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
Asked by Gill Furniss
(Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 17 June 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Whirlpool Corporation: Tumble Dryers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason he decided to issue a recall notice to Whirlpool in relation to that company's tumble driers; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 15 July 2019
Holding answer received on 20 June 2019

The Office for Product Safety and Standards’ (OPSS) actions have been driven by a commitment to ensure public safety. On 4 June, OPSS issued a letter of intent to serve a recall notice. As a result, Whirlpool is instigating a full recall of unmodified, affected tumble dryers. The House was updated of this action in a written ministerial statement on 10 July.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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: 25 June 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Data Protection
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to prepare for the consequences of data spillages.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 15 July 2019

DCMS has clearly defined processes for identifying and managing data incidents.

DCMS consumes a shared official tier platform delivered through a partnership arrangement with the Cabinet Office. As part of this partnership arrangement they ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of our core systems.

Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
Asked on: 28 June 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 27 June 2019 to Question 268401, what information she holds on the reasons why those 156,000 claimants with deductions from universal credit for non-universal credit debts are not repaying their debts.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 15 July 2019

The table below provides information on why the specified claimants were not repaying their debts.

Zero balance**

92,776

Business as usual/head of work (Includes future instalment confirmation)

48,196

Awaiting Financial Reconciliation

12,452

In progress – Awaiting further information (e.g. customer correspondence/contact)

4,214

Managed by external contractor (Debt collection agency)

618

Awaiting appeal outcome

534

Waiting for customer to call back

306

Other

477

*The data provided in this response has been sourced from internal management information and was not intended for public release. It should therefore not be compared to any other, similar data subsequently released by the Department.

** The zero balance category is made up of debts that have been fully repaid, but are yet to be removed from the Debt Manager system. It is important to note that no further recovery action will be taken in these cases

Q
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Continuing Care: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of applications received for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding in England in each of the last three years.
Answered on: 15 July 2019

The following table provides the total number of referrals received for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) for both Standard and Fast Track NHS CHC, for the years 2016/17 to 2018/19.

Number of Referrals Received

Period

Standard NHS CHC

Fast Track

Total NHS CHC

2016/17

76,945

88,420

165,365

2017/18

75,322

94,175

169,497

2018/19

73,475

97,273

170,748

NHS England collects and publishes data regarding the number of referrals completed, and of those, how many were assessed as eligible (as a percentage). A table showing these figures is attached due to the size of the data. The percentage of referrals agreed as eligible is based on the number of referrals ‘completed’ (rather than ‘referrals received’). Pre 2017/18 data did not use this counting methodology and therefore is not comparable. 2016/17 figures have therefore not been included.

The NHS CHC appeals process consists of clinical commissioning group local resolution and NHS England Independent Review. It is not possible to provide data on cases found eligible at local review or Independent Review as a percentage of applications initially assessed as not eligible.

We do not hold information on the percentage of NHS CHC referrals which were assessed as eligible within the requested time periods. NHS England does, however, hold information on the percentage of referrals completed within 28 days, and the latest annual information on this is included in the following table. This relates to Standard NHS CHC and not Fast Track NHS CHC.

% referrals within 28 days

Period

Standard NHS CHC

Referrals completed

Referrals completed in 28 days

% completed in 28 days

2018/19

76,803

53,504

70%

NHS CHC Referrals completed (Word Document, 19.05 KB)
Grouped Questions: HL16775 | HL16776 | HL16777
Q
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Continuing Care: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of applications for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding in England were accepted in each of the last three years.
Answered on: 15 July 2019

The following table provides the total number of referrals received for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) for both Standard and Fast Track NHS CHC, for the years 2016/17 to 2018/19.

Number of Referrals Received

Period

Standard NHS CHC

Fast Track

Total NHS CHC

2016/17

76,945

88,420

165,365

2017/18

75,322

94,175

169,497

2018/19

73,475

97,273

170,748

NHS England collects and publishes data regarding the number of referrals completed, and of those, how many were assessed as eligible (as a percentage). A table showing these figures is attached due to the size of the data. The percentage of referrals agreed as eligible is based on the number of referrals ‘completed’ (rather than ‘referrals received’). Pre 2017/18 data did not use this counting methodology and therefore is not comparable. 2016/17 figures have therefore not been included.

