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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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(North Swindon)
Asked on: 12 October 2017
HM Treasury
Soft Drinks: Taxation
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate his Department has made of the revenue accrued to the public purse from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy in each year from 2018 to 2022; and what proportion of that revenue will be allocated to (a) England and (b) the devolved administrations.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 20 October 2017

As published in Table 2.2 of the Spring Budget 2017, the levy is expected to raise approximately £385m per year from April 2018. This is less than originally expected at Budget 2016, reflecting the OBRs judgement that producers will reformulate a higher proportion of their products towards lower sugar content.

In total, the Government has provided extra funding across the UK of almost £1.2 billion up to 2020, linked to the levy. This is split with almost £1 billion allocated to the Department for Education in England, and the remainder to the Devolved Administrations. The government is therefore committed to providing more funding to 2020 than the levy is forecast to raise, as the Chancellor guaranteed at Spring Budget 2017.

Every penny of England’s share of the spending funded by the levy will continue to be spent on giving school-aged children a better and healthier future, including through doubling the Primary Sports Premium and providing extra funding for breakfast clubs. Whilst still meeting this commitment, the Secretary of State for Education announced in July that she would reprioritise £315m in healthy pupils capital funding, redirecting it to core schools funding. This is a major boost for our schools. DfE’s overall budget has not been cut and there has been no change to funding for the Devolved Administrations as a result of this reprioritisation.

Grouped Questions: 107380 | 107381
Q
(North Swindon)
Asked on: 12 October 2017
HM Treasury
Soft Drinks: Taxation
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much and what proportion of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy allocated to England is allocated for spending on school sports and healthy living initiatives.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 20 October 2017

As published in Table 2.2 of the Spring Budget 2017, the levy is expected to raise approximately £385m per year from April 2018. This is less than originally expected at Budget 2016, reflecting the OBRs judgement that producers will reformulate a higher proportion of their products towards lower sugar content.

In total, the Government has provided extra funding across the UK of almost £1.2 billion up to 2020, linked to the levy. This is split with almost £1 billion allocated to the Department for Education in England, and the remainder to the Devolved Administrations. The government is therefore committed to providing more funding to 2020 than the levy is forecast to raise, as the Chancellor guaranteed at Spring Budget 2017.

Every penny of England’s share of the spending funded by the levy will continue to be spent on giving school-aged children a better and healthier future, including through doubling the Primary Sports Premium and providing extra funding for breakfast clubs. Whilst still meeting this commitment, the Secretary of State for Education announced in July that she would reprioritise £315m in healthy pupils capital funding, redirecting it to core schools funding. This is a major boost for our schools. DfE’s overall budget has not been cut and there has been no change to funding for the Devolved Administrations as a result of this reprioritisation.

Grouped Questions: 107383 | 107381
Q
(North Swindon)
Asked on: 12 October 2017
HM Treasury
Soft Drinks: Taxation
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to make up in funding for his Department any shortfall from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy in the event that it accrues less revenue for the public purse than it was estimated to do; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 20 October 2017

As published in Table 2.2 of the Spring Budget 2017, the levy is expected to raise approximately £385m per year from April 2018. This is less than originally expected at Budget 2016, reflecting the OBRs judgement that producers will reformulate a higher proportion of their products towards lower sugar content.

In total, the Government has provided extra funding across the UK of almost £1.2 billion up to 2020, linked to the levy. This is split with almost £1 billion allocated to the Department for Education in England, and the remainder to the Devolved Administrations. The government is therefore committed to providing more funding to 2020 than the levy is forecast to raise, as the Chancellor guaranteed at Spring Budget 2017.

Every penny of England’s share of the spending funded by the levy will continue to be spent on giving school-aged children a better and healthier future, including through doubling the Primary Sports Premium and providing extra funding for breakfast clubs. Whilst still meeting this commitment, the Secretary of State for Education announced in July that she would reprioritise £315m in healthy pupils capital funding, redirecting it to core schools funding. This is a major boost for our schools. DfE’s overall budget has not been cut and there has been no change to funding for the Devolved Administrations as a result of this reprioritisation.

