breakfast accommodation for more than six weeks.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 17 October 2017

Time spent in temporary accommodation ensures no family is without a roof over their head. The Government is assisting areas to ensure that families spend no longer than 6 weeks in B&Bs, which includes protecting and maintaining the homelessness prevention funding at £315 million. We have also replaced Department of Work and Pension’s Temporary Accommodation Management Fee with a Flexible Homelessness Support Grant which local authorities can use more strategically to prevent and tackle homelessness. This amounts to £402 million over the two years from 2017/18.

While the number of households in temporary accommodation is below the 2004 peak, the law is clear that households with dependent children should only be accommodated in B&B in an emergency and for no longer than six weeks, which commences when the household moves in.

Local authorities have a duty to ensure that any accommodation provided for a homeless household under the homelessness legislation must be suitable.

Part B (Fire safety) of the Building Regulations sets requirements for fire safety where building work takes place, typically including the erection, extension or alteration of a building. Guidance is issued by the Secretary of State in Approved Documents, specifically Approved Document B (Fire Safety) Volume 1 (dwellinghouses) and Volume 2 (Buildings other than dwellinghouses).

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 also applies to premises that provide sleeping accommodation, other than where they are a private home. The Fire Safety Order requires a ‘responsible person’ (usually the owner, employer or landlord) to carry out and review regularly a fire risk assessment of a premises to ensure adequate and appropriate fire safety measures are in place to manage the risk that lives could be lost in the event of a fire.

The Government has produced guidance to help those with fire safety responsibilities in sleeping accommodation to comply with the provisions of the Fire Safety Order – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-risk-assessment-sleeping-accommodation. The extent to which the fire protection measures in place in any particular building comply with these provisions is a matter for the responsible person’s risk assessment.

DCLG publishes regular statistics on rough sleeping, statutory homelessness, temporary accommodation and homelessness prevention and relief, including the numbers of households in B&B for over 6 weeks. These are published at national, London and local authority level. The latest statistics can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/homelessness-statistics.

Grouped Questions: 106761
Q
(Tottenham)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate her Department has made of the proportion of the Civil Service workforce in her Department dedicated to planning for (a) the UK leaving the EU and (b) projects relating to the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 17 October 2017

Staff within the DCMS EU Team lead on providing advice to Ministers on EU Exit and related issues. Members of staff across the Department also provide advice and analyses on EU Exit issues as required. Given the interactions between EU exit work and the Department's other priorities, it would not be possible to give an accurate figure.

Q
Asked by Tom Watson
(West Bromwich East)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Broadband
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many premises in each parliamentary constituency in the UK have taken up a superfast broadband connection.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 17 October 2017

We do not hold information on superfast broadband take-up percentage by constituency.

Q
Asked by Darren Jones
(Bristol North West)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Data Protection: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what (a) oversight and (b) powers the Government will have in relation to guidance issued by the Information Commissioner on the application of the General Data Protection Regulation.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The Data Protection Bill will require the Information Commissioner to prepare statutory data sharing and direct marketing codes of practice. The Commissioner will be required to submit these codes to the Secretary of State and the codes must subsequently be laid before Parliament for consideration. The Secretary of State may also require the Commissioner to prepare additional codes giving guidance on good practice in other data processing areas. Through regular dialogue, the government will work with the Commissioner to identify other data processing activities and sectors where non-statutory guidance would be of benefit and should be developed.

Q
Asked by Royston Smith
(Southampton, Itchen)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Ministry of Defence
Military Bases: Food
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the average cost is of preparing and serving a meal in Army barracks.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The daily cost of core meals for UK Service personnel is set by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body at £5.74 inclusive of Value Added Tax.

The table below highlights the core meal price spent on produce and ingredients:

Breakfast

Lunch

Main Meal

Total

Food cost

£1.20

£1.62

£1.97

£4.79

VAT @ 20%

£0.24

£0.32

£0.39

£0.95

Total cost

£1.44

£1.94

£2.36

£5.74

The cost of the preparation and serving of food is included within the Ministry of Defence’s existing catering contracts. These costs are not separately identifiable.

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