The NHS CHC appeals process consists of clinical commissioning group local resolution and NHS England Independent Review. It is not possible to provide data on cases found eligible at local review or Independent Review as a percentage of applications initially assessed as not eligible.

We do not hold information on the percentage of NHS CHC referrals which were assessed as eligible within the requested time periods. NHS England does, however, hold information on the percentage of referrals completed within 28 days, and the latest annual information on this is included in the following table. This relates to Standard NHS CHC and not Fast Track NHS CHC.

% referrals within 28 days

Period

Standard NHS CHC

Referrals completed

Referrals completed in 28 days

% completed in 28 days

2018/19

76,803

53,504

70%

NHS CHC Referrals completed (Word Document, 19.05 KB)
Grouped Questions: HL16774 | HL16776 | HL16777
Q
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Continuing Care: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of rejected applications for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding in England were then granted on (1) first, and (2) second, appeal in each of the last three years.
Answered on: 15 July 2019

The following table provides the total number of referrals received for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) for both Standard and Fast Track NHS CHC, for the years 2016/17 to 2018/19.

Number of Referrals Received

Period

Standard NHS CHC

Fast Track

Total NHS CHC

2016/17

76,945

88,420

165,365

2017/18

75,322

94,175

169,497

2018/19

73,475

97,273

170,748

NHS England collects and publishes data regarding the number of referrals completed, and of those, how many were assessed as eligible (as a percentage). A table showing these figures is attached due to the size of the data. The percentage of referrals agreed as eligible is based on the number of referrals ‘completed’ (rather than ‘referrals received’). Pre 2017/18 data did not use this counting methodology and therefore is not comparable. 2016/17 figures have therefore not been included.

The NHS CHC appeals process consists of clinical commissioning group local resolution and NHS England Independent Review. It is not possible to provide data on cases found eligible at local review or Independent Review as a percentage of applications initially assessed as not eligible.

We do not hold information on the percentage of NHS CHC referrals which were assessed as eligible within the requested time periods. NHS England does, however, hold information on the percentage of referrals completed within 28 days, and the latest annual information on this is included in the following table. This relates to Standard NHS CHC and not Fast Track NHS CHC.

% referrals within 28 days

Period

Standard NHS CHC

Referrals completed

Referrals completed in 28 days

% completed in 28 days

2018/19

76,803

53,504

70%

NHS CHC Referrals completed (Word Document, 19.05 KB)
Grouped Questions: HL16774 | HL16775 | HL16777
Q
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Continuing Care: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of applications for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding in England were accepted (1) within less than one month, (2) within less than three months, (3) within three to six months, (4) within six to 12 months, and (5) after 12 months, of the date of application.
Answered on: 15 July 2019

The following table provides the total number of referrals received for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) for both Standard and Fast Track NHS CHC, for the years 2016/17 to 2018/19.

Number of Referrals Received

Period

Standard NHS CHC

Fast Track

Total NHS CHC

2016/17

76,945

88,420

165,365

2017/18

75,322

94,175

169,497

2018/19

73,475

97,273

170,748

NHS England collects and publishes data regarding the number of referrals completed, and of those, how many were assessed as eligible (as a percentage). A table showing these figures is attached due to the size of the data. The percentage of referrals agreed as eligible is based on the number of referrals ‘completed’ (rather than ‘referrals received’). Pre 2017/18 data did not use this counting methodology and therefore is not comparable. 2016/17 figures have therefore not been included.

The NHS CHC appeals process consists of clinical commissioning group local resolution and NHS England Independent Review. It is not possible to provide data on cases found eligible at local review or Independent Review as a percentage of applications initially assessed as not eligible.

We do not hold information on the percentage of NHS CHC referrals which were assessed as eligible within the requested time periods. NHS England does, however, hold information on the percentage of referrals completed within 28 days, and the latest annual information on this is included in the following table. This relates to Standard NHS CHC and not Fast Track NHS CHC.

