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: 21 February 2020
Department for Transport
Railways: Surveys
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reasons his Department has not implemented the proposal by Transport Focus for continuous rail passenger interviewing.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 02 March 2020

Whilst Transport Focus provided the Department with a proposal for a move to continuous National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) fieldwork in 2017, the costs of the options provided were prohibitive at that time.

The rail industry does not rely solely on the NRPS and since 2017, the Department has been working with industry to develop a wider range of evidence to understand and improve rail performance, including more continuous measurement of passenger views and experience.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Department for Transport
Railways: Surveys
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the Office for Statistics Regulation’s conclusion that Transport Focus should extend engagement on National Passenger Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) to a broader range of users to ensure that different user perspectives are fed into the future development of the NRPS statistics.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The Department welcomes the Office for Statistics Regulation report and will work with Transport Focus to help it meet the recommendations set out in the report.

Transport Focus has published its plan to address the OSR recommendations, available here: https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/research-publications/publications/action-plan-for-nrps/

Grouped Questions: 19038 | 19039
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Department for Transport
Railways: Surveys
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to ensure that the National Rail Passenger Survey collects data on passenger support for the presence of on-train and station staff.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) collects information on passenger satisfaction with rail services, including satisfaction with various aspects of the service currently delivered by staff. The NRPS would not be the appropriate survey to ask about support for the presence of staff given it is focussed on specific journeys, rather than general attitudes to rail. However, this is an important area, and Transport Focus has itself carried out other research on this topic, for example, https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/research-publications/publications/passenger-attitudes-towards-rail-staff/.

The NRPS collects data on the experiences of disabled rail passengers via a special module of questions every Autumn wave. This data is available to view and download from the Transport Focus data hub on the Transport Focus website. My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State has been clear that he wants the railways to lead the way on accessible travel.

The NRPS doesn’t collect data on any rail non-users (people who do not currently travel by rail). The Department, however, is exploring the option of collecting experience and satisfaction data on rail non-users, including disabled rail non-users, as part of its wider programme of research on passenger experience.

Grouped Questions: 19044
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Department for Transport
Railways: Surveys
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to ensure that the National Rail Passenger Survey includes questions on the accessibility of railways for disabled people that (a) travel by rail and (b) do not currently travel by rail.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) collects information on passenger satisfaction with rail services, including satisfaction with various aspects of the service currently delivered by staff. The NRPS would not be the appropriate survey to ask about support for the presence of staff given it is focussed on specific journeys, rather than general attitudes to rail. However, this is an important area, and Transport Focus has itself carried out other research on this topic, for example, https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/research-publications/publications/passenger-attitudes-towards-rail-staff/.

The NRPS collects data on the experiences of disabled rail passengers via a special module of questions every Autumn wave. This data is available to view and download from the Transport Focus data hub on the Transport Focus website. My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State has been clear that he wants the railways to lead the way on accessible travel.

The NRPS doesn’t collect data on any rail non-users (people who do not currently travel by rail). The Department, however, is exploring the option of collecting experience and satisfaction data on rail non-users, including disabled rail non-users, as part of its wider programme of research on passenger experience.

Grouped Questions: 19043
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Brazil: Rainforests
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Brazilian counterpart on the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 28 February 2020

The UK has been dedicated to addressing the issue of deforestation in Brazil for a long time. Since 2012, the UK has invested nearly £154 million in a number of International Climate Finance programmes in Brazil aimed at tackling deforestation, preventing forest fires, and implementing the Forest Code. The Prime Minister also raised the environment with President Bolsonaro during a phone call on 15 January. The UK will continue to monitor the situation in the Amazon closely and raise these critical issues in our ongoing dialogue with Brazil.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 24 February 2020
Ministry of Defence
Army: Recruitment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the career destinations were of recruits enlisted at the Army Foundation College but not completing phase two training in each year since 2015.
A
Answered by: James Heappey
Answered on: 27 February 2020

Information is not held about the future career paths of those, including those enlisted at the Army Foundation College, who do not complete phase two training and so leave the Army.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Department for International Development
Brazil: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps the Government is taking to support improved (a) healthcare and (b) delivery of healthcare services to indigenous women in Brazil.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 26 February 2020

The UK Prosperity Fund’s Global Better Health Programme aims to strengthen the health system in Brazil through technical collaboration. In particular, the programme focuses on addressing the growing burden of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer; and driving improvements in quality of care to reduce infection, injury or premature death. This will directly benefit women and poorer groups who are often particularly affected as a result of these health challenges. The programme in Brazil is currently in the inception stage, as part of which we will consider with our country partners the likely impact of the programme on different demographic groups such as indigenous women.

