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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Asked on: 12 June 2019
Ministry of Defence
EU Defence Policy
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether EU defence initiatives are driving an EU-exclusive approach to security; what assessment they have made, if any, of whether any such initiatives undermine NATO; and whether they intend to have any involvement in such initiatives.
Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Department for International Development
Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether he plans to end the use of private for-profit contractors in the aid industry; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of capping the salaries of aid charities’ CEOs.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 11 June 2019

DFID values the unique expertise all its partners offer in the administration of aid. To date, we have no plans to end our use of private for-profit contractors who play a small but vital part by bringing sector expertise, operational flexibility and innovation through, for example the early exploitation of new technology providing products or services in new or underdeveloped markets, enabling DFID to help people in some of the most challenging environments in the world.

DFID does not place a cap on salaries of aid charities’ CEOs, since we recognise that salaries are driven by competition and multiple market forces making it impractical to set a maximum salary. We do however subject all our partners to rigorous scrutiny of their effectiveness and value for money, in advance and throughout the delivery of our programmes. Our priority is to drive value for British taxpayers’ money, cost-effectiveness and impact in all our programmes.

Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Crimes of Violence: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of people convicted of violent offences who previously had (a) none, (b) 1-4, (c) 5-9, (d) 10-15, (e) 16-25, (f) 26-50, (g) 51-75, (h) 76-100 and (i) 101 or more convictions received (A) an immediate custodial sentence, (B) a suspended sentence and (C) a community sentence in each of the last 12 years.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 11 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 percentage of occasions on which an offender was convicted of a violence against the person offence with a specified number of previous convictions and received a specified sentence.
  • The number of occasions on which an offender was convicted of a violence against the person offence with a specified number of previous convictions and received a specified sentence.
  • The number of occasions on which an offender was convicted of any offence with a specified number of previous convictions and received a specified sentence
Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 26.09 KB)
Grouped Questions: 259461 | 259462
Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Crimes of Violence: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people convicted of violent offences who previously had (a) none, (b) 1-4, (c) 5-9, (d) 10-15, (e) 16-25, (f) 26-50, (g) 51-75, (h) 76-100 and (i) 101 or more convictions received (A) an immediate custodial sentence, (B) a suspended sentence and (C) a community sentence in each of the last 12 years.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 11 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 percentage of occasions on which an offender was convicted of a violence against the person offence with a specified number of previous convictions and received a specified sentence.
  • The number of occasions on which an offender was convicted of a violence against the person offence with a specified number of previous convictions and received a specified sentence.
  • The number of occasions on which an offender was convicted of any offence with a specified number of previous convictions and received a specified sentence
Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 26.09 KB)
Grouped Questions: 259460 | 259462
Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prison Sentences
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people convicted of offences who previously had (a) zero, (b) one to four, (c) five to nine, (d) 10 to 15, (e) 16 to 25, (f) 26 to 50, (g) 51 to 75, (h) 76 to 100 and (i) 101 or more convictions received (A) an immediate custodial sentence, (B) a suspended sentence and (C) a community sentence in each of the last 12 years.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 11 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 percentage of occasions on which an offender was convicted of a violence against the person offence with a specified number of previous convictions and received a specified sentence.
  • The number of occasions on which an offender was convicted of a violence against the person offence with a specified number of previous convictions and received a specified sentence.
  • The number of occasions on which an offender was convicted of any offence with a specified number of previous convictions and received a specified sentence
Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 26.09 KB)
Grouped Questions: 259460 | 259461
Q
Asked by Nia Griffith
(Llanelli)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
International Assistance: Security
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of reforming its guidance on Overseas Security and Justice Assistance to include separate advice on assistance provided to non-state groups.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 11 June 2019

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated its guidance on Overseas Security and Justice Assistance in 2017 by Written Ministerial Statement. Since then, information on its implementation has been included in the The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's annual Human Rights and Democracy Report. Overseas Security and Justice Assitance assessments completed for specific projects or interventions are working documents, and are regularly updated in line with developments in the country concerned. Information on the number of Overseas Security and Justice Assitance assessments completed in previous years and a more detailed breakdown of applications requiring Ministerial approval is not held centrally and could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

The guidance applies to any security and justice assistance from Her Majasty's Government that could result in changes to the laws, policies, practices or capabilities of foreign justice or security institutions and/or result in individuals being identified, investigated, arrested, detained, interviewed, interrogated, prosecuted, tried or sentenced by foreign authorities.

Q
Asked by Julian Knight
(Solihull)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Department for Education
STEM Subjects
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the take-up of STEM subjects; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 11 June 2019

The Government is committed to increasing the number of pupils taking science, technology, engineering and mechanics (STEM) subjects. There were 47,000 more exam entries to STEM A levels in 2018 compared to 2010, an increase of 23%.

