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: 28 March 2019
Ministry of Justice
High Court Enforcement: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the timeliness with which High Court Enforcement Ltd reclaim moneys awarded through a court judgment.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 04 April 2019

While the Ministry of Justice collects statistics about the number of writs that are received and enforced, either in full or in part, by High Court Enforcement Officers, it does not monitor the timeliness with which a High Court Enforcement Officer or company reclaims moneys awarded through a court judgment.

Complaints about a High Court Enforcement Officer can be made to the company employing the High Court Enforcement Officer or to the High Court Enforcement Officers’ Association. Unfortunately, the court cannot guarantee that a creditor will reclaim the payment of a civil judgment, particularly where a debtor goes to great lengths to evade payment or simply does not have the means to pay.

Grouped Questions: 238386
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 28 March 2019
Ministry of Justice
Judgements: Enforcement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what guidance his Department issued to claimants who wish to make a complaint in the event that moneys owed to them through a court judgment are not reclaimed in full by high court enforcement companies.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 04 April 2019

While the Ministry of Justice collects statistics about the number of writs that are received and enforced, either in full or in part, by High Court Enforcement Officers, it does not monitor the timeliness with which a High Court Enforcement Officer or company reclaims moneys awarded through a court judgment.

Complaints about a High Court Enforcement Officer can be made to the company employing the High Court Enforcement Officer or to the High Court Enforcement Officers’ Association. Unfortunately, the court cannot guarantee that a creditor will reclaim the payment of a civil judgment, particularly where a debtor goes to great lengths to evade payment or simply does not have the means to pay.

Grouped Questions: 238385
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Prosthetics: Recycling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department provides to hospitals on the recycling of parts from prosthetic limbs.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 03 April 2019

Prosthetic limbs provided by NHS Limb Centres are bespoke which limits their reusability; whilst individual services may have their own arrangements in place for recycling parts, NHS England and the Department do not issue guidance on this.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Department for Education
Children: Carers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department provides to schools to help them identify young carers so that appropriate support with their education can be provided.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 02 April 2019

​The government is committed to supporting the identification of young carers so that they are properly safeguarded from excessive or inappropriate caring responsibilities, and supported to achieve their full potential.

We know that consistent identification of young carers remains challenging which is why we are funding Carer’s Trust, to carry out a review and disseminate best practice in the identification of young carers – this commitment was set out in the Carers Action Plan 2018-20. The Children in Need review is also identifying how to spread best practice on raising educational outcomes of children in need, including those young carers assessed as being in need.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Department for Education
Children: Carers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities meet their statutory duties to provide transition assessments to young carers.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 02 April 2019

​​There is no statutory duty to carry out a transition assessment for a young carer. However in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018’, we are clear that known transition points for all children in need, including young carers, should be planned for in advance and where children are likely to transition between child and adult service. The guidance is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children--2.

Ofsted judges children services on how well they meet their statutory duties, and the Department for Education will intervene to improve services, should Ofsted judge them to be inadequate.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Equatorial Guinea: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans he has to respond to concerns about the human rights situation in Equatorial Guinea.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 01 April 2019

​We remain concerned about the human rights situation in Equatorial Guinea including; lack of freedom of expression and assembly, lack of transparency, lack of an independent judiciary, disproportionate punishment, use of torture, and detention conditions.We have no diplomatic mission or resident diplomatic staff in Equatorial Guinea. We use regular visits by our non-resident Ambassador (based in Cameroon) and discussions with the Chargé in London to raise human rights concerns.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 March 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the PACE trial of therapies on reducing the effects of (a) myalgic encephalomyelitis and (b) chronic fatigue syndrome.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 20 March 2019

The PACE trial, undertaken by Queen Mary University of London, was the largest ever trial of therapies for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). The trial aimed to test and compare the effectiveness of four of the main treatments available for people CFS/ME. These were adaptive pacing therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), graded exercise therapy, and standardised specialist medical care (SMC).

The five-year trial involved over 600 participants, aged 18 and over, in Scotland and England. The first set of results from the trial were published in 2011 in the Lancet, and a number of other evaluations based on the trial have been published since. The trial results found both CBT and GET were moderately effective when provided alongside SMC and were better than adaptive pacing therapy or SMC alone in improving both symptoms and disability.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline ‘Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy): Diagnosis and management of CFS/ME in adults and children’, sets outs best practice for clinicians on the diagnosis, treatment, care and support of people with the condition. The guideline recommends CBT and GET as appropriate treatments for mild to moderate CFS/ME, in line with the best available evidence.

