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.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

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.
Showing 1-20 out of 265
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Education
Pupils: Sanitary Protection
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure all school students have access to sanitary products.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 14 February 2018

No girl should be held back from reaching her potential because of her background or gender; this is why our current Sex and Relationships Education guidance encourages schools to make adequate and sensitive arrangements to help girls cope with menstruation.

Schools are best placed to identify and address the needs of their pupils, and have discretion over how they use their funding and can make sanitary products available to disadvantaged pupils if they identify this as a barrier to attainment or attendance. We support schools in addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils through the provision of the Pupil Premium, equivalent to almost £2.5 billion of additional funding this year alone. For students over 16, the 16-19 Bursary Fund can be used to support students from vulnerable groups and those who may face financial hardship to participate in education.

As a government, we are helping millions of families meet the everyday cost of living and keep more of what they earn. We are helping more people provide for themselves – with 3 million more people in work compared to 2010. We have introduced the National Living Wage, doubled free childcare to help support parents with the cost of bringing up children and cut income tax, leaving a basic rate taxpayer over £1,000 better off every year than in 2010. We also continue to spend around £90 billion a year supporting people including those who are out of work or on a low income.

We strongly support cutting VAT to zero on sanitary products and that is why the Finance Act 2016 included legislation to make this happen. However, we cannot do this under current EU law, so we are charging five per cent VAT – the lowest possible rate. We’re awarding £15 million a year to women’s charities through the Tampon Tax Fund – equivalent to the amount of VAT raised from the sale of women’s sanitary products. In the current round of Tampon Tax Funding, we have identified period poverty as a sub-theme in the general programme and have welcomed applications which address this issue.

Grouped Questions: 127000
Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Education
Poverty: Children and Young People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to reduce period poverty among 14 to 21 year olds.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 14 February 2018

No girl should be held back from reaching her potential because of her background or gender; this is why our current Sex and Relationships Education guidance encourages schools to make adequate and sensitive arrangements to help girls cope with menstruation.

Schools are best placed to identify and address the needs of their pupils, and have discretion over how they use their funding and can make sanitary products available to disadvantaged pupils if they identify this as a barrier to attainment or attendance. We support schools in addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils through the provision of the Pupil Premium, equivalent to almost £2.5 billion of additional funding this year alone. For students over 16, the 16-19 Bursary Fund can be used to support students from vulnerable groups and those who may face financial hardship to participate in education.

As a government, we are helping millions of families meet the everyday cost of living and keep more of what they earn. We are helping more people provide for themselves – with 3 million more people in work compared to 2010. We have introduced the National Living Wage, doubled free childcare to help support parents with the cost of bringing up children and cut income tax, leaving a basic rate taxpayer over £1,000 better off every year than in 2010. We also continue to spend around £90 billion a year supporting people including those who are out of work or on a low income.

We strongly support cutting VAT to zero on sanitary products and that is why the Finance Act 2016 included legislation to make this happen. However, we cannot do this under current EU law, so we are charging five per cent VAT – the lowest possible rate. We’re awarding £15 million a year to women’s charities through the Tampon Tax Fund – equivalent to the amount of VAT raised from the sale of women’s sanitary products. In the current round of Tampon Tax Funding, we have identified period poverty as a sub-theme in the general programme and have welcomed applications which address this issue.

Grouped Questions: 126999
Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Education
Arts: Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase funding for arts in schools.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 14 February 2018

In addition to general funding schools receive to deliver the curriculum, the Government specifically funds music education hubs and other arts-related programmes to ensure that every child has access to a high quality arts education.

The Government announced almost £400 million of funding in the period 2016-20 for a diverse portfolio of music and arts education programmes to improve access to the arts for all children, regardless of their background, and to develop talent across the country. This includes £300 million for music education hubs in 2016-20, £58 million in 2016-18 for the Music and Dance Scheme, which allows exceptionally talented children to attend specialist music and dance institutions, and more than £8 million in 2016-18 for cultural education programmes including Saturday Art and Design Clubs, the National Youth Dance Company and the BFI’s Film Academy programme.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Transport
Public Transport: Yorkshire and the Humber
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve (a) rail and (b) bus links in Yorkshire and the Humber.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 14 February 2018

My Department is committed to improving both rail and bus links in Yorkshire and Humber. The Northern and TransPennine Express rail franchises will deliver more seats and more services with brand-new and refurbished-as-new trains, including the replacement of all Pacer trains by 2020. The multi-billion pound Great North Rail Project includes upgrades being delivered now to the Calder Valley Line between Manchester, Bradford and Leeds, as well as capacity investments at Bradford Mill Lane and an additional platform at Leeds Station. But we want to go further, and are planning to upgrade the key Transpennine route between Manchester, Leeds and York to give passengers faster and more reliable journeys.

