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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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 Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
Department of Health
Scarlet Fever
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment his Department made of trends in the instances of scarlet fever in the UK.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 11 December 2017

Public Health England recently undertook a comprehensive assessment of longitudinal trends in scarlet fever in England and Wales in light of the elevation in scarlet fever disease incidence, noted from 2014 onwards. This identified that the population rate in 2016 (33 cases per 100,000 population) was the highest seen since 1967. The study also identified a rise in hospitalisations during this period of elevated incidence, although the majority were discharged the same day. Weekly notifications during the 2017 seasonal peak of activity showed a slight drop compared to the previous year.

The assessment is available to view here:

www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(17)30693-X/fulltext?elsca1=tlpr

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
Department of Health
Influenza: Vaccination
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to encourage people to take the winter flu jab.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 11 December 2017

Public Health England, in partnership with NHS England, is currently running the Stay Well This Winter campaign which encourages people who are most at-risk of preventable emergency admission to hospital to take actions to help them stay well. These actions include getting a flu vaccination and visiting a pharmacy at the first sign of a winter illness.

The campaign launched on 9 October 2017 and promotes uptake of the flu vaccination to people with long term health conditions, people aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, carers and eligible children.

Stay Well This Winter is a national multi-channel campaign that includes television, radio, social media, public relations and digital activity. This is supported by an extensive partnership programme to amplify reach through local authorities, the National Health Service, pharmacies, commercial manufacturers of over the counter medicines, the energy sector, charities, employers and many other organisations.

Q
Asked by Chris Law
(Dundee West)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Armed Conflict: Schools
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he expects to conclude his review on whether the UK Government should sign the Safe Schools Declaration.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The internal FCO review into our position towards the Safe Schools Declaration recently concluded. The Government is considering its implications and assessing next steps.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
HM Treasury
Employee Ownership: Charitable Donations
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the introduction of a tax exemption on residential cash balances for Share Incentive Plans donated to charities when an employee exits a scheme.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 11 December 2017

Share Incentive Plans provide companies with flexibility to meet their business needs regarding employee ownership. The Government continues to keep employee share schemes policy under review.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Sudan
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he plans to visit Khartoum; and what assessment his Department has made of whether it is safe for people who have sought asylum in the UK to return to Sudan.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The Foreign Secretary currently has no plans to visit Khartoum.

All asylum and human rights claims from Sudanese nationals are carefully considered on their individual merits, and in accordance with our obligations under the Refuge Convention and European Convention on Human Rights. Those who are found not to need protection are refused, but have a right of appeal to the independent courts.

Q
(Stockton North)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
HM Treasury
Pensioners: Income
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment the Government has made of the Financial Conduct Authority’s interim report on the Retirement Outcomes Review.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published their interim Retirement Outcomes Review report in July 2017 and plan to publish their final report in 2018.

The government welcomes the FCA’s work in this area ensuring that the market supports consumer choice and consumers have the right information when making decisions on how to manage their retirement income. The government awaits the publication of the final report of the review, and will consider any recommendations carefully.

The government notes the FCA’s interim report and believes it is right that individuals are trusted with their own hard-earned savings and that they should have choice about how to access their pension income rather than being forced to purchase an annuity.

As the FCA’s interim findings show, the majority of pots that are fully withdrawn are smaller (90% worth less than £30,000) and the majority of individuals (94%) have other sources of income in retirement. This does not indicate that people are squandering their savings as a result of the pension freedoms.

The pension freedoms have been very popular: as of October 2017 individuals have accessed over £14.2 billion through over 2.7 million payments.

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Armed Conflict: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to adhere to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 with regard to its reaffirmation of the important role of women in (a) the prevention and resolution of conflicts, (b) peace negotiations, peace-building and peacekeeping and (c) humanitarian response and post-conflict reconstruction.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 11 December 2017

Her Majesty's Government is committed to putting women and girls at the centre of our efforts to prevent and resolve conflict and to promote peace and stability. The UK meets the UN target of doubling the number of women deployed to UN peacekeeping missions. Women now comprise around 7% of our deployed troops. The FCO works closely with the MOD to advance this agenda. For example we supported the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Gordon Messenger, in launching the Women Peace and Security (WPS) Chiefs of Defence Network at the Defence Ministerial on 15 November in Vancouver. DFID's forthcoming Strategic Vision for Gender Equality will ensure that gender equality is integrated in DFID's work across the board, including its work on post-conflict reconstruction and humanitarian response. Her Majesty's Government's annual report on WPS, to be laid in parliament on 14 December, describes the steps we have taken in more detail. The UK's fourth National Action Plan on WPS (2018- 2022) which provides the framework for the UK's ongoing efforts on WPS, will be launched in January 2018.

