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 on: 10 October 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking in response to the recent conclusions by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that the UK has not done enough to ensure that the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are reflected in UK law and policy.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The UK already has some of the strongest equalities legislation in the world, such the Equality Act 2010, and we will continue to make sure that these rights are protected.

We have already responded to many points through our written response to a list of issues and a face-to-face dialogue with the UN Committee that oversees the Convention.

We are currently reflecting on how we take forward the concluding observations, and are carefully considering our approach, which we will discuss with stakeholders in due course.

Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Local Housing Allowance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the freeze on Local Housing Allowance on levels of homelessness in England.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 18 October 2017

We have made no assessment of the impact of the policy to freeze Local Housing Allowance rates upon levels of homelessness.

There is no clear evidence to suggest that the policy is contributing to increased homelessness. Further the latest statistics show that the number of homelessness acceptances in England has decreased slightly over the past year and the figures are very similar to the homelessness acceptances when the freeze commenced.

Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
HM Treasury
Debts
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, by what date the Government plans to introduce a statutory breathing space scheme for household debt.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The government’s manifesto proposed implementing a statutory Breathing Space, lasting for a period of up to six weeks, for severely indebted individuals. Breathing Space is a complex issue, and it is of the upmost importance we get the policy right. Work is on-going and the government will set out its plans for taking the proposal forward in due course.

Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
HM Treasury
Treasury: EU Law
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what his Department's estimate is of the amount of EU legislation and regulation that can be incorporated into UK law without amendment.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will convert European Union law into UK law as it applies in the UK at the moment of exit. This will ensure that, wherever possible, the same rules and laws will apply the day after exit as they did before.

The Government is still making a detailed assessment of what corrections will be required to make that law function appropriately on exit day. The Department for Exiting the European Union are working closely with departments across Government to ensure we make the changes required to deliver a functioning statute book on exit in the most efficient manner possible.

Q
(Shrewsbury and Atcham)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
HM Treasury
Tobacco: Smuggling
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the amount of revenue lost by the Exchequer due to the sale of illicit tobacco in the UK in the last year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Estimates of the Tobacco illicit market share for years up to 2015-16 are published online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tobacco-tax-gap-estimates

Estimates for 2016-17 will be published at 9:30am on 26th October 2017.

Q
(Worthing West)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
HM Treasury
Gaming Machines: Tax Yields
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, in which year there were first references in his Department's publications to actual and anticipated public revenues from the use of fixed-odds betting terminals in high street premises; and if he will estimate the public revenues in each of the last 15 years, together with the estimates for the next three years, if the maximum stake on such terminals were (a) £2, (b) £5, (c) £10, (d) £20 and (e) £100.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Total receipts from Betting and Gaming duties are published here:

https://www.uktradeinfo.com/Statistics/Pages/TaxAndDutybulletins.aspx

A separate breakdown for revenue from Fixed Odds Betting Terminals is not available.

Q
(Aberavon)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Local Government Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on increasing the settlement for local government in the next budget.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on a range of local government matters, including finances.

Q
Asked by Darren Jones
(Bristol North West)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Telecommunications: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government plans to implement the European Electronic Communications Code in the event that it becomes EU law (a) before any transitional period, (b) during any transition period and (c) after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) is still being negotiated within the EU. Trilogues have not yet even begun and therefore it is too early to say when the EECC will be adopted by the EU.

While the UK is still a ​Member ​State of the EU​, the UK will act in accordance with ​our rights and obligations associated with this.

Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his Department's estimate is of the amount of EU legislation and regulation that can be incorporated into UK law without amendment.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will convert European Union law into UK law as it applies in the UK at the moment of exit. This will ensure that, wherever possible, the same rules and laws will apply the day after exit as they did before.

The Government is still making a detailed assessment of what corrections will be required to make that law function appropriately on exit day. The Department for Exiting the European Union are working closely with Departments across Government to ensure we make the changes required to deliver a functioning statute book on exit in the most efficient manner possible.

Q
Asked by Tulip Siddiq
(Hampstead and Kilburn)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Education
Schools: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and which (a) academies and (b) free schools applied to her Department to have their funding arrangements changed to allow them to vary their school admissions requirements in 2016-17; and which of those applications were approved.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Based on the information available to the Education and Skills Funding Agency, there have been eight requested in-year variations by academies and free schools in financial year 2016-17.

