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
(Coventry South)
[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: 21 November 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the cost of completed Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) projects across England in each year since 2010.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The Government estimates that there has been the following amount of capital spending on Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management projects in each year since 2010:

Year

£million

2010/11

399

2011/12

298

2012/13

296

2013/14

358

2014/15

522

2015/16

450

2016/17

502

These figures include schemes costing below £100k, which were previously not geo-located, and include Capital costs, as well as capital investments spent on EA activities including the FCRM attributable to flood protection.

Q
Asked by Ian Murray
(Edinburgh South)
[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: 21 November 2017
Home Office
HM Passport Office: Edinburgh
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans he has for the Passport Office in Edinburgh; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 11 December 2017

Due to an over-capacity for passport interviews, Her Majesty’s Passport Office will be closing some offices that only offer this element of the passport service.

Less than three per cent of UK passport applicants will be interviewed as part of the application process each year. These office closures will ensure that passport fee payers are not subsidising excess offices.

Q
Asked on: 27 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
UN Human Rights Council: Elections
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to promote the "competitive HRC membership elections" for the United Nations Human Rights Council they called for in the joint concluding statement of the 35th Session of the UNHRC in June.
A
Answered on: 11 December 2017

Her Majesty's Government is committed to the defence of human rights worldwide and strongly supports the work of the Human Rights Council (HRC). Recent steps to encourage competitive elections to the HRC include our participation in public pledging events by HRC membership candidates in Geneva and New York. We are considering with like-minded member states a number of ideas relating to the membership and functioning of the HRC, following on from the Joint Statement at its 35th Session.

Q
Asked on: 27 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Commonwealth: Indigenous Peoples
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legal or treaty obligations they retain in respect of First Nation peoples in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
A
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The UK does not have any prevailing legal or treaty obligations with respect to the native/ indigenous populations in Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.

All previous relevant obligations binding upon the UK Government have been passed to and confined to the Governments of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as the independent and sovereign successor states of the UK’s Dominions.

Q
Asked on: 27 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Indigenous Peoples
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when was the last time they raised through the United Nations the problems facing First Nation peoples.
A
Answered on: 11 December 2017

Her Majesty's Government is committed to defending the human rights of all individuals, including indigenous people. The Government regularly participates in discussions regarding indigenous peoples in various United Nations fora, including the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues.

Q
Asked by Lord Birt
Asked on: 27 November 2017
Department for Education
Apprentices
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the release of figures by the Department for Education on 23 November showing that the number of people starting apprenticeships has dropped by 59 per cent in the last year, what assessment they have made of the reasons for that decrease; and how they plan to reverse that trend.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 11 December 2017

There has been 1.1 million apprenticeship starts in England since May 2015.

The 59% drop in starts only covers the period from May to July 2017, and followed a sharp rise in the preceding months, meaning that overall apprenticeship starts in 2016/17 are only down by 2.8% overall.

In April 2017, the government introduced changes to the apprenticeship system including the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and the new digital Apprenticeship Service. It is too early to draw conclusions on the impact of these reforms before employers have had time to adjust.

The government will continue to monitor the number of apprenticeship starts and work closely with employers to ensure the success of these reforms.

Asked on: 27 November 2017
Department of Health
Palliative Care: Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to commission a review into the consistency of regional commissioning of services families with children in need of palliative care.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 11 December 2017

In July 2016, the Government set out its commitment to everyone at the end of life in the Government response to the independent What’s important to me. A Review of Choice in End of Life Care. A copy of the Review is attached. Our Commitment to you for end of life care: The Government Response to the Review of Choice in End of Life Care (the Choice Commitment) set out what everyone should expect from their care at the end of life and the actions we are taking to make high quality and personalisation a reality for all, both adults and children, and to end variation in end of life care across the health system by 2020. A copy of the Government Response is attached. On 21 September 2017 we published One year on: the government response to the review of choice in end of life care setting out the good progress made in delivering this over the first year. A copy is attached.