% referrals within 28 days

Period

Standard NHS CHC

Referrals completed

Referrals completed in 28 days

% completed in 28 days

2018/19

76,803

53,504

70%

NHS CHC Referrals completed (Word Document, 19.05 KB)
Grouped Questions: HL16774 | HL16775 | HL16776
Q
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Treasury
Income Tax: Pensioners
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of pensioners paid tax at (1) the 40 per cent, and (2) the 45 per cent, rate in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 15 July 2019

For this answer pensioners have been defined as those over State Pension Age (SPA). The definition used is consistent with average SPAs from HMRC’s published Income Tax Liabilities Statistics. The average female SPA for the purposes of this are 63.75 years in 2016-17 and 64.5 years in 2017-18 (the male SPA is 65 in both). The average male and female SPA in 2018-19 is 65.25.

i)

Estimates of the number of pensioners who had tax liabilities at the 40% and 45% rates of income tax:

Numbers: thousands

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

40%

537

514

508

45%

34

35

37

i)

Estimates of the number of pensioners who had an annual income above £50,000 as:

Numbers: thousands

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

Male

311

342

361

Female

107

110

113

Total

418

451

474

ii)

Of these pensioners with income above £50,000, the age ranges are:

Numbers: thousands

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

60-64

9

5

65-69

170

171

170

70-74

108

131

145

75+

131

143

158

The number of 60-64 year old Pensioners reduces to zero by 2018-19 reflecting the increasing SPA for females over the time period shown.

The figures for 2016-17 are based on the latest outturn data from the Survey of Personal Incomes (SPI), 2017-18 and 2018-19 are projections based on the 2016-17 SPI, which are projected using economic assumptions consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) March 2019 Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

For comparison to the total population of pensioners, Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimates of the population of the UK give the number of individuals by age. The number of pensioners in the UK can also be estimated using the average state pension age in each tax year:

12.3 million in 2016-17

12.2 million in 2017-18

12.0 million in 2018-19

Grouped Questions: HL16779 | HL16863
Q
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Treasury
Personal Income: Pensioners
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is (1) the total number, and (2) the percentage, of pensioners who had an annual income above £50,000 in each of the last three years; and whether they have a gender breakdown for those data.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 15 July 2019

For this answer pensioners have been defined as those over State Pension Age (SPA). The definition used is consistent with average SPAs from HMRC’s published Income Tax Liabilities Statistics. The average female SPA for the purposes of this are 63.75 years in 2016-17 and 64.5 years in 2017-18 (the male SPA is 65 in both). The average male and female SPA in 2018-19 is 65.25.

i)

Estimates of the number of pensioners who had tax liabilities at the 40% and 45% rates of income tax:

Numbers: thousands

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

40%

537

514

508

45%

34

35

37

i)

Estimates of the number of pensioners who had an annual income above £50,000 as:

Numbers: thousands

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

Male

311

342

361

Female

107

110

113

Total

418

451

474

ii)

Of these pensioners with income above £50,000, the age ranges are:

Numbers: thousands

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

60-64

9

5

65-69

170

171

170

70-74

108

131

145

75+

131

143

158

The number of 60-64 year old Pensioners reduces to zero by 2018-19 reflecting the increasing SPA for females over the time period shown.

The figures for 2016-17 are based on the latest outturn data from the Survey of Personal Incomes (SPI), 2017-18 and 2018-19 are projections based on the 2016-17 SPI, which are projected using economic assumptions consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) March 2019 Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

For comparison to the total population of pensioners, Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimates of the population of the UK give the number of individuals by age. The number of pensioners in the UK can also be estimated using the average state pension age in each tax year:

12.3 million in 2016-17

12.2 million in 2017-18

12.0 million in 2018-19

Grouped Questions: HL16778 | HL16863
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Pakistan: Royal Visits
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, during their forthcoming visit to Pakistan, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit (1) the slums inhabited by the minority Christian community, and (2) members of Shahbaz Bhatti’s family.
A
Answered on: 15 July 2019

​The details of the programme for the visit by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Pakistan have not yet been agreed. For security reasons, we would not in any case comment on details in advance of the visit.

