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
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Home Office
Universities: EU Nationals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Government's policy paper, Collaboration on Science and Innovation: A Future Partnership Paper, published on 6 September 2017, whether it is her policy to extend visa entitlement to the spouses and dependents of EU academics who can work in the UK after the UK has left the EU.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The Government recognises the valuable contribution migrants make to our society and we welcome those with the skills and expertise to make our country better still. But we must manage the process properly so that our immigration system serves the national interest.

We have been clear that after the UK leaves the EU, free movement will end, but migration between the UK and the EU will continue and we are considering a number of options as to how this might work. We will be setting out initial proposals for our future immigration arrangements later in the year.

The Government recognises that it is important that we understand the impacts on the different sectors of the economy and the labour market and want to ensure that decisions on the long-term system are based on evidence. On July 2017, we commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to advise on the economic and social impacts of the UK’s exit from the European Union and also on how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy- and they will be presenting their report in September 2018. The MAC has also issued a public call for evidence- where sectoral bodies including those in the science, academic and research sectors can formally make representations. This is open until 27 October 2017. Details can be found on the gov.uk website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/call-for-evidence-and-briefing-note-eea-workers-in-the-uk-labour-market

The Government will carefully consider any recommendations made to it by the MAC before finalising the details of the future immigration system for EU nationals.

The Government also regularly engages with sectoral bodies – including those in the scientific and academic sectors ­- to ensure our immigration routes work effectively to enable businesses to access the talent they need. Their views do, and will continue to, inform our decisions on any changes to the system.

Grouped Questions: 105594
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Home Office
Research: EU Nationals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Government's policy paper, Collaboration on Science and Innovation: Future Partnership Paper, published on 6 September 2017, what representations she has received from universities and national academies on the potential effect of changes to freedom of movement on the UK's ability to attract and retain high quality researchers.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The Government recognises the valuable contribution migrants make to our society and we welcome those with the skills and expertise to make our country better still. But we must manage the process properly so that our immigration system serves the national interest.

We have been clear that after the UK leaves the EU, free movement will end, but migration between the UK and the EU will continue and we are considering a number of options as to how this might work. We will be setting out initial proposals for our future immigration arrangements later in the year.

The Government recognises that it is important that we understand the impacts on the different sectors of the economy and the labour market and want to ensure that decisions on the long-term system are based on evidence. On July 2017, we commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to advise on the economic and social impacts of the UK’s exit from the European Union and also on how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy- and they will be presenting their report in September 2018. The MAC has also issued a public call for evidence- where sectoral bodies including those in the science, academic and research sectors can formally make representations. This is open until 27 October 2017. Details can be found on the gov.uk website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/call-for-evidence-and-briefing-note-eea-workers-in-the-uk-labour-market

The Government will carefully consider any recommendations made to it by the MAC before finalising the details of the future immigration system for EU nationals.

The Government also regularly engages with sectoral bodies – including those in the scientific and academic sectors ­- to ensure our immigration routes work effectively to enable businesses to access the talent they need. Their views do, and will continue to, inform our decisions on any changes to the system.

Grouped Questions: 105612
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Home Office
International Assistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure its provision of overseas assistance is in accordance with the Government's human rights obligations.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 18 October 2017

For overseas security and justice projects funded by Her Majesty’s Government, the Home Office conducts Overseas Security and Justice Assessments (OSJAs). These assessments are carried out to identify risks to human rights, and mitigations for those risks, in accordance with guidance published by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/583304/OSJA_Guidance_2017.pdf.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Higher Education: EU Countries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what steps he is taking during negotiations on the UK leaving the EU to establish recognition in EU countries of UK degrees completed by (a) UK and (b) EU students after the UK has left the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The UK has been clear from the start that we want to make sure that the livelihoods of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU will be protected after the UK leaves the EU.

In citizens’ rights negotiations on professional qualifications, we have reached agreement with the Commission on the status of recognition decisions obtained by frontier workers and citizens who are resident in the other territory on the withdrawal date.

The Commission has not yet accepted our sensible proposal that qualifications that are in the course of being obtained by UK and EU students on the withdrawal date should continue to be recognised as they were before. However, we will seek to agree a continued system for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications and will continue to press the matter.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Research
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, with reference to the Government's policy paper, Collaboration on Science and Innovation: A Future Partnership Paper, published on 6 September 2017, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on a future UK-EU science research framework.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 17 October 2017

We have been clear from the start that the Scottish Government should be fully engaged in our exit from the EU. The UK Government’s paper, Collaboration on Science and Innovation: A Future Partnership Paper, provides a basis for further discussion, including with the Scottish Government, on the future partnership the UK wants to build with the EU. This includes any future participation in both EU and Euratom research programmes. There are many areas of alignment between this paper and the Scottish White Paper on the benefits of continued research collaboration with the EU. We are committed to positive and productive engagement with the Scottish Government going forward as we seek a deal that works for the entire United Kingdom.

Grouped Questions: 105607
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Research
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, with reference to the Government's policy paper, Collaboration on Science and Innovation: A Future Partnership Paper, published on 6 September 2017, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on continued participation in EU and Euratom research programmes.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 17 October 2017

We have been clear from the start that the Scottish Government should be fully engaged in our exit from the EU. The UK Government’s paper, Collaboration on Science and Innovation: A Future Partnership Paper, provides a basis for further discussion, including with the Scottish Government, on the future partnership the UK wants to build with the EU. This includes any future participation in both EU and Euratom research programmes. There are many areas of alignment between this paper and the Scottish White Paper on the benefits of continued research collaboration with the EU. We are committed to positive and productive engagement with the Scottish Government going forward as we seek a deal that works for the entire United Kingdom.

