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
(Edinburgh East)
[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 Exiting the European Union
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of using private contractors in his Department in the (a) 2016-17, (b) current and (c) next financial year.
Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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 International Development
Developing Countries: Pneumonia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help end childhood deaths from pneumonia by 2030.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 07 December 2017

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I provided on 5 December to Question number 116183.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 29 November 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
State Retirement Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what age group his Department's advertising campaign to encourage people to check the value of their State Pension is intended to target.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 04 December 2017

The ‘Get to know your State Pension’ campaign encourages people of working age to use the Check your State Pension service for a forecast of their entitlement and their State Pension age. More than 6 million forecasts have now been issued by the service.

Whilst the campaign is primarily aimed at those aged 40 to State Pension age, advertising through most channels will reach all age groups.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 23 November 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Department for Exiting the European Union : Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, how many losses and special payments have been made by his Department in the 2017-18 financial year to date; and what the value of those losses and payments have been.
A
Answered by: Mr Steve Baker
Answered on: 30 November 2017

The Department for Exiting the European Union has made one item of expenditure that can be deemed as a loss in the 2017-18 financial year to date. The total value of this payment was £33,750. There have been no special payments made by the Department in the 2017-18 financial year.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
Asked on: 23 November 2017
Department for Education
Department for Education: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many losses and special payments have been made by his Department in the 2017-18 financial year to date; and what the value of those losses and payments have been.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 30 November 2017

Data for 2017/18 is not yet available. It is standard for the department to collate and validate data on losses and special payment at two intervals during each financial year (up to the end of Period 9 in December in preparation for the annual accounts and again at Period 12 in March as part of year-end). We are unable to confirm 2017/18 figures until the data has been verified, validated, finalised and signed off by the relevant business area, for inclusion in the department’s 2017/18 annual accounts. Data for this financial year to the end of December 2017 should be available from the beginning of February. We welcome any subsequent request to share data on losses and special payment up to the end of December 2017 as per the estimated timing above. For general information, any losses and special payments in excess of £300,000 will be included in the department’s Consolidated Annual Report and Accounts for 2017/18. This will be available on the department’s GOV.UK website, in due course at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dfe-annual-reports.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Sick Pay
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost of sickness pay to staff in his Department was in each of the 10 years prior to June 2016.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 29 November 2017
Holding answer received on 12 October 2017

The table below sets out the cost of sickness pay paid to staff in my Department each year from 1 April 2009 to 30th June 2016. Information about the cost of sickness pay paid to staff in my Department before April 2009 is not available.

2009*

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016**

Statutory Sick Pay

£269

£1,567

£5,163

£2,063

£4,903

£3,266

£6,628

£4,928

Occupational Sick Pay

£139,535

£203,025

£528,810

£406,837

£405,908

£439,844

£465,716

£290,081

Total

£141,813

£206,602

£535,984

£410,911

£412,824

£445,124

£474,358

£297,025

* From 1 Apr 2009

**To 30 Jun 2016

Information about sickness absence in the Cabinet Office is published on the Cabinet Office website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-absence-data

The most recent published figures show that for the year to 30 June 2017, the Cabinet Office has one of the lowest recorded sickness rates across the Civil Service at 2.9 average working days lost when compared to the latest Civil Service average of 7.0 .

My Department is committed to reducing work related absence due to mental illness and has a number of services in place to support members of staff suffering from such conditions. Our Workwell community is staffed by volunteers who aim to make Cabinet Office a happy and healthy workplace through a number of interventions including a listening service for staff. We also offer a 24 hour counselling support helpline through our Employee Assistance Programme provider and advocate early referral to our occupational health service where appropriate, for advice on a number of conditions including mental health.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 23 November 2017
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the losses and special payments made by his Department in the 2017-18 financial year to date
A
Answered by: Gavin Williamson
Answered on: 29 November 2017
Holding answer received on 28 November 2017

No estimate of losses and special payments made in the 2017-18 financial year is currently available centrally.

The latest audited information, published in July 2017, and covering the financial year 2016-17 is available on pages 125-126 of the Ministry of Defence 2016-17 Annual Report and Accounts, a copy of which is in the Library of the House and at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ministry-of-defence-annual-report-and-accounts-2016-to-2017

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 23 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many losses and special payments have been made by his Department in the 2017-18 financial year to date; and what the value of those losses and payments have been.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 28 November 2017

The figures requested form part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s annual report submitted to Parliament. The outturn for the 2017-18 financial year has not yet been finalised.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Brexit
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the Civil Service workforce required to administer a transitional period when the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 23 November 2017

Workforce planning is primarily the responsibility of each department. The Civil Service constantly reviews its capabilities in order to deliver the Government's commitment to leave the EU and get the best deal for the UK. Civil Service HR is working with all departments across the Civil Service to better understand their capacity and capability requirements.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 23 November 2017
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Defence: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many losses and special payments have been made by his Department in the 2017-18 financial year to date; and what the value of those losses and payments have been.
Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Brexit
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many full-time equivalent civil servants have been assigned work on the UK leaving the EU in the last 12 months; and what estimate he has made of the cost of that work.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 15 November 2017

