Written questions and answers

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

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

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

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Kate Osamor
(Edmonton)
[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 June 2020
Women and Equalities
Racial Discrimination
Commons
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will publish the (a) terms of reference for and (b) names of the (i) chair and (ii) commission members of the commission on race.
A
Answered by: Kemi Badenoch
Answered on: 25 June 2020

On 14 June, the Prime Minister announced a new Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. The Commission will drive forward work to understand why disparities exist, what works to address disparities and what does not, and will present recommendations for action across Government and other public bodies, bridging the gap between data and policy. It will report by the end of the year. The aim of the Commission is to set out a new, positive agenda for change - balancing the needs of individuals, communities and society, maximising opportunities and ensuring fairness for all. The terms of reference, and names of the chair and commission members will be published in due course.

Q
(Foyle)
[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 June 2020
Northern Ireland Office
EU Grants and Loans: Northern Ireland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that EU structural funding for Northern Ireland is replaced by other Government funding after the end of the transition period.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The UK Government is committed to strengthening the Union, levelling up every part of the UK and has committed to replacing EU Structural Funds with the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government recognises the importance of reassuring local areas on the future of local growth funding and of providing clarity on the UKSPF. We remain committed to creating the UKSPF to succeed European structural funds and provide vital investment across the UK as we support the recovery, renewal and levelling up of local economies following Covid-19.

Now we have left the European Union, we have an opportunity to replace European structural funds with a UKSPF which binds together the whole of the United Kingdom, tackling inequality and deprivation in each of our four nations. The 2019 Conservative Manifesto committed to, at minimum, matching current levels of funding for each nation from EU structural funds.


Over the coming weeks, the Government will be assessing the impact of Covid-19 and how best to support economic recovery. We will need to work closely as one United Kingdom to understand the changing needs of local and regional economies and tailor our response to the impact of Covid-19. We have a real opportunity through the UKSPF to design a fund that is driven by domestic priorities. The Government will set out further plans for the fund at the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Q
Asked by Sarah Olney
(Richmond Park)
[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 June 2020
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure (a) ethical and (b) resilient supply chains are prioritised in (i) her Department's policies and (ii) future trade agreements.
A
Answered by: Mr Ranil Jayawardena
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The United Kingdom is a trading nation and global value chains drive prosperity, through specialisation, innovation and cheaper products.

We will continue to work with business to fully understand global supply chains that they are part of – and the opportunities to build in further resilience for the future. Our future trade agreement programme will reduce barriers to trading with new markets, and help provide more resilience in doing so. Alongside this, the United Kingdom will tirelessly fight protectionism and unfair trade practices, including through the G20 and in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Britain’s values are clear. We are committed to working with international partners and businesses to tackle modern slavery in global supply chains, as HM Government believes it is vital that trade is not based on the exploitation nor abuse of workers.

Grouped Questions: 62549 | 62550
Q
Asked by Sarah Olney
(Richmond Park)
[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 June 2020
Department for International Trade
Overseas Trade: Ethics
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will take steps to ensure that the UK is a global champion of (a) ethical trade and (b) doing business with integrity.
A
Answered by: Mr Ranil Jayawardena
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The United Kingdom is a trading nation and global value chains drive prosperity, through specialisation, innovation and cheaper products.

We will continue to work with business to fully understand global supply chains that they are part of – and the opportunities to build in further resilience for the future. Our future trade agreement programme will reduce barriers to trading with new markets, and help provide more resilience in doing so. Alongside this, the United Kingdom will tirelessly fight protectionism and unfair trade practices, including through the G20 and in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Britain’s values are clear. We are committed to working with international partners and businesses to tackle modern slavery in global supply chains, as HM Government believes it is vital that trade is not based on the exploitation nor abuse of workers.

Grouped Questions: 62548 | 62550
Q
Asked by Sarah Olney
(Richmond Park)
[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 June 2020
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements: Slavery
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that supply chains are free of slavery and human trafficking in new trade deals.
A
Answered by: Mr Ranil Jayawardena
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The United Kingdom is a trading nation and global value chains drive prosperity, through specialisation, innovation and cheaper products.

We will continue to work with business to fully understand global supply chains that they are part of – and the opportunities to build in further resilience for the future. Our future trade agreement programme will reduce barriers to trading with new markets, and help provide more resilience in doing so. Alongside this, the United Kingdom will tirelessly fight protectionism and unfair trade practices, including through the G20 and in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Britain’s values are clear. We are committed to working with international partners and businesses to tackle modern slavery in global supply chains, as HM Government believes it is vital that trade is not based on the exploitation nor abuse of workers.

