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 2015-16 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
(Newcastle upon Tyne North)
[N]
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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: 06 January 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Council Housing: Older People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what safeguards he plans to put in place to prevent older people from having to relocate at the end of a fixed-term local authority tenancy.
A
Answered by: Gavin Barwell
Answered on: 21 February 2017

I refer the hon Member to my answer to Question UIN 58708.

Q
(Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
Asked on: 30 January 2017
Ministry of Defence
Yemen: Military Intervention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 5 July 2016 to Question 41410, when his Department last carried out an assessment of (a) whether the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen were targeting civilians and (b) that coalition's level of respect for and compliance with international humanitarian law; and if he will place in the Library copies of documentation used in such assessments.
A
Answered by: Sir Michael Fallon
Answered on: 21 February 2017
Holding answer received on 07 February 2017

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) analyses allegations of International Humanitarian Law violations arising from air strikes in Yemen conducted by the Saudi-led Coalition. The MOD has not assessed that the Coalition is deliberately targeting civilians.

Q
(Bristol North West)
Asked on: 30 January 2017
Home Office
Slavery
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of proposals by the Anti-Slavery Commissioners to establish a central repository for modern slavery statements; and if she will make a statement.
A
Corrected answer by: Sarah Newton
Corrected on: 21 February 2017
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 02 February 2017.
The correct answer should have been:

We have not received a proposal from the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner regarding the establishment of a central repository for modern slavery statements. We have not endorsed a particular repository for such statements. So far, two repository websites have been set up to collect the ‘slavery and human trafficking statements’ published by businesses in one place. These are being run by Unseen and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. These are being run by Semantrica and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.

A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 02 February 2017

We have not received a proposal from the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner regarding the establishment of a central repository for modern slavery statements. We have not endorsed a particular repository for such statements. So far, two repository websites have been set up to collect the ‘slavery and human trafficking statements’ published by businesses in one place. These are being run by Unseen and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. These are being run by Semantrica and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.

Asked on: 06 February 2017
Home Office
Asylum: North Korea
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any children born to one North Korean parent in China, who have not acquired citizenship of either the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, or the People’s Republic of China, have claimed asylum in the United Kingdom; and if so, whether they have been granted refugee status.
Answered on: 21 February 2017

Information on claims and decisions is published as part of the Government’s Immigration Statistics quarterly release.

The relevant data tables can be found in tabs AS_01 and AS_01_q at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/572374/asylum1-q3-2016-tables.ods

The tables are also attached to this answer.

Data Tables (Excel SpreadSheet, 3.06 MB)
Asked on: 06 February 2017
Home Office
Asylum: North Korea
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many individuals born in North Korea who have sought asylum in the United Kingdom have been deported since the United Kingdom–Republic of Korea Readmission Agreement came into force.
Answered on: 21 February 2017

Information on removals is published as part of the Government’s Immigration Statistics quarterly release.

These can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/572383/returns5-q3-2016-tables.ods

The table is also attached to this answer.

Asylum Data Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 3.49 MB)
Q
[I]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that the member concerned has a relevant registered interest.

Asked on: 06 February 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Balkans: Conflict, Stability and Security Fund
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what projects have been funded in the Balkans through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund over the last 24 months; what is the breakdown of the funding for each of the countries for which the funding was made available; and what assessment they have made of the impact of the funding provided.
Answered on: 21 February 2017

Details of CSSF funded projects by country for FY 15/16 and 16/17 are shown below. Illustrative outcomes achieved so far include: A reduction in the impact of fiscal crime and improvements in regional law enforcement cooperation, improvement of legislation to ensure fair treatment for the survivors of wartime sexual violence, and improvements in transparency and professionalism in the public sector to help tackle corruption and patronage.

Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH)

Peacekeeping/Conflict Deterrence: Support to European Union Force Althea (EUFOR) in BiH

Security Sector Reform: Capacity building support to BiH's Armed Forces to meet NATO-required standards; improve coordination of law enforcement agencies

Reconciliation: Support to improve access to justice, non-discrimination and equality for survivors of wartime Sexual and Gender Based Victims

Governance: Support to the EU Special Representative's Office; capacity building to support socio-economic reform and development of economic and employment opportunities; promote anti-corruption measures to improve transparency and effective public financial management; support political reform; build future leader network; promote good governance

Rule of Law: Capacity building to improve governance, transparency and judicial reform; support for criminal justice reform.

