Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Department for Communities and Local Government: Advertising
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 21 September 2017 to Question 3402, on advertising, what the reasons were for the large increase in spend in March 2017.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 16 October 2017

The increase in spend in March was due to the Regional Mayoral Elections, accounting for 73 per cent of the spend in that month.

The objective of the campaign was to raise public awareness ahead of the regional elections held on 4 May 2017.

This is in support of the Government's aim to enable a shift in power from central to local government, with decentralisation bringing power closer to local communities. My department wants cities to have more control over transport, housing, skills and healthcare with elected mayors.

Grouped Questions: 106718
Q
Asked by Mike Hill
(Hartlepool)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
BBC Parliament: Hearing Impairment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will ensure that subtitles are always available on the BBC Parliament television channel.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 16 October 2017

This is an operational matter for the BBC. However, the BBC has made a commitment to provide subtitles for 100% of scheduled live House of Commons coverage by 2019 and has met this target since September 2016. Subtitles are also provided for a proportion of the House of Lords coverage and of Select Committees.

Q
Asked by Liam Byrne
(Birmingham, Hodge Hill)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Equifax: Disclosure of Information
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made representations to Equifax on UK citizens' requests for information relating to the inappropriate leaking of their personal data.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 16 October 2017

We take the security of personal data held by organisations very seriously and are addressing the Equifax data breach and its consequences for UK customers. The National Cyber Security Centre and partners including the National Crime Agency, Information Commissioner and Financial Conduct Authority, are all engaged with Equifax to examine this incident and any appropriate action will be taken.

Q
Asked by Jon Trickett
(Hemsworth)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Redundancy Pay
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 September 2017 to Question 10046, how much of the amount paid in exit payments in (a) 2015-16, (b) 2016-17 for Core Departmental and Agency staff and (c) 2016-17 for departmental group staff was paid to (i) men and (ii) women.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 16 October 2017

No exit payments were paid to core departmental staff in the 2015-16 year.

In 2016-17, six exit payments were made. 57.7% of the value of exit payments for core departmental staff was paid to women and 42.3% of the value was paid to men.

The information requested for departmental groups by gender in not held centrally and to obtain it would incur a disproportionate cost.

Q
Asked by Mr Steve Reed
(Croydon North)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Big Lottery Fund: Olympic Games 2012
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether repayments of outstanding funds received from the Big Lottery Fund to finance the London Olympic Games in 2012 attract interest.
A
Answered by: Tracey Crouch
Answered on: 16 October 2017

The terms of repayments to National Lottery distributors were set out in an agreement between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Greater London Authority in 2012, which I attach. These repayments will not attract interest.

Q
Asked by Steve McCabe
(Birmingham, Selly Oak)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Arts: EU Grants and Loans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 12 September 2017 to Question 7068, how much EU funding the UK creative sector received in each of the last three years; and what the regional distribution of that funding was.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 16 October 2017

The UK's creative sector benefits from a range of EU schemes such as Creative Europe, Erasmus+, the Economic Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF). The Government does not hold information on all EU funding by sub-sector. We are working closely with stakeholders to ensure that our ongoing funding commitments best service the UK’s interests.

Q
Asked by David Hanson
(Delyn)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Bookmakers: Competition
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assurances her Department secured in 2011 on the longevity of on-site bookmakers after the sale of the Tote to Betfred.
A
Answered by: Tracey Crouch
Answered on: 16 October 2017

The provision of on-site bookmakers at racecourses is a commercial matter for the racing and betting industries. Racegoers have access to a variety of betting options at the racecourse including fixed odds betting provided by on-course bookmakers at the side of the track, pool betting provided at the racecourse and online betting via smartphones.

Q
Asked by Luke Pollard
(Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Ministry of Defence
Frigates and Patrol Craft: Per Capita Costs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the cost per ship is of a (a) Type 26 frigate, (b) Type 31e frigate and (c) batch 2 River Class offshore patrol vessel.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 16 October 2017

For the cost per ship of the Type 26 Frigate, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 25 July 2017 to Question 5703 to the member for Bridgend (Madeleine Moon).

