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.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

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.
Showing 1-20 out of 59649
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
(Leeds East)
Asked on: 24 April 2018
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the cost to the public purse has been of women serving prison sentences for non-violent crimes since 1 January 2018.
A
Corrected answer by: Dr Phillip Lee
Corrected on: 20 June 2018
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 02 May 2018.
The correct answer should have been:

At 31 March 20187, there were 2,271 sentenced females in the prison population for non-violent crimes (everything but violence against the person) and an additional 445 on remand. This information is publicly available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/offender-management-statistics-quarterly-october-to-december-2017.

Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service (HMPPS), does not calculate separately the average cost of prisoners by any type of offence. However, HMPPS routinely publishes average costs per prisoner, costs per prison place and overall prison unit costs for each private and public sector prison in England and Wales, including all categories of the women’s estate. This information is produced on an annual basis and is published after the end of each financial year.

The most recent published figures, for financial year 2016-17, can be accessed on the www.gov.uk website from the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/prison-performance-statistics-2016-to-2017. Prison unit costs can be found within the Excel document Costs per prison place and cost per prisoner by individual prison establishment in the ‘Cost by Establishment’ tab.

The courts have a range of sentences at their disposal including community sentences, suspended sentences, fines and custodial sentences. Custodial sentences are reserved for the most serious offences. Women diverted from custody and into community sentences, also have an associated cost to the taxpayer.

A
Answered by: Dr Phillip Lee
Answered on: 02 May 2018

At 31 March 20187, there were 2,271 sentenced females in the prison population for non-violent crimes (everything but violence against the person) and an additional 445 on remand. This information is publicly available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/offender-management-statistics-quarterly-october-to-december-2017.

Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service (HMPPS), does not calculate separately the average cost of prisoners by any type of offence. However, HMPPS routinely publishes average costs per prisoner, costs per prison place and overall prison unit costs for each private and public sector prison in England and Wales, including all categories of the women’s estate. This information is produced on an annual basis and is published after the end of each financial year.

The most recent published figures, for financial year 2016-17, can be accessed on the www.gov.uk website from the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/prison-performance-statistics-2016-to-2017. Prison unit costs can be found within the Excel document Costs per prison place and cost per prisoner by individual prison establishment in the ‘Cost by Establishment’ tab.

The courts have a range of sentences at their disposal including community sentences, suspended sentences, fines and custodial sentences. Custodial sentences are reserved for the most serious offences. Women diverted from custody and into community sentences, also have an associated cost to the taxpayer.

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: 01 May 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Data Protection
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what percentage of the data held by his Department is hosted outside the UK; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 20 June 2018

We will write to the Rt Hon member with the requested information. A copy of the letter will be placed in the House library.

Q
Asked by Jack Lopresti
(Filton and Bradley Stoke)
Asked on: 09 May 2018
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Apprentices
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what levels of apprenticeships are offered by his Department; and how many apprenticeship starts there were at each level in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Oliver Dowden
Answered on: 20 June 2018

Apprenticeships in Cabinet Office can be started at levels intermediate, advanced, higher and degree.

Overall apprenticeship starts in the Cabinet Office in England were as follows in each of the last three years.

Total

Intermediate

Advanced

Higher

Degree

% of workforce

April 2015 – March 2016

55

Data not available

2.5%

April 2016 – March 2017

53

0

25

28

0

1.98%

April 2017 – December 2017

27

0

11

16

0

0.52%

Please note that we are awaiting finalised data for the period January-March 2018.

Note that apprentice starts outside England were

With the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in May 2017 our trajectory assumes slower growth at the beginning with starts increasing over time. This allows the necessary infrastructure to be put in place to ensure high quality apprenticeships are offered. The Cabinet Office contributes to the Civil Service commitment to deliver 30,000 new apprenticeship starts by 2020 with over 10,000 starts already achieved.

The Cabinet Office recognises that apprenticeships are an effective means of employers developing their own talent and are a vital part of the Government’s plans to build a sustainable, balanced economy designed to extend opportunity to more young people. We are also contributing to the wider Government aims of tackling youth unemployment and inspiring young and ethnically-diverse people to see the Cabinet Office, and Civil Service, as an employer of choice.

Cabinet Office is working to the Civil Service Apprenticeship Strategy and is offering apprenticeship opportunities where possible at all levels. This will be via new recruitment and the conversion of existing staff.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 21 May 2018
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many contractors have been employed by his Department for (a) up to one year, (b) between one and five years, (c) between five and 10 years and (d) over 10 years.
A
Answered by: Oliver Dowden
Answered on: 20 June 2018

The Cabinet Office utilises contingent labour to supply specialist skills and capability not readily available within the Civil Service. As at 22nd May 2018 the breakdown of contingent labour contracted in the Cabinet Office, by length of contract is detailed below.

