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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Q
Asked by Lord Laird
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Home Office
Electronic Surveillance: USA
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken, or propose to take, since the publication of the Annual Report from the Interception of Communications Commissioner on 8 April 2014 and the findings of fact by Judge Gerard Hogan of the Irish High Court on 18 June 2014, in relation to the surveillance of European citizens’ data through the US Prism programme.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Interception of Communications Commissioner said in his report covering 2013 that:

Public authorities do not misuse their powers under RIPA Part I to engage in random mass intrusion into the private affairs of law abiding UK citizens. It would be comprehensively unlawful if they did. I have considered whether there is a material risk that unlawful intrusion might occur in the operation of Section 8(4). Subject to some further investigation, I conclude there is no material risk.

I am quite clear that any member of the public who does not associate with potential terrorists or serious criminals or individuals who are potentially involved in actions which could raise national security issues for the UK can be assured that none of the interception agencies which I inspect has the slightest interest in examining their emails, their phone or postal communications or their use of the internet, and they do not do so to any extent which could reasonably be regarded as significant.

British intelligence agencies do not circumvent domestic oversight regimes by receiving from US agencies intercept material about British citizens which could not lawfully be acquired by intercept in the UK.”

Notwithstanding this endorsement of the intelligence agencies’ practices, since the Commissioner’s report in 2014 Parliament has enacted the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 which completely overhauls and updates the legal regime, safeguards and oversight which govern the intelligence agencies’ use of surveillance powers. The Act also addresses a number of the recommendations contained in reports from the Commissioner, as well as responding to independent reviews by David Anderson QC (then the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation), the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament and the Royal United Services Institute.

With regards to the case before the Irish High Court, this related to the sharing of information of European citizens with the United States of America under the “Safe Harbour” agreement. The Irish Court referred the case to the European Court of Justice. Since then, the US and European Commission have negotiated a new agreement for data transfers known as “Privacy Shield”.

Asked on: 09 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Egypt: LGBT People
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Egypt regarding recent reported increases in prosecutions and raids on the LGBTQ community in Egypt.
A
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The UK is committed to raising the issue of protection of the human rights of LGBT people and to supporting the legal, cultural and social change required to make equality a reality for LGBT people the world over.

We are very concerned about the current situation for LGBT people in Egypt, especially in light of the recent crackdown. The Egyptian Government is well aware of our position and we call on the Government of Egypt to uphold and protect the rights of all its citizens irrespective of religion, belief or sexual orientation.

Asked on: 09 October 2017
Home Office
Crime: Rural Areas
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of rural crime on farmers and other rural businesses.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The 2015 Commercial Victimisation Survey found that 24 per cent of agriculture, forestry and fishing premises had experienced at least one incident of crime (excluding online crime) a statistically significant fall of six percentage points compared with the 2013 Survey. Vandalism, theft and burglary were the most common crime types experienced by this sector.

On average there were 330 incidents of online crime per 1,000 premises in this sector, which is around a third of the incidence rate for ‘traditional’ crimes against this sector. The majority of online crime incidents involved computer viruses.

Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Livestock: Transport
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the six-day standstill rule on farmers taking their animals to auction marts.
A
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The current six-day standstill rule for livestock movements balances the risk of disease transmission against the industry’s need to trade livestock. It was introduced in 2003 following the Foot and Mouth disease outbreak in 2001. Its purpose is to reduce the spread of undetected disease such as was seen in 2001, reducing the scope and cost of an outbreak.

After extensive modelling, the standstill period was set at six days to take into account the weekly cycle of market sales. The standstill rule includes a range of exemptions that support the regime, including for movements through market.

The Farming Regulation Task Force reviewed standstill in 2011 and recommended the relaxation of standstill rules for movements between farms and where keepers were able to establish approved separation units. There was no consensus amongst industry regarding the right approach, particularly due to concerns around the potential distortion of trade resulting from maintaining standstill for markets and the cost and effectiveness of separation units.

Government is committed to a further review of standstill in 2018, following the implementation of another Farming Regulation Task Force recommendation to simplify the way livestock holdings are defined for recording and reporting purposes which will impact on the number of standstills that need to be complied with.

Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Athletics: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much (1) HM Treasury, and (2) Lottery, funding has been committed to the proposed UK track and field event on 21 July 2018 between athletes from the UK and the US.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 23 October 2017

Neither the Government nor UK Sport has been approached to provide any level of financial support towards this event. Therefore no funding, either from HM Treasury or the lottery, has been committed.

Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
London Stadium
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the cost of converting the London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from a football stadium to a venue meeting the requirements for an international track and field meet.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The London Stadium is owned and managed by E20 Stadium LLP, a joint venture between the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council. E20 Stadium LLP is responsible for the costs of the seat moves. As previously disclosed the cost of moving the seats had been budgeted at circa £8 million a year. The transition work first requires the seats to be moved backwards at the end of the football season to reveal the athletics track and bringing them forward at the end of the summer. The Mayor of London’s investigation into the London Stadium includes a review of options for reducing these costs in the future.

Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Olympic Games: Russia
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the position taken by UK Anti-Doping in support of the letter signed by the National Anti-Doping Organisations in their call for Russia to be banned from the Winter Olympic Games to be held in PyeongChang 2018.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The letter underlines the need for Russia to meet all the conditions set by the World Anti-Doping Agency before they can, once again, be considered compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code. As our National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO), UK Anti-Doping is determined to ensure that British athletes compete on a clean, level playing field, that also includes all NADOs being compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.

Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sports: Data Protection
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they support an opt-out for sport from the General Data Protection Resolution Regulations (EU) 2016/679 which come into force on 25 May 2018; and what assessment they have made of the impact of those Regulations on (1) the anti-doping policies of UK Anti-Doping, and (2) powers required for effective governance of their sports by national governing bodies of sport.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Data Protection Bill, which recently received its second reading, will create a modern legal framework for the UK, suitable for the digital age, incorporating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Bill allows the processing of sensitive and criminal conviction data in the absence of consent where justification exists, for example bodies responsible for the fight against doping in sport. We are working to ensure there are no unintended consequences contained in the Data Protection Bill which hamper the effective governance of sports by national governing bodies of sport and other relevant sports bodies.

Q
Asked by Lord Myners
Asked on: 09 October 2017
HM Treasury
Help to Buy Scheme
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the costs and benefits of introducing a windfall tax on the surplus profits made by house builders as a result of the Help to Buy Scheme.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The government has announced that the Help to Buy equity loan scheme will continue until March 2021 with an additional £10 billion of funding available. Help to Buy equity loan is intended to help people who otherwise would not be able to afford a deposit to buy a home. It is restricted to new-build properties to ensure that it also helps to drive up the number of homes being built. The programme has played an important role in supporting the housing market since 2013 and the number of homes being built has reached its highest level since 2008.

Q
Asked by Lord Myners
Asked on: 09 October 2017
HM Treasury
Halifax Bank of Scotland
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Financial Conduct Authority advised them that their report into the collapse of HBOS would be produced in a manner which would allow it to be published.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) report into the failure of HBOS (developed with the Prudential Regulation Authority) was published in November 2015. Given the independence of the FCA, the government has no involvement regarding the timetable of any on-going FCA investigations.

Q
Asked by Lord Myners
Asked on: 09 October 2017
HM Treasury
European Investment Bank
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to remain (1) an investor in, and (2) recipient of funding from, the European Investment Bank; and if not, whether they will elect to sell their shares in the bank and repay all outstanding loans.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The future relationship between the UK and the European Investment Bank (EIB) will be determined as part of the negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU and the government will not be giving a running commentary on these negotiations.

Contracts signed between the EIB Group and UK counterparties are matters for the parties. The government is clear that the UK’s exit from the EU on its own does not change existing EIB Group contracts with UK counterparties.

Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Tenants' Rights
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Young of Cookham on 14 September (HL1315), how tenants of (1) housing associations, and (2) land in the ownership of large charities, may request information about their stewardship.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

In respect of housing associations, the independent Social Housing Regulator is responsible for regulation of registered providers in England. They set regulatory standards that housing associations are expected to meet. It is the responsibility of boards of housing associations to ensure their organisation meets the regulator's standards, and that they are open and accountable in how their organisation meets its objectives.

Specifically under the tenant empowerment and involvement standard the regulator expects associations to provide support to their tenants to develop and implement opportunities for involvement and empowerment. This includes supporting their tenants to exercise housing management functions; the formation and activities of tenant panels or equivalent groups; providing timely and relevant performance information to support effective scrutiny by tenants of their association’s performance and providing support to tenants to build their capacity to be more effectively involved including holding boards to account.

Requests for information about stewardship of charitable assets – including land – should be made to the charity and its trustees. Registered charities with an annual income over £25,000 must submit a copy of their annual accounts and trustees’ annual report to the Charity Commission. These accounts and other information about individual charities can be found on the Commission’s charity register -www.gov.uk/checkcharity

Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures Review
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made with their review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 23 October 2017

We hope to make an announcement on the Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures shortly.

Q
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Transport
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to produce a position paper on transport post-Brexit.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Government has published a series of papers on the new deep and special partnership the UK wants to build with the EU, and these papers represent the hard work and detailed thinking that has been going on behind the scenes across Whitehall over the past twelve months.

