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: 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.

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: 12 October 2017

The Cabinet Office has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

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.
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: 05 September 2017
Home Office
Refugees: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many unaccompanied children are supported by each local authority; how many children each local authority has offered to support; and what support has been offered to local authorities to increase their capacity to provide appropriate psychological support for unaccompanied child refugees.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 04 October 2017

Published data on unaccompanied asylum seeking children can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-april-to-june-2017/how-many-people-do-we-grant-asylum-or-protection-to#unaccompanied-asylum-seeking-children.

There are over 4,000 unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) in local authority care in the UK.

The National Transfer Scheme was launched on 1 July 2016 and has been working to ensure a fairer allocation of UASC across the UK. A significant number of local authorities have participated in the scheme and enabled the transfer of children away from local authorities with a disproportionate number of UASC in their care.

The Government welcomes all offers from local authorities with capacity to look after UASC. We continue to engage with local authorities across the country to encourage further participation.

In support of the National Transfer Scheme central government increased funding to local authorities caring for UASC by up to 33% in July 2016. In August 2017 a review of funding for UASC was launched and all local authorities who currently look after unaccompanied children have been invited to submit evidence.

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: 18 July 2017
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Location
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, which of his Department's functions are carried out in (a) England and (b) London; and what the administrative costs were of those functions in each of those areas in the last year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 14 September 2017

All of the functions of my Department are carried out in England. During 2016/17, on average, 2,557 staff were employed in London and a further 150 in England outside of London.

Administration costs for the year 2016-17 are set out in the Cabinet Office Annual Report and Accounts.

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.
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.
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: 05 September 2017
Home Office
Refugees: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking together with the French Government to reduce the level of unnecessary force used by the police in that country against child refugees and to ensure the protection of unaccompanied child refugees seeking a place of safety in the UK.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 12 September 2017

The responsibility for maintaining law and order in France lies with the French government.

No one should live in makeshift camps in Calais, which is why we continue to work closely with the French authorities on border security and migration issues, including helping to fund alternative facilities elsewhere in France for Calais migrants provided by the French government. However, the primary responsibility for unaccompanied children lies with the authorities in the country in which children are present. The UK government does not have the authority to operate unauthorised on the territory of another sovereign state.

The UK is also proud to have transferred over 750 children from France to the UK last year as a result of the Calais camp clearance, and we continue to work with the French authorities to transfer unaccompanied children who may be eligible under the Dublin Regulation or section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016.

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: 05 September 2017
Home Office
Refugees: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if her Department will consider the recommendations of the report by Christine Beddoe on separated and unaccompanied minors in Europe.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 11 September 2017

The Government has noted the report by the Human Trafficking Foundation into the independent inquiry into the situation of separated and unaccompanied minors in parts of Europe and is considering its recommendations. We are already working on a number of the areas addressed in the report.

The UK is working very closely with France and other EU Member States in respect of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. This includes ensuring the timely and efficient operation of the Dublin Regulation, to allow children with qualifying family in the UK to be transferred here for consideration of their asylum claim, where it is in the child’s best interests. We also remain fully committed to implementing section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, and are working with Member State authorities and other partners to identify and transfer children to the UK quickly and safely. However, the primary responsibility for unaccompanied children lies with the authorities in the country in which children are present. The UK government does not have the authority to operate unauthorised on the territory of another sovereign state.

The Department for Education and Home Office continue to work together with local authorities and NGOs to ensure that vulnerable children are safe, and their welfare promoted once they arrive in the UK. A joint safeguarding strategy for unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children is due to be published in the Autumn.

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
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Bedouin
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Israeli Government on the removal of citizenship from people living in Bedouin communities in Israel.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 07 September 2017

We are closely following the situation of Bedouin communities in the Negev, and continue to encourage the Israeli authorities and Bedouin communities to engage in dialogue to agree a satisfactory solution to these issues, respecting the rights of the people affected.

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
Refugees: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the July 2017 report by Christine Beddoe on separated and unaccompanied minors in Europe, whether the Government plans to create safe travel routes for those minors with a family member in the UK.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 07 September 2017

Safe travel routes from unaccompanied children from Europe to the UK are already in place. Our family reunion policy allows a spouse or partner and children under the age of 18 of those granted protection in the UK to join them here, if they formed part of the family unit before the sponsor fled their country.

In addition, the Dublin Regulation allows unaccompanied children who have claimed asylum in another Member State to be transferred here to have their asylum claim assessed if they have a qualifying family member legally present in the UK and transfer would be in their best interests. In order for the Dublin Regulation to apply, an unaccompanied child must first claim asylum in the Member State in which they are located and that Member State must issue a Take Charge Request to the UK. The UK is working closely with other Member States as well as intergovernmental organisations and NGOs to ensure the effective operation of the Dublin Regulation.

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
Refugees: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether officials are working with French authorities to ensure that unaccompanied child refugees in France have information about their legal rights and options.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 07 September 2017

UK and French officials are working together to review the processes and procedures in place for the provision of information to children in northern France.

The primary responsibility for unaccompanied children in France lies with the French authorities. The UK cannot operate on the territory of another sovereign nation without a specific request to do 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: 18 July 2017
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Carbon Emissions
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the level of carbon emissions from his Department's buildings in each year since 2015.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 05 September 2017

Figures for the department's overall carbon emissions are published annually in the Cabinet Office's Annual Report & Accounts. Carbon emissions from the Cabinet Office estate are as follows:

2015 - 5,950.34 Tonnes of CO2e

2016 - 5,092.77 Tonnes of CO2e

2017 (Jan-Mar) - 1425.5 Tonnes of CO2e

Total CO2e emissions = 12468.61

The Cabinet Office is fully committed to meeting the Government's Greening Government Commitments (GGC). The GGC departmental commitment is to reduce carbon emissions from a 2009/10 baseline by 35% by 2020; to date the department has achieved a reduction of over 50% in its overall emissions reductions.

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: 18 July 2017
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Consultants
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much (a) his Department and (b) each (i) non-departmental public body and (ii) executive agency for which his Department is responsible spent on external consultants and advisers in each year since 2015.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 05 September 2017

The overall amount spent on external consultancy by the Cabinet Office is published in the Cabinet Office Annual Report and Accounts available on page 52 on the below link. The Crown Commercial Service executive agency hold this information in their own accounts, which are available online.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-annual-report-and-accounts-2015-to-2016

Accounts for 2016-17 will be published in due course.

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: 18 July 2017
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Advertising
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much was spent on advertising by (a) his Department and (b) each of its (i) non-departmental public bodies and (ii) executive agencies in each year since 2015.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 05 September 2017

The information requested is not held centrally and therefore can only be provided at disproportionate costs.

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: 19 July 2017
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Consultants
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether, and at what cost, consultants have been contracted to carry out (a) marketing, (b) polling, (c) focus group and (d) other promotional activity relating to his Department's responsibilities in the last three years; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 05 September 2017

The information requested is not held centrally and therefore can only be provided at disproportionate costs.

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: 19 July 2017
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Official Hospitality
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many receptions his Department has hosted for representatives of print and broadcast media since 2015; how much each such reception cost; and how many people attended each such reception.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 05 September 2017

Costs of hospitality for the Cabinet Office are published in the Cabinet Office annual report and accounts which is available on the gov.uk website. The annual report and accounts for 2016/2017 will be released in due course.

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: 19 July 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 the most recent year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 05 September 2017

The cost of sickness pay to staff in the Cabinet Office was £353K between 1 June 2016 and 31 May 2017.

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