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 2016-17 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
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 24 April 2017
Department for Transport
Shipping: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what funding was available to employers from the Support for Maritime Training budget for (a) trainee seafarer ratings, (b) rating to officer conversion and (c) officer cadets in 2016-17.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 27 April 2017

The Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) budget in 2016-17 was £15 million and was available to employers, as sponsoring companies, for approved training of (a) trainee seafarer ratings, (b) rating to officer conversions and (c) officer cadets.

Although SMarT has a fixed budget, funding continues to be allocated on the basis of demand, all of which was met in full in 2016-17.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 April 2017
Department for Transport
Department for Transport: China
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which Ministers and officials from his Department (a) supported and (b) attended the three-day trade mission to China in March 2017; and what the cost to his Department was of supporting and attending that trade mission.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 26 April 2017

The UK maritime industry directly supports 500,000 jobs and contributes more than £22.2 billion to UK GDP. This visit was an opportunity for the UK government to strengthen maritime trade links between the UK and China and establish new partnerships between British and Chinese companies.

I led the trade mission to China for the Department for Transport and hosted a number of events at the forum including the visit on board RMS Queen Mary 2, promoting UK excellence in the maritime industry.

I also travelled to Hong Kong for a further two days for additional engagements. I was supported and accompanied on this trip at official level by my Private Secretary and the Deputy Director for Maritime Growth.

The total cost to the Department was £28,100.39.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 April 2017
Department for Transport
Shipping: Inspections
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what survey and inspection work has been carried out for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency by each authorised recognised organisation from January 2016 to date; and what the cost to the public purse was of each such piece of work.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 26 April 2017

Six Recognised Organisations (ROs) are authorised by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to undertake approximately 85% of statutory ship survey and inspection work on its behalf, and issue certification dependent on vessel type under the following International Conventions:

  • International Convention on Load Lines, 1966, and LL Protocol 1988;
  • International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, SOLAS Convention 1974 and SOLAS Protocol 1988;
  • International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, MARPOL 73/78; and
  • International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969; and
  • International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships.

Certain elements of statutory survey, audit and inspection functions from the applicable Conventions are retained by the MCA based on risk, for example Passenger Ship Safety Certification, International Ship Security Certification, International Safety Management Certification and the Maritime Labour Convention. Further authorisation may be provided under two trial authorisation schemes that offer additional authorisation to ROs for qualifying low risk ships and shipping companies/operators.

There is limited cost to the public purse from the above authorisations, however the UK, under International Conventions including the RO Code[1] and III Code[2], and as a Member State under European Directive 2009/15/EC[3] is required to satisfy that any survey work completed by ROs acting on its behalf is effectively monitored. The MCA undertakes a comprehensive programme of monitoring and assurance visits and audits, and from January 2016 to March 2017, this has incurred costs of £156,692 based on travel costs, and resource costs for the staff undertaking this work.

[1] IMO Code of Recognized Organizations – Resolution MSC.349(92)

[2] IMO Instruments Implementation Code – Resolution A.1070(28)

[3] Directive 2009/15/EC on common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations and for the relevant activities of maritime administrations

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 April 2017
Department for Transport
Merchant Shipping: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many merchant navy (a) ratings and (b) officer cadets have been trained in each year since 2000-01.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 26 April 2017

The number of new entrant cadets, the number of cadets in training and the number of trainee watch ratings who start training each year can be found in the tables below.

The figures in Table 1 show the number of cadets supported by the Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme who started training in each year since 2000-01.

2000/01

2001/02

2002/03

2003/04

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

2007/08

Officer cadets currently in

1020

1010

1000

1030

1050

1110

1430

1700

training of which:

SMart1 new entrants

470

450

560

660

560

570

690

850

2008/09

2009/10

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

Officer cadets currently in

1800

1830

1840

1900

1990

1940

1920

1860

training of which:

SMart1 new entrants

930

750

850

900

780

790

820

750

Table 1: UK officer cadets under SMarT1 scheme (1999-2016)

These figures are derived from SMarT returns for SMarT1 training and may include a small number of EU trainees resident in the UK. Numbers are rounded to nearest 10. Figures for 2016-17 are not yet available.