Through the Mandate, we have asked NHS England to deliver the Choice Commitment, and working through NHS England’s National Programme Board for End of life Care with all key system partners and stakeholders, including Together for Short Lives (TFSL), a range of activity is ongoing to achieve this. It is right that clinical commissioning groups have autonomy to shape services locally, and it is important that, where needed, more is done to provide them with tools, evidence, support and guidance to demonstrate the benefits of delivering the Government’s vision for end of life care. NHS England, Public Health England and the Ambitions Partnership (comprising national organisations across the statutory and voluntary sectors, including TFSL) have provided a wealth of support over the first year, including: currencies to improve transparency in specialist palliative commissioning; new guidance on cost effective commissioning; data about end of life care to assist Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STP) as they develop their plans for services; and seven evaluations of different approaches to 24/7 models of care.

Early in 2017, NHS England will be holding workshops with a range of STP leads to provide practical advice and support on developing effective end of life care services and demonstrating the value they can bring. In addition, TFSL has been commissioned by NHS England to promote the adoption of best practice approaches to children’s that are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and report back on barriers to implementation locally.

What's important to me (PDF Document, 2.87 MB)
Our commitment to you for end of life care (PDF Document, 885.36 KB)
One year on (PDF Document, 455.12 KB)
Grouped Questions: HL3606
Asked on: 27 November 2017
Department of Health
Palliative Care: Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings by the charity Together for Short Lives in its report Commissioning children’s palliative care in England: 2017 edition that (1) only 35 per cent of clinical commissioning groups are implementing HM Government’s guidance set out in Our Commitment to You for End of Life Care, and (2) that 46 per cent have no plans to do so; and whether they intend to conduct a review into how implementation levels can be improved and made consistent throughout England.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 11 December 2017

In July 2016, the Government set out its commitment to everyone at the end of life in the Government response to the independent What’s important to me. A Review of Choice in End of Life Care. A copy of the Review is attached. Our Commitment to you for end of life care: The Government Response to the Review of Choice in End of Life Care (the Choice Commitment) set out what everyone should expect from their care at the end of life and the actions we are taking to make high quality and personalisation a reality for all, both adults and children, and to end variation in end of life care across the health system by 2020. A copy of the Government Response is attached. On 21 September 2017 we published One year on: the government response to the review of choice in end of life care setting out the good progress made in delivering this over the first year. A copy is attached.

Through the Mandate, we have asked NHS England to deliver the Choice Commitment, and working through NHS England’s National Programme Board for End of life Care with all key system partners and stakeholders, including Together for Short Lives (TFSL), a range of activity is ongoing to achieve this. It is right that clinical commissioning groups have autonomy to shape services locally, and it is important that, where needed, more is done to provide them with tools, evidence, support and guidance to demonstrate the benefits of delivering the Government’s vision for end of life care. NHS England, Public Health England and the Ambitions Partnership (comprising national organisations across the statutory and voluntary sectors, including TFSL) have provided a wealth of support over the first year, including: currencies to improve transparency in specialist palliative commissioning; new guidance on cost effective commissioning; data about end of life care to assist Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STP) as they develop their plans for services; and seven evaluations of different approaches to 24/7 models of care.

Early in 2017, NHS England will be holding workshops with a range of STP leads to provide practical advice and support on developing effective end of life care services and demonstrating the value they can bring. In addition, TFSL has been commissioned by NHS England to promote the adoption of best practice approaches to children’s that are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and report back on barriers to implementation locally.

What's important to me (PDF Document, 2.87 MB)
Our commitment to you for end of life care (PDF Document, 885.36 KB)
One year on (PDF Document, 455.12 KB)
Grouped Questions: HL3603
Asked on: 27 November 2017
Department of Health
Smoking
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the approval process for proposals for a grant for 2017–18 to support implementation of the Tobacco Control Plan under section 64 of the of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968 will be completed.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The Department is still considering the scope and procurement process for grants to support the implementation of the Tobacco Control Plan. Cabinet Office standards require all new grants to be subject to competition. Our intention is to make any future grant available on a multi-year basis, subject to an appropriate business case and satisfactory performance on the part of the funded bodies.