In-year variations can be requested where there is a significant change in circumstances that require a change to the admission arrangements, such as fire, flood, or an unexpected increase in the number of pupils in the area.

The table attached lists the requests from academies and free schools considered, approved, accepted with conditions, or rejected.

In-year variations (Word Document, 12.44 KB)
Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Education
Department for Education: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what her Department's estimate is of the amount of EU legislation and regulation that can be incorporated into UK law without amendment.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will convert European Union law into UK law at the point of exit. This will ensure that, wherever possible, the same rules and laws will apply the day after exit.

The Government is still making a detailed assessment of what corrections will be required to make that law function appropriately on exit day. The Department is working closely with the Department for Exiting the European Union to ensure we make the required changes to deliver a functioning statute book on exit in the most efficient manner possible.

Q
Asked by Darren Jones
(Bristol North West)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Education
Pupils: Personal Records
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether third party organisations have access to data on the National Pupil Database; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The National Pupil Database (NPD) is a longitudinal research database that provides evidence on educational performance to inform independent research, as well as studies commissioned by the Department.

The Department may legally share the NPD, or elements of it, with third parties, using powers set out in Section 537A of the Education Act 1997 and the Education (Individual Pupil Information) (Prescribed Persons) (England) Regulations 2009. Organisations requesting access under those powers must show how it will be used to promote pupils’ education, through evidence or research.

In addition to the provisions within the Education Act 1997, in line with the Data Protection Act 1998, where the police or Home Office have evidence that a child may be at risk or evidence of criminal activity, limited data including a pupil’s address and school details may be requested from the NPD. This data does not include nationality or country of birth information. It is right that we share this data if it helps to keep a child safe from harm or to disrupt a crime.

Anyone requesting data from the NPD must comply with strict confidentiality and security rules and be registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office for their request to be approved. Any access to sensitive data is strictly controlled and governed by legal experts and senior civil servants.

Access is subject to requestors complying with strict terms and conditions imposed under contractual arrangements. The requestor must demonstrate that they have the appropriate security arrangements in place to process the data and will keep the data only for the specified length of time. A security questionnaire provided with each application provides details of the organisation’s technical and physical security measures. The information provided in the security questionnaire is considered as part of the approvals process. Experience suggests organisations using NPD take these processes very seriously and comply with these conditions.

A data retention period is set for any extract of the NPD we provide to third parties and is usually between 6 months and 3 years, depending on the aims of the project. Data destruction is a vital part of data sharing agreements, and the Department follows up each permitted use to seek confirmation that data has been appropriately destroyed.

The process and guidelines for requesting access to extracts of the NPD, as well as a full list of requests received and processed by the Department, is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-pupil-database.

Grouped Questions: 106878
Q
Asked by Darren Jones
(Bristol North West)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Education
Pupils: Personal Records
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what audit processes her Department has implemented to ensure that third-party organisations which access the National Pupil Database store and process that data in compliance with their original agreements with the Government.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The National Pupil Database (NPD) is a longitudinal research database that provides evidence on educational performance to inform independent research, as well as studies commissioned by the Department.

The Department may legally share the NPD, or elements of it, with third parties, using powers set out in Section 537A of the Education Act 1997 and the Education (Individual Pupil Information) (Prescribed Persons) (England) Regulations 2009. Organisations requesting access under those powers must show how it will be used to promote pupils’ education, through evidence or research.

In addition to the provisions within the Education Act 1997, in line with the Data Protection Act 1998, where the police or Home Office have evidence that a child may be at risk or evidence of criminal activity, limited data including a pupil’s address and school details may be requested from the NPD. This data does not include nationality or country of birth information. It is right that we share this data if it helps to keep a child safe from harm or to disrupt a crime.

Anyone requesting data from the NPD must comply with strict confidentiality and security rules and be registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office for their request to be approved. Any access to sensitive data is strictly controlled and governed by legal experts and senior civil servants.

Access is subject to requestors complying with strict terms and conditions imposed under contractual arrangements. The requestor must demonstrate that they have the appropriate security arrangements in place to process the data and will keep the data only for the specified length of time. A security questionnaire provided with each application provides details of the organisation’s technical and physical security measures. The information provided in the security questionnaire is considered as part of the approvals process. Experience suggests organisations using NPD take these processes very seriously and comply with these conditions.

A data retention period is set for any extract of the NPD we provide to third parties and is usually between 6 months and 3 years, depending on the aims of the project. Data destruction is a vital part of data sharing agreements, and the Department follows up each permitted use to seek confirmation that data has been appropriately destroyed.