They offer pragmatic and innovative solutions to issues related to our withdrawal and the future deep and special partnership that we want with the European Union.

The Government will publish further position papers on other issues in due course, providing more information to business and individuals, and informing our negotiations with the EU.

Q
Asked by Lord Rosser
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Transport
Motor Vehicles: Testing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following the publication of their report introducing roadworthiness testing for fast tractors used for haulage, and other technical changes to vehicle testing legislation, they are planning further action; if so, what; and in particular, whether a further consultation response is planned for later this year.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The report sets out Government decisions on several issues. It announced the introduction of roadworthiness testing for fast tractors used for non-agricultural commercial haulage. It also announced a number of technical changes to the MOT test. Legislation has been made to give effect to these changes, which will take effect from 20 May 2018. In advance of that date, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency will make the necessary operational changes, including updates to the relevant testing manuals.

Several other potentially longer term pieces of work are referred to in the publication, on car ‘clocking’ and on prohibition clearance charging. The Government is considering carefully what action may be needed in these areas, although there are no current plans for a further public consultation this year.

Q
Asked by Lord Rosser
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Home Office
Asylum
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of asylum applications there will be once the UK is no longer a party to the Dublin Regulation III after leaving the EU.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Dublin III Regulation is only one aspect of the UK’s asylum and returns system, and most asylum seekers in the UK do not enter or leave the UK as part of the Dublin process.

As the drivers of migration are wide-ranging, complex, and extend far beyond our participation in the Dublin III Regulation, the UK Government has not modelled the likely impact of our participation in the Dublin III Regulation lapsing on exit from the EU. The latest statistics on numbers entering the UK and being returned to participating Member States through the Dublin process can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Dublin_statistics_on_countries_responsible_for_asylum_application

Grouped Questions: HL1784
Q
Asked by Lord Rosser
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Home Office
Asylum: Deportation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of deportations of unsuccessful applicants for asylum there will be once the UK has left the EU.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Dublin III Regulation is only one aspect of the UK’s asylum and returns system, and most asylum seekers in the UK do not enter or leave the UK as part of the Dublin process.

As the drivers of migration are wide-ranging, complex, and extend far beyond our participation in the Dublin III Regulation, the UK Government has not modelled the likely impact of our participation in the Dublin III Regulation lapsing on exit from the EU. The latest statistics on numbers entering the UK and being returned to participating Member States through the Dublin process can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Dublin_statistics_on_countries_responsible_for_asylum_application

Grouped Questions: HL1783
Q
Asked by Lord Rosser
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Home Office
Immigration: Fees and Charges
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of fees set by the Home Office for (1) border, (2) immigration, and (3) citizenship services, has been used to fund each of those services respectively, in each quarter since 2010.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Department can confirm that all income received from fees charged for border, immigration and citizenship services are used to fund border, immigration and citizenship activity.

Q
Asked by Lord Rosser
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Home Office
Immigration: Fees and Charges
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of fees set by the Home Office for (1) border, (2) immigration, and (3) citizenship services, have been used to fund different services, in each year since 2010.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Department can confirm that all income from fees charged for border, immigration and citizenship services is used to fund border, immigration and citizenship activity.

Q
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Ministry of Justice
Magistrates: Sentencing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to enable magistrates to imprison offenders for up to 12 months.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Government has no immediate plans to increase the custodial sentencing powers of magistrates but will continue to monitor the position to ensure we provide magistrates with appropriate and proportionate powers to deal with the cases that come before them.

Asked on: 09 October 2017
Home Office
Immigration: Fees and Charges
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the amount of fees received by the Home Office from people using email to make enquiries about (1) border, (2) immigration, and (3) citizenship services monthly in 2017 to date.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The £5.48 email charge is levied to fund the commercial contract as the UK government believes it is right that those who use and benefit directly from the UK immigration system make an appropriate contribution towards meeting the costs of the immigration system. Those who use the services are predominantly from outside the UK. Our web site www.gov.uk is the main source of information and advice and is free of charge.

Further details of the financial arrangement in place between the Home Office and SITEL UK Ltd for the provision of Contact Centre Services (UK and International) is not available due to it being commercially sensitive.

Asked on: 09 October 2017
Home Office
Immigration: Fees and Charges
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of fees received by the Home Office from people overseas using email to make enquiries about (1) border, (2) immigration, and (3) citizenship services, has been used to fund activities other than providing email responses monthly in 2017 to date.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The £5.48 email charge is levied to fund the commercial contract as the UK government believes it is right that those who use and benefit directly from the UK immigration system make an appropriate contribution towards meeting the costs of the immigration system. Those who use the services are predominantly from outside the UK. Our web site www.gov.uk is the main source of information and advice and is free of charge.

