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 John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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 2017
Department of Health
Neuromuscular Disorders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to increase the number of neuromuscular care advisors for people with muscle-wasting conditions.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 12 September 2017

NHS England is responsible for commissioning specialised neurological services, including some services for patients with neuromuscular disorders. NHS England has published a service specification for neurological care that includes an exemplar service specification for neuromuscular conditions which sets out what providers must have in place to offer evidence-based, safe and effective services. The service specification for neurological care can be found at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/d04-neurosci-spec-neuro.pdf

NHS providers, working with local area teams, may establish patient access to neuromuscular care advisers if they consider it would benefit service provision and such decisions are a local matter.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Work and Pensions: Cycling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent progress his Department has made on the implementation of the Government's Cycle to Work scheme for his Department's employees.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 12 September 2017

The Department for Work and Pensions already makes provision for our employees through an advance of salary to purchase a bicycle and safety equipment and retailer discounts, which are available via our employee discount scheme.

We are currently working with a supplier with the intention of implementing a DWP Cycle to Work scheme by the end of this financial year.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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 September 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Whisky: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government plans to take to protect the status of Scottish whisky as a premium product in exports to the US after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 07 September 2017

Scotch Whisky is one of the UK’s great export success stories with global exports worth £4bn in 2016.

In the USA, Scotch Whisky is already protected in US Federal Law which refers to Scotch Whisky as, “whisky which is a distinctive product of Scotland, manufactured in Scotland in compliance with the laws of the United Kingdom regulating the manufacture of scotch whisky for consumption in the United Kingdom”. There is no reason for this to change as a result of EU exit.

More generally, our International Action Plan for food and drink exports details how Government and industry will continue to work in partnership to promote UK food and drink overseas, break down trade barriers and open up new international markets.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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: 20 July 2017
Home Office
Fruit: Migrant Workers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether EU nationals who work in the UK soft fruit sector will be able to continue to work in the UK after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 05 September 2017

The Government’s policy paper (Cm 9464), which was laid before Parliament on 26 June, sets out our proposals for enabling European Union citizens residing in the UK before a specified cut off date (to be confirmed, but between 29 March 2017 and exit) to continue to live and work here. After five years’ continuous residence, they will be able to apply for UK settled status. There are no plans to differentiate according to work sector.

The details of the new scheme will be subject to negotiations. We will publish further detail on the specifics of the new application process, including detailed eligibility criteria and requirements, in due course.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Transport
Electric Vehicles: Sales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect on the environment of potential changes in electric car sales after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 24 July 2017

This Government has a number of initiatives in place to encourage electric vehicle ownership and has committed to invest more than £600m to 2020 to make the UK a leader not only in their use, but in their development and manufacture. The UK’s network of rapid charge points is the largest in Europe and has helped the UK become the largest market for electric vehicle sales in the EU.We have an established programme of policies in place to support the UK’s growing market for electric vehicles. In 2016 the UK had the highest sales of ultra low emission vehicles in the EU.

The UK's exit from the EU will not reduce our ambition to be at the global forefront of the transition to electric vehicles and we remain committed to meeting our national and international climate change targets.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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: 17 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Fracking
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 11 July 2017 to Question 3330, on natural gas: storage, if he will suspend fracking for as long as the UK continues to have secure gas supplies.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 20 July 2017
Holding answer received on 20 July 2017

Shale gas could have great potential to be a domestic energy resource that makes us less reliant on imports and opens up a wealth of job opportunities. The economic impact of shale, both locally and nationally will depend on whether shale development is technically and commercially viable and on the level of production. To determine the potential of the industry and how development will proceed, we need exploration to go ahead.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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: 17 July 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Carbon Dioxide: Alarms
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will make the use of professional equipment mandatory for the testing of carbon dioxide alarms.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 20 July 2017

There are no requirements for carbon dioxide alarms in England and so there are no plans to make the use of professional equipment mandatory for the testing of them.

On carbon monoxide alarms, building regulations in England require that an alarm be provided when a solid fuel appliance is installed, and sets standards for the quality of that alarm. The Building Regulations set requirements when building work is carried out and do not set on-going requirements for testing.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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: 17 July 2017
Department for Transport
Electric Vehicles: Sales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to tackle potential changes in electric car sales after the UK has left the EU.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 20 July 2017

This Government has a number of initiatives in place to encourage electric vehicle ownership and has committed to invest more than £600m to 2020 to make the UK a leader in both their use and their development and manufacture. The UK’s network of rapid chargepoints is the largest in Europe and has helped the UK become the largest market for electric vehicle sales in the EU. The UK’s exit from the EU will not reduce the Government’s ambition to be at the global forefront of the global transition to electric vehicles, and we remain committed to meeting our national and international climate change targets.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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: 12 July 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Migrant Workers: EU Nationals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on steps he is taking to protect the status of EU migrant workers.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 18 July 2017

Defra Ministers have ongoing discussions with a range of government departments, including the Home Office, about securing the workforce industry needs for the future.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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 July 2017
Department for Transport
Electric Vehicles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many petrol stations have received funding from the public purse for installing charging stations for electric vehicles.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 18 July 2017

To date the Government has not targeted any of its support for electric vehicle chargepoints at petrol stations. All Government funded public chargepoints are required to be registered on the Government’s National Chargepoint Registry, an open source data set containing information on the type and geographical location of chargepoints. The registry is available online at: www.national-charge-point-registry.uk. The Office for Low Emission Vehicles is considering what future support to provide for public charging infrastructure, and will confirm its approach in due course.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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: 06 July 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assistance he is receiving from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure that his Department is fully funded to undertake its review of EU legislation on food and agriculture.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 12 July 2017

Over 80% of Defra’s agenda is affected by the vote to leave the European Union. As a result, Defra has reviewed and reprioritised its work programme so that many roles across the Defra group are now supporting EU exit-related work, either directly or indirectly. Given its extensive impact, it is not possible to give an isolated figure of FTE civil servants working on, or budget for, the EU Exit programme alone.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
Asked on: 05 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Natural Gas: Storage
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on the supply of energy of Centrica's decision to close its Rough field storage facility.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 11 July 2017

Centrica Storage Ltd’s decision to close the Rough gas storage facility is a commercial decision based on the age of the asset and the costs of repair.

