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, what plans she has to assess the effectiveness of the local supported proof of concept initiative in closing the autism employment gap.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 12 April 2019

Proofs of Concept are not designed to provide evidence of impacts on national employment trends. Rather, they allow us to test whether a policy idea is deliverable.

The Local Supported Employment Proof of Concept is a relatively small scale programme exploring how combining central and local budgets enables Local Authorities to scale up delivery of Supported Employment. The initiative is designed to support people with a learning disability or autism who are known to adult social care, or who are in contact with secondary mental health services. By working with local authorities, there may be an opportunity for DWP to drive a much stronger focus on job outcomes and on evidence-based commissioning using the Supported Employment model.

We are currently considering our next steps to build on this Proof of Concept.

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 tackle the underemployment of people diagnosed with autism.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 12 April 2019

DWP is committed to helping people with health conditions and disabilities, including autism move nearer to the labour market and, when ready, into work, by building more personalised tailored employment and health support.

The majority of DWP’s schemes and programmes are focused on helping people, including people diagnosed with autism, prepare for and enter work. For example:

  • The Work and Health Programme, which rolled out between November 2017 and March 2018, will support around 275,000 people over five years - the majority whom (around 220,000) will be disabled people who can volunteer for the programme at any time.

  • The new Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, which is due to be rolled out across England and Wales at the end of 2019, will provide highly personalised packages of employment support for people with both disabilities and complex barriers to employment who are considered by DWP work coaches to be more than 12 months from the labour market without intensive support

  • The Local Supported Employment proof of concept is currently exploring how we can combine central and local budgets to scale up delivery of Supported Employment locally. This initiative is designed to explore how a matched funding model could support people with a learning disability or autism who are known to adult social care, or who are in contact with secondary mental health services.

Disabled people who are already working, or who are about to enter work, can apply for in-work support from Access to Work scheme. The scheme has a Hidden Impairment Support Team that provides advice and guidance to help employers support employees with conditions like autism, as well as offering eligible people an assessment to find out their needs at work and help to develop a support plan.

In addition, DWP is engaging with employers through the Disability Confident scheme - supporting them to feel more confident about both employing disabled people, including autistic people, and supporting disabled employees to realise their potential. Over 11,500 employers have signed up to the scheme so far.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 31 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Allergies: Medical Equipment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 10 December 2018 to Question 198805, what progress has been made on increasing the supply of Epipens; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 08 February 2019

Supplies of EpiPen and other adrenaline auto-injectors are currently available in volumes that are sufficient to meet United Kingdom requirements. The Department continues to work very closely with all the manufacturers of adrenaline auto-injectors and can confirm that the supply situation continues to improve going forward with further deliveries expected over the coming weeks. All patients who require an adrenaline auto-injector should now be able to obtain a device from their pharmacy.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 31 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Bacteriophages
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential benefits of phage therapy for tackling antimicrobial resistance.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 08 February 2019

The Department and the Wellcome Trust sponsored a strategic pipeline briefing into alternatives to antibiotics in 2015. The briefing reviewed the feasibility and potential clinical impact of alternatives to antibiotics, including bacteriophages, and considered approaches that were most likely to deliver new treatments in the next 10 years. The briefing concluded that bacteriophages were possible therapeutics, but too few were being progressed.

The Government continues to invest in research into new and alternative treatments. While there has been increased investment and unprecedented levels of research collaboration on antimicrobial resistance, there are still relatively few projects looking at the use of bacteriophages.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 31 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Antibiotics: Drug Resistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to increase the level of investment and funding for training and employing NHS microbiologists on long term contracts to increase diagnostic capacity as part of the government strategy to tackle antimicrobial resistance.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 08 February 2019

‘Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance (2019-2024): the UK’s five-year national action plan’ includes the commitment to assess current and future workforce needs to ensure capability and capacity for strong infection prevention and control and antimicrobial stewardship. The assessment will cover a range of roles, including microbiology. The results of the assessment will be used to develop further workforce targets.

The NHS England Long Term Plan makes the commitment to implement the human health aspects of the national action plan.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 31 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Antibiotics: Drug Resistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to establish an evidential basis on the time taken to diagnose disease in the NHS as part of the Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 08 February 2019

‘Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance (2019-2024): the UK’s five-year national action plan’ recognises that stewardship programmes are needed for both therapeutics and diagnostics. Good diagnostic stewardship promotes appropriate and timely testing.

Evidence suggests that a third of prescriptions in primary care do not have an associated diagnosis recorded. The national action plan sets out an ambition to improve the evidence base about diagnoses and prescriptions by linking and analysing clinical data sets.

Through the joint sepsis/Antimicrobial Resistance Commissioning for Quality Innovation data we know that the number of patients being identified with a suspicion of sepsis or severe infection has increased and that a majority of those patients have their treatment reviewed within 24-72 hours, following the confirmation of diagnostic test results.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 31 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Antibiotics: Drug Resistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Government's strategy entitled Tackling antimicrobial resistance 2019–2024: The UK’s five-year national action plan, published in January 2019, what plans his Department has to educate the public on the use and misuse of antimicrobials and their role in tackling antimicrobial resistance.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 08 February 2019

Public Health England has developed a number of initiatives for educating the public which support the Government’s recently published strategy to tackle antimicrobial resistance; including a major national campaign, ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’, following a successful pilot in the North West in October 2017, to alert the general public to the issue of antibiotic resistance, with the aim of reducing patient pressure on general practitioners to prescribe. The multi-media campaign, which features advertising on television, radio, outdoor, digital, social media, public relations and extensive partnership support, has run for a consecutive year in 2018. Further information is available at the following link:

https://antibioticguardian.com/keep-antibiotics-working/

The United Kingdom wide Antibiotic Guardian campaign, now in its fifth year, aims to stimulate behaviour change and increase engagement to tackle antimicrobial resistance by healthcare professionals and engaged members of the public. The e-Bug programme, now celebrating its 10th year, aims to educate children, young people and communities about microbes, hygiene, infections and antibiotics. Further information on the e-Bug programme is available at the following link:

www.e-Bug.eu

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 29 January 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Renewable Energy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to support community energy generation after the closure of the feed-in-tariff scheme in March 2019.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 07 February 2019

The Government is considering its future approach and what measures might be taken to support the efforts of community organisations who want to invest in low-carbon energy installations as part of its consultation on a Smart Export Guarantee which was published on 8 January. The consultation is open until 5 March and can be assessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-for-small-scale-low-carbon-generation

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 29 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Influenza: Vaccination
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of availability of the 2018-19 seasonal flu vaccine.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 06 February 2019

Public Health England (PHE) provides influenza vaccines centrally for the children’s influenza programme. Centrally purchased influenza vaccines are carefully monitored by PHE to ensure there is equitable distribution across England and sufficient in-date vaccine for patients who present throughout the season.

General practitioners and other providers are directly responsible for the influenza vaccine supplies used to deliver the national influenza programme to the other eligible groups. PHE maintains oversight to help facilitate a constant supply of vaccine, liaising with vaccine manufacturers to ascertain whether there are any manufacturing problems which could impact the running of the programme at a national level.

This winter, eligible adults aged 18-64 were offered a quadrivalent influenza vaccine, and those aged 65 and over were offered a newly licensed adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine (aTIV). There were a number of short-term localised shortages of both vaccines reported, particularly for aTIV due to staggered deliveries from the manufacturer between September and November. The NHS managed these shortages locally, but some patients had to wait longer than usual to be vaccinated. However, there was no overall shortage of either vaccine.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 29 January 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Furs: Farms
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what representations his Department has made to foreign Governments on ending the practice of fur farming.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 05 February 2019

Fur farming has been banned in the UK since 2000 making it clear to other countries that that this practice is not consistent with British values on animal welfare.

