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 2015-16 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
(East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow)
[R]
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Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 10 January 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Disability: Public Lavatories
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of changing places facilities in shopping centres across the UK.
A
Answered by: Gavin Barwell
Answered on: 22 February 2017
Holding answer received on 16 January 2017

The UK Government continues to support increased provision of Changing Places toilets and in 2013 guidance on changing places was introduced in to Part M (Access to and use of buildings) of the Building Regulations in England which states that:

"In large building developments separate facilities for baby changing and an enlarged unisex toilet incorporating an adult changing table are desirable. Facilities incorporating adult changing tables are more commonly known as Changing Places Toilets and further guidance is available from the Changing Places Campaign website (www.changing-places.org) or by reference to guidance in section 12.7 and Annex G of BS8300"

In 2015 the UK Government and the devolved administrations provided a grant to MENCAP and the British Toilet Association, to develop a website mapping the location of every changing places toilet in the UK.

Q
Asked by Nusrat Ghani
(Wealden)
Asked on: 20 January 2017
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Mass Media: Complaints
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the progress update to the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Anti-Semitism Inquiry into the rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents following the Gaza conflict in 2014, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government in December 2016, what the evidential basis is for the statement that there are clear ways to register complaints regarding media content.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 22 February 2017

The press self-regulators, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) and the Independent Monitor for the Press (IMPRESS) each have a clear process for making complaints regarding the publications they regulate. Information about IPSO's complaints process is available here: https://www.ipso.co.uk/make-a-complaint/. Information about IMPRESS's complaints process is available here: http://www.impress.press/complaints/.

Ofcom's process for complaints covers content on television, radio and on demand programme services. The Broadcasting code includes rules designed to protect viewers and listeners from harm and offence – such as what can be screened on TV before the 9pm watershed. Other areas of the Broadcasting Code address issues such as impartiality and accuracy, sponsorship and commercial references as well as fairness and privacy. Information about Ofcom's complaints process is available here https://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv-radio-and-on-demand/how-to-report-a-complaint

In addition, Government expects social media providers to have robust process in place and act promptly when abuse is reported. The UK has strict laws governing such content, which apply equally online and offline.

Q
(Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
Asked on: 30 January 2017
Ministry of Defence
Yemen: Military Intervention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many allegations of humanitarian law violations by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen his Department is tracking; and if he will place in the Library the reports relating to each such allegation.
A
Answered by: Sir Michael Fallon
Answered on: 22 February 2017
Holding answer received on 07 February 2017

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is tracking 257 allegations of breaches of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) by the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen. Details of the MOD's analysis of these allegations are necessarily confidential.

Q
(Tynemouth)
Asked on: 06 February 2017
Department for Education
Schools: North Tyneside
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the total cost was to the public purse of rebuilding schools in North Tyneside in 2016.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 22 February 2017

North Tyneside Schools received approximately £4.8m in Devolved Formula Capital and School Condition Allocations for 2016/17.

Under the Priority School Building Programme which targets funding to rebuild and refurbish those schools in the worst condition across the country, there are 4 schools in North Tyneside that are receiving investment of £46.8m and a further school due to receive investment.

Under the Condition Improvement Fund, which is an annual bidding round to which academies and sixth-form colleges can apply for capital funding for building works, 2 schools were allocated funds in excess of £1.7m in 2016/17.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 07 February 2017
Department for Transport
Motor Vehicles and Aviation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 22 February 2017
Holding answer received on 20 February 2017

The Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill was introduced today.

Q
[I]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that the member concerned has a relevant registered interest.

Asked on: 08 February 2017
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of local government’s experience in developing international trade and inward investment relationships; and whether they intend to involve local government leaders in trade negotiations following the UK’s exit from the EU.
A
Answered by: Lord Price
Answered on: 22 February 2017

There are 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) covering England. Each LEP is a partnership of local authorities and business. This Department works with LEPs on promoting the benefits of international trade to local businesses and in attracting potential inward investment.

We are seeking the views and input of a wide range of UK stakeholders, including local government representatives, to inform our approach to trade as we prepare to leave the EU.

Q
[I]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that the member concerned has a relevant registered interest.

Asked on: 08 February 2017
Department for Education
Training
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the benefits of devolving skills provision and funding to local areas in order to ensure that the industrial strategy is a success for all parts of the country.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 22 February 2017

Mayoral Combined Authorities will be able to use their devolved Adult Education Budget to align their skills support with opportunities in the local labour market, and offer more bespoke solutions to individuals with multiple needs. We are committed to ensuring we have a strong skills system that can drive increases in productivity, improvements in social mobility and help make a success of Brexit. This will be essential to the success of our Industrial Strategy.

Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 08 February 2017
Department for Education
Free School Meals
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what criteria will be used to determine eligibility for free school meals following the rollout of Universal Credit.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 22 February 2017

The Department for Education is working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions and other government departments to consider new criteria for determining entitlement to benefits-related free school meals as the rollout of Universal Credit progresses. We will communicate our proposals in due course.

Schools currently receive pupil premium funding for each child registered as claiming benefit-related free school meals at any point in the last 6 years. There are no plans to change this criterion.

Grouped Questions: HL5336 | HL5337
Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 08 February 2017
Department for Education
Pupil Premium
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there will be any changes to the criteria which determine eligibility for pupil premium funding following the rollout of Universal Credit.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 22 February 2017

The Department for Education is working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions and other government departments to consider new criteria for determining entitlement to benefits-related free school meals as the rollout of Universal Credit progresses. We will communicate our proposals in due course.

Schools currently receive pupil premium funding for each child registered as claiming benefit-related free school meals at any point in the last 6 years. There are no plans to change this criterion.

Grouped Questions: HL5335 | HL5337
Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 08 February 2017
Department for Education
Pupil Premium
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether the number of pupils eligible for pupil premium funding will change following the completion of the rollout of Universal Credit.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 22 February 2017

The Department for Education is working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions and other government departments to consider new criteria for determining entitlement to benefits-related free school meals as the rollout of Universal Credit progresses. We will communicate our proposals in due course.

Schools currently receive pupil premium funding for each child registered as claiming benefit-related free school meals at any point in the last 6 years. There are no plans to change this criterion.

Grouped Questions: HL5335 | HL5336
Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 08 February 2017
Department for Transport
Local Sustainable Transport Fund
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to develop the local Sustainable Transport Fund, and what is the current budget of that fund.
A
Answered on: 22 February 2017

The Local Sustainable Transport Fund ran from 2011/12 to 2015/16. In the Autumn Statement of 2015 the Chancellor announced over £300m would be available for cycling over the life of this Parliament. The funding will continue to support local authority projects and boost walking and cycling during the current parliament.

Of this £300m, £80m was allocated to continue to build on the legacy of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. This money has been spread over two competitions as follows: £20m Sustainable Travel Transition Year and £60m Access Fund.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 08 February 2017
Department for Transport
Road Traffic Offences: Mobile Phones
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to use traffic officers employed by Highways England to help deter drivers from using mobile phones while driving on motorways.
A
Answered on: 22 February 2017

There are no plans to extend Highways England Traffic Officer powers. Highways England will continue to work closely with the National Police Chief’s Council and motorway policing groups to support their enforcement activities.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 08 February 2017
Department for Transport
Roads: Accidents
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to deal with the rise in road casualties among children.
A
Answered on: 22 February 2017

It is important to be clear about the statistics on road casualties. Child road casualties are currently at an historic low. The total number of children who were killed or seriously injured (KSI casualties) in 2015, the last complete calendar year statistics are available for, is 13 per cent lower than the 2010-14 average and represents a 6 per cent fall from the previous year.

Whilst recently published provisional figures for the year ending September 2016 suggest a rise in child KSI casualties in comparison with the year ending September 2015, it is important to note that these provisional figures are estimates based on incomplete returns from police forces and are subject to considerable uncertainty. The provisional 2016 statistics will be revised and not finalised until June 2017.

The government remains firmly committed to providing cycle training to school children in order to give the next generation of cyclists the skills and confidence to cycle safely on local roads. In recognition of the importance of this, we will provide £50 million up to 2019/20 to support Bikeability cycle training in schools. This funding will help to increase children's road awareness, encourage active travel and improve future motorists’ empathy for more vulnerable road users. Recent research shows significant improvements in children’s ability to perceive road hazards after Bikeability training.

We also support child road safety through our THINK! educational resources. We are updating our current programme to include a framework for age appropriate Road Safety Education skills and appropriate material for education practitioners.

Q
Asked on: 08 February 2017
Department for Transport
M1: Speed Limits
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the proposal by Highways England to limit a section of the M1 to a speed of 60mph between 7am and 7pm, what evidence they have that the reduced speed limit would reduce air pollution.
A
Answered on: 22 February 2017

Highways England will announce any measures to improve air quality on the M1 between Junctions 32-35a when the smart motorway scheme opens, which is expected to be in March 2017.