The process and guidelines for requesting access to extracts of the NPD, as well as a full list of requests received and processed by the Department, is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-pupil-database.

Grouped Questions: 106877
Q
Asked by Lucy Frazer
(South East Cambridgeshire)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Education
Schools: Buildings
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of ensuring that those schools that have been underfunded relative to the national average for many years have priority in any applications for school building improvements.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The Department fund school building improvements through a combination of formula-based payments (School Condition Allocations and Devolved Formula Capital), and bid-based systems (the Condition Improvement Fund and the Priority School Building Programme). In order to secure the best value for money, both types of funding prioritise the buildings with the most severe condition need, rather than looking at other funding received by the institutions in question. Prioritisation may be informed by a combination of the Department’s building surveys and condition information contained in any bid.

School Condition Allocations and Devolved Formula Capital:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/capital-allocations

Condition Improvement Fund:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/condition-improvement-fund

Priority School Building Programme:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/priority-school-building-programme-psbp

Q
Asked by Thelma Walker
(Colne Valley)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Education
Supply Teachers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate her Department has made of the proportion of the schools budget spent on supply teachers in (a) Kirklees, (b) West Yorkshire and (c) England in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The Department does not hold information on spending specifically as a proportion of the school budget, but does hold information on the amount spent by schools on supply teaching staff (including such costs as insurance and agency fees) as a proportion of total expenditure by schools. We publish these data annually at:

Local authority maintained schools on the Department’s School and College Performance website: https://www.gov.uk/school-performance-tables, and

Academies in the Department’s Statistical First Release Income and expenditure in academies in England: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/income-and-expenditure-in-academies-in-england-2015-to-2016.

The published data are at school-level, including a filter to identify local authority such as Kirklees and those in West Yorkshire.

Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's estimate is of the amount of EU legislation and regulation that can be incorporated into UK law without amendment.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will convert European Union law into UK law as it applies in the UK at the moment of exit. This will ensure that, wherever possible, the same rules and laws will apply the day after exit as they did before.

The Government is undertaking a detailed assessment of what corrections will be required to make that law function appropriately on exit day. The Department for Exiting the European Union is working closely with departments across Government to ensure we make the changes required to deliver a functioning statute book on exit in the most efficient manner possible.

Based on our analysis so far, we have identified a need to correct around 850 out of 1200 pieces of Defra-owned legislation as a result of EU exit. Based on current assumptions, we envisage it would require around 100 Statutory Instruments.

Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what his Department's estimate is of the amount of EU legislation and regulation that can be incorporated into UK law without amendment.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will convert European Union law into UK law as it applies in the UK at the moment of exit. The Government is still making a detailed assessment of what corrections will be required to make that law function appropriately on exit day. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is working with the Department for Exiting the European Union to ensure we make the changes required to deliver a functioning statute book on leaving the EU in the most efficient manner possible.

Q
(Bridgend)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Colombia: Police
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Government of Colombia on reports of anti-narcotics police firing on a UN-led humanitarian mission investigating the killing of farmers in Tumaco.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Recent events in Tumaco are deeply worrying. I, therefore welcome the investigation announced by President Santos. Our Embassy in Bogota is in contact with the Colombian authorities.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
North Korea: Sanctions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 19 September 2017 to Question 9872, what the Government's policy is on the circumstances under which it would consider imposing secondary sanctions on individuals, entities and governments found to have violated UN sanctions on North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, in addition to existing sanctions under the relevant UN Security Council resolution.
A
Answered by: Boris Johnson
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The UK continues to explore with its international partners additional measures to increase pressure on North Korea to comply with its international obligations and abandon its illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, as well as working to ensure existing measures are fully implemented. Additional measures could include measures against those found to have violated UN sanctions where there is an adequate legal basis.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
North Korea: Nuclear Weapons
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 19 September 2017 to Question 9879, what the Government's policy is on whether the Government of North Korea should be required to engage in multilateral talks on its ballistic missile programme as a precondition for talks on its nuclear programme.
A
Answered by: Boris Johnson
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Both the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s ballistic missile and nuclear programmes are illegal and in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. The DPRK needs to demonstrate it is prepared to take credible steps towards meeting its international obligations in respect of both programmes.

