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
(North Swindon)
Asked on: 27 October 2016
Home Office
Police: Cameras
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress has been made on the rollout of body-worn cameras to police officers for the collection of evidence.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 09 December 2016

The decision to procure and deploy body worn video (BWV) cameras is an operational one for chief officers. The Home Office is aware that most forces in England and Wales use BWV to some extent. Each force will have its own implementation plan and schedule for the rollout of cameras. This information is not held centrally.

Q
(Ellesmere Port and Neston)
[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: 14 November 2016
Department for Education
Pupil Numbers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many pupils were in (a) selective and (b) non-selective state schools in Year 7 in each of the last five years; and what proportion of those were (i) boys, (ii) boys eligible for free school meals, (iii) girls and (iv) girls eligible for free school meals.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 09 December 2016

The requested data can be found in the attachment.

Attachment (Excel SpreadSheet, 39 KB)
Grouped Questions: 52769 | 52770 | 52771
Q
(Ellesmere Port and Neston)
[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: 14 November 2016
Department for Education
Grammar Schools: Admissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 2 November 2016 to Question 48790, how many children in Year 7 whose ethnic backgrounds were (a) white British, (b) white British eligible for free school meals, (c) white non-British, (d) white non-British eligible for free school meals, (e) black, (f) black eligible for free school meals, (g) Indian, (h) Indian eligible for free school meals, (i) Chinese, (j) Chinese eligible for free school meals, (k) Bangladeshi, (l) Bangladeshi eligible for free school meals, (m) Pakistani, (n) Pakistani eligible for free school meals, (o) other Asian, (p) other Asian eligible for free school meals, (q) any other ethnicity and (r) any other ethnicity eligible for free school meals received a place in a grammar school in each of the last five years; and what the total number was of Year 7 pupils and the total number was of Year 7 pupils eligible for free school meals in each of those ethnic groups in each of those years.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 09 December 2016

The requested data can be found in the attachment.

Attachment (Excel SpreadSheet, 39 KB)
Grouped Questions: 52778 | 52770 | 52771
Q
(Ellesmere Port and Neston)
[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: 14 November 2016
Department for Education
Grammar Schools: Admissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 2 November 2016 to Question 48789, how many and what proportion of boys in Year 7 whose ethnic backgrounds were (a) white British, (b) white British eligible for free school meals, (c) white non-British, (d) white non-British eligible for free school meals, (e) black, (f) black eligible for free school meals, (g) Indian, (h) Indian eligible for free school meals, (i) Chinese, (j) Chinese eligible for free school meals, (k) Bangladeshi, (l) Bangladeshi eligible for free school meals, (m) Pakistani, (n) Pakistani eligible for free school meals, (o) other Asian, (p) other Asian eligible for free school meals, (q) any other ethnicity and (r) any other ethnicity eligible for free school meals received a place in a grammar school in each of the last five years; and what the total number was of Year 7 male pupils and the total number was of Year 7 male pupils eligible for free school meals in each of those ethnic groups in each of those years.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 09 December 2016

The requested data can be found in the attachment.

Attachment (Excel SpreadSheet, 39 KB)
Grouped Questions: 52778 | 52769 | 52771
Q
(Ellesmere Port and Neston)
[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: 14 November 2016
Department for Education
Grammar Schools: Admissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 2 November 2016 to Question 48788, how many and what proportion of girls in Year 7 whose ethnic backgrounds were (a) white British, (b) white British eligible for free school meals, (c) white non-British, (d) white non-British eligible for free school meals, (e) black, (f) black eligible for free school meals, (g) Indian, (h) Indian eligible for free school meals, (i) Chinese, (j) Chinese eligible for free school meals, (k) Bangladeshi, (l) Bangladeshi eligible for free school meals, (m) Pakistani, (n) Pakistani eligible for free school meals, (o) other Asian, (p) other Asian eligible for free school meals, (q) any other ethnicity and (r) any other ethnicity eligible for free school meals received a place in a grammar school in each of the last five years; and what the total number was of Year 7 female pupils and the total number was of Year 7 female pupils eligible for free school meals in each of those ethnic groups in each of those years.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 09 December 2016

The requested data can be found in the attachment.