Q
Asked on: 08 February 2017
Department for Transport
M1: Speed Limits
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the proposal by Highways England to limit a section of the M1 to a speed of 60mph between 7am and 7pm and in the light of the study by NICE Air pollution: outdoor air quality and health, published in December 2016, what evidence they have that the reduced speed limit would contribute to smoother driving.
A
Answered on: 22 February 2017

Evidence from smart motorways implemented across England demonstrates that the controlled environment of signs, signals and enforcement leads to improved lane discipline, less congestion, less incidents and smoother speeds, all of which contribute to smoother driving.

Q
Asked on: 08 February 2017
Department for Transport
Motorways: Exhaust Emissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the aim of the Smart motorways programme to increase road capacity, how they intend to manage the additional emissions resulting from increased numbers of vehicles using the roads.
A
Answered on: 22 February 2017

Smart Motorways are at the core of Highways England’s £15bn investment programme to transform England’s Strategic Road Network, helping to ease congestion and improve traffic flow. Keeping traffic moving reduces stop-start decelerations and accelerations, which in itself has emissions benefits.

Highways England undertake an environmental assessment of each Smart Motorway scheme and if any measures are found to be necessary to manage emissions, these would be developed as part of scheme preparation work.

Q
Asked by Lord Freyberg
Asked on: 08 February 2017
HM Treasury
Art Works: Imports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much revenue has been collected through VAT on imported works of art in each financial year since 2010–11.
A
Answered by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Answered on: 22 February 2017

The revenue collected through VAT on imported works of art over the past four calendar years is as follows:

2013 – £35,861,082

2014 – £51,816,418

2015 – £41,793,022

2016 – £49,974,454

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) does not hold data for earlier years. HMRC is required to retain import entries for 3 years after the year of entry. Information on import VAT paid is contained within these entries.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 08 February 2017
Home Office
Asylum: Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what support they are offering to unaccompanied children seeking asylum in the UK, who are presently in Calais, Dunkirk and elsewhere in France; and what plans they have to extend the cut-off date for children claiming asylum under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016.
Answered on: 22 February 2017

The UK has contributed significantly to hosting, supporting and protecting the most vulnerable children affected by the migration crisis. In the year ending September 2016, the UK granted asylum or another form of leave to over 8,000 children. In 2016, we transferred over 900 unaccompanied minors to the UK from Europe, including more than 750 from France as part of the UK’s support for the Calais camp clearance.

On February 8, the Government announced that we will transfer the specified number of 350 children to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act. This includes the more than 200 children already transferred under section 67 from France as part of the UK’s support for the Calais camp clearance. This number has been agreed following consultation with local authorities on their capacity to accommodate and care for unaccompanied children. We will announce in due course the basis on which further children will be transferred from Europe to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act to the specified number.

The primary responsibility for unaccompanied children in Europe lies with the State in which they are present. It is not possible for a child in France to claim asylum in the UK, and there is no application process under section 67 of the Immigration Act or the Dublin Regulation.

The UK has also established a £10 million Refugee Children’s Fund to support the needs of vulnerable refugee and migrant children arriving in Europe.

Asked on: 08 February 2017
Department for Transport
A1
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 7 February (HL Deb, col 1592), and in the light of the report by the Office of Rail and Road on 2 February stating that Highways England is revising the plans about what capital projects it will define by 2020, whether the programme to dual-carriage the A1 north of Newcastle will start in 2020 and be completed on time and on budget by 2023.
A
Answered on: 22 February 2017

As set out in the Road Investment Strategy (RIS) of December 2014, construction of the A1 dualling schemes between Morpeth and Ellingham is expected to start works in 2019-2020. This is subject to completion of statutory planning processes and continuing to demonstrate value for money.

The A1 in Northumberland programme will also benefit from a package of smaller scale junction improvements, overtaking lanes and pedestrian improvements north of Ellingham. These are planned to start construction in 2018 and this is also subject to completion of statutory planning processes and continuing to demonstrate value for money.

Asked on: 08 February 2017
Department for Education
Pre-school Education
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the importance of high quality early years education and care to (1) the ability of parents to contribute to national productivity, and (2) the potential for later economic productivity of those children benefiting from such provision.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 22 February 2017

Evidence from the Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE) study shows that good quality early education has a lasting impact on children’s attainment and later outcomes. Children attending high quality pre-school had improved academic attainment at age 16, and were more likely to go onto A-levels and attend university. Attending some pre-school compared with not attending pre-school was predicted to result in an increase in lifetime earnings. We continue to build our evidence in this area through the £6 million longitudinal Study of Early Education and Development (SEED).

Wider research shows the impact of early years education and care on parents’ employment and, therefore, their ability to contribute to national productivity. For example, research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies in 2014 found that the expansion of funded provision led to a rise in maternal employment rate for those whose youngest child was three years old (see: Brewer, M et al. (2014) ‘The impact of free, universal pre-school education on maternal labour supply’).

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