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
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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 December 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Aviation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 7 December 2017 to Question 117145, on Aviation, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's guidance to local planning authorities on considering the interconnectivity between airfields of different sizes and having regard to the Aviation Policy Framework.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 14 December 2017
Holding answer received on 12 December 2017

Local planning authorities must have regard to the National Planning Policy Framework, supported by our planning practice guidance, when preparing their Local Plan. The Framework and the guidance are also material considerations in planning decisions.

It is for local planning authorities to decide how they will apply the guidance in the particular circumstances of individual planning cases and in accordance with the development plan.

My Department is working closely with the Department for Transport in looking at issues relating to general aviation, including airfields.

Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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
Home Office
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that foreign students who come to the UK to study pilot training can continue to do so after the UK has left the EU.
Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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 Transport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of professional pilots the UK aviation industry will need by 2030; and what steps he is taking to meet that demand.
Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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 December 2017
Department for Education
STEM Subjects: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to encourage and promote apprenticeships and traineeships in science, technology, engineering and mathematics roles (a) in the general aviation sector and (b) elsewhere.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 12 December 2017

A full list of apprenticeship standards is available online at: https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/. Apprenticeships in science, engineering and maths are well represented, and there are specific standards for aviation including Aviation Maintenance Mechanic (Military) at level 2 and Aerospace Engineer at degree level 6.

The ‘Amazing Apprenticeships’ resource portal provides information, advice and videos to schools, featuring case studies from employers in the STEM related sector and promotes their vacancies. A series of live broadcasts has recently been launched showcasing a broad range of employers including Highways England, National Grid, IBM and the BBC.

We continue to promote the benefits of apprenticeships and traineeships to employers and young people and are taking part in the 2018 Year of Engineering campaign.

Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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 Communities and Local Government
Housing: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to make it a requirement for future housing targets to take account of the effect of additional housing on local infrastructure planning and budgets.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 11 December 2017

It is for local planning authorities to determine their housing requirements, which should be deliverable and take account of infrastructure capacity. The National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that locally-produced plans should identify the development and infrastructure required in the area.

The Government is committed to ensuring the right infrastructure is in place to support communities with their housing needs. At Autumn Budget 2017 we more than doubled the Housing Infrastructure Fund to £5 billion. We also announced an additional £1.5 billion for the Home Building Fund for loans to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Custom Builders and innovators, who cannot easily access development finance.

Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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 Transport
Aviation: Employment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the contribution to growth and employment in the STEM sector made by the general aviation sector in the UK.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 11 December 2017

In March 2015 the Government published research that the Department for Transport commissioned from York Aviation entitled “The Economic Value of General Aviation in the UK”. That research contained an estimate of the jobs linked to the general aviation sector in the UK being 38,000. York Aviation did not separate out the contribution from the Government’s STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics) education programmes.

We are commissioning research on what a strategic network of general aviation airfields might look like and this research may review that calculation. We expect this research to report in 2018.

Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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: 04 December 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Housing: Immigrants
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what account his Department takes of the Government's policy on immigration in its planning for future housing needs.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 07 December 2017

We recently consulted on standardising our approach to calculating local housing need. This calculation takes into account household projections.

These projections represent the most comprehensive, evidence based, understanding of future household formation, and accounts for a forecast fall in net migration.

Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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: 04 December 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Housing: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether his Department analyses up-to-date population projections when formulating future housing plans.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 07 December 2017

Formulating future housing plans are the responsibility of local planning authorities through Local Plans, not my Department. We would always advocate using the latest information available to ensure they are evidence based.

In September 2017 we launched a consultation on a new standardised approach to the assessment of local housing need, which takes projections of future household growth in each area as the starting point.

These should be based on the latest Office for National Statistics population projections. Further information is available on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-right-homes-in-the-right-places-consultation-proposals.

Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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: 04 December 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Green Belt
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether the Government has any plans to widen the duty to cooperate to include a requirement for councils to consider together the long-term strategic function of the Green Belt and not proceed only on a site by site basis.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 07 December 2017

Many areas of Green Belt cross local authority boundaries, and the creation or alteration of Green Belt has always been a strategic matter on which all local authorities involved liaise and work together. The National Planning Policy Framework clearly expects local authorities to ensure that Green Belt is consistent with the Local Plans of adjoining areas, and that Green Belt land continues to fulfil the purposes of Green Belt.

In the Housing White Paper, Fixing our broken housing market, we proposed that a local authority should be able to adjust a Green Belt boundary only when it can show that it has examined all other reasonable options for meeting identified development needs. These options are:

  • making effective use of suitable brownfield sites and the opportunities offered by estate regeneration

  • the potential offered by land which is currently underused, including surplus public sector land where appropriate

  • optimising the proposed density of development

  • exploring whether other authorities can help to meet some of the identified development requirement

My Department has been analysing the consultation responses on this proposed clarification, and will announce our conclusions as soon as possible in 2018, when we will also issue a revised National Planning Policy Framework.

Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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: 04 December 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Aviation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, with reference to the General Aviation Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of how current planning guidance supports the Government's vision of the UK being the best place in the world for General Aviation.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 07 December 2017

The National Planning Policy Framework expects local planning authorities, when preparing their Local Plans, to take account of the role of airfields in meeting business, leisure, training and emergency service needs.

The planning practice guidance supporting the Framework was strengthened in March 2015, following publication of the General Aviation Strategy, to make clear that aviation makes a significant contribution to economic growth across the country, including in relation to small and medium sized airports and airfields.

The guidance advises that local planning authorities should consider the interconnectivity between airfields of different sizes and that they should have regard to the Aviation Policy Framework.

Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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: 01 December 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Green Belt
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether his Department's policy on supporting the Green Belt has changed since his Department published its National Planning Policy Framework in 2012; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 06 December 2017

Ministers recently reaffirmed the Government’s clear manifesto commitment to maintaining the strong protections for Green Belt, which are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. The Framework makes clear that a local authority may alter the shape of its Green Belt only in exceptional circumstances, using the Local Plan process. The Framework does not define ‘exceptional circumstances’. However, in the Housing White Paper, Fixing our broken housing market, we proposed that a local authority should be able to adjust a Green Belt boundary only when it demonstrates that it has examined all other reasonable options for meeting its identified development needs, including:

- effective use of suitable brownfield land;

- the potential offered by under-used land;

- optimising the density of development; and

- exploring whether other authorities can help to meet some of the identified development requirement.

We have been analysing the consultation responses on this proposed clarification, and will announce our conclusions as soon as possible in 2018.

Since records began in 1997, Green Belt has continued to cover around 13 per cent of England, and overall we consider that national policy has successfully restrained urban sprawl. Where necessary, a local authority in consultation with the community can propose a Green Belt boundary change, as part of its Local Plan process, but the revised Plan is subject to rigorous, formal examination by a planning inspector before it is adopted.

The Framework is not law, but the law does require local authorities engaged in Plan-making to have regard to the Framework.

Grouped Questions: 117029 | 117030 | 117031
Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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: 01 December 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Green Belt
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether local planning authorities can cite Green Belt restraints as a reason for not meeting housing targets under the Objectively Assessed Housing Need.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 06 December 2017

Ministers recently reaffirmed the Government’s clear manifesto commitment to maintaining the strong protections for Green Belt, which are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. The Framework makes clear that a local authority may alter the shape of its Green Belt only in exceptional circumstances, using the Local Plan process. The Framework does not define ‘exceptional circumstances’. However, in the Housing White Paper, Fixing our broken housing market, we proposed that a local authority should be able to adjust a Green Belt boundary only when it demonstrates that it has examined all other reasonable options for meeting its identified development needs, including:

- effective use of suitable brownfield land;

- the potential offered by under-used land;

- optimising the density of development; and

- exploring whether other authorities can help to meet some of the identified development requirement.

We have been analysing the consultation responses on this proposed clarification, and will announce our conclusions as soon as possible in 2018.

Since records began in 1997, Green Belt has continued to cover around 13 per cent of England, and overall we consider that national policy has successfully restrained urban sprawl. Where necessary, a local authority in consultation with the community can propose a Green Belt boundary change, as part of its Local Plan process, but the revised Plan is subject to rigorous, formal examination by a planning inspector before it is adopted.

The Framework is not law, but the law does require local authorities engaged in Plan-making to have regard to the Framework.

Grouped Questions: 117028 | 117030 | 117031
Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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: 01 December 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Green Belt
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the (a) regulations that apply to and (b) role in national planning of the Green Belt; and if he will make a statement?
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 06 December 2017

Ministers recently reaffirmed the Government’s clear manifesto commitment to maintaining the strong protections for Green Belt, which are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. The Framework makes clear that a local authority may alter the shape of its Green Belt only in exceptional circumstances, using the Local Plan process. The Framework does not define ‘exceptional circumstances’. However, in the Housing White Paper, Fixing our broken housing market, we proposed that a local authority should be able to adjust a Green Belt boundary only when it demonstrates that it has examined all other reasonable options for meeting its identified development needs, including:

- effective use of suitable brownfield land;

- the potential offered by under-used land;

- optimising the density of development; and

- exploring whether other authorities can help to meet some of the identified development requirement.

We have been analysing the consultation responses on this proposed clarification, and will announce our conclusions as soon as possible in 2018.

Since records began in 1997, Green Belt has continued to cover around 13 per cent of England, and overall we consider that national policy has successfully restrained urban sprawl. Where necessary, a local authority in consultation with the community can propose a Green Belt boundary change, as part of its Local Plan process, but the revised Plan is subject to rigorous, formal examination by a planning inspector before it is adopted.