Q
Asked by Mary Glindon
(North Tyneside)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Iran: Capital Punishment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations his Department has made to the Government of Iran on the (a) destruction of the site of the mass grave of people killed in the 1988 prison massacre in Alivoz and (b) protection of that site to preserve forensic evidence for future investigations.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Although we have not received official confirmation of this, we are concerned about reports of plans to destroy grave sites related to the 1988 massacre. Whilst at present we have no plans to request an inquiry by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, we continue to take action with the international community to press for improvements on all human rights issues in Iran, including ending the death penalty and by supporting the work done by the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran. We also raise our concerns directly with the Iranian government and I was able to raise this directly with my Iranian counterpart during my visit to Tehran in August this year.

Q
Asked by Mary Glindon
(North Tyneside)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Iran: Capital Punishment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will (a) make representations to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on establishing an independent inquiry into the 1988 prison massacre in Ahvaz, Iran, and (b) respond to Early Day Motion 448 of Session 2016-17, entitled Death of political prisoners in Iran in 1988.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The British Government opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances and takes any allegations of extrajudicial killings seriously. Whilst at present we have no plans to request an inquiry by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, we continue to take action with the international community to press for improvements on all human rights issues in Iran, including ending the death penalty and by supporting the work done by the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran. We also raise our concerns directly with the Iranian government and I was able to raise this directly with my Iranian counterpart during my visit to Tehran in August this year.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
North Korea: Sanctions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 19 September 2017 to Question 9871, what recent assessment he has made of the extent of emerging consensus for new EU sanctions to be imposed on North Korea.
A
Answered by: Boris Johnson
Answered on: 18 October 2017

I welcomed the set of robust EU autonomous measures agreed at the 16 October Foreign Affairs Council. These measures hit the revenue streams that support the regime’s illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and demonstrate that the EU is united in its commitment to exert pressure on the regime in pursuit of a diplomatic resolution.

Q
(South Shields)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Politics and Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the political and security situation in Yemen.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The Saudi-led Coalition continues to seek to reinstate the legitimate government in Yemen and defend its own southern border against artillery and missile strikes by Houthi forces and those allied to former President Saleh. Sporadic fighting is taking place in western Yemen, including along the Saudi border, around Midi, north east of Sana'a and in the vicinity of Sirwah. We remain concerned by the ability of terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda and Daesh to exploit ungoverned spaces in Yemen. The conflict has also resulted in security threats to international shipping in the Bab-el-Mandeb. Restarting peace talks remains the priority: a political solution is the best way to bring stability to Yemen and address the worsening humanitarian crisis. The UK continues to play a leading role in international efforts to achieve this goal. The Yemeni parties must engage constructively and in good faith to find a political solution to end the conflict.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
North Korea: Nuclear Weapons
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 19 September 2017 to Question 9879, what specific steps the Government of North Korea needs to take in order to manifest a serious and measurable change in behaviour to create the right conditions for talks on that country's nuclear programme.
A
Answered by: Boris Johnson
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea needs to stop violating UN Security Council Resolutions and demonstrate to the international community that it has halted its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and is prepared to take verifiable steps toward denuclearisation.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
North Korea: Nuclear Weapons
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 19 September 2017 to Question 9879, what the Government's policy is on the length of time for which the Government of North Korea should be required to suspend its nuclear and ballistic missile testing in order to demonstrate the requisite change in its behaviour to create the right conditions for talks to begin on that country's nuclear programme.
A
Answered by: Boris Johnson
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Any suspension of nuclear and ballistic missile tests needs to be for a sufficient length of time to build confidence that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is prepared to engage in credible negotiations and to take verifiable steps toward denuclearisation.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
North Korea: British Nationals Abroad
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential risks faced by UK nationals visiting North Korea; and what plans he has to revise his Department's travel advice for UK nationals visiting North Korea.
A
Answered by: Boris Johnson
Answered on: 18 October 2017

