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
Asked by Diana Johnson
(Kingston upon Hull 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: 17 December 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
HIV Infection: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when all sites selected for the pre-exposure prophylaxis impact trial will be open to participant recruitment.
A
Corrected answer by: Steve Brine
Corrected on: 23 January 2019
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 20 December 2018.
The correct answer should have been:

The 10,000 places allocated to the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Impact Trial undertaken across England were determined on the basis of the numbers likely to address the study objectives. The figure was revised upwards to 13,000 in 2018. Any further increase in trial numbers would need to be considered against the likelihood that the trial objectives would not be met or revised objectives are felt to be necessary.

Of the current 152 sites that expressed an interest in taking part,All planned 140 trial sites have now opened. The current overview of the site status can be seen on the trial website at the following link:

https://www.prepimpacttrial.org.uk/join-the-trial

Grouped Questions: 202735
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 20 December 2018

The 10,000 places allocated to the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Impact Trial undertaken across England were determined on the basis of the numbers likely to address the study objectives. The figure was revised upwards to 13,000 in 2018. Any further increase in trial numbers would need to be considered against the likelihood that the trial objectives would not be met or revised objectives are felt to be necessary.

Of the current 152 sites that expressed an interest in taking part,All planned 140 trial sites have now opened. The current overview of the site status can be seen on the trial website at the following link:

https://www.prepimpacttrial.org.uk/join-the-trial

Grouped Questions: 202735
Q
Asked by Esther McVey
(Tatton)
Asked on: 19 December 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding from the public purse has been allocated to his Department for financial year 2018-19 for planning for the UK leaving the EU without a deal; and how much of that funding has been spent.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 23 January 2019

DCMS has been allocated £26.2m of funding for the full year 2018/19, which is being paid out in Supplementary Estimates 18/19.

As at the end of December, our actual spend to date is £20.1m. Further spend to the end of March 2019 is expected to arise from staff, accommodation, IT, and legal costs, to meet the 2018-19 allocation.

Q
Asked by Mary Glindon
(North Tyneside)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Fire Prevention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will publish the dates on which each prison establishment last undertook full night-time fire contingencies exercises.
A
Corrected answer by: Rory Stewart
Corrected on: 23 January 2019
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 16 January 2019.
The correct answer should have been:

The dates on which public sector prisons in England and Wales last undertook night-time fire contingency exercises; whether a formal report from Fire and Rescue Services was provided; and whether additional staff were requested as a result of such exercises, is provided in the attached table. Arrangements are being made to ensure that prisons listed as not yet completing for the period to undertake a fire contingency exercise.

Prison Fire Safety leads engage regularly with Fire and Rescue Services to ensure contingency plans are fit for purpose, and any issues or concerns are highlighted as part of this ongoing engagement. Additionally, Fire and Rescue Service Senior Fire Officers are required to highlight significant problems or concerns to the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Operations Committee. The NFCC have confirmed that no reports on the outcomes of night-time fire contingency testing have been received.

Privately Managed Prisons (PMPs) are also obliged to follow Prison Service Instruction 11/2015, Fire Safety in Prison Establishments. This requires Directors of PMP’s to regularly test the fire contingency plans for both day and night state; contingency plans for fire must be tested at least annually.

Operators of PMPs hold data for their own contract sites. Each PMP has a full-time on-site Controller employed by HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). The Controller has regular review meetings with the contractor against a range of performance indicators. Any concerns in relation to these performance indicators or any other concerns relating to the delivery of the contract are discussed at these meetings. Where action is needed, progress is monitored by the Controller and escalated within HMPPS. Where appropriate action can be taken in accordance with the contract. This may include a requirement for urgent improvement and/or financial deductions.

Table for 205271, 205272, 205273 (Excel SpreadSheet, 13.8 KB)
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 16 January 2019

The dates on which public sector prisons in England and Wales last undertook night-time fire contingency exercises; whether a formal report from Fire and Rescue Services was provided; and whether additional staff were requested as a result of such exercises, is provided in the attached table. Arrangements are being made to ensure that prisons listed as not yet completing for the period to undertake a fire contingency exercise.

Prison Fire Safety leads engage regularly with Fire and Rescue Services to ensure contingency plans are fit for purpose, and any issues or concerns are highlighted as part of this ongoing engagement. Additionally, Fire and Rescue Service Senior Fire Officers are required to highlight significant problems or concerns to the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Operations Committee. The NFCC have confirmed that no reports on the outcomes of night-time fire contingency testing have been received.

Privately Managed Prisons (PMPs) are also obliged to follow Prison Service Instruction 11/2015, Fire Safety in Prison Establishments. This requires Directors of PMP’s to regularly test the fire contingency plans for both day and night state; contingency plans for fire must be tested at least annually.