Further details of the financial arrangement in place between the Home Office and SITEL UK Ltd for the provision of Contact Centre Services (UK and International) is not available due to it being commercially sensitive.

Asked on: 09 October 2017
Home Office
British Nationality: Assessments
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many attempts to sit the Life in the UK citizenship test have been made in each month since 1 January 2010.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

This information is published quarterly here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-transparency-data

On the tab: Temporary and Permanent Migration Data

The monthly breakdown is as follows (in line with the most recent published data).

Test Attempts : Life in the UK Test by Year and Month

1st January 2010 to 30th June 2017

Year

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2010

12,971

14,828

17,768

15,746

15,538

15,655

15,762

14,451

14,819

16,408

16,133

13,483

2011

16,304

17,588

21,574

16,826

16,529

15,543

13,848

12,656

12,836

13,331

13,112

10,687

2012

13,284

13,562

15,774

11,231

11,896

12,227

12,868

14,613

14,052

12,316

11,347

8,686

2013

11,100

15,737

23,011

7,426

8,691

10,249

10,443

12,267

15,324

17,360

11,886

8,963

2014

13,525

12,958

16,561

14,403

15,483

14,673

13,781

14,139

11,753

13,337

13,440

11,686

2015

14,317

13,732

15,439

14,588

15,530

14,904

14,796

14,845

17,285

17,760

12,089

9,896

2016

10,792

11,757

14,350

13,076

10,653

10,291

12,002

11,971

10,540

8,554

10,637

8,881

2017

9,679

11,189

14,155

11,329

10,337

9,257

Asked on: 09 October 2017
Home Office
British Nationality: Assessments
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individuals passed the Life in the UK citizenship test in each month since 1 January 2010.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

This information is published quarterly here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-transparency-data

The monthly breakdown is as follows (in line with the most recent published data):

Test Passes : Life in the UK Test by Year and Month

1st January 2010 to 30th June 2017

Calendar Year

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2010

10,054

11,013

13,030

11,710

11,412

11,383

11,629

10,682

10,839

11,871

11,434

9,586

2011

11,881

12,970

15,839

12,480

12,316

11,898

11,036

10,371

10,499

10,773

10,612

8,697

2012

11,082

11,444

13,264

9,470

10,111

10,485

11,161

12,657

12,100

10,509

9,699

7,438

2013

9,580

13,871

19,734

5,207

6,476

7,751

7,794

9,208

11,262

12,126

8,236

5,880

2014

8,664

8,234

10,559

8,572

9,170

8,694

8,088

8,541

7,204

8,109

8,174

6,950

2015

8,844

8,710

9,625

8,790

9,499

9,085

9,139

9,019

10,471

10,112

7,151

6,242

2016

6,940

7,658

9,322

8,416

6,556

6,533

8,361

8,037

6,814

5,430

6,587

5,560

2017

6,203

7,558

9,543

7,748

6,939

6,392

Q
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Gaza
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they made to the government of Israel following the report from Medical Aid for Palestinians that five female cancer patients died in August after being prevented from attending hospital appointments outside Gaza.
A
Answered on: 23 October 2017

While we have not raised this specific issue, we have consistently called on the Israeli Government to ease movement and access restrictions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We are supporting the UN Access Coordination Unit who work with the World Health Organisation, Israeli Government, Palestinian Authority (PA) and aid agencies to facilitate the transfer of medical equipment and supplies, as well as patient referrals in and out of Gaza. We are aware that Israeli hospitals do treat Palestinian patients following referrals from the PA.

Q
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Palestinians
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the government of Israel in response to reports that Israeli forces are using live ammunition on Palestinians during confrontation and military raids.
A
Answered on: 23 October 2017

We regularly raise with the Israeli Government the need for proportionality to any protest and accountability for security incidents, plus full access to justice for any victims.

Q
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Religious Freedom
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the government of Israel regarding the more than 53 mosques and churches that have been vandalised in Israel and the West Bank.
A
Answered on: 23 October 2017

​We have not had any recent contact with the Government of Israel on this issue. However, we will seek to raise concerns over the respect for places of worship with the appropriate Israeli authorities in the near future.

Q
Asked by Royston Smith
(Southampton, Itchen)
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Pets: Sales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the single animal activities licensing regime to regulate online sales.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 23 October 2017

Defra is currently in the process of developing a new single animal activities licensing regime. The regulations will be laid in Parliament before they come into force next year. The regulations will be clear that anyone in the business of selling pet animals will need a licence whether this is carried out from a traditional pet shop or online. Commercial pet animal advertisers will also be required to include certain information in their advertisements including details of their licence.