The NICE guideline acknowledges that there is no one form of treatment to suit every patient and that treatment and care should take into account the personal needs and preferences of the patient. Decisions concerning the appropriateness of treatments should be made on a case by case basis.

On 20 September 2017, NICE announced its decision to undertake a full update of the guideline, following a review of the latest available evidence on the diagnosis and management of CFS/ME and a public consultation. New guidance is expected in October 2020. More information on this decision can be found at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/news/article/nice-to-begin-review-of-its-guidance-on-the-diagnosis-and-treatment-of-cfs-me

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 March 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Health Services: Equality
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to allocate funding for the ten-year review of progress on reducing health inequalities since the publication of the report entitled Fair Society, Healthy Lives, published by Michael Marmot.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 20 March 2019

We have no current plans to allocate funding to the Institute of Health Equity and Health Foundation review of Fair Society, Healthy Lives. We look forward to seeing the review’s conclusions in February 2020. Reducing health inequalities remains a priority for the Department and is central to the NHS Long Term Plan and the Secretary of State’s prevention priority.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 March 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Broadband: Bristol West
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the trends in the level of access to superfast fibre broadband in Bristol West constituency; and what steps he is taking to improve access to that service in the constituency.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 20 March 2019

According to Thinkbroadband, 96.4% of premises in Bristol West constituency have access to superfast broadband. This is up from 93.1% in 2012.

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) have rolled out several schemes to help improve access to broadband services across the UK. Two voucher schemes, the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/) and the Better Broadband Scheme (https://basicbroadband.culture.gov.uk/) are accessible to residents in Bristol West Constituency. In fact the Gigabit Broadband Voucher scheme was rolled out nationally following a successful trial in four areas of the UK, including Bristol.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will made an assessment of trends in the level of (a) bullying and (b) harassment of people with autism in the workplace.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 19 March 2019

We currently have no plans to assess trends in bullying and harassment in the workplace of people with autism.

However, we are committed to supporting people with disabilities or health conditions, including those with autism, to manage issues they may face in employment by offering both them and their employers appropriate support. For example:

  • Access to Work has put in place a Hidden Impairment Specialist Team (HIST) that aims to offer advice and guidance to help employers support employees with conditions such as autism, Learning Disability and/or Mental Health conditions. HIST also offers eligible people an assessment to find out their needs at work and help to develop a support plan.

  • Through the Disability Confident scheme, DWP is engaging with employers and helping to promote the skills, talents and abilities of disabled people, including those with autism and associated conditions. Disability Confident offers advice and support to help employers feel more confident about employing disabled people.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 March 2019
Home Office
Refugees: Families
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to ensure that people arriving in the UK on a refugee family reunion visa receive a Biometric Residence Permit that contains their National Insurance number.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 March 2019

The Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions are currently developing plans for all migrants who are eligible for a National Insurance number, including those on a refugee family reunion visa, to have this printed on their Biometric Residence Permit as a matter of course.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 March 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Wood-burning Stoves
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what criteria his Department uses to classify wood-burning stoves as a smoke exempt appliance.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 March 2019

An appliance exemption shows that fuel-burning appliances, for example stoves, ovens or boilers, emit smoke below the acceptable limits.

Applicants must be able to prove that their appliance meets the necessary requirements and has been tested using acceptable methods at an accredited test centre.

The emission limits applicable to appliances are dependent on the size of the appliance. Further details are provided in Hetas’ guidance which can be viewed at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/761622/hetas-appliance-exemption-application-pack-181130.pdf

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 March 2019
Department for Transport
Cycleways
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2019 to Question 207270 on Cycleways, what representations he has received on commencing provisions in Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 to allow local authorities in England outside London to enforce moving traffic offences, and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 15 March 2019

The issue of moving traffic enforcement has been raised with the Department for Transport by a number of stakeholders over time, including representatives of local government and transport operators. The Department has no current plans to enable local authorities in England outside London to undertake the civil enforcement of these offences.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 March 2019
Department for Transport
Blue Badge Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to implement the recommendations in the document entitled, Blue Badge consultation: summary of responses and government response, published on 29 July 2018.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 14 March 2019

The Department for Transport is currently developing guidance, drawing on expertise from medical and healthcare professionals, as well as various disability organisations and local authorities, so that authorities will be able to assess applications under the expanded eligibility criteria for non-physical and hidden disabilities. The guidance will be published following forthcoming revisions of the statutory regulations, planned for the end of April. The changes will come into force at a later date, to allow time for local authorities to make appropriate arrangements once the guidance is published.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 February 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Radioisotopes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what representations he has received on alternative arrangements for breast cancer diagnostic and treatment procedures in the event that there is a shortage of radioisotopes in the UK.
A
Answered by: Stephen Hammond
Answered on: 28 February 2019

A search of the Department’s Ministerial correspondence database has identified one item of correspondence received since 1 August 2018 about alternative arrangements for breast cancer diagnostic and treatment procedures in the event that there is a shortage of radioisotopes in the United Kingdom. This figure represents correspondence received by the Department’s Ministerial correspondence unit only.