Operators of PMPs hold data for their own contract sites. Each PMP has a full-time on-site Controller employed by HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). The Controller has regular review meetings with the contractor against a range of performance indicators. Any concerns in relation to these performance indicators or any other concerns relating to the delivery of the contract are discussed at these meetings. Where action is needed, progress is monitored by the Controller and escalated within HMPPS. Where appropriate action can be taken in accordance with the contract. This may include a requirement for urgent improvement and/or financial deductions.

Table for 205271, 205272, 205273 (Excel SpreadSheet, 13.8 KB)
Asked on: 08 January 2019
Department for International Trade
Overseas Trade: USA
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of potential trading opportunities with the United States sports sector post-Brexit.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 23 January 2019

The Department for International Trade (DIT) works to raise the profile of the UK’s world leading sports industries, organisations and leagues across the globe. The announcement of Los Angeles as host of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the successful ‘United’ bid of the United States, Canada and Mexico to host the 2026 FIFA Football World Cup present opportunities for UK expertise in major sporting events. DIT will actively promote relevant opportunities arising from these events to UK businesses and organisations as they pursue opportunities in the sports economy sector internationally.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
[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: 08 January 2019
Home Office
Immigration: Appeals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 7 January to Written Question 203216 on Immigration; Appeals, what the criteria are for his Department to expedite the consideration of an appeal based solely on human rights grounds in immigration cases, within the time limits set by the Tribunal Procedure Committee.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 23 January 2019

Where the Home Office decides not to contest an allowed appeal, follow-on actions are completed as quickly as practically possible. The timeframe will vary for individual cases, especially where a fresh decision is required, or the customer needs to provide further information.

Requests for priority implementation are considered on a case by case basis. For example, if an appellant has provided credible evidence of the life-threatening illness or death of a close family member overseas, UKVI will prioritise the implementation, unless there are serious countervailing factors which necessitate holding the case.

Q
Asked on: 09 January 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Promotion
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Fairhead on 20 September 2018 (HL10343), whether they have now received the regional trade plan of each of Her Majesty's Trade Commissioners; and if so, whether they will publish those plans.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 23 January 2019

All of Her Majesty’s nine Trade Commissioners have completed their first Regional Trade Plans, which set out how each region will meet the Department’s objectives overseas. These have all been discussed at the Departmental Board. Over the coming months, Trade Commissioners will be refreshing their plans to ensure they remain fully updated.

The Department for International Trade does not intend to publish Regional Trade Plans at present, as they are internal documents. However, for the future, we are considering what information may be appropriate to publish and when.

Grouped Questions: HL12727
Q
Asked on: 09 January 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Promotion
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Fairhead on 20 September 2018 (HL10343), which Trade Commissioners, if any, have not yet submitted their regional trade plan.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 23 January 2019

All of Her Majesty’s nine Trade Commissioners have completed their first Regional Trade Plans, which set out how each region will meet the Department’s objectives overseas. These have all been discussed at the Departmental Board. Over the coming months, Trade Commissioners will be refreshing their plans to ensure they remain fully updated.

The Department for International Trade does not intend to publish Regional Trade Plans at present, as they are internal documents. However, for the future, we are considering what information may be appropriate to publish and when.

Grouped Questions: HL12726
Asked on: 09 January 2019
Ministry of Defence
Type 26 Frigates
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration, if any, they have given to accelerating the Type 26 build programme.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 23 January 2019

The Ministry of Defence has no plans to change the schedule for the Type 26 Frigate procurement programme. The first Type 26 ship, HMS Glasgow, will enter service with the Royal Navy in 2027.

Asked on: 09 January 2019
Ministry of Defence
Radar
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure continued advanced radar development in the UK.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 23 January 2019

Radar is one of the key underlying technologies that provide the UK Armed Forces with our critical Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) continues to fund advanced UK radar programmes such as Sampson and Artisan. Looking to the future, the MOD is conducting a Radar review to ensure we understand the capability needed to adapt to the future environments and threats.

The review will consider how we assure our future freedom of action and operational advantage in radar capability.

Grouped Questions: HL12730
Asked on: 09 January 2019
Ministry of Defence
Radar
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is a strategic requirement for a UK radar industry.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 23 January 2019

Radar is one of the key underlying technologies that provide the UK Armed Forces with our critical Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) continues to fund advanced UK radar programmes such as Sampson and Artisan. Looking to the future, the MOD is conducting a Radar review to ensure we understand the capability needed to adapt to the future environments and threats.

The review will consider how we assure our future freedom of action and operational advantage in radar capability.

