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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Q
Asked on: 04 July 2016
Department for Transport
Poverty
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to encourage the wider use of lane rental schemes, as introduced in London in 2012.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 28 July 2017

The most commonly used measure of poverty is relative low income.

The latest statistics from the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data series show that there are: 2.7 million children, 5.7 million working-age adults, and 2.1 million pensioners in relative low income in the United Kingdom on a ‘before housing costs’ (BHC) basis.

Analysis of the HBAI data shows that there are 2.1 million families in relative low income BHC where at least one adult member works at least part-time.

This Government is committed to tackling the root causes of poverty, thereby preventing the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage.

This is why we repealed the income-related targets set out in the Child Poverty Act 2010 and replaced them with statutory measures that drive action on parental worklessness and children’s educational attainment – the two areas that we know can make the biggest difference to disadvantaged children, now and in the future.

The Department for Work and Pensions published Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families in April 2017. Here we set out further non-statutory indicators on a wider set of parental disadvantage and children’s outcomes, which will drive collective action on areas that matter in tackling disadvantage.

Grouped Questions: HL955 | HL954 | HL955
Q
Asked on: 04 July 2016
Department for Transport
Poverty
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the various levels of subsidy available for travel on public transport and the effect such variations have on inequality; and whether they plan to modify their policies as a result of that assessment.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 28 July 2017

The most commonly used measure of poverty is relative low income.

The latest statistics from the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data series show that there are: 2.7 million children, 5.7 million working-age adults, and 2.1 million pensioners in relative low income in the United Kingdom on a ‘before housing costs’ (BHC) basis.

Analysis of the HBAI data shows that there are 2.1 million families in relative low income BHC where at least one adult member works at least part-time.

This Government is committed to tackling the root causes of poverty, thereby preventing the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage.

This is why we repealed the income-related targets set out in the Child Poverty Act 2010 and replaced them with statutory measures that drive action on parental worklessness and children’s educational attainment – the two areas that we know can make the biggest difference to disadvantaged children, now and in the future.

The Department for Work and Pensions published Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families in April 2017. Here we set out further non-statutory indicators on a wider set of parental disadvantage and children’s outcomes, which will drive collective action on areas that matter in tackling disadvantage.

Grouped Questions: HL954 | HL954 | HL955
Asked on: 04 July 2016
Department for Education
School Libraries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect to publish their care leaver covenant.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 28 July 2017

School libraries play an important role in encouraging pupils to read for pleasure. We believe that it should be for schools to decide whether to provide and maintain a library service for their pupils.

Head teachers do recognise the role libraries can play in improving young people’s literacy, and ensure that suitable library facilities are provided. It is also up to schools to decide how they run their library. While many head teachers, especially those in secondary schools, choose to employ a qualified librarian, this is not a statutory requirement.

We do not collect data on school library provision. However, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) indicated in 2011 that 92% of pupils in Year 5 in England were attending a school where there was a library. This was above the international average of 86%.

Grouped Questions: HL957 | HL956 | HL957
Asked on: 04 July 2016
Department of Health
School Libraries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what resources were allocated in, or are planned for, (1) 2016–17, (2) 2017–18, (3) 2018–19, and (4) 2019–20, for (a) university social work programmes via student bursaries and the Training Support Grant; (b) the Frontline social work trainee programme; (c) the Think Ahead trainee programme; (d) the Step Up to Social Work trainee programme; (e) social work teaching partnerships; and (f) the start-up and continuing costs for the accreditation of child and family social work.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 28 July 2017

School libraries play an important role in encouraging pupils to read for pleasure. We believe that it should be for schools to decide whether to provide and maintain a library service for their pupils.

Head teachers do recognise the role libraries can play in improving young people’s literacy, and ensure that suitable library facilities are provided. It is also up to schools to decide how they run their library. While many head teachers, especially those in secondary schools, choose to employ a qualified librarian, this is not a statutory requirement.

We do not collect data on school library provision. However, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) indicated in 2011 that 92% of pupils in Year 5 in England were attending a school where there was a library. This was above the international average of 86%.

Grouped Questions: HL956 | HL956 | HL957
Q
(Easington)
Asked on: 21 June 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Private Property: Repairs and Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will grant local authorities the power to insist that landlords or home owners maintain their properties to an acceptable standard where that condition is having a negative impact upon the local community.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 28 July 2017

Local authorities already have strong powers to tackle poor property conditions.