Once the UK retakes its independent seat on international bodies, such as the World Organisation for Animal Health, we will have an opportunity to promote progressive views on animal welfare and to support improved animal welfare standards internationally.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 31 January 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Letting Agents
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to review the practice of letting agencies requiring 12 months' rent in advance from clients who are below a specified minimum income threshold.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 05 February 2019

Landlords and letting agents are free to ask for rent payments upfront if they wish, but very few ask for 12 months' rent upfront.

The Government is determined to ensure that tenants’ rent money held by agents is protected. We will require letting agents to obtain membership of a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme and to repay any client money without delay where it is due to the tenant. We intend this protection to be mandatory from 1 April 2019.

We are also developing a new regulatory regime for letting agents. The Regulation of Property Agents working group, led by Lord Best, will make recommendations about a joined-up framework to guide, monitor and police the actions of letting agents. The working group will report in July 2019.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 18 December 2018
Home Office
Refugees: Welfare State
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Post Grant Appointment Service in ensuring that refugees are able to access the welfare system following a decision to grant asylum.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 25 January 2019

As described by the British Red Cross in their report ‘Still an ordeal: the move-on period for new refugees’, the Post Grant Appointment Service is effective in setting up an early appointment for the refugees with their local Jobcentre, thus enabling them to make an application for mainstream benefits before they leave the asylum support system.

We will provide more information about the service when we respond to the British Red Cross report in due course

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 14 January 2019
Home Office
Refugees: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the British Red Cross report entitled Still an ordeal: the move-on period for new refugees published in December 2018, if he will increase the period in which refugees continue to receive asylum support after receiving a positive decision on their asylum application to 56 days.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 21 January 2019

Whilst there are currently no plans to extend the period, the Government is working on a number of important initiatives to ensure that refugees are able to access benefits and housing promptly once their Home Office support ends. We are ensuring that this work takes into account the views of the key voluntary sector groups, including the British Red Cross.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 14 January 2019
Department for Education
Apprentices: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help employers to ensure that apprenticeships provide an effective route into permanent employment for adults diagnosed with autism.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 21 January 2019

We are improving access to apprenticeships for people with learning difficulties or disabilities. For example, we have introduced legislation which allows the minimum English and maths requirements for apprenticeships to be adjusted to entry level 3 for a defined group of people with a learning difficulty or disability. This change will allow more people to benefit from the opportunities available through apprenticeships and work.

Our Pacesetter project is working with local partners to test our policy approaches and deliver tangible progress towards growing numbers of apprentices with learning difficulties or disabilities. Pacesetters include councils, a school and the learning disability charity Mencap, who have themselves hired a number of apprentices with learning difficulties or disabilities.

The Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network has been developed to provide insight and guidance on best practice in how to make sure that apprenticeships are undertaken by people from a diverse range of backgrounds, and all members make a commitment themselves to increasing diversity when they join. The network aims to inspire and influence the behaviour of other employers to attract, recruit and support more people from underrepresented groups into apprenticeships. This includes people with disabilities, people who identify as LGBT+, women in science, technology, engineering and maths and members of black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. For example, Health Education England, working with members including Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, have a supported apprenticeship scheme focussing particularly on learners with autism. The National Autistic Society has been invited to attend the network’s next meeting.

Our funding system is intended to encourage the take-up and likely completion of apprenticeships by particular groups, including people with learning difficulties or disabilities. The system is also intended to recognise where additional support is necessary, through extra funding where the costs of supporting an apprentice are higher, and making sure that these costs are met by government and not by the employer.

Our communications and guidance products aim to encourage employers to hire apprentices with a learning difficulty or disability and to demonstrate to people with learning difficulties or disabilities, such as autism, that apprenticeships are an option for them.

We have integrated the Department for Work and Pensions’ Disability Confident campaign into the apprenticeship recruitment service so that the Disability Confident logo is displayed on apprenticeship vacancies for campaign-registered employers.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 14 January 2019
Department for Education
Work Experience: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the supported internships scheme in helping young people diagnosed with autism achieve sustainable paid employment.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 21 January 2019

Supported internships offer young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities a clear pathway into employment.

A Department for Education led trial of supported internships in 2012 to 2013 was formally evaluated and found that of the 190 young people who completed a supported internship and participated in the research, 36% gained paid employment, including apprenticeships (5%).

Good practice examples of supported internships are also gathered by our delivery partner, the National Development Team for Inclusion, and published on the Preparing for Adulthood website.

We are keen to do more to increase the uptake of supported internships and are considering how we can build the evidence base further.

Q
(Bristol West)
[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: 14 January 2019
Home Office
Asylum
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether it remains his Department's policy to consider an asylum-seeker's claim for asylum less favourably if that person did not claim asylum in the first safe country they reached; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 17 January 2019

The United Kingdom has a proud tradition of providing sanctuary to those in need of protection. Where we are responsible for deciding asylum claims we will consider all cases on their individual merits.

Our domestic legislation and Immigration Rules underline the importance of claiming asylum in the first safe country, which is reflected in section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of claimants etc.,) Act 2004. This clearly states that a failure to take advantage of a reasonable opportunity to claim asylum in a safe country shall be taken into account in assessing the individual’s credibility.

In light of the recent sharp increase in the number of migrants attempting perilous Channel crossings to the UK in small boats, I have asked my officials to look at what more we can do to deter asylum seekers from travelling to the UK – often dangerously – from other safe countries in the first place.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 18 December 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Jobcentre Plus: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to make an assessment of the effectiveness of the Autism and Hidden Impairment training for Jobcentre Plus staff in reducing the gap between national employment rates and rates of employment for people on the autistic spectrum.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 08 January 2019

There are currently no robust statistics on employment rates among autistic people, so we have not been able to make any assessment of the effectiveness of the Autism and Hidden Impairment training for Jobcentre Plus staff on employment levels among autistic people.

We 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: 18 December 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Refugees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department provides to refugees granted asylum that have made an application for universal credit.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 28 December 2018

Asylum Support is available to newly recognised refugees through the Home Office whilst their status is under consideration. This support continues for 28 days after refugee status is granted. A claim to Universal Credit can be made immediately once refugee status is granted and Asylum Support is not deducted from their Universal Credit award during the 28 days run on period. Work coaches receive training to help them identify and support vulnerable claimants, including refugees, and build supportive relationships with claimants to encourage them to openly discuss any barriers, concerns or problems as they emerge.

Provided the eligibility criteria for Universal Credit is met, we will always offer an advance payment to a refugee when making a new claim, and staff have access to information on a range of services and support available in their local area for vulnerable claimants, including refugees. This includes Universal Support, which provides help with using online services and budgeting advice. We also have access to a range of translation services to assist, should a claimant need support to overcome any language barriers.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 18 December 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to increase the number of languages available on the the universal credit online portal.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 28 December 2018

There are not currently any plans to increase the number of languages available on the online portal above English and Welsh.

When we need to communicate with a claimant who cannot communicate adequately in English or Welsh we use interpreters: this can be a customer’s own interpreter; a local community based interpreting service; a telephone interpretation service or a contracted face to face interpretation service.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 18 December 2018
Department for Education
Apprentices: Photography
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase promote photography apprenticeships.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 21 December 2018

To promote apprenticeships across all sectors, we are first and foremost ensuring that apprenticeships are a quality product recognised by individuals and employers. Our communications campaign aims to help increase the number of vacancies created by employers and to encourage young people to choose an apprenticeship as a high quality career route, signposting them to new vacancies on offer. We target potential apprentices, employers, parents and teachers using channels such as video adverts for TV, cinema and online channels, a national billboard campaign, digital advertising and social media, as well as through face-to-face engagement activities and events. Our communication continues to support employers to create new vacancies and to publicise them on the Find An Apprenticeship website.