Grouped Questions: 62548 | 62549
Q
Asked by Andy McDonald
(Middlesbrough)
[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 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Thriving At Work Leadership Council
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has made to include trades union representation on the Thriving at Work Leadership Council.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The Leadership Council was originally formed to provide an opportunity for senior business leaders to drive implementation of the core standards from the Stevenson / Farmer review. It is an independently-chaired body. As membership is reviewed and evolves there may be scope to consider additional representatives.

Q
(Bedford)
[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 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many drive through covid-19 tests have been carried out in (a) Bedfordshire and (b) England in each month since 23 March 2020; and how many of those tests had results generated within the 48-hour target.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 25 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Curfews
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June to Question 54053 on Home Detention Curfew Breaches; how many of the offenders who were recalled for breaching their curfew were returned to prison for the remainder of their original sentence.
Q
Asked on: 25 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when driving tests will be permitted to restart; and whether the maximum period between passing the theory test and taking the driving test will be extended for those whose test was due when tests were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q
Asked by Tim Farron
(Westmorland and Lonsdale)
[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: 18 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Drugs: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of civil servants supporting the (a) development and (b) deployment of anti-viral drugs to reduce covid-19 symptoms.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 24 June 2020
Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

The pursuit of safe and effective COVID-19 treatments is a cross-Government effort from people in UK Research and Innovation looking at early stage research and development, to those in the National Institute for Health Research supporting clinical trials, and the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England overseeing medicine supply, manufacturing and procurement strategies.

The Therapeutics Taskforce is driving forward, expediting and co-ordinating efforts to research, produce and distribute safe and effective COVID-19 treatments to patients as soon as possible.

We estimate that there are at least 50 civil servants (27.4 full-time equivalents) working across the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and PHE on the development and deployment of treatments for COVID-19. It is not possible to segregate this figure for anti-viral drugs only.

Q
Asked by Martyn Day
(Linlithgow and East Falkirk)
Asked on: 04 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Children: Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the amount of child maintenance arrears is in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 24 June 2020

The total amount of arrears for Child Maintenance Service as of December 2019 in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency is £599,000.

New Compliance and Arrears powers which came in July 2019 have increased the departments enforcement powers, such as removal of driving licence to encourage parent to cooperate and pay the maintenance they owe.

As a result, as at November 2019 the compliance in overall Child Maintenance Service payments increased to an all-time high of 90.2%.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 16 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to waive the charge for a trainee driving instructor certificate for individuals who were advised by the DVSA to rescind their existing certificates.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 24 June 2020

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to testing. It will announce details of resumption in due course.

Trainee driving instructors who have trainee licences that are due to expire and who are observing Government guidelines not to work, should notify the DVSA as soon as possible. Trainees do not have to return their licence to the DVSA, but instead they will need to cut their licence in half and send a photo of the destroyed licence to: PADI@dvsa.gov.uk

The Registrar will take all information into account, including the current circumstances, when deciding whether or not to grant a further trainee licence. As the required checks had previously been conducted it will not be necessary for those checks to be repeated before a further licence is granted.

There is no provision in legislation to extend the period of a trainee licence beyond six months or to waive the fee.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 16 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Air Pollution: Pollution Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a policy of aiming for (a) World Health Organization guideline levels on particulate matter pollution by 2030 and (b) other stricter than existing environmental targets on the environmental sustainability of (i) general Government policy and (ii) business investment.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 24 June 2020

In July 2019, we published a report assessing the progress that will be made towards World Health Organization (WHO) PM2.5 air quality guidelines with actions outlined in the Clean Air Strategy by 2030. This report showed that significant progress would be made towards achieving WHO guideline levels through the actions outlined in the Strategy, but that additional action would be needed to reach WHO guideline levels in specific locations (i.e. central London). The Government is committed to evidence-based policy making and will consider independent expert advice alongside evidence and analysis on a diversity of factors in setting air quality targets outlined in the Environment Bill. This will include the health benefits, the practical feasibility and economic viability of taking different actions to ensure that the targets are based on realistic pathways, robust science and full economic analysis such that they are ambitious, achievable and deliver the greatest public health benefits.

The Government plans to bring forward at least one target in each of the four priority areas by the Environment Bill’s 31 October 2022 deadline. Legally binding targets are an important tool. They will drive action by successive governments to protect and enhance our natural world. They allow for robust, objective scrutiny and accountability of government’s progress and they provide much-needed long-term certainty to businesses and society, to support planning, innovation and investment.