We encourage local authorities to take action where properties are neglected and their condition adversely affects the amenity of an area. There are already extensive powers available to authorities which range from notices under section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which can deal with derelict land and buildings to section 29 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 for works on unoccupied buildings.

Council and housing association landlords are responsible for most repairs to their housing stock. Social landlords are obliged, by law, to maintain the structure and exterior of their properties.

All properties in the social and private sectors must comply with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. Where a property has serious hazards that present a risk to health and safety, local authorities can carry out an assessment under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. If they are aware of a serious hazard, they are under a duty to take appropriate action to address it.

Q
(Easington)
Asked on: 21 June 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Letting Agents: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what criteria were used to select the location of letting agents' fees ban workshops.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 28 July 2017

The locations of the letting agent fee ban workshops were chosen to make the exercise as inclusive as possible to those interested in attending. Venues were selected based on availability, size and ease of access.

Q
Asked by John Healey
(Wentworth and Dearne)
Asked on: 04 July 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Building Regulations: Fires
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will publish any research or work commissioned in preparation for the revision of Approved Document B of the Building Regulations.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 28 July 2017

Following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, we will need to consider the position on guidance further alongside the Prime Minister's commitment to look at wider issues.

Q
(Derby 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: 11 July 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Building Regulations: Fires
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2017 to Question 750, on building regulations: fires, if the Government will make an assessment of the merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to require the retrofitting of automatic fire suppression systems in all residential premises.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 28 July 2017
Holding answer received on 17 July 2017

There has been a requirement in Building Regulations guidance since 2007 for new flats over 30 metres to have a sprinkler system. Following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower the Prime Minister has committed to look at wider issues.

Q
Asked by Lord Adonis
Asked on: 12 July 2017
Department for International Trade
Lords
Her Majesty's Government how many civil servants at the Department for International Trade have undertaken training in negotiating skills; and how much has been budgeted in 2017–18 for further such training.
A
Answered by: Lord Price
Answered on: 28 July 2017

Training on trade policy and trade negotiations is provided predominately by the Trade Policy and Negotiations Faculty. The role of the Faculty is to build trade policy and negotiations capability in Departments across Her Majesty's Government.

To date over 200 DIT staff have undertaken trade policy training offered by the Trade Faculty or organised directly by DIT.

The Faculty has a training budget of c. £1,600,000 for 2017-18, which will cover training on a range of trade policy topics and negotiations. DIT’s Trade Policy Group has a training budget of c.£900,000 for 2017-18; this budget covers a range of learning and development, including but not limited to trade policy and negotiations.

Asked on: 12 July 2017
Department for Education
Lords
Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement of additional resources for services for vulnerable children and families through the Children's Social Care Innovation Programme, what additional amounts will be allocated to (1) each of the Partners in Practice local authorities, and (2) Spring Consortium, to facilitate and monitor the activities of Partners in Practice, for each of the years (a) 2016–17, (b) 2017–18, and (c) 2018–19.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 28 July 2017

Since the announcement of the Partners in Practice programme in 2016, no additional funding has been allocated to the Partners in Practice local authorities. The Partners in Practice programme aims to model excellence in children’s social care and increase capacity in the sector to drive improvement. An independent evaluation of the programme is currently underway. This evaluation will provide the Department with a robust mechanism for measuring the impact of the projects and the conditions required for change. It will also enable the Department to share insights and learning with the sector to achieve wider reform.

The Spring Consortium is contracted by the Department to support the delivery of the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme. While this includes providing some support to deliver the Partners in Practice programme, no specific amount of funding has been ring-fenced for this purpose.

Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Education
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to audit the training given to teachers on how to administer adrenaline and handle severe allergic reactions in children.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 28 July 2017

We know how important it is that children with allergies and other medical conditions are supported to enjoy a full education. That is why we introduced a new duty to require governing bodies to make arrangements to support pupils with medical conditions, and have provided statutory guidance outlining schools’ responsibilities in this area.

To provide specific support for pupils with allergies, we are working with the Department of Health to develop new guidance on the use of adrenaline auto-injectors in schools. This follows the recent publication of the Human Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2017, which allow schools to hold spare adrenaline auto injectors, without a prescription, for use in emergencies. The revised regulations will come into effect on 1 October 2017.

Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Education
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what is the cost of training a teacher through (1) Teach First, (2) School Direct, and (3) initial teacher training courses.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 28 July 2017

Comparing the costs of different routes through initial teacher training is complex; these vary significantly by subject and degree class due to different bursary rates. School Direct Salaried and Teach First trainees do not receive a bursary.

The NAO report, Training New Teachers (10 February 2016) looked at average costs for academic year 2013/14; this is the latest available comparison of teacher training costs by route.

The cost of training a new teacher through each of these routes is listed below:

Teacher training route

Cost of training per trainee

Teach First

£36,000

School Direct (salary)

£20,000

School Direct (fee)

£20,000

School-centred provider

£21,000

Higher education institute

£19,000

Since these figures were published, the Department has procured a new contract with Teach First, with a reduced average cost per trainee. Please see the table below showing the bursaries available for the 2017/18 training year indicating the scale of difference across subjects and degree class. The cost for trainees on salaried routes will also vary by location to reflect salary differences between London and elsewhere. In addition, the Teach First cost includes recruitment costs (£2,600 per trainee).

Bursary rates for 2017/18:

Scholarship

1st

2.1

2.2

Other

Primary

£3,000

£0

£0

£0

Primary maths

£6,000

£6,000

£6,000

£0

Art & Design

£0

£0

£0

£0

Biology

£15,000

£12,000

£10,000

£0

Business studies

£0

£0

£0

£0

Chemistry

£27,500

£25,000

£20,000

£20,000

£0

Classics

£25,000

£25,000

£25,000

£0

Computing

£27,500

£25,000

£25,000

£25,000

£0

D&T

£12,000

£9,000

£0

£0

Drama

£0

£0

£0

£0

English

£9,000

£9,000

£0

£0

Geography

£27,500

£25,000

£25,000

£25,000

£0

History

£9,000

£4,000

£0

£0

Maths

£27,500

£25,000

£25,000

£25,000

£0

MFL

£27,500

£25,000

£25,000

£25,000

£0

Music

£9,000

£4,000

£0

£0

Others

£0

£0

£0

£0

PE

£0

£0

£0

£0

Physics

£30,000

£30,000

£25,000

£25,000

£0

RE

£9,000

£4,000

£0

£0

Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Education
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what plans they have for using any underspend on the Sixth Form College budget.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 28 July 2017

Budgets for sixth form colleges are not set separately from budgets for other providers. The overall 16-19 budget set for each financial year is a forecast of anticipated spend. Actual spend varies from this because it is based on set funding rates per student. If actual student numbers are lower than forecast, the department works in conjunction with the Treasury to try to reallocate any underspends to other priorities in a way that maximises value for money. This could include a proposal to redeploy the funding to the next financial year. If alternative value for money activities cannot be identified, the funding is returned to the Treasury to support the overall fiscal position.

Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Education
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what requirements apply to the setting up of a teacher supply agency; and  how such agencies are regulated.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 28 July 2017

The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 govern the setting up of a teacher supply agency.

There have been some updates but this is the premise of the regulations. Enforcement lies with the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS). The EAS is the body that polices the Conduct Regulations, which can impose heavy fines on agencies that do not comply with the rules and may stop them from trading. If it is clear that an agency is in breach of the regulations then the EAS should be contacted immediately.

Q
(Sheffield Central)
[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: 17 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Pay: Working Hours
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to respond to the recommendation in the Low Pay Commission Report 2015 that payslips of hourly-paid staff states the hours individuals are being paid for; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 28 July 2017
Holding answer received on 20 July 2017

Following the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation, the Government is engaging with stakeholders to evaluate the proposal in detail, including how it is practically implemented. We will consider the recommendation in the light of this evidence and make a formal response to the Low Pay Commission in the Autumn.

Q
Asked by Lord Bird
Asked on: 18 July 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of (1) children, (2) adults, and (3) working families, living in poverty across the United Kingdom; and what long-term plan they have to prevent such poverty.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 28 July 2017

The most commonly used measure of poverty is relative low income.

The latest statistics from the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data series show that there are: 2.7 million children, 5.7 million working-age adults, and 2.1 million pensioners in relative low income in the United Kingdom on a ‘before housing costs’ (BHC) basis.

