Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 28 June 2019
Department for International Trade
Arms Trade: Saudi Arabia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the cost to the public purse was (a) of his Department's legal team and (b) in legal fees to the appellant for his Department's defence of the 2017 High Court case on arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
A
Answered by: Graham Stuart
Answered on: 22 July 2019
Holding answer received on 05 July 2019

The cost to the public purse of (a) the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) legal team was £146,752.61, and (b) the cost to the public purse in legal fees to the appellant for this Department’s defence of the 2017 High Court case on arms sales to Saudi Arabia was £45,000. In addition, other money disbursed from the public purse for the purposes of this case was £138,292.14. This figure represents DIT legal costs to date associated with the Special Advocate representing the Appellant in closed proceedings in the Judicial Review.

The figures provided comprise net legal costs, including disbursement costs and these represent the legal cost to DIT. The legal costs provided here do not include figures spent by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence. There may also be further legal costs that have not yet been billed to the department.

Q
(Coventry North East)
Asked on: 12 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sports: Coventry
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what funding his Department allocated to projects to support grassroots sports facilities in Coventry in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 22 July 2019

Sport and physical activity facilities in Coventry have benefited from over £1.2m Exchequer and Lottery funding through Sport England over the last five years. This is on top of Sport England’s total spend on community sport and physical activity in Coventry over the same period, more than £6.5m.

Q
Asked by Hugh Gaffney
(Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill)
Asked on: 15 July 2019
Department for Education
Universities: Students
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the level of financial support available to university students.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 22 July 2019

Living costs support increased by 10.3% for students on the lowest incomes in the 2016-17 academic year compared to the previous system, with further inflationary increases for each year since then. The government has announced a 2.8% increase in maximum loans for living costs for the 2019-20 academic year starting in August.

An announcement on financial support for academic year 2020-21 will be made in due course.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 15 July 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Coal: Imports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much coal was imported for use in (a) UK coal fired power stations (b) UK steel works and (c) other industrial processes in 2018.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 22 July 2019

BEIS does not hold data identifying the source of the coal supplied to each consumer.

Q
(East Londonderry)
[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 July 2019
Treasury
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much and what proportion of UK Guarantees Scheme guarantees issued to date have been allocated to road projects in Northern Ireland.
A
Answered by: Elizabeth Truss
Answered on: 22 July 2019

To date, no guarantees under the UK Guarantees Scheme have been issued to road projects in Northern Ireland. This information, alongside details of the UK Guarantees scheme, is publicly available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-guarantees-scheme. The UK Guarantees Scheme was established in 2012, with a capacity of up to £40 billion, to support private investment in UK infrastructure projects. As the scheme is demand-led, it only operates where needed and guarantees are not allocated by region. So far, the UK Guarantees Scheme has issued £1.8 billion of guarantees, supporting over £4 billion worth of investment.

Q
(East Londonderry)
[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 July 2019
Treasury
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much funding was allocated to (a) Northern Ireland, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales from the National Productivity Investment Fund in (i) 2017-18, and (ii) 2018-19.
A
Answered by: Elizabeth Truss
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The Government established the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) to increase capital spending for areas critical for improving productivity: housing, transport, digital infrastructure and Research & Development (R&D).

Digital infrastructure and R&D spending are reserved so UK Government investment, including through the NPIF, covers England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The NPIF includes £425m in 2017-18 and £820m in 2018-19 on R&D funding, and £25m in 2017-18 and £150m in 2018-19 on digital infrastructure.

Housing and transport spending is devolved, and in these areas, the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government have received increases in their capital budgets as a result of applying the Barnett formula to changes in spending in England.

Q
Asked by Valerie Vaz
(Walsall South)
[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 July 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many planning applications on Green Belt land in (a) Walsall South constituency and (b) England have been referred to the National Planning Unit in each of the last 10 years.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 22 July 2019

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer to question UIN 277187 on 18 July.