Attachment (Excel SpreadSheet, 39 KB)
Grouped Questions: 52778 | 52769 | 52770
Q
(Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland)
[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 November 2016
Home Office
Social Networking: Criminal Investigation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has had discussions with social media companies on improving their cooperation with police investigations.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 09 December 2016

The Home Secretary engages regularly with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that our law enforcement agencies are able to undertake effectively their core function of protecting the public. As more and more communications take place online, this of course includes providers of telecommunications services such as social media companies.

Q
Asked by Lucy Powell
(Manchester 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: 23 November 2016
Department for Education
Schools: Costs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate she has made of the average cost to the public purse of opening a new (a) maintained nursery, (b) primary and (c) secondary school.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 09 December 2016

New school places are delivered through a variety of programmes across England and supporting local authorities to create sufficient school places is one of this Government’s top priorities. The Government has already committed £7 billion for school places, which along with our investment in 500 new free schools we expect to deliver 600,000 new places by 2021.

The cost of building schools varies significantly depending on local factors, including: the size of the school; the size of the project; forecasts of construction inflation; and regional variations in the cost of construction. All of these are subject to change over time.

Local authorities report the cost per place of providing new school places through the annual School Capacity data collection. The Department is currently reviewing cost data as reported by local authorities for both primary and secondary schools for 2014/15 and expects to publish this information in due course.

Previously published information on the cost per place of primary schools in academic year 2013/14 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/primary-school-places-local-authority-basic-need-scorecards-2014.

Q
Asked by Ian Austin
(Dudley 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: 23 November 2016
Department for Education
Secondary Education: Admissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate her Department has made of the average capital cost of a new secondary school place (a) in and (b) outside London.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 09 December 2016

New school places are delivered through a variety of programmes across England and supporting local authorities to create sufficient school places is one of the Government’s top priorities. The Government has already committed £7 billion for school places, which along with our investment in 500 new free schools we expect to deliver 600,000 new places by 2021.

The cost of building new places varies significantly depending on local factors including: the size of the project; forecasts of construction inflation; and regional variations in the cost of construction. All of these are subject to change over time.

Local authorities report the cost per place of providing new school places through the annual School Capacity data collection. The Department is currently reviewing cost data for secondary schools for 2014/15 and expects to publish this information in due course.

Q
(Coventry South)
[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: 23 November 2016
Department for Education
Grammar Schools
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what external research and evidence, other than the Sutton Trust's report, Evidence on the effects of selective educational systems, published in October 2008, she has used to formulate her policy on grammar schools; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 09 December 2016

The Department has reviewed a wide range of external research and evidence on grammar schools, including research on the impact of selection on the educational attainment of disadvantaged pupils.

We are still currently consulting on new proposals regarding selection in education and the Government’s policy will be informed by this consultation. All the evidence considered in preparing the consultation document, Schools that work for everyone, is referenced and available publicly.

Existing evidence is based on the current grammar school system. We are proposing significant changes to the requirements placed on selective schools to ensure that they raise standards for all pupils as part of a diverse schools system.

Our proposals are aimed at delivering a schools system that works for all children and offers parents genuine choice by increasing the number of good and outstanding school places.

Q
Asked by Stephen Timms
(East Ham)
[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: 24 November 2016
Department for Education
Special Educational Needs: Newham
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to ensure that Newham Borough Council is fully funded to implement the Government's educational reforms on provision for children and young people with special needs; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Edward Timpson
Answered on: 09 December 2016

To ensure that local authorities were fully funded to implement the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) reforms, the Government provided them with a £70million SEND Reform Grant in 2014-15, aimed at helping them to prepare for their new statutory duties. Newham Borough Council’s share of this grant amounted to £693,476.

