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 Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 05 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Sentencing: Appeals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many sentences were reduced on appeal because they were manifestly excessive in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 11 July 2019

Information on the numbers of sentences reduced on appeal because they were manifestly excessive is not held centrally.

Data on appeals against convictions and sentences heard in the Crown Court is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-court-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2019 and data on appeals against convictions and sentences heard in the Court of Appeal is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/civil-justice-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2019.

Q
(Oxford 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: 08 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Council Tax: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) women, and (b) men have been given a custodial sentence for the non-payment of council tax in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 11 July 2019

Non-payment of council tax is not a criminal offence and cannot attract a custodial sentence.

Committal to prison can only ever be the last resort for non-payment of council tax. Before a magistrates’ court commits someone to prison for failure to pay their council tax, it must have issued a “liability order” and the local authority must have (at least) tried and failed to take control of the debtor’s goods and sell them to recover the debt. Councils have additional powers of enforcement under a liability order, including deduction from earnings, deduction from benefit, charging orders on the property, and bankruptcy. If a council applies for committal to prison, the court must inquire into the debtor’s means, and the council must satisfy the court that there is no other effective method of collection and that failure to pay is due to wilful refusal or culpable neglect. This is to prevent persons who are genuinely unable to pay their council tax from being committed to prison. Where that is the case courts have the power to remit the debt.

The number of people admitted to prison for non-payment of council tax, covering the period 1990 – 2018, can be viewed in Table A2.12 at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/796916/receptions-2018.ods

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
[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: 08 July 2019
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Personation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people have been sent to prison for impersonating someone else at a (a) driving test and (b) driving theory exam in the last 10 years.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 11 July 2019

The information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Q
Asked by Dan Jarvis
(Barnsley Central)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 11 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Veterans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many former armed service personnel who have declared their membership of those services are serving a sentence in each prison in Yorkshire.
Q
Asked on: 26 June 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Poverty: Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Baroness Buscombe on 17 June (HL Deb, col 653), why child poverty has been “rising almost entirely in working families”.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 10 July 2019

The Institute for Fiscal Studies published “Living Standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2019” on 19 June which acknowledged that the rise of in-work relative poverty is a complex issue with no easy answer. They cited a number of reasons, including that there are more people in work overall and far fewer workless households, for example, there are 667,000 fewer children in workless households compared with 2010. Furthermore, far fewer pensioners are poor than ever before, primarily driven by increased government spending on pension benefits. This has raised the relative poverty line resulting in more ‘in work’ households falling below the line in recent years than they would have done without these increases in pensioner incomes.

The IFS estimated that the remaining third of the increase is due to two main factors: that earnings have risen less quickly towards the bottom of the distribution than the top and that housing costs have risen faster for poorer households than richer ones.

We know that there is more to do to support working people. The Chancellor has set out the Government’s ambition to end low pay across the UK. The National Living Wage, rose to £8.21 an hour in April 2019 and is expected to benefit over 1.7m people. The government is working to ease issues around high housing costs by delivering over 1.3 million extra homes in England since 2010. The Government is now on track to raise housing supply to 300,000 per year on average by the mid-2020s. Over £44 billion of new financial support will be available for housing over the next five years.

Q
(Oxford East)
Asked on: 02 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Health
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice of 5 September 2017, Official Report, Column 19, whether protocols his Department were developing with the Department of Health in 2017 on mental health and prisoner access to healthcare have been implemented; and what those protocols are.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 10 July 2019

MoJ is committed to working in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHS England (NHSE), Public Health England (PHE) and HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) to deliver safe, decent, effective healthcare for offenders.

Over 4,000 new prison staff are now in post, enabling us to implement initiatives like the key worker role, which allows staff to dedicate time to support individual prisoners. These initiatives and others mean that we will be able to better support individuals with mental health needs in prison.

We have also agreed a Community Sentence Treatment Requirement (CSTR) protocol to support the greater use of community sentences with treatment requirements, including Mental Health Treatment Requirements helping to improve access to treatment for offenders who need it and divert vulnerable offenders away from custody where appropriate. The protocol is currently being piloted at five sites and last month we announced the extension of the programme to include Greater Manchester and London.