Grouped Questions: HL12729
Asked on: 10 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Greece: Asylum
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the report by Oxfam Vulnerable and Abandoned, published on 9 January, about (1) specialised shelters for minors, (2) special accommodation for single women, (3) access to medical services for pregnant and lactating women, and (4) psycho-social and psychiatric support for people with mental health conditions.
A
Answered on: 23 January 2019

We are aware of the report. In our contacts at official and Ministerial level, the FCO has consistently raised concerns with the Greek government about the humanitarian situation faced by some migrants, and we will continue to do so. The UK remains fully committed to working with Greece to manage migration in the Eastern Mediterranean through the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement. Since March 2018, the UK has provided interpreters to work with the Greek Reception and Identification Service, supporting migrants arriving on the hotspot islands, including through facilitating access to medical and psycho-social care. As the Minister for Immigration announced on 20 December, we have also made changes to the 'Dubs amendment' scheme to allow more of the most vulnerable unaccompanied children to qualify for relocation to the UK.

Asked on: 10 January 2019
Department for Transport
Channel Ferries: Freight
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which new freight transport routes across the English Channel between the UK and the EU are being considered as part of the contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 23 January 2019

The routes agreed for increased freight capacity with DFDS and with Brittany Ferries will run from the Ports of Immingham and Felixstowe (DFDS) and Poole, Plymouth and Portsmouth (Brittany) to destinations in Germany (Cuxhaven), the Netherlands (Vlaardingen) and France (Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, and Roscoff). The route agreed with Seaborne Freight is between Ramsgate and Ostend in Belgium.

Asked on: 10 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Food: Imports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many additional food inspectors will be put in place to ensure food imports from the EU are checked at transit ports in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
A
Answered by: Baroness Manzoor
Answered on: 23 January 2019

In the event of a ‘no deal’ European Union exit, there will be no additional controls on food and feed originating from the EU. However, third country high-risk food and feed consignments transiting the EU destined for the United Kingdom will be subject to controls and will need to enter the UK at ports with the required facilities to undertake those controls. Following detailed analysis to determine the possible number of such transits, there is sufficient existing capacity at UK ports with those facilities to undertake all relevant import controls.

Asked on: 10 January 2019
Department for Transport
Roads: Litter
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which organisation has responsibility for clearing litter from motorways and trunk roads; and whether they also have powers to issue civil penalties to the owner of a vehicle from which litter is seen to be thrown.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 23 January 2019

Highways England are responsible for cleaning litter on motorways and a small number of A roads. Local Authorities are responsible for clearing litter on all other A roads and All Purpose Trunk Roads.

District councils in England (outside London) have powers to issue civil penalties to the keepers of vehicles from which litter is thrown onto their roads. All local authorities can also prosecute or issue fixed penalties in lieu of prosecution for littering offences on any road within their area, including motorways. Highways England do not have any enforcement powers in respect of littering offences on the roads from which they are responsible for clearing litter.

Q
Asked on: 10 January 2019
Ministry of Defence
Minesweepers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many River-class minesweepers, if any, remain in service with the Royal Navy or the Royal Naval Reserve.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 23 January 2019

No River Class Minesweepers remain in service with the Royal Navy (RN) or the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR).

Twelve River Class Minesweepers were built in the 1980s. Eleven were assigned to the RNR units around the UK, and a twelfth ship was operated by the RN's Fishery Protection Squadron. All 12 ships were decommissioned and sold during the 1990s.

Today, the RN operates a fleet of 13 Mine Counter Measure Vessels (six Hunt Class and seven Sandown Class).

Q
Asked on: 10 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Health Services: Travellers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the commitment to address health inequalities in the NHS Long Term Plan, published on 10 January, what steps they intend to take to tackle the health inequalities experienced by members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
A
Answered by: Baroness Manzoor
Answered on: 23 January 2019

During 2019 all local health systems will be expected to set out how they will reduce health inequalities by 2023/24 and 2028/29 including, where applicable, for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities.

We are reviewing the collection of data within the National Health Service and working closely with NHS England to complete a scoping exercise to understand how information on protected characteristics is gathered in existing NHS datasets. The Department plans to complete an initial assessment later this year, which will form the basis for future decision-making on NHS data collection by ethnicity.

NHS England has produced guidance for general practices clarifying rights of patients and responsibilities of providers in registering with a general practitioner. It also co-produced a leaflet for members of the GRT communities on how to register. These will be kept under review.

The Department of Health and Social Care is also working closely with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Education on six community-led pilot projects, two of which are looking to improve health outcomes for GRT communities.