New apprenticeship standards across all levels are being designed and driven by industry; creating higher quality training that will lead to a more skilled and productive economy. All starts will be on the new, high quality standards by the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year.

A level 3 Photographic Assistant standard is currently in development. Employers involved in creating the standard include Defence School of Photography, ScreenSkills, Creative Pioneers and Warwickshire College.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 18 December 2018
Department for Education
Apprentices: Photography
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of photography apprenticeships.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 21 December 2018

​​There is no apprenticeship framework or standard called ‘photography’. The most relevant framework found was the ‘Photo imaging for Staff Photographers’ framework which is the only apprenticeship framework or standard to contain ‘photo’ or ‘image’ in its title. There were no starts on this framework in the 2017/18 academic year compared to 20 in each of the previous two academic years (2016/17 and 2015/16).

The table below shows apprenticeship starts in the Arts, Media and Publishing sector subject area, along with further subject area breakdowns for the 2017/18 academic year. This sector is most likely to contain frameworks or standards with an element of photography within them. The data is taken from the Individualised Learner Record, available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/761151/Monthly-apprenticeship-starts_SSA-Fwk-Std-Age-Level-Fund_Nov2018.xlsx.

Apprenticeship starts in the 2017/18 academic year (August 2017 – July 2018) in the Arts, Media and Publishing sector subject area

Apprenticeship starts in 2017/18 (Aug 2017 – July 2018)

Total starts in Arts, Media and Publishing sector subject area

950

of which Crafts, Creative Arts and Design

380

of which Media and Communication

550

of which Performing Arts

-

of which Publishing and Information Services

20

Notes

  1. Data are based on full final year figures for the 2017/18 academic year (August 2017 to July 2018).

  1. ​Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10, ‘-’ indicates a value of less than 5 starts.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 18 December 2018
Department for Transport
Large Goods Vehicles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department has plans to legalise longer heavier vehicles.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 20 December 2018

The Department has no plans to increase the maximum length or weight of vehicles allowed in general circulation. The Department is running a trial of longer semi-trailers, which have the same maximum weight as a standard articulated lorry, but are longer. The Department has published annual evaluations of the trial, most recently in September 2018.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 18 December 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Video Games: Prizes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has plans to regulate paid-for random prizes in computer and video games.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 20 December 2018

We remain committed to ensuring that consumers are properly protected and not exploited by aggressive commercial practices. Game purchasers are protected by general consumer law such as the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. This includes a requirement on businesses not to subject anyone to misleading or aggressive marketing practices, or, for example, direct exhortation to buy products, including in-game purchases of paid-for random prizes.

The Government is aware of concerns surrounding this issue and will continue to gather and look closely at any evidence. We also welcome the recent introduction by the VSC Ratings Board and PEGI of a new label for video games to warn parents where they include the opportunity to make in-game purchases.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Home Office
Drugs: Festivals and Special Occasions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent steps his Department has taken to provide police forces with guidance on the legality of drug safety testing at music festivals.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 19 December 2018

Drugs are controlled where there is scientific and medical evidence that they are harmful to health and society. The possession of any amount of a controlled drug is a criminal offence and the supply of a controlled drug is an even more serious offence. No illegal drug-taking can be assumed to be safe and there is no safe way to take them.

The Government’s approach remains clear: we must prevent illicit drug use in our communities and help those dependent on drugs to recover while ensuring our drug laws are enforced. In relation to drug testing at events, chief constables are responsible for operational decisions in their local area and we are not standing in their way.

The National Policing Lead for Drugs provided updated advice in the summer to all Chief Constables to make them aware of matters that they should consider if working with event organisers who may wish to use drug testing services. He is currently considering this issue further in conjunction with forces and will produce further advice for police forces in the spring.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Home Office
Detainees: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people were referred for assessment under Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 in each month of 2018 up to 2 July 2018.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 December 2018

The Home Office do not hold central records of the number of individuals in Immigration detention that are referred for, or that self-refer for Rule 35 assessments.

Medical records for individuals in Immigration detention are confidential and are not routinely shared with the Home Office unless the individual has consented to share this information. This includes appointments and assessments with a medical practitioner. Notification of Rule 35 assessments, which are carried out by Doctors, are therefore not routinely shared with the Home Office.

The Home Office do however, centrally record the number of Rule 35 reports raised by Doctors under the Detention Centre Rules 2001. This information is published quarterly in Immigration Enforcement Transparency data found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-enforcement-data-november-2018.

Grouped Questions: 201161
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Home Office
Detainees: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have been referred for assessment under Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 in each month in 2018 since 2 July 2018.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 December 2018

The Home Office do not hold central records of the number of individuals in Immigration detention that are referred for, or that self-refer for Rule 35 assessments.

Medical records for individuals in Immigration detention are confidential and are not routinely shared with the Home Office unless the individual has consented to share this information. This includes appointments and assessments with a medical practitioner. Notification of Rule 35 assessments, which are carried out by Doctors, are therefore not routinely shared with the Home Office.

The Home Office do however, centrally record the number of Rule 35 reports raised by Doctors under the Detention Centre Rules 2001. This information is published quarterly in Immigration Enforcement Transparency data found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-enforcement-data-november-2018.

Grouped Questions: 201160
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Home Office
Detainees: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people referred for assessment under Rule 35 of Detention Centre Rules 2001 during each of the first six months in 2018 were identified as victims of torture by a Rule 35 report.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 December 2018

The Home Office do not hold central records of the number of individuals in Immigration detention that are referred for, or that self-refer for Rule 35 assessments. Medical records for individuals in Immigration detention are confidential and are not routinely shared with the Home Office unless the individual has consented to share this information. This includes appointments and assessments with a medical practitioner. Notification of Rule 35 assessments, which are carried out by Doctors, are therefore not routinely shared with the Home Office.

The Home Office also do not hold central records which make the distinc-tion between those accepted/not accepted as being victims of torture within the Rule 35 process under the Detention Centre Rules 2001.

We therefore cannot currently report on the number of individuals referred for a Rule 35 assessment that were identified as victims of torture, or the number of individuals identified as victims of torture that were released within 28 days of a Rule 35 report without reviewing individual cases. In any event, it cannot be said that those released within 28 days of a Rule 35 report were released solely because of a claim of torture.

The Home Office do however, centrally record the number of Rule 35 re-ports raised by Doctors under the Detention Centre Rules 2001 and the number of those who were released as a result. This information is pub-lished quarterly in Immigration Enforcement Transparency data found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-enforcement-data-november-2018.

Grouped Questions: 201221 | 201222 | 201223
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Home Office
Detainees: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people identified as a victim of torture by a Rule 35 report were subsequently released within 28 days of that report being made in each of the first six months of 2018.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 December 2018

The Home Office do not hold central records of the number of individuals in Immigration detention that are referred for, or that self-refer for Rule 35 assessments. Medical records for individuals in Immigration detention are confidential and are not routinely shared with the Home Office unless the individual has consented to share this information. This includes appointments and assessments with a medical practitioner. Notification of Rule 35 assessments, which are carried out by Doctors, are therefore not routinely shared with the Home Office.

The Home Office also do not hold central records which make the distinc-tion between those accepted/not accepted as being victims of torture within the Rule 35 process under the Detention Centre Rules 2001.