Grouped Questions: 107383 | 107380
Q
Asked by Tom Watson
(West Bromwich East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 13 October 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Gambling: Prosecutions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many prosecutions under the Gambling Act 2005 there have been in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Tracey Crouch
Answered on: 20 October 2017

The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates’ courts for offences under the Gambling Act 2005 in England and Wales, in each year between 2012 and 2016, can be viewed in the attached table.

Gambling Act 2005 offences 2012-2016 (PDF Document, 100.25 KB)
Q
Asked by Jo Churchill
(Bury St Edmunds)
Asked on: 04 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Public Sector: Pay
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment the Government has made of publishing details of all public sector pay above the £100,000 threshold for which it holds the relevant information.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The Civil Service aims to be as transparent as possible, and already discloses a significant amount of senior pay data. The Office for National Statistics publishes a range of detailed pay information in its annual release of Civil Service Statistics, including the number of staff earning over £100,000 and other pay information. The latest release is available at:
https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/publicsectorpersonnel/datasets/civilservicestatistics

In addition, since 2010 the Government has published an annual list of individuals in departments, agencies and Non-departmental Public Bodies earning £150,000 and above. Departments also publish organograms every six months that include individualised salary information for their most senior staff

Relevant departments are responsible for transparency policy in wider public sector workforces.

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 04 September 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Housing Estates: Regeneration
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the number of social and affordable housing units created by the redevelopment of local authority housing estates in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The Government's Estate Regeneration National Strategy, published in December 2016, emphasises the key leadership role of local authorities in assessing and delivering the amount of social and affordable housing appropriate to meet the needs of their area. The National Strategy also sets out Government's expectations for how authorities should engage with residents throughout an estate regeneration scheme, and how residents should be protected. The Government's expectation is that all existing council and housing association tenants, whether on a lifetime or fixed tenancy, should have the option to return to the estate.

More than twice as much council housing has been built since 2010 than in the previous 13 years. 10,460 local authority dwellings were built between 2010-11 and 2016-17, up from 2,920 delivered over the previous 13 years (1997-98 to 2009-10). The Government recently announced plans to deliver more affordable homes, including at a social rent, by investing £2 billion in additional funding for housing associations and local councils in England. This will increase the Government’s 2016-21 Affordable Homes Programme in England to more than £9 billion.

Q
Asked by Jon Trickett
(Hemsworth)
Asked on: 04 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Government Departments: Buildings
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how the Government Property Unit calculated that 75 per cent of staff will relocate to a hub less than 10 miles from their current office and that 90 per cent will relocate within 25 miles, as set out in the National Audit Office report Progress on the government estate strategy.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The Government Hubs Programme will consolidate office space in locations with a
significant Civil Service presence.

The location of a strategic hub is based on rigorous criteria including excellent connections
to a range of local and national public transport options to ensure that it is accessible.

Moreover, they are chosen in consultation with the major departmental occupiers planned
for that Hub, to ensure that it meets their workforce and operational requirements.

The percentages quoted in the NAO report were based on GPU’s assessment, at the time,
of the proposed capacity of a new hub and the number of staff based in offices within a 10-
and 25-mile radius of the city centres (where Hubs are planned to be).

Moreover, the locations are chosen in consultation with the major departmental occupiers
planned for that Hub, to ensure that it meets their workforce and operational requirements.

Q
Asked by Jon Trickett
(Hemsworth)
Asked on: 04 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Government Departments: Buildings
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department has a target for the number of homes to be built on disposed of Government estate assets.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 October 2017




The Cabinet Office has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Q
(Poplar and Limehouse)
Asked on: 11 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Government Departments: Sign Language
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Government (a) department and (b) Minister is responsible for the promotion and recognition of British Sign Language.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 October 2017

Under the Equality Act 2010 and Public Sector Equality Duty, all Government
departments have a responsibility to create inclusive communications. This does not
mean promoting BSL as an activity in itself but it does mean identifying and meeting
the communication needs of the audiences we are targeting (for example, where
formats could include Braille, BSL, easy read etc).