Asked on: 01 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Pakistan: Minority Groups
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last raised the plight of minorities in Pakistan with the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth; what response they received; and whether they asked the Secretary-General to raise continued human rights violations with the government of Pakistan.
A
Answered on: 15 July 2019

We continue to be in close contact with the Commonwealth Secretariat on its support to member states to live up to the commitments to tolerance, to human rights, good governance and the rule of law set out in the Commonwealth Charter.

In addition, the British Government will continue to urge Pakistan to honour in practice its human rights obligations, including those related to religious minorities, and to uphold the rule of law.

Asked on: 01 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Pakistan: Blasphemy
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the sentencing of Shagufta Kauser and her husband to death in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy; what assessment they have made of whether Shagufta Kauser is (1) from a Christian minority, and (2) illiterate; what representations they have made to the government of Pakistan on her behalf; what response they have received to these representations; and what estimate they have made of the number of people currently facing the death sentence in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy.
A
Answered on: 15 July 2019

We continue to monitor the case of Shagufta Kauser and her husband Shafqat Emmanuel who were sentenced to death in April 2014. We understand that Shagufta Kauser is of the Christian faith and we are aware of media reports stating that she and her husband are both illiterate.

We regularly raise our concerns about the misuse of the blasphemy laws with the government of Pakistan at a senior level. The harsh penalties for blasphemy, including the death penalty, add to these concerns. We remain firmly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances. We have repeatedly called upon the Government of Pakistan to end capital punishment and, as a minimum, commit to publicly renewing the previously imposed moratorium on the death penalty. Concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief and the protection of minority religious communities were raised with Pakistan's Federal Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, during a ministerial visit to Islamabad in February.

We do not hold figures for individuals on specific charges overseas. According to the US State Department 2018 Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief, at the time of publication, 77 individuals were imprisoned in Pakistan on blasphemy charges, 28 of whom had received death sentences.

Asked on: 01 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
China: Prisoners
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration, if any, they have given to updating their travel advice for China to include the findings of the Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience from China, published on 17 June.
A
Answered on: 15 July 2019

We do not intend to update our travel advice to include the findings of the recent report by the pressure group “The International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China”. We have reviewed the report and at present, our assessment remains that there is not a strong enough evidential base to substantiate the claim that systematic state-sponsored or sanctioned organ harvesting is taking place in China. We continue to keep this issue under review.

Q
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Christian Michel
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of India to ensure that a trial date is set for Christian Michel following his arrest in July 2018 and subsequent extradition to India in December 2018.
A
Answered on: 15 July 2019

Mr Michel's case is currently working its way through the Indian judiciary system. The British Government cannot interfere in the judicial process of another country, just as we would expect India to respect the UK's legal process. That said, we encourage all states to ensure that their domestic laws meet international human rights standards.

It is the responsibility of Mr Michel's legal team to ensure that a trial date is set. We have not made any representation to the Government of India about remarks made by Prime Minister Modi, but we have encouraged Mr Michel to seek advice from his legal team on this issue. Our staff in India continue to visit him and check his welfare. We are also supporting the family and in contact with the Indian authorities regarding his case.

Grouped Questions: HL16785
Q
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Christian Michel
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that (1) Christian Michel receives a fair trail when such a date is set, and (2) that any evidence used in such a trial is accurate; and what representations they have made, if any, to the government of India about the impact of remarks made by Prime Minister Modi during the recent elections about Christian Michel’s case.
A
Answered on: 15 July 2019

Mr Michel's case is currently working its way through the Indian judiciary system. The British Government cannot interfere in the judicial process of another country, just as we would expect India to respect the UK's legal process. That said, we encourage all states to ensure that their domestic laws meet international human rights standards.

It is the responsibility of Mr Michel's legal team to ensure that a trial date is set. We have not made any representation to the Government of India about remarks made by Prime Minister Modi, but we have encouraged Mr Michel to seek advice from his legal team on this issue. Our staff in India continue to visit him and check his welfare. We are also supporting the family and in contact with the Indian authorities regarding his case.