On 22 August 2017 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Advice for North Korea was updated to advise against all but essential travel. This reflects the current security situation in North Korea, which can change without warning and with no advance notice of possible actions by the authorities. We continue to monitor the situation and regularly review the FCO Travel Advice.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Kim Jong-nam
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the (a) Government of Malaysia and (b) the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on the progress of investigations into the death of Kim Jong Nam in Kuala Lumpur on 13 February 2017; and what information his Department holds on claims by the Government of Malaysia that traces of VX nerve agent were found on the body of the deceased.
A
Answered by: Boris Johnson
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Our High Commission in Malaysia has discussed the death of Kim Jong Nam with the Malaysian authorities. We have encouraged the Government of Malaysia to pursue a thorough investigation and to share information with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The Malaysian authorities have previously reported finding VX in samples from the deceased and received assistance in their investigations in the form of technical materials from the OPCW. At the Executive Council meeting of the OPCW on 10 October, the UK Delegation to the OPCW raised the issue of the use of VX in Malaysia in February, encouraging Malaysia to continue to inform the Council on the progress of investigations. We welcome Malaysia's statement at the OPCW on 10 October about the prosecution of 2 individuals, and the information that Interpol has been notified of further foreign suspects in the ongoing investigation.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
North Korea: Nuclear Weapons
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the Government's policy is on whether a formal request should be made for the UN Secretary-General to use his good offices to facilitate multilateral negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.
A
Answered by: Boris Johnson
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The UN Secretary-General has called on the Democractic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to fully comply with its international obligations, as clearly set out by the UN Security Council. We continue to call on the DPRK to halt its illegal weapons programmes and show it is prepared to take verifiable steps towards denuclearisation. A positive response on the part of the DPRK is needed to facilitate any negotiations.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
North Korea: Nuclear Weapons
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the diplomatic implications of the North Korean Government's rejection of an offer from the South Korean Government to engage in negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.
A
Answered by: Boris Johnson
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The international community, including South Korea, is united in its belief that North Korea must change its path and open the way towards a peaceful resolution through diplomatic negotiations. The UK's focus remains on working with our international partners to look at how we can increase pressure on North Korea to reach a peaceful solution, including at the UN.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
North Korea: Nuclear Weapons
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) the US and (b) North Korea on the circumstances under which the governments of those countries would be prepared to engage in multilateral negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.
A
Answered by: Boris Johnson
Answered on: 18 October 2017

I regularly discuss all aspects of the situation in North Korea with US Secretary of State Tillerson. I have not engaged directly with my North Korean counterpart. We are able to deliver messages directly to the regime through our Embassy in Pyongyang and North Korea's Embassy in London.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
North Korea: Nuclear Weapons
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the diplomatic implications of the recent statement by his North Korean counterpart that the government of that country is considering carrying out an atmospheric nuclear test explosion; and what discussions he has had with his North Korean counterpart on that issue.
A
Answered by: Boris Johnson
Answered on: 18 October 2017

I have not had direct discussions with my North Korean counterpart. We made clear to the North Korean government through our Embassy in Pyongyang our view of this latest provocative comment, and urged North Korea not to carry out such a test. The UN Security Council has condemned North Korea's pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and imposed severe sanctions. We continue to urge the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to comply with its international obligations, halt its provocations, and return to negotiations.

Q
Asked by Julie Cooper
(Burnley)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Palestinians
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking towards achieving a two state solution to the Israel and Palestine conflict.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 18 October 2017

We continue to believe the two-state solution is the only viable solution to the Arab Israeli conflict, and that there is now some need for greater urgency in attempting to resolve such a long standing issue. We are concerned that settlement construction, demolition of Palestinian property by the Israeli authorities, incitement and terrorist attacks are undermining prospects for peace. Ultimately we believe that peace will only come through negotiations between the parties, but international action could play a role in supporting progress. We are in close consultation with international partners, including the US, about what kind of renewed process might have a better chance of success, including one with a greater role for regional partners.

Q
Asked by Hugh Gaffney
(Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Catalonia: Violence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he has taken in response to the recent violence in Catalonia.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 18 October 2017


The Prime Minister discussed the situation in Catalonia with the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, on 17 October and expressed the UK’s support for the rule of law and respect for the Spanish constitution. This followed a meeting between the Spanish Ambassador, Carlos Bastarreche, and I on 11 October, after which I released a public statement.

Q
Asked by Julie Cooper
(Burnley)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Palestinians
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Israeli Government on that government's legal obligation towards the people of the Gaza Strip and the Occupied Palestinian Territories under international law.
A
Corrected answer by: Alistair Burt
Corrected on: 18 October 2017
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 18 October 2017.
The correct answer should have been:

It has long been the Government's view that Israel's presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is governed by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, to which Israel is a state party. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation.

A
Answered by: Alison Thewliss
Answered on: 18 October 2017

It has long been the Government's view that Israel's presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is governed by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, to which Israel is a state party. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation.