The Department funds several programmes to support good teaching. This includes £76 million over 5 years for the network of Maths Hubs and the Teaching for Mastery programme, which aims to reach 11,000 primary and secondary schools by 2023 and has a specific focus to support schools in greatest need, and the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme which aims to increase participation and attainment in level 3 mathematics.

In November 2018, the Department launched a new National Centre for Computing Education, supported by £84 million funding until July 2022, to improve the quality of computing teaching and drive up participation in computer science.

The national Network of Science Learning Partnerships provides support to primary and secondary schools to improve the quality of science teaching, and the Stimulating Physics Network aims to increase participation in A level physics, particularly among girls.

Q
(Wallasey)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Antimicrobials: Drug Resistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on the implementation of the Antimicrobial Resistance National Action Plan 2019-2024; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 11 June 2019

The Department is working closely across Government to finalise governance arrangements and plans for implementing the commitments set out in the United Kingdom’s five-year national action plan for antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

We anticipate that the first cross-Government UK AMR national action plan Delivery Board will meet in the summer. This board will be responsible for overseeing and driving delivery of the commitments in the national action plan and will receive regular reports on progress against the national ambitions.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Refrigerators: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Office for Product Safety and Standards has plans to implement the new CENELEC refrigerating appliances standard.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 11 June 2019

Adoption of a CENELEC standard as a British standard is a matter for the British Standardisation Institution (BSI). BSI published the revised CENELEC standard as the British Standard on 31 March 2019. The use of standards generally is voluntary. As a reference to the CENELEC standard has not been published in the Official Journal by the European Commission, it cannot give presumption of conformity with requirements of the legislation.

The Government continues to work with BSI and other stakeholders such as the London Fire Brigade at international level to further enhance safety standards and drive up best practice. However, business must comply with the essential safety requirements of the legislation.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 06 June 2019
Ministry of Defence
Sweden: Military Alliances
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps she is taking to strengthen defence and security cooperation between the UK and Sweden.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 11 June 2019

The UK's defence and security relationship with Sweden is driven by the 2014 Statement of Intent. This is underpinned by a Programme of Bilateral Defence Co-operation which provides a framework to enhance our bilateral co-operation in a number of key areas, including enhancing levels of interoperability, capability collaboration, concepts and doctrine, operations, training and exercises. Sweden joined the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force in 2017 and is a member of the Northern Group. Opportunities for further bilateral co-operation are reviewed through regular consultations at both the political and military level.

Q
(North East Hampshire)
Asked on: 11 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Offences Against Children: Prosecutions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make it his policy (a) to toughen sentencing guidelines for people found to have watched videos of child abuse and (b) to not implement the recommendation of the report, published by JUSTICE on 10 June 2019, entitled Prosecuting Sexual Offences, that calls for people found in possession of indecent images of children to not face prosecution if they successfully complete a Conditional Diversion Scheme.
Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 22 May 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Tree Planting
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he (a) has taken and (b) is planning to take in response to the recommendations on planting trees made by the Climate Change Committee in its report Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming, published in May 2019.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 10 June 2019

The Committee on Climate Change published its report on 2 May. We very much welcome this analysis and will be responding in a timeframe that reflects the urgency of this crucial issue.

The Government is driving forward its manifesto commitment to plant 11 million trees over the course of this parliament.

We have kick started a vast Northern Forest, which will see 50 million trees planted from Liverpool to Hull; allocated £10 million to plant new trees in our towns and cities through the urban trees challenge fund; and appointed a Tree Champion to lead our engagement on a new English Tree Strategy. In the Autumn Budget, the Chancellor announced £50 million to help plant new woodlands through the Woodland Carbon Guarantee.

We have recently consulted on Best Practice Guidance and issued the Urban Tree Manual, which support the sustainable management of trees. The National Planning Policy Framework, published in July 2018, encourages better recognition of trees and woodlands for the wider natural capital benefits they can provide.

Grouped Questions: 257421
Q
Asked by Mr Steve Reed
(Croydon North)
Asked on: 22 May 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Social Prescribing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will work with NHS England to add measures of loneliness to the NHS England Outcomes Framework for social prescribing.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 10 June 2019

As social prescribing is locally driven, different approaches to evaluation and the measurement of outcomes have emerged across England. To encourage consistent data gathering and reporting of outcomes, NHS England has worked with a wide range of stakeholders to develop a Common Outcomes Framework for measuring the impact of social prescribing. Working with a wide range of stakeholders, a consensus has been built for all social prescribing connector schemes to measure a number of outcomes, including impact on the person. This includes how a person’s wellbeing has improved, whether they are less lonely and whether they feel more in control and have a better quality of life.