Q
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Transport
Invalid Vehicles: Pedestrian Areas
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 20 September, what discussions they have held with the police about the enforcement of the Use of Invalid Carriages on Highways Regulations 1988; and in particular the legal requirements that (1) no power chair or mobility scooter must exceed 4mph whilst driven on a pavement, (2) they must not exceed 113.4kgs in weight, and (3) they must be fitted with a speed indicator and a regulator capable of restricting them to 4mph on the footway (pavement); and whether they will encourage the police to bring prosecutions for flagrant disregard of those legal requirements.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 23 October 2017

Officials will be writing to the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for roads policing bringing the matters raised to his attention and asking that he raise the matter with Chief Constables.

However, the deployment of resources is a matter for local Police and Crime Commissioners and their Police forces, based on local priorities.

Protecting pedestrians and all road users is a key priority. We have some of the safest roads in the world but are always looking at ways to make them safer.

Q
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Meat: Safety
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, whether they have made any assessment of the relative risks to human health of (1) horse meat in particular from the EU which has had illegal penicillin treatment, (2) pig meat from the Netherlands and Germany infected with Hepatitis E, (3) eggs from the Netherlands contaminated with fripronil, (4) chicken meat past its use by date which has fallen on a slaughterhouse floor, and (5) chlorine-washed chicken.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has advised that no assessment of the relative risks to human health has been undertaken on these five topics. However, risk assessments are undertaken on individual issues as they arise. The protection of public health from risks which may arise in connection with the consumption of food is paramount to the FSA and comprehensive legislation exists to ensure that food sold in the United Kingdom is safe to eat.

Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Contraceptives
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of concerns raised by Public Health England in their report Sexual health, reproductive health and HIV, published in August, what assessment they have made of the impact of fragmented commissioning on the delivery of (1) all methods of contraception, and (2) very long-acting reversible contraceptives.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 23 October 2017

NHS Digital publishes annual data on activity in sexual and reproductive health services in England. The most recent data shows that:

- during 2016/17, 871,000 women contacted sexual and reproductive health services on one or more occasions for reasons of contraception. This number had been rising up until 2014/15, but has since fallen for two consecutive years;

- the percentage of women using long-acting reversible contraceptives has remained stable in recent years, increasing from 37% in 2014/15 to 39% in 2016/17.

In 2017/18, Public Health England (PHE) will produce a State of the Nation Report for Reproductive Health, which will highlight delivery of contraception, including long-acting reversible contraception, in England using currently routinely collected data as well as large nationally-representative surveys.

Ensuring people have access to the full range of contraception and can obtain their chosen method quickly and easily is a key principle of effective contraception services.

PHE published an action plan in August 2017 to address concerns identified in their report Sexual Health, Reproductive Health and HIV: A Review of Commissioning, which includes issues affecting the provision of contraception. As part of the action plan, PHE will take forward a range of activities aimed at strengthening commissioning, including providing evidence and data to commissioners to support commissioning and the monitoring of outcomes and building capacity and capability in sexual and reproductive health commissioning.

The full action plan is attached.

Sexual health action plan (PDF Document, 1.11 MB)
Grouped Questions: HL1814 | HL1815 | HL1816
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Contraceptives
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of concerns raised by Public Health England in their report, Sexual health, reproductive health and HIV, published in August, what steps they are taking to ensure full and open access, regardless of user age or place of residence, to (1) all methods of contraception, and (2) very long-acting reversible contraceptives.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 23 October 2017

NHS Digital publishes annual data on activity in sexual and reproductive health services in England. The most recent data shows that:

- during 2016/17, 871,000 women contacted sexual and reproductive health services on one or more occasions for reasons of contraception. This number had been rising up until 2014/15, but has since fallen for two consecutive years;

- the percentage of women using long-acting reversible contraceptives has remained stable in recent years, increasing from 37% in 2014/15 to 39% in 2016/17.

In 2017/18, Public Health England (PHE) will produce a State of the Nation Report for Reproductive Health, which will highlight delivery of contraception, including long-acting reversible contraception, in England using currently routinely collected data as well as large nationally-representative surveys.

Ensuring people have access to the full range of contraception and can obtain their chosen method quickly and easily is a key principle of effective contraception services.

PHE published an action plan in August 2017 to address concerns identified in their report Sexual Health, Reproductive Health and HIV: A Review of Commissioning, which includes issues affecting the provision of contraception. As part of the action plan, PHE will take forward a range of activities aimed at strengthening commissioning, including providing evidence and data to commissioners to support commissioning and the monitoring of outcomes and building capacity and capability in sexual and reproductive health commissioning.