We therefore cannot currently report on the number of individuals referred for a Rule 35 assessment that were identified as victims of torture, or the number of individuals identified as victims of torture that were released within 28 days of a Rule 35 report without reviewing individual cases. In any event, it cannot be said that those released within 28 days of a Rule 35 report were released solely because of a claim of torture.

The Home Office do however, centrally record the number of Rule 35 re-ports raised by Doctors under the Detention Centre Rules 2001 and the number of those who were released as a result. This information is pub-lished quarterly in Immigration Enforcement Transparency data found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-enforcement-data-november-2018.

Grouped Questions: 201220 | 201222 | 201223
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Home Office
Detainees: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people referred for assessment under Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 as amended by Detention Centre Rules (Amendment) 2018 were identified as being victims of torture in each month since 2 July 2018.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 December 2018

The Home Office do not hold central records of the number of individuals in Immigration detention that are referred for, or that self-refer for Rule 35 assessments. Medical records for individuals in Immigration detention are confidential and are not routinely shared with the Home Office unless the individual has consented to share this information. This includes appointments and assessments with a medical practitioner. Notification of Rule 35 assessments, which are carried out by Doctors, are therefore not routinely shared with the Home Office.

The Home Office also do not hold central records which make the distinc-tion between those accepted/not accepted as being victims of torture within the Rule 35 process under the Detention Centre Rules 2001.

We therefore cannot currently report on the number of individuals referred for a Rule 35 assessment that were identified as victims of torture, or the number of individuals identified as victims of torture that were released within 28 days of a Rule 35 report without reviewing individual cases. In any event, it cannot be said that those released within 28 days of a Rule 35 report were released solely because of a claim of torture.

The Home Office do however, centrally record the number of Rule 35 re-ports raised by Doctors under the Detention Centre Rules 2001 and the number of those who were released as a result. This information is pub-lished quarterly in Immigration Enforcement Transparency data found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-enforcement-data-november-2018.

Grouped Questions: 201220 | 201221 | 201223
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Home Office
Immigrants: Detainees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people in immigration detention identified as a victim of torture by an assessment under Rule 35 of Detention Centre Rules 2001 as amended by the Detention Centre Rules (Amendment) 2018 were subsequently released within 28 days of the Rule 35 report being made in each month since 2 July 2018.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 December 2018

The Home Office do not hold central records of the number of individuals in Immigration detention that are referred for, or that self-refer for Rule 35 assessments. Medical records for individuals in Immigration detention are confidential and are not routinely shared with the Home Office unless the individual has consented to share this information. This includes appointments and assessments with a medical practitioner. Notification of Rule 35 assessments, which are carried out by Doctors, are therefore not routinely shared with the Home Office.

The Home Office also do not hold central records which make the distinc-tion between those accepted/not accepted as being victims of torture within the Rule 35 process under the Detention Centre Rules 2001.

We therefore cannot currently report on the number of individuals referred for a Rule 35 assessment that were identified as victims of torture, or the number of individuals identified as victims of torture that were released within 28 days of a Rule 35 report without reviewing individual cases. In any event, it cannot be said that those released within 28 days of a Rule 35 report were released solely because of a claim of torture.

The Home Office do however, centrally record the number of Rule 35 re-ports raised by Doctors under the Detention Centre Rules 2001 and the number of those who were released as a result. This information is pub-lished quarterly in Immigration Enforcement Transparency data found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-enforcement-data-november-2018.

Grouped Questions: 201220 | 201221 | 201222
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Home Office
Immigrants: Detainees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans he has to assess the effect of the Detention Centre Rules (Amendment) 2018 on victims of torture in immigration detention centres.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 19 December 2018

The Home Office keeps its policies and processes relating to immigration detention and the detention of vulnerable persons under regular review to ensure they are both appropriate and effective.

As part of the Government’s response to Stephen Shaw’s review into the welfare of vulnerable people in detention, the Home Office is looking at improvements to the rule 35 consideration process to ensure that the most vulnerable and complex cases get the attention they need, while preventing abuse of this important safeguard.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Access to Work Programme: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Access to Work Hidden Impairment Specialist Team in (a) advising employers on supporting employees diagnosed with autism, (b) offering autistic people an assessment of their needs at work and (c) helping to develop support plans for those people.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 18 December 2018

Last year, the Access to Work Hidden Impairment Specialist team helped 2,150 people, which includes people with Autism. This number has been continually increasing since the team was introduced in 2014/2015, when 1,160 people were helped.

People with hidden impairments are offered an Access to Work holistic workplace assessment to identify the type of help they require in the workplace. Following this assessment, the Access to Work adviser will work with both the employer and customer to develop support plans where appropriate

In November, we published Access to Work: Qualitative research with applicants, employers and delivery staff, which found that workplace assessment experiences tended to be very positive. Although we don’t have separate findings for autistic people, employers and applicants felt that assessments were comprehensive and appropriate, and conducted sensitively. Many applicants talked about how the recommendations and advice given during the assessment alone had enlightened them about the support available for their condition and small changes they could make in the workplace which went a long way in improving their workplace experience. Applicants that were previously too nervous to ask their employer for (even ‘light touch’) adjustments felt the expert ‘stamp of approval’ via the assessment helped them to approach their employer and empowered them to ask for changes.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Department for Transport
Taxis: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the report entitled Taxi and private hire vehicle licensing: recommendations for a safer and more robust system, published on gov.uk on 24 September 2018, what the timetable is for implementing the recommendations of that report.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 18 December 2018

Ministers are considering the recommendations made by the Chair of the Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing. A Government response will be issued in due course.

Q
(Bristol West)
[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 December 2018
Department for Education
Schools: Finance
Commons
What assessment he has made of the sustainability of the current level of funding for schools.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 17 December 2018

With the additional £1.3 billion the Government has invested across this year and next, the core schools and high needs budget will increase from almost £41 billion in 2017-18 to £43.5 billion by 2019-20. The Government is committed to securing the right deal for education in the upcoming Spending Review.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 22 November 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 9 July 2018 to Question 159646 on Energy: Housing, how many applications for feed-in tariffs were (a) made and (b) approved for of properties with an energy performance certificate of D and above between June 2016 and June 2017.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 03 December 2018

The central Feed-In Tariffs (FIT) register does not record the number of applications made. Between 1 June 2016 and 31 May 2017 there were 17,132 installations with an energy performance certificate of D and above accredited under the scheme.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 22 November 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Public Health: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding has been allocated to local authorities for the local authority public health grant in each year between 2014 and 2020.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 30 November 2018

The information requested is shown in the following table.

Year

Public Health Grant Allocation (£ billion)

2013/14

2.663

2014/15

2.795

2015/161

3.031

2016/17

3.387

2017/182

3.304

2018/19

3.219

Notes:

1Funding public health services for children aged 0-5 was transferred from the NHS to local authorities from October 2015.

2Includes funding retained by the Greater Manchester local authority as part of a business rate retention pilot not allocated as grant.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 22 November 2018
Ministry of Justice
Legal Aid Scheme: Asylum
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an assessment of the effect of the Legal Aid Scheme on the right to a family life for people seeking asylum.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 30 November 2018

Legal aid has always been and will continue to be available for asylum cases. For matters not within the scope of scheme, Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) may be available where there is a breach or risk of breach of ECHR rights, subject to means and merits tests.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Fracking: Carbon Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the level of UK carbon emissions of fugitive emissions from fracking.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 29 November 2018

Management of fugitive emissions is covered by the Environment Agency permit. As part of the permit application, the operator will need to describe the management of fugitive emissions in an ‘emissions management plan’.

