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.

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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: 06 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Care Homes: Learning Disability
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) unexpected deaths and (b) serious injuries have occurred in residential care homes among people with learning difficulties in each year since 2010.
A
Corrected answer by: Caroline Dinenage
Corrected on: 20 January 2020
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 09 January 2020.
The correct answer should have been:

The following table shows Unexpected Death and Serious Injury Notifications raised against 'Residential social care home' locations with a Service User Band of 'Learning disabilities or autistic spectrum disorder', from 1 April 2010, provided by the Care Quality Commission:

Number of Notifications

Raised Year

16-1 Unexpected Death

18-2a,b Serious Injury

2010

260

558

2011

1,201

2,656

2012

1,248

3,112

2013

936

3,077

2014

948

3,215

2015

1,067

3,866

2016

1,221

4,236

2017

1,081

4,573

2018

1,153

4,513

2019

959

4,812

2020

12

48

Grand Total

10,086

34,666

Notes:

  1. The data does not indicate whether a notification relates directly to someone with a learning disability or autism, only that the location has the Service User Band of 'Learning disabilities or autistic spectrum disorder'. A location may have more than one Service User Band.
  2. 'Residential social care home' locations are defined as locations with a Primary Inspection Category of 'Residential social care', or with an Organisation Type of 'Social Care Organisation' and any of the Service Types 'Care home services with nursing', 'Care home services without nursing' or 'Specialist college services'
  3. This data is at location level only.
  4. The data for 2010 reflects both an incomplete year of reporting, i.e. from 1 April 2010, and from a starting point of data from the National Health Service providers alone, before social care and independent healthcare providers across the United Kingdom England were included.
  5. Data for 2020 is up to and including 7 January.

A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 09 January 2020

The following table shows Unexpected Death and Serious Injury Notifications raised against 'Residential social care home' locations with a Service User Band of 'Learning disabilities or autistic spectrum disorder', from 1 April 2010, provided by the Care Quality Commission:

Number of Notifications

Raised Year

16-1 Unexpected Death

18-2a,b Serious Injury

2010

260

558

2011

1,201

2,656

2012

1,248

3,112

2013

936

3,077

2014

948

3,215

2015

1,067

3,866

2016

1,221

4,236

2017

1,081

4,573

2018

1,153

4,513

2019

959

4,812

2020

12

48

Grand Total

10,086

34,666

Notes:

  1. The data does not indicate whether a notification relates directly to someone with a learning disability or autism, only that the location has the Service User Band of 'Learning disabilities or autistic spectrum disorder'. A location may have more than one Service User Band.
  2. 'Residential social care home' locations are defined as locations with a Primary Inspection Category of 'Residential social care', or with an Organisation Type of 'Social Care Organisation' and any of the Service Types 'Care home services with nursing', 'Care home services without nursing' or 'Specialist college services'
  3. This data is at location level only.
  4. The data for 2010 reflects both an incomplete year of reporting, i.e. from 1 April 2010, and from a starting point of data from the National Health Service providers alone, before social care and independent healthcare providers across the United Kingdom England were included.
  5. Data for 2020 is up to and including 7 January.

Asked on: 07 January 2020
Department for Transport
High Speed 2 Railway Line: Costs
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they respond to the assessment of Lord Berkeley, former deputy chairman of the Oakervee Review into HS2, that (1) Parliament has been misled about the cost of HS2, (2) it could cost more than £100 billion, and (3) the costs are “out of control”.
A
Answered on: 20 January 2020

Lord Berkeley’s report represents his personal views. The Secretary of State commissioned the Oakervee Review to provide advice on how and whether to proceed with HS2, including examining the project’s costs and benefits. Douglas Oakervee’s report will inform our assessment of the estimated cost, if the Government decides to proceed. We will of course give appropriate consideration to Lord Berkeley’s personal views.

