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
(North East Fife)
[N]
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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
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Arms Trade
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Pakistani counterpart on that country's decision to supply Burma with military equipment.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 11 December 2017

We are not aware of Pakistan supplying Burma with military equipment and we have not to date made any representations to the Pakistan authorities on this particular issue. The UK remains concerned about the potential for a further escalation in South East Asia. The UK recognises the importance of stability being maintained in the region and we would urge all parties to refrain from actions that could jeopardise this. We continue to support the retention of the EU arms embargo on Burma.

Q
(North East Fife)
[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
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Arms Trade
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with members of the UN Security Council on support for a UN-mandated arms embargo against Burma.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 11 December 2017

In the preparation for the UN Security Council Presidential Statement on Burma that the UK proposed and secured on 6 November, we assessed there was insufficient support amongst UN Security Council members for a resolution mandating a global arms embargo on Burma. This remains our assessment; naturally we shall continue to keep this under review.


​The UK continues to support the EU's retention of its arms embargo, which prohibits the supply of equipment or the provision of any training that might strengthen the Burmese military's combat capability. Earlier this year the UK argued successfully for the continuation of the EU Arms Embargo for Burma and will continue to do so.

Q
(North East Fife)
[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
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Arms Trade
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with EU counterparts on support for a UN-mandated arms embargo against Burma.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 11 December 2017


The UK continues to support the retention of the EU arms embargo on Burma. The Foreign Secretary secured agreement at the EU Foreign Affairs Council in October that the EU would consider additional measures if the situation in Rakhine did not improve. The UK will discuss with EU partners whether further sanctions are required following the UN Secretary-General's 12 December report to the UN Security Council on progress since the 6 November UN Security Council Presidential Statement. We have not sought a EU position on a global arms embargo as we assess there is currently insufficient support at the UN Security Council for such a measure. This analysis is under continual review.

Q
(North East Fife)
[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
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Mai Cho Min Htwe
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made representations on the case of Mai Cho Min Htwe with (a) Aung San Suu Kyi and (b) other members of the Burmese Government.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 11 December 2017

We are aware of the case of Mai Cho Min. The UK regularly lobbies the Burmese Government on improving the rule of law and makes clear that torture is unacceptable in any circumstances. We encourage the Burmese Government to reform its legal system to bring it into line with international standards. We will continue to take opportunities to raise specific cases as they arise and to work with Burmese civil society organisations who are promoting human rights.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 07 November 2017
Cabinet Office
Prosperity Fund
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 23 October 2017 to Question 108244, on Prosperity Fund, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of Prosperity Fund projects on gender equality in developing countries.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 16 November 2017

All Prosperity Fund Official Development Assistance (ODA) spending must comply with the International Development Act 2002 and Gender Equality Act 2014. Large, multi-year Prosperity Fund programmes are being developed, building on the foundations laid by smaller projects in 2016/17.

The multi-year Prosperity Fund programmes will include an assessment on gender equality and inclusion. We are implementing a gender strategy to develop these assessments using specialist capability. An external monitoring and evaluation mechanism is in place that will provide information on the impact of programmes on gender equality.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 07 November 2017
Cabinet Office
Prosperity Fund
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 23 October 2017 to Question 108244, on Prosperity Fund, what strategy he has for Prosperity Fund programmes explicitly to tackle issues of gender inequality in developing countries as required by the International Development Act 2002.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 16 November 2017

The Prosperity Fund is implementing a gender strategy covering programme selection, design, monitoring and evaluation. The multi-year Prosperity Fund programmes currently being developed will include an assessment of how programmes address the issue of gender inequality and inclusion. Measurement of progress will be part of the Prosperity Fund’s monitoring and evaluation.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Home Office
British National (Overseas): Passports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many British National Overseas passports have been issued in each year since 1997.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 15 November 2017

The table below shows the number of British National Overseas passports

printed by Her Majesty’s Passport Office between January 1997 and 30 September 2017.

British National Overseas Passports Printed

1997

12,090

1998

3,881

1999

6,250

2000

5,624

2001

139,159

2002

116,345

2003

81,690

2004

79,107

2005

46,801

2006

37,392

2007

17,347

2008

8,905

2009

8,737

2010

8,039

2011

7,654

2012

10,933

2013

15,338

2014

22,022

2015

26,027

2016

37,501

2017*

15,458

*Data is up to September 2017

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Humanitarian Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of recent reports of aerial bombardments, including against schools, on the humanitarian situation in the Eastern Ghouta region in Syria.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 15 November 2017

We remain deeply concerned by reports of attacks by pro-regime forces on civilians and civilian infrastructures, including on healthcare facilities and schools. This, alongside continued obstruction of humanitarian access by the regime, is contributing to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta. The Department for International Development (DFID) has supported the UN and international non-governmental organisations to deliver aid to hard-to-reach and besieged areas, including Eastern Ghouta. DFID’s humanitarian partners are on the ground in Eastern Ghouta providing life-saving healthcare, food, and protection, but humanitarian access remains severely constrained. We continue to use our position in the UN Security Council and the International Syria Support Group to press the regime and its backers to allow unfettered access so that aid can reach those in desperate need. We call​ on all parties to adhere to agreed ceasefires in order to bring about the conditions for a political settlement that will end the suffering of the Syrian people.​

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Humanitarian Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Russian counterpart on the ability of aid convoys to enter the Eastern Ghouta region in Syria.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 15 November 2017

​The UK continues to demand full and sustained humanitarian access to besieged communities in Syria, including Eastern Ghouta, at the UN and at every opportunity. I raised the situation in Eastern Ghouta with the Russian Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Alexander Yakovenko, during our meeting on 31 October. The UK’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York also raised this issue in the UN Security Council on 30 October.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for International Development
Syria: Humanitarian Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the effect of recent reports that aid convoys are being blocked from entering the Eastern Ghouta region in Syria on the humanitarian situation in that region.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 13 November 2017