The Type 31e Frigate programme is currently in its pre-procurement phase. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has issued a Request for Information to industry, inviting high level proposals against the outline requirements, cost and schedule, namely, an initial order of five ships at a maximum average price of £250 million. In common with all procurement projects, the programme cost will be determined at the main investment decision point.

The MOD has signed contracts worth a total of £635 million to build five Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessels. In addition to the cost of the ships, these contracts cover the cost of initial spares and support as well as being an investment in sustaining shipbuilding skills and setting the entry conditions for a successful Type 26 build programme.

Q
Asked by David Linden
(Glasgow East)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Ministry of Defence
Gulf War Syndrome
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health on Gulf War Syndrome.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 16 October 2017

No recent discussions have taken place with the Secretary of State for Health regarding Gulf War Syndrome.

We have already undertaken a substantial amount of research which has indicated there is no illness which is specific to 1990/91 Gulf Veterans.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) continues to keep a watching brief on Gulf Veterans illness but in line with the Medical Research Council review of 2003 has no plans to institute further research either on causation or clinical management.

However we have long accepted that some veterans from the 1990/91 Gulf conflict are ill and that some of this ill health is related to their Gulf service. Financial support is available to such veterans through the War Pensions Scheme administered by the MOD's Veterans UK organisation. In addition the Veterans Welfare Service provide a caseworker approach that offers advice and guidance.

Q
Asked by David Linden
(Glasgow East)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Ministry of Defence
Yemen: Military Intervention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 12 September 2017 to Question 8059, on Yemen: military intervention, how many allegations of humanitarian law violations where civilians have reportedly been deliberately targeted by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen his Department is investigating.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 16 October 2017

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) monitors all alleged International Humanitarian Law (IHL) violations arising from airstrikes reportedly conducted by the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen since March 2015. The UK is not party to the conflict and the MOD does not conduct investigations in to alleged IHL violations in Yemen. The UK continues to use diplomatic and military channels to engage with Saudi Arabia on IHL compliance. The Saudi-led coalition is best placed to investigate any alleged IHL violations through the Saudi-led coalition's Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) which the UK helped to establish.

Q
Asked by Bob Stewart
(Beckenham)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Ministry of Defence
Aircraft Carriers: Gibraltar
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what infrastructure and dredging will be required at the facilities at South Mole in Gibraltar to enable the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers to load (a) life support cargo, (b) fuel supplies and (c) munitions directly from the dock side.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 16 October 2017

As part of forward planning for the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, the Royal Navy continues to review ports that would be accessible to these ships. This process includes the infrastructure requirements at South Mole in Gibraltar.

Q
Asked by Luke Pollard
(Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Ministry of Defence
Type 31 Frigates
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he plans to publish the weapons specification for the Type 31e frigate.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 16 October 2017

The Ministry of Defence published a Request for Information on 15 September 2017 which included a summary of the whole-ship requirements, including the weapons specification.

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Education
Apprentices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of ensuring that funding levels for apprenticeships could not be negatively affected by macro-economic trends in wage levels.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 16 October 2017

The apprenticeship budget has been set until 2020 to support the Government’s commitment to 3 million apprenticeship starts in England by 2020. This budget does not change irrespective of wider economic trends. By 2020 the total apprenticeships investment in England will be almost £2.5 billion; double what was spent in 2010-11.

Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Education
Schools: Uniforms
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps shehas taken against schools that do not comply with the guidance issued by her Department on the importance of cost considerations when developing school uniform policy.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 16 October 2017

The department’s best practice guidance makes clear that schools should give the highest priority to the consideration of cost when setting their uniform policy. We expect schools to consult with parents and pupils and take into account their views when setting their uniform policy.

Disputes about school uniforms should be resolved locally in accordance with the school’s complaints policy. In law, governing bodies must have a complaints procedure in place to deal with issues such as a complaint about school uniform. Parents should be able to lodge their complaints and/or objections with the school easily. We expect the governing body to work closely with parents to arrive at a mutually acceptable outcome.

The guidance can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-uniform.

We intend to put this guidance on a statutory footing when a suitable legislative opportunity arises.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Education
Students: Loans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the total amount, including interest, is of student loans owed by (a) all students and (b) students who commenced their studies after 2011.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 16 October 2017

Statistics covering English student loans are published annually by the Student Loans Company (SLC) in the Statistical First Release (SFR) ‘Student Loans in England’.

http://www.slc.co.uk/official-statistics/full-catalogue-of-official-statistics/student-loans-debt-and-repayment.aspx.