Q
Asked by Lord Blunkett
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Cabinet Office
Honours
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many honours were awarded in the New Year Honours List to people in (1) London, and (2) each English city region that has a mayor, per head of population of that city or region.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 20 January 2020

Statistical information held in relation to the regional breakdown of recipients on the New Year Honours List 2020 can be found below. Data is collected using county and aggregated into regional figures. Information on the number of nominations by mayoral region is not captured, as we are not able to break down the data in that way.

REGION

NUMBER OF NY20 RECIPIENTS

PERCENTAGE OF NY20 LIST

PERCENTAGE OF UK POPULATION

EAST

84

7.7%

9.3%

EAST MIDLANDS

36

3.3%

7.2%

LONDON

275

25.0%

12.9%

NORTH EAST

24

2.2%

4.1%

NORTHERN IRELAND

94

8.6%

2.9%

NORTH WEST

103

9.4%

11.2%

SCOTLAND

89

8.1%

8.4%

SOUTH EAST

141

12.9%

13.7%

SOUTH WEST

79

7.2%

8.4%

WALES

42

3.8%

4.8%

WEST MIDLANDS

59

5.4%

8.9%

YORKSHIRE AND HUMBERSIDE

67

6.1%

8.4%

Grouped Questions: HL107
Q
Asked by Lord Blunkett
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Cabinet Office
Honours
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of each category of honours were awarded in the New Year Honours List to people in (1) Wales, (2) Scotland, (3) Northern Ireland, and (4) each of the regions of England, as a (a) number, and (b) percentage, of that country or region's population.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 20 January 2020

Statistical information held in relation to the regional breakdown of recipients on the New Year Honours List 2020 can be found below. Data is collected using county and aggregated into regional figures. Information on the number of nominations by mayoral region is not captured, as we are not able to break down the data in that way.

REGION

NUMBER OF NY20 RECIPIENTS

PERCENTAGE OF NY20 LIST

PERCENTAGE OF UK POPULATION

EAST

84

7.7%

9.3%

EAST MIDLANDS

36

3.3%

7.2%

LONDON

275

25.0%

12.9%

NORTH EAST

24

2.2%

4.1%

NORTHERN IRELAND

94

8.6%

2.9%

NORTH WEST

103

9.4%

11.2%

SCOTLAND

89

8.1%

8.4%

SOUTH EAST

141

12.9%

13.7%

SOUTH WEST

79

7.2%

8.4%

WALES

42

3.8%

4.8%

WEST MIDLANDS

59

5.4%

8.9%

YORKSHIRE AND HUMBERSIDE

67

6.1%

8.4%

Grouped Questions: HL106
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Wales Office
Infrastructure: Wales
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to promote infrastructure projects in Wales.
Answered on: 20 January 2020

The Government understands the importance of ensuring that all infrastructure projects are promoted across the United Kingdom which is why we are determined to ensure we level up the UK’s cities and regions and this includes Wales.

The Government recognises that world class connectivity is increasingly essential to people at work and at home. That is why the UK Government has allocated £69 million for the rollout of superfast broadband across Wales. At Autumn Budget we announced £200 million for the hardest to reach areas and Wales will be included in the first phase of this work. We have also recently announced that North Wales have been awarded £8 million from the Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund. Furthermore, the Government have committed to progress plans for the West Wales Parkway to deliver better connectivity for commuters across south-west Wales and increase opportunities for the region.

We have delivered a £50 million project to upgrade North Wales’ railway, committed £125 million towards the upgrade of the Valley Lines and, subject to value for money, we are providing up to £58 million towards upgrading Cardiff Central. We will continue to look at the case for further investment in rail in Wales.

We will continue to discussions with the Welsh Government looking at the case for jointly funding cross-border road schemes such as the Pant-Llanymynech bypass and the A5-A483 Shrewsbury to Wrexham.

Q
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Housing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to begin recording statistics on (1) the resettlement of offenders leaving prisons, and (2) prisoners who are released with no fixed abode.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 20 January 2020

The accommodation status for all offenders released from custody, including those under National Probation Service (NPS), Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) supervision, and offenders on community sentences, has been published since July 2018. The relevant table of data from this publication is attached for reference.

