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 Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
[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 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
EU Defence Policy: British Nationals Abroad
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many British nationals were seconded to EU military and civilian missions and operations, in which countries those missions were located and by which EU treaty those missions were created, in each of the last 10 years.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 22 February 2018

In 2017, 82 British nationals were deployed to EU Common Security and Defence Policy military operations and missions: 57 at the UK headquarters of the Naval Force for Somalia, eight to the Training Mission in Mali, seven to Force Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina, six to the Naval Force in the Mediterranean, and four to the Training Mission in Somalia. A further 120 personnel were in the intermediate reserve held in the UK for Force Althea.

25 British nationals were deployed to civilian missions: nine to the Monitoring Mission in Georgia, six to the Advisory Mission in Ukraine, six to the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, three to the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor's Office in the Netherlands, and one to the Capacity Building Mission in Mali.

These operations and missions were established under the Treaty of European Union, as amended by the Maastricht Treaty in the cases of Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Naval Force Somalia; and as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon in the cases of Ukraine, Mali, the Mediterranean, and the Training Mission to Somalia.

The information requested on UK personnel for the years since 2008 is not held centrally but I refer the hon. Member the answer given by my hon. Friend the then Minister for the Armed Forces (Mr Francois) of 1 December 2014 to (PQ) 214602 to the hon. Member for Wrexham (Mr Lucas), and to the House of Lords Library Research Briefing "Leaving the European Union: UK Armed Forces and Diplomatic Service" published on 2 December 2016 (http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/LLN-2016-0066#fullreport).

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
[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: 30 January 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the timetable is for the upcoming review of all personal independence payment claims.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 02 February 2018

I refer the Hon. Member to the statement made by myself, Official Report, 30 January 2018, Column 703.

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
[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: 15 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
British Overseas Territories
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government will match the level of EU funding provided to British Overseas Territories after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 19 January 2018
Holding answer received on 18 January 2018

The UK and Overseas Territory Governments share a responsibility to the British citizens living in those territories to help enable them to lead secure, stable and more prosperous lives. The UK will remain party to the European Development Fund (EDF) until the closure of the 11th EDF, and we expect to confirm the arrangements for preserving the UK's Overseas Territories' EDF funding in the next phase of negotiations. After we leave the EU we will want to take our own decisions about how to deliver the policy objectives previously targeted by EU funding.

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
[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 December 2017
HM Treasury
Sterling: Exchange Rates
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessments his Department has made of the implication for its policies of the devaluation of sterling since June 2016.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 08 January 2018

The government does not express a view on the level of the exchange rate. The value of sterling adjusts flexibly in response to economic conditions and market forces. The Monetary Policy Committee independently sets monetary policy, including interest rates, to achieve the objective of price stability, currently defined as an inflation target of 2 per cent.

The government will continue to monitor economic developments closely, while at the same time taking steps to promote economic growth and support individuals and businesses.

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
[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 December 2017
HM Treasury
Consumer Prices Index
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessments his Department has made of the implications for its policies in the increase of consumer prices since June 2016.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 08 January 2018

Inflation is expected to fall over the coming year, but the government recognises that families are feeling a squeeze now.

The government is helping with the cost of living today by letting people keep more of what they earn, raising the National Living Wage, freezing duty on fuel and alcohol, and tackling housing costs.

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
[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 December 2017
HM Treasury
Consumer Prices Index
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on the Consumer Prices Index rate of inflation.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 08 January 2018

In their November 2017 Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the OBR forecast that CPI inflation would average 2.7% in 2017. This is above the Bank of England’s 2% inflation target, as the past depreciation of sterling has pushed up import prices. The OBR expect this effect to fade over 2018, so inflation is expected to fall back towards the 2% target by the end of the year.

The government is helping with the cost of living today by letting people keep more of what they earn, raising the National Living Wage, freezing duty on fuel and alcohol, and tackling housing costs.

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
[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 December 2017
HM Treasury
Cost of Living
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessments his Department has made on the potential effect on the cost of living of the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 08 January 2018

As the Chancellor made clear in front of the Treasury Select Committee on Wednesday 6 December, the department has undertaken a variety of analysis and continues to do. The Treasury has modelled and analysed the impact of a wide range of potential alternative structures between the EU and the UK. This analysis is ongoing and continues to inform our negotiation position with the EU.

