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 2019-21 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
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 08 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
HIV Infection: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to increase access to home-based and community testing for HIV during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 01 July 2020

Public Health England (PHE) supports HIV testing initiatives across England through its national programmes where appropriate.

During the COVID-19 outbreak PHE has committed to supporting the 56 Dean Street Breaking the Chain campaign via HIV Prevention England, the national HIV Prevention Programme and the national HIV self-sampling service. From 5 June 2020, residents of all local authorities in England can order a free self-sampling kit through the national HIV self-sampling service. PHE has committed to paying for 7,000 HIV tests, including syphilis opt-out testing, throughout the promotional period.

PHE is in the process of tendering a new Sexual and Reproductive Health Framework that will enable local authorities to provide a range of online and postal sexual and reproductive health services including HIV and sexually transmitted infections self-sampling, chlamydia treatment, emergency contraception and oral contraception.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[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: 26 June 2020
Cabinet Office
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the guidance entitled Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do after 4 July updated on 24 June 2020, what the limited set of circumstances when groups of more than 30 people may gather are.
A
Answered by: Penny Mordaunt
Answered on: 01 July 2020

As stated in the guidance published at the link below, the limited set of circumstances under which gatherings in groups of larger than 30 people will be permitted will be set out in law before 4 July.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do-after-4-july

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[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: 30 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Health and Safety Executive is taking to ensure it is able to (a) implement legally enforceable (i) restrictions on and (ii) authorisations for chemicals after the transition period and (b) access chemicals regulation information in the period before a replacement for the European Chemicals Agency database is created.
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 08 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
HIV Infection
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it is policy on HIV to set out a plan to (a) reduce inequalities in HIV services, (b) tackle stigma and discrimination associated with living with HIV, (c) increase testing of HIV and (d) improve the quality of life for people living with HIV.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 29 June 2020
Holding answer received on 11 June 2020

The Government has committed to eliminating new HIV transmissions in England by 2030. In October 2019, as part of the Government response to the Health and Social Care Select Committee report on sexual health, the Department also committed to the development of an updated sexual and reproductive health strategy. We will consider issues around inequalities, tackling stigma and discrimination and other relevant issues as part of the strategy development. We are proud that the United Kingdom is one of the first countries in the world to meet the UNAIDS 90:90:90 targets and the NHS continues to provide world class treatment and care for people with HIV. In England, a range of approaches to HIV prevention are already in place; including the rollout of pre-exposure prophylaxis, encouraging condom use, needle exchange programmes, self-sampling and promoting expanded HIV testing and diagnosis.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[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: 24 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Chemicals: Regulation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will undertake a consultation on the terms of reference for the delegation of powers from the European Chemicals Agency to the Health and Safety Executive and the environment agencies in regard to (a) public participation, stakeholder engagement and transparency, (b) collaboration with other agencies and (c) whether it will include a role for the UK’s public health bodies.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 29 June 2020

The REACH (Amendments etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 establish a UK regulatory framework and build domestic capacity to deliver the functions currently performed by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA). It is this Statutory Instrument (SI) that sets the terms of reference for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to take on ECHA's role.

As well as parliamentary scrutiny of the SI, we engaged with a range of stakeholders both before and after the Regulations were passed by Parliament. In addition, the SI itself contains a range of provisions to ensure that the UK Agency (HSE) consults publicly on its processes, decisions and opinions; develops appropriate contacts with stakeholders; acts transparently; and works collaboratively with other public bodies.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[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: 24 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Chemicals: Regulation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many full-time equivalent staff the Government plans to recruit to (a) the Environment Agency and (b) the Health & Safety Executive to deliver the proposed post-transition Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH); and (i) what positions that recruitment will fill and (ii) what the timescale for that recruitment is.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 29 June 2020

The continued effective and safe management of chemicals to safeguard human health and the environment is our overarching objective now that we have left the EU. The preparations we made for the possibility of a no deal exit mean that we are well placed to be ready with our own independent regulatory regime for 1 January 2021. This includes ensuring that both the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA) have the necessary capability and capacity to carry out their responsibilities. Once we have staffed up to full operating capability we expect to spend about £13 million per year on the UK’s new REACH regulatory system. This figure covers the following costs:

Operation and maintenance of the REACH IT system; and staff resourcing in Defra, HSE and EA to ensure:

  • the necessary levels of technical specialist input into risk and socio-economic assessment of chemicals for the UK (for example, authorising the use of and restricting chemicals as appropriate);
  • high quality policy advice can be provided; and
  • we can increase UK and international stakeholder engagement.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 16 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Air Pollution: Pollution Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a policy of aiming for (a) World Health Organization guideline levels on particulate matter pollution by 2030 and (b) other stricter than existing environmental targets on the environmental sustainability of (i) general Government policy and (ii) business investment.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 24 June 2020

In July 2019, we published a report assessing the progress that will be made towards World Health Organization (WHO) PM2.5 air quality guidelines with actions outlined in the Clean Air Strategy by 2030. This report showed that significant progress would be made towards achieving WHO guideline levels through the actions outlined in the Strategy, but that additional action would be needed to reach WHO guideline levels in specific locations (i.e. central London). The Government is committed to evidence-based policy making and will consider independent expert advice alongside evidence and analysis on a diversity of factors in setting air quality targets outlined in the Environment Bill. This will include the health benefits, the practical feasibility and economic viability of taking different actions to ensure that the targets are based on realistic pathways, robust science and full economic analysis such that they are ambitious, achievable and deliver the greatest public health benefits.

The Government plans to bring forward at least one target in each of the four priority areas by the Environment Bill’s 31 October 2022 deadline. Legally binding targets are an important tool. They will drive action by successive governments to protect and enhance our natural world. They allow for robust, objective scrutiny and accountability of government’s progress and they provide much-needed long-term certainty to businesses and society, to support planning, innovation and investment.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 24 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Health and Safety Executive: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much funding has been allocated to the Health & Safety Executive for (a) delivering Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals after the transition period and (b) establishing a new building safety regulator following the Grenfell Tower disaster; and whether these funding allocations are in addition to the £14 million announced by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 12 May 2020 for making workplaces safe during the covid-19 outbreak.
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 16 June 2020
Leader of the House
Overseas Aid: Parliamentary Scrutiny
Commons
To ask the Leader of the House, if he will bring forward amendments to Standing Orders to create a Development Aid Oversight Committee similar to the Environmental Audit Committee to ensure Parliamentary oversight of UK aid spending.
A
Answered by: Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg
Answered on: 22 June 2020

The Government’s view is that select committees in the House of Commons should generally mirror Government departments, though this is ultimately a matter for the House. Precise changes will be announced in due course.

Grouped Questions: 59864
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[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: 16 June 2020
Department for International Development
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent discussions he has had with the Prime Minister on the merger of his Department and the Department for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
A
Answered by: Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Answered on: 22 June 2020

The Prime Minister discussed the merger with both Secretaries of State ahead of his announcement in the House.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[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: 16 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Department for International Development: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has received from (a) Ambassadors and (b) other stakeholders on the merging of his Department and the Department for International Development.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 22 June 2020

We will engage closely with interested stakeholders in the weeks and months to come as we work to create a new department, which will unite our development expertise and first class diplomatic service to deliver in the national interest and seize the opportunities that lie ahead.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[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: 16 June 2020
Leader of the House
Overseas Aid: Parliamentary Scrutiny
Commons
To ask the Leader of the House, whether he has received instructions from Cabinet Colleagues to bring forward amendments to Standing Orders to create a Development Aid Oversight Committee similar to the Environmental Audit Committee to ensure Parliamentary oversight of UK aid spending.
A
Answered by: Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg
Answered on: 22 June 2020

The Government’s view is that select committees in the House of Commons should generally mirror Government departments, though this is ultimately a matter for the House. Precise changes will be announced in due course.

Grouped Questions: 59861
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[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: 16 June 2020
Prime Minister
Overseas Aid: Select Committees
Commons
To ask the Prime Minister, whether he has provided instructions to the Leader of the House to amend the Standing Orders to create a Development Aid Oversight Committee similar to the Environmental Audit Committee to ensure Parliamentary oversight of UK aid spending.
A
Answered by: Boris Johnson
Answered on: 22 June 2020

I refer the hon Member to the answer my Rt Hon Friend the Foreign Secretary gave to the hon Member for North East Fife on 18 June, Official Report, Col 947.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 17 June 2020
Home Office
Visas: Musicians
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Australians used the Tier 5 visa route in 2019.
A
Answered by: Kevin Foster
Answered on: 22 June 2020

The Home Office publishes data on Tier 5 visas in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release).

Data on grants of Tier 5 visas by nationality are published in table Vis_D02 of the entry clearance detailed datasets (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/managed-migration-datasets#entry-clearance-visas-granted-outside-the-uk).

Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relates to year ending March 2020. Additionally, the Home Office publishes a high-level overview of the data in the entry clearance summary tables (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020/list-of-tables#entry-clearance-visas). The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on entry clearance visas.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’ (https://www.gov.uk/search/research-and-statistics?keywords=immigration&content_store_document_type=upcoming_statistics&organisations%5B%5D=home-office&order=relevance).

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 17 June 2020
Home Office
Visas: Working Holidays
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many UK citizens travelled to Australia under the Working Holiday Visa in 2019.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 22 June 2020

The Home Department does not currently hold this information. UK nationals’ usage of Australia’s working holiday provision is provided on an annual basis by the Australian Home Affairs department.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[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 June 2020
Cabinet Office
Ministerial Responsibility
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answers of 8 June 2020 to Question 54223 on Ministerial Responsibility, of 29 May 2020 to Question 48589 on Universal Credit: Coronavirus and of 11 May to Question 43737 on Ministerial Responsibility, and with reference to the oral contribution of 6 May 2020 of the Leader of the House, Official Report, column 583, what communication he has had with the Cabinet Secretary on the non-publication of that document since the 2019 general election.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 15 June 2020

Further to the answer given to PQ 43737 on 11 May 2020, it is taking longer than usual to compile a new List of Ministerial Responsibilities document including as a result of the challenges of Covid-19. An update will be published in due course.

Grouped Questions: 57315 | 57316 | 57317
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[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 June 2020
Cabinet Office
Ministerial Responsibility
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 8 June 3030 to Question 54223 on Ministerial Responsibility, the Answer of 2 May 2020 to Question 48583 the Answer of 11 May 2020 to Question 43737 and with reference to the oral contribution of 6 May 2020 of the Leader of the House, Official Report, column 583, on Business Statement, for what reason he has not published the directory of ministerial contacts.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 15 June 2020

Further to the answer given to PQ 43737 on 11 May 2020, it is taking longer than usual to compile a new List of Ministerial Responsibilities document including as a result of the challenges of Covid-19. An update will be published in due course.

Grouped Questions: 57314 | 57316 | 57317
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[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 June 2020
Cabinet Office
Ministerial Responsibility
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answers of 8 June 2020 to Question 54223 and of 29 May 2020 to Question 48589 on Ministerial Responsibility, and with reference to the oral contribution of 6 May 2020 of the Leader of the House, Official Report, column 583, what investigations he has made to establish why the Department has not published that document in a timely manner.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 15 June 2020

Further to the answer given to PQ 43737 on 11 May 2020, it is taking longer than usual to compile a new List of Ministerial Responsibilities document including as a result of the challenges of Covid-19. An update will be published in due course.

Grouped Questions: 57314 | 57315 | 57317
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[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 June 2020
Cabinet Office
Ministerial Responsibility
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answers of 8 June 2020 to Question 54223 and of 29 May to Question 48589 and of 11 May 2020 to Question 43737 on Ministerial Responsibilities, and with reference to the oral contribution of 6 May 2020 of the Leader of the House, Official Report, column 583, for what reason that document has not been published despite (a) six months having elapsed since the general election and (b) more than one month having elapsed since the first written question in relation to republishing that document.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 15 June 2020

Further to the answer given to PQ 43737 on 11 May 2020, it is taking longer than usual to compile a new List of Ministerial Responsibilities document including as a result of the challenges of Covid-19. An update will be published in due course.

Grouped Questions: 57314 | 57315 | 57316
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department for International Trade
Arms Trade: Inspections
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, which sites used by holders of general export licences for military goods have not been inspected by her Department under Article 31 of the Export Control Order 2008 in each of the last 36 months apart from the BAE site at Warton.
A
Answered by: Mr Ranil Jayawardena
Answered on: 10 June 2020

HM Government supports responsible defence industries, which make a major contribution to our prosperity. Licensing controls are a vital service to industry, protecting the reputation and legitimacy of business.

Inspections of records under section 31 are in relation to a company’s use of general licences. The purpose of inspections is to get assurance that users of general licences meet the terms and conditions of their licences.

The scope of the general licences includes only items and destinations that are consistent with the Consolidated Criteria. Those published by the Department for International Trade have all been pre-assessed for risk and agreed by all relevant departments that they can be published. Our compliance checks are focused where higher risks of non-compliance lie.

An answer detailing the sites that have not been inspected in the past 36 months can only be provided at disproportionate cost, as my Department would have to manually review every existing and surrendered open licence registration.

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