It is vital that everyone leaving prison has somewhere safe and secure to live, as a platform to access the services and support needed to make a fresh start. We have invested an additional £22 million per annum over the remaining life of the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) contracts to deliver an enhanced “Through-the-Gate” resettlement service to offenders leaving prison, to prepare them for release. Through the Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy, we are also investing up to £6.4m in a pilot scheme to support individuals released from three prisons: Bristol, Leeds and Pentonville. Services have now commenced in all three areas, with the first individuals now being supported into accommodation following release. Subject to evaluation, we will use the lessons from the pilot to inform future provision of accommodation for all ex-offenders. Additionally, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service is working in collaboration with other Government Departments and interested parties to help to meet the accommodation needs for prisoners on their release.

Table (Word Document, 23.15 KB)
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Chemical Weapons
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Chief of Cabinet to the Director General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons played any role in redrafting the experts' report of their findings with regard to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma, Syria.
A
Answered on: 20 January 2020

​I refer the noble Lady to my answer of 7 January 2020 to questions HL24 and 26.

It is entirely a matter for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons how it conducts its investigations and produces its reports.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Chemical Weapons
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Mayday Rescue Foundation, in its role as a UK-implementing partner, was involved in choosing witnesses for interview by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Douma Fact-Finding Mission on behalf of the UK; and whether they are aware of any investigation for possible financial irregularities in respect of that foundation.
A
Answered on: 20 January 2020

I refer the noble Lady to my answer of 7 January 2020 to questions HL24 and 26.

It is entirely a matter for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons how it conducts its investigations and produces its reports. The noble Lady also asked about Mayday Rescue, which is an implementing partner for the Government's Conflict, Stability and Security Fund. We work closely with all our implementing partners, including Mayday Rescue, to ensure they meet the tests for spending public money; this includes by ensuring that audits are commissioned on at least an annual basis. All Government aid spending is subject to robust scrutiny to ensure it represents value for money for British taxpayers.

Q
Asked by Lord Greaves
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Department for Transport
Railways: Japanese Knotweed
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, for each of the last five years, (1) how many instances of infestation by Japanese Knotweed were recorded on Network Rail land and property, (2) how many complaints were received, and what was the cost to Network Rail of action taken to eradicate the species; (3) what action Network Rail takes in response to infestations and complaints about Japanese Knotweed; and (4) what action Network Rail takes in the event of this plant spreading from Network Rail land on to adjoining land and property.
A
Answered on: 20 January 2020
  1. Network Rail are currently in the process of gathering data about historical Japanese knotweed instances, however there are currently 5138 distinct sites with active treatment of Japanese knotweed.

  2. The breakdown of complaints is as follows: 2019 – 25; 2018 – 62; 2017 – 42; 2016 – 72; 2015 – 73, not accounting for cases where a legal claim is made without a complaint. Some of these complaints developed into claims, with 170 claims made over the last 5 years. The total sum of these claim settlements amounts to £3.73m; this covers treatment costs as well as damages, investigation costs and legal costs. It was not possible to obtain figures for the overall expenditure on treatment, however it costs approximately £18-30 per metre square of knotweed to successfully treat it, over a period of 3 – 5 years.

  3. In instances where Japanese knotweed is discovered, the location of knotweed is recorded and mapped, followed by treatment activity tailored to whether it is affecting safe operation of the railway and/or creating biosecurity issues. Measures such as boot and tool cleaning are undertaken to prevent further spreading of the knotweed. In carrying out these actions, Network Rail complies with the Lineside Vegetation Management Manual and relevant legislation.

  4. In the event of Japanese knotweed having spread to third party land, Network Rail complies with UK legislation and deals with complaints as quickly as possible. If knotweed growth is visible at the boundary, or on both sides of the fence, permission will be sought from the third party for treatment and, if obtained, a management plan will be jointly agreed. Only herbicides using the active ingredient glyphosate are used in these instances.
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Amazon
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what length of contract has been agreed with Amazon to provide health data from the NHS.
Answered on: 20 January 2020

This agreement is not exclusive. There are over 2,000 other organisations that are accessing and using information from the National Health Service website in a similar way.

