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: 20 July 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dogs: Imports
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what enforcement and controls they have put in place on the import of puppies.
A
Answered on: 03 August 2017

Dogs must be over 15 weeks of age to be imported into the United Kingdom. Those imported from EU Member States are required to have an Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) and valid pet passport. These documents confirm their health preparation and, along with a microchip, the animals’ identity. Dogs being imported into the UK must have an examination prior to embarkation from an Official Veterinarian (OV). The OV confirms it meets the import requirements of the UK and issues an ITAHC.

Dogs imported from non-EU countries go through a similar process. The health preparation requirements and certification, however, differ according to the disease status of the country of origin.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) carry out risk-based checks on dogs that have been imported into Great Britain. During these checks, APHA ensures that these dogs meet the import requirements. Local authorities are responsible for taking enforcement action when dogs are not compliant with the import rules. Should APHA checks identify that a dog has been imported, but is not compliant with the import rules, the relevant local authority will be informed.

Dogs and puppies moving into the country with their owners must meet the requirements of the pet travel scheme, meaning that they must be accompanied by a pet passport or certificate confirming that they have undergone adequate health preparation to enable them to enter the UK safely.

Q
Asked on: 04 July 2016
Department for Transport
Poverty
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the various levels of subsidy available for travel on public transport and the effect such variations have on inequality; and whether they plan to modify their policies as a result of that assessment.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 28 July 2017

The most commonly used measure of poverty is relative low income.

The latest statistics from the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data series show that there are: 2.7 million children, 5.7 million working-age adults, and 2.1 million pensioners in relative low income in the United Kingdom on a ‘before housing costs’ (BHC) basis.

Analysis of the HBAI data shows that there are 2.1 million families in relative low income BHC where at least one adult member works at least part-time.

This Government is committed to tackling the root causes of poverty, thereby preventing the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage.

This is why we repealed the income-related targets set out in the Child Poverty Act 2010 and replaced them with statutory measures that drive action on parental worklessness and children’s educational attainment – the two areas that we know can make the biggest difference to disadvantaged children, now and in the future.

The Department for Work and Pensions published Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families in April 2017. Here we set out further non-statutory indicators on a wider set of parental disadvantage and children’s outcomes, which will drive collective action on areas that matter in tackling disadvantage.

Grouped Questions: HL954 | HL954 | HL955
Q
Asked on: 20 July 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animals: Exports
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what welfare measures they are taking to reduce or eliminate the export of live animals from the UK.
A
Answered on: 28 July 2017

Once we leave the European Union, and in line with our manifesto commitment, we can take early steps to control the export of live farm animals for slaughter. We are considering all options.

Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to convert Regulation (EU) 1223/2009 on cosmetic products into UK law; and, if so, which UK body will assume the role of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety in providing the scientific analysis of products to be placed in the market; and who will replace the Commission's role in ensuring products using prohibited forms of animal testing do not enter the market.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 27 July 2017

Regulation (EU) 1223/2009 is directly applicable in the United Kingdom. The Repeal Bill will convert directly applicable EU law into UK law, and provide a power to correct parts of the law that no longer work. The Government is currently considering how to ensure functions currently carried out by the European Commission continue in the UK in an appropriate way.

Q
(Orkney and Shetland)
Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dogs: Imports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 20 April 2017 to Question 70622, on what date the new reporting system was permanently introduced; for what reason the data recorded on the Pets Database and presented in the Answer to Question 62238 was inaccurate; and what the margin of error was in the data used in the Answer to Question 62238.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 24 July 2017

In July 2015 the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) began piloting a parallel system to establish the accuracy of data available from the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) database. Defra is evaluating options for a new permanent system.

The data provided in PQ62238 was taken from the parallel system piloted by APHA, and is believed to be an accurate representation of the number of animals entering Great Britain. However, there may be unavoidable errors due to manual data entry onto spreadsheets by the carriers.

Q
(Bridgend)
Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animal Welfare: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2017 to Question 1556, how many people have received the maximum six months imprisonment for the most serious cases of animal cruelty in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 24 July 2017

The number of offenders sentenced to immediate custody for the maximum penalty for offences under Sections 4 to 8 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, in England and Wales, from 2012 to 2016, can be viewed in the table below.