Workforce planning is primarily the responsibility of each department. The Civil Service constantly reviews its capabilities in order to deliver the Government's commitment to leave the EU and get the best deal for the UK. Civil Service HR is working with all departments across the Civil Service to better understand their capacity and capability requirements.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
Asked on: 03 November 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
UK Delegations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether the Legatum Institute, or any representative from that Institute, has taken part in any meetings in Brussels as part of a UK Government delegation in the last two years.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 15 November 2017

I can confirm that in respect of the Department for Exiting the European Union, neither the Legatum Institute nor representatives of that organisation have taken part in meetings in Brussels as part of a UK Government Delegation.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 02 November 2017
Home Office
Homelessness: EU Nationals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many homeless EU citizens have been offered voluntary assisted return in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 08 November 2017

Please find attached a link to the published statistics on the take up of voluntary returns over the period requested, including by EU nationals:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/638602/returns1-apr-jun-2017-tables.ods

The Home Office does not hold data on whether individuals were rough sleepers in a reportable format. Such information could not be retrieved except by a manual inspection of every applicable personal record. This is likely to incur costs over the cost threshold.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 02 November 2017
Home Office
Homelessness: EU Nationals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many homeless EU citizens have been arrested and deported in each (a) month since January and (b) nation of the UK.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 08 November 2017

The Home Office does not hold the information you have requested in a reportable format. The Government publishes Immigration Statistics which details the number of enforced returns of EU citizens to June 2017.

This can be found at:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-april-to-june-2017/how-many-people-are-detained-or-returned#enforced-returns-of-eu-nationals

Q
(Edinburgh East)
Asked on: 25 October 2017
Home Office
Refugees: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to bring forward secondary legislation to enable Scottish local authorities to accept unaccompanied minors from the National Transfer Scheme.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 01 November 2017

We are committed to extending the transfer provisions in the Immigration Act 2016 to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We intend to bring forward draft regulations at the earliest opportunity.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 25 October 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of decisions on whether employment and support allowance claimants will not have to undergo further work capability assessments as a result of a lifelong, progressive, degenerative or incurable condition will be made as a result of a paper-based assessment.
A
Answered by: Penny Mordaunt
Answered on: 30 October 2017

This information is not available.

Only Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit equivalent claimants, with the most severe and lifelong health condition or disabilities, who are unlikely to ever be able to move in to work, will fall within this criteria. We expect the majority of these claimants will be assessed on paper, and will not need a face to face assessment

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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 October 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: ICT
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the cost of (a) improved and (b) new IT systems to administer support to the agriculture sector after 2020.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 25 October 2017

Leaving the EU presents a major opportunity for UK agriculture. We will be able to design new policies which specifically benefit the agriculture sector, the countryside and the environment. As part of this, we will determine what new systems we may need to implement these policies effectively, how existing IT infrastructure could be adapted, and the costs of doing so.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 16 October 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Iranian Government on the new charges being brought against Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe; and what steps the Government has taken to secure her release.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 19 October 2017

We are urgently seeking clarification from the Iranian authorities on reports that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is subject to further charges. I called the Iranian Ambassador to express my concerns, as did the Foreign Secretary in a call to Foreign Minister Zarif and a meeting with Vice-President Salehi on 11 October. But the scope of any additional charges remains unclear. Our Ambassador is continuing to press the Iranian authorities for further information. Iran’s position on dual-nationality makes progress on our consular cases difficult; nonetheless we continue to raise these cases with the Iranian authorities at the highest levels and at every available opportunity. We assess that our current approach is the one most likely to be in the best interests of our dual-national prisoners in Iran.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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 October 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Work Capability Assessment: Exemptions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the response by the Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work of 12 September 2017 to the letter from the hon. Member for Edinburgh East, on stopping of repeated work capability assessments for people who have lifelong, progressive, degenerative or incurable conditions, how that status will be determined; and whether people with such conditions who are already in receipt of employment and support allowance will be required to undergo a further work capability assessment to determine that status.
A
Answered by: Penny Mordaunt
Answered on: 17 October 2017

We will consider whether a claimant meets the criteria for stopping routine assessments as part of our existing WCA process, which involves assessing individuals against a set of functional descriptors to determine how their illness or disability affects their ability to work. The criteria are being considered as part of a claimant’s initial or next WCA.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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
Home Office
National Security: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that security measures undertaken by other governments outside the UK and funded from the public purse operate in conformity with child protection and human rights principles.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 12 October 2017

The Government takes child protection and human rights very seriously and encourages the governments of all countries to comply with them. Where the UK government is helping fund activity by a foreign government we keep it under regular review. However, security or any other measures undertaken by other sovereign states and their compliance with child protection and human rights remain the responsibility of the government of that country.

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