We want to continue working with Amazon and other companies in order to ensure that citizens have access to the best source of verified health information, and therefore this contract is intended to be open-ended. We will continue to review our relationships with Amazon and other organisations that are using information taken from the NHS website to ensure that they continue to provide the best possible service.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Palestinians: Elections
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take, including in conjunction with other countries, to ensure that the first Palestinian elections in 13 years are held; and in particular, that Palestinians in East Jerusalem are able to vote.
A
Answered on: 20 January 2020

Along with EU partners, we have encouraged the Palestinian leadership to work toward strong, inclusive, accountable and democratic institutions, based on respect for the rule of law and human rights.

We welcome work towards genuine and democratic national elections for all Palestinians. We consider this to be crucial in view of the establishment of a viable and sovereign Palestinian State. To this end, we call on all Palestinian factions to seek common ground and to work together to pursue a positive path towards new elections.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Palestinians
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Israel about (1) the convictions of 4,519 persons during the five years ending in June 2019 for failing to comply with military orders declaring closed military zones, and (2) the use of regulations dating from the time of the League of Nations Mandate.
A
Answered on: 20 January 2020

As part of our frequent engagement with Israel with respect to its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention, officials in our Embassy in Tel Aviv have raised with the Israeli authorities both the issue of closed military zones being declared by the Israel Defence Force, and their implementation of specific laws and regulations, including ones dating from the mandate period, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Asked on: 07 January 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hong Kong: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their understanding of the current situation in Hong Kong.
A
Answered on: 20 January 2020

We remain seriously concerned at the situation in Hong Kong. We condemn the minority of protestors who insist on using violence. It must stop. As I stated on 15 January 2020 it is essential that protests are conducted peacefully, within the law, and that the authorities respond proportionately. We have consistently called for a robust, credible and independent investigation into events in Hong Kong. The UK is fully committed to upholding Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms under the "One Country, Two Systems" framework, which is guaranteed by the legally binding Joint Declaration. As the Foreign Secretary stated on 19 December 2019 the only way to guarantee Hong Kong's future success and stability is by respecting these and addressing the legitimate concerns of the people of Hong Kong through meaningful political dialogue. The commitments made by China in the Joint Declaration, including the right to freedom of speech and an independent judiciary, are essential to Hong Kong's prosperity and way of life. We expect China to live up to its obligations under the Joint Declaration and to its wider international human rights law obligations, as a responsible and law abiding member of the international community.

Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Trees: Somerset
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the level of current tree cover in the South Somerset District.
Answered on: 20 January 2020

Through the National Forest Inventory (NFI), Forest Research, part of the Forestry Commission, gathers data on woodland in England.

The NFI shows that South Somerset District has approximately 6% woodland cover, which amounts to an area of 5,332 hectares.

More details of the work carried out and information the NFI publishes can be found here: https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/national-forest-inventory/about-the-nfi/

Asked on: 07 January 2020
Attorney General
Offences against Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many council officials have been (1) charged with, (2) convicted for, and (3) are awaiting trial for, dereliction of duty for failure to support victims of grooming gangs since 1997.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 20 January 2020

Tackling the sexual exploitation of children remains a top priority for the CPS. Specialist CPS lawyers work closely with police investigators to build strong cases, resulting in many successful prosecutions of complex grooming cases for example in Rochdale, Rotherham, Oxford and Newcastle.

The CPS does not maintain a central record of defendants’ occupations, nor of the specific circumstances under which a person has been charged with an offence. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost. The CPS collects data to assist the management of its prosecution functions. The CPS does not collect data that constitutes official statistics as defined in the Statistics and Registration Act 2007.