During operations the operator will be required to undertake environmental monitoring, including emissions monitoring, to demonstrate compliance with their permits. In some cases, depending on the risks presented by a site or community concerns, the Environment Agency may carry out extra monitoring themselves.

As a further safeguard, the Infrastructure Act 2015 makes it clear that hydraulic fracturing activities cannot take place unless appropriate arrangements have been made for monitoring emissions of methane into the air.

In addition, the Government is grant funding an environmental monitoring programme led by the British Geological Survey (BGS) in the Fylde (Lancashire) and Kirby Misperton (North Yorkshire), where applications for shale gas wells have been made.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 22 November 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 9 July 2018 to Question 159646 on Energy: Housing, how many applications for feed-in tariffs were (a) made and (b) approved in respect of properties with an energy performance certificate of D and above between June 2015 and June 2016.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 29 November 2018

The central Feed-In Tariffs (FIT) register does not record the number of applications made. Between 1 June 2015 and 31 May 2016 there were 140,014 installations with an energy performance certificate of D and above accredited under the scheme.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Energy Performance Certificates
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many houses in the UK have an energy performance certificate of (a) E or lower and (b) D or higher.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 28 November 2018

At the end of September 2018, the number of houses in England and Wales which had a valid energy performance certificate (EPC) rated at E or lower was 3,177,158 and D or higher was 8,169,369. Additionally, other types of domestic dwellings, including flats, bungalows and maisonettes, which had a valid EPC rated at E or lower was 1,229,051 and D or higher was 5,584,059.

This information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/energy-performance-of-buildings-certificates

EPCs for domestic dwellings in Scotland and Northern Ireland are a devolved matter.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Department for Transport
Severn Beach Railway Line: Electrification
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the electrification of the Severn Beach line.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 28 November 2018

Network Rail have not currently considered electrification of the line. However, the upgrade work from Dr Days Junction to Filton Abbey Wood, recently completed successfully, will directly benefit the service on the Severn Beach line. In particular, the separation of local stopping services from the faster Intercity trains will relieve a bottleneck outside Bristol Temple Meads.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Climate Change: EU Action
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government plans to maintain alignment with EU climate change policy after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 28 November 2018

UK government’s action to tackle climate change is framed by the Climate Change Act. This is domestic legislation and is therefore unaffected by exiting the EU.

The UK is committed to international cooperation, including with the EU, on issues of shared interest including climate change.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Public Health: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the percentage change has been in (a) total funding for NHS England and (b) the local authority public health grant in each year since 2014.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 28 November 2018

The local authority public health grant provides funding for health services delivered through local authorities. However it is not the entirety of the funding nor spend for public health services. For example, in addition to the grant there is circa £1.2 billion ringfenced for NHS national public health services within the NHS mandate figures, as well as other Departmental expenditure on vaccines and on grant in aid to Public Health England.

The following table shows the percentage change in total funding for NHS England and the local authority public health grant in each year since 2014:

NHS England funding increase %

Public health grant increase %

2014-15

3.6%

5.0%

2015-16

3.3%

24%*

2016-17

5.4%

-2.2%

2017-18

3.6%

-2.5%**

2018-19

4.6%

-2.6%


Notes:

* End year allocation for 2015-16 including the transfer in October 2015 of funding from NHS England to local authorities for commissioning services for children aged 0 - 5.

** Figures from 2017-18 includes funding retained by 10 Greater Manchester local authorities as part of a business rate pilot, not allocated via a grant.

The total Department of Health and Social Care Departmental Expenditure Limit for 2018-19 was £128.4 billion. 2.5 % was allocated to the local authority public health grant in 2018-19.

Grouped Questions: 193487
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Public Health: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the health and social care budget was allocated to the local authority public health grant in 2018-19.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 28 November 2018

The local authority public health grant provides funding for health services delivered through local authorities. However it is not the entirety of the funding nor spend for public health services. For example, in addition to the grant there is circa £1.2 billion ringfenced for NHS national public health services within the NHS mandate figures, as well as other Departmental expenditure on vaccines and on grant in aid to Public Health England.

The following table shows the percentage change in total funding for NHS England and the local authority public health grant in each year since 2014:

NHS England funding increase %

Public health grant increase %

2014-15

3.6%

5.0%

2015-16

3.3%

24%*

2016-17

5.4%

-2.2%

2017-18

3.6%

-2.5%**

2018-19

4.6%

-2.6%


Notes:

* End year allocation for 2015-16 including the transfer in October 2015 of funding from NHS England to local authorities for commissioning services for children aged 0 - 5.

** Figures from 2017-18 includes funding retained by 10 Greater Manchester local authorities as part of a business rate pilot, not allocated via a grant.

The total Department of Health and Social Care Departmental Expenditure Limit for 2018-19 was £128.4 billion. 2.5 % was allocated to the local authority public health grant in 2018-19.

Grouped Questions: 193486
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the Disability Confident scheme on the gap between the number of people in employment (a) with autism and (b) in the general population.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 28 November 2018

We have not made any assessment of Disability Confident on the autism employment gap.

Disability Confident promotes to employers the many benefits of employing disabled people, including individuals with Autism and Neuro-diverse conditions. The scheme provides free information, advice and guidance to help them to do this. Over 10,000 businesses have signed up to the disability Confident scheme since it was launched in November 2016.

The Disability Confident Autism and Neurodiversity Toolkit was developed with support from disabled people with neuro-diverse conditions, medical professionals and disability organisations such as Autism Alliance UK and Autism Plus. It is designed to help to raise awareness and understanding, within DWP and across the wider Civil Service, about Autism Spectrum Disorders and neuro-diverse conditions.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to increase the rate of retention in employment of people with autism.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 28 November 2018

The Government is strongly committed to increasing employment opportunities for disabled people, including those with autism, and improving employment retention rates. We are working across Government and with local authorities, voluntary organisations and employers in the public and private sectors to achieve this. Help and support for people with autism includes:

  • Disability Confident scheme, through which DWP is engaging with employers and helping to promote the skills, talents and abilities of people with autism and associated hidden impairment conditions. Disability Confident offers advice and support, to help employers feel more confident about employing disabled people. Over 10,000 businesses have signed up to the disability Confident scheme since it was launched in November 2016

  • Access to Work, which has a Hidden Impairment Specialist Team that gives advice and guidance to help employers support employees with conditions such as Autism, Learning Disability and/or Mental Health conditions. It also offers eligible people an assessment to find out their needs at work and help to develop a support plan.
  • The Disability Passport ‘About Me’ which aims to encourage disabled claimants, including individuals with autism, to disclose their disability/ health conditions at the earliest stage to their Adviser, to improve communication and ensure reasonable adjustments are put in place. The passport is hosted on Autism Alliance’s website.

The Civil Service has committed to support the Autism Exchange Programme, and my Department is working with Ambitious about Autism to provide work placement opportunities for young people.

The number of working age disabled people in employment in the UK reached around 3.9 million in Q3 2018. This was an increase of 123,000 since Q3 2017, and an overall increase of 973,000 since Q3 2013, the earliest comparable figure.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the steps that her Department has taken to provide employers with the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to employ people with autism.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 28 November 2018

The Government is strongly committed to working with employers to improve their approach to employing disabled people, including those with autism. For example:

  • The Disability Confident scheme is engaging with employers, offering advice and support to help employers feel more confident about employing disabled people. Over 10,000 businesses have signed up to the Disability Confident scheme since it was launched in November 2016

  • Access to Work has a Hidden Impairment Specialist Team that gives advice and guidance to help employers support employees with conditions such as Autism, Learning Disability and/or Mental Health conditions. It also offers eligible people an assessment to find out their needs at work and help to develop a support plan.