The Government commissioned research from the universities of Dundee and York examining how trust in healthcare services could be enhanced amongst Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. The report, Enhancing Gypsy, Roma and Traveller peoples’ trust: using maternity and early years’ health services and dental health services as exemplars of mainstream service provision, was published in September 2018. It has made eight key recommendations to the health sector and other key providers, which include increasing collaborative working with those that already have trusted relationships with GRT communities e.g. individuals from third sector organisations, individual health or other sector professionals; and suggested the introduction of literacy help-cards throughout the NHS. These are cards that can be presented to front line staff or receptionists to ask for discreet help with form-filling. A copy of the report is attached.

Report_on_GRT_health.pdf (PDF Document, 10.93 MB)
Q
Asked on: 10 January 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Travellers: Caravan Sites
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken to raise awareness among local authorities and housing associations that the Affordable Homes Programme covers funding for Traveller sites; how many applications proposing Traveller sites have been made; and how many of those have been approved since April 2016.
Answered on: 23 January 2019

On 14 June 2017, we published ‘Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme supplementary information – Continuous Market Engagement (CME),’ which includes details on funding for traveller pitches. This document is available (attached) here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/shared-ownership-and-affordable-homes-programme-supplementary-information-continuous-market-engagement-cme


We have not approved any new traveller pitches since April 2016 – our Live Tables on affordable housing delivery are available (attached) online: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply


Government does not publish details of applications for funding from the Affordable Homes Programme.

Shared Ownership and affordable homes (PDF Document, 105.7 KB)
Affordable housing (Excel SpreadSheet, 71.41 KB)
Q
(Feltham and Heston)
Asked on: 11 January 2019
Ministry of Justice
Young Offenders: Solitary Confinement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many young offenders have been kept in solitary confinement for 22 hours a day in each Young Offenders Institution in the last month for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 23 January 2019

Our response to PQ 141024 provided a breakdown of the total number of hours young people spent in segregation in each Young Offender Institution, where data is available, over the last 5 years. HMPPS are in the process of reviewing how this data is collected across each establishment in the Youth Estate.

The safety and welfare of young people in our care is the core priority of the Youth Custody Service and children are never subject to solitary confinement. There are some occasions when it is necessary to remove children from association. On those occasions they will, as far as possible, have access to a regime that is comparable to the normal regime; including entitlements to social and legal visits, religious services, access to the phone, education, showers and exercise in the open air and, where possible, in association with other removed children.

Asked on: 14 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Pakistan: Ahmadiyya
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Pakistan about the exclusion of Ahmadi Muslims from the right to vote in Pakistan’s elections.
A
Answered on: 23 January 2019

We are deeply concerned about restrictions on the freedom of religion or belief in Pakistan. The Government strongly condemns the discrimination of all minorities, including legislation which acts as a barrier to Ahmadiyya Muslims taking part in the democratic process fully.

We regularly raise with the Government of Pakistan at senior levels the importance of religious tolerance and its duty to uphold the rights of all Pakistan’s citizens regardless of religious identity. The Prime Minister emphasised the importance of advancing the rights of minorities during her telephone call with Imran Khan in August following his election as Prime Minister of Pakistan. I raised our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief and the protection of minority religious communities with Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister in September 2018.

At the UN Periodic Review of Pakistan’s human rights record in 2017, the UK urged Pakistan to strengthen protection of minorities, including by having a fully inclusive electoral roll without discrimination or religious bias, and by establishing an independent National Commission for Minorities.

We continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to guarantee fully the rights of all Pakistani citizens, including religious minorities, and to honour its international obligations.

Q
Asked by Lord Bird
Asked on: 14 January 2019
Department for Education
Sanitary Protection: Pupils
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to provide free menstrual products to all school children in England.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 23 January 2019

The Department for Education published statistics in March 2018 which shows that while absence rates related to illness are slightly higher in girls than boys, the gap in absence rates between boys and girls is very similar regardless of disadvantage. This suggests period poverty does not have a significant, nation-wide impact on attendance. However, no girl should be held back from reaching her potential because of her gender or background and we are keeping this matter under close review.

Schools are best placed to identify and address the needs of their pupils; have discretion over how they use their funding; and can make sanitary products available to disadvantaged pupils if they identify this as a barrier to attainment or attendance.

We support schools in addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils through the provision of the Pupil Premium, equivalent to more than £2.4 billion of additional funding this year alone.

Our guidance on ‘Sex and Relationship Education’ and the draft ‘Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education’ guidance (both attached) encourages schools to make sensitive arrangements to help girls cope with menstruation. Lastly, as a government, in the previous round of the Tampon Tax Fund we provided £1.68 million for the ‘Let’s Talk. Period’ project, which is distributing sanitary products to young women and girls in need across England.


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