Written questions and answers

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

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

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

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Capital Punishment
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use of capital punishment in Bahrain, following the upholding of 12 death sentences in May and reports that three of those individuals have exhausted all legal remedies available to them and are at risk of imminent execution.
A
Answered on: 17 June 2019

The UK's position on the use of the death penalty is longstanding and clear; we oppose its use in all circumstances and countries. The Government of Bahrain is fully aware of our position.

Q
(Leeds East)
[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: 11 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Offender Behaviour Programmes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners have been sanctioned for (a) not attending and (b) breaching an offending behaviour programme which does not have an impact evaluation.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 17 June 2019

Attending an accredited offending behaviour programme (OBP) in custody is voluntary, meaning there are not any automatic sanctions for non-attendance. Prisoners who exhibit unacceptable behaviours whilst involved in a programme will face standard disciplinary procedures. Removal from programmes, however, can also take place due to behaviour unrelated to participation in a programme. Sanctions can be implemented through the adjudication process or in relation to Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP). In order to collect the information requested a matching exercise using prison population and adjudication databases would be required to identify each individual prisoner who was punished under the Prison Rules. As a result, the data could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Accredited Programmes can also be part of a Community Sentence or a Licence Condition, in which case offenders can be breached or recalled to custody for not being compliant. Data relating to breach and recall in these specific instances is not available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Q
(Sheffield Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 11 June 2019
Home Office
Visas: Applications
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to improve the level of service provided by Sopra Steria for in-country visa services at UK visa and citizenship application service centres and enhanced service points across the UK.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 17 June 2019

UKVI officials meet with Sopra Steria Limited (SSL) on a regular basis to review performance and drive improvements to service standards. We are aware that there are issues with capacity at the moment which means customers might not always be able to book an appointment at their earliest convenience.

We are working with SSL as a matter of priority on a number of actions to increase the capacity at service points and we expect availability to increase shortly. These measures include; four additional enhanced service points in Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh over the last month, increasing appointments offered to customers across a number of existing sites and reducing the cost of out of hours appointments.

Planning is underway with Sopra Steria and we are looking at a range of options to ensure that there is sufficient capacity within the service to meet demand during the student Autumn surge period.

Q
(Sheffield Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 11 June 2019
Home Office
Visas: Applications
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to ensure that the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service centres and enhanced service points across the UK have sufficient capacity to handle the increase in demand that will result from the student surge period in September 2019.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 17 June 2019

UKVI officials meet with Sopra Steria Limited (SSL) on a regular basis to review performance and drive improvements to service standards. We are aware that there are issues with capacity at the moment which means customers might not always be able to book an appointment at their earliest convenience.

We are working with SSL as a matter of priority on a number of actions to increase the capacity at service points and we expect availability to increase shortly. These measures include; four additional enhanced service points in Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh over the last month, increasing appointments offered to customers across a number of existing sites and reducing the cost of out of hours appointments.

Planning is underway with Sopra Steria and we are looking at a range of options to ensure that there is sufficient capacity within the service to meet demand during the student Autumn surge period.

Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
[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: 12 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Convictions: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people who previously had (a) no, (b) between one and four, (c) between five and nine, (d) between 10 and 15, (e) between 16 and 25, (f) between 26 and 50, (g) between 51 and 75, (h) between 76 and 100 and (i) 101 or more convictions, were convicted in each of the years since 2007, but did not receive an immediate custodial sentence.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 17 June 2019

The information requested is provided in the tables attached with this answer. These tables include data, covering the period 2007 – 2018, on:

  • The number of offenders with a specified number of previous convictions who were convicted of an offence and not sentenced to immediate custody.
  • The number of offenders with a specified number of previous convictions who were convicted of an offence and sentenced to immediate custody.
Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 19.08 KB)
Grouped Questions: 263848
Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
[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: 12 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Reoffenders: Community Orders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 10 April to Question 239207 on the Answer of 9 May to Question 246971, how many offenders re-offended while being the subject of a community order; and how many offences of each type were committed by those offenders in each year since 2007.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 17 June 2019

We do not hold reoffending rates based on whether offenders are the subject of a community order but instead hold data based on those who have started a community order in a given period. As such, we cannot tell whether an offender is still subject to a community order at the time of their reoffence. Please see the available data in the table provided. There is persuasive evidence showing community sentences, in certain circumstances, are more effective than short custodial sentences in reducing reoffending. The MoJ study ‘The impact of short custodial sentences, community orders and suspended sentence orders on re-offending’ published in 2015 involved around 350,000 sentencing occasions over 4 years and used 130 different variables to construct matched groups of offenders and examine the effect of short sentences relative to community sentences. This study found a reduction of around 3 percentage points in proven reoffences if offenders receiving sentences of less than 12 months were to get a community order instead. This is statistically significant and equates to around 30,000 proven reoffences in total over a one-year period. This means fewer victims of crime. Unless we tackle the underlying causes of offending, we cannot protect the public from being victims of crime. Effective community orders can address offenders’ behaviour, answer their mental health and alcohol or drug misuse needs, and provide reparation for the benefit of the wider community.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 17.43 KB)
Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
[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: 12 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Reoffenders: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average number of (a) community orders, (b) suspended sentences and (c) previous custodial sentences given to an offender sentenced to immediate custody was in each year since 2007.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 17 June 2019

Data on the average number of previous specified sentences received by offenders who were sentenced to immediate custody, covering the period 2007 – 2018, can be viewed in the table.

