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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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 04 July 2019
Home Office
Detention Centres: Staff
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the ratio of detainees to detention officers in immigration removal centres that is considered to be safe.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 09 July 2019

The Home Office does not specify a ratio of detainee to detainee custody
officer (DCOs) within immigration removal centres (IRCs) and this information is therefore not recorded. Instead, IRC suppliers are required to provide a safe and secure environment for detainees in their care and all IRC contracts require a minimum staffing level based on the size and layout of each individual centre. The Home Office and its suppliers do not release information on staff deployment as doing so could compromise security of the removal estate.

In the period ahead, new contracts will set high expectations for the quality of the management and staffing in IRCs. The current re-procurement of the contract for the Gatwick IRCs includes provision for increased staffing in key areas, including residential units, to improve welfare and safety.

The dignity and welfare of detainees across the entire detention estate is of the utmost importance and the use of periods of time where detainees’ freedom of movement is restricted contributes to the maintenance of a safe and secure environment in our centres.

Detainees at both Harmondsworth and Colnbrook immigration removal centres (IRC) have a rest period following lunch and curfew period at night, where the total hours of confinement cannot exceed 12 hours a day during the week and 12.5 hours a day at weekends and on bank holidays.

Information on the number of people detained in Harmondsworth and Colnbrook IRCs on the last day of each quarter is available in table dt_12_q of the detention tables in the latest release of ‘Immigration Statistics, year ending March 2019’.

Grouped Questions: 273415 | 273417 | 273418
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 04 July 2019
Home Office
Immigrants: Detainees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many hours per day are detainees in (a) Harmondsworth and (b) Colnbrook immigration removal centres routinely locked in their rooms.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 09 July 2019

The Home Office does not specify a ratio of detainee to detainee custody
officer (DCOs) within immigration removal centres (IRCs) and this information is therefore not recorded. Instead, IRC suppliers are required to provide a safe and secure environment for detainees in their care and all IRC contracts require a minimum staffing level based on the size and layout of each individual centre. The Home Office and its suppliers do not release information on staff deployment as doing so could compromise security of the removal estate.

In the period ahead, new contracts will set high expectations for the quality of the management and staffing in IRCs. The current re-procurement of the contract for the Gatwick IRCs includes provision for increased staffing in key areas, including residential units, to improve welfare and safety.

The dignity and welfare of detainees across the entire detention estate is of the utmost importance and the use of periods of time where detainees’ freedom of movement is restricted contributes to the maintenance of a safe and secure environment in our centres.

Detainees at both Harmondsworth and Colnbrook immigration removal centres (IRC) have a rest period following lunch and curfew period at night, where the total hours of confinement cannot exceed 12 hours a day during the week and 12.5 hours a day at weekends and on bank holidays.

Information on the number of people detained in Harmondsworth and Colnbrook IRCs on the last day of each quarter is available in table dt_12_q of the detention tables in the latest release of ‘Immigration Statistics, year ending March 2019’.

Grouped Questions: 273415 | 273416 | 273418
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 04 July 2019
Home Office
Immigrants: Detainees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the highest number of detainees was in (a) Harmondsworth and (c) Colnbrook immigration removal centres in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 09 July 2019

The Home Office does not specify a ratio of detainee to detainee custody
officer (DCOs) within immigration removal centres (IRCs) and this information is therefore not recorded. Instead, IRC suppliers are required to provide a safe and secure environment for detainees in their care and all IRC contracts require a minimum staffing level based on the size and layout of each individual centre. The Home Office and its suppliers do not release information on staff deployment as doing so could compromise security of the removal estate.

In the period ahead, new contracts will set high expectations for the quality of the management and staffing in IRCs. The current re-procurement of the contract for the Gatwick IRCs includes provision for increased staffing in key areas, including residential units, to improve welfare and safety.

The dignity and welfare of detainees across the entire detention estate is of the utmost importance and the use of periods of time where detainees’ freedom of movement is restricted contributes to the maintenance of a safe and secure environment in our centres.

Detainees at both Harmondsworth and Colnbrook immigration removal centres (IRC) have a rest period following lunch and curfew period at night, where the total hours of confinement cannot exceed 12 hours a day during the week and 12.5 hours a day at weekends and on bank holidays.

Information on the number of people detained in Harmondsworth and Colnbrook IRCs on the last day of each quarter is available in table dt_12_q of the detention tables in the latest release of ‘Immigration Statistics, year ending March 2019’.

Grouped Questions: 273415 | 273416 | 273417
Q
(Bristol West)
[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: 04 July 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Mental Health Services: Detention Centres
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many mental healthcare professionals are employed in (a) Harmondsworth and (b) Colnbrook immigration removal centres.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 09 July 2019

From 1 April 2019, the number of whole time equivalent (WTE) posts, across both centres, was increased from 11.6 to 19.8 – including a new senior nursing role and 7.2 WTE registered mental health nurse roles. The increase in staff numbers will enable the provision of 24 hours, seven days a week nursing care.