The full action plan is attached.

Sexual health action plan (PDF Document, 1.11 MB)
Grouped Questions: HL1813 | HL1815 | HL1816
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Contraceptives
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of concerns raised by Public Health England in their report, Sexual health, reproductive health and HIV, published in August, what steps they are taking to develop clear national guidance on cross-charging between local authorities for contraceptive services.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 23 October 2017

NHS Digital publishes annual data on activity in sexual and reproductive health services in England. The most recent data shows that:

- during 2016/17, 871,000 women contacted sexual and reproductive health services on one or more occasions for reasons of contraception. This number had been rising up until 2014/15, but has since fallen for two consecutive years;

- the percentage of women using long-acting reversible contraceptives has remained stable in recent years, increasing from 37% in 2014/15 to 39% in 2016/17.

In 2017/18, Public Health England (PHE) will produce a State of the Nation Report for Reproductive Health, which will highlight delivery of contraception, including long-acting reversible contraception, in England using currently routinely collected data as well as large nationally-representative surveys.

Ensuring people have access to the full range of contraception and can obtain their chosen method quickly and easily is a key principle of effective contraception services.

PHE published an action plan in August 2017 to address concerns identified in their report Sexual Health, Reproductive Health and HIV: A Review of Commissioning, which includes issues affecting the provision of contraception. As part of the action plan, PHE will take forward a range of activities aimed at strengthening commissioning, including providing evidence and data to commissioners to support commissioning and the monitoring of outcomes and building capacity and capability in sexual and reproductive health commissioning.

The full action plan is attached.

Sexual health action plan (PDF Document, 1.11 MB)
Grouped Questions: HL1813 | HL1814 | HL1816
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Contraceptives
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of concerns raised by Public Health England in their report, Sexual health, reproductive health and HIV, published in August, what steps they are taking to reduce vacancy levels of staff trained to fit very long-acting reversible contraceptives in (1) general practice, and (2) community sexual and reproductive health services.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 23 October 2017

NHS Digital publishes annual data on activity in sexual and reproductive health services in England. The most recent data shows that:

- during 2016/17, 871,000 women contacted sexual and reproductive health services on one or more occasions for reasons of contraception. This number had been rising up until 2014/15, but has since fallen for two consecutive years;

- the percentage of women using long-acting reversible contraceptives has remained stable in recent years, increasing from 37% in 2014/15 to 39% in 2016/17.

In 2017/18, Public Health England (PHE) will produce a State of the Nation Report for Reproductive Health, which will highlight delivery of contraception, including long-acting reversible contraception, in England using currently routinely collected data as well as large nationally-representative surveys.

Ensuring people have access to the full range of contraception and can obtain their chosen method quickly and easily is a key principle of effective contraception services.

PHE published an action plan in August 2017 to address concerns identified in their report Sexual Health, Reproductive Health and HIV: A Review of Commissioning, which includes issues affecting the provision of contraception. As part of the action plan, PHE will take forward a range of activities aimed at strengthening commissioning, including providing evidence and data to commissioners to support commissioning and the monitoring of outcomes and building capacity and capability in sexual and reproductive health commissioning.

The full action plan is attached.

Sexual health action plan (PDF Document, 1.11 MB)
Grouped Questions: HL1813 | HL1814 | HL1815
Q
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Travel: Vaccination
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the terms of reference and timescale for the review of travel vaccinations being undertaken by Public Health England.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 23 October 2017

Public Health England is currently scoping the request from NHS England to review the travel vaccinations provided on the National Health Service, as contained in its consultation Items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: A Consultation on guidance for CCGs. A copy of the consultation is attached.

This will be an initial assessment of the need and value of a more in-depth look at the policy and public health issues involved.

NHS Consultation (PDF Document, 790.89 KB)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Fentanyl
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Macmillan Cancer Support over the potential withdrawal of the Fentanyl citrate drug for dying cancer patients who need urgent pain relief.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 23 October 2017

There are no plans to restrict the prescribing of immediate release fentanyl for cancer patients. As such, no specific discussions have taken place with Macmillan Cancer Support about its potential withdrawal. NHS England has drafted and is currently consulting on commissioning guidance, which may result in a decision by clinical commissioning groups to recommend their prescribers to restrict the prescription of fentanyl in a primary care setting on the National Health Service for patients where other appropriate medicines are available. The consultation closes on 21 October and NHS England continues to seek views on its proposals. No final decisions have yet been made.