Through the ‘SEND Implementation Grant’, additional implementation funding of £45.2million was provided in 2014-15; £31.7million was provided in 2015-16 and £35.8million was provided in 2016-17. Newham Borough Council’s shares of these allocations were £350,763 in 2014-15; £255,814 in 2015-16 and £291,459 in 2016-17.

In addition to direct implementation funding for local authorities, the Government has provided:

  • £45million between 2014-15 and 2016-17 for Independent Supporters to help parents and young people through the process of education, health and care assessment and planning;
  • £5million for local authorities to increase opportunities for work experience and supported internships in 2015-16;
  • £6.75million between 2014-15 and 2016-17 to provide grant support for every Parent Carer Forum in England;
  • funding for a network of nine lead authorities in 2015-16 and 2016-17 to coordinate peer support; and
  • funding for a delivery consortium of voluntary and community sector organisations providing specialist advice and support to local authorities and their partners.

The Government has also committed to funding the SEND Implementation Grant, Independent Supporters and Parent Carer Forums for 2017-2018.

Asked on: 30 November 2016
Department for Education
Grammar Schools
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government upon what basis the figure of £60 million each year for the expansion of grammar schools over the remainder of this Parliament was decided; who was consulted; and what calculations were made.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 09 December 2016

On September 12th the Secretary of State announced that we are consulting on a range of policy proposals aimed at increasing the number of good and outstanding school places.

As part of this, we proposed to make dedicated funding, of up to £50m a year, to support the expansion of existing selective schools to provide additional good quality selective places. This funding was confirmed at the Autumn Statement. In addition, Barnett Consequentials of £10m per year will be paid to the Devolved Administrations in the normal way.

The Department has considered a range of sources in arriving at this commitment, including the average costs of building under existing DfE programmes and bids to the Condition Improvement Fund.

Final proposals for the operation of the fund will be set out once we have considered responses to the current consultation.

Asked on: 30 November 2016
Department for Education
Grammar Schools
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the announcement in the Autumn Statement that funding would be made available for the expansion of grammar schools, whether new legislation will be introduced to Parliament to achieve this.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 09 December 2016

The Department announced its intention to make up to £50m dedicated funding available each year to support the expansion of existing grammar schools in the consultation ‘Schools that work for everyone’, which was launched on 12 September. Current legislation permits all categories of schools, including grammar schools, to expand so legislation is not required to implement this proposal.

Asked on: 30 November 2016
Department for Education
Grammar Schools
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the money in the Autumn Statement for the expansion of grammar schools will be allocated; what variables will be used to make the decision; and what assessment criteria are in place to ensure that the funding is being used appropriately.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 09 December 2016

The intention to make up to £50m dedicated funding available each year to support the expansion of existing grammar schools is one of a range of proposals included in the consultation ‘Schools that work for everyone’, which was launched on 12 September. We will announce further details of our policy proposals once we have had the opportunity to consider the consultation outcomes.

Asked on: 01 December 2016
Home Office
Police: Counter-terrorism
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 24 November (HL3373), what procedures exist for challenging and correcting Prevent practitioners who include participation in anti-fracking groups within their training materials.
Answered on: 09 December 2016

Prevent is about safeguarding vulnerable people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Prevent training is kept under continued review, and feedback is provided to ensure training materials address the risk of terrorism.

Q
(Oxford East)
Asked on: 01 December 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Papua
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has received reports of restrictions by the Indonesian government on access to West Papua for international non-governmental organisations and media.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 09 December 2016

We are not aware of any changes in restrictions on access to West Papua. During a visit in 2015, President Joko Widodo announced the lifting of travel restrictions for foreign journalists and international organisations. Since then, a number of foreign journalists have successfully visited and reported from Papua and West Papua. British Embassy staff have visited the province on a number of occasions, most recently in August, and we continue to follow the situation with close interest.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 01 December 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Islam: Religious Freedom
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support the Government is providing to (a) Iraq, (b) Afghanistan and (c) Nigeria to ensure the protection of minority Shi'a Muslims in those countries.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 09 December 2016

Iraq
The only way of safeguarding minority communities in Iraq is by defeating Daesh and establishing a lasting peace. The UK Government is committed to this. We have a comprehensive strategy for defeating Daesh and continue to support the Government of Iraq in its efforts to build a more inclusive society. Since June 2014, the UK has committed £169.5 million in humanitarian assistance to the crisis in Iraq. This includes access to clean water, food, medicines and other life-saving assistance for the most vulnerable. All UK funded aid is distributed on the basis of need, irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity to ensure that civilians are not discriminated against. We prioritise reaching the most vulnerable people across Iraq, including Shia Muslims and others who have suffered from such violence.