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
Asked on: 19 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Pollution Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessments his Department made of the potential effects of leaving the EU on the Government’s commitment to tackle air pollution and decarbonisation.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 04 January 2018

The Government is fully committed to tackling air pollution and climate change and that is independent of being a member of the EU. We have put in place a £3.5 billion plan to improve air quality. The UK also has ambitious, international targets in place to significantly reduce emissions of five damaging air pollutants by 2020 and 2030 and we are developing a Clean Air Strategy to deliver these goals. We will continue to work with member states of the EU in achieving cleaner air, recognising the transboundary nature of some pollutants.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is designed to ensure that, as far as possible, the same rules and laws will apply on the day after we leave as on the day before. It will be for Parliament (and in some cases for the devolved legislatures) to make any future changes in legislation after we have left the EU.

With regards to decarbonisation, whatever the nature of the future UK-EU relationship, the UK will remain committed to international efforts to tackle climate change. Our domestic legislation - the Climate Change Act – requires us to make ambitious reductions, more than those required of us by the EU.

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
Asked on: 19 December 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
State Retirement Pensions: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of paying all women aged 60 or over but yet to reach state pension age (SPA) non-means tested income at Jobseekers Allowance rates until SPA is reached.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 22 December 2017

The Department has no plans to carry out such an assessment.

A concession was made prior to the passing of the 2011 Act which reduced the delay that anyone would experience in claiming their State Pension, relative to the previous timetable, to 18 months. This concession benefited almost a quarter of a million women, who would otherwise have experienced delays of up to two years. A similar number of men also benefited from a reduced increase, and the concession was worth £1.1 billion in total.

This issue has been debated numerous times and numerous statements have already been made. Introducing further concessions cannot be justified given the imperative to focus public resources on helping those most in need.

The current average age of exit from the labour market for women is 63.6 – well above the previous women’s State Pension age of 60. The welfare system continues to provide a safety-net for those experiencing hardship, including for reasons of unemployment, disability and coping with caring responsibilities. The Government is committed to supporting the vulnerable and spends around £50 billion a year on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions.

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
Asked on: 19 December 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Mass Media: Young People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans her Department has to promote teaching young people how to critically analyse what they view on the internet and in the media to help them identify fake news.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 22 December 2017
As part of our Internet Safety Strategy and through our work with the Department for Education, we are ensuring that children have the knowledge they need to critically assess information. This will help children and young people identify intentionally misleading information on the Internet and in the media.

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
Asked on: 19 December 2017
Department for Education
Digital Technology: Adult Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department plans to introduce and promote digital literacy education for adults.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 22 December 2017

The Digital Strategy published in March 2017 confirmed the government’s new entitlement for adults who lack basic digital skills to undertake fully-funded training. This provision was included in the Digital Economy Act 2017, which will mirror the approach taken for adult literacy and numeracy training.

We are working with the further education sector, employers and other stakeholders to develop the details of this new entitlement. My Rt hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, will set out basic digital qualifications for adult learners eligible for fully-funded training in due course. In the interim, we will continue to support the provision of basic digital skills training for adults in colleges and community learning centres across England through the Adult Education Budget and other programmes.

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
Asked on: 19 December 2017
HM Treasury
Banks: Cardiff North
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many bank branch closures there have been in Cardiff North constituency in the last 10 years.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 21 December 2017

The Treasury does not collect data relating to bank branch closures.

While the decision to close a branch remains a commercial judgement for banks, the impact on communities must be understood, considered and mitigated where possible.

The industry’s Access to Banking Standard, launched in May 2017, commits banks to inform customers and stakeholders of the decision to close a branch as soon as the bank is operationally ready to do so. Banks must provide a minimum of 12 weeks’ notice but are free to provide more. RBS, for example, generally provides 6 months’ notice. The Access to Banking Standard also ensures customers understand the options they have locally to continue to access banking services, including specialist assistance for customers who need more help. Banks’ obligations under the Access to Banking Standard are monitored and enforced by the independent Lending Standards Board.

99% of banks’ personal and 95% of banks’ business customers are now able to withdraw cash, deposit cash and cheques, and make balance enquiries at a Post Office counter via its network of 11,600 branches. At Autumn Budget 2017, I wrote to the Post Office and UK Finance to ask them to raise public awareness of the banking services available at the Post Office for individuals and SMEs. Government will have provided nearly £2 billion during the period 2011 to 2018 to maintain and modernise the Post Office network, and has recently announced an additional £370 million of funding for the period 2018-2021.