(a) up to one year

(b) between one and five years

(c) between five and 10 years

(d) over 10 years

627

420

0

0

These figures refer to all contingent labour who have been contracted in the Cabinet Office for the time period specified at any point during the last a) one year, or b) five years.

Additional information about the numbers and costs of contingent labour working in the Cabinet Office (including temporary staff) is published monthly and 2017/18 statistics are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-workforce-management-data-2017-to-2018.

Q
(Coventry South)
Asked on: 21 May 2018
Department for International Development
Palestinians: Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much financial assistance her Department has given to projects in Palestine in each of the last ten years.
A
Corrected answer by: Alistair Burt
Corrected on: 20 June 2018
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 29 May 2018.
The correct answer should have been:

DFID’s Official Development Assistance directly to West Bank and Gaza Strip 2007 to 2016

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

£11.2m

£55.4m

£56.1m

£58.0m

£120.5m

£58.3m

£95.9m

£109.4m

£41.4m

£43.9m

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

£26.8m

£74.4m

£81.0m

£85.0m

£103.6m

£82.8m

£82.3m

£111.9m

£75.1m

£43.9m

This includes DFID’s bilateral ODA to the West Bank and Gaza Strip including DFID’s contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for basic services and protection for Palestine refugees in the region. In the National Statistics “ Statistics on International Development” the UNRWA contribution is included in DFID’s multilateral ODA total. This is due to the OECD DAC international code rules.

A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 29 May 2018

DFID’s Official Development Assistance directly to West Bank and Gaza Strip 2007 to 2016

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

£11.2m

£55.4m

£56.1m

£58.0m

£120.5m

£58.3m

£95.9m

£109.4m

£41.4m

£43.9m

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

£26.8m

£74.4m

£81.0m

£85.0m

£103.6m

£82.8m

£82.3m

£111.9m

£75.1m

£43.9m

This includes DFID’s bilateral ODA to the West Bank and Gaza Strip including DFID’s contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for basic services and protection for Palestine refugees in the region. In the National Statistics “ Statistics on International Development” the UNRWA contribution is included in DFID’s multilateral ODA total. This is due to the OECD DAC international code rules.

Q
Asked by Tim Loughton
(East Worthing and Shoreham)
[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 May 2018
Women and Equalities
Civil Partnerships
Commons
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the command paper, Future operation of Civil Partnerships, Cm. 9606, published in May 2018, what specifications her Department issued on the opinion polling to be conducted when appointing an organisation to undertake opinion polling on demand for extending civil partnerships; and for what reasons the Office for National Statistics was so appointed.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 20 June 2018

This survey is intended to help us understand how many unmarried people in an opposite-sex relationship may enter into a civil partnership if the option was open to them.

Creating a new survey mechanism to ask a small number of questions would have been disproportionately time-consuming and would not have been efficient, so it was decided to use an existing polling structure.

The ONS Opinions and Lifestyle survey offered the only regular omnibus survey of the general population using a random sample, rather than drawing on pre-screened panels.

Q
Asked by Cat Smith
(Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Asked on: 01 June 2018
Cabinet Office
Absent Voting: British Nationals Abroad
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the implications are for the Government's policies of recommendation 20 of the report of the Association of Electoral Administrators entitled It’s time for urgent and positive Government action: The AEA’s review of the 2017 local government elections and the UK Parliamentary general election, published in September 2017, on the Government evaluating the effectiveness and future use of the International Business Response Licence for postal votes being sent overseas ahead of the next set of national polls.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 20 June 2018

The Government is committed to ensuring that electors can cast their vote and will continue to look for ways to assist electors to do so. The International Business Response Service is a means of assisting the return of postal votes from abroad and helped to ensure that over 80,000 postal votes were recorded back from overseas by Royal Mail leading up to polling day on 8 June 2017. Almost 100,000 items were recorded back from overseas at the EU Referendum in 2016.

The Electoral Commission evaluated its use after the 2016 Referendum and decided it was value for money in terms of the number of votes returned by the process and recommended we use it for the General Election.

Q
Asked by John Healey
(Wentworth and Dearne)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Social Rented Housing: Fire Prevention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to his letters of 1 June 2018 to local authorities and housing associations, whether his Department considers all materials of A2 classification to be non-combustible.
A
Answered by: James Brokenshire
Answered on: 20 June 2018

Having listened carefully to concerns, the Government intends to ban the use of combustible materials on the external walls of high-rise residential buildings, subject to consultation.