Analysis of the HBAI data shows that there are 2.1 million families in relative low income BHC where at least one adult member works at least part-time.

This Government is committed to tackling the root causes of poverty, thereby preventing the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage.

This is why we repealed the income-related targets set out in the Child Poverty Act 2010 and replaced them with statutory measures that drive action on parental worklessness and children’s educational attainment – the two areas that we know can make the biggest difference to disadvantaged children, now and in the future.

The Department for Work and Pensions published Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families in April 2017. Here we set out further non-statutory indicators on a wider set of parental disadvantage and children’s outcomes, which will drive collective action on areas that matter in tackling disadvantage.

Grouped Questions: HL954 | HL955 | HL955
Q
Asked by Lord Bird
Asked on: 18 July 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Lords
Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Buscombe on 13 July (HL Deb, cols 1296–98), what emphasis they place on the prevention of poverty; and how they are working to ensure that the prevention of poverty is prioritised by every Department.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 28 July 2017

The most commonly used measure of poverty is relative low income.

The latest statistics from the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data series show that there are: 2.7 million children, 5.7 million working-age adults, and 2.1 million pensioners in relative low income in the United Kingdom on a ‘before housing costs’ (BHC) basis.

Analysis of the HBAI data shows that there are 2.1 million families in relative low income BHC where at least one adult member works at least part-time.

This Government is committed to tackling the root causes of poverty, thereby preventing the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage.

This is why we repealed the income-related targets set out in the Child Poverty Act 2010 and replaced them with statutory measures that drive action on parental worklessness and children’s educational attainment – the two areas that we know can make the biggest difference to disadvantaged children, now and in the future.

The Department for Work and Pensions published Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families in April 2017. Here we set out further non-statutory indicators on a wider set of parental disadvantage and children’s outcomes, which will drive collective action on areas that matter in tackling disadvantage.

Grouped Questions: HL954 | HL955 | HL954
Q
Asked by Lord Bird
Asked on: 18 July 2017
Department for Education
Lords
Her Majesty's Government whether they will ensure that every school has an adequate library with qualified staff.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 28 July 2017

School libraries play an important role in encouraging pupils to read for pleasure. We believe that it should be for schools to decide whether to provide and maintain a library service for their pupils.

Head teachers do recognise the role libraries can play in improving young people’s literacy, and ensure that suitable library facilities are provided. It is also up to schools to decide how they run their library. While many head teachers, especially those in secondary schools, choose to employ a qualified librarian, this is not a statutory requirement.

We do not collect data on school library provision. However, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) indicated in 2011 that 92% of pupils in Year 5 in England were attending a school where there was a library. This was above the international average of 86%.

Grouped Questions: HL956 | HL957 | HL957
Q
Asked by Lord Bird
Asked on: 18 July 2017
Department for Education
Lords
Her Majesty's Government how many, and what proportion of, schools in the UK have a library; and how they assess the quality of such libraries and their staff.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 28 July 2017

School libraries play an important role in encouraging pupils to read for pleasure. We believe that it should be for schools to decide whether to provide and maintain a library service for their pupils.

Head teachers do recognise the role libraries can play in improving young people’s literacy, and ensure that suitable library facilities are provided. It is also up to schools to decide how they run their library. While many head teachers, especially those in secondary schools, choose to employ a qualified librarian, this is not a statutory requirement.

We do not collect data on school library provision. However, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) indicated in 2011 that 92% of pupils in Year 5 in England were attending a school where there was a library. This was above the international average of 86%.

Grouped Questions: HL956 | HL957 | HL956
Q
Asked on: 18 July 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what is the budget for the Health and Safety Executive for 2017–18; how many inspectors it expects to employ in 2017–18; and how many inspectors it employed in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 28 July 2017

HSE’s net budget for 2017-18 is £136 million (which includes planned expenditure of £232 million, offset by planned income of £96 million).

During 2017-18 we are seeking to maintain inspector numbers at or around the level as at 31 March 2017 which is stated below, along with the four previous years.

Number of HSE inspectors at 31 March

31 March 2013

31 March 2014

31 March 2015

31 March 2016

31 March 2017

1,115

1,051

1,038

1,037

988

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