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: 29 January 2018
Cabinet Office
Prosperity Fund
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of Official Development Assistance is disbursed through the Prosperity Fund.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 16 February 2018
Q
Asked by Lord Greaves
Asked on: 31 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control: Earby
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will meet a delegation from Pendle Borough Council to discuss the problems relating to past and potential flooding in Earby.
A
Answered on: 16 February 2018

Pendle Borough Council are advised to write to the Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Environment setting out their concerns. The contact address is Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Environment, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR.

Asked on: 31 January 2018
Cabinet Office
Public Appointments
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Lord Young of Cookham on 25 January (HL Deb, cols 1083–1085), what action they are taking to widen the pool of talent for appointment to public bodies.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 16 February 2018

In December 2017, the Government published a Public Appointments Diversity Action Plan which sets out the range of activities we are undertaking to attract and to support new and diverse talent into public appointments. It sets out our ambition that, by 2022, 50% of all public appointees should be female and 14% of all public appointments should be from ethnic minorities (currently 43% and 10% respectively). It also announced a review of the barriers preventing disabled people from taking up public appointments. Other actions include improving the recruitment process to maximise opportunities for candidates from the broadest range of backgrounds, developing the networks through which to raise awareness of public appointments, and establishing a group of mentors who will provide peer-to-peer support for new and high potential candidates.

Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department for International Development
Gaza: Health Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following the announcement by the Palestinian Ministry of Health that because of fuel shortages affecting hospitals and clinics “urgent action is needed to prevent collapse of Gaza’s health system”, they are planning to offer any assistance.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 16 February 2018

We remain concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and continue to monitor it closely, including the effect electricity shortages are having on the health sector. The UK will continue to urge all the parties to prioritise progress towards reaching a durable solution for Gaza and to take the necessary practical steps to improve conditions, including restoring the availability of electricity as a matter of urgency. The UK is supporting approximately 1 million Gazans by addressing critical water, sanitation and hygiene needs through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and is a long-term supporter of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), which provides basic services to 1.3 million people in Gaza, including basic health care.

Q
Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department for International Development
Gaza: Infrastructure
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the offer by the government of Israel to provide assistance for rebuilding Gaza’s infrastructure, and to that government's request for the international community to fund that work.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 16 February 2018

The UK Government consistently calls on the Israeli Government to ease movement and access restrictions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) and repeatedly calls on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law. We welcome recent Israeli announcements to ease restrictions on the importation of material into Gaza for much needed infrastructure projects such as the proposed Central Gaza Desalination Plant and other waste water plants under construction, which many international donors are supporting. The UK is currently engaging with relevant stakeholders to discuss the development of infrastructure for enhanced water and electricity supply in Gaza, and continues to urge all the parties to prioritise progress towards reaching a durable solution for Gaza and to take the necessary practical steps to improve conditions.

Q
(Poplar and Limehouse)
Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Air Pollution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government's proposals for a clean air strategy will include (a) a commitment not to exceed World Health Organisation recommended limits on particulate matter and (b) a target to reduce premature deaths caused by air pollution.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 16 February 2018

The evidence of health impacts from particulate matter (PM) is particularly strong and the Government is already taking action to reduce emissions of harmful PM. The UK has signed up to ambitious new targets to reduce emissions of PM2.5 as well as four other damaging pollutants (ammonia, nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds and sulphur dioxide) by 2020 and 2030. The Government is aiming to cut early deaths from air pollution by half. The Statutory Instrument committing these targets to law was laid on 1 February.

We will publish a Clean Air Strategy, which will set out plans to meet these targets, for consultation in 2018. We are currently calling for evidence on domestic solid fuel use, one of the largest emissions sources of PM. Householders and businesses are being asked for their views on proposals to cut harmful emissions caused by domestic fuel burning.

Defra works closely with the Department for Health and Social Care and Public Health England to develop a strong evidence base on the health impacts of air pollution and to provide health advice during episodes of elevated air pollution. We are carefully considering public health measures.

Grouped Questions: 126647 | 126648
Q
(Stockton North)
Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Air Pollution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to include a commitment to reach World Health Organization limits on particulate matter in its new clean air strategy.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 16 February 2018

The evidence of health impacts from particulate matter (PM) is particularly strong and the Government is already taking action to reduce emissions of harmful PM. The UK has signed up to ambitious new targets to reduce emissions of PM2.5 as well as four other damaging pollutants (ammonia, nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds and sulphur dioxide) by 2020 and 2030. The Government is aiming to cut early deaths from air pollution by half. The Statutory Instrument committing these targets to law was laid on 1 February.

We will publish a Clean Air Strategy, which will set out plans to meet these targets, for consultation in 2018. We are currently calling for evidence on domestic solid fuel use, one of the largest emissions sources of PM. Householders and businesses are being asked for their views on proposals to cut harmful emissions caused by domestic fuel burning.