More information on the Common Outcomes Framework can be found in ‘Social prescribing and community-based support Summary guide’, published by NHS England in January 2019 which is available at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/social-prescribing-community-based-support-summary-guide.pdf

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 22 May 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Tree Planting
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he (a) has taken and (b) is planning to take to encourage local authorities to implement the recommendations on planting trees made by the Climate Change Committee in its report Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming, published in May 2019.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 10 June 2019

The Committee on Climate Change published its report on 2 May. We very much welcome this analysis and will be responding in a timeframe that reflects the urgency of this crucial issue.

The Government is driving forward its manifesto commitment to plant 11 million trees over the course of this parliament.

We have kick started a vast Northern Forest, which will see 50 million trees planted from Liverpool to Hull; allocated £10 million to plant new trees in our towns and cities through the urban trees challenge fund; and appointed a Tree Champion to lead our engagement on a new English Tree Strategy. In the Autumn Budget, the Chancellor announced £50 million to help plant new woodlands through the Woodland Carbon Guarantee.

We have recently consulted on Best Practice Guidance and issued the Urban Tree Manual, which support the sustainable management of trees. The National Planning Policy Framework, published in July 2018, encourages better recognition of trees and woodlands for the wider natural capital benefits they can provide.

Grouped Questions: 257400
Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 22 May 2019
Ministry of Justice
Electronic Tagging
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what average number of people in England and Wales were subject to (a) electronic monitoring as a condition of a supervision order and (b) a Home Detention Curfew in each of the last five years; and how many of those people subject to (i) such electronic monitoring and (ii) a Home Detention Curfew breached those arrangements.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 10 June 2019

Electronic monitoring is a vital tool in protecting the public and robustly monitoring offenders in the community and defendants on bail. It supports probation staff and the police in managing offenders and defendants safely in the community, delivering the orders of the court and help them tackle the problems which lead to offending.

The table below shows the average number of people1 subject to electronic monitoring as a condition of a supervision order and Home Detention Curfew.

Supervision order2

Home Detention Curfew3

2014/15

6,750

2015/16

6,352

2016/17

5,823

2,280

2017/18

5,133

2,490

1 Caseload for unique subjects with equipment on 2 Derived from published data for those with a Court sentence (supervised) 3 Figures only available for April 2016 onwards for HDC data. Figures after March 2018 will be published in the HMPPS Digest in July 2019. The table below shows the total number of people subject to electronic monitoring for supervision orders and Home Detention Curfew, and how many of these cases committed at least one breach.4, 5

Supervision Orders

Home Detention Curfew

Total

Non Compliance

Compliance

Total

Non Compliance

Compliance

June 2016-March 20176

26,418

11,694

14,724

7,898

1,543

6,355

April 2017-March 2018

28,122

12,005

16,117

10,322

2,044

8,278

4 derived from number of completions of orders with equipment on 5 please note: a person may have more than one order. 6 completions data only available from June 2016 onwards

If a subject on tag does not comply with an Electronic Monitoring condition or requirement, for example by being absent during curfew hours or tampering with a tag, an instantaneous alert is generated that is sent to Electronic Monitoring Services (EMS). The appropriate authorities decide, based on the evidence, whether the non-compliance event constitutes a breach and if so what action should be taken. The nature of breaches vary, and not all non-compliance events are classed as formal breaches requiring further action. For example, if the subject was at hospital or in custody at the time, and therefore unable to return to their curfew location in time for their curfew. While the majority of non-compliance events will generate an alert than can lead to a breach there are a range of other circumstances that can lead to breach action being taken.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 22 May 2019
Ministry of Justice
Electronic Tagging
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department plans to extend the use of GPS tagging to assist with the supervision of certain categories of offenders in the next three years.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 10 June 2019

The Secretary of State for Justice announced in February this year the roll out of GPS location monitoring. A wide range of offenders are eligible for the new tags, including those subject to court-imposed bail, community orders and suspended sentence orders, as well as those on Home Detention Curfew and indeterminate sentenced prisoners released by the Parole Board. We are monitoring the demand for and application of GPS location monitoring tags by decision makers and are considering whether there are additional categories of offenders who would be suitable. No decisions have been made to extend their use further at the current time.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 22 May 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence for public protection have never been released; and how many of such prisoners have been recalled to prison since 2014.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 10 June 2019

I refer the hon. Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd to the response to PQs 252600 and 252602, answered on 17-May-2019.

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: 22 May 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Death
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of people who have died in custody while under an imprisonment for public protection sentence broken down by the number of years they were over tariff.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 10 June 2019

The information requested is set out below.