Asked on: 07 January 2020
Ministry of Justice
Islamist Extremism in Prisons, Probation and Youth Justice Review
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the murders of Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones on 29 November 2019, what plans they have to reassess the recommendations of the Review of Islamist extremism in prisons, probation and youth justice led by Ian Acheson, published in August 2016.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 20 January 2020

Following Ian Acheson’s 2016 review, which included several recommendations, the Department responded to the review and took a number of steps to refresh its approach to the management of terrorist offenders in prison and on probation, for example, this included the establishment of a separation centre and the implementation of enhanced vetting for prison chaplains of all faiths.

In the wake of the London Bridge attack, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service will undertake an internal review of the recommendations made by Ian Acheson in 2016 to look again at any lessons that can be learned. We will work closely with the Home Office (lead department on counter-terrorism policy) and other security agencies.

Q
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Department for International Development
Overseas Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that UK Overseas Development Aid focuses on poverty alleviation and building the capacity of recipients.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 20 January 2020

All UK Aid aims to support the delivery of the UN Global Goals, end extreme poverty and promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries. The 2015 UK Aid Strategy aligns the government’s efforts to deliver upon this commitment.

The International Development Act 2002 mandates DFID to use development assistance for poverty reduction. Internal review and approval processes ensure that programmes are focussed upon poverty alleviation and capacity building. Programme concept notes and business cases must demonstrate a focus on poverty reduction and sustainability to receive approval. All DFID programmes are reviewed annually to ensure they are achieving their aims and delivering good value to recipients and the UK tax payer.

Q
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Department for International Development
Overseas Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the importance of having a dedicated department staffed with personnel with experience in development to ensure (1) that aid is delivered effectively, and (2) the best investment on return for the UK taxpayer.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 20 January 2020

All Machinery of Government changes are a decision for the Prime Minister. At this point, no Machinery of Government changes have been announced for DFID. This government has confirmed its commitment to 0.7 and has set out a series of ambitious development targets in the manifesto. Development and humanitarian response are complex and take place in some of the most difficult, dangerous places in the world. The UK Government has a skilled workforce in the UK and around the world that ensures the UK takes an evidenced-led approach to aid and that our investments deliver value for money and reach the intended beneficiaries.

Asked on: 07 January 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Environment Protection: British Overseas Territories
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether either the proposed (1) Nature for Climate Fund or (2) Blue Planet Fund will be open to UK Overseas Territories.
Answered on: 20 January 2020

The Government is committed to supporting the unique biodiversity of the Overseas Territories, which contain over 90% of the UK family’s total endemic species.

A summary of responses to 2019’s call for evidence on safeguarding the environment in the British Overseas Territories will be published shortly. This will be used to inform decisions on future public funding and support, which to date has supported important conservation work in marine, terrestrial and freshwater environments in the Territories. In addition, last year the UK announced an extension to the Blue Belt Programme (BBP) until 2021, with a further £7 million to provide ongoing support for protection of the diverse marine ecosystems present around the Overseas Territories.

The ocean supports the livelihoods of one in every ten people, including some of the poorest and most vulnerable worldwide. Recognising the link between ocean health and its effect on the development prospects of the most disadvantaged communities, this Government will establish a £500 million Blue Planet Fund (BPF).

Financed from the Official Development Assistance Budget, the BPF will help ODA-eligible countries. The fund seeks to protect their marine resources from key human-generated stressors including plastic pollution, overfishing and habitat loss. This new financing will build on the success of the BBP, embracing the wider ocean’s role in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

The scope of the Nature for Climate Fund is under development, but as set out in our manifesto, the Fund will help to drive a step change in tree planting, peatland restoration and nature recovery in England.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 08 January 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Badgers Act 1991
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many people were (a) proceeded against and (b) convicted of offences under the Badgers Act 1991 in (i) 2018 and (ii) 2019; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 20 January 2020

The Ministry of Justice publishes information on prosecutions, convictions and sentencing outcomes of court proceedings in England and Wales up to December 2018. Data for 2019 is planned for publication by the Ministry of Justice in May 2020. The information requested on specific crimes can be found using the ‘Principal offence proceedings and outcomes by Home Office offence code’ data tool.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/804510/HO-code-tool-principal-offence-2018.xlsx

Grouped Questions: 1326 | 1327 | 1328
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