The figures in Table 2 below show the number of watch rating trainees who have been supported by SMarT each year since 2011-12. The data held by the MCA for ratings training prior to 2011-12 includes concessionaire training and does not provide an accurate reflection of watch rating training.

Year

Watch Rating Trainees

2011/12

32

2012/13

13

2013/14

12

2014/15

4

2015/16

7

Table 2: UK watch rating trainees under Smart scheme (2011 – 2016)

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 April 2017
Department for Transport
Shipping: Inspections
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what regulatory oversight the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has of recognised organisations authorised to conduct vessel inspection and survey work on its behalf.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 26 April 2017

The UK, under International Conventions including the IMO Code of Recognized Organizations (Res. MSC.349(92)) and the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (Res. A.1070(28)) and as a Member State under European Directive 2009/15/EC is required to satisfy itself that any survey work completed by the six Recognised Organisations (ROs) acting on its behalf is effectively monitored.

Written survey agreements are in place between each individual RO and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) which govern the level of delegation of statutory functions and certification services for vessels registered in the UK.

To provide assurance that survey and certification work delegated to ROs was carried out to agreed standards, the MCA undertakes a comprehensive risk based programme of monitoring and assurance visits and audits.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 April 2017
Department for Transport
Shipping
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 9 January 2017 to Question 58094, when he plans to publish the (a) review of the Support for Maritime Training scheme and (b) analysis of commercial opportunities within the Maritime and Coastguard Agency that was commissioned by his Department on the recommendations of the Maritime Growth Study.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 26 April 2017

(a) The report we commissioned Frazer Nash and Oxford Economics to produce on the Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) funding programme has been completed and we intend to publish before the summer recess.

(b) I refer to my answer to UIN 57565 of 19 December 2016.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 13 April 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Tenancy Deposit Schemes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, how many (a) deposits were received and (b) disputes were logged by each tenancy deposit scheme in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Gavin Barwell
Answered on: 25 April 2017

The three government approved Tenancy Deposit Schemes in England help ensure that tenants are treated fairly at the end of their tenancy through protecting deposits.

A) The number of deposits received/protected in the last five years (live numbers at the end of March for each year)

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Deposit Protection Service (DPS)

856,796

997,505

1,118,192

1,191,508

1,405,213

MyDeposits

646,621

744,410

644,802

738,853

834,453

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

870,796

917,386

1,085,116

1,135,769

1,186,047

TOTAL

2,374,385

2,659,301

2,848,110

3,066,130

3,425,718

B) The number of adjudications in the last five years (for each year/not cumulative)

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Deposit Protection Service (DPS)

5,617

7,245

8,957

9,754

10,912

MyDeposits

4,460

5,211

6,590

5,580

5,394

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

10,202

11,992

9,482

11,900

11,794

TOTAL

20,279

24,448

25,029

28,234

28,100

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 13 April 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Private Rented Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, how many people were living in the private rented sector (a) in absolute terms and (b) as a proportion of the population in (i) England, (ii) the West Midlands and (iii) Birmingham Northfield constituency in each of the last 10 years.
A
Answered by: Gavin Barwell
Answered on: 25 April 2017

The Department's English Housing Survey estimates that, in 2015-16, 20 per cent of households in England live in the private rented sector. This equates to about 4.5 million households. Estimates are not available for constituency and the Department does not publish regional estimates.

A table with data for the last 10 years can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/595786/2015-16_Section_1_Households_Annex_Tables.xlsx. See AT1.1.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 13 April 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Tenancy Deposit Schemes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has carried out a review of (a) misuses of tenancy deposit schemes by landlords in order to delay or reduce amounts reimbursed and (b) the merits of requiring the landlord rather than the tenant to submit an appeal for deposit money.
A
Answered by: Gavin Barwell
Answered on: 25 April 2017

The Tenancy Deposit Schemes in England currently protect over 3 million deposits on behalf of tenants, helping to raise standards in the private rented sector and ensuring that tenants are treated fairly at the end of their tenancy.