The number of mental healthcare professionals employed as at the end of June 2019 was 8.6 WTE. These staff work across both the Harmondsworth and the Colnbrook immigration removal centres.

Recruitment to the newly created posts is ongoing.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 04 July 2019
Home Office
Immigrants: Detainees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans he has to reduce the number of people held in UK immigration removal centres.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 09 July 2019

In the year ending March 2019 24,333 individuals entered the detention estate which is the lowest level since comparable records began in 2009. In the same period 71% of detainees were held for 28 days or less and 93% for less than four months.

The Government expects that changes in policy and operational approaches will lead to a reduction in the number of those detained, and the duration of detention before removal, in turn improving the welfare of those detained.

The Government is committed to using detention sparingly and only when necessary. The Home Office has taken a systematic approach to modernising and rationalising the immigration detention estate, ensuring the geographical footprint and resilience required to meet our future needs. By this summer the estate will be almost 40% smaller than it was four years ago and of significantly higher quality.

Grouped Questions: 273421
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 04 July 2019
Home Office
Detention Centres
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans he has to change the provision of immigration removal centres in the UK; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 09 July 2019

In the year ending March 2019 24,333 individuals entered the detention estate which is the lowest level since comparable records began in 2009. In the same period 71% of detainees were held for 28 days or less and 93% for less than four months.

The Government expects that changes in policy and operational approaches will lead to a reduction in the number of those detained, and the duration of detention before removal, in turn improving the welfare of those detained.

The Government is committed to using detention sparingly and only when necessary. The Home Office has taken a systematic approach to modernising and rationalising the immigration detention estate, ensuring the geographical footprint and resilience required to meet our future needs. By this summer the estate will be almost 40% smaller than it was four years ago and of significantly higher quality.

Grouped Questions: 273420
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 04 July 2019
Home Office
Immigration: Windrush Generation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have applied for compensation from the Windrush compensation scheme to date.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 09 July 2019

We will publish information on the number of claims submitted, number of claims paid and the overall amount paid out by the scheme in due course as part of our regular reporting to the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 04 July 2019
Home Office
Immigration: Windrush Generation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the effect of a wrong decision being made denying a person the right to re-enter the UK under the Windrush scandal on eligibility for benefits and tax credits which require residency in the UK for the last two years.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 09 July 2019

Officials in the Home Office continue to work closely with the DWP and HMRC on the design and delivery of the compensation scheme but also on individual cases through the Taskforce. The joint working has enabled those with a right to benefits to have them re-instated.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 04 July 2019
Home Office
Immigration: Windrush Generation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many applications for compensation by people affected by the Windrush scandal have been successful, and how many of those successful applicants have received compensation.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 09 July 2019

We will publish information on the number of claims submitted, number of claims paid and the overall amount paid out by the scheme in due course as part of our regular reporting to the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Q
(Bristol West)
[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 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Bristol Prison: Safety
Commons
What steps he is taking to help ensure a safe regime for (a) staff and (b) prisoners in Horfield prison in Bristol.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 09 July 2019

An Urgent Notification was invoked at HMP Bristol on 13th June 2019. There has been some progress at HMP Bristol under Special Measures to bolster staff to a sufficient level, reduce illicit drug use and improve living conditions by refurbishing a wing and a number of the showers. However, we know more support is needed. The Secretary of State will publish his response and an initial action plan within 28 calendar days (on 11th July) in response to the most serious and urgent concerns raised.

Immediate action has been taken to ensure prisoners can speak to Samaritans on their in-cell phones. In addition, action has been taken to address issues raised regarding the safer custody hotline and prevent issues from recurring, so prisoners’ family and friends can report any concerns about a prisoner’s welfare directly to the prison.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Department for Education
Young People: Carers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities fulfil their statutory duties under section 63 of the Care Act 2014 to provide transition assessments for young carers.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 08 July 2019

The government remains committed to continuing to support all carers to provide care as they would wish in a way that supports their own health, wellbeing and life chances. In June 2018, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) published the Carers Action Plan, a cross-government programme of targeted work to support all carers, including young carers.

DHSC has been working with The Children’s Society to identify and publicise effective practices to local authorities to support young adult carers to make positives transitions between the ages of 16-24. To this end, ‘Shaping our Future: Improving Assessment and Support for Young Carers’ Transition to Adulthood’ was published in June 2019.