  • The Disability Passport ‘About Me’ aims to encourage disabled claimants, including individuals with autism, to disclose their disability/ health conditions at the earliest stage to their Adviser, to improve communication and ensure reasonable adjustments are put in place. The passport is hosted on Autism Alliance’s website.

  • The Disability Confident Autism and Neurodiversity Toolkit was developed with support from disabled people with neuro-diverse conditions, medical professionals and disability organisations such as Autism Alliance UK and Autism Plus. It is designed to help to raise awareness and understanding, within DWP and across the wider Civil Service, about Autism Spectrum Disorders and neuro-diverse conditions.

We have not made any assessment of the effect of these policies and initiatives on employers’ skills and knowledge in respect of employing people with autism in particular.

Overall, the number of working age disabled people in employment in the UK reached around 3.9 million in Q3 2018. This was an increase of 123,000 since Q3 2017, and an overall increase of 973,000 since Q3 2013, the earliest comparable figure.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment Schemes: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Work Choice support programme in helping autistic people to (a) find, (b) keep and (c) make progress in a job.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 28 November 2018

Work Choice was designed to help individuals whose needs cannot be met through other DWP employment programmes and who need more specialised support to find employment or to keep a job once they have started work. Work Choice referrals have now ended in all parts of England and Wales, and service delivery will end by 31 March 2019. The Work & Health Programme, which rolled out in England and Wales between November 2017 and March 2018, builds on lessons learnt from both Work Choice and the Work Programme.

Work Choice performance data allows us to monitor both short job outcomes (employment lasting at least 13 weeks) and sustained job outcomes (employment lasting at least 26 weeks) where the tailored support assists participants in achieving these. Work Choice official statistics are published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/work-choice-referrals-starts-and-job-outcomes-to-june-2018.

Since 25th October 2015, Work Choice participants could voluntarily declare to their Work Coach that they had an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), to allow providers to recognise their support requirements. A declaration of autism was recorded separately from individuals’ primary health condition. As these declarations are voluntary, we cannot be sure that they account for all Work Choice participants with ASD.

For participants who have declared this information, the below data table shows the number of starts per year and the proportion of these starts that have since achieved a short job outcome (employment lasting at least 13 weeks) and a sustained job outcome (employment lasting at least 26 weeks). These data are a subset of the official Work Choice statistics.

Individuals who declared autism

Number of starts

Of which have achieved a short job outcome

Of which have achieved a sustained job outcome

Latest year available:

Jul-17 to Jun-18 (for starts)

670

Jul-16 to Jun-17 (for short job outcomes)

1,120

430

38%

Jul-15 to Jun-16 (for sustained)

530

140

26%

Financial years:

2015/16 (Nov to Mar)

290

120

44%

80

27%

2016/17

1,090

420

38%

2017/18

940

Source: Provider Referrals and Payments system (PRaP)

Notes:

- Work Choice performance data for a particular cohort of starts are only comparable once we have given sufficient time from the end of that period for all of the starts to have received the tailored support from the programme and to have achieved the job outcomes. This means that the latest available data for numbers of starts is July 2017 to June 2018, for short job outcome rates is July 2016 to June 2017, and for sustained job outcome rates is July 2015 to June 2016.

- The definition of short job outcomes changed slightly in November 2015. Therefore, short job outcome rates are not available for the July 2015 to June 2016 cohort and for the 2015/16 financial year they are only available from November 2015 to March 2016.

- Figures are rounded to the nearest ten.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment Schemes: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the Specialist Employability Support programme on the employment outcomes of autistic people.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 28 November 2018

Specialist Employability Support (SES) is a pan-disability employment programme providing specialist personalised employment support for around 1,700 participants with complex barriers to employment, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, each year. Individuals with autism may request that specific referral opportunities are used for their referral to SES, to allow providers to recognise their support requirements.

The Government confirmed in ‘Improving Lives, The Future of Work, Health and Disability’, published in December 2017, that it is currently exploring the best policy options for continuing to support those with greatest needs and most complex situations, once the SES contracts come to an end.

We have not made any formal assessment of SES programme including on the employment outcomes of autistic people but we continue to gather information and evidence including lessons learnt for developing our future support.

DWP has recently completed negotiations with SES providers to extend referrals to the programme to end 2019 to ensure continuous provision for this customer group whilst future support is put in place.

The number of working age disabled people in employment in the UK reached around 3.9 million in Q3 2018. This was an increase of 123,000 since Q3 2017, and an overall increase of 973,000 since Q3 2013, the earliest comparable figure.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment Schemes: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to help young people diagnosed with autism into work in (a) Bristol and (b) the UK.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 28 November 2018

Jobcentre Plus partnership managers work with a range of organisations across Bristol to ensure we can hear the voice of the customer and to work collaboratively to address and remove barriers to employment.

Throughout the country, Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches offer people with disabilities and health conditions, including autism, tailored support to reduce barriers to work and help them into work. Work Coaches are trained in dealing with customers with a range of conditions, including autism, and have access to a range of resources, including an autism learning toolkit, free online courses, training for managers, guidance on reasonable adjustments, and employer guides. Work Coaches are supported by Disability Employment Advisers and DWP Work Psychologists, who can also directly support customers, and advised by Community Partners, who have a lived experience or expert knowledge of disability.

Nationally, there is a range of support available for young people with autism, including:

  • The Work and Health Programme, which offers a personalised local approach to supporting people, overcome barriers to employment, by targeting specialist support to those who are likely to be able to find work within 12 months.

  • Access to Work, which has a Hidden Impairment Specialist Team offers advice and guidance to help employers support employees with conditions such as Autism, Learning Disability and/or Mental Health conditions.

  • Young people who start a work placement with an employer as part of the Department for Education supported internship programme or a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy traineeship are eligible to apply for Access to Work support for the period of the work placement. Supported internships are for young people aged 16—24 with learning difficulties or learning disabilities, who want to get a job and need extra support to do this.

  • The Disability Confident scheme, though which DWP is engaging with employers and helping to promote the skills, talents and abilities of people with autism and associated conditions. Over 10,000 businesses have signed up to Disability Confident since it was launched in November 2016.

  • The Disability Passport ‘About Me’, developed to encourage disabled claimants, including individuals with autism, to disclose their disability/ health conditions at the earliest stage to their Adviser, to improve communication and ensure reasonable adjustments are put in place. The passport was launched in March 2017 and is hosted on Autism Alliance’s website

  • The Local Supported Employment Proof of Concept, which is being delivered with nine local authorities and will support those with a learning disability or autism who are known to adult social care, or those in contact with secondary mental health services.

We are also improving access to apprenticeships for people with learning disabilities and difficulties. For example, the government has introduced legislation which adjusts the minimum English and Maths requirements for apprenticeships for people with a learning difficulty or disability to entry Level 3. This change allows more people to benefit from the opportunities available through apprenticeships and work.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Home Office
Asylum: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans he has to review the restriction on the ability of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to sponsor the visas of adult relatives for the purposes of family reunion.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 28 November 2018

There is currently no provision in the Immigration Rules for children with refugee status in the UK to sponsor family members to join them. Allowing children to sponsor parents risks creating further incentives for more children to be encouraged, or even forced, to leave their family and risk hazardous journeys to the UK to sponsor relatives. This plays into the hands of criminal gangs who exploit vulnerable people and goes against our safeguarding responsibilities.

