Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Children: Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information her Department holds on the level of successful collections of child maintenance for (a) employed payees and (b) self employed payees.
A
Corrected answer by: Justin Tomlinson
Corrected on: 12 November 2018
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 16 October 2018.
The correct answer should have been:

The Child Maintenance Service includes two service types: ‘Direct Pay’ where payments are arranged and agreed between parents, and ‘Collect & Pay’ where payments are collected and paid to the receiving parent by Child Maintenance Service.

The Department does not record data for direct pay compliance. If the paying parent does notdon't pay they can be moved onto the Collect and Pay at the discretion of the child maintenance service. The department does hold data on the compliance of Collect and Pay arrangements. Please refer to Table 7 of the Child Maintenance Service Statistics.

Data on compliance is recorded separately to data on employment status and cannot be easily linked. The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. Although the department does hold some of the data to answer your question we estimate the cost of complying with your request would exceed the appropriate limit for central government, set by regulation at £600.This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3 and half working days in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting it. We believe it would take longer than 3 and half days to match the compliance of a paying parent with their employment status. As a result, under section 12 of the Freedom of information Act the department is not therefore obliged to comply with your request and we will not be processing it further.

The Child Maintenance Service Statistics which shows overall compliance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-august-2013-to-june-2018-experimental

A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 16 October 2018

The Child Maintenance Service includes two service types: ‘Direct Pay’ where payments are arranged and agreed between parents, and ‘Collect & Pay’ where payments are collected and paid to the receiving parent by Child Maintenance Service.

The Department does not record data for direct pay compliance. If the paying parent does notdon't pay they can be moved onto the Collect and Pay at the discretion of the child maintenance service. The department does hold data on the compliance of Collect and Pay arrangements. Please refer to Table 7 of the Child Maintenance Service Statistics.

Data on compliance is recorded separately to data on employment status and cannot be easily linked. The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. Although the department does hold some of the data to answer your question we estimate the cost of complying with your request would exceed the appropriate limit for central government, set by regulation at £600.This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3 and half working days in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting it. We believe it would take longer than 3 and half days to match the compliance of a paying parent with their employment status. As a result, under section 12 of the Freedom of information Act the department is not therefore obliged to comply with your request and we will not be processing it further.

The Child Maintenance Service Statistics which shows overall compliance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-august-2013-to-june-2018-experimental

Q
Asked by Martyn Day
(Linlithgow and East Falkirk)
[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: 09 October 2018
Home Office
Immigrants: EU Nationals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his Department plans to contact an applicant's landlord to terminate a rental agreement in the event that an application for (a) settled and (b) temporary status is rejected.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 12 November 2018

EU nationals currently have an automatic right to rent by reason of their nationality under section 21 of the Immigration Act 2014. Any changes to this position, including to bring EU nationals within scope of the Immigration Act 2016 powers of eviction, will be considered as part of the design of the new global immigration system to be introduced after the EU-exit implementation period. The powers in the 2016 Act enable landlords to evict an individual where the Home Office has served a notice that they are letting to a disqualified person. These notices will only be served where an individual has failed to regularise their stay, leave the UK or comply with directions, and only after a careful examination of the individual’s circumstances and where there are no genuine obstacles to them leaving the UK.

The EU Settlement Scheme has been designed to make it easy for EU citizens to get the status they need and to evidence it digitally when accessing work, housing, benefits and services.

Asked on: 17 October 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Chemicals: Regulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the regulatory systems of the remaining EU member states and the UK remain aligned post-Brexit, in particular regarding the EU–REACH Chemicals Management System.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

The UK and the EU start from a unique position of aligned rules. The Government’s White Paper on the Future Relationship between the UK and the EU proposes a UK-EU free trade area, including chemicals, which is underpinned by a common rulebook for goods. The UK is also seeking participation in the EU agencies for highly regulated sectors, including the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Our proposal would avoid friction at the border and mean that businesses could access both UK and EU markets through one series of approvals.