In the longer term, my Department remains committed to both High Speed 2 and to Northern Powerhouse Rail. The Department has provided Transport for the North with £60m to develop Northern Powerhouse Rail and committed £300m to ensure High Speed 2 can accommodate future Northern Powerhouse Rail services.

For more local improvements, Local Enterprise Partnerships have been provided with devolved Local Growth funding, which can be spent on rail and bus improvements, such as the £9.6 million allocated for capacity improvements on the Harrogate to York rail line. The Government has also provided £173.5 million from the failed trolley bus scheme to support the Leeds Local Public Transport Improvement Programme, which will deliver a wide range of bus and rail improvements in Leeds, including plans for new rail stations at Thorpe Park, Millshaw and a parkway station for Leeds Bradford International Airport. The Transforming Cities Fund announced in the Autumn Budget has provided £840million to the six mayoral combined authorities and the remainder will be allocated by competition. This will provide further funding for public transport improvements in other English cities, and could include those in Yorkshire and the Humber. Guidance on how to bid into the competitive half of the fund will be published shortly.

The Bus Services Act received Royal Assent in April 2017 and provides new powers to enable improvements to bus services. Regulations and guidance are now being published to allow for stronger partnership working; bus franchising powers for metro mayors; and better information on fares and routes for bus passengers.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Education
Universities: Mental Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department provides to universities on the provision of mental health services.
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 14 February 2018

The department is working closely with Universities UK (UUK) on the ongoing programme of work on mental health in higher education. UUK has worked in partnership with the Institute for Public Policy Research to strengthen the evidence base on mental health in higher education and launched their Step Change programme on 4 September 2017. The Step Change framework offers detailed guidance to higher education institutions (HEIs), including a strategy checklist for university leaders

(http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/stepchange/Pages/checklist.aspx).

The Children and Young People’s Mental Health green paper, open for consultation until 2 March 2018, outlines government’s plans to set up a new national strategic partnership focused on improving the mental health of 16-25 year olds – encouraging more coordinated action, experimentation and robust evaluation of mental health services.

As autonomous and independent organisations, it is for HEIs to determine what welfare and counselling services they need to provide to their students. Each institution will be best placed to identify the needs of their particular student body, including taking actions in line with any legal responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Poultry
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department are taking to encourage poultry farmers to keep their animals in free range environments.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 13 February 2018

All poultry farms are protected by comprehensive animal health and welfare legislation. The Government fully supports consumer choice and the requirement for clear labelling on egg packaging provides the information for consumers to make that choice.

We are currently consulting on a new statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Laying Hens, which provides improved and up-to-date guidance for owners and keepers on how to comply with legislation relating to all permitted production systems. This reflects the latest scientific and veterinary advice and should lead to enhanced laying hen welfare.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 01 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Energy: Waste
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the environmental impact of waste to energy facilities compared to general landfill.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 12 February 2018

Defra published “Energy recovery for residual waste, a carbon based modelling approach” in 2014, which set out to identify the critical factors that affect the environmental case for energy from waste (EfW) in comparison to landfill from a carbon perspective, and the sensitivity of that case to those factors. The critical factors include the efficiency of the EfW plant; the volume and efficiency of landfill gas collection; the carbon intensity of electricity production offset by EfW and the proportions of the biogenic and fossil-derived content of residual waste. The study notes that, reducing the proportion of fossil-derived materials such as plastics going to EfW through actions such as increased recycling can improve its environmental performance relative to landfill in terms of carbon.

The study also found that, under the current waste composition, landfill would only be environmentally preferable to EfW if the EfW plant had a net electrical efficiency of 11.7%.

As set out in Defra’s 2013 paper on incineration of municipal solid waste, the typical net electrical efficiency of an incinerator only recovering electricity is 27%, further increasing with the utilisation of heat. The paper can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/incineration-of-municipal-solid-waste

The Government remains of the view that EfW is generally better than landfill in terms of environmental impact. We are in the process of developing a new Resources and Waste Strategy, which will aim to ensure we have the right mix of infrastructure for waste that maximises its value as a resource and minimises its environmental impact.