Time over tariff

Number of deceased offenders

within tariff

45

less than 1 year

14

1 - 2 years

13

2 - 3 years

13

3 - 4 years

11

4 - 5 years

8

5 - 6 years

18

6 - 7 years

17

7 - 8 years

4

8 - 9 years

3

9 - 10 years

4

10 - 11 years

0

11 - 12 years

1

tariff not recorded

6

“Over tariff” means the offender died in custody after his or her tariff expiry date, having never been released. It therefore excludes offenders who died after having been released on licence and recalled to custody.

HMPPS focuses on giving offenders serving IPP sentences the support, opportunities and motivation they need to progress more quickly so that, when the Parole Board reviews a case, offenders have the best possible prospect for securing release. A key part of the joint IPP action plan, co-owned by the Parole Board and HMPPS, is psychology-led reviews of cases that are not progressing as hoped. Part of the purpose of these reviews is to improve offenders’ engagement with their sentence plans, and to provide support to in relation to any issues that may be hindering their progression.

Q
Asked by Meg Hillier
(Hackney South and Shoreditch)
Asked on: 23 May 2019
Home Office
Knives: Crime
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is taking to support the public health approach to tackling knife crime in Hackney.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 10 June 2019

Tackling serious violence is a top priority for the Government and it is clear we must continue to step up the response to stop this violence. The Serious Violence Strategy sets out the Government’s approach, which depends on a multi-agency approach working across several sectors and stresses the importance of early intervention to tackle the root causes.

Since launching the Strategy in April last year, we have progressed in deliver-ing on our key commitments which support early intervention and prevention
including:
• delivery of the Early Intervention Youth Fund of £22m which is supporting 29 projects in England and Wales, with over £4m of funding to
London projects including a Pan London rescue and response county lines project which targets young people up to the age of 25 who are
being exploited, or at risk of exploitation, through county lines;
• delivery of the anti-knife crime Community Fund which provided £1.5m in 2018/19 to support 68 projects, with a continued focus on local multi-strand partnership approach to tackling serious violence. The Immediate Theatre, Hackney received £30k from the 2018/19 Fund to deliver
positive community activities to people living in an area of high crime; and
• delivery of the national knife crime media campaign – #knifefree - to raise awareness of the consequences of knife crime.

In addition, on 1 April we launched a public consultation on a new legal duty to support a ‘public health’ multi-agency approach to preventing and tackling serious violence. This statutory duty would make serious violence a top priority for all key partners, ensuring that they are working together to prevent young people being caught in the criminal cycle. The consultation, closes on 28 May, can be found on the Gov.UK website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications?departments%5B%5D=home-office&publication_filter_option=consultations

On 13 March the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a further £100m funding in 2019/20 to help in the police’s immediate response to the rise in serious knife crime, enabling priority forces to immediately begin planning to put in place the additional capacity they need. £63.4m of this funding has already been allocated to 18 police forces worst affected by serious violence to pay for surge operational activity, such as increased patrols. This includes £20.84m to the Metropolitan Police Service. £35m of this Serious Violence Fund will support the setting up of Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) and associated preventative activity in areas most affected by serious violence.

In October 2018 the Home Secretary announced a ten-year £200m Youth Endowment Fund, focused on targeted early intervention with those children and young people most vulnerable to involvement in serious violence. This will form an important part of the multi-agency, public health; approach to serious violence.

On 1 April 2019 the Prime Minister hosted a Serious Youth Violence Summit at 10 Downing Street, with the support of the Home Secretary and Secretaries of State. The central aim of the summit was to ensure a shared understanding and commitment to a multi-agency, ‘public health’ approach to tackling knife crime and serious violence more generally. An outcome of the Summit is the creation of a new Ministerial Taskforce, chaired by the Prime Minister, to drive cross-government action. This will be supported by a new, dedicated, serious violence team in the Cabinet Office to support cross-departmental coordination.

Q
Asked by Imran Hussain
(Bradford East)
Asked on: 23 May 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Homelessness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate his Department has made of the number of prisoners who were homeless prior to imprisonment in the latest period for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 10 June 2019

We recognise that it is vital that everyone leaving prison has somewhere stable and secure to live. Having somewhere stable to live acts as a platform for offenders to be able to access the services and support needed to stop their cycle of offending for good.

There was a total of 28,555 prisoners who declared they were of No Fixed Abode prior to their imprisonment in the last quarter of 2018. This information is provided by offenders during their reception into custody, and forms part of the Basic Custody Screening Tool.

The Government published its Rough Sleeping Strategy in August 2018, launching a £100 million initiative to reduce and ultimately eliminate rough sleeping across England. As part of this strategy, MoJ and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), will invest approximately £6.4 million over two years in a pilot scheme to help ex-offenders secure suitable accommodation from three prisons, namely HMPs Pentonville, Bristol and Leeds. The pilots will focus on male prisoners who have served shorter sentences, who have been identified as having a risk of homelessness.

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