Q
Asked by Julie Cooper
(Burnley)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israeli Settlements
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Israeli Government on the matter of the legality of Israeli settlements built in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 18 October 2017

We regularly raise our concerns over the illegality of Israeli settlements built in the occupied Palestinian territories. As well as being illegal under international law, we view settlements as an obstacle to the two state solution. When I visited Israel in August this year, I raised our concern with the Israeli Minister for Regional Cooperation and the Deputy Minister in the Prime Ministers’ Office.

Q
(Greenwich and Woolwich)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Human Rights and War Crimes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that members of the Assad regime who have committed war crimes and human rights abuses are held to account.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The UK is committed to ensuring that those responsible for violations of international law and human rights abuses in Syria are held to account. We have been at the forefront of international action. The UK co-sponsored a United Nations General Assembly resolution establishing a new International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to support the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the most serious crimes. The UK strongly supports the work of the UN Commission of Inquiry whose reports have shone a light on the most serious human rights violations in the Syrian conflict. In partnership with other donor countries, we are funding the collection of documentary evidence for use in any legal procedures in the future. All available evidence shows the Asad regime's responsibilty for the great majority of offences.

Q
Asked by Louise Haigh
(Sheffield, Heeley)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Pakistan: Christianity
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Pakistani counterpart on the protection of vulnerable Christian villagers in Pakistan against further attacks; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 18 October 2017

We are concerned about continuing reports of abuses against religious minorities in Pakistan. The Government strongly condemns the persecution of all minorities, including the targeting of innocent people based on their beliefs.

We regularly raise our concerns about the protection of minority communities with the Government of Pakistan at a senior level. The ​Foreign Secretary discussed the importance we attach to safeguarding the rights of all Pakistan's citizens during his visit to Pakistan in November 2016. The former Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Mr Sharma, raised the protection of minorities with Kamran Michael, former Minister for Human Rights, and Barrister Zafarullah Khan, former Prime Minister’s Special Assistant for Human Rights, during a visit to Pakistan in January 2017.

Our High Commission in Islamabad raised our concerns about the treatment of religious minorities with the Ministry of Human Rights last month. We will continue to urge Pakistan to honour in practice its human rights obligations, including those related to religious minorities, as part of Pakistan's forthcoming Universal Periodic Review.

Q
(Ellesmere Port and Neston)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policies of the findings of the Lancet article, entitled How will Brexit affect health and health services in the UK? Evaluating three possible scenarios, published in September 2017; and whether he has had discussions with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on those implications.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 18 October 2017

In the face of growing demand the National Health Service has record funding, so we have more doctors and more nurses on our wards. Ahead of this winter, the NHS has planned earlier and more thoroughly than ever before, supported by an extra £100 millon for accident and emergency departments and £2 billion funding for the social care system.

The Government is committed to a world-class NHS, which is why we are backing it with at least an extra £8 billion investment by 2022 and are focused on getting a Brexit deal that is in the best interests of the economy, citizens and patients.

The Department, through the Secretary of State, other Ministers and senior officials, are in regular contact with the Department for Exiting the European Union on all health and social care matters in relation to Brexit.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Medical Equipment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on the supply of medical devices to NHS patients in the event that there is no transitional period prior to the UK leaving the EU during which to implement changes in EU law made before or during such a transitional period.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the Office of Life Sciences, and the Department for Exiting the European Union are leading our work in this area.

Medical devices are important for transforming health outcomes, and our top priority for the Life Sciences sector in the negotiations is to protect the safety of patients and ensure the integrity of cross-European public health systems.

After the European Union referendum, the UK EU Life Sciences Steering Group was established to oversee a programme of work that is informing our departure from the EU. The group’s remit includes people and skills; research and grants; intellectual property; regulation and trade, manufacturing and supply - to organisations including the National Health Service.

Regarding potential transposition of any changes in EU law, the general approach taken in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is that EU law which applies directly in the UK legal system immediately before exit will be converted into domestic law after exit. The purpose of the Bill is to provide a functioning statute book on the day we leave the EU, and it is designed to ensure that the United Kingdom exits the EU with certainty, continuity and control. After we leave the EU, Parliament will be free to change the law where it decides it is right to do so.