DFID’s humanitarian partners are on the ground in Eastern Ghouta providing life-saving healthcare and food. However, the Assad regime is besieging the area, preventing the delivery of new supplies. This is leading to a deterioration in already dire humanitarian conditions, with reports of growing food shortages and cases of acute malnutrition. We are using our position on the UN Security Council, and in the International Syria Support Group, to press the regime and its backers to allow unfettered access so that aid can reach those in desperate need.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for International Development
Syria: Humanitarian Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment she has made of the merits of providing aid drops to alleviate food and medical supply scarcity in the Eastern Ghouta region in Syria.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 13 November 2017

Aid delivered by road by trusted humanitarian partners is by far the most effective way to meet needs in Eastern Ghouta and to ensure that it reaches those most in need. Airdrops are high risk and not capable of delivering many of the types of aid on a scale that could meet key needs there (e.g. safe drinking water, shelter, health support). Crucially, the consent is needed of those who control the airspace and those on the ground that could threaten aircraft. There is nothing to suggest that the Assad regime would provide such consent if it remained intent on blocking land access.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for International Development
Syria: Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made on the (a) availability of food and medical supplies to civilians and (b) safety of those people providing such supplies in the Syrian De-Escalation Zones.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 13 November 2017

Russia, the US and Jordan have agreed a ceasefire in southern Syria. Food and medical supplies are delivered into this area cross-border from Jordan and are assessed to be meeting priority needs. Russia, Turkey and Iran have also declared ‘de-escalation zones’ in Idlib, Eastern Ghouta and Northern Homs. Food and medical supplies enter Idlib cross-border from Turkey, but the Assad regime continues to severely restrict aid going into the other two zones. The level of violence has reduced in recent months, but there are still reports of attacks by pro-regime forces on civilians, particularly in eastern Ghouta and Idlib, and humanitarian workers are exposed to significant risks.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for International Development
Syria: Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what aid has been provided by the UK to civilians in the Eastern Ghouta region in Syria in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 13 November 2017

DFID’s humanitarian partners are on the ground in Eastern Ghouta providing life-saving healthcare and food. However, the Assad regime is besieging the area, preventing the delivery of new supplies. This is leading to a deterioration in already dire humanitarian conditions, with reports of growing food shortages and cases of acute malnutrition. We are using our position on the UN Security Council, and in the International Syria Support Group, to press the regime and its backers to allow unfettered access so that aid can reach those in desperate need.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 30 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Humanitarian Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the creation of a humanitarian corridor to allow aid agencies and NGOs access to people in need in Yemen.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 07 November 2017

The UK has taken the lead in lobbying across the international community, urging all parties to the conflict to take action to ensure rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access. This call was repeated by the UN Security Council Presidential Statement (PRST) proposed and coordinated by the UK in June this year. The PRST expresses deep concern about the humanitarian situation in Yemen, and calls for recognition of the importance of unhindered humanitarian access. We will now work with our partners to convert words into action. We call on all parties to respect these unified and clear demands from the international community.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 30 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Humanitarian Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the shortages of medical supplies, food and water in Yemen on the humanitarian situation in Yemen; and what support he plans to provide to authorities in Yemen to mitigate ill effects of those shortages.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 07 November 2017

Addressing the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is a key priority for the UK. In 2017/18 we are committing £155 million in aid to Yemen, making us the third largest humanitarian donor, and the second largest to the UN appeal. We are prioritising life-saving interventions including food and nutrition support to 1.7 million people and clean water and sanitation for an expected 1.2 million people. In line with the UK-sponsored UN Security Council Presidential Statement, agreed on 15 June, the Government continues to lead in lobbying across the international community, urging all parties to the conflict to take action to ensure rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 30 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: Arms Trade
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Gulf State counterparts on the effect of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 07 November 2017

​UK arms sales, whether to Saudi Arabia or any other state, are subject to one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking account of all relevant factors at the time of the application. The UK regularly raises with Saudi Arabia​ the importance of compliance with International Humanitarian Law.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 30 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: Arms Trade
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has received from civil society groups on the effects of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 07 November 2017

Ministers and officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office engage regularly with civil society groups in the UK and in the region on UK government policy with regard to Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the position paper, Continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the UK, published on 21 August 2017, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the creation of an equivalent definition to Regulation 178/2002 on market placement during negotiations with the EU.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 02 November 2017

The Government continues to prepare to negotiate our exit from the European Union. Defra is working with the Department for Exiting the European Union and other Government departments to ensure withdrawal from the EU is as smooth as possible. As part of this, the Government will be working with the devolved administrations, including the Scottish Government, to take their needs and considerations into account as we negotiate and deliver the best possible deal for this country in leaving the European Union.

Grouped Questions: 106419
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the position paper, Continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the UK, published on 21 August 2017, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Scotland on the creation of an equivalent definition to Regulation 178/2002 on market placement during negotiations with the EU.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 02 November 2017

The Government continues to prepare to negotiate our exit from the European Union. Defra is working with the Department for Exiting the European Union and other Government departments to ensure withdrawal from the EU is as smooth as possible. As part of this, the Government will be working with the devolved administrations, including the Scottish Government, to take their needs and considerations into account as we negotiate and deliver the best possible deal for this country in leaving the European Union.

Grouped Questions: 106418
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 24 October 2017
Department for International Development
International Citizen Service
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what representations she has received from civil society organisations on the Government providing continued support to the International Citizen Service.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 31 October 2017

We have not received any formal representations from civil society organisations. However, my officials engage directly with the delivery consortium, programme alumni and beneficiaries on a regular basis.

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