Written questions and answers

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

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

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

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(Barnsley 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: 25 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Dangerous Driving: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the oral contribution of the Leader of the House of Commons of 25 July 2019, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to increase the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 03 September 2019

We are focused on getting the law right, to ensure the changes we make are comprehensive, proportionate and, crucially, practical.

We will bring forward proposals for changes in the law to increase the maximum penalties for causing death by dangerous driving and careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs to life imprisonment, and create a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving as soon as possible. These proposals will take account of other government proposals for safer roads.

Q
(Peterborough)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 25 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Dangerous Driving: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 23 July 2019 to Question 277861, whether his Department has begun drafting legislative proposals to increase the maximum penalties for causing death by dangerous driving and careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs to life imprisonment and create a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving; and whether he plans to publish those proposals by October 2019.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 03 September 2019

We will bring forward proposals for changes in the law as soon as possible.

Q
Asked by Mike Kane
(Wythenshawe and Sale East)
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Department for Education
Teachers: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department have made of the quality of training for primary teachers in religious education; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 03 September 2019

Providing the best possible initial teacher training (ITT) is the focus of the Department’s drive to improve teaching standards. In order to be awarded qualified teacher status (QTS), trainees must demonstrate that they have met the Teachers’ Standards, which includes a requirement that they demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge. Ofsted is responsible for testing the quality of teacher training and at their most recent inspection, 99% of all teacher training providers were rated good or outstanding.

The amount of time that primary trainees spend in training on each of the subjects in the national curriculum is not specified by the Government. It is for ITT providers to use their professional judgement to determine the content and structure of courses, but they must be designed so that trainees can demonstrate that they meet all the required standards at the appropriate level by the end of their training. This includes religious education.

In July 2016, the Department published a ‘framework of core content for initial teacher training’, further guidance which states that ‘trainees must be conversant with a range of effective subject-specific pedagogical approaches’. The framework also outlines providers’ responsibility to audit trainees’ subject knowledge early in their training and make provision to ensure that trainees have sufficient subject knowledge to satisfy the standard by the end of their training.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Cabinet Office
Public Sector: Artificial Intelligence
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment the Government has made of the ability of artificial intelligence and new technologies to save money and improve services in the public sector.
A
Answered by: Oliver Dowden
Answered on: 03 September 2019

In June this year, the Government Technology Innovation Strategy was published which sets out how government will use emerging technologies to build better public services. In order to develop this, Ministers and officials conducted significant research across government and the wider public sector to understand the opportunities and challenges of wider deployment of emerging technologies in our public service delivery.

Alongside it, the Government Digital Service and Office for Artificial Intelligence published ‘A guide to using artificial intelligence in the public sector’ which provides guidance on how to build and use AI in the public sector. This was produced as part of the Al Review which identified opportunities for using Al in the public sector to drive productivity and efficiency.

The Review focused on central departments and identified opportunities for using AI in the public sector to drive productivity and efficiency. The Review also identified key barriers and enablers to AI adoption, and a number of key areas where the application of AI across
government could improve services and make them more efficient.

Q
Asked by Chris Ruane
(Vale of Clwyd)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 25 July 2019
Cabinet Office
Electoral Register: Students
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) the University of Sheffield's initiative on voter registration for students and (b) mandating universities to promote students to register to vote.
A
Answered by: Kevin Foster
Answered on: 03 September 2019

The Government is encouraged by the University of Sheffield’s experience but has no plans to mandate a single approach across the country.

The Government is, however, committed to ensuring the electoral registration system is responsive to the needs of students. Ministerial Guidance was issued to the Office for Students (OfS) in February 2018 acting on a commitment made in Parliament during the
passage of the Higher Education and Research Act (2017), directing that they require Higher Education providers to comply with Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) requests for data and they be encouraged to work with Local Authorities to promote electoral registration amongst their student populations. The merits of working closely with EROs have been demonstrated by a number of Higher Education providers across the country.

Yet, the Government does not believe that one size fits all and instead favours an approach which allows innovation.

The Ministerial Guidance has since been used by the OfS to produce their own guidance to Higher Education providers, which advises them how they might best implement, and abide by, the requirements placed on them. The OfS guidance came into force in August. The Government is committed to ensuring everyone who is eligible to register to vote is able to do so and, in 2014, introduced online registration for the first time. Statistics show young people aged between 14 and 24 are more likely than average to use this as a means of registering to vote.