Q
Asked by Nic Dakin
(Scunthorpe)
[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 July 2019
Department for Exiting the European Union
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what progress he has made on ensuring reciprocal mobility agreements between the UK and the EU for people in the music industry that require short-term visas after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 22 July 2019

In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK nationals undertaking paid work, including in the music industry, in the EU should check with the Embassy of the countries they plan to travel to for what kind of visa or permit, if any, they will need. The FCO provides advice on their country-specific travel pages online. Information about entry requirements for those intending to work or provide a service in an EU Member State is listed on our advice pages for UK businesses on gov.uk.

The Political Declaration agreed between the UK and the EU acknowledges the importance of mobility for cultural cooperation. The UK has proposed reciprocal mobility arrangements with the EU that support businesses to provide services and move their talented people. We also want to discuss how to facilitate the temporary mobility of self-employed professionals and employees providing services. The detail of our reciprocal mobility arrangements will be discussed in the next phase of negotiations.

Q
(Motherwell and Wishaw)
[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 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to limit job losses as a result of (a) further William Hill (b) other bookmakers branch closures.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The government reduced the maximum stake on B2 gaming machines from £100 to £2, to help stop extreme losses by those who were least able to afford them. We engaged with the gambling industry to understand the potential impact on jobs, both as proposals were developed and following the announcement.

The government will engage with William Hill and other bookmakers, as well as the Association of British Bookmakers, to establish the level of employee support that may be required. Jobcentre Plus’s Rapid Response Service is also ready to support any worker who may be affected by job losses associated with this announcement.

Q
(East Londonderry)
[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 July 2019
Northern Ireland Office
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether she plans to table legislative proposals to implement payments to victims of historical and institutional abuse in Northern Ireland.
A
Answered by: John Penrose
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has made it very clear that she is determined to see redress for victims of historical institutional abuse as soon as possible. The UK Government has made clear that legislation will be introduced at Westminster by the end of the year, should a restored NI Executive not be in place.

Currently, officials in the Northern Ireland Executive Office are working with the Northern Ireland Office of the Legislative Counsel to redraft the legislation for a redress scheme in line with the NI parties’ recommendations.

When the legislation has been revised and received, the Secretary of State will consider the best way forward and the next steps as a matter of urgency.

Q
Asked by Chi Onwurah
(Newcastle upon Tyne Central)
[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 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the French Government's approach to returning African cultural artefacts to their countries of origin, including the joint development of secure museums in those countries, what assessment he has had made of the potential merits of the UK adopting a similar approach to the return of artefacts held by UK museums.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The French Government is still formulating their approach to these issues, including the basis on which any African cultural artefacts might be returned to countries of origin.

Decisions about items in collections are a matter for UK museums themselves - and in the case of national museums, statutory duty lies with the board of trustees who operate independently from government.

The UK is a world leader in culture and heritage and our museums co-operate extensively with countries around the world on the circulation, promotion and protection of their collections, including capacity building programmes supporting museums development and cultural heritage protection.

Q
Asked by Jo Stevens
(Cardiff Central)
[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 July 2019
Department for International Trade
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential response from the EU on the Government's plan to maintain zero tariffs on (a) eggs, (b) cereals, (c) fruit and (d) vegetables imported into the UK in the event that the UK leaves the EU without an agreement.
A
Answered by: George Hollingbery
Answered on: 22 July 2019

Many UK agri-food products would face substantial tariffs on exports to the EU in a no deal scenario. Consistent with WTO rules, the EU must apply tariffs equally to imports from all countries where there is no trade agreement or any other preferential arrangement in place. In the event of no deal, this includes the UK. There has been no indication that the EU would modify their tariff policy as a result of our exit or following the publication of the UK’s ‘Most Favoured Nation’ schedule, the temporary tariff.

However, the Government’s intention in setting the temporary tariff has been to balance producer and consumer impacts in a way that is broadly neutral in its impact on agri-food production and consumption patterns.