Grouped Questions: HL3610
Asked on: 27 November 2017
Department of Health
Smoking
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any plans to support implementation of the Tobacco Control Plan for England will contain provisions for future year funding to cover the full length of the Plan from 2017 to 2022.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The Department is still considering the scope and procurement process for grants to support the implementation of the Tobacco Control Plan. Cabinet Office standards require all new grants to be subject to competition. Our intention is to make any future grant available on a multi-year basis, subject to an appropriate business case and satisfactory performance on the part of the funded bodies.

Grouped Questions: HL3609
Asked on: 27 November 2017
Department of Health
NHS Litigation Authority
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the performance of the NHS Litigation Authority.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The NHS Litigation Authority, known as NHS Resolution from 1 April 2017, is accountable to the Department and its performance is subject to regular review through the Department’s sponsorship arrangements. The Department’s assessment is that NHS Resolution is a well-run and efficient organisation and that it has had some success, within the current legal framework, in containing the cost of National Health Service litigation, a view that was supported by the National Audit Office (NAO), in its report Managing the costs of clinical negligence in trusts published in September 2017. A copy of the report is attached.

NHS Resolution has a responsibility to settle justified claims fairly and promptly, and defend unjustified claims to secure NHS resources. Each case must be considered on its own merits and it is important that a proper investigation is undertaken. NHS Resolution aims to get to the right answer as quickly as possible in every case and to help resolve claims sooner, and without the need for court proceedings, NHS Resolution launched a new mediation service in December 2016. The NAO report on clinical negligence costs concluded that it is difficult to benchmark an optimal time for resolution and the Department is satisfied, that overall, NHS Resolution strikes the right balance in settling claims in a timely manner.

In recognition that the organisation’s effectiveness in reducing NHS litigation costs could be improved by expanding its remit and giving it a greater role in promoting learning from harmful incidents, the Secretary of State announced earlier this year that the NHS Litigation Authority would be known as NHS Resolution from 1 April 2017 with a new five year strategy Delivering fair resolution and learning from harm: Our strategy to 2022 which gives it an enhanced focus on mediation, learning and prevention, as well as litigation. A copy of the five year strategy is attached.

NHS Resolution already works with NHS organisations, with the use of the claims scorecards, to help them understand their claims data to better assess where local interventions would have the greatest impact in reducing high volume or high costs claims. It also shares learning and best practice across the NHS through the development of guidance including cases studies derived from analysis of the national database of claims, thematic guidance and national events. Through its new strategy, it will deliver increased insight into what drives the costs of harm and work in partnership with others to develop interventions that improve safety and save money for the NHS, as demonstrated by its report Five years of cerebral palsy claims: A thematic review of NHS Resolution data published in September. A copy of the report has been placed in the Library due to the size of the document.

Managing the costs of clinical negligence (PDF Document, 595.19 KB)
Delivering fair resolution (PDF Document, 9.6 MB)
Asked on: 27 November 2017
Department of Health
NHS Litigation Authority
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which the NHS Litigation Authority acknowledges fault in a timely manner.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The NHS Litigation Authority, known as NHS Resolution from 1 April 2017, is accountable to the Department and its performance is subject to regular review through the Department’s sponsorship arrangements. The Department’s assessment is that NHS Resolution is a well-run and efficient organisation and that it has had some success, within the current legal framework, in containing the cost of National Health Service litigation, a view that was supported by the National Audit Office (NAO), in its report Managing the costs of clinical negligence in trusts published in September 2017. A copy of the report is attached.

NHS Resolution has a responsibility to settle justified claims fairly and promptly, and defend unjustified claims to secure NHS resources. Each case must be considered on its own merits and it is important that a proper investigation is undertaken. NHS Resolution aims to get to the right answer as quickly as possible in every case and to help resolve claims sooner, and without the need for court proceedings, NHS Resolution launched a new mediation service in December 2016. The NAO report on clinical negligence costs concluded that it is difficult to benchmark an optimal time for resolution and the Department is satisfied, that overall, NHS Resolution strikes the right balance in settling claims in a timely manner.

In recognition that the organisation’s effectiveness in reducing NHS litigation costs could be improved by expanding its remit and giving it a greater role in promoting learning from harmful incidents, the Secretary of State announced earlier this year that the NHS Litigation Authority would be known as NHS Resolution from 1 April 2017 with a new five year strategy Delivering fair resolution and learning from harm: Our strategy to 2022 which gives it an enhanced focus on mediation, learning and prevention, as well as litigation. A copy of the five year strategy is attached.