263846 Response Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 11.15 KB)
Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
[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: 12 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Reoffenders: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of offenders sentenced to immediate custody had (a) zero, (b) between one and four, (c) between five and nine, (d) between 10 and 15, (e) between 16 and 25, (f) between 26 and 50 and (g) more than 50 previous community orders; and how many and what proportion of offenders sentenced to immediate custody had (i) zero, (ii) between one and four, (iii) between five and nine, (iv) between 10 and 15, (v) between 16 and 25, (vi) between 26 and 50 and (vii) more than 50 suspended sentences, in each year since 2007.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 17 June 2019

The information requested is provided in the table attached with this answer. The table includes data, covering the period 2007 – 2018, on:

  • The number of offenders with a specified number of previous community sentences who were sentenced to immediate custody.
  • The proportion of offenders with a specified number of previous community sentences who were sentenced to immediate custody.
  • The number of offenders with a specified number of suspended sentences who were sentenced to immediate custody.
  • The proportion of offenders with a specified number of suspended sentences who were sentenced to immediate custody.
Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 13.71 KB)
Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
[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: 12 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many offenders sentenced to immediate custody previously had (a) zero, (b) between one and four, (c) between five and nine, (d) between 10 and 15, (e) between 16 and 25, (f) between 26 and 50, (g) between 51 and 75, (h) between 76 and 100 and (i) 101 or more convictions in each year since 2007.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 17 June 2019

The information requested is provided in the tables attached with this answer. These tables include data, covering the period 2007 – 2018, on:

  • The number of offenders with a specified number of previous convictions who were convicted of an offence and not sentenced to immediate custody.
  • The number of offenders with a specified number of previous convictions who were convicted of an offence and sentenced to immediate custody.
Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 19.08 KB)
Grouped Questions: 263829
Q
(Leeds East)
[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: 12 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Rehabilitation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of offenders who received Sentences of Imprisonment for Public Protection have been refused access to at least one offending behaviour course during their sentence in the last five years.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 17 June 2019

As with all prisoners, those serving Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences are not refused access to offending behaviour courses based on their sentence type. We use risk, needs and responsivity principles to help us target the right programmes for the right people. This ensures that the level of support provided by a programme matches a person’s risk of reoffending and that the content covers the areas a person needs to address to reduce further offending. All prisoners, including those serving IPP sentences, have their suitability for any accredited programmes considered as part of their wider sentence plan. A wide range of accredited programmes are available in custody and these are refreshed annually based on prisoner needs and demand. IPPs are one of the groups prioritised for participation on suitable programmes. However, completion of accredited programmes is not a mandatory requirement in order for IPP prisoners to secure release. Information related to the number of offenders serving an IPP that have been referred, but not found suitable for courses could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Q
(Bolton South East)
[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: 12 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Courts: Working Hours
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of days sat by Crown Courts in England in the financial years (a) 2015-16, (b) 2016-17 and (c) 2017-18.
A
Answered by: Paul Maynard
Answered on: 17 June 2019

The number of days sat by Crown Courts in England in the financial years 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 are set out in the table below:

Financial Year

Days sat

2015/2016

104,647

2016/2017

103,338

2017/2018

98,616

Note: Cases include all case types (e.g. trials, appeals, sentences etc.)

Although care is taken when processing and analysing the data, the details are subject to inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale management system and is the best data that is available.

Waiting times for trials in the Crown Court in 2018 were the lowest since 2014 - despite the challenge of increasingly complex cases - and the number of trial cases in hand is the lowest since 2000. We continue to review demand and performance in the Crown Court to ensure it has the resources it requires.

Q
Asked by Alistair Burt
(North East Bedfordshire)
Asked on: 17 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the timeframe is for his Department to bring forward legislative proposals to increase the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving.
Q
Asked by Tony Lloyd
(Rochdale)
[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
Home Office
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will take urgent steps to deport non-UK nationals who have completed custodial sentences for the grooming of young people in Rochdale.
Q
(Washington and Sunderland West)
Asked on: 05 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Chlamydia: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason chlamydia testing rates have reduced by 22 per cent since 2014.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 14 June 2019

Local authorities monitor the performance of local sexual health contracts. This information is not collected by Public Health England (PHE).

It is the responsibility of local authorities to ensure ease of access to chlamydia screening. PHE supports local areas through facilitated chlamydia care pathway workshops. These workshops enable local commissioners and providers to explore and review local chlamydia activities, and create data driven action plans to improve service provision and outcomes.

Grouped Questions: 260589
Q
(Washington and Sunderland West)
Asked on: 05 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Chlamydia: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he will take to ensure ease of access to chlamydia screening services.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 14 June 2019

Local authorities monitor the performance of local sexual health contracts. This information is not collected by Public Health England (PHE).