The Framework is not law, but the law does require local authorities engaged in Plan-making to have regard to the Framework.

Grouped Questions: 117028 | 117029 | 117031
Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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: 01 December 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Green Belt
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether the Government has plans to remove Green Belt status from land in order to meet its housing commitments.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 06 December 2017

Ministers recently reaffirmed the Government’s clear manifesto commitment to maintaining the strong protections for Green Belt, which are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. The Framework makes clear that a local authority may alter the shape of its Green Belt only in exceptional circumstances, using the Local Plan process. The Framework does not define ‘exceptional circumstances’. However, in the Housing White Paper, Fixing our broken housing market, we proposed that a local authority should be able to adjust a Green Belt boundary only when it demonstrates that it has examined all other reasonable options for meeting its identified development needs, including:

- effective use of suitable brownfield land;

- the potential offered by under-used land;

- optimising the density of development; and

- exploring whether other authorities can help to meet some of the identified development requirement.

We have been analysing the consultation responses on this proposed clarification, and will announce our conclusions as soon as possible in 2018.

Since records began in 1997, Green Belt has continued to cover around 13 per cent of England, and overall we consider that national policy has successfully restrained urban sprawl. Where necessary, a local authority in consultation with the community can propose a Green Belt boundary change, as part of its Local Plan process, but the revised Plan is subject to rigorous, formal examination by a planning inspector before it is adopted.

The Framework is not law, but the law does require local authorities engaged in Plan-making to have regard to the Framework.

Grouped Questions: 117028 | 117029 | 117030
Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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: 01 November 2017
Ministry of Justice
Sentencing: Young People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans the Government has to review sentence levels for young people under the age of 18 who commit a crime so serious that they are deemed unsafe to their local community.
A
Answered by: Dr Phillip Lee
Answered on: 06 November 2017

Determining sentences for children and young people in individual cases is a matter for the relevant sentencing court. The distinct sentencing framework for the youth justice system provides a range of robust options for courts, including custody in the most serious cases. This includes long-term or extended sentence of detention or detention for life, if relevant criteria are met; and detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure, for murder convictions.

Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Asked on: 17 October 2017
Ministry of Justice
County Courts: Greater London
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what resources have been allocated to the Central London County Court in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Dr Phillip Lee
Answered on: 25 October 2017

The table below sets out the staff allocation to the Central London County Court in each of the last five years.

Budgeted Resources

Central London staff allocation

17-18

62

16-17

62

15-16

64

14-15

67

13-14

56.4

Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Asked on: 17 October 2017
Ministry of Justice
County Courts: Greater London
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how staffing resources are allocated within the Central London County Court.
A
Answered by: Dr Phillip Lee
Answered on: 25 October 2017

The county courts are primarily staffed by multi-skilled administrative grades who are moved around the office as and when the need arises. Managers will use their discretion as to the skills and experience of staff members when allocating which administrative process they undertake.

Administrative staff resource is allocated using the Business Management System (BMS). This is a workload management tool which captures the workflow through the Court. It enables managers to keep track of changing priorities and allocate resources to meet them.

The system does not take away a manager’s discretion to take into account local factors and redistribute allotted resources in a way which maximises service in Court, but the effect of such decisions will be transparent and measurable.

In court support is agreed with the local judiciary once the financial allocation is made to best support them and the administration of justice.

Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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: 18 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Airports: Planning Permission
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to include protection for airfields in the National Planning Policy Framework.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 24 October 2017

The National Planning Policy Framework recognises the significant contribution that aviation makes to economic growth. It requires local authorities, when preparing their Local Plans, to take account of the role of airfields in meeting business, leisure, training and emergency service needs. Planning guidance supporting the Framework makes clear local authorities should consider the interconnectivity between airfields of different sizes and that they should have regard to the Aviation Policy Framework.

Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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: 18 October 2017
Department for Transport
RAF Northolt: Aviation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will actively promote the use of RAF Northolt to facilitate UK regional air links to Heathrow Airport; and whether he has made an assessment of the effect on connectivity of using RAF Northolt to facilitate regional air links.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 24 October 2017

I refer the Right Honourable Gentleman to the Airports Commission’s interim report of December 2013 conclusions on RAF Northolt.

In addition, RAF Northolt is owned and operated by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and is primarily a military resource. Any policy decisions on expansion of civil aviation operations at the airfield are the responsibility of the RAF and the MOD.

Q
Asked by Grant Shapps
(Welwyn Hatfield)
[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: 18 October 2017
Department for Transport
Airports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to define a strategic network of general aviation airfields.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 24 October 2017

In January 2017 the then Aviation Minister asked the General and Business Aviation Strategic Forum what a strategic network of general aviation airfields might look like. In response the Forum recommended that he commission research in order to define such a network. That research is now being procured.

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