The context of how health and justice partners work together to improve mental health provision, and indeed other health issues that that might impact on an individual’s ability to engage with rehabilitation, in both custody and the community, will be set out further in the joint MoJ/ DHSC Health and Justice Plan, which was announced on 20th June.

Q
(Leeds East)
Asked on: 02 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Legal Representation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the cost to the public purse of an increase in the level of self-representation in courts.
A
Answered by: Paul Maynard
Answered on: 10 July 2019

In February 2019, the Ministry of Justice published an extensive, evidence based post-implementation review (PIR) of Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012, which included an objective assessment of the impact of reforms.

Litigants in person do require support to help them navigate the justice system, however it is not accepted that the justice system cannot function with the increased presence of litigants in person, and access to a lawyer is not always the correct or most affordable answer.

Since 2014-15 the MoJ has invested close to £8m to support litigants in person in the civil and family courts through the Litigants in Person Support Strategy. We have committed to increase this support to £3m over the next two years, focusing on broadening the evidence base on how services delivered to litigants in person can be made even more effective.

Through the HMCTS reform programme, the Government is also investing over £1bn to build a modern system for administering justice which will benefit everyone who uses it. By designing systems around the public who need and use our services, we can create a more effective system for them and generate efficiencies for the taxpayer.

Q
(Leeds East)
Asked on: 02 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Legal Aid Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect on children of the removal of parts of education law from the scope of legal aid under Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
A
Answered by: Paul Maynard
Answered on: 10 July 2019

The Ministry of Justice recently published an extensive, evidence based review of the changes made by Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, which included an assessment of the impact of the removal of parts of education law from the scope of legal aid.

Following this, the department announced several changes as part of the Legal Support Action Plan to improve access to legal support, including reinstating immediate access to face-to-face advice for special educational needs and discrimination cases by Spring 2020.

Q
(Berwick-upon-Tweed)
Asked on: 02 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Northumberland Prison: Mental Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Independent Monitoring Board annual report on HMP Northumberland, what the timeframe for prisoners accessing inpatient psychiatric treatment will be; and what improvements that prison is working towards.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 10 July 2019

People who are sentenced by a court to imprisonment after conviction may be assessed by a psychiatrist in prison if it is thought that their mental disorder is of a nature or degree that requires treatment in hospital. Section 47 of the Mental Health Act 1983 is considered when transferring prisoners. Proposed changes are being made to the way in which inpatient secure beds are commissioned with the aim of improving timely allocation. Time scales are monitored by NHS England and include an expectation of 14-day prison transfers. The transfer time starts on completion of the first medical assessment and stops once the prisoner has been admitted to hospital.

HMP Northumberland has a professional and supportive Mental Health team engaged in supporting men with both mental health and complex needs. The Mental Health team, delivered by Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust are actively engaged with men who are subject to Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT) procedures and those who reside within the Separation and Care (SCU), as well as other men across the site, with a variety of needs.

Through The Gate (TTG) services have created an opportunity for early identification of individuals who may have complex mental health needs and gives a framework for cooperation and joined up working, as well as release planning. A new complex Case Manager has been appointed by G4S (Healthcare provider) with whom the mental health team at HMP Northumberland will work closely with to co-ordinate needs, and ensure the support for individuals is comprehensive.

Q
Asked by Lord Tebbit
Asked on: 03 July 2019
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Equality
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is their policy that Her Majesty's Armed Forces should be comprised of equal numbers of men and women.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 10 July 2019

The Ministry of Defence is dedicated to achieving a more diverse and representative workforce. Consequently, we have undertaken a wide range of activities to increase representation across British society, including those that have historically been under-represented. As part of this drive, we are working towards a target of 15% of recruits into the Armed Forces being female by 2020. The target is stretching and reflects the importance Defence places on having diverse Armed Forces with all the benefits this brings.

Q
(Coventry South)
[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 July 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Electric Vehicles: Manufacturing Industries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to make the UK a world leader in electric car manufacturing.
A
Answered by: Andrew Stephenson
Answered on: 10 July 2019

The Government has a long-standing programme of support to maintain the competitiveness of the UK automotive sector. Through our Industrial Strategy and landmark Automotive Sector Deal, we are placing the UK at the forefront of new automotive technology development. Government and industry have committed £1 billion over 10 years to 2023 through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). Government has also committed £274m to the Faraday Battery Challenge, and circa £80m in the last Budget to the Stephenson Challenge, newly named ‘Driving the Electric Revolution’.