Grouped Questions: HL16784
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
China: Prisoners
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Final Judgment of the Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting, published on 17 June; and what actions they plan to take in response to that Judgment.
A
Answered on: 15 July 2019

We have noted the recent report by the pressure group “The International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China”. Officials attended public hearings organised by the group, and its report is one of a number of sources of information that we are taking into account when considering this issue.

If true, the practice of systematic, state-sponsored organ harvesting would be truly horrifying. As such, we continue to monitor the allegations and consider carefully all evidence presented on this issue. We have also recently consulted the World Health Organization in both Geneva and Beijing. Their view is that China is implementing an ethical, voluntary organ transplant system in accordance with international standards, though they do have concerns about overall transparency.

There is credible evidence that practitioners of Falun Gong are subjected to serious mistreatment. We regularly raise concerns with China, including on the extensive use of the death penalty and the treatment of religious and ethnic minorities. We continue to keep this issue under review.

Asked on: 01 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Middle East: British Nationals Abroad
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the recent statement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on 24 June, what plans they have to repatriate the children of British citizens now held in Iraq and Syria as a result of their parents' involvement with Daesh.
A
Answered on: 15 July 2019

The situation that young children are facing in north-east Syria through no fault of their own is tragic. The UK has no consular presence within Syria from which to provide assistance to British Nationals there. This makes it difficult to help but we look at every single case where we are asked for consular assistance. We are not aware of any British children in camps in Iraq.

Our advice to any British national abroad who needs emergency help from the British Government is to contact the nearest British Embassy or Consulate, which in this case will be outside Syria. If a minor is unable to do so, those with parental responsibility can make the request on their behalf. British nationals can also call the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The number is clearly advertised on FCO Travel Advice pages.

Q
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Treasury
Married People: Tax Allowances
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people claimed the Marriage Allowance in the 2018–19 financial year; and what steps they are taking to increase the uptake of that allowance.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 15 July 2019

The Marriage Allowance was introduced in April 2015 to recognise the importance of marriage and civil partnerships through the tax system, and support those on low incomes by helping them keep more of the money they earn. There were 1.78m claimants for the Marriage Allowance in 2018-19.

The Government has taken significant steps to encourage people to claim for the Marriage Allowance. HM Revenue and Customs ran a series of both free and paid-for marketing campaigns, which ran between October 2015 and March 2017, and continue to raise awareness through ongoing communication on social media and on GOV.UK. Marriage Allowance can be claimed through the Personal Tax Account on GOV.UK or by phone to HMRC. The Marriage Allowance can be backdated to 2015-16 when it was introduced. This means eligible couples can claim a total of £1,150 if not claimed before.

Q
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Treasury
Married People: Tax Allowances
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the Marriage Allowance; and what plans they have to review that allowance.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 15 July 2019

The Marriage Allowance was introduced in April 2015 to recognise the importance of marriage and civil partnerships in the tax system, and support those on low incomes by helping them keep more of the money they earn.

The Marriage Allowance is effective as it gives extra financial support to those couples eligible for it. In 2018/19, 1.78m couples benefitted from the Marriage Allowance which is worth up to £250 a year. The Marriage Allowance can be backdated to 2015-16 when it was introduced. This means eligible couples can claim a total of £1,150 if not claimed before.

As with all aspects of Government policy, the Marriage Allowance will be kept under review and any decisions on future changes will be taken as part of the annual Budget process in the context of the wider public finances.

Q
Asked by Lord Empey
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Treasury
Freezing of Assets: Libya
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much revenue has been raised from frozen Libyan assets in London in each of the last five years for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 15 July 2019
The Government’s response of 24 June to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee report (into Government support for UK victims of IRA attacks that used Qadhafi-supplied Semtex and weapons) set out the information the Government had obtained about tax receipts on frozen Libyan assets held in UK banks. The response states: “Around £17 million has been received in total since the start of the 2016-17 tax year. HMRC currently receives around £5 million each year.”
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