Grouped Questions: 120404 | 120405 | 120406
Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
Asked on: 19 December 2017
HM Treasury
Banks: Closures
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to encourage banks to engage with customers and stakeholders before the 12-week minimum standards in the event of proposed bank branch closures.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 21 December 2017

The Treasury does not collect data relating to bank branch closures.

While the decision to close a branch remains a commercial judgement for banks, the impact on communities must be understood, considered and mitigated where possible.

The industry’s Access to Banking Standard, launched in May 2017, commits banks to inform customers and stakeholders of the decision to close a branch as soon as the bank is operationally ready to do so. Banks must provide a minimum of 12 weeks’ notice but are free to provide more. RBS, for example, generally provides 6 months’ notice. The Access to Banking Standard also ensures customers understand the options they have locally to continue to access banking services, including specialist assistance for customers who need more help. Banks’ obligations under the Access to Banking Standard are monitored and enforced by the independent Lending Standards Board.

99% of banks’ personal and 95% of banks’ business customers are now able to withdraw cash, deposit cash and cheques, and make balance enquiries at a Post Office counter via its network of 11,600 branches. At Autumn Budget 2017, I wrote to the Post Office and UK Finance to ask them to raise public awareness of the banking services available at the Post Office for individuals and SMEs. Government will have provided nearly £2 billion during the period 2011 to 2018 to maintain and modernise the Post Office network, and has recently announced an additional £370 million of funding for the period 2018-2021.

Grouped Questions: 120402 | 120405 | 120406
Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
Asked on: 19 December 2017
HM Treasury
Banks: Closures
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of bank branch closures in communities with lower population density and higher elderly populations.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 21 December 2017

The Treasury does not collect data relating to bank branch closures.

While the decision to close a branch remains a commercial judgement for banks, the impact on communities must be understood, considered and mitigated where possible.

The industry’s Access to Banking Standard, launched in May 2017, commits banks to inform customers and stakeholders of the decision to close a branch as soon as the bank is operationally ready to do so. Banks must provide a minimum of 12 weeks’ notice but are free to provide more. RBS, for example, generally provides 6 months’ notice. The Access to Banking Standard also ensures customers understand the options they have locally to continue to access banking services, including specialist assistance for customers who need more help. Banks’ obligations under the Access to Banking Standard are monitored and enforced by the independent Lending Standards Board.

99% of banks’ personal and 95% of banks’ business customers are now able to withdraw cash, deposit cash and cheques, and make balance enquiries at a Post Office counter via its network of 11,600 branches. At Autumn Budget 2017, I wrote to the Post Office and UK Finance to ask them to raise public awareness of the banking services available at the Post Office for individuals and SMEs. Government will have provided nearly £2 billion during the period 2011 to 2018 to maintain and modernise the Post Office network, and has recently announced an additional £370 million of funding for the period 2018-2021.

Grouped Questions: 120402 | 120404 | 120406
Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
Asked on: 19 December 2017
HM Treasury
Banks: Closures
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the social effects of bank branch closures on lower-income communities.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 21 December 2017

The Treasury does not collect data relating to bank branch closures.

While the decision to close a branch remains a commercial judgement for banks, the impact on communities must be understood, considered and mitigated where possible.

The industry’s Access to Banking Standard, launched in May 2017, commits banks to inform customers and stakeholders of the decision to close a branch as soon as the bank is operationally ready to do so. Banks must provide a minimum of 12 weeks’ notice but are free to provide more. RBS, for example, generally provides 6 months’ notice. The Access to Banking Standard also ensures customers understand the options they have locally to continue to access banking services, including specialist assistance for customers who need more help. Banks’ obligations under the Access to Banking Standard are monitored and enforced by the independent Lending Standards Board.

99% of banks’ personal and 95% of banks’ business customers are now able to withdraw cash, deposit cash and cheques, and make balance enquiries at a Post Office counter via its network of 11,600 branches. At Autumn Budget 2017, I wrote to the Post Office and UK Finance to ask them to raise public awareness of the banking services available at the Post Office for individuals and SMEs. Government will have provided nearly £2 billion during the period 2011 to 2018 to maintain and modernise the Post Office network, and has recently announced an additional £370 million of funding for the period 2018-2021.