Q
(Bury South)
Asked on: 09 June 2020
Home Office
Domestic Abuse: Victim Support Schemes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what communications campaign has been launched to (a) raise awareness of domestic abuse, (b) reassure the public that the police and support services are still available and accessible during the covid-19 outbreak and (c) encourage people to access help and support when they need it.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Home Office launched the #YouAreNotAlone communications campaign on 11 April to inform victims of domestic abuse that they can leave home; raise awareness that police response and support services remain available, and signpost help and support.

The campaign drives people towards support and advice on https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help and includes the following channels:

  • Digital and social media advertising
  • Influencer and PR activity, creating a movement where people have shown solidarity with victims and signposted to support by sharing the campaign assets and using the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone. High profile supporters include Emma Watson, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Dua Lipa and Russell Howard.
  • Ongoing work with specialist agency The Multicultural Marketing Consultancy (MMC) to extend campaign messaging into diverse black and minority ethnic community channels and media.
  • The campaign assets are also being disseminated via partners and employers through partner packs which, so far, have been sent to 250 stakeholders and nearly 10,000 employers. This includes other government departments, banks, post offices, pharmacies and supermarkets who have all helped promote campaign materials and raise awareness. Materials have been translated in 15 languages and Welsh.
Q
Asked by Lord Berkeley
Asked on: 09 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have assessed their advice that people use their cars and avoid public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic to be (1) compatible with their target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and (2), if not, whether they would withdraw the advice.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Government’s top priority is to ensure we protect people and businesses throughout the present health crisis. The Government’s advice to avoid using public transport where possible, and instead try to walk, cycle, or drive is based on the present concern for public health.

Covid-19 has meant people have had to profoundly change the way they live, work and travel. Many people have rediscovered walking and cycling, and their benefits to both air quality and health. We are supporting that through the £225 million Emergency Active Travel Fund, which was announced on 9 May, and is the first stage of a £2 billion investment in active travel. We are also encouraging local authorities to consider rapid changes to road layouts such as pop up cycles lanes to make cycling safer and more attractive.

The COVID-19 crisis has not diminished the Government’s determination to meet our net zero target and we are committed to going further and faster to tackle climate change. Transport has a central role to play in decarbonising our economy whilst delivering growth. At the end of March, we published “Decarbonising Transport: Setting the Challenge” kicking off our work on preparing a Transport Decarbonisation Plan to ensure we meet the challenge of reaching net zero transport emissions by 2050.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to restart (a) practical driving and (b) driving theory tests for all pupils.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 23 June 2020

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to testing. It will announce details of resumption in due course.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Instruction: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential level of safety of driving instructors wearing PPE (a) when checking pupils' facial expressions and reactions and (b) in other situations when teaching.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has carried out a risk assessment for driving examiners conducting driving tests. It is for instructors to make sure their face coverings or PPE do not impact upon safety during driving lessons with their pupils.

Driving instructors must ensure they are able to fulfil their responsibilities as an instructor, and accompanying driver, safely whilst wearing appropriate PPE. Professional instructors should be able to adapt their teaching to ensure pupils’ comprehension and correct reaction whilst learning safely.

The DVSA would encourage all driving instructors to keep up to date with the driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) website for advice and guidance: http://www.n-a-s-p.co.uk/

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with Pearson VUE on restarting driving theory tests in a socially distanced way.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is committed to resuming theory tests for all candidates as soon as it is safe to do so and in line with Government advice.

Following public health advice, the DVSA and Pearson VUE are preparing new processes for delivering theory tests. This will include protective screens, two metre social distancing and appropriate protective equipment. The DVSA will make further announcements on GOV.UK as soon as possible.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he is seeking a refund from Pearson VUE for the non-delivery of driving tests as a result of its closure of test centres.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is not seeking a refund from Pearson VUE for the non-delivery of theory tests as the contract the DVSA has with Pearson VUE is volume based. This means the service arrangements are that the DVSA pays for each theory test delivered by Pearson VUE.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 15 June 2020
Department for Transport
Driving Tests: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will issue guidance on whether driving examiners should wear face coverings.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 23 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is reviewing and updating the guidance for driving examiners about carrying out driving tests. This includes things like the PPE they need to wear, greeting candidates and cleaning equipment such as sat navs and tablets. Further guidance will be issued as soon as possible.

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