The Government believes the best interests of children is reflected in staying with their families, claiming asylum in the first safe country they reach – that is the fastest route to safety – and relying on safe and legal routes under the Immigration Rules or through resettlement schemes.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Home Office
Asylum: Employment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the effect of the restriction on asylum seekers' right to work on dependent children during the 12-month waiting period.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 27 November 2018

The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it and this Government is committed to delivering a fair and humane asylum system.

Whilst the Government has not made such an assessment, our current policy is consistent with EU law and permits asylum seekers to work, in jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, if they have been waiting for a decision on their claim for 12 months or more and the delay is through no fault of their own. We are tackling delays in decision-making and have plans in place to improve the speed at which outstanding claims are decided.

The Government is considering recent calls to change the policy. However, our current approach aims to protect the resident labour market so that any employment meets our needs for skilled labour and distinguishes between those who need protection and those who want to work in the UK, who can apply for a work visa under the Immigration Rules. We need to avoid creating further incentives for migrants, particularly children or those with children, to come here illegally, risking their lives in the process, instead of claiming asylum in the first safe country they reach.

It is also important to focus on providing support for those who are recognised as refugees, to help them to integrate and find employment, so that they can rebuild their lives here.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect on the autism employment gap of the Access to Work scheme.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 27 November 2018

We have made no assessment of the effect of Access to Work on the employment rate of people with autism.

Data on people with Autism Spectrum Disorders is not routinely disaggregated within Access to Work statistics. The primary medical condition categories used in Access to Work are consistent with the categories used in the Labour Force Survey. This is so we can compare our data to the disability employment rate.

When a person with autism applies to Access to Work for support, it will be for particular conditions, such as difficulty in speaking, learning difficulties, etc., rather than ‘autism’.

This will be recorded as the individual’s primary medical condition in the Access to Work database, even if it’s linked to their autism

Access to Work has a specialist Hidden Impairments team who receive upskilling and awareness from organisations who have expertise of autism to ensure that advisors have a broad understanding of the barriers individuals with autism face.

The official statistics published on 30th October 2018 provide the latest information on the Access to Work scheme, including breakdowns by customer characteristics such as primary medical condition. They may be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/access-to-work-statistics-april-2007-to-march-2018

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment has she made of the effect on the autism employment gap of the Disability Confident Autism and Neurodiversity Toolkit.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 27 November 2018

We have not made any assessment of the effect the Disability Confident Autism and Neurodiversity Toolkit has had on the autism employment gap.

The toolkit was developed with support from disabled people with neuro-diverse conditions, medical professionals and disability organisations such as Autism Alliance UK and Autism Plus. It is designed to help to raise awareness and understanding, within DWP and across the wider Civil Service, about Autism Spectrum Disorders and neuro-diverse conditions.

Disability Confident promotes the many benefits of employing disabled people including individuals with autism and neuro-diverse conditions. The scheme provides free information, advice and guidance for employers.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 09 November 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Antibiotics: Drug Resistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 6.10 of the UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013 to 2018, published in September 2013, when he plans to publish the evaluation report.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 20 November 2018

The United Kingdom Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy (2013-18) contained a commitment to assess the effectiveness of its implementation plan at the end of the five-year period. The Department commissioned the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to undertake a full evaluation of the strategy’s implementation.

The evaluation is nearing completion. A final draft report will be submitted to the Department shortly and will be sent out for independent peer-review. The completed report will be put in the public domain next year.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 05 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Democratic Republic of Congo: Torture
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the the use of torture in that country.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 14 November 2018

The Foreign Secretary met Foreign Minister Okitundu in October. I met with him during the United Nations General Assembly in September and with a range of government contacts when I visited the DRC in April. We made clear that we have zero tolerance for any human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law. The UK played a key role at the June 2018 Human Rights Council, which mandated the UN Joint Human Rights Office to document and profile human rights violations in DRC.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 05 November 2018
Department for Transport
Bus Services: Concessions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what research his Department has undertaken on the effect of recent reductions to funding for concessionary bus passes on adults with (a) learning difficulties and (b) autism.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 13 November 2018

Funding to local authorities for concessionary travel is not provided in isolation, but as part of their Local Government Finance Settlement. This Formula Grant funding is not ring-fenced, which enables authorities to make spending decisions that more closely match local needs and circumstances.

Eligibility for the statutory concession on medical grounds is assessed by local authorities on a case by case basis, using the seven criteria set down in legislation and supported by the Department’s published guidance.

Local authorities also have the powers to offer concessions over and above the statutory minimum, for instance by extending the concession to residents who may not qualify under the statutory criteria.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Children: Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information her Department holds on the level of successful collections of child maintenance for (a) employed payees and (b) self employed payees.
A
Corrected answer by: Justin Tomlinson
Corrected on: 12 November 2018
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 16 October 2018.
The correct answer should have been:

The Child Maintenance Service includes two service types: ‘Direct Pay’ where payments are arranged and agreed between parents, and ‘Collect & Pay’ where payments are collected and paid to the receiving parent by Child Maintenance Service.

The Department does not record data for direct pay compliance. If the paying parent does notdon't pay they can be moved onto the Collect and Pay at the discretion of the child maintenance service. The department does hold data on the compliance of Collect and Pay arrangements. Please refer to Table 7 of the Child Maintenance Service Statistics.

Data on compliance is recorded separately to data on employment status and cannot be easily linked. The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. Although the department does hold some of the data to answer your question we estimate the cost of complying with your request would exceed the appropriate limit for central government, set by regulation at £600.This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3 and half working days in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting it. We believe it would take longer than 3 and half days to match the compliance of a paying parent with their employment status. As a result, under section 12 of the Freedom of information Act the department is not therefore obliged to comply with your request and we will not be processing it further.

The Child Maintenance Service Statistics which shows overall compliance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-august-2013-to-june-2018-experimental

A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 16 October 2018

The Child Maintenance Service includes two service types: ‘Direct Pay’ where payments are arranged and agreed between parents, and ‘Collect & Pay’ where payments are collected and paid to the receiving parent by Child Maintenance Service.

The Department does not record data for direct pay compliance. If the paying parent does notdon't pay they can be moved onto the Collect and Pay at the discretion of the child maintenance service. The department does hold data on the compliance of Collect and Pay arrangements. Please refer to Table 7 of the Child Maintenance Service Statistics.

Data on compliance is recorded separately to data on employment status and cannot be easily linked. The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. Although the department does hold some of the data to answer your question we estimate the cost of complying with your request would exceed the appropriate limit for central government, set by regulation at £600.This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3 and half working days in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting it. We believe it would take longer than 3 and half days to match the compliance of a paying parent with their employment status. As a result, under section 12 of the Freedom of information Act the department is not therefore obliged to comply with your request and we will not be processing it further.

The Child Maintenance Service Statistics which shows overall compliance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-august-2013-to-june-2018-experimental

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Home Office
Refugees: Families
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to his Oral contribution of 25 October 2015 on Immigration: DNA Tests, Official Report, column 467. whether he plans to reinstate funding for DNA tests in refugee family reunion applications.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 06 November 2018

Those applying for refugee family reunion are not required to provide DNA evidence to prove their family relationship and can rely on other evidence to support their application. However, if they wish to do so, they can voluntarily provide DNA evidence at their own expense and this will be considered alongside all other supporting evidence provided.

Our guidance on considering family reunion applications highlights the challenges that applicants may face in obtaining documents to support their application and makes clear the types of evidence that can be provided. This is available on Gov.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/family-reunion-instruction.

We have no current plans to change the policy, but we will keep our approach to DNA evidence in refugee family reunion cases under review.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many homes in the UK are in Energy Performance Band E or lower.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 17 October 2018

Latest figures for the number of homes (thousands) in Energy Performance Band D or higher and Band E or lower for England and the Devolved Nations.