In the negotiations the Government will discuss with the EU and Member States how best to continue to cooperate. We start from the position of having an aligned regulatory partnership and any changes should consider the impact on patient and public health. However, we appreciate that this is a negotiation, so we are prepared for all eventualities. Whatever the outcome we will protect the best interests of patients and the NHS.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Incinerators: Health Hazards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, when the research on the effect of incineration on health commissioned by his Department and being undertaken by Imperial College, is expected to report.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Public Health England (PHE) funds the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) at Imperial College London and the Environmental Research Group at King’s College London. Both groups are part of the Medical Research Council-PHE Centre for Environment and Health and carry out studies to extend the evidence base regarding whether emissions from modern municipal waste incinerators affect human health.

It is expected that papers from the project will be submitted by SAHSU to peer reviewed journals later this year, and that the papers are likely to be published a few months after submission.

PHE’s existing position that well run and regulated modern municipal waste incinerators are not a significant risk to public health remains valid.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Eylea: Macular Degeneration
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what discussions he has had with Lars Bruening, Bayer UK and Ireland CEO, as a result of the recognition by NICE of the merits of using Eylea to treat myopic choroidal neovascularisation.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 18 October 2017

No Ministerial discussions have taken place. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently developing guidance on the use of Eylea for the treatment of myopic choroidal neovascularisation. NICE has published draft guidance that recommends use of the drug subject to a patient access scheme that makes the drug available to the National Health Service at a discounted price. NICE expects to publish final guidance this November. This is the first drug to be appraised through NICE’s new fast track appraisal process for treatments that can clearly demonstrate cost-effectiveness. Should the guidance remain unchanged, the NHS is committed to funding the treatment 30 days after NICE’s final guidance is published.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Nurses: Recruitment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps the Government is taking to encourage and incentivise people to take up nursing.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 18 October 2017

On 1 August 2017 the Government changed the education funding system for nursing students. The move to bring the funding of pre-registration nursing degrees into line with other undergraduate courses, through the student support system, removed the ‘cap’ which fixed an envelope of Government funding for fees and bursaries.

Nursing students now have access to the standard student support system. This change will mean that students will typically receive around 25% more up front living cost support whilst studying than on the bursary system.

In addition students will have access to non repayable grants for child dependents, reimbursment of travel and dual accommodation costs whilst attending clinical placements and an exceptional support fund.

To facilitate expansion, additional Clinical Placement funding was announced by the Department in August and October 2017. This enables around 5,000 more nursing students to enter training each year to 2020/21, representing a 25% increase over the number of nursing students in 2016/17.

Developing new routes into nursing is a priority for the Department. The Department has developed the Nursing Degree Apprenticeship and the new Nursing Associate role which will open up more opportunities to train as a nurse for those already working in the National Health Service or those for whom full-time university is not a realistic option.

Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Department of Health: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what his Department's estimate is of the amount of EU legislation and regulation that can be incorporated into UK law without amendment.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will convert European Union law into United Kingdom law as it applies in the UK at the moment of exit. This will ensure that, wherever possible, the same rules and laws will apply the day after exit as they did before.

The Government is still making a detailed assessment of what corrections will be required to make that law function appropriately on exit day. The Department for Exiting the European Union are working closely with departments across Government to ensure we make the changes required to deliver a functioning statute book on exit in the most efficient manner possible.

Q
Asked by Tulip Siddiq
(Hampstead and Kilburn)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
HIV Infection: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many people living with HIV were accessing HIV medicines in (a) England, (b) each parliamentary constituency, (c) each clinical commissioning group and (d) each local authority area in the most recent year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 18 October 2017

There were 81,240 people in England accessing the HIV medicine antiretroviral therapy in 2016. Data on people accessing HIV medicine is not available at parliamentary constituency, clinical commissioning group or local authority level.

Data on the uptake of HIV medicine by: drug name; average period of time between a diagnosis of HIV and initiation on antiretroviral therapy; number of people accessing HIV treatment by ethnicity and number of people living with HIV received treatment at each HIV clinic in England are not available in the format requested.

Grouped Questions: 106951 | 106952 | 106957 | 106953
Q
Asked by Lisa Nandy
(Wigan)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Transplant Surgery: Stem Cells
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he plans to take to ensure that all stem cell transplant patients receive adequate care and support after treatment.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The Manual for Prescribed Specialised Services describes which elements of specialised services are commissioned by NHS England and which are commissioned by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs):

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/prescribed-specialised-services-manual-2.pdf

NHS England is responsible for commissioning and funding the transplant related care which takes place 30 days before transplant and continues until 100 days post-transplant. After 100 days post-transplant, commissioning responsibility for the routine follow-up of patients switches from NHS England to CCGs, as outlined in the Manual.