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 11 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Action Fraud: Finance
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the National Cyber Security Strategy, how much funding has been allocated to the Action Fraud helpline.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 October 2017

In November 2016 the Government published a new five year National Cyber Security
Strategy 2016 - 2021, which defines our vision and ambition for the future: a UK that is
secure and resilient to cyber threats. The strategy is being implemented through the
National Cyber Security Programme (NCSP), which allocates transformative investment to
lead government departments to support delivery of the objectives set out in the strategy.

In 2017/18, we have committed £30 million of NCSP money for law enforcement and
combating cyber crime. Of this, £4,801,300 has been allocated to the City of London
Police, which includes £3,200,000 funding specifically for Action Fraud.

In 2016/17, the City of London Police received £3,153,296 NCSP funding, of which
£2,775,000 was spent on funding for Action Fraud.

The Home Office also separately funds the Action Fraud/ National Fraud Intelligence
Bureau (NFIB) capability. In 2016/17 this totalled £7,443,000. £8 million has been
allocated to this capability in 2017/18.

Q
Asked by Jon Trickett
(Hemsworth)
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Electronic Government: Proof of Identity
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Answer of 15 December 2016 to Question 57073, what the cost to the public purse of the gov.uk Verify system has been to date.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 October 2017

There are no more recent audited figures than those published in the answer of 15
December 2016 to Question 57073, GOV.UK Verify has cost £54.4m to develop and has
saved £111.44m.

Q
Asked by Jon Trickett
(Hemsworth)
Asked on: 13 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants in his Department are part of the Government Commercial Function; and how many of those civil servants have been seconded (a) outside of government and (b) in from outside of the government in each year since 2012.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The Government Commercial Function is staffed by employees working across many Civil
Service Departments. Within the Cabinet Office as at 30 th September 2017, there are 27.5
FTE in the Government Commercial Function who set the vision and direction of the
Government Commercial Function and support the running of the Government
Commercial Organisation.

The Government Commercial Organisation (GCO), founded in 2016, is the Central
employer of senior Commercial staff across the Civil Service. As at 30 th September 2017 it
employs 220 people as part of the Cabinet Office. Members of the GCO all sit within
government departments, working on commercial contracts within those departments. Two
members of the GCO are out on secondment, to MHRA and NEST. No members of the
GCO have been seconded in to the Civil Service.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 13 September 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
UK relations with EU
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what assessment he has made of the (a) economic, (b) diplomatic and (c) tariff conditions that would apply to relations between the UK and the EU as a result of the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 19 October 2017

We will pursue a deep and special partnership with the EU taking in both economic and security cooperation. As a priority we will seek a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement that is of greater scope and ambition than any such existing agreement.

As we have made clear in our future partnership paper, we believe the UK and EU should continue to consult each other on foreign and security policy issues and agree joint positions, so that we can speak out together and drive progress on areas in our mutual interest. As an example, we should look to coordinate action, and share information, on sanctions policy when needed in order to respond robustly to those who challenge the rules-based international order, as we have recently done effectively in the case of Russia and Iran. We are clear that we want the EU to succeed: a successful EU, with the UK as its closest partner, is in all of our shared interests.

We want to have the greatest possible tariff- and barrier-free trade with our European neighbours, as well as to negotiate our own trade agreements around the world. We want to ensure that UK companies have the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within European markets – and to let European businesses do the same in the UK.

