Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(Preston)
[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: 15 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 3 April 2017 to Question HL6413, on horses: animal welfare, what the timetable is for the update to that code of practice.
Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
[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: 29 November 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with his overseas counterparts on the efficacy of ActiPhage novel technology for testing for bovine TB.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 14 December 2017

The Actiphage test is not used for TB testing in any other country and the only scientific paper published on the performance of the Actiphage test in a small number of cattle is based on UK data.

Officials frequently discuss all aspects of TB control with overseas counterparts and the wider expert community. The most recent opportunity was at the ERADbTB (Eradication of bovine tuberculosis through basic research and discovery) and GRAbTB (Global Research Alliance on bovine tuberculosis) Workshop in Birmingham on 11 and 12 December 2017. In the event that any other country were to begin to use the Actiphage test we would discuss their experience of using the test and its effectiveness. My department has informed the manufacturers of the test that it needs to be validated to OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) standards before it can be considered for official use in England.

Q
Asked by Angela Smith
(Penistone and Stocksbridge)
[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: 05 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Reindeer: Imports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answers of 30 November to Questions 114885 and 114886, how many of the reindeer imported into the UK in 2016 were (a) females, (b) intact males and (c) castrated males; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 14 December 2017

119 reindeer were imported into the UK in 2016; 51 were female and 68 were male.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency is unable to break down imported males into castrated and intact, because this information is not recorded on TRACES.

Q
(Tewkesbury)
Asked on: 06 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Slaughterhouses: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that farmers know the method of proposed slaughter for their animals before they agree to sell them.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 14 December 2017

Factors that a farmer takes into account when deciding where to send stock may include the proposed method of slaughter. Where a farmer has signed up to an assurance scheme, there will be some additional assurance as to the slaughter methods being used under those schemes.

Where farmers want to know the method of slaughter used at a particular plant, the information should normally be provided by the plant and it would be the farmer’s choice if they sell their stock to that abattoir.

In all slaughterhouses there are strict rules that govern the slaughter of animals in England and the Government will take robust enforcement action against animal welfare breaches when they are identified.

Q
(Gillingham and Rainham)
Asked on: 06 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Livestock: Antibiotics
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to increase penalties for animal antibiotic or drug abuse for animals destined for food.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 14 December 2017

There are no plans to increase penalties for such offences, which are covered by the Veterinary Medicine Regulations and the Animals and Animal Products (Examination for Residues and Maximum Residue Limits) Regulations.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate operates a UK-wide surveillance programme in accordance with the requirements of Council Directive 96/23/EC, which analyses over 30,000 samples from food producing animals every year for residues of veterinary medicinal products and unauthorised substances, including antibiotics.

Where non-compliance with the legislation is found during a follow-up investigation, the producer or keeper presenting the animals or animal produce for the food chain can be referred to the Rural Payments Agency, which can deduct a proportion of their single farm payment for breaching EU CAP cross-compliance rules. Prosecution is considered in the most serious breaches of the legislation.

Results show that the majority of farmers, in conjunction with their advising veterinarians, are using veterinary medicines responsibly.

Results and a summary of follow-up investigations into non-compliant samples are on Gov.uk at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/residues-of-veterinary-medicines-in-food-2017. These are updated every two months. A summary of annual results for 2011-2017 is at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/residues-statutory-and-non-statutory-surveillance-results.

Q
Asked by Ruth Cadbury
(Brentford and Isleworth)
Asked on: 07 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animal Welfare: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to incorporate animal sentience principles outlined in Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty into UK law after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 14 December 2017

The Secretary of State set out the Government’s plans to recognise animal sentience in domestic law in a Written Ministerial Statement on 12 December:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2017-12-12/HCWS340/

Q
(Preston)
[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 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Llamas: Bovine Tuberculosis
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment has been made by the Animal and Health Plant Agency of the threat to the llama population in England from tuberculosis; and how many animals have been tested under the Tuberculosis (Deer and Camelid) (England) Order 2014.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 14 December 2017

Llamas, like most mammals, are susceptible to infection with Mycobacterium bovis (the bovine TB bacterium) and can develop TB if exposed to the bacterium on the farm environment, or through close contact with other TB-infected camelids that may unknowingly be brought into a herd.

Llamas are incidental spill-over hosts of the TB bacterium and not considered a significant reservoir of infection for cattle in GB.

The TB threat to the British llama population is greatest in the Southwest of England, Midlands and parts of Wales, i.e. in areas with a high endemic prevalence of infection in cattle and badgers. This is where the vast majority of laboratory-confirmed cases of TB in llamas have been detected.