The consultation was published on 18 June 2018 and is available on line at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/banning-the-use-of-combustible-materials-in-the-external-walls-of-high-rise-residential-buildings

Q
Asked by Lord Berkeley
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Cabinet Office
Public Sector: Conduct
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what professional standards are required of employees of public sector commercial enterprises; and whether these comply with the standards of the Civil Service Code.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 20 June 2018

Cabinet Office is not involved with setting the professional standards or terms and conditions for these organisations. We are therefore not able to provide a response.

Asked on: 06 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Pakistan: Religious Freedom
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report Forced Conversions & Forced Marriages in Sindh, Pakistan, published by the Commonwealth Institute for Freedom of Religion and Belief and the University of Birmingham.
A
Answered on: 20 June 2018

The British Government remains firmly committed to the promotion and protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief globally. We believe that the freedom to practice one's faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a fundamental human right.

Pakistan is a human rights priority for the UK. We remain deeply concerned by reports of forced marriages and forced conversions in Pakistan. We regularly raise our concerns about the protection of vulnerable groups, including religious minorities and women, with the Pakistani Government at a senior level. I discussed our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief and the treatment of minority religious communities with Pakistan's Interior Minister during his visit to the UK in February 2018.

I was pleased to attend at the launch of the Commonwealth Initiative for Freedom of Religion and Belief and University of Birmingham report on forced conversions and forced marriages in Sindh, Pakistan, in Parliament on 6 June. We will carefully consider the recommendations of this report.

The UK supports a range of projects in Pakistan which aim to: promote greater tolerance and religious freedom; increase the recording and prosecution of cases of violence against women and children; improve women and girls' awareness of their legal rights and access to formal justice systems; and increase the participation of women in democracy as voters and candidates.

Asked on: 06 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Pakistan: Religious Freedom
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to reflect the recommendations and conclusions from the report Forced Conversions & Forced Marriages in Sindh, Pakistan, published by the Commonwealth Institute for Freedom of Religion and Belief and the University of Birmingham in their development and foreign affairs policies; and if so, how.
A
Answered on: 20 June 2018

The British Government remains firmly committed to the promotion and protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief globally. The freedom to practice one's faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a fundamental human right.

Pakistan is a human rights priority for the UK. We remain deeply concerned by reports of forced marriages and forced conversions in Pakistan. We regularly raise our concerns about the protection of vulnerable groups, including religious minorities and women, with the Pakistani Government at a senior level. I discussed our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief and the treatment of minority religious communities with Pakistan's Interior Minister during his visit to the UK in February 2018.

I was pleased to attend at the launch of the Commonwealth Initiative for Freedom of Religion and Belief and University of Birmingham report on forced conversions and forced marriages in Sindh, Pakistan, in Parliament on 6 June. We will carefully consider the recommendations of this report.

The UK supports a range of projects in Pakistan which aim to: promote greater tolerance and religious freedom; increase the recording and prosecution of cases of violence against women and children; improve women and girls' awareness of their legal rights and access to formal justice systems; and increase the participation of women in democracy as voters and candidates.

Asked on: 06 June 2018
Ministry of Justice
Personal Injury: Compensation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what new definitions of damages for personal injuries were introduced into law by the Civil Procedure Rules 1998.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 20 June 2018

There were no new definitions of damages for personal injuries introduced by the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) 1998. A “claim for personal injuries” is defined in CPR 2.3 as “proceedings in which there is a claim for damages in respect of personal injuries to the claimant or any other person or in respect of a person’s death, and ‘personal injuries’ includes any disease and any impairment of a person’s physical or mental condition.”

In general, cases allocated to the Small Claims track are those with a financial value of no more than £10,000. For personal injury, there is a lower small claims limit of £1,000 that applies to damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. Additional damages may be recovered, such as for loss of earnings, damage to property and medical expenses, although to remain on the Small Claims track the total value of the whole claim must not exceed the relevant financial limit.

Grouped Questions: HL8404
Asked on: 06 June 2018
Ministry of Justice
Personal Injury: Compensation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which damages claimed for are taken into consideration when determining whether a claim for damages for personal injuries should follow the small claims track; and whether special damages and future losses are taken into account in such determinations.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 20 June 2018

There were no new definitions of damages for personal injuries introduced by the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) 1998. A “claim for personal injuries” is defined in CPR 2.3 as “proceedings in which there is a claim for damages in respect of personal injuries to the claimant or any other person or in respect of a person’s death, and ‘personal injuries’ includes any disease and any impairment of a person’s physical or mental condition.”