FY15/16 Funding: £2,505,174 FY16/17 Funding: £8,421,421

Kosovo

Peacekeeping/Conflict Deterrence: Support to NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR)

Security Sector Reform: Capacity building support to defence ministries to meet NATO-required standards

Reconciliation: Supporting cross-border dialogue, economic cooperation and normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia; promote social cohesion, political and ethnic reconciliation; support return and reintegration of minority communities and their rights; support to victims of sexual violence during conflict

Governance: Support to EU Special Representative's Office; capacity building to promote economic development; build future leader network ; strengthen political accountability, democratic institutions, media freedom; promote civic activism

Rule of Law: Support to EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX); enhance capacity and transparency of legal and judicial system; support to combat illegal migration; introduce anti-corruption measures

FY15/16 Funding: £3,616,953 FY16/17 Funding: £2,883,034

Macedonia

Security Sector Reform: Capacity building support to Macedonia's Armed Forces to meet NATO-required standards; promote intelligence reform

Reconciliation: Support and promote inter-ethnic community relations and activity

Governance: Enhance media and civil society freedom; improve transparency and effective public financial management; strengthen democratic accountability and civic engagement; support socio-economic development

Rule of Law: Promote judicial reform; enhance civil society monitoring and engagement on state oversight and regulatory bodies; strengthen rule of law policies

FY15/16 Funding: £835,121 FY16/17 Funding: £1,162,345

Serbia

Security Sector Reform: Capacity building support to Serbia's Armed Forces

Rule of law: Capacity building support to Serbia's response to the migration crisis, and combating illegal migration

Governance: Promote good governance and accountability; promote economic development and improvement to business environment; promote public administration reform

Reconciliation: Strengthening ability of the state to handle legacy issues

FY 15/16 Funding: £615,995 FY16/17 Funding: £4,441,000

Cross Region

Countering organised crime, fiscal crime, CT/extremism and illegal migration: Technical assistance, strengthening expertise, and equipment provision to law enforcement agencies; understanding threat posed by violent extremism and radicalisation

FY15/16 Funding: £599,588 FY16/17 Funding: £2,214,106

Q
Asked by Lord Kinnock
Asked on: 06 February 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Immigration: EU Nationals
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the Prime Minister's Lancaster House speech on 17 January, in which areas of the UK has net EU migration "put pressure on public services, like schools, and stretched infrastructure, especially housing".
A
Answered on: 21 February 2017

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published a report based on 2011 census data, on the changing levels of the non-UK born population in every local area, available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/internationalmigration/articles/internationalmigrantsinenglandandwales/2012-12-11#tab-Local-geography-of-non-UK-born-and-non-UK-nationals)

The Home Office also published a research report ‘The Social and Public Service Impacts of International Migration at the Local Level’ (July 2013) which shows the local authorities that have been particularly affected by international migration, including migration from the European Union Member States. This is available at:https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/210324/horr72.pdf

Asked on: 06 February 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Non-domestic Rates
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the recent business rates revaluation, what are the average changes affecting (1) rural businesses, and (2) urban businesses.
Answered on: 21 February 2017

Revaluation will mean that nearly three quarters of business will see their bills stay the same or fall, and from April 2017, 600,000 small businesses will pay no business rates at all. The Government introduced a £3.6 billion package of transitional relief to support businesses affected by revaluation. To support businesses in rural areas, the Government is doubling rural rate relief from 50 per cent to 100 per cent from 1st April 2017. The Department does not hold information on whether a particular business is rural or urban.

Asked on: 06 February 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Non-domestic Rates
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact on rural businesses that are operating at narrow margins of the impact of increases in rateable values.
Answered on: 21 February 2017

Business rates are based on valuations from the Valuation Office Agency and we do not intervene in their independent assessments. Rateable values are assessed to consistent standards and generally reflect the open market rental value of the property. And it is for the Valuation Office Agency to decide how to apply these standards to the circumstances of each property. A £3.6 billion transitional relief scheme will provide support for the minority who do face an increase.

Grouped Questions: HL5263 | HL5264
Asked on: 06 February 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Non-domestic Rates
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government over how long a period the recent rateable revaluation in respect of business rates was estimated.
Answered on: 21 February 2017

Business rates are based on valuations from the Valuation Office Agency and we do not intervene in their independent assessments. Rateable values are assessed to consistent standards and generally reflect the open market rental value of the property. And it is for the Valuation Office Agency to decide how to apply these standards to the circumstances of each property. A £3.6 billion transitional relief scheme will provide support for the minority who do face an increase.

Grouped Questions: HL5262 | HL5264
Asked on: 06 February 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Non-domestic Rates
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government during the recent business rates revaluation, what regard was given to the impact on the turnover and profitability of businesses of seasonality in produce such as livestock, and of currency movements.
Answered on: 21 February 2017

Business rates are based on valuations from the Valuation Office Agency and we do not intervene in their independent assessments. Rateable values are assessed to consistent standards and generally reflect the open market rental value of the property. And it is for the Valuation Office Agency to decide how to apply these standards to the circumstances of each property. A £3.6 billion transitional relief scheme will provide support for the minority who do face an increase.

Grouped Questions: HL5262 | HL5263
Asked on: 06 February 2017
Cabinet Office
Charities: Grants
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Young of Cookham on 30 January concerning government and NHS donations to charities (HL4976), whether they will now arrange for each government department and NHS Trust to publish details of donations to charities during the period 2010–15.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 21 February 2017

The cabinet office has no plans to arrange for the collation or publication of these details.

Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch 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: 06 February 2017
Home Office
Migrant Workers: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) certificates of sponsorship and (b) extensions of stay were issued for people working for Scottish employers for Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 5 visas, by industry, in each year from 2011 to 2015.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 21 February 2017

Published information/data relating to the issuance of Certificates of Sponsorship can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-july-to-september-2016-data-tables

Asked on: 07 February 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Non-domestic Rates: Greater London
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to protect small businesses in London from closure owing to the rise in business rates.
Answered on: 21 February 2017

Business rates are based on valuations from the Valuation Office Agency and we do not intervene in their independent assessments. A £3.6 billion transitional relief scheme will provide support for the minority who do face an increase. London will benefit more than anywhere else in the country from the transitional relief scheme. In total properties in London will benefit from transitional relief worth over £1 billion over the life of the scheme.

From 1 April, we are permanently doubling the level of Small Business Rate Relief and increasing the thresholds to benefit a greater number of property occupiers. Eligible properties with a rateable value of £12,000 and below will receive 100 per cent relief. This means that 600,000 small businesses will pay no business rates at all.

Q
Asked on: 07 February 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Religious Hatred: Christianity
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the case for a Christian hate crimes unit, additional to the Jewish and Muslim hate crimes units in the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Answered on: 21 February 2017

The Government set out its commitment to reduce the harm caused by all hate crime, including that which is religiously motivated, in ‘Action against hate: the UK government’s plan for tackling hate crime’ which was published in July 2016.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) does not have specific units for antisemitic or anti–Muslim hate crime. Rather, we support Working Groups to bring members of those communities, where religiously motivated hate crime is at the highest levels, together with Government and other agencies to discuss what more we can do to tackle anti - Semitism and anti-Muslim hate crime. DCLG also supports the cross-Government Hate Crime Programme, which coordinates the response to all forms of hate crime across Whitehall and the Criminal Justice Agencies.

DCLG supports the police website ‘True Vision’ and, in January 2017, the Communities Secretary announced £25,000 extra funding for True Vision to work with Christian Groups, including Churchwatch. The project will assess the nature and extent of anti-Christian hate crime, reassure affected Christians and raise awareness of reporting mechanisms for hate crime. The findings of the research will help inform our future activity to challenge hate crime, which is unacceptable in any community.

Q
Asked by Lord Cashman
Asked on: 07 February 2017
Home Office
Homosexuality
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks of Baroness Williams of Trafford on 12 December 2016 (HL Deb, col 1021), what progress they have made in giving consideration to including additional offences in Chapter 4 of Part 5 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and which specific offences they have identified as appropriate for inclusion.
Answered on: 21 February 2017

The provisions enabling the Secretary of State to extend, by regulations, the list of offences eligible for a disregard under the provisions of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, will come into force two months after the Policing and Crime Bill received Royal Assent. This happened on 31 January 2017. The Government will work with stakeholders to identify what offences might be appropriately added to that list.

Q
Asked by Lord Empey
Asked on: 07 February 2017
HM Treasury
Public Expenditure: Northern Ireland
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have recovered unspent financial allocations to the Northern Ireland Executive in (1) the current financial year, (2) the financial year 2014–15, and (3) the financial year 2015–16; how much was recovered in each year; what was the purpose for which those sums were originally granted; and what were the dates on which they were granted.
A
Answered by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Answered on: 21 February 2017

The Northern Ireland Executive’s block grant is not hypothecated for spending on specific purposes. In common with the other devolved administrations, it may carry over unspent provision from one year to the next under the Budget Exchange system, described in section 7 of the Treasury’s ‘Statement of Funding Policy’.

The current ceilings for Budget Exchange are 0.6% Resource DEL, 1.5% General Capital DEL and 15% Financial Transactions Capital DEL. No funding in these categories was surrendered to the Treasury in 2014-15 or 2015-16 as unspent provision was within these limits. Underspends for 2016-17 will be calculated after the end of the financial year.

Asked on: 07 February 2017
HM Treasury
Fracking
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect to publish the outcome of the consultation on the delivery methods and priorities for the Shale Wealth Fund.
A
Answered by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Answered on: 21 February 2017

The Shale Wealth Fund consultation resulted in 170 responses and closed on 26 October. Following this the government set out at Autumn Statement 2016 that local communities will benefit first and determine how the money is spent in their area. A government response to the consultation will be published shortly.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 07 February 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
World War II: Genocide
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of correspondence from Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth to Lord Hylton concerning a grant towards the National Holocaust Memorial, what is the estimated cost to (1) build, and (2) annually maintain, the National Holocaust Memorial; of those sums, how much will be provided from (a) government department direct grants, (b) other sources of public funding, and (c) private funds; and whether they will make a statement to Parliament on the costs and funding.
Answered on: 21 February 2017

The Government has committed £50 million towards establishing a new National Holocaust Memorial, learning centre and endowment fund; with an expectation of a further £50 million being raised in donations. The estimated cost of constructing the memorial and learning centre is up to £40 million. Further consideration of the costs associated with the memorial and learning centre will continue over the coming months

Asked on: 07 February 2017
Home Office
Peers: Correspondence
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the Home Secretary intends to reply to Lord Lamont's letter of 16 November 2016 about Mr Amini and his request for a visa to come to the UK.
Answered on: 21 February 2017

I am sorry for the delay in responding to your correspondence of 16 November 2016 to the Home Secretary. This was passed to me for response and a reply was sent on 10 February 2017.

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