NHS Resolution already works with NHS organisations, with the use of the claims scorecards, to help them understand their claims data to better assess where local interventions would have the greatest impact in reducing high volume or high costs claims. It also shares learning and best practice across the NHS through the development of guidance including cases studies derived from analysis of the national database of claims, thematic guidance and national events. Through its new strategy, it will deliver increased insight into what drives the costs of harm and work in partnership with others to develop interventions that improve safety and save money for the NHS, as demonstrated by its report Five years of cerebral palsy claims: A thematic review of NHS Resolution data published in September. A copy of the report has been placed in the Library due to the size of the document.

Asked on: 27 November 2017
Department of Health
NHS Litigation Authority
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they ensure that lessons learned through cases handled by the NHS Litigation Authority are passed on to the NHS rapidly to prevent future errors.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The NHS Litigation Authority, known as NHS Resolution from 1 April 2017, is accountable to the Department and its performance is subject to regular review through the Department’s sponsorship arrangements. The Department’s assessment is that NHS Resolution is a well-run and efficient organisation and that it has had some success, within the current legal framework, in containing the cost of National Health Service litigation, a view that was supported by the National Audit Office (NAO), in its report Managing the costs of clinical negligence in trusts published in September 2017. A copy of the report is attached.

NHS Resolution has a responsibility to settle justified claims fairly and promptly, and defend unjustified claims to secure NHS resources. Each case must be considered on its own merits and it is important that a proper investigation is undertaken. NHS Resolution aims to get to the right answer as quickly as possible in every case and to help resolve claims sooner, and without the need for court proceedings, NHS Resolution launched a new mediation service in December 2016. The NAO report on clinical negligence costs concluded that it is difficult to benchmark an optimal time for resolution and the Department is satisfied, that overall, NHS Resolution strikes the right balance in settling claims in a timely manner.

In recognition that the organisation’s effectiveness in reducing NHS litigation costs could be improved by expanding its remit and giving it a greater role in promoting learning from harmful incidents, the Secretary of State announced earlier this year that the NHS Litigation Authority would be known as NHS Resolution from 1 April 2017 with a new five year strategy Delivering fair resolution and learning from harm: Our strategy to 2022 which gives it an enhanced focus on mediation, learning and prevention, as well as litigation. A copy of the five year strategy is attached.

NHS Resolution already works with NHS organisations, with the use of the claims scorecards, to help them understand their claims data to better assess where local interventions would have the greatest impact in reducing high volume or high costs claims. It also shares learning and best practice across the NHS through the development of guidance including cases studies derived from analysis of the national database of claims, thematic guidance and national events. Through its new strategy, it will deliver increased insight into what drives the costs of harm and work in partnership with others to develop interventions that improve safety and save money for the NHS, as demonstrated by its report Five years of cerebral palsy claims: A thematic review of NHS Resolution data published in September. A copy of the report has been placed in the Library due to the size of the document.

Asked on: 27 November 2017
Department of Health
NHS Litigation Authority
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of clinical cases brought against the NHS and managed by the NHS Litigation Authority in each of the past ten years resulted in (1) a finding of liability by the courts, (2) a finding by the courts that there was no liability, (3) a settlement outside court alongside an admission of liability, (4) a settlement outside court with no admission of liability, and (5) some other outcome.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 11 December 2017

NHS Resolution, formerly known as the NHS Litigation Authority, manages clinical negligence claims against the National Health Service in England on behalf of member organisations. NHS Resolution has provided the following information:

Clinical claims closed (or settled as a Periodical Payment Order) 2007/08 to 2016/17 as at 31 October 2017 are set out in the attached table due to the size of the data.

In relation to settlements outside court with or without an admission of liability, NHS Resolution has advised that it does not collate details of all cases where admissions were made but it has provided the number of settled cases where a damages payment was awarded or not.

NHS Resolution has advised that there is no ‘other outcome’ for cases.