In the event that transplant patients experience serious complications post-transplant, elements of their care would likely continue to be planned, organised and funded by NHS England specialised commissioning. For example, if a patient requires Extracorporeal Photophersis, which is a treatment for acute and chronic graft versus host disease following transplantation, NHS England commissions this care post-transplant.

NHS England’s work in supporting the roll out of the Recovery Package for cancer patients, including those who received blood and marrow transplants, helps ensure patients have more personal care and support from the point they are diagnosed and once treatment ends. For patients this means working with their care team to develop a comprehensive plan outlining not only their physical needs, but also additional support, such as help at home or financial advice. By 2020 NHS England wants all cancer patients to have access to the Recovery Package.

Q
Asked by Tulip Siddiq
(Hampstead and Kilburn)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
HIV Infection: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will publish data on the uptake of HIV medicine by drug name in (a) England, (b) each parliamentary constituency, (c) each clinical commissioning group and (d) each local authority area in the most recent year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 18 October 2017

There were 81,240 people in England accessing the HIV medicine antiretroviral therapy in 2016. Data on people accessing HIV medicine is not available at parliamentary constituency, clinical commissioning group or local authority level.

Data on the uptake of HIV medicine by: drug name; average period of time between a diagnosis of HIV and initiation on antiretroviral therapy; number of people accessing HIV treatment by ethnicity and number of people living with HIV received treatment at each HIV clinic in England are not available in the format requested.

Grouped Questions: 106950 | 106952 | 106957 | 106953
Q
Asked by Tulip Siddiq
(Hampstead and Kilburn)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
HIV Infection: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will publish data on the average period of time between a diagnosis of HIV and initiation on antiretroviral therapy in (a) England, (b) each parliamentary constituency, (c) each clinical commissioning group and (d) each local authority area in the most recent year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 18 October 2017

There were 81,240 people in England accessing the HIV medicine antiretroviral therapy in 2016. Data on people accessing HIV medicine is not available at parliamentary constituency, clinical commissioning group or local authority level.

Data on the uptake of HIV medicine by: drug name; average period of time between a diagnosis of HIV and initiation on antiretroviral therapy; number of people accessing HIV treatment by ethnicity and number of people living with HIV received treatment at each HIV clinic in England are not available in the format requested.

Grouped Questions: 106950 | 106951 | 106957 | 106953
Q
Asked by Tulip Siddiq
(Hampstead and Kilburn)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
HIV Infection: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many people living with HIV received treatment at each HIV clinic in England in the most recent year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 18 October 2017

There were 81,240 people in England accessing the HIV medicine antiretroviral therapy in 2016. Data on people accessing HIV medicine is not available at parliamentary constituency, clinical commissioning group or local authority level.

Data on the uptake of HIV medicine by: drug name; average period of time between a diagnosis of HIV and initiation on antiretroviral therapy; number of people accessing HIV treatment by ethnicity and number of people living with HIV received treatment at each HIV clinic in England are not available in the format requested.

Grouped Questions: 106950 | 106951 | 106952 | 106953
Q
Asked by Lisa Nandy
(Wigan)
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department of Health
Transplant Surgery: Stem Cells
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment his Department has made of the suitability of current commissioning arrangements for services provided to patients after a stem cell transplant.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The Manual for Prescribed Specialised Services describes which elements of specialised services are commissioned by NHS England and which are commissioned by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs):

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/prescribed-specialised-services-manual-2.pdf

NHS England is responsible for commissioning and funding the transplant related care which takes place 30 days before transplant and continues until 100 days post-transplant. After 100 days post-transplant, commissioning responsibility for the routine follow-up of patients switches from NHS England to CCGs, as outlined in the Manual.

In the event that transplant patients experience serious complications post-transplant, elements of their care would likely continue to be planned, organised and funded by NHS England specialised commissioning. For example, if a patient requires Extracorporeal Photophersis, which is a treatment for acute and chronic graft versus host disease following transplantation, NHS England commissions this care post-transplant.

There are no current plans to review the responsibilities of services commissioned by NHS England and CCGs for blood and marrow transplantation (BMT). However, NHS England will be assessing BMT in more detail over the next 18 months and will take the opportunity to further support improved pathway planning and commissioning of services that it and CCGs fund.

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