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: 21 February 2020
Home Office
Migrant Workers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the policy paper entitled The UK's points-based immigration system: policy statement, published on 19 February 2020, what the requirements will be for employers to become approved sponsors.
A
Answered by: Kevin Foster
Answered on: 26 February 2020

Requirements for employers to become approved sponsors can be found in the ‘Tiers 2 and 5: guidance for sponsors’ at the following link: www.gov.uk/government/publications/sponsor-a-tier-2-or-5-worker-guidance-for-employers.

We keep this guidance under review and will make changes in due course to reflect the introduction of the new points-based immigration system, from January 2021.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Tristan da Cunha: Lobsters
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he plans to have with his EU counterparts to ensure that the gourmet lobster trade industry in Tristan da Cunha is not affected by EU tariffs imposed after the transition period.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 13 February 2020

The Government has always been clear that we are committed to engaging Overseas Territories as the UK exits the EU, to ensure that their interests and priorities are properly taken into account.

We are seeking a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the EU and want to have the greatest possible tariff- and barrier-free trade with our European neighbours, so that our companies, including those operating in the Tristan da Cunha lobster industry, have the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within European markets.

We also welcome the substantive input we have received from the Tristan da Cunha Government as the United Kingdom prepares for negotiations with the EU.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cayman Islands: Ports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support his Department is providing to the Cayman Islands Government in relation to that Government's referendum on a new cruise port facility.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 13 February 2020

Port redevelopment is an area of devolved responsibility to the elected Government of the Cayman Islands. A Judicial Review on the Cayman Islands Referendum Law was heard on 22-23 January, with the judgment expected later this month. As this is a devolved matter and currently subject to Judicial Review it would not be appropriate for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to intervene. The United Kingdom Electoral Commission has provided advice to the Government of the Cayman Islands and the Governor's Office has previously arranged for observers from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to oversee the referendum.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cayman Islands: Natural Disasters
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support the UK has provided to the Cayman Islands to help (a) prevent significant damage from and (b) respond to (i) earthquakes and (ii) other future natural disasters.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 13 February 2020

The British Government works closely with its Overseas Territories, including the Cayman Islands, to help build local resilience to disasters. The Governor's Office and Hazard Management Cayman Islands jointly develop policy and deliver operational responses to disasters.

Recent initiatives include a Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded project to develop a more effective early warning system to provide timely information to the public during sudden onset disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. The Governor's Office alongside the Ministry of Defence are also developing a new Defence Regiment in the Cayman Islands which will provide a step change in the support available to the civilian authorities following a disaster. In addition the United Kingdom is supporting projects on public information campaigns, training for first responders and the provision of new satellite emergency communications equipment. In 2019 the United Kingdom part funded the purchase and running costs of a new helicopter for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Air Operations Unit. This enables the authorities to provide effective damage assessments, search and rescue and medevac services in Cayman and other British Overseas Territories following disasters. The helicopter was used to provide emergency relief in the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian in 2019 and for damage assessments following the earthquake which struck the Cayman Islands on 28 January. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, RFA Mounts Bay, has been deployed to the region for the past 3 years and has provided immediate humanitarian assistance to the three British Overseas Territories, Anguilla, the BVI and TCI which were devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 as well as to the Bahamas in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in 2019. RFA Mounts Bay will be replaced in March 2020 by other Ministry of Defence naval vessel.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Turks and Caicos Islands: National Security
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support he has offered to Turks and Caicos to help the development of a new national security strategy.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 13 February 2020

The United Kingdom played an instrumental role in supporting development of a new National Security Strategy in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), launched jointly by the Governor and Premier of TCI on 22 January. Alongside the strategy's launch, Sandhurst Military Academy ran a week-long national security training exercise, undertaken by senior officials across TCI government and regional partners.

A Security Advisor from the United Kingdom is currently seconded to TCI to coordinate work around national security; having led work to build on the initial steps taken by TCI's policing and Joint Law Enforcement Teams to develop the finalised National Security Strategy.

The Premier of TCI has expressed her thanks for the United Kingdom's support in implementing the National Security Strategy. As part of our ongoing commitment, the United Kingdom is also supporting the establishment of a defence force which will assist the maritime police to protect the Territory's borders.

While the United Kingdom retains reserve responsibilities for national security, this mutually supportive relationship will best serve the interests of the Overseas Territories.

