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 Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Polling Stations
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to codify the roles and responsibilities of tellers at polling stations.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Guidance on the roles and responsibilities of tellers is already produced by the Electoral
Commission. Tellers must also act in accordance with any further guidance provided by
the relevant Returning Officer or their staff. There are currently no plans to put such
guidance on a statutory footing.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Electoral Register
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the timetable is to bring forward proposals on the registration of people in (i) universities, (ii) colleges, (iii) residential care homes and (iv) houses in multiple occupation.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The Government intends to publish a democratic engagement strategy addressing
registration issues in late 2017.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Electoral Register: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the timetable is to bring forward proposals to tackle duplicate voter registrations.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The Cabinet Office is committed to finding an appropriate approach to reducing the burden of duplicate applications while ensuring that unnecessary barriers to registration are avoided. The fact that millions of people have taken the step of applying to register online shows it was right to introduce the website as part of Individual Electoral Registration.

We have already taken steps to limit unnecessary duplicate applications to register. For example during the recent general election we added a new page to the website to guide people away from making applications when they did not need to.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Absent Voting
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing an attestation arrangement for postal vote applications requiring a signature waiver.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Sir Eric Pickles’ review of Electoral Fraud, published in August 2016, recommended
introducing an attestation requirement for postal vote applications requiring a signature
waiver

The Government supports this recommendation and will be seeking to consider, in
conjunction with the Association of Electoral Administrators and the Electoral Commission,
how this might be implemented in due course.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Ballot Papers
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of removing the absolute requirement to count unused ballot papers as a part of the verification process and replacing that requirement with a requirement to do so only where the returning officer considers it appropriate.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

We consider elections processes and policy on an ongoing basis, and are working with the
Association of Electoral Administrators and Electoral Commission to consider the
development and improvement of existing processes, including in relation to the
procedures for the counting of votes at elections.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Ballots
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will conduct a review of the combination of polls which includes an assessment of (a) which polls should be automatically combined, (b) the maximum number of polls that should be combined on the same day and (c) the potential merits of combining polls for parish and community councils and neighbouring planning and council tax referendums with UK Parliamentary general elections.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Combining polls can bring benefits in terms of enhancing voter participation and reducing cost. However, it is recognised that changing the rules surrounding the combination of polls would be a complex exercise involving amendments to primary legislation. We will continue to consider this matter with stakeholders to see where improvements can be made.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Elections: Finance
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that expenses claims submitted to the Election Claims Unit are audited and settled within six months of their receipt.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Returning Officers have six months in which to submit an account of spending on a poll
funded from the Consolidated Fund. The vast majority of these claims are received by the
ECU in the last month before the deadline. This raises an issue with processing the
claims, many of which require significant work, within six months of receipt, including how
quickly queries on a claim are responded to by Returning Officers

We are looking at the process with the Association of Electoral Administrators to identify
how it may best be operated.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Elections
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Law Commissioners proposals of February 2016, on reforming electoral laws, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals for a single Electoral Administration Act.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

We will continue to work with the Law Commission, as well as other stakeholders such as the Electoral Commission, on how best to implement the recommendations of its review of electoral law.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Constituencies
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of giving (a) electoral registration officers the responsibility for the subdivision of UK parliamentary constituencies into polling districts and (b) returning officers the responsibility for the designation of polling places within those districts.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

We consider that the current arrangements, whereby local authorities are responsible for
designating polling places and carrying out reviews, ensure that there is a clear and
consistent approach, and clear lines of accountability, in the designation of polling districts
and places. There are no plans to change these existing arrangements.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Constituencies
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to end the Boundary Commission's review of constituency boundaries.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The current boundary review is proceeding in accordance with legislation passed in the
2010-15 Parliament under which the four Boundary Commissions are required to submit
their final reports in September 2018

These reforms will ensure fair and equal representation for the voting public across the
United Kingdom.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 13 September 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 September 2017 to Question 8578, when he plans to complete the analysis of various trade scenarios on UK agriculture as part of his planning for the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 18 October 2017

We are conducting rigorous analysis of various trade scenarios on UK agriculture as part of our planning. This analysis will be ongoing, helping to develop a detailed understanding of how withdrawing from the EU will impact on the UK to best inform government policy going forward.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 13 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Oesophageal Cancer
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer aged between (a) 20 to 40, (b) 40 to 60 and (c) over 60 in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I
have asked the Authority to reply.

UKSA response (PDF Document, 119.15 KB)
Q
(Bolton South East)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 13 September 2017
Ministry of Justice
Debt Collection
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions his Department has had with the National Police Chiefs' Council on its decision to tender the work of civilian enforcement officers.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 18 October 2017

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) currently uses private contractors known as Approved Enforcement Agencies (AEA) to undertake some of its enforcement functions. The work that HMCTS civilian enforcement officers do is already undertaken by these Agencies in many areas of England and Wales, where there are established links with the police. No discussions have taken place with the National Police Chiefs’ Council regarding the procurement of new AEA contracts. We will engage them and local Police Forces once we know the details of the contracts to be awarded.

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 13 September 2017
Ministry of Justice
Independent Police Complaints Commission
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an estimate of the rate of successful prosecutions originating in investigations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The information requested is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Q
Asked by Norman Lamb
(North Norfolk)
Asked on: 14 September 2017
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice: Chief Scientific Advisers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many meetings (a) he and (b) Ministers of his Department have had with the Chief Scientific Adviser in his Department in the last three months.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The department’s Director of Analytical Services also acts in capacity as the Chief Scientific Adviser for the Ministry of Justice. The Secretary of State has met with the Director on one occasion and with Ministers on three occasions over this time period.

Q
(Barnsley East)
Asked on: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Temporary Employment
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of the workforce are on permanent agency contracts in (a) Barnsley, (b) South Yorkshire and (c) the UK.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I
have asked the Authority to reply.

UKSA response (PDF Document, 65.3 KB)
Grouped Questions: 105267 | 105268
Q
(Barnsley East)
Asked on: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Zero Hours Contracts
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the average number of hours worked a week was on a zero-hours contract in (a) Barnsley, (b) South Yorkshire and (c) the UK in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I
have asked the Authority to reply.

UKSA response (PDF Document, 165.9 KB)
Grouped Questions: 105270 | 105269
Q
(Barnsley East)
Asked on: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Zero Hours Contracts
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people worked on zero-hours contracts in the UK in each of the last seven years.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I
have asked the Authority to reply.

UKSA response (PDF Document, 165.9 KB)
Grouped Questions: 105261 | 105269
Q
(Barnsley East)
Asked on: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Zero Hours Contracts
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of the workforce operate on zero-hours contracts in (a) Barnsley, (b) South Yorkshire and (c) the UK.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I
have asked the Authority to reply.

UKSA response (PDF Document, 165.9 KB)
Grouped Questions: 105261 | 105270
Q
(Barnsley East)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 14 September 2017
Cabinet Office
Temporary Employment
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people in (a) Barnsley, (b) South Yorkshire and (c) the UK are employed by agencies using the Swedish derogation.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 18 October 2017

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I
have asked the Authority to reply.

UKSA response (PDF Document, 65.3 KB)
Grouped Questions: 105264 | 105268
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