Q
(Birmingham, Edgbaston)
Asked on: 26 October 2018
Cabinet Office
Government Departments: Sikhs
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the judgment of Mandla (Sewa Singh) and another v Dowell Lee and others [1983] 2 AC 548, which Government Departments and agencies (a) do and (b) do not include Sikh as an ethnic group in their classifications.
A
Answered by: Oliver Dowden
Answered on: 12 November 2018

The Civil Service records data across a range of characteristics - at present, Sikh is recorded as a religion but not an ethnic group. Departments are advised to collect ethnicity, national identity and religion data in line with the GSS Harmonisation Principles to ensure consistency of workforce reporting across departments.

Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Mobile Phones: Iford
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received any information from O2 as to when they will improve the mobile telephony in the village of Iford in East Sussex.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 12 November 2018

Ofcom publishes information on coverage in the UK, which can be displayed by Local Authority. Its latest Connected Nations Report shows that, as of May 2018, there is 99.6% 4G indoor coverage from at least one Mobile Network Operator (MNO), and 69.7% from all four MNOs in the Lewes local authority area. In the same area, the data show that there is 99.9% 4G geographic coverage from at least one MNO and 95.1% from all four MNOs.

The Government does not hold the information as asked in the question.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Transport
Motor Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Sugg on 24 October (HL10536), whether they plan to reduce the time by which local authorities should achieve compliance with NOX emissions targets.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 12 November 2018

The Government has required local authorities to develop local plans and implement them at pace so that air quality limits are achieved within the shortest possible time. This is set out in our 2017 UK Plan to Tackle Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Transport
Railways: Electrification
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made an assessment of the shortlisted submission made by Moxon Architects with Mott MacDonald to the RIBA aesthetic overhead line structures competition on the cost of railway electrification.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 12 November 2018

This is an industry-run competition, supported by DfT funding, to identify Overhead Line Structure designs that minimise impact on the surrounding environment. DfT has not played a part in the assessment process.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Transport
Buses: Exhaust Emissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Sugg on 24 October (HL10536), what proportion of NO2 exceedance in NOX targets is attributed to buses as opposed to other traffic.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 12 November 2018

On average, local road traffic and road traffic background are respectively responsible for around 60% and 18% of UK roadside NOx concentrations. On average, buses contribute around 16% of the NOx concentrations from local road traffic. We do not have statistics on how much of the NO2 exceedance is attributed to buses.

Since 2010 the Government has provided almost £150 million to help bus operators and local authorities purchase cleaner buses, and £67 million to retrofit existing bus fleets to a minimum Euro VI standard.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Transport
Road Traffic
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Sugg on 24 October (HL10536), what plans they have to deal with increasing levels of pollution and disrupted public transport caused by congestion.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 12 November 2018

As part of the Industrial Strategy launched at the Autumn Budget 2017, the Government launched the £1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund to support transport projects that increase productivity and reduce congestion. Local authorities with an NO2 exceedance can also apply for funding through the Clean Air Fund, which can fund measures to tackle congestion such as changing traffic signaling and improving road and junction layouts.

Q
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
EU Institutions: Allowances
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to relevant authorities to encourage them to review the level of allowances for (1) Members of the European Parliament, and (2) judges of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

The level of allowances for Members of the European Parliament and are decided internally by the European Parliament’s Bureau and and are outlined in the MEP Statute.

The allowances of the President and members of the Court of Justice of the European Union are provided for in Council Regulation (EU) 2016/300 determining the emoluments of EU high-level public office holders which was adopted on 29 February 2016.

Q
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
EU Institutions: Allowances
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to relevant authorities to encourage them to reform the requirements for disclosure of expenditure of allowances by (1) Members of the European Parliament, and (2) judges of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

The level of allowances for Members of the European Parliament are decided internally by the European Parliament’s Bureau and are outlined in the MEP Statute.

The European Council determines the salaries, allowances and pensions of EU high-level public office holders, including those of the judges of the CJEU. Therefore the UK, as a Member State, has had the opportunity to feed in and shape discussions around the relevant regulations governing these aspects.