Grouped Questions: 105606
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Horizon 2020
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, with reference to the Government's policy paper, Collaboration on Science and Innovation: A Future Partnership Paper, published on 6 September 2017, whether it is his policy that the UK should remain a participant in Horizon 2020 throughout any transitional period.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 17 October 2017

Collaboration on research and innovation is mutually beneficial to the UK and the EU. The UK will look to establish an ambitious agreement on science and innovation with the EU that ensures the valuable research links between us continue to grow. This, as well as any continued participation in Horizon 2020 during an implementation period, will form part of wider negotiations as the UK exits the European Union.

As our paper makes clear, this is an area in which we would welcome a discussion with the EU.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Science
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, with reference to the Government's policy paper, Collaboration on Science and Innovation: Future Partnership Paper, published on 6 September 2017, what discussions he has had with non-EU participants in EU science programmes on the UK adopting similar association frameworks to those which such non-EU participants have with the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 17 October 2017

As the UK prepares to exit the European Union, the Secretary of State has regular engagement with both EU and Non-EU partners on a range of issues relating to international collaboration on science and innovation.

As set out in our paper, as the UK leaves the EU, one of our core objectives is to continue to collaborate with European partners on major science, research, and technology initiatives.

There are a range of existing precedents for third country participation in EU scientific collaboration that the UK and the EU can build on - however, given the UK’s unique relationship with the EU and the mutual benefits from past collaboration, there may be merit in going further than this, if both parties agree.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Private Sector: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the position paper, Continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the UK: Position Paper, published on 21 August 2017, whether it is his policy that EU compliance responsible persons in UK private sector companies must be EU-based; and what assessment his Department has made on the effect of such a policy on employment levels.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The future relationship between the UK and the EU in respect to compliance activities is a matter for future negotiations. It would not be appropriate to pre-judge the outcome of those negotiations.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
British National (Overseas): EU Countries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the status of British National Overseas passport holders in EU member states after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The purpose of the citizens' rights deal is to clarify the future status and rights of EU citizens exercising free movement rights in the UK, and of UK nationals exercising free movement rights in the EU at a specified date.

UK nationals' includes British citizens, British subjects with the right of abode in the UK, and British Overseas Territories Citizens who acquire citizenship from a connection with Gibraltar.

For the purposes of the citizens' rights deal, 'UK nationals' does not include British National Overseas passport holders, who do not currently fall within EU free movement regulations.



Grouped Questions: 105899
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
UK Trade with EU
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, with reference to the position paper, Continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the EU, published on 21 August 2017, what formal role he plans to give to the devolved administrations during negotiations on the UK leaving the EU on the matter of continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the UK.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The UK Government is negotiating on behalf of the United Kingdom and we are committed to getting a deal that works for the whole country. The UK Government will work closely with the devolved administrations, as well as the governments of Gibraltar, the other Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies on the detail of proposals for continuity in the availability of goods, to ensure their priorities are taken into account.

Grouped Questions: 105911 | 105912
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
UK Trade with EU
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, with reference to the position paper, Continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the EU, published on 21 August 2017, what formal role he plans to give to the overseas territories during negotiations on the UK leaving the EU on the matter of continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the UK.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The UK Government is negotiating on behalf of the United Kingdom and we are committed to getting a deal that works for the whole country. The UK Government will work closely with the devolved administrations, as well as the governments of Gibraltar, the other Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies on the detail of proposals for continuity in the availability of goods, to ensure their priorities are taken into account.

Grouped Questions: 105910 | 105912
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
UK Trade with EU
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, with reference to the position paper, Continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the EU, published on 21 August 2017, what formal role he plans to give to the Crown Dependencies during negotiations on the UK leaving the EU on the matter of continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the UK.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The UK Government is negotiating on behalf of the United Kingdom and we are committed to getting a deal that works for the whole country. The UK Government will work closely with the devolved administrations, as well as the governments of Gibraltar, the other Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies on the detail of proposals for continuity in the availability of goods, to ensure their priorities are taken into account.

Grouped Questions: 105910 | 105911
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
British National (Overseas)
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what plans he has through negotiations with the EU to ensure that British National Overseas passport holders continue to hold the same rights as they do now after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The purpose of the citizens' rights deal is to clarify the future status and rights of EU citizens exercising free movement rights in the UK, and of UK nationals exercising free movement rights in the EU at a specified date.

UK nationals' includes British citizens, British subjects with the right of abode in the UK, and British Overseas Territories Citizens who acquire citizenship from a connection with Gibraltar.

For the purposes of the citizens' rights deal, 'UK nationals' does not include British National Overseas passport holders, who do not currently fall within EU free movement regulations.



Grouped Questions: 105897
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 17 October 2017
Cabinet Office
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he has taken to ensure that spending from the Prosperity Fund takes place across Government in accordance with (a) the provisions of the International Development Act 2002 and (b) international commitments on overseas development assistance.
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 17 October 2017
Department for International Development
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on ensuring that expenditure from the Prosperity Fund prioritises international development over UK industrial and political interests.
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 17 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 16 October 2017 to Question 105923 on UK Trade with EU; if he will publish those plans for contingency scenarios; and if he will make a statement.
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 17 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 16 October 2017 to Question 105923 on UK Trade with EU; what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on planning to meet those contingency scenarios.
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 17 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 16 October 2017 to Question 105923 on UK Trade with EU; what cost to the public purse was incurred by developing those plans to meet those contingency scenarios.
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Belarus: Timber
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Government of Belarus on the effect on the environment of logging in the Bialowieza forest.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 16 October 2017

The UK has been a long-standing advocate of environmental protection. Logging operations taking place in the Bialowieza Forest have occurred in the part of the forest located on Polish territory despite an order from the European Court of Justice to halt the practice. We have made no formal representation to the Belarusian Government on this issue.

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