We have recently undertaken a full strategic assessment of our long-term gas security, including scenarios without Rough. We will publish this in due course. The UK continues to be benefit from a range of flexible sources of natural gas, including: production from the North Sea; six international gas pipelines with Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands; three Liquefied Natural Gas terminals that can bring gas from anywhere in the world; and a number of modern, responsive gas storage facilities.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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: 06 July 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that current food standards are maintained after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 11 July 2017

Existing rules on food standards will remain in place when the UK exits the EU to provide continuity for consumers and businesses. The Secretary of State has been clear that there will be no diminution or dilution of food standards after we leave the EU.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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: 06 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Natural Gas: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to reduce the cost of gas energy to customers.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 11 July 2017

Great Britain has one of the largest and most competitive wholesale gas hubs in the world and British retail gas prices are amongst the lowest in Europe. We benefit from highly diverse and flexible sources of gas supply, including storage, indigenous production, six international gas pipelines with Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands and three liquefied natural gas terminals.

In addition, increased competition in the retail gas market means that households now having a choice of around 55 companies supplying gas. Smaller suppliers are continuing to grow their market share and now have just over 18% of the domestic retail gas market. Nevertheless the Government considers that domestic standard variable tariff customers are being charged unjustifiably high prices – as confirmed by the Competition and Markets Authority investigation into the energy market.

In addition Ofgem has said it will consider extending the price cap in place for customers on pre-payment meters to more vulnerable customers.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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: 06 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Natural Gas: Storage
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to improve the storage capacity of the gas grid.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 11 July 2017

There has been significant investment in the UK’s natural gas supply infrastructure over the last decade. As a result we benefit from highly diverse and flexible sources of natural gas. These include indigenous production from the North Sea; six international gas pipelines with Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands; three Liquefied Natural Gas terminals that can bring gas from anywhere in the world; and a number of modern, responsive gas storage facilities. We are confident that market-led investment will continue to deliver secure gas supplies.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
Asked on: 03 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
National Grid: Security
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what security assessments his Department has made since the acquisition of a majority stake in the National Grid by the consortium comprising the Qatar Investment Authority and others.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 10 July 2017

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have made clear, the UK is, and will remain, one of the most open economies in the world, including to foreign direct investment. We will also ensure that any investment serves the national interest. This deal, which involves a crucial part of the UK’s critical infrastructure, was no different. While national security considerations do not allow us to comment on the specific assessments we undertake, we continue to work collaboratively to understand and respond to all threats and hazards in the energy sector. This includes work across Government and with our agencies to understand the risk profiles, regular engagement with industry to develop mitigation strategies and ensuring that we have the knowledge and robust procedures in place to respond to challenges as they arise.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
Asked on: 27 June 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Neonicotinoids
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will maintain the existing moratorium on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 04 July 2017

As part of the preparation for EU exit, we are considering future arrangements for the regulation of pesticides. Our highest priority will continue to be the protection of people and the environment.

The Government remains of the view that decisions on the use of pesticides should be based on a careful scientific assessment of the risks. Pesticides that carry unacceptable risks to pollinators should not be authorised. The Government keeps the developing evidence on neonicotinoids under review, advised by the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides, but on the basis of current available evidence, we support the existing restrictions.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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 June 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Electricity Generation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government plans to work with Ofgem to address any market distortion created by the exemption of electricity imported from the continent from transmission network access charges.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 03 July 2017

Interconnection benefits UK consumers through the access of cheaper power from other countries when we need it, which enables greater competition between generators in both markets and improves price efficiency. In the same way that UK generators are charged to access our transmission network, continental generators exporting power to the UK will be subject to a range of charges and taxes in their own countries. UK generators can also benefit from exporting without paying for access to networks in other countries. Levying further charges on the power imported via an interconnector would reduce the benefits of accessing lower priced power from markets in other countries.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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: 26 June 2017
Home Office
Immigration: Married People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will review immigration rules for spouse visas.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 29 June 2017

The Supreme Court has upheld the lawfulness of the English language and minimum income requirements of the Immigration Rules for spouse visas. The requirements prevent burdens on the taxpayer and promote integration.

The Supreme Court agrees that they strike a fair balance between the interests of those wishing to sponsor a non-European Economic Area national spouse to settle in the UK and of the community in general.

Q
Asked by John McNally
(Falkirk)
[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 June 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Foreign Investment in UK: Environment Protection
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to provide certainty of energy policy in order to attract green technology companies to the UK.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 26 June 2017

Clean growth is a key pillar of our industrial strategy. The low carbon sector already brings significant benefits to the UK, employing over 230,000 people directly and another 200,000 through supply chains. Within the sector, the UK has established world-leading expertise in several areas of green technology, including offshore wind and electric vehicles. Since 2012, over £56 billion has been invested in renewable energy generation in the UK. In 2016, one in five battery electric cars sold in the EU was made in the UK.

Certainty for the UK’s energy policy is provided by several frameworks, including the Climate Change Act 2008. This established the UK’s 2050 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% on 1990 levels and a supporting framework of five year carbon budgets.

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