Information on English higher education loans outstanding by repayment plan can be found in Table 1a of the SFR.

At the end of the financial year 2016-17, around £89.3 billion was outstanding in English higher education loans, of which £45.0 billion was held by post-2012 undergraduate borrowers and a further £0.3 billion by master’s loan borrowers.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Education
Students: Loans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much of the outstanding total on the student loan book for students is interest.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 16 October 2017

Statistics covering English student loans are published annually by the Student Loans Company (SLC) in the Statistical First Release (SFR) ‘Student Loans in England’.

http://www.slc.co.uk/official-statistics/full-catalogue-of-official-statistics/student-loans-debt-and-repayment.aspx.

Interest added to student loans is capitalised. This means that it is not possible to separate the amount associated with the loan principal from the interest accrued on the total loan book in the way requested.

Q
Asked by Mike Kane
(Wythenshawe and Sale East)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Education
Schools: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the per pupil minimum funding level is a temporary feature of the funding formula until the age-weighted pupil funding has been raised sufficiently to render it unnecessary.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 16 October 2017

We have now set out our final national funding formula for schools, following a consultation in which we heard from over 26,000 individual respondents and representative organisations.

We are recognising the challenges of the very lowest funded schools by introducing a minimum per pupil funding level. In 2019-20 all secondary schools will attract at least £4,800 per pupil, and all primary schools will attract at least £3,500 per pupil. In 2018-19, as a step towards these minimum funding levels, secondary schools will attract at least £4,600, and primary schools £3,300.

Decisions about spending after 2019-20 will be subject to the next Spending Review.


Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Education
Schools: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to her Department's national funding formula tables for schools and high needs, what deflator was used to calculate that per pupil funding will be maintained in real terms over the years 2018-19 and 2019-20; and what the reasons were for the choice of that deflator.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 16 October 2017

The Department uses the GDP deflator to calculate real terms funding levels. This is consistent with practice across government, including for the purpose of the 2015 Spending Review.

The Government publishes GDP deflators that can be used to understand the impact of inflation over time. These are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/gdp-deflators-at-market-prices-and-money-gdp-march-2017-spring-budget-2017

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Education
Schools: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to her Department's national funding formula tables for schools and high needs, whether the per pupil funding levels set out will be maintained in real terms over the years 2018-19 and 2019-20 in the event that teachers and other elements of the education workforce are awarded pay increases higher than one per cent during that period.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 16 October 2017

The national funding formulae we announced on 14 September sets out the changes to the schools budget in 2018-19 and 2019-20. For the next two years, allocations of school funding to local authorities will be based on what schools are notionally allocated through the national formula. Individual schools will have their actual funding determined through formulae set by their local authorities. The Department does not prescribe to schools how they must use their funding allocations.

There is a statutory process in place to review teachers’ pay and we will be asking the School Teachers Review Body (STRB) later this year to make recommendations taking into consideration key factors such as recruitment and retention, as well as affordability.

Q
Asked by Mike Kane
(Wythenshawe and Sale East)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Education
Schools: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate her Department has made of the number of schools that will receive the (a) minimum and (b) maximum increase in school funding.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 16 October 2017

The national funding formula for schools will allocate a cash increase in respect of every school and every local area from April 2018. Final decisions on local distribution will be taken by local authorities, but under the national funding formula every school will attract at least 0.5% more per pupil in 2018‑19, and 1% more in 2019-20, compared to its baseline. 41.3% of schools will benefit as a consequence of the funding floor.

The NFF will provide for gains for underfunded schools of up to 3% per pupil in 2018-19 and a further 3% per pupil in 2019-20. Of these schools, 4,240 schools or 21.4% are set to gain at least 6% by 2019-20. The lowest funded schools will benefit from the minimum per pupil funding level of £4,800 for secondary schools and £3,500 for primary schools. The minimum level of funding will not be subject to the gains cap within the national funding formula, and so will deliver faster gains in respect of the very lowest funded schools.

Full details of the formula and its impact is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/648532/national_funding_formula_for_schools_and_high_needs-Policy_document.pdf.


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