We fully recognise that radioisotopes are vitally important to many people in this country including breast cancer patients. HM Revenue and Customs already has a process to identify ‘urgent goods’, such as medical radioisotopes, requiring faster handling to move through customs and border checks promptly. The Department has well established processes to manage and mitigate the small number of medicines shortages that may arise due to manufacturing or distribution issues. These processes include radioisotopes used in breast cancer diagnostic and treatment procedures.

From January 2019, it became a mandatory requirement that the pharmaceutical industry must report this information to the Department in a timely manner. Following notification and risk assessment, the Department’s medicine supply team will continue to work behind the scenes with relevant stakeholders and use a host of tools to help mitigate and prevent an issue from impacting patients including the consideration of alternative treatment options. The Department is not aware of any significant radioisotope shortages that are currently affecting breast cancer patients.

Grouped Questions: 224533
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 February 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Radioisotopes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of a shortage of radioisotopes on the number of breast cancer diagnostic and treatment procedures.
A
Answered by: Stephen Hammond
Answered on: 28 February 2019

A search of the Department’s Ministerial correspondence database has identified one item of correspondence received since 1 August 2018 about alternative arrangements for breast cancer diagnostic and treatment procedures in the event that there is a shortage of radioisotopes in the United Kingdom. This figure represents correspondence received by the Department’s Ministerial correspondence unit only.

We fully recognise that radioisotopes are vitally important to many people in this country including breast cancer patients. HM Revenue and Customs already has a process to identify ‘urgent goods’, such as medical radioisotopes, requiring faster handling to move through customs and border checks promptly. The Department has well established processes to manage and mitigate the small number of medicines shortages that may arise due to manufacturing or distribution issues. These processes include radioisotopes used in breast cancer diagnostic and treatment procedures.

From January 2019, it became a mandatory requirement that the pharmaceutical industry must report this information to the Department in a timely manner. Following notification and risk assessment, the Department’s medicine supply team will continue to work behind the scenes with relevant stakeholders and use a host of tools to help mitigate and prevent an issue from impacting patients including the consideration of alternative treatment options. The Department is not aware of any significant radioisotope shortages that are currently affecting breast cancer patients.

Grouped Questions: 223789
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 February 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Cancer: Health Professions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Health Education England phase two cancer workforce plan co-ordinates with the workforce implementation plan in the NHS Long Term Plan.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 26 February 2019

Health Education England (HEE) published its first ever Cancer Workforce Plan in December 2017. HEE intended to publish a second phase, longer-term strategy that looked at the cancer workforce needs beyond 2021. This work was started and stakeholders from within the National Health Service and the charitable sector contributed to the early discussions. This work has since been superseded by publication of the NHS Long Term Plan in January 2019.

My Rt. hon. Friend Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has subsequently commissioned Baroness Dido Harding, working closely with Sir David Behan, to lead a number of programmes to engage with key NHS interests to develop a detailed workforce implementation plan. These programmes will consider detailed proposals to grow the workforce rapidly, including staff working on cancer, consider additional staff and skills required, build a supportive working culture in the NHS and ensure first rate leadership for NHS staff.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 February 2019
Department for Education
Students: Loans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to change the date for graduates with outstanding loans to the Student Loan Company to return information from the month of December to January.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 20 February 2019

The Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations 2009 (as amended) make no requirements of borrowers to provide information to the Student Loans Company in December specifically.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 01 February 2019
Department for Transport
Great Western Railway Line: Electrification
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the decision to defer electrification of the Filton Bank section of railway on the health of residents along that line.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 11 February 2019

Running in diesel mode, the new Class 800 IEP trains are significantly more efficient, producing lower CO₂ and nitrogen oxides than a legacy intercity diesel train. Their engines meet the latest European emissions standards.

The four-tracking project at Filton Bank has already brought performance improvements, increasing capacity and contributing to reducing end-to-end journey times for Cross Country and Bristol to London services.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 31 January 2019
Home Office
Letting Agents
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the effect on (a) tenants and (b) potential tenants of steps taken by letting agents to establish the right to rent.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 08 February 2019

The Home Office carried out an evaluation of phase one of the Right to Rent scheme in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton in 2015, published at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evaluation-of-the-right-to-rent-scheme

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