The Government believes these measures will drive up the number of applications to register from students – improving both the completeness and accuracy of the electoral register – as well as further improve the relationships between Higher Education provider and Local Authorities.

Q
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Department for International Trade
Overseas Trade
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish their Regional Trade Plans.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 16 August 2019

Regional Trade Plans (RTPs), set out an overseas region’s overarching strategy, key objectives and priorities, which will drive the delivery of Her Majesty’s Government’s trade objectives overseas. Currently, the RTPs are internal documents, but the Department for International Trade intends to publish executive summaries of the RTPs in due course.

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: 19 July 2019
Department for Education
Teachers: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to improve the provision of mental heath training for teachers and lecturers at universities.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 08 August 2019
Holding answer received on 24 July 2019

Higher education providers have legal responsibilities under the Equality Act (2010) to support students, including those with mental health conditions. As independent and autonomous institutions it is for providers to determine the precise nature of any mental health training they offer to staff.

Mental health service provision is a priority for the government, which is why the former Prime Minister (Theresa May), my right. Hon friend for Maidenhead recently announced measures on 17 June which overhaul the government’s approach to preventing mental illness. These measures included providing £1 million to the Office of Students (OfS) for a competition to find innovative new ways to support mental health at universities and colleges. The OfS is currently working with students, sector representatives, experts and relevant government departments to develop priorities. They aim to publish further details by the end of the year.

The department is also working closely with Universities UK on embedding the Step Change programme. This calls on higher education leaders to adopt mental health service provision 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.

The former Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation (Chris Skidmore), my hon. Friend for Kingswood gave a speech on 7 May 2019 that focused on early career researcher contracts and employment conditions. The Independent Review of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, led by Professor Julia Buckingham, has recognised issues of wellbeing and poor mental health as a significant challenge faced by early career academics and researchers. Recommendations to address these challenges are currently under review and a revised concordat is expected in September.

We hope future joint work by the OfS and Research England into the mental health and wellbeing of doctoral researchers can identify good practice to take forward in this area.

Asked on: 25 July 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Health Services and Social Services: Departmental Responsibilities
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the benefits to date of bringing health and social care together in one political portfolio, and (2) the benefits that will arise in future years of bringing the two areas together.
Answered on: 07 August 2019

The Department was renamed the Department of Health and Social Care in January 2018 and took on responsibility for the Social Care Green Paper.

Whilst we have made no specific assessment, the Department has been working on bringing health and social care together to achieve whole-person, integrated care with the National Health Service and social care systems operating in a joined-up way. The Better Care Fund continues to drive forward the integration of health and social care in England.

Q
Asked by Eleanor Smith
(Wolverhampton South West)
Asked on: 22 July 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Nutrition
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the implementation of the guidance on Commissioning Excellent Nutrition and Hydration 2015 to 2018.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 06 August 2019

The importance of good quality food for patients, visitor and staff is recognised both in terms of improving health and for their overall experience of services. Patients have the right to receive tasty, nutritious and free food as part of their National Health Service treatment.

Data is not collected centrally on the number of local senior or executive champions to drive local work on nutrition, the number of commissioners that reviewed existing service provision or agreed improvement trajectories as set out in the guidance.

In July 2018 the Healthcare Food Standards and Strategy Group started a review of the national standards for Healthcare Food for patients, staff and visitors. This work is building on the Hospital Food Panel report of 2014 and is focusing on marking out the way in which organisations need to comply with the five core standards and bringing in a wealth of tools, resources and examples of good practice to help them achieve the standards.

Grouped Questions: 280421 | 280422 | 280423
Q
Asked by Eleanor Smith
(Wolverhampton South West)
Asked on: 22 July 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Nutrition
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the document entitled Guidance – Commissioning Excellent Nutrition and Hydration 2015 – 2018, published by NHS England in October 2015, how many commissioners have identified a local senior or executive champion to drive local work on nutrition and hydration and to make improvements.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 06 August 2019

The importance of good quality food for patients, visitor and staff is recognised both in terms of improving health and for their overall experience of services. Patients have the right to receive tasty, nutritious and free food as part of their National Health Service treatment.

Data is not collected centrally on the number of local senior or executive champions to drive local work on nutrition, the number of commissioners that reviewed existing service provision or agreed improvement trajectories as set out in the guidance.