Clinical claims closed (Word Document, 21.46 KB)
Asked on: 27 November 2017
Department of Health
Mental Health Services: Children and Young People
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to provide additional funding for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services post 2020.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The current Spending Review period covers the four years from 2016-17 to 2019-20. The Government will consider its plans for funding of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services following 2020 as part of the next Spending Review.

Grouped Questions: HL3671
Q
Asked by Lord Suri
Asked on: 27 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Religious Freedom
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Foreign and Commonwealth Office intends to establish a fund for programmes supporting freedom of religion or belief.
A
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) continues to be a priority for the UK Government. Projects that directly support FoRB overseas are funded through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)'s Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy. In 2017/18 the Magna Carta Fund will spend £758,717 on six FoRB projects. We will open for bids to support FoRB work in the 2018/19 financial year, early in the next calendar year.

Q
Asked by Lord Warner
Asked on: 27 November 2017
Department of Health
Medical Records
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether an NHS doctor denying an NHS patient access to their medical records would be grounds for disciplinary action by their professional body, employer or contracting authority.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 11 December 2017

Patients have a legal right to apply for access to their medical records and do not need to give a reason. A patient who is denied access to their medical records can make a complaint to the Information Comissioner and/or the relevant contracting authority and/or the General Medical Council (GMC) and/or the relevant employer.

There are some circumstances where exemptions may apply to a patients right to access this information and it would be a matter for the relevant body to whom the complaint is made to investigate further and decide on appropriate action.

Doctors have a responsibility to be familiar with and follow GMC guidance, and must use their judgement in applying the principles to the various situations they face in practice. They must be prepared to explain and justify their decisions and actions, and serious or persistent failure to follow the guidance will put a doctor’s registration at risk.

Q
Asked by Iain Stewart
(Milton Keynes South)
Asked on: 28 November 2017
HM Treasury
Trident
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the effect of transferring the costs of upgrading or replacing the UK's nuclear deterrent from the Ministry of Defence to another Government accounting department; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Elizabeth Truss
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The like for like replacement of the nuclear submarine fleet is at the heart of the most recent SDSR and the funding settlement that accompanied it at SR15.

The Government has no plans to transfer the costs of upgrading or replacing the UK's nuclear deterrent from the Ministry of Defence to another Government accounting department at this time.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 28 November 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Shipping
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of leaving the EU on the operation of the marine and recreational boating sectors.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 11 December 2017

As part of our work preparing to make a success of our departure from the European Union we are carrying out a full suite of analysis as you would expect a responsible Government to do. This analysis covers 58 sectors as well as cross-cutting regulatory, economic and social issues to help inform our negotiation positions.

We are examining all areas of the UK economy from a number of perspectives and seeking input from a wide range of stakeholders. This sectoral analysis sits alongside regional and small business engagement across the UK.

The Government’s Maritime and Ports sectoral report sets out a description of the sector, the current EU regulatory regime, existing frameworks for how trade is facilitated between countries in this sector and sector views. This report has been made available for members of both Houses to read in a secure reading room.

We are committed to the best possible deal for the United Kingdom - a deal that works for the entirety of the UK economy. We have been engaging with businesses and industry bodies from all sectors of the economy and parts of the UK in order to inform our negotiations with the EU.

Grouped Questions: 116190 | 116203
Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 28 November 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Shipping: Coastal Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the viability of (a) coastal communities and (b) local economies with a significant marine sector of the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 11 December 2017

As part of our work preparing to make a success of our departure from the European Union we are carrying out a full suite of analysis as you would expect a responsible Government to do. This analysis covers 58 sectors as well as cross-cutting regulatory, economic and social issues to help inform our negotiation positions.

We are examining all areas of the UK economy from a number of perspectives and seeking input from a wide range of stakeholders. This sectoral analysis sits alongside regional and small business engagement across the UK.

The Government’s Maritime and Ports sectoral report sets out a description of the sector, the current EU regulatory regime, existing frameworks for how trade is facilitated between countries in this sector and sector views. This report has been made available for members of both Houses to read in a secure reading room.

We are committed to the best possible deal for the United Kingdom - a deal that works for the entirety of the UK economy. We have been engaging with businesses and industry bodies from all sectors of the economy and parts of the UK in order to inform our negotiations with the EU.

Grouped Questions: 116187 | 116203
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