If there is a dispute about the amount of the deposit to be returned, the tenant and the landlord can either agree to use the free Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service provided by the Tenancy Deposit Protection schemes or go to court. Where both the landlord and tenant agree to using the ADR service the case will be handled by an independent, impartial and qualified Adjudicator, and a decision will be made within 28 days. The deposit is the tenant’s money and landlords should be prepared to provide appropriate evidence where they believe they are entitled to retain any of the deposit.

Of the 13.2 million deposits which have been protected since the launch of the scheme, less than 1.5 per cent have gone to adjudication.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 13 April 2017
Department for Transport
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency: Staff
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many (a) full-time, (b) part-time, (c) full-time equivalent and (d) agency staff work for the DVLA.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 24 April 2017

The table below shows the number of staff that work for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency as of 31 March 2017:

Full-time staff

4,085

Part-time staff

1,994

Full-time equivalents

5,388.7

Agency staff

27

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 18 April 2017
Department for Transport
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions the Government has had on the key performance indicators for the objectives set out in the newly published business strategies for the (a) Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and (b) DVLA with those agencies.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 24 April 2017

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has recently published its five year strategy – ‘Helping you stay safe on Britain’s roads’. At the same time it also published its 2017/18 Business Plan which contains key performance indicators that contribute towards the successful delivery of the first year of its strategy.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has recently published its Strategic Plan for 2017-20, alongside its Business Plan 2017-18. DVLA’s aim is to get the right drivers and vehicles taxed and on the road, as simply, safely and efficiently as possible.

As Sponsor of DVSA and DVLA my Department approved the content of both their strategies and business plans.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 13 April 2017
Department for Transport
Blue Badge Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many blue badge permits were approved by local authorities in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 21 April 2017

The estimated number of Blue Badges issued each year is shown in the table below.

Blue Badges issued, England, 2011/12-2015/16

Year1

2011/122

2012/133

2013/143

2014/153

2015/163

Valid Blue Badges issued

905,608

897,465

873,890

879,997

885,216

  1. Count of Blue Badges issued in the year ending 31st March
  2. Source: DfT Blue Badge Survey
  3. Source: Blue Badge Improvement Service (BBIS) data

These results are published in table DIS0111, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/572875/dis0111.ods

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 18 April 2017
Home Office
Road Traffic Offences: Speed Limits
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much police authorities spent on the provision of diversionary courses for speed awareness in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 21 April 2017

This information is not collected centrally. It is a matter for Chief Constables, working with their Police and Crime Commissioners, to determine how to use available resources according to local priorities.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 29 March 2017
Department for Transport
Shipping: Minimum Wage
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 12 December 2016 to Question 56564, on shipping: minimum wage, if he will list the full membership of the working group reviewing the application of national minimum wage legislation to seafarers in UK waters; and when he expects the work of that working group to be completed.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 20 April 2017

Membership of the National Minimum Wage (as it applies to seafarers) Legal Working Group is comprised as follows;

a) Department for Transport

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

HM Revenue and Customs

b) Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (accompanied by legal advisor)

Nautilus International

c) UK Chamber of Shipping

The initial meeting took place in February 2017 and the second meeting is scheduled for May. Shortly after this date I expect the group to conclude its work.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 April 2017
Department of Health
Pharmacy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent assessment he has made of the financial viability of independent, locally owned pharmacies.
A
Answered by: David Mowat
Answered on: 20 April 2017

The Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS) will protect access in areas where there are fewer pharmacies with higher health needs, ensuring that no area need be left without a pharmacy.