Q
Asked by Chris Green
(Bolton West)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Devolution: Greater Manchester
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, on how many occasions he has (a) received representations and (b) had discussions with Greater Manchester Combined Authority on further devolution to Greater Manchester.
A
Answered by: Jake Berry
Answered on: 11 December 2017

As the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, I have frequent meetings and discussion with civic and business leaders, local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and other key organisations in Greater Manchester and areas across the Northern Powerhouse.

These meetings cover a range of issues relating to boosting local economic growth, including devolution, strengthening local leadership, encouraging stronger private sector growth, and ensuring employers have the right access to skills and talent.

Q
Asked by Chris Green
(Bolton West)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
HM Treasury
Research: Finance
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress has been made on investing three per cent of gross domestic product in research and development.
A
Answered by: Elizabeth Truss
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The Government is committed to increase total public and private R&D investment to 2.4%GDP by 2027 with an ultimate goal of 3%GDP in the long-term. This ambition was underlined by the additional £2.3bn of R&D funding announced at Budget, on top of a record £4.7bn increase in R&D announced at the Autumn Statement 2016, and takes total R&D spend in 2021-22 to £12.5bn – the largest increase in 40 years.

Q
Asked by Chris Green
(Bolton West)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
Cabinet Office
Local Government: Elections
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 28 November 2017 to Question 112666, on Local Government: Elections, whether Bolton Council expressed an interest to his Department about participating in the Voter ID pilots for the May 2018 local elections; and if he will place details of conversations and copies of correspondence his Department had with Bolton Council regarding that pilot in the library.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 11 December 2017

We are currently considering a request, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, for related information.

On the one hand, the Government needs to take account of the public interest of making its decisions as transparently as possible. But on the other hand, we must also ensure policy decisions are informed by a free and frank exchange of views about all available options, and a clear understanding of their implications.

I will ask officials to write to the Hon member when a decision has been made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Grouped Questions: 117073
Q
Asked by Chris Green
(Bolton West)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
Cabinet Office
Local Government: Elections
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what information his Department holds on the reasons for Bolton Council declining to participate in the voter ID pilot for the May 2018 local elections.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 11 December 2017

We are currently considering a request, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, for related information.

On the one hand, the Government needs to take account of the public interest of making its decisions as transparently as possible. But on the other hand, we must also ensure policy decisions are informed by a free and frank exchange of views about all available options, and a clear understanding of their implications.

I will ask officials to write to the Hon member when a decision has been made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Grouped Questions: 117072
Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bangladesh: Rohingya
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the Government of Bangladesh about the effect of the Child Marriage Restraint Act 2017 on the rights, equality, and welfare of Rohingya child refugees in Bangladesh and the extent to which that law is enforced in refugee camps.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 11 December 2017

​To date, the UK has not held discussions with the Government of Bangladesh specifically on the effect of the Child Marriage Restraint Act 2017 with regard to Rohingya child refugees.

The UK Government is clear that the protection of Rohingya child refugees is a critical aspect of the humanitarian response. We remain concerned by the potential for exploitation of women and girls in Cox's Bazar in addition to the appalling violence suffered by the Rohingya community in Burma. The International Development Secretary raised this concern with Government of Bangladesh Ministers during her recent November 2017 visit to Bangladesh. The UK is funding child protection support to displaced Rohingya communities, including the establishment of 30 child friendly spaces and support for children to learn and adopt safe behaviours in settlements. UK aid is also funding trauma counselling services, including psychosocial and psychological support for 7,500 children.

We have consistently called on the ​Government of Bangladesh to do more to prevent child marriage in Bangladesh. At the UK hosted Girl Summit in 2014, Bangladesh committed to ending the marriages of girls and boys under the age of 15, reduce the number of girls marrying between the ages of 15 and 18 by one third by 2021, and to end all child marriages by 2041.

The Child Marriage Restraint Act 2017 was an important step in legally defining and attempting to prevent child marriage in Bangladesh. However, we remain concerned by a number of special provisions that can lead to child marriage, including in the event of pregnancy. The High Commission in Dhaka raised this with Government of Bangladesh during the legislation's passage through Bangladesh's parliament.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Anaerobic Digestion
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much electricity and gas was generated by anaerobic digestion in (a) 2015 and (b) 2016; and how much CO2 or CO2e, CO2 equivalent, was emitted by anaerobic digestion in each of those years.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The table below shows how much electricity and heat (on a fuel input basis) was generated by anaerobic digestion (AD) in 2015 and 2016, as well as emissions from Anaerobic digestion in 2015. Emissions from anaerobic digestion include methane and nitrous oxide emissions from the anaerobic digestion process; carbon dioxide emissions from anaerobic digestion are not included in the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory because this is biogenic source. Emissions data for 2016 will be available in February 2018.