Further to the reply to PQ 237696, the government is clear that the Care Act (2014) does place duties on local authorities to undertake transition assessments, and that Care and Support Statutory Guidance sets out how these duties should be met.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Abdullah Öcalan
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 2 May 2019 to Question 248721, whether he has had meetings with the Turkish Government since 2 May 2019 to raise the issue of Abdullah Öcalan's access to lawyers and family visits; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 08 July 2019

​The UK Government has raised Mr Öcalan’s case with the Turkish authorities a number of times. I raised the issue with the Turkish Ambassador on 13 May. I welcome the fact that Mr Öcalan has since been granted access to lawyers on at least two separate occasions and that the hunger strikes undertaken by some of his supporters have now come to an end. I also note that the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture paid a further visit to Imrali prison in mid-May, and that the Turkish Minister of Justice recently lifted the court restriction on lawyers' visits there. Whilst I welcome these positive developments, it is important to reiterate that Mr Öcalan remains in our view a convicted terrorist and we condemn the acts of violence perpetrated by the Kurdish Workers’ Party as we condemn all forms of terrorism.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 26 June 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Internet: Regulation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to regulate online activity to bring it into line with activity that would be considered to be illegal if it were conducted offline.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 04 July 2019

Our view is that behaviour which is illegal or unacceptable offline should be treated the same online. The Online Harms White Paper sets out our plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online, through establishing a statutory duty of care that will be enforced by an independent regulator. Companies will be held to account for tackling a comprehensive set of online harms, both those which are illegal and also behaviours that may not be illegal but are nonetheless highly damaging to individuals and society.

We are also ensuring that the criminal law is fit for purpose to deal with online harms. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport and the Ministry of Justice have now engaged the Law Commission on a second phase of their review of abusive and offensive online communications. The Law Commission will review existing communications offences and make recommendations about options for reform. This will include considering whether co-ordinated harassment by groups of people online could be more effectively dealt with by the criminal law. The Law Commission will also look at criminal law around non-consensual taking and sharing of intimate images, considering existing offences and identifying whether there are any gaps in the protection already offered to victims. The Law Commission will make recommendations to ensure that criminal law provides consistent and effective protection against such behaviour.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 25 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Hedgehogs: Conservation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment there has been of the risk that A24 traps pose to hedgehog populations.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 03 July 2019

The A24 trap is not approved for trapping hedgehogs. We are confident that hedgehogs can be effectively and safely excluded from the Goodnature A24 trap when it is set according to manufacturer’s instructions and, as is required by law, an excluder tunnel is used. We are also not aware of any evidence which suggests the A24 trap or the excluder tunnel has any impact on hedgehogs.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 25 June 2019
Department for Education
Universities: Antisemitism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what monitoring is taking place on university campuses to ensure compliance with the International Holocaust Remembrance Association definition of anti-semitism.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 03 July 2019

There is no place in our society, including within higher education, for hatred or any form of discrimination or racism, such as antisemitism. This is why I have called on higher education providers to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

Higher education providers are autonomous organisations, responsible for the management of their own internal affairs. They should discharge their responsibilities fully and have robust policies and procedures in place to comply with the law, and to investigate and swiftly address all hate crime, including any antisemitic incidents that are reported.

On 16 May 2019, I wrote to all higher education providers to urge them to consider adopting the IHRA definition and set out my view that this is a useful tool which will help front-line services better understand and recognise instances of antisemitism. The government believes that adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism sends a clear message that antisemitic behaviour will not be tolerated, and that any instances of antisemitism will be taken very seriously.

Q
(Bristol West)
[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: 28 June 2019
Prime Minister
Climate Change
Commons
To ask the Prime Minister, with reference to her oral contribution of 26 June 2019, Official Report, column 650, what the evidential basis is for her statement that the Labour party in the House of Lords is trying to block the net zero 2050 legislation.
A
Answered by: Mrs Theresa May
Answered on: 03 July 2019

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave her during my statement on the G20.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 25 June 2019
Department for Transport
Transport: Disability
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, who is responsible for monitoring compliance by transport companies with the law on disability access.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 01 July 2019

This varies according to the mode of transport that each company operates.

The Office of Rail and Road monitors compliance by train operating companies, the Civil Aviation Authority monitors compliance by airports and airlines, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency monitors compliance by maritime operators, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency monitors compliance by bus operators, and each local authority monitors compliance by taxi and private hire vehicle operators in their authority.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Barbecues
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made the effect on the environment of disposable barbecues.
 
Withdrawn
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Ministry of Defence
VJ Day: Anniversaries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans her Department has to commemorate far east prisoners of war on the anniversary of VJ day.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 10 June 2019

The Government and the nation continue to recognise and be thankful for all those who served in the Far East during the Second World War. We recognise the sacrifices made and the horrors to which our personnel were subjected.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is committed to ensuring that ex prisoners of war from the Far East Campaign remain in the public consciousness as much as those who served in other campaigns. The MOD, in conjunction with The Royal British Legion, will look to mark the 75th anniversary of 'Victory over Japan Day' on 15 August 2020 in an appropriate way.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 10 May 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Property: Ownership
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a statutory time limit for property management companies to issue a certificate of ownership to a new owner after selling a property.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 20 May 2019

The Government expects certificates of compliance to be issued within a reasonable period of time. Legislation is already in place specifying the governance of ownership certificates and their use in support of planning applications. Applicants are legally required to notify the owners of a site when they submit their planning application, so that they have the opportunity to comment. An ownership certificate confirming that other owners have been appropriately notified must be signed when submitting a planning application. It is an offence to issue a false ownership certificate knowingly or recklessly under section 65(6) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

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