The numbers of TB tests conducted on camelids is available on GOV.UK

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/other-tb-statistics

These official statistics for camelids include both llamas and alpacas.

Q
Asked by Afzal Khan
(Manchester, Gorton)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 14 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his policy on recognising animals as sentient beings encroaches on the rights of religious minorities to slaughter animals in accordance with Muslim and Jewish faith traditions.
Q
Asked by John Spellar
(Warley)
Asked on: 13 November 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Primates: Pets
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timetable is for his Department's review of the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Privately Kept Non-Human Primates; and how that review will be undertaken.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 13 December 2017

There is no date set for the review of the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Privately Kept Non-human Primates (the primate code). The welfare codes for cats, dogs and horses are currently being reviewed because they are in greater need of being updated. The primate code is available for local authorities to use in any situations where they have concerns about the welfare of such animals.

Q
Asked on: 29 November 2017
Department for Education
Agriculture: Qualifications
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to (1) devise, and (2) introduce, a qualification in agriculture at (a) GCSE, and (b) A-Level.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 13 December 2017

The government has introduced a number of recent changes to GCSEs and A levels in England that will affect schools in the coming years. We know that extensive changes need time to settle in to schools, and that school leaders will want stability to bring in the new qualifications. Therefore, at the present time, there are no plans to introduce any further GCSEs or A levels beyond those to which the government has already committed.

There are vocational qualifications currently available in this subject, such as City & Guilds Level 2 Technical Certificate in Agriculture and IMI Level 3 Extended Diploma in Land-based Engineering Technology (VRQ). As part of our reforms to technical education, we are establishing a common framework of 15 technical education routes that encompass all employment-based and college-based training. The Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care route will be rolled out in September 2022.

Q
(Bristol East)
Asked on: 04 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animal Welfare: Codes of Practice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 1 December 2017 to Question 115879, what the timetable is for the publication of the updated statutory welfare codes for (a) meat (b) chickens (c) pigs (d) laying hens (e) cats (f) dogs and (g) horses.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 13 December 2017

New statutory welfare codes for meat chickens, cats, dogs and horses will be laid in both Houses shortly. We will be consulting on new statutory welfare codes for laying hens and pigs in the new year.

Q
(East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow)
Asked on: 05 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dogs: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the adequacy of the welfare standards of licensed sellers of puppies.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 13 December 2017

Following an extensive public consultation, Defra is developing new regulations on licensed pet sellers that will require them to abide by statutory minimum welfare standards. The new regulations are planned to be published in the New Year.

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: 05 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Pigs: Antibiotics
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, What discussions his Department has had with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate on retaining the use of antibiotics in medicated feed for prevention of disease in the pig sector.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 13 December 2017

Defra, through its Executive Agency, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), is working with the livestock industry and the animal feed sector to ensure good stewardship of antibiotics, regardless of the administration route, notably through the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA). In the pig sector, the VMD is a member of the Pig Health and Welfare Council’s antimicrobial usage subgroup and provides the secretariat.

In October, RUMA published sector specific antibiotic use reduction targets. The targets for the pig sector noted that the need for targeted prophylaxis will remain to protect the health and welfare of pigs, but that habitual or routine prophylaxis (a “just in case” approach) should be rapidly phased out. The Government endorses these antibiotic use reduction targets.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 07 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: USA
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the US Department of Agriculture on the potential for a free trade deal between the UK and the US.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 13 December 2017

The UK and the US have formally met twice, as part of the Trade and Investment Working Group. USDA are represented in the US contingent. These discussions have primarily focussed on providing commercial continuity for businesses as the UK leaves the EU.

The Secretary of State, Michael Gove, hosted an introductory meeting with US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in October. The future trading relationship was discussed including the importance of protecting and enhancing current products such as UK whisky exports and US wine exports. The Secretary of State repeated his position on the importance of food safety and animal welfare standards.

Q
(Bristol East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 13 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if the Government will introduce requirements for manufacturers of antifreeze to (a) include a bittering agent in the product and (b) ensure that the product is non-toxic to animals.
Q
Asked by Jo Stevens
(Cardiff Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 13 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (a) how many and (b) what proportion of people sentenced under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 received the maximum tariff for animal cruelty as set out in sentencing guidelines in the 2016 calendar year.
Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 04 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Ivory: Imports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many import permits for ivory have been issued by the Animal and Plant Health Agency in each of the last five years; and what the ivory and import types were which were covered by those permits.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 12 December 2017