The “Energy recovery for residual waste, a carbon based modelling approach” can be found here: http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&Completed=0&ProjectID=19019

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
[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 February 2018
Department for Transport
Transport: Per Capita Costs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his Answer of 1 February 2018 to Question 125292 on Transport: Per Capita Costs, what estimate his Department has made of value of transport projects and programmes in (i) London and (ii) Yorkshire and the Humber since 2010.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 12 February 2018
Holding answer received on 08 February 2018

HM Treasury publishes country and regional analyses (‘CRA’) of public expenditure. The latest CRA statistics were published on 9 November 2017 and present data for the five years up to 2016-17, which includes public expenditure (capital) on transport. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/country-and-regional-analysis . Data for years before 2012-13 can also be found at that weblink in prior year publications.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Sleeping Rough
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress has been made on achieving the Government's commitment to halve rough sleeping by 2022.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 12 February 2018

The recently established Rough Sleeping and Homelessness Reduction Taskforce will design and drive forward the implementation of our cross-government strategy to achieve our commitment of halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it altogether by 2027. This strategy will include a timeline and action plan for meeting this commitment. We have also brought together a panel of external experts through the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel, who will be working closely with the Taskforce in developing the strategy to achieve our manifesto commitments.

The Government has already taken important steps to prevent and reduce homelessness and rough sleeping. This includes, allocating over £1 billion in funding through to 2020 and taking forward the most ambitious legislative reform in this area in decades, the Homelessness Reduction Act, which will mean people will get the help they need sooner.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for International Development
South Africa: Water
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she plans to provide humanitarian assistance to South Africa to help respond to the water shortage in Cape Town.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 12 February 2018

We, and UK experts in London and in Cape Town, are in ongoing discussions with the Western Cape provincial and Cape Town municipal governments about how UK expertise and companies could collaborate with the South African authorities to address the short and long term water challenges. There have been no requests for humanitarian assistance and we have no plans to provide it.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 01 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Peace Negotiations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Government in Turkey on a negotiated, peaceful and democratic solution for the Kurdish population in Syria and Turkey.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 09 February 2018

​We regularly discuss the need for a political settlement in Syria with the Government of Turkey. These discussions cover the needs of all Syrians. The Foreign Secretary most recently spoke to Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu about Syria on 24 January. Within Turkey we have consistently called for the PKK to lay down its arms and for the government and the PKK to return to peace talks. We stand ready to help achieve this goal in any way we can.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 01 February 2018
Department for Education
Schools: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his policy is on local authorities having control of new build schools on new sites; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 09 February 2018

Local authorities have a duty to plan and secure sufficient schools for their area. Where a local authority identifies the need to establish a new school, Section 6A of Education and Inspections Act 2006 places the local authority under a duty to seek proposals to establish an academy (free school) and to specify a date by which proposals must be submitted to the local authority. This is known as the free school presumption and is the main route for local authorities to set up new schools. The Local authority must also provide the site for the school.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 01 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Beaches
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce plastic pollution on beaches.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 09 February 2018

Studies have shown that the majority of waste plastic on beaches is made up of fragmented pieces which have been in the sea for a long time and broken down. Some of the plastic on English beaches will come from non-UK sources.

The Environment Agency (EA) will work with Water Companies to improve collection of plastic in the sewerage network. The EA also works with local councils and other bodies to reduce fly tipping, including in coastal areas.

I also refer the honourable Member to the reply previously given on 23 January 2018, PQ 123722, with respect to the EA’s recent announcement of £750,000 for a new, dedicated team to tackle plastics pollution in the South West of England. As part of the work of this new team the EA will encourage partnerships with groups for beach cleaning.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 01 February 2018
Department for Transport
Aviation: Carbon Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to support the aviation industry in reducing carbon emissions as that sector expands.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 09 February 2018

Given the international nature of the aviation sector, the Government’s emphasis has been on taking action at the global level as the best means of addressing carbon emissions from aviation.

In 2016, the UK was instrumental in reaching a ground-breaking international agreement through the International Civil Aviation Organisation, aimed at decoupling growth in flights from growth in emissions by achieving carbon neutral growth in the sector from 2020.

However, the Government has also encouraged other measures to reduce aviation emissions, including VIA the use of biofuels, airspace reform and improvements in aerospace technology.

The Government intends to make aviation biofuels eligible for certificates under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation. This will help increase the use of renewable fuels in a sector that remains likely to require liquid fuels over the long term.