England (2016)

Scotland (2016)

Northern Ireland (2016)

Wales (2008)

Band D or higher (thousands)

18,290

2,031

643

558

Band E or lower (thousands)

4,707

422

99

711

Total number of homes (thousands)

22,996

2,452

742

1,268

Figures may not sum to totals due to rounding

Please note, these figures should not be summed to give a UK total, or compared between nations due to the following differences:

(1) The latest data available for Wales is from 2008, 2016 data will be published in November 2018.

(2) Figures for Wales relate to number of dwellings (which includes vacant properties) whereas figures for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland relate to number of households (excluding vacant properties).

(3) Each nation uses a different methodology for calculating Energy Performance. The main difference being Welsh figures are based on SAP 2005, whereas figures for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are based on SAP 2012.

Data sources

MHCLG. (2016). English Housing Survey.

Scottish Government. (2016). Scottish House Condition Survey.

Housing Executive. (2016). Northern Ireland House Condition Survey.

Welsh Government. (2008). Living in Wales Survey.

Grouped Questions: 176378
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many homes in the UK are in Energy Performance Band D or higher.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 17 October 2018

Latest figures for the number of homes (thousands) in Energy Performance Band D or higher and Band E or lower for England and the Devolved Nations.

England (2016)

Scotland (2016)

Northern Ireland (2016)

Wales (2008)

Band D or higher (thousands)

18,290

2,031

643

558

Band E or lower (thousands)

4,707

422

99

711

Total number of homes (thousands)

22,996

2,452

742

1,268

Figures may not sum to totals due to rounding

Please note, these figures should not be summed to give a UK total, or compared between nations due to the following differences:

(1) The latest data available for Wales is from 2008, 2016 data will be published in November 2018.

(2) Figures for Wales relate to number of dwellings (which includes vacant properties) whereas figures for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland relate to number of households (excluding vacant properties).

(3) Each nation uses a different methodology for calculating Energy Performance. The main difference being Welsh figures are based on SAP 2005, whereas figures for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are based on SAP 2012.

Data sources

MHCLG. (2016). English Housing Survey.

Scottish Government. (2016). Scottish House Condition Survey.

Housing Executive. (2016). Northern Ireland House Condition Survey.

Welsh Government. (2008). Living in Wales Survey.

Grouped Questions: 176377
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Estate Agents: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to require property management companies to provide tenants with a detailed breakdown of service fees when in advance of increasing fees.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 16 October 2018

We believe very strongly that service charges should be transparent, communicated effectively and that there should be a clear route to challenge or redress if things go wrong.

That is why on 12 October, we announced a property agent working group to consider options to raise standards across the property agent sector, including looking at how fees such as service charges should be presented to consumers and to explore the best means to challenge fees which are unjustified. The working group will be chaired by Lord Best, along with experts from across the property sector and will report back to Government in summer 2019.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Estate Agents: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of a legal requirement for property companies to provide (a) a breakdown of monies requested from companies operating from their properties, and (b) receipts for expenditure.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 16 October 2018

The Government has no current plans to do so.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Home Office
Passports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he undertook an impact assessment of his decision not to carry over excess validity from previous passports; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 16 October 2018

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, passport holders would be considered third country nationals and would need to comply with different rules for travel in the Schengen Travel Area. These rules stipulate that passports over ten years old cannot be used for travel within the Area.

Some British passports are valid for more than ten years due to the carryover of validity from a previous passport. The UK was the last country in the world to carryover validity. International guidelines recommend that an adult passport should be valid for a maximum of ten years, and a child passport for a maximum of five years. In light of this, the impact of continuing to carryover validity was considered for all passport holders and was subsequently stopped on 10 September.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Property: Ownership
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a time limit for a property management company to issue a certificate of ownership to a new owner so that the new owner’s solicitor can register them as the legal owner with Land Registry; and if he will make a statement.
 
Withdrawn
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 September 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Voting Rights: EU Nationals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what voting rights EU nationals living in the UK will have after the UK has left the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 12 September 2018

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office (Chloe Smith) on 28 March to Question 129820 to the hon. Member for Cambridge.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 September 2018
Home Office
Refugees: Private Rented Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that refugees are not excluded from the private rented sector as a result of the introduction of the right to rent scheme.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 11 September 2018

The right to rent scheme has been developed to ensure that those with lawful immigration status, such as refugees, can demonstrate it easily. Refugees are issued with a Biometric Residence Permit which provides confirmation of their status. However, there is a broad range of documents that potential tenants can use to demonstrate their right to rent. These are not based solely around passports or immigration documents. Details of acceptable documents can be found at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/573057/6_1193_HO_NH_Right-to-Rent-Guidance.pdf

Landlords can also use the Home Office Checking Service where a prospective tenant is unable to present documents, because they have submitted them to the Home Office. This is a simple and efficient, case-specific service which can be accessed online, or via a dedicated helpline, to check whether a tenant or prospective tenant has a right to rent.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 September 2018
Home Office
Visas: Africa
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what Key Performance Indicators his Department has put in place for the performance of commercial visa application centres in African countries.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 11 September 2018

The contract for providing Visa Application Centres in Africa was awarded to Teleperformance UK Ltd in 2014 initially for a five year period and extended recently for a further two years until 31 March 2021.

Seventeen critical and non-critical service levels are incorporated into the contract which provides provision of Visa Application Centres in Africa.

The service levels are intended to measure whether the supplier is meeting the levels of performance necessary to satisfy the Home Office’s business and regulatory requirements. The service levels are regularly reviewed between the supplier and the Home Office.

The contract awarded to Teleperformance for Visa Application Centres in Africa predates the launch of the current version of Contracts Finder though summary detail has been published for transparency purposes and can be found at

https://data.gov.uk/data/contracts-finder-archive/contract/1394970/

In complying with the Governments transparency agenda, the Home Office will be publishing a redacted version of the Teleperformance contract to Contracts Finder within the next 4 weeks. The detail of the service levels is contained within Schedule 7.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 September 2018
Treasury
Pensions
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the regulations that allow the transfer of a private pension scheme to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme within the European Economic Area will be exempt from tax after the UK has left the EU.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 11 September 2018

The regulations that allow a tax-free transfer of a private pension scheme to a QROP within the EEA are domestic law which currently comply with EU fundamental freedoms. Whether or not these transfers will be exempt from the overseas transfer charge once the UK leaves the EU is dependent upon the terms of future exit agreement between the UK Government and the EU.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 September 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has developed proposals for the free movement of capital with in relation to pensions for (a) UK citizens that have accrued pensions in the European Union and (b) for non-UK EU citizens that have accrued pensions in the UK after the UK has left the EU; and will she make a statement.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 11 September 2018

UK pensions legislation already ensures that any member of a UK pension scheme has a statutory right to transfer their pension, which includes the option to transfer to any overseas pension scheme where that scheme meets certain requirements. Equally, UK pensions legislation does not prohibit a UK pension scheme from receiving capital from overseas pension schemes.

The UK and EU have already agreed the terms of an implementation period lasting until the end of 2020. During this implementation period, access to one another’s markets will remain unchanged and on the current terms, ensuring continuity for consumers and businesses.

Under any other scenario to the rights of members of UK pension schemes to transfer their pension, will not be affected. Whether they are a UK citizen or a non-UK EU citizen, they will continue to be able to transfer their pensions to overseas pension schemes. Equally, UK pension schemes will continue to be able to receive transfers from overseas pension schemes.

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