Written questions and answers

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

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2019-21 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Chi Onwurah
(Newcastle upon Tyne Central)
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Home Office
Police: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many police officers have been tested for covid-19 since the start of the covid-19 outbreak, by police force.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 22 May 2020

Testing is key in our battle against coronavirus and on Friday 17 April the government extended coronavirus testing to more frontline workers, including for police. The number of police officers who have been tested for Covid-19 by police force is not a number that is held by centrally by the Home Office.

Q
Asked by Ian Lavery
(Wansbeck)
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Home Office
Immigration: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has revised her Department's targets for the processing of immigration cases during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Kevin Foster
Answered on: 22 May 2020

The Home Office closely monitors the processing of immigration cases and UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has not amended its service standards due to Covid-19. UKVI continue to process applications as quickly as possible.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that access to (a) WiFi, (b) smartphones and (c) other digital devices are provided for asylum seekers living in National Asylum Support Service supplied accommodation during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 21 May 2020

Asylum seekers receiving support under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are generally provided with accommodation and a cash allowance to cover other essential living needs. The level of the cash allowance provided take into account communication needs, including the cost of buying and using a mobile phone. As a result of the Covid-19 crisis a higher proportion of asylum seekers than usual are being accommodated in full-board hostels and hotels. We are looking at practical ways of providing internet access to this group and other ways to enable them to communicate effectively. Our accommodation providers can and have provided mobile phones to those who do not have one.

Q
(Cardiff South and Penarth)
Asked on: 13 May 2020
Home Office
Immigration Controls: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the evidence provided to the Science and Technology Committee on 13 March, on what date advice from scientific modellers was first provided to (a) COBR, (b) the Prime Minister, (c) the Secretary of State for Health and (d) the Secretary of State for Transport on the likely incidence of covid-19 infection among travellers arriving at the UK Border; and on what dates any subsequent revision of those models was provided.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 21 May 2020

The modelling in question was done by SAGE. The Home Office cannot provide information on when SAGE advised (a) COBR, (b) the Prime Minister, (c) the Secretary of State for Health and (d) the Secretary of State for Transport.

Q
(Cambridge)
[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: 15 May 2020
Home Office
Fingerprints: Databases
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the effect on the ability of police to identify criminals following the European Parliament’s decision to reject the European Council’s proposal to allow the UK to participate in the automated searching of fingerprint data stored in the EU’s Prum DNA database.
A
Answered by: James Brokenshire
Answered on: 21 May 2020

UK Police forces are already identifying criminals as a result of the UK’s connection to Prüm DNA exchanges. Since joining Prüm in July last year, the UK’s connection to Prüm has led to tens of thousands of DNA profiles being matched in the UK and across EU Member States, advancing law enforcement investigations in the UK and the EU.

We are ready to begin sharing fingerprints with EU Member States and next steps are with the European Commission to determine when the UK can begin to exchange fingerprint data via Prüm.

The vote in the European Parliament does not affect our ability to continue to participate in DNA exchanges with EU Member States on a reciprocal basis. We are committed to cooperation that keeps our citizens safe.

Asked on: 21 May 2020
Home Office
Immigrants: Health Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the net financial benefit to the NHS from the immigration health surcharge in each year since the surcharge was introduced; and what proportion of total annual income from the immigration health surcharge comes from foreign nationals working in the health and care sector.
Asked on: 21 May 2020
Home Office
Refugees: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to (1) maintain the extension of housing provision for newly recognised refugees to three months, introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a permanent measure, and (2) ensure financial support for such refugees whilst they wait for receipt of Universal Credit payments.
Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 21 May 2020
Home Office
Refugees: Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to participate in discussions with UNHCR about the relocation of unaccompanied refugee children now in Europe, in particular those in Greece; and if not, why not.
Asked on: 21 May 2020
Home Office
Immigrants: Health Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the cost of exempting (1) NHS and care workers, and (2) all workers, from overseas and their families from the immigration health surcharge; and what plans they have to review their policy on that surcharge.
Q
Asked by Jess Phillips
(Birmingham, Yardley)
Asked on: 25 March 2020
Home Office
Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre has accepted new detainees since the start of the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps that centre is taking to ensure that new detainees are not exposed to that disease.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 20 May 2020

The Government remains committed to removing those who violate our immigration rules and foreign national offenders. Detention plays a key role in securing our borders and maintaining effective immigration control. On that basis, Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre will continue to accept new detainees.

All detainees received into Yarl’s Wood receive a nurse triage within two hours and are offered a doctor’s appointment within 24 hours.

In line with Public Health England guidance, measures such as protective isolation are considered on a case by case basis to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading to vulnerable groups in the immigration detention estate. Further measures including single occupancy rooms and cessation of social visits have been introduced in line with the Government direction on social distancing.

There are currently no cases of COVID-19 in immigration removal centres.

Q
Asked by Afzal Khan
(Manchester, Gorton)
Asked on: 20 April 2020
Home Office
Migrant Workers: Asylum
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to grant permission to work for (a) medical workers and (b) all other potential workers who have been awaiting a decision on their asylum application for over six months; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 20 May 2020

Asylum seekers with medical experience and qualifications, who have been waiting for a decision on their claim for 12 months or more, can already apply to work for the NHS in the range of medical professions on the Shortage Occupation List.

Asylum seeker right to work is a complex issue. The review of the policy is ongoing, and we are considering the evidence put forward on the issue. It is crucial we take the time to get this right.

Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 28 April 2020
Home Office
Immigrants: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the provision of financial support to local authorities that have taken on the costs of ensuring that residents with No Recourse to Public Funds are able to self-isolate during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 20 May 2020

The Home Office is working closely with other government departments, including the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to support people, including migrants with no recourse to public funds, through this crisis. We are taking a compassionate and pragmatic approach to an unprecedented situation.

Local authorities can provide basic safety net support if it is established there is a care need which does not arise solely from destitution, for example, where there are community care needs, migrants with serious health problems or family cases where the wellbeing of a child is in question. The Government has provided more than £3.2 billion of funding to local authorities in England, and additional funding under the Barnett formula to the devolved administrations to enable them to respond to Covid-19 pressures across all the services they deliver, including services helping the most vulnerable.

Q
Asked by Ms Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 29 April 2020
Home Office
Immigrants: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, under (a) what circumstances and (b) with what notice period her Department will end the suspension of the No Recourse to Public Funds exception during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 20 May 2020

The no recourse to public funds (NRPF) condition has not been suspended. The Home Office is working closely with other government departments to support people, including migrants with NRPF, through this crisis. We are taking a compassionate and pragmatic approach to an unprecedented situation.

Many of the wide-ranging Covid-19 measures the government has put in place are not public funds and are available to migrants with NRPF.

In light of the support available, we do not believe it is necessary to suspend the NRPF condition. We will keep the situation under review and consider further measures if needed.

Q
(Hornsey and Wood Green)
[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: 29 April 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if her Department will increase financial support for asylum seekers during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 20 May 2020

We are currently reviewing the level of the cash allowances, as we do each year, to ensure that they remain capable of meeting the essential living needs of asylum seekers. In addition to weekly cash payments, asylum seekers who claim support also receive free furnished accommodation in which utilities are paid for.

Q
(Cardiff South and Penarth)
[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: 05 May 2020
Home Office
Immigration Controls: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on what date SAGE first discussed the potential effect of introducing restrictions at the UK borders on the (a) rate of covid-19 infections in the UK and (b) ability of the NHS to respond to that rate; and whether SAGE reported the conclusions of those discussion to her.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 20 May 2020

The Home Office Chief Scientific Adviser is a participant in SAGE and regularly updates Home Office ministers on all aspects of SAGE relating to their departmental interests.

Q
(Cardiff South and Penarth)
[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: 05 May 2020
Home Office
Travel Restrictions: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on what dates SAGE provided advice to Ministers on the potential effect of introducing restrictions at the UK borders on the spread of covid-19 in the UK.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 20 May 2020

The Home Office Chief Scientific Adviser is a participant in SAGE and regularly updates Home Office ministers on all aspects of SAGE relating to their departmental interests.

Q
Asked by Liz Twist
(Blaydon)
[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: 05 May 2020
Home Office
Domestic Abuse: Victim Support Schemes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the time frame is for the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s review of community-based support.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 20 May 2020

To understand the complex landscape for community-based support, in the Government’s further response to the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill (CP 214), published on 3 March, we indicated that the Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner has agreed to undertake an in-depth exploration of the current community-based support landscape over 2020/21.

The Government also indicated that we must better understand the existing routes by which support services are commissioned and funded and establish best practice within services in order to ensure quality provision. The precise scope and timing of the review is a matter for the independent Commissioner. I understand, however, that the review is expected to take some 12 months.

The Government does not collect statistics on the number of domestic abuse victims who do not live in safe accommodation. I would like us to look more into data in the coming months.

Grouped Questions: 43739 | 43740
Q
Asked by Liz Twist
(Blaydon)
[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: 05 May 2020
Home Office
Domestic Abuse: Victim Support Schemes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the scope is of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s review of community-based support.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 20 May 2020

To understand the complex landscape for community-based support, in the Government’s further response to the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill (CP 214), published on 3 March, we indicated that the Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner has agreed to undertake an in-depth exploration of the current community-based support landscape over 2020/21.

The Government also indicated that we must better understand the existing routes by which support services are commissioned and funded and establish best practice within services in order to ensure quality provision. The precise scope and timing of the review is a matter for the independent Commissioner. I understand, however, that the review is expected to take some 12 months.

The Government does not collect statistics on the number of domestic abuse victims who do not live in safe accommodation. I would like us to look more into data in the coming months.

Grouped Questions: 43738 | 43740
Q
Asked by Liz Twist
(Blaydon)
[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: 05 May 2020
Home Office
Domestic Abuse: Refuges
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will estimate the number of domestic abuse victims who do not live in safe accommodation and would not qualify for statutory support as set out in clause 53 of the Domestic Abuse Bill.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 20 May 2020

To understand the complex landscape for community-based support, in the Government’s further response to the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill (CP 214), published on 3 March, we indicated that the Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner has agreed to undertake an in-depth exploration of the current community-based support landscape over 2020/21.

The Government also indicated that we must better understand the existing routes by which support services are commissioned and funded and establish best practice within services in order to ensure quality provision. The precise scope and timing of the review is a matter for the independent Commissioner. I understand, however, that the review is expected to take some 12 months.

The Government does not collect statistics on the number of domestic abuse victims who do not live in safe accommodation. I would like us to look more into data in the coming months.

Grouped Questions: 43738 | 43739
Asked on: 06 May 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Nutrition
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether meals provided for asylum seekers in temporary accommodation must meet the guidelines set out in the NHS Eatwell Guide.
Answered on: 20 May 2020

Meals provided in all catered asylum accommodation facilities meet the NHS Eatwell guide.

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