The allowances of the President and members of the Court of Justice of the European Union are provided for in Council Regulation (EU) 2016/300 determining the emoluments of EU high-level public office holders which was adopted on 29 February 2016.

Q
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
European Parliament Members: Allowances
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the implications of the ruling of the General Court of the European Court of Justice in September which confirmed the European Parliament’s decision to refuse to grant access to documents relating to MEPs’ subsistence allowances, travel expenses and parliamentary assistance allowances.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

Her Majesty’s Government respects the ruling of the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Decisions around the release of documents are an internal matter for the European Parliament, acting in accordance with the judgment of the Court.

Q
Asked by Lord Freyberg
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Public Sector: Information
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ashton of Hyde on 29 October (HL10726), whether they will now answer the question originally put, namely, what independent body is responsible for advising on the Criteria for exceptions to marginal cost pricing, previously administered by The National Archives, to provide assurance to the re-user of public sector information (PSI) and to demonstrate that the public sector bodies are complying with PSI policy and are trading fairly.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 12 November 2018

Up until 2015, the exceptions to marginal cost pricing process formed part of the apparatus for managing Crown copyright by The National Archives; it did not form part of the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005. As such, it applied solely to a small proportion of Crown copyright material held by museums and galleries.

The Information Commissioner became responsible for complaints regarding the re-use of public sector information, under the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015. These Regulations necessitated a review of Crown copyright processes and the exceptions process was discontinued.

Complaints about charges for re-use by museums and galleries may be referred to the Information Commissioner for a binding decision.

Asked on: 29 October 2018
Treasury
Bank Services: Hacking
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much money UK banks have reported as having been stolen from customer accounts through hacking in each of the last three financial years.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 12 November 2018

UK Finance collects voluntary information on fraudulent transactions in the finance sector, which is published on their website.

Gross losses from unauthorised fraudulent transactions going back to 2012 have been published in UK Finance’s “2017 Annual Fraud Update”.

Asked on: 29 October 2018
Home Office
Bank Services: Hacking
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many hacking offences pertaining to customers’ bank accounts have been resolved in each of the past three financial years; in how many cases hackers were convicted; and what proportion they estimate the sum attributed to those offences resulting in conviction is of the total estimated to have been stolen through such hacking offences in the last three financial years.
Answered on: 12 November 2018

The UK Government does not hold data on customer losses from hacking against banks.

There were 142 convictions for Computer Misuse Act offences between 2015-2017. It is not possible to identify from centrally held data the number of hacking offences specifically relating to customer bank accounts. We are unable to disaggregate offences relating specifically to bank accounts from those offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

The cyber threats we face continue to grow in scale and sophistication. This is why the National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021 is supported by £1.9billion of transformational investment.

Q
Asked by Lord Ouseley
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Education
Special Educational Needs: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they are giving to the provision of additional resources to local authorities for specialist support for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 12 November 2018

We want children with special educational needs and disabilities to be able to reach their full potential. That is why we have reformed the funding for children and young people with high needs to make it fairer. High needs funding across England has risen by £1 billion since 2013, and will be over £6 billion next year.

Previously underfunded local authorities are seeing significant increases to their high needs funding, up to six per cent per head of the 2 to 18 population in 2019 to 2020 compared to what they planned to spend in 2017 to 2018. The provisional allocations for 2019 to 2020 that we announced in July can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pre-16-schools-funding-guidance-for-2019-to-2020. These will be updated with the latest pupil number data in December.

We are monitoring the impact of our national funding formula for high needs on local authority spending decisions and keeping the overall level of funding available under review. Funding for 2020 to 2021 and beyond will be determined in the context of the next spending review.

Q
Asked by Lord Ouseley
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Education
Children in Care
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the number of children entering local authority care is increasing; what assessment they have made of the causes of any such increase; and what steps they are taking to reduce that number.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 12 November 2018

We monitor the number of children entering the care system on an ongoing basis and information showing the change in the number of children entering the care system for the period since 2010 is provided in the table below:

Children who started to be looked after1,2,3 for years ending 31 March 2010 to 2017.