Grouped Questions: 120402 | 120404 | 120405
Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
Asked on: 19 December 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
State Retirement Pensions: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will estimate the number of women affected by the Pensions Acts 1995 and 2011 in Cardiff North constituency.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 21 December 2017

Women born between 6 April 1950 and 5 April 1953 were affected by State Pension age equalisation under the Pensions Act 1995. The Pensions Act 2011 accelerated the equalisation of State Pension age, and included transitional arrangements limiting State Pension age delays, affecting women born between 6 April 1953 and 5 December 1953. It also brought forward the increase in State Pension age from 65 to 66 which affected women born between 6 December 1953 and 5 April 1960.

Information on the numbers affected by parliamentary constituency is not held by the Department for Work and Pensions. However, the most recent population breakdowns for Wales and its parliamentary constituencies by age can be found here:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/datasets/parliamentaryconstituencymidyearpopulationestimates

The House of Commons library has produced a paper estimating the number of women affected by the 1995 and 2011 Pensions Acts by constituency, which can be found here:

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7405/CBP-07405constituencyestimates.xlsx

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
Asked on: 19 December 2017
Cabinet Office
Voting Rights: Young People
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the right to vote to 16 and 17-year-olds.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 21 December 2017

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk (Mr Day) on Monday 26 June 2017 to written question 729.

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
Asked on: 11 December 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Carbon Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to ensure that the emissions reduction targets set out in the Committee on Climate Change's carbon budgets are met.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 19 December 2017

The UK met the first carbon budget (2008-2012) and is on track to meet the second (2013-2017) and third carbon budgets (2018-2022).

The Fifth Carbon Budget (covering 2028-32) was passed into law on 21 July 2016. This budget is set in line with the recommendation of our independent advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, at 1,725 MtCO2e, equivalent to a 57% reduction on 1990 levels.

The Clean Growth Strategy sets out ambitious policies and proposals to decarbonise the UK economy through the 2020s, and includes a 2032 pathway, which shows one of many plausible ways we can meet our fifth carbon budget.

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
Asked on: 11 December 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to produce and implement a revenue neutral plan to bring the domestic sector housing stock up to Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2035.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 19 December 2017

The Clean Growth Strategy (the Strategy), published in October this year, sets out Government’s aspiration that as many homes as possible will be upgraded to an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C by 2035, where practical, cost-effective and affordable. The Strategy set out a number of policies and proposals that will help us make progress against this aspiration, including:

  1. Developing a long term trajectory to improve the energy performance standards of privately rented homes, with the aim of upgrading as many as possible to EPC Band C by 2030 where practical, cost-effective and affordable. We will consider options by consulting on this in 2018 and looking at how social housing can meet equivalent standards over the same period.

  1. Investing around £3.6 billion to upgrade around a million homes through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). In addition, we will extend support for home energy efficiency beyond the current commitment to fund ECO to 2022 and out to 2028 with funding, at least at current ECO levels.

  1. Consulting on strengthening energy performance standards for new and existing homes under Building Regulations, including futureproofing new homes for low carbon heating systems, following the outcome of the independent review of Building Regulations and fire safety, and subject to its conclusions.

  1. Seeking evidence on building a market for energy efficiency, including additional measures to improve energy performance of owner occupied homes through a Call for Evidence published alongside the Clean Growth Strategy. This Call for Evidence is currently open and closes on 9 January 2018. Following an evaluation of the responses, we will publish an action plan on additional market based measures later in 2018.

In the Call for Evidence on building a market for energy efficiency, we made clear that the government would adopt policies that help to meet our commitments at the lowest possible net cost to UK taxpayers, consumer and businesses; and which maximise the social and economic benefits for the UK from this transition.

Q
Asked by Anna McMorrin
(Cardiff North)
Asked on: 11 December 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Renewable Energy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will ensure that, with the exception of national infrastructure projects, all proposed renewable energy schemes are determined at a local level.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 19 December 2017

For any onshore renewable energy scheme that is not a nationally significant infrastructure project, or is not an energy project directed into the Planning Act 2008 regime by the Secretary of State, planning permission is sought under relevant town and country legislation.

In England this is through the local authority led planning system, except in specific circumstances when the Secretary of State decides whether to grant planning permission for a scheme, for example where an application is called in. Town and country planning in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is a devolved matter.

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