01/01/2012 – 31/12/2012

Ivory Type

Import Type

Number of permits issued

No of applications rejected

Raw tusks

Hunting trophies

7

0

Personal use

5

2

Educational use

2

0

Carvings

Commercial use

267

6

Personal use

28

10

Exhibitions

43

0

Educational use

0

0

Ivory pieces

Enforcement

1

0

01/01/2013 – 31/12/2013

Ivory Type

Import Type

Number of permits issued

No of applications rejected

Raw tusks

Hunting trophies

9

2

Personal use

1

0

Educational use

2

0

Carvings

Commercial use

352

2

Personal use

25

9

Exhibitions

64

0

Educational use

0

0

Ivory pieces

Enforcement

0

0

01/01/2014 – 31/12/2014

Ivory Type

Import Type

Number of permits issued

No of applications rejected

Raw tusks

Hunting trophies

0

3

Personal use

0

2

Educational use

0

0

Carvings

Commercial use

265

6

Personal use

15

2

Exhibitions

20

0

Educational use

0

0

Ivory pieces

Enforcement

0

0

01/01/2015 – 31/12/2015

Ivory Type

Import Type

Number of permits issued

No of applications rejected

Raw tusks

Hunting trophies

15

0

Personal use

0

2

Educational use

0

0

Carvings

Commercial use

67

1

Personal use

25

1

Exhibitions

12

0

Educational use

0

0

Ivory pieces

Enforcement

0

0

01/01/2016 – 31/12/2016

Ivory Type

Import Type

Number of permits issued

No of applications rejected

Raw tusks

Hunting trophies

5

0

Personal use

1

1

Educational use

0

0

Carvings

Commercial use

207

2

Personal use

75

4

Exhibitions

24

0

Educational use

0

0

Ivory pieces

Enforcement

0

0

01/01/2017 –05/12/2017

Ivory Type

Import Type

Number of permits issued

No of applications rejected

Raw tusks

Hunting trophies

0

0

Personal use

0

0

Educational use

0

0

Carvings

Commercial use

48

0

Personal use

10

0

Exhibitions

0

0

Educational use

0

0

Ivory pieces

Enforcement

0

0

This data is for confirmed import permits that covers the previous five calendar years including data this year up to 5th December.

Grouped Questions: 117188
Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 04 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animals: Diseases
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the World Organisation for Animal Health's validation procedures for new technologies for animal diseases, what validation procedures have been introduced by his Department; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 12 December 2017

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) describes the validation process for tests in the Manual of Standards published on the OIE website. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) hosts a large number of OIE Reference laboratories and disease scientists. APHA, working collaboratively with colleagues internationally, has contributed to the development and review of OIE standards and guidelines for test validation at the OIE international level. APHA has implemented a validation process for tests and applies the externally accredited quality standard ISO17025.

Q
(East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 07 December 2017
Department of Health
Employment Schemes: Mental Illness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress his Department is making on the national roll-out of the Individual Placement and Support programme.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 12 December 2017

NHS England has committed to doubling the reach of Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services by 2020/21. This will contribute to the target of helping up to 29,000 more people per year living with mental health problems to find or stay in work as recommended in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health which is available at:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Mental-Health-Taskforce-FYFV-final.pdf

To date, NHS England has commissioned the NHS Benchmarking Network and Centre for Mental Health to undertake a data collection exercise on activity in IPS and Supported Employment services within 2016/17 to provide an indication of current access to such services.

NHS England is preparing to allocate transformation funding identified in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and the subsequent Implementation Plan: ‘Implementing the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health’ for the commissioning of IPS services to selected sustainability and transformation partnership footprints from April 2018. The Plan is available at:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/fyfv-mh.pdf

To support this, the Joint Work and Health Unit has invested in an implementation support project called ‘IPS Grow’ that aims to compliment this expansion by enabling these services to be as effective as possible in supporting people who want to enter and stay in work.

The Joint Work and Health Unit, in partnership with NHS England, will also be carrying out two research trials to find out whether a modified IPS model can help people with physical and/or mental health conditions get into, and stay in, paid competitive employment.

Q
Asked by Dr Rupa Huq
(Ealing Central and Acton)
Asked on: 05 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Hunting
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 14 June 2016 to Question 40644, on animal imports, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of steps taken to improve hunting practices.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 12 December 2017

Trophy hunting was discussed at the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Johannesburg last year.

The Conference adopted a Resolution on trade in hunting trophies designed to improve the conservation of target species.

At that same meeting, the UK led negotiations on behalf of the EU on African lions which saw a number of decisions adopted including undertaking a comparative study of lion population trends and conservation and management practices, such as lion hunting, within and between countries.

The UK is a member of the African lion inter-sessional working group set up by the 69th CITES Standing Committee last month, whose work will include developing guidance on trade in, and conservation of, African lions.

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