Grouped Questions: HL1825
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Fentanyl
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what engagement they have had with patients and carers to inform NHS England's proposals to restrict prescribing of fast-acting Fentanyl for cancer patients.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 23 October 2017

There are no plans to restrict the prescribing of immediate release fentanyl for cancer patients. As such, no specific discussions have taken place with Macmillan Cancer Support about its potential withdrawal. NHS England has drafted and is currently consulting on commissioning guidance, which may result in a decision by clinical commissioning groups to recommend their prescribers to restrict the prescription of fentanyl in a primary care setting on the National Health Service for patients where other appropriate medicines are available. The consultation closes on 21 October and NHS England continues to seek views on its proposals. No final decisions have yet been made.

Grouped Questions: HL1824
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Cabinet Office
Government Departments: Business Interests
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will issue guidance for departments on how to incorporate business appointment rules into staff terms and conditions.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Civil Service Management Code already sets out how to incorporate the Business Appointment Rules into civil servants’ terms and conditions.

Asked on: 10 October 2017
Cabinet Office
Government Departments: Business Interests
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to amend the business appointment rules to make clear that applications can be rejected.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 23 October 2017

Government Departments can, and do, advise that certain appointments are unsuitable. The Cabinet Office is currently updating guidance for departments on the application of the rules, which will reiterate this point.

Information about the number of applications rejected since 2010 is not held centrally.

Asked on: 10 October 2017
Cabinet Office
Government Departments: Business Interests
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many applications made in accordance with the business appointment rules have been rejected since 2010.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 23 October 2017

Government Departments can, and do, advise that certain appointments are unsuitable. The Cabinet Office is currently updating guidance for departments on the application of the rules, which will reiterate this point.

Information about the number of applications rejected since 2010 is not held centrally.

Asked on: 10 October 2017
HM Treasury
Revenue and Customs: Birmingham
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of those who will be working at HMRC's new building at 3 Arena Central in Birmingham will be able to store their bikes in the building; and whether there are any plans to increase the number of HMRC employees cycling to that workplace, in line with their active travel strategy.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 23 October 2017

HMRC is committed to supporting its staff to make sustainable and active travel choices. HMRC is developing a comprehensive Sustainable Travel Plan for each Regional Centre and published the first such plan, for Croydon Regional Centre, in July 2017.

Q
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Electric Vehicles: Batteries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 14 September (HL1306), what modelling they have carried out to determine the level of private sector investment in reprocessing facilities that will be needed to meet the expected rise in lithium-ion batteries entering the waste stream once sales of petrol and diesel cars have ended.
A
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 (as amended) places certain waste battery collection and treatment obligations on battery producers. As such, producers are ultimately responsible for ensuring that sufficient reprocessing capacity is available, which is why the Department has not undertaken such modelling.

Q
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Non-domestic Rates: Valuation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth on 12 September (HL1544), what activities they are undertaking as part of their consideration of the impact on SMEs of the recent change in how the Valuation Office Agency assesses single business spaces covering multiple floors; whether they will be seeking evidence from third parties to inform their considerations; whether they will be publishing their findings; and if so, by what date.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

It is the statutory duty of the Valuation Office Agency to determine rateable values and decide what should constitute a single rating assessment. They do this independently of Ministers. The Supreme Court judgement clarified how ratepayers in multi-occupied buildings should be treated for business rates. So this is not the result of a change in Government policy but a consequence of a legal ruling by the highest court in the land.

The Government is listening to ratepayers, sector bodies and rating professionals who have raised concerns about the implications from this judgement. These implications may flow from the Valuation Office Agency concluding that the total rateable value of separate assessments is different to the rateable value when they were assessed as one. This is due to a widespread effect in the property market known as “quantum” under which larger occupations tend to be cheaper to rent per square metre then smaller ones. We are also aware of some instances where ratepayers have lost some or all of their Small Business Rate Relief because they are now considered to have more than one property. We are considering these implications and how they have affected ratepayers.

Q
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Regulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many EU-level regulatory bodies they anticipate will require the establishment of a new UK-level body as a result of the UK's departure from the EU and the conversion of EU law into UK law; and by what date they plan to have those bodies established.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

No decisions have yet been taken on our future relationship with the EU's regulatory bodies after exiting the EU. We are carefully considering a range of options and preparing for a number of negotiation outcomes.

Prior to any decisions on establishing new UK-level bodies, the Government will, however, always look to minimise disruption and costs, which will include considering alternative options. The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill makes clear that any decision on creating new agencies would require the approval of both Houses of Parliament under the affirmative procedure.

We will continue to plan for a range of scenarios and be ready to take any necessary steps to ensure that we are ready for exit day.

Q
Asked by Lord Rooker
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Congenital Abnormalities
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many births classed as (1) spina bifida, (2) hydrocephalus, and (3) anencephaly caused by neural tube defects, there have been in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The following table provides counts of birth episodes with a primary or secondary diagnosis of spina bifida, spina bifida with hydrocephalus, hydrocephalus, hydrocephalus in other diseases, and anencephaly.