In July 2018 the Healthcare Food Standards and Strategy Group started a review of the national standards for Healthcare Food for patients, staff and visitors. This work is building on the Hospital Food Panel report of 2014 and is focusing on marking out the way in which organisations need to comply with the five core standards and bringing in a wealth of tools, resources and examples of good practice to help them achieve the standards.

Grouped Questions: 280420 | 280422 | 280423
Q
Asked by Eleanor Smith
(Wolverhampton South West)
Asked on: 22 July 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Nutrition
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of commissioners that (a) reviewed existing service provision and (b) agreed improvement trajectories as set out in the NHS England Commissioning Excellent Nutrition and Hydration 2015 to 2018 guidance.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 06 August 2019

The importance of good quality food for patients, visitor and staff is recognised both in terms of improving health and for their overall experience of services. Patients have the right to receive tasty, nutritious and free food as part of their National Health Service treatment.

Data is not collected centrally on the number of local senior or executive champions to drive local work on nutrition, the number of commissioners that reviewed existing service provision or agreed improvement trajectories as set out in the guidance.

In July 2018 the Healthcare Food Standards and Strategy Group started a review of the national standards for Healthcare Food for patients, staff and visitors. This work is building on the Hospital Food Panel report of 2014 and is focusing on marking out the way in which organisations need to comply with the five core standards and bringing in a wealth of tools, resources and examples of good practice to help them achieve the standards.

Grouped Questions: 280420 | 280421 | 280423
Q
Asked by Eleanor Smith
(Wolverhampton South West)
Asked on: 22 July 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Nutrition
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to update the Commissioning Excellent Nutrition and Hydration 2015-2018 NHS England guidance.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 06 August 2019

The importance of good quality food for patients, visitor and staff is recognised both in terms of improving health and for their overall experience of services. Patients have the right to receive tasty, nutritious and free food as part of their National Health Service treatment.

Data is not collected centrally on the number of local senior or executive champions to drive local work on nutrition, the number of commissioners that reviewed existing service provision or agreed improvement trajectories as set out in the guidance.

In July 2018 the Healthcare Food Standards and Strategy Group started a review of the national standards for Healthcare Food for patients, staff and visitors. This work is building on the Hospital Food Panel report of 2014 and is focusing on marking out the way in which organisations need to comply with the five core standards and bringing in a wealth of tools, resources and examples of good practice to help them achieve the standards.

Grouped Questions: 280420 | 280421 | 280422
Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Nabeel Rajab
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 4 July (HL16567), why they were not aware of Nabeel Rajab’s application, and subsequent rejection, for alternative sentencing, given (1) reports by international news outlets, and (2) their close monitoring of his case; and what mechanisms they use to assess Bahrain’s provision of alternative sentences.
A
Answered on: 06 August 2019

We are not privy to individual applications for alternative sentencing. We assess information that is publically released through official channels. The decision making process of the application of alternative sentencing is subject to meeting qualifying conditions and remains the responsibility of the Bahraini judicial system. We are closely monitoring the trials of Mr Rajab with officials from the Embassy regularly attending court hearings. We have raised the case as part of the UK's ongoing open dialogue with Bahrain at senior levels. We continue to urge the Government of Bahrain to protect freedom of expression for all its citizens in line with its international commitments.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Sentencing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Instagram post by the British Embassy in Manama on 22 July stating that Prosecutor Ali Al Showaikh revealed that 586 individuals in Bahrain have benefited from non-custodial sentences since the new legislation on alternative sentencing was implemented in May 2018, whether they know the names of those individuals; and what representations they have made to the government of Bahrain about discrimination in the implementation of that law.
A
Answered on: 06 August 2019

Bahrain has brought in new legislation related to alternative sentencing and has already started to implement provisions under this new legal framework. We welcome this positive move in reforming the judicial system. UK expertise has supported this process. The names of the 586 individuals that have benefited from non-custodial sentences have not been published.

Q
Asked by Scott Mann
(North Cornwall)
Asked on: 18 July 2019
Department for Transport
Electric Vehicles: North Cornwall
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the number of electric car charging points in North Cornwall.
A
Answered by: George Freeman
Answered on: 05 August 2019

We want to encourage private sector investment to build and operate a self-sustaining public network that is affordable, reliable and accessible. In many cases, the market is best placed to identify the right locations for chargepoints and make improvements to the network and it is essential that viable commercial models are in place.