Defendants sentenced to the maximum penalty (1) for offences under selected sections of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, England and Wales, 2012 to 2016 (2)(3)

Section of Act

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

4

3

5

1

3

3

5

-

-

-

-

-

6

-

-

-

-

-

7

-

-

-

-

-

8

-

-

-

-

-

'-' = Nil

(1) Six months imprisonment

(2) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

(3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Q
Asked by Esther McVey
(Tatton)
[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: 17 July 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Bovine Tuberculosis: Cheshire
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proposals his Department plans to bring forward to support Cheshire farmers in preventing the spread of TB; and what support is available for TB-infected farms.
A
Corrected answer by: George Eustice
Corrected on: 21 July 2017
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 20 July 2017.
The correct answer should have been:

The Government is determined to implement all available measures necessary to eradicate this devastating disease as quickly as possible to create resilient and successful dairy and beef industries in Cheshire and elsewhere. That includes providing direct financial support, in the form of compensation for slaughtered cattle and for TB testing costs, as well as professional advice and guidance.

There have been TB hotspots in Cheshire and we acted swiftly 2 years ago to introduce 6 monthly TB testing to get on top of the disease, a move supported by industry.

We have consulted on extending the 6 monthly testing to other hotspots in the edge area, which could include other parts of Cheshire.

All farmers who have livestock compulsory slaughtered receive compensation for the animals they have lost.

A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 20 July 2017

The Government is determined to implement all available measures necessary to eradicate this devastating disease as quickly as possible to create resilient and successful dairy and beef industries in Cheshire and elsewhere. That includes providing direct financial support, in the form of compensation for slaughtered cattle and for TB testing costs, as well as professional advice and guidance.

There have been TB hotspots in Cheshire and we acted swiftly 2 years ago to introduce 6 monthly TB testing to get on top of the disease, a move supported by industry.

We have consulted on extending the 6 monthly testing to other hotspots in the edge area, which could include other parts of Cheshire.

All farmers who have livestock compulsory slaughtered receive compensation for the animals they have lost.

Q
Asked by Tracy Brabin
(Batley and Spen)
[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: 17 July 2017
Department for Education
Pre-school Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to pages 20 and 21 of the Early Years National Funding Formula Operational Guide, published in December 2016, how many local authorities have (a) requested to disapply the high pass-through requirement and (b) had their application to disapply accepted; and for what reasons successful applications to disapply were removed.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 20 July 2017

The Department received requests from seven local authorities for the Secretary of State’s authorisation to modify the operation of Regulation 22 (the 93% pass-through requirement) for 2017-18. Two authorities subsequently withdrew their requests.

Of the remaining five requests, four were fully approved and one was partially approved.

Q
(Feltham and Heston)
[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: 20 July 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animal Welfare: Crime
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many crimes relating to animal cruelty have been reported in each of he last three years.
Q
(Feltham and Heston)
[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: 20 July 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animal Welfare: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many people have received (a) a fine and (b) a custodial sentence of less than six months for animal cruelty offences.
Q
(Swansea East)
Asked on: 29 June 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Tumble Dryers: Safety
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with Whirlpool on the safety of tumble dryers; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 19 July 2017

I recognise the efforts Whirlpool has made to rectify the safety issue which affected certain models of tumble dryers; with over 1.5 million appliances modified or replaced.

However, I remain concerned that there are many unregistered appliances in use across the UK and my officials remain in close contact Whirlpool and Peterborough City Council Trading Standards to ensure the company contacts those consumers with an affected machine who have not yet signed up for a repair or replacement.

Q
(Livingston)
Asked on: 07 July 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Beef: USA
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether it is his policy to ban the importation of American beef containing artificial growth hormones after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 19 July 2017

Any new trade deals must be right for UK consumers, businesses and farmers, and ensure food safety, environmental protection, and animal welfare standards.

The UK has transposed EU Council Directive 96/22/EC (as amended) into national law ‘Animals and Animal Products (Examination for Residues and Maximum Residue Limits)(England and Scotland) Regulations 2015', with similar legislation for Wales and Northern Ireland, which prohibits the use of artificial growth hormones in both domestic production and imported products. This protection will continue after we exit the EU.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, published last week, will ensure that the UK exits the EU with certainty, continuity and control. The purpose of the Bill is to convert EU law into UK law as it applies in the UK at the moment of exit. This will apply to the laws and rules we have now, and will update references to EU Council Directive 96/22/EC in our national laws.

Our high environmental and food standards will not be diminished or diluted as a result of leaving the EU or establishing free trade deals with other countries.