Nigeria
It is important that all Nigerians enjoy the right to freedom of religious belief and assembly, and that the security forces act within the law. UK military training and assistance to the Armed Forces of Nigeria has consistently emphasised the importance of adherence to internationally recognised Rules of Engagement, as well as the importance of International Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. We continue to work with the Nigerian Government, NGOs and civil society to improve the security situation and human rights for all the people of Nigeria.

Afghanistan
The UK is working closely with the Afghan Government as it seeks to overcome the legacy of conflict and become a more prosperous and stable state for all Afghans without discrimination. We currently have 450 military personnel in Afghanistan serving in a non-combat role, advising and assisting the Afghanistan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) as part of the NATO Resolute Mission. In addition to military support, we recently pledged £750m in development aid at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan for the period 2017-2020, this is expected to deliver improved health systems, boost education opportunities and assist with steps to tackle corruption.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 01 December 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government plans to take to ensure that the UK remains a leader in promoting human rights after the UK has left the EU.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 09 December 2016

The United Kingdom is a strong and long-standing advocate of universal human rights based on our values and our respect for international law and the rules-based international system. Through our strong international diplomatic presence we are influential members of the main institutions in which human rights issues are handled, as is evidenced by our recent re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Our diplomatic network works to defend human rights globally. We dedicate significant programme funds to support human rights projects, including through our Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy. This strong global engagement on human rights will be unchanged by the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.

Q
Asked by John Glen
(Salisbury)
Asked on: 01 December 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
South China Sea
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his US counterparts on the security situation in the South China Sea.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 09 December 2016

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Mr Boris Johnson), most recently discussed the security situation in the South China Sea with his US counterpart at a G7 Foreign Ministers' meeting in September. A joint statement at this meeting underlined G7 opposition to unilateral actions that raise tensions in the South China Sea, and urged all parties to comply with their obligations under international law and refrain from such actions. The UK has a clear interest in regional peace and stability and respect for freedom of navigation and overflight.

Q
Asked by John Glen
(Salisbury)
Asked on: 01 December 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Asia: Politics and Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans the Government has to support the US administration in promoting regional security in (a) the South China Sea and (b) other parts of Asia.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 09 December 2016

We continue to work closely with the US in promoting regional security across Asia. In line with our Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 commitments to the Asia Pacific region more broadly, we are active with a range of like-minded security partners in the region. For example, in November 2016 Exercise Eastern Vortex saw the Royal Air Force participate in a military exercise with Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand; in joint exercises with Japan; and in a trilateral exercise with the US and the Republic of Korea.

Q
Asked by Derek Thomas
(St Ives)
Asked on: 01 December 2016
Department of Health
Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what impact assessment his Department has undertaken on the potential effect of the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill 2016 on small and medium enterprises.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 09 December 2016

The Government has published the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill. This can be accessed on the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-service-medical-supplies-costs

The Government fully recognises the need to balance the interests of the National Health Service and patients in having medicines available on reasonable terms with the need to minimise burdens on small and medium sized companies. In relation to the proposed changes to the statutory scheme for branded medicines the Government has proposed an exemption from any new payment mechanism for companies with sales of branded health service medicines below £5 million in the previous calendar year.

The Bill includes new information powers which would be exercised through regulations. Companies are already required to keep information on sales and income for six years for tax purposes and the Government will consult industry to consider whether the information regulations would create any additional burden on companies beyond this.

Subject to the passage of the Bill through Parliament, the Government intends to undertake a public consultation on the regulations which will include a full impact assessment.

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