Q
Asked by Chuka Umunna
(Streatham)
[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 July 2019
Department for Exiting the European Union
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, how many technical notices on ensuring that citizens and businesses have the information they require to prepare for the UK leaving the EU have been withdrawn; and for what reasons have those notices been withdrawn.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The Department for Exiting the European Union coordinated the initial publication of 106 Technical Notices between July and September 2018. Departments are responsible for their own Technical Notices, including deciding if they should be withdrawn and the reasons why.

Q
Asked by Mike Amesbury
(Weaver Vale)
[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 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of cricket pitches that have been sold for (a) housing development and (b) other commercial development since 2010.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The Government is completely committed to playing our part in strengthening grassroots cricket in this country, and are working with Sport England and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to help improve the prospects for the game at all levels. Since 2009, Sport England has invested £100,070,150 of Government and National Lottery funding into the game of cricket including investing in new and existing cricket facilities, boosting participation in the game and attracting people of all ages from diverse backgrounds to start or continue playing cricket.

DCMS does not hold figures for the number of cricket pitches sold for housing or commercial development. Sport England records show there are currently 7,106 pitches in England which are operational at present, whether that be local authority, school, club owned, free to play or otherwise.

Q
Asked by Chi Onwurah
(Newcastle upon Tyne Central)
[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 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many times he has met with the (a) Premier League and (b) Football Association to discuss improving (i) financial transparency and (ii) football regulation in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 22 July 2019

Ministers meet regularly with stakeholders in football to discuss a range of issues including financial transparency and regulation, and will continue to do so in support of their governance of the game.

Q
(Coventry South)
[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: 22 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the average waiting time for an appeal for universal credit by a tribunal for people with a disability in the most recent period for which figures are available.
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Television: Licensing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take to ensure that people over the age of 75 who do not use the internet will be able to apply, and pay, for a TV licence from June 2020.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 19 July 2019

The BBC is responsible for the cost and the administration of the over 75 licence fee concession from June 2020.

The BBC says that it will work with older peoples groups, charities and voluntary organisations to design a bespoke system to support all those over 75 affected by its decision. As part of this system, the BBC says that its licensing arm, TV Licensing, will write to all those all those affected, and will use suitable measures such as face to face visits and phone calls to make it as easy as possible for those transitioning to apply for and pay the licence fee.

Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Television: Licensing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they intend to offer to people who are just above the threshold of eligibility for pension credit to afford the additional £154.54 per year to pay for a TV licence from June 2020.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 19 July 2019

The BBC is responsible for the cost and the administration of the over 75 licence fee concession from June 2020.

The BBC says that it will work with older peoples groups, charities and voluntary organisations to design a bespoke system to support all those over 75 affected by its decision. As part of this system, the BBC says that its licensing arm, TV Licensing, will be publicising the link between the concession and pension credit. It also says its will be introducing an easy payment system to help those affected spread the cost of the licence fee.

The Secretary of State has expressed his disappointment with the BBC decision to restrict the concession to the most narrowly defined review option. He has asked the BBC to do more for the most vulnerable pensioners, including considering measures around the margins of eligibility and those which further promote the take up of Pension Credit.

Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Television: Licensing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the compatibility of the BBC's decision to change the TV licence concession for people over the age of 75 from June 2020 with the Government's strategy to combat loneliness.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 19 July 2019

The future of the over 75 licence fee concession is a matter for the BBC. Parliament transferred responsibility in passing the Digital Economy Act in 2017. On loneliness, the Government is taking steps to address the effects of isolation and loneliness on the elderly. These include appointing a minister to lead work on tackling loneliness; publishing the world’s first government strategy on loneliness; and securing £20 million of new grant-funding for projects run by charities and community groups to bring people together.

Q
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Telecommunications: Compensation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ashton of Hyde on 3 July (HL16510), what data are collected by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the amounts of compensation paid by broadband and home phone providers due to delayed (1) repairs, and (2) service.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 19 July 2019

The automatic compensation scheme for fixed broadband and landline consumers was established by Ofcom, the UK’s independent regulator for communication services. The Department has not, to date, received any data from Ofcom about the scheme. As set out in our previous answer, the Department’s understands that Ofcom intends to review the scheme next year.

Grouped Questions: HL16992 | HL16993
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