In May 2018, as part of the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, my rt. hon. Friend the Prime Minister launched our mission to put the UK to be at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles and for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040. The Road to Zero strategy sets out a clear pathway to zero emissions. In order to achieve this, we are investing nearly £1.5bn between April 2015 and March 2021 with grants available for plug in vehicles, schemes to support chargepoint infrastructure and grant funding to support R&D into cleaner vehicle technologies.

There are a number of manufacturers already producing electric vehicles in the UK or with ambitious plans to begin production in coming years. The Nissan Leaf – manufactured in Sunderland - is currently the UK’s best-selling electric vehicle. From later this year, BMW’s MINI Electric – launched this month – will be made at its Oxford plant. Jaguar Land Rover also announced this month its commitment to invest in building a new range of electric vehicles at its Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham, and the first of the new vehicles to be produced will be the new, all-electric Jaguar XJ. In September 2018, Aston Martin Lagonda announced that its new production facility in Wales will become the home of its electric vehicle range.

Global demand for UK designed, engineered and manufactured vehicles is strong and the industry has one of the highest productivity levels in Europe. In 2018 the UK was the second largest market for ultra-low emission vehicles and the fourth largest market for battery electric vehicles in the European Union. The UK is also global leader in the development and manufacture of electric vehicles; in 2018 a fifth of battery electric cars sold in Europe were made in the UK. So far in 2019, sales of battery electric vehicles have increased significantly, up by 60% over the same period in 2018. There are 200,000 ultra-low emission battery electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell electric vehicles registered in the UK.

This Government will continue to work closely with the automotive industry, to ensure that it can succeed globally long into the future as it invests in electric car manufacturing. We are determined to ensure that the UK continues to be one of the most competitive locations in the world for the automotive sector.

Q
(Feltham and Heston)
Asked on: 05 July 2019
Department for Education
Higher Education: Casual Workers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the University and College Union report entitled, Counting the costs of casualisation in higher education, published June 2019, what assessment he has made of the (a) effect of job insecurity on mental and physical health and (b) level of financial stability of Cambridge teaching staff; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 10 July 2019

Mental health is a priority for the government, which is why my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister recently announced measures (17 June 2019) which overhaul the government’s approach to preventing mental illness. These measures included providing £1 million to the Office of Students for a competition to find innovative new ways to support mental health at universities and colleges.

The Department for Education is working closely with Universities UK on embedding the Step Change programme. This calls on higher education (HE) leaders to adopt mental health as a strategic priority and take a whole-institution approach to embed a culture of good mental health practice.

The University Mental Health Charter, which was announced in June 2018, is also expected to drive up standards in promoting mental health and wellbeing, positive working environments and excellent support for both students and staff.

As independent and autonomous institutions, HE providers are responsible for decisions regarding the contracts they offer to academic staff. Like all employers, HE providers, including Cambridge University have a duty of care to their staff. The department expects them to take this very seriously. We also expect universities to give due consideration to their obligations under the Equality Act (2010) and the way their employment practices affect different sections of their communities and staff at different stages of their careers.

I gave a speech on 7 May 2019 that focused on early career researcher contracts. I am keen that early career academics do not get lost from policy debates, particularly around key issues such as mental health and wellbeing. The Independent Review of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, led by Professor Julia Buckingham, has recognised issues of wellbeing and the challenges that arise from the use of short and fixed-term contracts. Recommendations are currently under review and a revised concordat is expected in September 2019.