In general, cases allocated to the Small Claims track are those with a financial value of no more than £10,000. For personal injury, there is a lower small claims limit of £1,000 that applies to damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. Additional damages may be recovered, such as for loss of earnings, damage to property and medical expenses, although to remain on the Small Claims track the total value of the whole claim must not exceed the relevant financial limit.

Grouped Questions: HL8403
Q
Asked by Lord Berkeley
Asked on: 06 June 2018
Department for Education
Schools: Assessments
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of pupils have been granted extra time in public exams as a result of special educational needs in (1) state schools, and (2) independent schools; and whether the process for diagnosis of such needs is uniform in both sectors.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 20 June 2018

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Sally Collier, to write directly to the noble Lord. A copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Q
Asked by Lord Berkeley
Asked on: 06 June 2018
Department for Transport
High Speed 2 Railway Line
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the latest economic case for HS2; and whether this has altered since the High Speed Rail (London — West Midlands) Act 2017 received Royal Assent.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 20 June 2018

The latest economic case for HS2 is the High Speed Two Phase Two Economic Case, published in July 2017. The next economic case is planned to be published in 2019 as part of the Full Business Case for Phase One.

Q
Asked by Lord Berkeley
Asked on: 06 June 2018
Department for Transport
High Speed 2 Railway Line
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what seat occupancy assumptions have been used in the economic case for HS2.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 20 June 2018

The economic case does not assume a fixed occupancy rate for HS2 services. Predicted levels of occupancy and crowding are a product of demand, supply, and other transport modelling assumptions and vary by time of day, year and HS2 service.

Asked on: 06 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Environment Protection
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to involve scientists, economists and environmentalists in developing a set of metrics to measure the progress of the 25 Year Environment Plan; and when those metrics will be published.
A
Answered on: 20 June 2018

We have engaged with scientists, economists and environmentalists from a number of external organisations since January to inform the development of a comprehensive suite of metrics and indicators.

We will engage further with interested parties over the summer to canvas views on what this suite of indicators and metrics ought to cover. This will be achieved through a combination of publicly available briefing papers and targeted technical meetings with individual organisations and small groups of interested parties.

The package of metrics we propose will then be subject to a further period of formal consultation in order to ensure we get this important measure absolutely right.

Asked on: 06 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Water: National Policy Statements
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in consulting on the National Policy Statement for Water Resources; and when the outcome of that consultation will be published.
A
Answered on: 20 June 2018

I announced that a national policy statement for water resources would be developed in a written ministerial statement in March 2017 (HLWS532). In November 2017, the government consulted on the approach to developing the statement and proposals to amend the definitions of nationally significant infrastructure projects for water in the Planning Act 2008. The summary of responses and government response was published in March. The government undertook a further informal consultation on amendments to the definitions in April. The government will set out the final thresholds and infrastructure types for the proposed amendment to the Planning Act 2008 in the summer. The government will consult on the draft national policy statement this autumn.

Asked on: 06 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Birds of Prey: Conservation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many successful prosecutions have been made for raptor persecution in each of the last five years.
A
Answered on: 20 June 2018

The Ministry of Justice data does not distinguish raptors from other birds and, as such, this information can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The number of convictions under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 for offences in relation to birds, their nests and eggs in each of the last five years are as follows:

2013: 15

2014: 12

2015: 18

2016: 12

2017: 14

Q
Asked by Lord Mancroft
Asked on: 06 June 2018
Department for Transport
High Speed 2 Railway Line
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Sugg on 23 May (HL7911), what discussions they have had with contractors about the need to ensure that fencing along the HS2 Phase One line is (1) stock proof to enable agricultural use to continue along the line post-opening, and (2) of sufficient quality to prevent domestic animals and wildlife from accessing the line.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 20 June 2018

HS2 Ltd has been working with the main works civil contractors to develop Phase One scheme designs which will continue until the end of 2018 when it expects to agree construction plans for the new high-speed railway and ancillary works such as fencing.

HS2 Ltd’s technical standard for fencing requires that temporary and permanent fencing shall be stock-proofed where appropriate, and this shall take account of the anticipated livestock loading on the fencing and its foundations.

The security fencing around the entire railway, designed to prevent unauthorised access, will also act as a barrier for domestic animals and many species of wildlife.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 1-20 out of 59649
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100