As the Impact Assessment, published on 20 October 2016, sets out, pharmacies that do not receive the PhAS, but do receive the quality payment will on average be receiving a 4.6% funding reduction in 2016/17 and an 8.3% reduction in 2017/18. Other revenue streams from clinical commissioning groups, Public Health England and local authorities are unaffected by these reductions.

It is difficult to predict precisely the impact of these proposals on the viability of community pharmacies and, therefore, which - if any - might close as a result of the cut in funding. That is because there are a number of business models within the community pharmacy sector, and reductions in NHS funding will impact differently on different community pharmacies depending on a range of factors.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 28 March 2017
Department for Transport
Aviation: Fuels
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policy on decarbonising UK aviation of the International Council on Clean Transportation report, entitled Mitigating international aviation emissions: Risks and opportunities for alternative jet fuels, published on 22 March 2017.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 05 April 2017

The Government recognises the need for action at a global level to address CO2 emissions from aviation. To this end, the UK plays a key role in the work of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation, including as an active participant in the development of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. We welcome the publication of the report and we are considering it carefully in relation to this work.

We are also taking action at a national level to encourage the development and supply of lower carbon jet fuels. We have consulted on proposed amendments to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order to include support for the use of sustainable alternative fuels in aviation. We will publish the outcome of the consultation in due course.

We have made £20 million available through the National Productivity Investment Fund to leverage private sector investment to help develop and commercialise alternative fuels. This can reduce the carbon impact of aviation and heavy goods vehicles, and capitalise on the industrial opportunities for growth and jobs.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 28 March 2017
HM Treasury
Landfill Communities Fund
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the level of funding for the Landfill Communities Fund; and what proportion of the landfill tax will be allocated to providing that funding in each of the next five years.
A
Answered by: Jane Ellison
Answered on: 03 April 2017

For 2017-18, the value of the LCF has been set at £39.3 million. As a result, the cap on contributions from landfill operators has been increased from 4.2% to 5.3%. The Government expects to maintain this higher 5.3% cap for future years, but this expectation assumes we see continued progress from environmental bodies in terms of reducing administrative costs and the level of unspent funds.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 27 March 2017
Department for Education
Pre-school Education: Closures
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to protect maintained nursery schools from closure.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 30 March 2017

There is a presumption against the closure of maintained nursery schools. Before a nursery school may close the local authority must set out in a statement their assessment of the quality and quantity of the alternative provision; proposed arrangements to ensure that the expertise and specialism provided by the maintained nursery school continues to be available; and the accessibility and convenience of replacement provision for local parents.

We are also providing local authorities with supplementary funding of £55 million per year to enable them to maintain existing levels of nursery school funding at least to the end of this Parliament. We are currently carrying out a data assurance exercise to ensure local authorities receive the correct amount of supplementary funding.

Grouped Questions: 69454
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 27 March 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Glass: Manufacturing Industries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what discussions his Department has had with representatives from the glass industry on the implications of the UK leaving the EU; and what plans he has to prioritise that industry in his negotiations on the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr David Jones
Answered on: 30 March 2017

Ministers and officials across Government are engaging UK and EU business from every sector of the economy - this is a central element of our plan to get the right deal for Britain. We are listening and talking to a broad range of organisations, companies and institutions.

Details of Ministerial meetings will be published in the Department’s Quarterly Transparency Returns, which will be made publicly available on GOV.UK.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 28 March 2017
Department for Education
Pre-school Education: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to ensure adequate funding for maintained nursery schools; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 30 March 2017

There is a presumption against the closure of maintained nursery schools. Before a nursery school may close the local authority must set out in a statement their assessment of the quality and quantity of the alternative provision; proposed arrangements to ensure that the expertise and specialism provided by the maintained nursery school continues to be available; and the accessibility and convenience of replacement provision for local parents.

We are also providing local authorities with supplementary funding of £55 million per year to enable them to maintain existing levels of nursery school funding at least to the end of this Parliament. We are currently carrying out a data assurance exercise to ensure local authorities receive the correct amount of supplementary funding.

Grouped Questions: 69236
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