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: 10 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Crime: Convictions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people who have previously received (a) 25 or more and (b) 50 or more convictions or cautions, have been convicted of an offence and not been given a custodial sentence in each year since 2007; and how many of those people have previously been convicted of (i) possession of a blade or point, (ii) possession of an offensive weapon, (iii) common assault, (iv) assaulting a police officer, (v) sexual assault, (vi) public order, (vii) theft, (viii) robbery, (ix) burglary, (x) drugs, (xi) criminal damage, (xii) breach of anti social behaviour order, (xiii) fraud and (xiv) vehicle taking.
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: 10 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prison Sentences
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people sentenced to an immediate custodial sentence for the first time for (a) possession of a blade or point, (b) possession of an offensive weapon, (c) common assault, (d) assaulting a police officer, (e) sexual assault, (f) public order, (g) theft, (h) robbery, (i) burglary, (j) drugs, (k) criminal damage, (l) breach of and anti-social behaviour order, (m) fraud and (n) vehicle taking had (i) no, (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, (vii) between 51 and 75, (viii) between 76 and 100 and (ix) 101 or more convictions and cautions for previous offences of any type in each year since 2007.
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: 10 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prison Sentences
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average number of previous (a) cautions and (b) convictions offenders had before being sentenced to an immediate custodial sentence for the first time for (i) possession of a blade or point, (ii) possession of an offensive weapon, (iii) common assault, (iv) assaulting a police officer, (v) sexual assault, (vi) public order, (vii) theft, (viii) robbery, (ix) burglary, (x) drugs, (xi) criminal damage, (xii) breach of anti social behaviour order, (xiii) fraud and (xiv) vehicle taking in each year since 2007.
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: 10 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Alternatives to Prison
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what was the largest number of community sentences previously received by an offender who was (a) convicted of a crime and (b) convicted of a crime and sentenced to a community sentence in each year since 2007.
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: 10 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Burglary: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of people sentenced for domestic burglary for (a) the third time and (b) more than three times received an immediate custodial sentence of (i) less than three years, (ii) exactly three years and (iii) more than three years in each year since 2007.
Asked on: 25 June 2019
Home Office
Deportation: Commonwealth
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to remove the threat of deportation from those people of Commonwealth parentage who were born after the introduction of the British Nationality Act 1983 and who were subsequently denied British citizenship.
Answered on: 09 July 2019

Under the UK Borders Act 2007, the Secretary of State has a legal duty to make a deportation order in respect of a foreign criminal sentenced to a period of 12 months or more imprisonment. This is subject to a number of exceptions, including where to do so would breach a person’s ECHR rights or the UK’s obligations under the Refugee Convention.

We have no plans to make changes to the UK Borders Act 2007 or Article 8 public interest considerations which were approved by Parliament during the passage of the Immigration Act 2014.

A child of a Commonwealth national, born after 1 January 1983, can apply to the Windrush Scheme for evidence of their immigration status. Unless they are liable to deportation on grounds of criminality, they will not be removed from the UK.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Department for Education
Technology: Skilled Workers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure the supply of skilled workers in the tech sector.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 09 July 2019

To make sure that the UK is a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone, it is crucial that individuals have the digital skills they need for life and work, including for a career in the technology sector.

We have introduced computing as a statutory national curriculum subject at all four key stages and have introduced a new Computer Science GCSE and A Level. The content was developed with industry experts to better equip pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to become active creators of digital technology.

As part of the Industrial Strategy, the government has committed substantial spending on mathematics, digital and technical education to increase the take-up and better teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in schools. For example, in November 2018 the department launched the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), backed by £84 million of new funding. The NCCE is run by a coalition of STEM Learning, the British Computing Society and Raspberry Pi, and supported by industry.

The NCCE is delivering a comprehensive programme of continuing professional development to improve the teaching of computing and drive up participation in computer science at GCSE and A level, particularly amongst girls. We expect that this will help equip these young people with the knowledge they need to pursue a career in the technology sector.

We are also improving careers advice in schools so that young people are aware of the high-quality options available for both technical and academic routes into digital careers, and that they have access to information about the variety of careers that digital technology pathways have to offer. STEM activities, including employer talks and workplace visits, are built into school career programmes. The Careers & Enterprise Company funds opportunities for young people to meet a wide range of STEM employers, including those from the technology sector.

Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Reoffenders: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the highest number was of previous community orders issued to an offender sentenced to immediate custody in each year since 2007.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 09 July 2019

Information on the highest number of previous community sentences received by an offender sentenced to immediate custody, covering the period 2007 – 2018, can be viewed in the attached table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 10.54 KB)
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