Defra works closely with the Department for Health and Social Care and Public Health England to develop a strong evidence base on the health impacts of air pollution and to provide health advice during episodes of elevated air pollution. We are carefully considering public health measures.

Grouped Questions: 126553 | 126648
Q
(Stockton North)
Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Air Pollution: Death
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to include a target on decreasing premature deaths from air pollution in its new clean air strategy.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 16 February 2018

The evidence of health impacts from particulate matter (PM) is particularly strong and the Government is already taking action to reduce emissions of harmful PM. The UK has signed up to ambitious new targets to reduce emissions of PM2.5 as well as four other damaging pollutants (ammonia, nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds and sulphur dioxide) by 2020 and 2030. The Government is aiming to cut early deaths from air pollution by half. The Statutory Instrument committing these targets to law was laid on 1 February.

We will publish a Clean Air Strategy, which will set out plans to meet these targets, for consultation in 2018. We are currently calling for evidence on domestic solid fuel use, one of the largest emissions sources of PM. Householders and businesses are being asked for their views on proposals to cut harmful emissions caused by domestic fuel burning.

Defra works closely with the Department for Health and Social Care and Public Health England to develop a strong evidence base on the health impacts of air pollution and to provide health advice during episodes of elevated air pollution. We are carefully considering public health measures.

Grouped Questions: 126553 | 126647
Q
(Meriden)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Horse Riding
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effects on the equestrian sector of the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 16 February 2018

We are undertaking a comprehensive programme of analytical work looking at the implications of UK withdrawal from the EU. The Government is examining all areas of the UK economy and seeking input from a wide range of businesses and industry bodies in order to inform our negotiations with the EU.

The Government’s priority for the equine sector in the context of leaving the EU, remains to ensure the continued movement of horses between the UK and EU, with the minimum of delay and bureaucracy, whilst at the same time providing appropriate disease control and welfare protection from Day 1 of EU Exit onwards. We have been working through a number of options in this area, considering a wide range of stakeholder views, and intend to embark on an extensive period of stakeholder engagement.

Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for International Development
Overseas Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what amount they expect to spend on overseas aid, including UK aid administered by the EU, between 2018 and 2025.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 16 February 2018

The UK Government has committed to spending 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) on Official Development Assistance (ODA). The budget to achieve this is calculated using forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) (latest published in the EFO in November 2017). These numbers are indicative and will be updated in future budgets to reflect the most up to date OBR forecasts.

Q
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for International Development
Gaza: Hospitals
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they intend to take, if any, in response to reports that Beit Hanoun Hospital has closed due to severe shortages of fuel for hospital generators.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 16 February 2018

The UK is concerned about reports that Beit Hanoun Hospital has been partially closed in order to rationalise fuel. The UK continues to monitor the humanitarian situation in Gaza closely. The UK is supporting approximately 1 million Gazans by addressing critical water, sanitation and hygiene needs through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and is a long-term supporter of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), which provides basic services to 1.3 million people in Gaza, including basic health care. The UK will continue to urge all the parties to prioritise progress towards reaching a durable solution for Gaza and to take the necessary practical steps to improve conditions, including restoring the availability of electricity as a matter of urgency.

Q
Asked on: 29 January 2018
Attorney General
Crown Prosecution Service
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to review the performance of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 15 February 2018

The performance of the DPP is reviewed on a regular basis and the Attorney General has regular meetings with the DPP about the work of the Crown Prosecution Service. The Crown Prosecution Service is also regularly inspected by HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate which includes looking at performance within each area and on a national level for thematic reports.

Q
Asked by Jon Trickett
(Hemsworth)
Asked on: 31 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Capita
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many contracts his Department holds with Capita; and what the value of those contracts is.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 15 February 2018

Defra has a zero value contract with Capita to supply contingent labour which was a call off from a Crown Commercial Services Framework. The responsibility for the management of the supplier in these call off arrangement lies with CCS not Defra. The following table details the amount Defra has spent on the contract with Capita for contingent labour.

Contract

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18 April-December

Total

Contingent Labour

£70,660

£2,323,884

£3,211,830

£2,715,195

£3,019,382

£11,340,951

Defra has a contract with Capita to deliver a system for the Electronic Movement Reporting System for Sheep, Goats and Deers which has a total value of £4,620,370.