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: 10 February 2020
Department for Transport
Bridges: Irish Sea
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to build a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
A
Answered by: Grant Shapps
Answered on: 13 February 2020

The previous Secretary of State met with DUP MP’s to discuss the proposals. Subsequently, officials provided advice to both the previous and current Secretary of State on the options available to facilitate a feasibility study.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Exports: Falkland Islands
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he will take to ensure that the Falkland Islands continues to have tariff free exports to the EU after the transition period.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 12 February 2020

The Government has always been clear that we are committed to engaging Overseas Territories as the United Kingdom exits the EU, to ensure that their interests and priorities are properly taken into account.

We are seeking a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the EU and want to have the greatest possible tariff- and barrier-free trade with our European neighbours, so that British companies, including Falkland Islands companies, have the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within European markets.

We also welcome the substantive input we have received from the Falkland Islands' Government as the United Kingdom prepares for negotiations with the EU.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cayman Islands: Financial Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he will take to ensure that the financial services sector in the Cayman Islands is not adversely affected by the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 12 February 2020

During the United Kingdom's EU membership, the Overseas Territories have accessed the EU market for services on a third country basis, meaning there is no direct impact of the United Kingdom's departure from the EU on the Cayman Islands' ability to access to the EU market for services.

The Government has always been clear that it will robustly represent the Overseas Territories' interests internationally and the Government is fully committed to engaging all the Overseas Territories as we exit the EU, to ensure that their interests and priorities are properly taken into account in United Kingdom-EU negotiations.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Turks and Caicos Islands: Undocumented Migrants
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment has his Department has made of recent trends in the level of irregular migration into Turks and Caicos from Haiti.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 12 February 2020

Recent years have seen a rise in the numbers of people making the dangerous journey by sea from Haiti to the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). The overloaded vessels - carrying at times over 200 people - attempt to arrive into the Islands clandestinely, often under the cover of darkness and over dangerous reefs. The newly launched National Security Strategy for TCI aims to deter and ultimately reduce the number of migrants attempting the journey, including by increasing TCI's capability to intercept boats at sea. Improved coordination and higher rate of interception, means that fewer vessels are now reaching TCI. Those arrested at sea, and brought to land, are repatriated by air to Haiti.

The United Kingdom and TCI Government are reviewing our ability to intercept vessels far earlier in their journey, and are working with international partners including the US Coastguard to achieve this. The National Security Strategy also focuses on tackling the criminal networks that exploit migrants making the journey.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Tristan Da Cunha: Fisheries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to help ensure that Tristan da Cunha’s fishing industry is adequately protected from increased restrictions over fishing areas.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 11 February 2020

Under the Blue Belt programme, United Kingdom funding has been provided to support the Overseas Territories protect and manage their marine environments. The programme is currently on course to protect 4 million square kilometres of ocean around the British Overseas Territories. In delivering the Blue Belt initiative, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the Marine Management Organisation(MMO) are working with the Government of Tristan da Cunha to ensure that the large scale Marine Protected Areas which have been designated, or are being developed, around the UKOTs are effectively managed, monitored and enforced. Traditional surveillance techniques, including sea and aerial patrols, are also being supplemented with trials of new techniques including satellite surveillance (radar and optical imagery); autonomous underwater vehicles; and unmanned aerial systems, to detect any illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Further funding was announced in August for FY 2020/21 to continue this important programme.

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: 04 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Kashmir: Politics and Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the UN on sending UN delegates to Kashmir to assess the humanitarian and political situation in that region.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 10 February 2020

Kashmir was discussed in closed sessions of the UN Security Council in August 2019 and January 2020. We are monitoring the situation in Kashmir closely and the Foreign Secretary has discussed the situation there with his Indian and Pakistani counterparts. British High Commission officials visit the region periodically and meet with local authorities and others to discuss a range of issues.

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: 04 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Kashmir: Peace Negotiations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to organise mediations between the Kashmiri and Indian Governments.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 10 February 2020

HMG's longstanding position is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political resolution on Kashmir, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Our emphasis is on encouraging the Governments of India and Pakistan to open channels of communication and engage in dialogue as a means to resolving differences. The pace and scope of any dialogue is for India and Pakistan to determine. It is not for the UK to prescribe a solution or to act as a mediator.

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: 04 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Kashmir: Armed Conflict
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential for (a) an escalation of the conflict and (b) nuclear warfare in Kashmir.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 10 February 2020

We continue to monitor the situation in Kashmir and we urge all parties to refrain from actions that could jeopardise regional stability. We are in regular contact with the Governments of India and Pakistan. The Prime Minister has underlined the importance of resolving issues through dialogue to his counterparts in both India and Pakistan. Most recently, the Foreign Secretary discussed the situation in Kashmir with the Foreign Minister of Pakistan and Lord Ahmad, Minister for South Asia, raised the issue with the Indian Minister of State for External and Parliamentary Affairs.

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