2015

2016

Electricity generated from AD (GWh)

1,471

2,052

AD used for heat generation (GWh)

1,110

2,087

Greenhouse gas emissions from Anaerobic Digestion (million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent/MtCO2e)

0.116

N/A

Source: Digest of UK Energy Statistics, tables 6.4 and 6.6, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/renewable-sources-of-energy-chapter-6-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes

and final UK greenhouse gas emissions national statistics: 1990-2015, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/final-uk-greenhouse-gas-emissions-national-statistics-1990-2015

Q
Asked by Alex Norris
(Nottingham 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: 04 December 2017
Cabinet Office
Electoral Register
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department has assessed the practicality of implementing an automatic voter registration system.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 11 December 2017

As stated during the recent Westminster Hall Debate on Voter Registration in Nottingham North Constituency, the Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration, as it contradicts the principle which underpins Individual Electoral Registration, that individuals are responsible for registering and that this should be done at a time and place of their choosing. As such, we have not made any assessment relating to the introduction of automatic registration.

Q
(Portsmouth South)
Asked on: 04 December 2017
Department for Transport
M27
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take advantage of the time taken for the implementation of plans to upgrade the M27 through a Smart Motorway scheme to assess the potential merits of an extension of that scheme to Junction 12.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The first Road Investment Strategy funded Highways England to develop a smart motorway scheme for Junctions 4-11 of the M27; they are currently designing that scheme and engaging with local and technical stakeholders.

The M27 between junctions 11 (Fareham) and 12 (Portsmouth) was upgraded with climbing lanes (for heavy goods vehicles) in 2008. Any extension of the smart motorway scheme to reach Junction 12 would be considered for inclusion in the second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2). Decisions on RIS2 will draw on evidence which Highways England has collected about the performance of the Strategic Road Network and its future needs; the Department will consult on Highways England’s initial report shortly.

Q
(Midlothian)
Asked on: 04 December 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment: Midlothian
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data his Department holds on the number of personal independence payment claimants in Midlothian who are refused entitlement to those payments upon making a claim.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The latest available data on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) clearances split by type of clearance (i.e. whether the claim was awarded, disallowed or withdrawn) is published at parliamentary constituency level and local authority level and can be found at https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

Guidance on how to use Stat-Xplore can be found here: https://sw.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/index.html

Q
Asked by Andrew Bowie
(West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine)
Asked on: 04 December 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
State Retirement Pensions: British Nationals Abroad
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate his Department has made of the cost of introducing universal annual uprating to the state pensions of British pensioners living abroad.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The UK State Pension is a contributory based pension payable worldwide, without regard to nationality, to those who meet the eligibility criteria. But it is uprated abroad only where there is a legal requirement to do so - for example, where UK State Pension recipients are living within the European Economic Area, Switzerland and Gibraltar or in countries where there is a reciprocal agreement that provides for uprating of the UK State Pension. This is a longstanding policy which has remained consistent for around 70 years. It has been the policy of consecutive Governments of all persuasions. It is estimated that the cost of up-rating state pensions would increase each year by over £0.5 billion per year if all pensions in payment were increased to current levels in the UK.

Q
Asked by Leo Docherty
(Aldershot)
Asked on: 04 December 2017
Home Office
Police: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to review the police funding formula.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 11 December 2017

We have yet to make any decisions about when to refresh the police funding formula. A new formula will not be introduced without a full public consultation.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 04 December 2017
HM Treasury
Boats: EU Countries
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to ensure that recreational boaters whose craft have Union Goods status retain that status after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The future customs rules for goods moving between the UK and the EU, including for arrangements relating to recreational boats, will depend on the outcome of negotiations with the EU. The Government is engaging with stakeholders affected by EU Exit in every sector and region of the UK economy to assess the effect of EU Exit on them.

Grouped Questions: 117239 | 117241
Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 04 December 2017
HM Treasury
Boats: EU Countries
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that recreational craft travelling from the UK to the EU with non-Union Goods status can benefit from Temporary Admission Relief on VAT and duty after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 11 December 2017

The future customs rules for goods moving between the UK and the EU, including for arrangements relating to recreational boats, will depend on the outcome of negotiations with the EU. The Government is engaging with stakeholders affected by EU Exit in every sector and region of the UK economy to assess the effect of EU Exit on them.

Grouped Questions: 117238 | 117241
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