Defra is party to a number of contracts with Fera Science Ltd (Fera), a Joint Venture between Defra and Capita. The key contracts on the Fera Science Ltd framework at inception were:

Contract

Total value to 31/03/2020

Plant and Bee Health Services

£28,100,000

Specialist Services and Facilities (Wildlife Facility and Food Safety Laboratories)

£16,600,000

Total

£44,700,000

Variable services are also commissioned annually from Fera under the framework agreement. From the start of the contract (01/04/2015) to date spend for the following additional services is as follows:

Contract Title

Value

Applied Research and Development Services

£5,900,000

Additional Plant and Bee Health Services

£850,000

Total

£6,750,000

Standalone contracts with Fera outside the framework:

Contract Title

Value

Authent-Net

£32,000

VitiSmart

£139,000

Total

£171,000

Asked on: 01 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Tobacco
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK overseas posts have facilitated meetings on tobacco control legislation between the tobacco industry and foreign government ministers or officials since the issuing of revised guidance to posts in December 2013; and whether they will give details of each case.
A
Answered on: 15 February 2018

The Government has standing instructions to all diplomatic staff to follow the revised December 2013 guidelines on interactions with tobacco companies. In line with this guidance, assistance may be offered to counter discriminatory practices. The Government does not catalogue the representations it makes on behalf of companies.

Asked on: 01 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Environment Protection
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how their 25-year environmental planning and implementation policies will be coordinated to involve all relevant Government departments and agencies.
A
Answered on: 15 February 2018

The 25 Year Environment Plan is a Government plan and will inform environmental policy for the next 25 years including the upcoming Agricultural and Fisheries Bills, and will sit alongside the Clean Growth Plan, the Industrial Strategy and other related Government initiatives.

Asked on: 01 February 2018
Department for International Development
Nepal: Overseas Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what their development priorities are for Nepal over the next five years; and what support they intend to provide for reforestation and sustainable forestry.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 15 February 2018

The UK government’s three main development priorities are:


1) Supporting Nepal’s transition to an effective federal democracy;
2) Accelerating the rate of inclusive growth to generate jobs; and
3) Ensuring that the most vulnerable are better protected from shocks.

Forestry support will be provided through our market development programmes that will work with forestry enterprises to create jobs and our climate programmes which will support afforestation to reduce emissions and protect watersheds. In addition the UK government is a core supporter of the World Bank, Forestry Investment Programme that is developing a £18.5m forestry programme in Nepal.

Asked on: 01 February 2018
Department for International Development
Nepal: Overseas Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much humanitarian aid, including earthquake relief and reconstruction, they have provided to Nepal in each of the last five years; and what impact, if any, this has had on the amount of healthcare and sustainable development funding that has been provided.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 15 February 2018

As reported in “Statistics on International Development 2017” (available at www.gov.uk) the UK’s humanitarian support to Nepal was £5 million in 2012, nothing in 2013 and 2014, £35.9 million in 2015 and £13.2 million in 2016. In 2016, the UK committed a further £83 million for Post-Earthquake Reconstruction (2016 – 2022). Although disrupted by the 2015 earthquake, we have maintained our commitment to healthcare and sustainable development over the period.

Q
Asked by Lord Vinson
Asked on: 01 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
River Itchen
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take, through the appropriate agencies, to safeguard the unique Special Area of Conservation and Site of Special Scientific Interest of the Upper River Itchen from threats of pollution and abstraction.
A
Answered on: 15 February 2018

The current Water Framework Directive classification for the River Itchen is Good.

The Environment Agency (EA) regulates abstraction from and discharges to rivers by issuing permits and checking that these are being complied with. Permit limits are set to ensure the protection of the environment. The EA regularly reviews permits based on the evidence available and it amends these limits when necessary.

As part of its ongoing programme of restoring sustainable abstraction the EA is reviewing abstraction permits. Since 2007 this work has reduced the amount of water being abstracted from the River Itchen catchment each year by more than 5.35 million cubic metres. The EA is also reviewing discharge permits and has successfully reduced the levels of chemicals such as phosphates entering the river system.

Q
Asked on: 01 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Intelligence Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government with which countries the UK has no intelligence sharing agreements.
A
Answered on: 15 February 2018

​It is the long standing policy of successive Governments not to comment on matters of intelligence.

Q
Asked by Lord Shinkwin
Asked on: 05 February 2018
Ministry of Defence
Veterans
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Armed Forces veterans there are in the UK in total, including those not in receipt of a pension or payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme; and of those, how many are below the age of 66.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 15 February 2018

The Ministry of Defence estimates that in 2016 there were 2.5 million UK Armed Forces veterans residing in households across Great Britain (GB, excluding Northern Ireland), of whom 936,000 (some 37%) were aged between 16 and 64. A breakdown of those aged 16-65 is not available. Further detail on the estimated size and socio-demographic characteristics of the UK Armed Forces veteran population residing in GB can be found in the 'Annual Population Survey: UK Armed Forces Veterans Residing in Great Britain', the latest edition of which (2016) is published at the following address:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/annual-population-survey-uk-armed-forces-veterans-residing-in-great-britain.

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