Q
(Livingston)
Asked on: 07 July 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Beef: USA
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he last discussed with his European counterparts imports of American beef containing artificial growth hormones.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 18 July 2017

We are in regular contact with our European counterparts on sanitary and phytosanitary matters. We will not compromise on issues such as animal welfare and the standards of produce when we leave the EU. During both November 2016 and January 2017 Agriculture and Fish Council, the EU’s Free Trade Agreement negotiations were discussed, which included the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and considerations around food standards and beef containing growth hormones.

Asked on: 10 July 2017
Department of Health
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the benefits and costs to the UK of membership of the European Medicines Agency.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 18 July 2017

We recognise the important role that the European Medicines Agency plays in the protection of human and animal health.

In the negotiations, the Government will discuss with the European Union and Member States how best to continue cooperation in the field of medicines regulation in the best interests of both the United Kingdom and the EU. As my Rt. hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Health and Business said in their 4 July letter in the Financial Times, the UK is fully committed to continuing the close working relationship with our European partners. Our aim is to ensure that patients in the UK and across the EU continue to be able to access the best and most innovative medicines and be assured that their safety is protected through the strongest regulatory framework and sharing of data.

I underlined this message, in particular the value the UK places on ongoing co-operation, at the BioIndustry Association and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency conference on 14 July.

Q
(East Yorkshire)
[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: 11 July 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Poultry: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of duck welfare rules relating to commercial duck farms; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 18 July 2017

The welfare of ducks is provided for in the general provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007. Defra has a duck welfare code which encourages high standards of husbandry, and the industry also has its own farm assurance schemes specifically for farmed ducks.

Q
(Tewkesbury)
[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: 11 July 2017
Department for Transport
Livestock: Transport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to seek a derogation from Regulation (EC) 561/2006 for lorries carrying livestock; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 17 July 2017

There are already two national derogations in Regulation (EC) 561/2006 relating to drivers’ hours rules, which may apply to lorries carrying livestock. One applies to lorries carrying livestock (or other goods) as part of an agricultural business’s own entrepreneurial activity within a 100km radius. A second applies to lorries carrying live animals between a farm and a market or from a market to a slaughterhouse within a 100km radius. Both of these derogations have been taken up in full in domestic UK legislation, and there are no plans to seek a further derogation.

Q
(North Durham)
[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: 12 July 2017
Ministry of Defence
Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much his Department has paid out in compensation for the killing of or injury to animals and livestock in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 17 July 2017

Compensation paid by the Ministry of Defence for the killing of or injury to animals and livestock in each of the last three years was:

2014 £195,668.35

2015 £132,210.45

2016 £224,871.89

This equates to an average of £184,250.23 over the last three years.

The hon. Member may wish to note the average for the years 2005 to 2009 was £325,095.25.

2009 £266,229.14

2008 £400,474.15

2007 £321,143.61

2006 £244,657.68

2005 £392,971.65

Q
Asked by Will Quince
(Colchester)
[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: 12 July 2017
Ministry of Defence
Foot and Mouth Disease
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether any animals affected by foot and mouth have been buried on his Department's land in Colchester known as Middlewick Ranges.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 17 July 2017

There are no animals that died as a result of foot and mouth disease buried on Middlewick Ranges.

Asked on: 04 July 2017
Department for Transport
Lords
Her Majesty's Government whether, before creating any new category of road vehicles of historic interest, they will engage in consultation with representatives of the estimated 250,000 users of such vehicles; and how many such vehicles they estimate to exist.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 12 July 2017

The Department for Transport ran a public consultation about possible changes related to the testing of vehicles of historic interest, with a preferred option to move from the current position of an exemption for pre-1960 vehicles to a rolling 40 year exemption for vehicles which have not been substantially modified. There were more than 2,200 responses, including many from users and owners of historic vehicles. These responses are currently being considered and we hope to announce a response to this consultation later this year.

An initial impact assessment was prepared which assessed that there were about 192,000 pre-1960 registered vehicles which are currently exempt from the MOT requirement. The preferred option identified in the consultation exempted an estimated further 278,000 vehicles. A final validated impact assessment will be published along with the consultation response summary.

Q
(Don Valley)
[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 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what scope Ofgem has to implement a domestic energy market price cap without the need for further primary legislation.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 12 July 2017
Holding answer received on 11 July 2017

Ofgem has wide powers under the Gas Act 1986 and the Electricity Act 1989 to modify the conditions of gas and electricity supply licences, which would allow for the introduction of a domestic energy price cap.

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