Through the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition, the Government has made £22 million matched capital funding available to support the production of low carbon fuels for aviation and heavy good vehicles.

The Government will set out its strategic approach to the aviation sector in a series of consultations leading to the publication of a new Aviation Strategy for the UK in 2019.

The Strategy will consider what the best approach and combination of policy measures are at the international and domestic levels to ensure we effectively address carbon emissions from aviation.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 01 February 2018
Department for Transport
Bus Services: Yorkshire and the Humber
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what meetings he has had with bus operators in Yorkshire and the Humber since taking his post; and what meetings such are planned for 2018.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 09 February 2018

The Secretary of State regularly meets with bus operators from all across the country. Details of past Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on a quarterly basis and are available via the gov.uk website. The Department does not publish/provide details of planned meetings.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Homelessness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has made an estimate of the number of homeless people in full-service universal credit areas (a) before and (b) after the roll-out of universal credit.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 09 February 2018

The Department has not made an estimate of the number of homeless people in full service areas. We do not hold data on homelessness at a postcode or Jobcentre Plus level, which would be necessary to inform such an estimate. Data on homelessness by local authority level is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/homelessness-statistics.

However, DWP have played an active role in developing the Homelessness Case Level Information Collection tool and is committed to continually supporting the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to improve its data collection system for statistical and research purposes. More information on this is available at https://gss.civilservice.gov.uk/statistics/working-with-users/dclg-homelessness-statistics-user-forum/.

In addition, from October 2018, Jobcentres across England will have a legal duty to refer homeless people, and those at risk of becoming homeless, to a local authority housing team of the claimant’s choice. This duty will help claimants access homelessness services as soon as possible, allowing local authorities to focus on prevention.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Mental Health Services: Yorkshire and the Humber
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to support increased provision of emergency beds for mental health crisis patients in Yorkshire and the Humber.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 09 February 2018

Significant work is underway to ensure all areas of the country are actively prioritising the provision of crisis response and acute mental health care services.

By 2021, in line with recommendations from the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health all areas should have crisis resolution and home treatment teams which can provide both a 24/7 community-based emergency response and offer intensive home treatment as an alternative to an acute inpatient admission.

We have set an ambition to eliminate inappropriate out of area placements for adult acute mental health care resulting from local bed capacity pressures. All areas have plans in place to ensure that acute mental health inpatient beds are always available to people who need them by 2021.

In Yorkshire and the Humber, work is expected to begin on a new inpatient mental health facility for children and young people at St Mary’s Hospital in 2019. Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust already operates disability and mental health services from the site. The new unit will have 18 specialist and four psychiatric intensive care beds.

Humber NHS Foundation Trust is developing a new 11 bed mental health unit in West Hull. The facility will help young people from Hull, East Riding and North and North East Lincolnshire suffering with mental health problems.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
BBC: Equal Pay
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has discussed with the BBC closing the gender pay gap at the BBC by 2020.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 09 February 2018

The government is clear that the BBC has a responsibility to set an example for others and lead the way in promoting equality in the workplace. Ministers have regular discussions with the Director-General on a range of topics, including the BBC’s gender pay gap, and we welcome his commitment to closing the gap by 2020.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 01 February 2018
Home Office
Asylum: Temporary Accommodation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum seekers living in temporary dispersal accommodation have been there for one year or more.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 08 February 2018

Temporary Dispersal Accommodation is a short-term contingency mechanism by which a provider may accommodate a service user in a suitable alternative address whilst a longer term property is made available, for example when an dispersal property is temporarily inaccessible whilst repair or specialist adaptations are undertaken.

The Home Office considers all such requests by providers on a case by case basis and monitors its use closely. However information on the length of stay of people in TDA is not collated in central statistical databases, and is not recorded in a format suitable for publication. This information could only be provided at disproportionate cost by examination of individual occupancy records.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 01 February 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
European City of Culture: Liverpool
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the lasting economic benefits for Liverpool after that city's year as European Capital of Culture in 2008.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 08 February 2018

Research into the impact of​ Liverpool's European Capital of Culture year​ has found that it attracted 9.7 million extra visitors in 2008 which generated an economic impact of over £750 million ​across Liverpool, Merseyside and the wider North West region and led to higher levels of cultural engagement. ​Liverpool continues to have a thriving culture scene and regularly hosts several major events. The success of Liverpool 08 also led directly to the creation of the UK City of Culture programme; in December, Coventry was selected to be the next UK City of Culture 2021.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 1-20 out of 265
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100