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
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 07 September 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Surveys
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has for the Department of Energy and Climate Change's Public Attitudes Tracking Survey.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 23 September 2016

The survey has been renamed the BEIS Energy and Climate Change Public Attitudes Tracker Survey. The next quarterly results from the survey will be released on 27 Oct 2016 and made available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/public-attitudes-tracking-survey.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 12 September 2016
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Poultry: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 September 2016 to Question 44023, on poultry: animal welfare, if she will make it her policy to extend the ban on unenriched battery cages for laying hens to quail egg production.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 20 September 2016

The welfare of quail raised for egg production, is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which makes it an offence to fail to provide satisfactorily for welfare needs and by the general provisions of the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007. We have no current plans to introduce new legislation specifically to ban unenriched cages for egg laying quail.

Once we leave the EU, we have an opportunity to make sure all our policies are delivering for the UK, including for animal welfare.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 07 September 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Nuclear Power Stations: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what Freedom of Information requests (a) his Department and (b) the Department for Energy and Climate Change received in the last 12 months in respect of requests for documents submitted to the European Commission in support of the UK case of State Aid Clearance for plans to support radioactive waste and decommissioning proposals for new nuclear power stations; what response his Department provided to those requests; and what the reasons were for each such response.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 19 September 2016

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has not received any requests for documents submitted to the European Commission for State aid clearance with regard to plans to support radioactive waste and decommissioning proposals for new nuclear power stations.

The former Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) received one such request in the last 12 months. The request asked for “the main document setting out the United Kingdom justification for state aid clearance, along with a full list of the titles of all support documents, submitted to the European Commission, in respect of the European Commission consideration of the pricing methodology for waste transfer contracts to be concluded between the UK Government and operators of new nuclear power plants and its compatibility with EU state aid rules, on which the Commission reported its conclusions on 9 October 2015”.

In its response DECC confirmed that it did hold the information requested but was withholding it as the information fell within the scope of the exception set out in regulation 12(5)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations and that the public interest lay in withholding the information.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 08 September 2016
Ministry of Justice
Immigration: Appeals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when her Department plans to issue its response to the consultation on proposals for fees for the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber); and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Oliver Heald
Answered on: 16 September 2016

The response to this consultation was published on gov.uk on 15 September.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 07 September 2016
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Subsidies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans she has to recruit additional staff to meet the additional workload arising from preparations to leave the EU and the development of new arrangements for a system of post-Common Agricultural Policy farm support.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 15 September 2016

Defra is undertaking detailed planning on our capacity and capability to develop and deliver as a result of the referendum decision. So far this has focused on assessing the immediate needs of our policy and strategy functions and we have launched targeted recruitment across the Civil Service.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 08 September 2016
Department for Communities and Local Government
Mayors: Elections
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, when he plans to lay draft regulations on the conduct of the regional mayoral elections planned for May 2017.
A
Answered by: Andrew Percy
Answered on: 15 September 2016

An Order for the conduct of combined authority mayoral elections will be laid before Parliament after the Conference Recess.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 07 September 2016
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans she has to amend her Department's budget to meet additional workload arising from preparation for leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 14 September 2016

Defra is currently assessing our financial requirements for preparing to exit the European Union and once these have been identified we will be reviewing our budgets.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 14 September 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hinkley Point C Power Station
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will lay a revised departmental minute detailing the most recent estimate of costs of Hinkley Point C before Parliament; and if he will lay such a minute at least 14 days in advance of signing any binding contract for that project.
Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 07 September 2016
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the potential of rewilding to reduce the risk of flooding in the UK.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 13 September 2016

Rewilding techniques, such as woodland creation, leaky debris dams and peatbog restoration can have an impact in slowing the flow of flood water downstream. The Government’s natural flood management demonstration projects, including those at Pickering in Yorkshire and Holnicote in Somerset, have demonstrated that these types of measures can be effective in helping to manage flood risk at a catchment scale, slowing the flow of water and reducing local impacts when carefully incorporated into a wider suite of catchment measures

The Government’s long term plan for the environment will look at how to deliver benefits across wider landscapes and whole water catchment areas through more integrated catchment management. Incorporating natural flood management measures is at the heart of this.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
[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 September 2016
Department for Transport
Railways: Compensation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 20 June 2016 to Question 40383, when he plans to make an announcement on when passengers will have access to compensation when trains are over 15 minutes late; whether the application of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) from 1 October 2016 will affect that access; after how many minutes of delay the consumer's right to claim a full refund under the CRA will take effect; and if he will make a statement.
Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 02 September 2016
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Poultry: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 22 July 2016 to Question 42910, on poultry: animal welfare, for what reasons the ban on conventional cages only applies to laying hens of the species gallus gallus.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 12 September 2016

The UK ban on conventional cages only applies to laying hens of the species Gallus gallus as the legislation implements the EU-wide ban on keeping laying hens in conventional cages in Council Directive 1999/74, which is specific to laying hens.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 02 September 2016
Department of Health
NHS Professionals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2016 to Question 41361, on NHS Professionals, which potential options his Department has been exploring.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 12 September 2016