Q
Asked by Jon Trickett
(Hemsworth)
Asked on: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Disclosure of Information
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he has taken to facilitate whistleblowing in his Department and its arm-length bodies.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 October 2017

Over the last year a great deal of work has been undertaken in Cabinet Office to ensure all
staff are confident in raising whistleblowing concerns and assured that action will be taken
as a result. This includes:

  • A new whistleblowing and raising concerns policy was introduced in July 2016, bringing the department in line with cross government best practice. This policy gives a clear outline of how to raise a whistleblowing concern in the department.
  • 6 Nominated Officers have been trained over the last year and are currently in post to support staff and managers with raising whistleblowing concerns as an independent person. 3 additional Nominated Officers are to be trained in the next two months to ensure coverage in larger units as well as those units that may need to approach someone with higher security clearance.
  • A DG whistleblowing champion was put in place in October 2017.
  • Cabinet Office’s bespoke line manager training course includes a section that covers whistleblowing and how to deal with a whistleblowing concern as a line manager.
  • Cabinet Office took part in the cross government whistleblowing awareness week in October 2016 and whistleblowing awareness day in September 2017.
  • A new ‘Speak Up’ campaign was launched in April 2017 aimed at encouraging staff to raise all types of concerns. This campaign was refreshed in September 2017.
  • The Civil Service Commission attended a recent all staff diversity event to raise awareness of their part in hearing whistleblowing concerns under the Civil Service code.
  • Data is regularly collected and reviewed on numbers and types of concerns raised to inform continuous action and communications.
  • Further communications are planned throughout the year to ensure on-going awareness of the ways individuals can raise whistleblowing concerns.
Q
Asked by Stephen Timms
(East Ham)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Data Protection
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect on UK data privacy legislation of not incorporating into UK law, Article 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The UK has a long history of protecting the rights of its citizens, and we intend to continue
to protect those rights through our domestic legislation. The Data Protection Bill will set
high standards for protecting personal data in accordance with the GDPR. We​ ​will​
​continue​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​a​ ​world-class standard​ ​of​ ​data​ ​protection​ ​after we leave the European
Union

The removal of the Charter from UK law should not affect the substantive rights that
individuals already benefit from in the UK when their data are processed. The Charter is
not the source of rights contained within it, it was intended only to catalogue rights that
already existed in EU law. The Government has committed to implementing the GDPR,
which affords individuals judicial redress in the event of a data breach.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Referendums
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will bring forward proposals to provide for the appointment of sub-agents at any future national referendum.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 19 October 2017

Referendums held under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000
(PPERA) have not previously allowed for sub-agents to be appointed by referendum
agents. We will consider this matter further with the Electoral Commission and the
Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA).

Q
Asked by Jon Trickett
(Hemsworth)
Asked on: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Crown Commercial Service: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 12 September 2017 to Question 7708, on Crown Commercial Service: procurement, what the two contracts were where the tender ran for longer than one year.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The two procurements that took longer to award than twelve months in 2013-14 were
ConsultancyOne (RM 1502) and Locum Doctors including Locum GPs (RM 1570).

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Absent Voting
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will assess the merits of introducing a process to cancel a postal ballot paper issued to an elector who is subsequently deleted from the electoral register during an election period.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 19 October 2017

Electoral law is clear that a person must be included in the register of electors for a
poll in order to be entitled to vote at that poll. The Government recognises that it is
possible for postal ballot papers to be issued to a postal voter who may subsequently
be removed from the register to be used at the poll. We will look to review the current
provisions on the cancellation of postal ballot papers to see whether improvements
can be made to the law in this area.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Electoral Register
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will assess the merits of clarifying the arrangements around deferring publication of the electoral register where an election occurs during the defined canvass period.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The Government recognises that greater clarity could be provided on deferring
publication of the electoral register under these circumstances. We will keep the
matter under review and address it when the opportunity arises.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Brexit
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Minister authorised the Cabinet Secretary to discuss the comments made by Lord Maude on the UK leaving the EU with the media.
A
Answered by: Damian Green
Answered on: 19 October 2017

It is not unusual for the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service to comment
publicly on matters relating to the management of the Civil Service. Information relating to
internal discussion and advice is not disclosed.

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