Activity in English National Health Service hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector

Year

Spina bifida

Spina bifida with hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus in other diseases

Anencephaly

2012-13

106

48

132

0

25

2013-14

111

43

116

0

29

2014-15

99

50

131

2

26

2015-16

122

38

136

3

28

2016-17

116

41

157

1

35

Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), NHS Digital

Notes: HES figures are available from 1989-90 onwards. Changes to the figures over time need to be interpreted in the context of improvements in data quality and coverage (particularly in earlier years), improvements in coverage of independent sector activity (particularly from 2006-07) and changes in NHS practice. For example, apparent reductions in activity may be due to a number of procedures which may now be undertaken in outpatient settings and so no longer includes in admitted patient HES data. Conversely, apparent increases in activity may be due to improved recording of diagnosis or procedure information. It should be noted that HES include activity ending in the year in question and run from April to March, e.g. 2015-16 includes activity ending between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016.

It should be noted that as the question specifies the number of births classed as spina bifida, hydrocephalus and anencephaly caused by neural tube defects, the response is restricted to birth episodes where the diagnosis has occurred at the time or due to a previous antenatal scan. An episode that includes diagnosis codes from more than one of the above groups will be counted in each relevant category.

Q
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Home Office
Abortion
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they plan to prevent harassment and intimidation of women accessing abortion services.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

This country has a proud history of allowing free speech, but the right to peaceful protest does not extend to harassment or threatening behaviour. The police have a range of powers to deal with any such acts.

Under the Public Order Act 1986, chief officers may impose conditions on assemblies to prevent serious public disorder, serious damage to property, serious disruption to the life of the community or when the purpose is to intimidate others to compel them not to do an act that they have a right to do.

The police also have dispersal powers (in public places) under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 includes criminal offences that protect individuals, who are conducting lawful activities, from harassment by protestors. How these powers are deployed and the tactics used to manage protests are operational matters for the police.

Public Space Protection Orders are tools which local authorities can use to stop people committing anti-social behaviour in a public place, applying restrictions to how that public space can be used. They cannot be used to prohibit static protests.

Grouped Questions: HL1880
Q
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Home Office
Abortion
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to introduce the power to use public space protection orders to prevent the harassment and intimidation of women accessing abortion services.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

This country has a proud history of allowing free speech, but the right to peaceful protest does not extend to harassment or threatening behaviour. The police have a range of powers to deal with any such acts.

Under the Public Order Act 1986, chief officers may impose conditions on assemblies to prevent serious public disorder, serious damage to property, serious disruption to the life of the community or when the purpose is to intimidate others to compel them not to do an act that they have a right to do.

The police also have dispersal powers (in public places) under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 includes criminal offences that protect individuals, who are conducting lawful activities, from harassment by protestors. How these powers are deployed and the tactics used to manage protests are operational matters for the police.

Public Space Protection Orders are tools which local authorities can use to stop people committing anti-social behaviour in a public place, applying restrictions to how that public space can be used. They cannot be used to prohibit static protests.

Grouped Questions: HL1879
Q
Asked on: 11 October 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Brexit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of statements made by the Prime Minister about a vision of a global Britain following Brexit, how consistent, or otherwise, this is with her previous undertaking to the devolved administrations that their interests would be properly represented in the Brexit negotiations.
Answered on: 23 October 2017

As the Prime Minister has set out, as we leave the EU we are committed to securing a deal that works for the entire United Kingdom - for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and all parts of England.

We have been clear from the start that the devolved administrations should be fully engaged in this process. The First Secretary of State most recently chaired a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations with the devolved administrations on Monday 16 October to discuss matters, including the UK’s priorities for the next phase of negotiations.

We are committed to continued positive and productive engagement with the devolved administrations.

Q
Asked on: 11 October 2017
Cabinet Office
Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government on how many occasions within the last 12 months the Joint Ministerial Committee (EU negotiations) has met.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 23 October 2017

Within the last 12 months, the Joint Ministerial Committee (EU Negotiations) has met five times.

Q
Asked on: 11 October 2017
Cabinet Office
Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government on how many occasions it is intended the Joint Ministerial Committee (EU negotiations) will meet within the next 12 months.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Joint Ministerial Committee (EU Negotiations) (JMC(EN)) met on Monday 16 October and will meet again later in 2017. Further meetings are to be agreed by all administrations.

The UK Government is committed to engagement with the devolved administrations, both within the formal structures of the Joint Ministerial Committee and also through bilateral discussions.

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