It is the responsibility of local authorities to ensure ease of access to chlamydia screening. PHE supports local areas through facilitated chlamydia care pathway workshops. These workshops enable local commissioners and providers to explore and review local chlamydia activities, and create data driven action plans to improve service provision and outcomes.

Grouped Questions: 260588
Q
Asked by Kate Green
(Stretford and Urmston)
Asked on: 05 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prison Sentences: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that women in prison on imprisonment for public protection sentences have sentencing plans with release dates.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 14 June 2019

It is for the independent Parole Board to review the detention of those prisoners serving an IPP sentence who have completed their tariff period. The Board will direct the release of these prisoners only if it is satisfied that the levels of risk posed to the general public are reduced enough that the National Probation Service and its partner agencies can safely manage them in the community under supervision. Therefore, whilst every female prisoner serving the IPP sentence should have a sentence plan, it is not possible for an offender manager to include a release date in the sentence plan.

A range of initiatives are in place, as part of the joint action plan, co-owned by HM Prison and Probation Service and the Parole Board, which are having a positive impact on the progression of women serving an IPP sentence. The initiatives include ensuring that there is a sufficient supply of places on offending behaviour programmes, to meet the demand in prisoners’ sentence plans.

On 27 June 2018 we published our strategy for female offenders. This sets out our vision to see fewer women coming into the criminal justice system, a greater proportion managed successfully in the community, and better conditions for those in custody.

Whilst HM Prison and Probation Service is focused on giving all prisoners serving IPP sentences opportunities to progress towards release, public protection must remain our priority.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 06 June 2019
Department for Transport
Unmanned Air Vehicles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential economic benefits of commercial drone use.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 14 June 2019

The potential economic value of drones is huge and, in May 2018, PwC announced that the social and economic benefits of their use could add £42 billion to GDP by 2030. Drones are already being used to great effect

by our emergency and search and rescue services, the public sector and charities to drive more efficient ways of working, monitor environmental change, and assist infrastructure inspections and construction.

Q
Asked by Keith Vaz
(Leicester East)
Asked on: 07 June 2019
Department for International Development
Yemen: Financial Institutions and Imports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment he has made of the economic effect of regulating (a) imports, (b) commercial banks and (c) money exchangers in Yemen on Houthi revenues in that country.
A
Answered by: Dr Andrew Murrison
Answered on: 14 June 2019

The Department for International Development does not have insight into how Houthi revenue flows have changed over time. The UK condemns Houthi interference in the operations of local banks in north Yemen, including the arrest of banking staff in February 2019.

Effective economic regulations, alongside appropriate economic policies, will have critical humanitarian benefits in Yemen. Whilst the latest total food import levels into Yemen have exceeded pre-conflict requirements, high prices continue to drive the risk of famine.

The need for effective economic regulation was demonstrated last year, when the Yemeni Riyal lost more than half of its value between January and October 2018. This caused prices to rise steeply and risked making food unaffordable for millions of vulnerable Yemenis. This depreciation was reversed after UK-led efforts released over $400 million of hard currency (provided by Saudi Arabia), to importers bringing food into the country.

We will continue to constructively engage with the Government of Yemen to prevent any repeated depreciation, and to stabilise Yemen’s economy through more effective and transparent management of its public finance.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Repatriation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, as a result of international conventions and bilateral agreements on the transfer of sentenced persons, how many people have (1) returned to the UK from any such country, and (2) been repatriated from the UK.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 13 June 2019

Any foreign national who comes to our country and abuses our hospitality by breaking the law should be in no doubt of our determination to punish and deport them. More than 48,000 foreign national offenders have been removed from the UK since 2010, and in the last financial year more than 5,000 were removed from prisons, immigration removal centres, and the community.

Prisoner transfer is one of the mechanisms used to remove foreign national offenders. Between 1 May 2014 and 31 May 2019, 464 sentenced prisoners were transferred from England and Wales to other countries under international prisoner transfer arrangements. During the same period 233 sentenced prisoners were transferred to England and Wales.

The transfer of prisoners into and out of Scotland and Northern Ireland is a devolved matter.

Q
Asked by Jo Platt
(Leigh)
[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: 06 June 2019
Cabinet Office
Huawei: 5G
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 5 June 2019 to Question 257533 on Huawei: 5G, what recent assessment he has made of the risks to the (a) security and (b) reliability of UK 5G networks from Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre evaluating 5G equipment after deployment.
A
Answered by: Mr David Lidington
Answered on: 13 June 2019

As detailed in the HCSEC Oversight Board report, the HCSEC work programme is
determined by a risk-based prioritisation scheme and their plan of evaluation is driven by
the commercial rollout of services by the UK operators that use Huawei equipment. The
operators, NCSC and the HCSEC collaboratively prioritise the work of HCSEC. Providing
further details on what equipment has, and has not, been subject to HCSEC evaluation is
commercially sensitive.

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