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: 03 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will take steps to collect and publish data on the employment status of adults diagnosed with autism.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 10 April 2019

Department for Work and Pensions officials are considering how to robustly measure the employment rate among autistic people, including whether it might be possible to collect this information through the Labour Force Survey.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Department for Transport
Taxis: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of implementing recommendation 11 of the Task and Finish Group report on Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles published in September 2018.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 09 April 2019

As outlined in the Government’s response to the report of the Chair of the Task and Finish Group, published in February 2019, Government is considering carefully how the restriction of out-of-area journeys by taxis and private hire vehicles proposed might work in practice, with a view to legislating.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Department for Transport
Shared Spaces
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what guidance his provides to local authorities on the development of shared space schemes where pedestrians and cyclists, but not motorists, are required to share pavement space.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 09 April 2019

The situation in which pavements are shared by cyclists and pedestrians is known as shared use rather than shared space. The Department for Transport issued guidance on the development of these schemes in ‘Local Transport Note 1/12: Shared use routes for pedestrians and cyclists’. It stresses the importance of high quality, inclusive design which addresses the needs of all users, including older people and disabled people. It also emphasises that shared use proposals require careful consideration, and that designers need to ensure that introducing cycling to an existing pedestrian route does not make conditions significantly worse for pedestrians.

Local Transport Note 1/12 is available from the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/shared-use

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Department for Transport
Shared Spaces
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what guidance his Department issues to local authorities on the development of shared space schemes where cyclists and motorists are required to share highway space.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 09 April 2019

The Department for Transport issued guidance on the design of cycling infrastructure in ‘Local Transport Note 2/08: Cycle Infrastructure Design’. This provides advice on a wide range of measures, including how to provide facilities for cyclists on-road.

Local Transport Note 2/08 is available from the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycle-infrastructure-design-ltn-208

The Department is currently updating 'Local Transport Note 2/08: Cycle Infrastructure Design'.

Guidance on providing for cyclists on the trunk road network is available in ‘Interim Advice Note 195/16: Cycle Traffic and the Strategic Road Network’, which is available at:

http://www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/ha/standards/ians/pdfs/ian195.pdf

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Home Office
Refugees: Families
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans he has to lengthen the time a refugee family reunion visa is valid for.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 05 April 2019

The Government issues a 30-day visa to all non-EEA nationals coming from overseas to stay in the UK for more than six months to enable them to collect their biometric residence permit from the Post Office, following their arrival in the UK. When a family reunion application is made, individuals can specify within a 90-day window when they would like the visa to be valid from. This is to take account of their need to make the necessary travel arrangements. The Government considers that the existing time periods for family reunion visas remain appropriate and we have no plans to review it.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department provides to families who have been reunited through refugee family reunion to access the social security system.
A
Answered by: Will Quince
Answered on: 05 April 2019

Those who have joined a family member in the UK through refugee family reunion are entitled to the same support as any other person. As with anyone else, they will be assessed to ascertain whether they have complex needs and whether they require additional support to access DWP services.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Refugees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on collaboration between the Home Office and her Department to ensure that refugees are able to access the employment support and social security benefits that they are entitled to.
A
Answered by: Will Quince
Answered on: 05 April 2019

The Department for Work and Pensions is working in partnership with the Home Office to improve processes for refugees claiming benefits. In order to achieve this aim we have set up the Post Grant Appointment Scheme (PGAS).

The scheme involves contacting persons at the point when they are granted refugee status to see if they wish to apply for benefits and require assistance to do so. If they say they do, an appointment at a local DWP office is arranged for them.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Home Office
Refugees: Families
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what support his Department provides to families who have been reunited through refugee family reunion.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 04 April 2019

Those granted under refugee family reunion provisions are entitled to work and have access to mainstream benefits on broadly the same basis as British Citizens. Their refugee sponsor can also apply for a refugee integration loan to support their integration into the community and help rebuild their lives here.


On 9 February 2019, the Government published the Integrated Communi-ties action plan, which includes measures to enable integration for recent migrants and refugees.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Mental Health Services: Waiting Lists
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the statement in the NHS Long Term Plan that four-week waiting times for adult and older adult community mental health teams including for eating disorders will be tested with selected local areas, what the timetable is for those targets to be introduced; and whether funding will be allocated to areas to support these tests.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 04 April 2019

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to “test four-week waiting times for adult and older adult community mental health teams, with selected local areas”.

The ‘Clinically-led Review of NHS Access Standards’ Interim Report, published in March 2019, states that NHS England will test four-week waiting times for adult and older adult community mental health teams with selected local areas. As part of this work, the report states that NHS England will “consider the interfaces with specialist community mental health services, particularly where there is an existing evidence base for rapid direct access, such as adult eating disorder services, or early intervention in psychosis services, for which there is already a national access and waiting time standard in place.”

The interim report sets out the initial proposals for testing changes to access standards in mental health services, cancer care, elective care and urgent and emergency care. The proposals will be field tested at a selection of pilot sites across England, before wider implementation. The information gathered through field testing and engagement will inform final recommendations from this Review, and ahead of full implementation beginning spring 2020.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Department for Transport
Blue Badge Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 14 March 2019 to Question 231515 on Blue Badge Scheme, which disability organisations his Department has consulted with on developing the guidance on the expanded eligibility criteria for Blue Badges; and on what date he plans for people with non-physical and hidden disabilities to be able to apply for Blue Badges.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 04 April 2019

The Department for Transport has consulted with the following disability groups Alzheimer’s UK, Disabled Motoring, Scope, Down’s Syndrome Association, Dementia UK, National Autistic Society, Mencap, Parkinson’s UK Anxiety UK and Crohns & Colitis.

The Department hopes to lay these new regulations in Parliament in April 2019, and they will specify when these changes will come into force.

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.

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