Coverage: England.

Source: SSDA903

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

28,090

27,520

28,390

28,980

30,730

31,360

32,160

32,810

  1. Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
  2. Only the first occasion on which a child started to be looked after in the year has been counted.
  3. Figures exclude children looked after under an agreed series of short term placements, but include children who were previously looked after under an agreed series of short term placements, but have changed to become looked after under a different legal status (e.g. care order) in the year.

Further breakdowns of children who started to be looked after can be found in Table C1 of the statistical first release ‘Children Looked After in England including Adoption: 2016 to 2017’ at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2016-to-2017.

The government wants every child to be in a stable, loving home that is right for them. One of the key principles of the legislation which underpins the UK’s child protection system, is that children are best looked after within their families. In July 2018, we revised the attached statutory guidance, ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’, to make this clear to practitioners. However, that is not always possible and, as a last resort, local authorities may apply to the independent courts for a decision about removing a child from his or her family – where there are concerns that the child is at risk of significant harm.

Our reform programme, Putting Children First, aims to ensure that all vulnerable children and families receive the highest quality care and support as soon as a need is identified. We have invested up to £200 million through the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme to test and develop better practice, including testing approaches to help vulnerable children to remain safely at home. We have also established the What Works Centre, which is pressing ahead with its research programme, including what works in safely reducing the need for children to enter care.

At the Budget, on 29 October 2018, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the government is also investing £84 million of targeted funding, for a number of local authorities, to improve their social work practice and decision-making. This is to enable these local authorities to support vulnerable children to stay safely at home, thriving in stable family circumstances, where that is in their best interests.

Q
Asked by Lord Ouseley
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Education
Special Educational Needs
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings in the advance pre-publication draft report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Is Britain Fairer?, published on 25 October, that “in England, the long-term trend towards inclusion of children with SEND in mainstream schools has been reversed” and that this is “at odds with the UK’s commitment to progressively achieve inclusive education for all under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities".
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 12 November 2018

We are currently considering the findings of the report. We remain committed to inclusive education of disabled children and young people and progressively removing the barriers to learning and participation in mainstream education. The Children and Families Act (2014) secures the general presumption in law of mainstream education in relation to decisions about where children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) should be educated; and the Equality Act (2010) provides protection from discrimination for disabled people.

We have very high expectations of our mainstream schools, where 98.3% of pupils are educated. As my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State said in his speech to the Association of Directors of Children’s Services earlier this year: ‘Every school is a school for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND); and every teacher is a teacher of SEND pupils'.

While many parents of disabled children choose mainstream education, others will want a specialist setting. Some children have complex SEN that mean that the best educational experience for them is in a school that specialises in meeting those needs. For them, a special school is a positive choice.

Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Education
Pre-school Education
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage more men to train and take up roles in early years education.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 12 November 2018

The department’s ‘Early Years Workforce Strategy’ (published March 2017) included a commitment to set up a gender diversity task and finish group of sector stakeholders to consider this issue in more depth. The group shared its findings over the summer and we are currently considering how best to address the issue of gender diversity in the early years workforce.

Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Education
Nurseries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are putting in place to ensure sufficient supply of nursery places for families living in rural and coastal areas.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 12 November 2018

Local authorities have a duty to secure sufficient childcare for families in their local areas. The department will continue to support all local authorities to deliver the government’s childcare offers and ensure sufficient places, through direct support from departmental officials and our delivery partners. In September 2018, we also announced a year extension to the Childcare Works contract, which will see continued support being provided to local authorities and childcare providers in helping to deliver the government entitlements.

The department is committed to ensuring all parents have access to high-quality affordable childcare. We recognise that providers and families living and operating in rural communities are faced with particular barriers to delivering and accessing childcare. That is why under the new early years national funding formula introduced in 2017, local authorities can use a rurality or sparsity supplement in their local funding formulae.

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