No decisions have yet been taken by Ministers on the future of NHS Professionals.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 02 September 2016
HM Treasury
Fiscal Policy and Taxation
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to respond to the concluding observations and recommendations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the UK's sixth periodic report in relation to fiscal policy, corporate tax, inheritance tax and domestic and global tax abuse; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jane Ellison
Answered on: 12 September 2016

In paragraph 73 of the UN recommendations, the UN requested that the UK submits its next period report under the Covenant (inclusive of a response to all the recommendations from this year’s examination) by 30 June 2021; it would therefore not be appropriate to pre-empt this report by anticipating what we, or indeed a future UK Government in 2021, might say.

The government is committed to a competitive and fair tax system and to tackling tax evasion and avoidance by multinational companies. The UK has played a leading role in the development and implementation of the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project, which is aimed at ensuring that tax is paid on profits in the country in which they are generated. On tax evasion, the UK has also led on the development of the new global standard for the automatic exchange of information between countries on offshore accounts. All of the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies have signed up to this new Common Reporting Standard and will begin exchanging information with the UK this month.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 02 September 2016
Ministry of Justice
Employment Tribunals Service: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when she plans to publish the report of her Department's implementation review of employment tribunal fees which was initiated on 11 June 2015.
A
Answered by: Sir Oliver Heald
Answered on: 12 September 2016

We will publish the outcome of our review into Employment Tribunal Fees in due course.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 02 September 2016
Ministry of Justice
Legal Aid Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when she plans to respond to the concluding observations and recommendations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the UK's sixth periodic report in relation to legal aid and access to justice; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Oliver Heald
Answered on: 12 September 2016

The UN requested that the UK submits its next periodic report under the Covenant (inclusive of a response to all the recommendations from this year’s examination) by 30 June 2021; it would therefore not be appropriate for me to pre-empt this report by anticipating what we, or indeed a future UK Government in 2021, might say.

We regularly monitor the operation of the legal aid scheme on an ongoing basis. The Legal Aid Agency routinely collects data on the age, sex, disability status and ethnicity of recipients of legal aid and publishes statistics on this topic annually. We have committed to carrying out a Post Implementation Review, which will consider the impact of the legal aid provisions in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 on access to justice. The UK Government is also currently undertaking a review of the introduction of fees into the Employment Tribunals and will publish its findings in due course.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 02 September 2016
Women and Equalities
Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund
Commons
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the Answers of 10 June 2015 and 22 December 2015 to Questions 700 and 19860, when she plans to (a) publish the evaluation report on the pilot Access to Elected Office Fund and (b) make a decision on whether that Fund should continue.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 12 September 2016

An evaluation of the pilot fund is currently being undertaken and will be published when an announcement about the future of the fund is made in due course.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 02 September 2016
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when he plans to respond to the concluding observations and recommendations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the UK's sixth periodic report in relation to social security and unemployment; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Damian Hinds
Answered on: 12 September 2016

In paragraph 73 of the UN recommendations, the UN requested that the UK submits its next period report under the Covenant (inclusive of a response to all the recommendations from this year’s examination) by 30 June 2021; it would therefore not be appropriate for me to pre-empt this report by anticipating what we might say in 2021. In any event, the Government regularly assesses the impacts of its policies and will continue to do so.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
[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: 07 September 2016
Department of Health
Patients: Transport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what contingency plans his Department has in place to ensure that Patient Transport Services in Sussex continue in the event of any failure of the current contractual model involving High Weald Havens Clinical Commissioning Group, Coperforma and arms length driver operatives; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: David Mowat
Answered on: 12 September 2016

NHS England advises that High Weald Lewes Havens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has plans in place to ensure continuity of service and the first priority of the recently-appointed specialist transport advisor is to look at the resilience of the contract and explore options to strengthen this further.

NHS England also advises the CCG is continuing to work with Coperforma to ensure improved performance to date is maintained and to address any outstanding issues.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 21 July 2016
Department for Communities and Local Government
Supported Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, when he plans to publish the review on supported housing.
A
Answered by: Gavin Barwell
Answered on: 09 September 2016

DCLG and DWP have jointly commissioned an evidence review of the supported housing sector, which is currently being finalised. The Government is committed to making an announcement in the autumn, setting out its plans for future funding arrangements for the supported housing sector.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 02 September 2016
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Staff
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 4 March 2016 to Question 29005, if Ministers of his Department have concluded whether further steps are required to improve clarity and transparency on employment status for employers and individuals.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 09 September 2016

These issues are still being considered by the recently established Cross-Government Working Group on Employment Status.

The group consists of officials who work on employment status policy from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), HM Treasury, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Office of Tax Simplification. The group is chaired by the head of employment status at HMRC.

Further information on the group and its work can be found on the Government website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/cross-government-working-group-on-employment-status

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