The Government is also providing support through a number of schemes, which can be accessed across the country, including in North Cornwall. This includes schemes to help fund chargepoint infrastructure at people’s homes and workplaces and on residential streets. The Government’s on-street residential charging scheme offers grants to local authorities to help support this investment at local level. In February 2019, Cornwall County Council were awarded £94,000 through the Government’s Ultra Low Emission Taxi Infrastructure competition, to deliver five chargepoints dedicated to charging electric taxis and private hire vehicles.

In conjunction with the Energy Savings Trust, this year the Office for Low Emission Vehicles has been running a series of roadshows for local authorities and public bodies across the UK, on best practice approaches to driving the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles. The event in Bristol was well attended including local authority and public sector representatives from across the south west.

Q
Asked by Tim Farron
(Westmorland and Lonsdale)
Asked on: 23 July 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Social Rented Housing: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to recent English Housing Survey statistics which show that four per cent of local authority housing and 13 per cent of social housing fail to meet the Decent Homes Standard, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of restoring central Government funding for housing providers to enable the remaining non-decent homes to be improved.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 05 August 2019

The Decent Homes Standard has driven improvements to the quality of social housing. Between 2011 and 2016 Government provided a total of £1.76 billion to 45 councils across England to tackle the backlog of non-decent homes, making over 158,000 homes decent.

Local Authority Housing Statistics show that the proportion of non-decent local authority dwellings was 4 per cent 1 April 2018. The English Housing Survey shows that, in 2017, 13 per cent of social rented homes overall (516,000) were considered non-decent, down from 20 per cent (759,000) in 2010. This is lower than the proportion of private rented (25 per cent) and owner occupied (19 per cent) homes.

The Social Housing Green Paper asks if there are any changes to what constitutes a decent home that we should consider, and whether we need additional measures to make sure homes are safe and decent. We are currently considering the responses to the consultation.

Q
(Stockton North)
Asked on: 23 July 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) incentivising or requiring housebuilders to monitor and collect data on the performance of homes post-occupancy and (b) requiring housebuilders to publish that information.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 05 August 2019

The Government is taking action to raise the quality of new build homes. We are reforming the building safety system, reviewing the Approved Documents to the Building Regulations including the conservation of fuel and power, and working with industry to improve productivity and skills, all of which will raise building performance and standards. We are also currently consulting on the design and delivery of a New Homes Ombudsman, including their role in driving up the quality of new build homes.

Q
Asked by Ruth Jones
(Newport West)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Young Offender Institutions: Ethnic Groups
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many BAME young people were held in young offender institutions and secure units in (a) Wales, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) England and (d) Scotland in the most recent period for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 02 August 2019

Figures published on 12th July 2019 showed that in May of this year, out of a total of 830 children, the ethnicity was known for 811 children, out of which the number of children from a Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic background held within the youth custodial estate was 408 in England and 7 in Wales. Overall, this represents 51% of the youth custodial estate population for which the ethnicity was known across England and Wales. These figures are provisional, and might change as more data is reported.

Snapshots of the youth custody data are published monthly, showing the percentage of children in custody who are from a Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic background. Although there are monthly fluctuations, over the year 2018/19 an average of 48% of children in custody in England and Wales were from a Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic background.

The MoJ does not hold figures for Northern Ireland and Scotland.

We accepted every recommendation made in David Lammy’s review of racial disparities in the criminal justice system and have since been reviewing fairness of sentence outcomes and working to improve understanding of legal advice and options for Black, Asian and ethnic minority children.

Q
Asked by Lord Dholakia
Asked on: 23 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Young Offenders
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many 10 and 11 year olds received a youth caution or criminal conviction in each of the past five years; and what proportion of those children were in care at the time of the caution or criminal conviction.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 02 August 2019
20142015201620172018
Cautions issued450359309218159
Convicted7686717037

The table above shows the total number of cautions and convictions issued to 10-11 year olds over the past five calendar years. Published figures do not allow us to distil the number of individuals but instead only the number of cautions/sentences. This is the latest annual data available from the ‘Criminal Justice Statistics quarterly: December 2018 – Outcomes by Offence data tool’: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-december-2018

Data on looked after children is not held centrally by the Ministry of Justice. However, children supervised by the local Youth Offending Team or in custody will have their needs, including identifying whether they are looked after, assessed and appropriate measures will be put in place to ensure their individual needs are met.

Q
Asked by Lord Dholakia
Asked on: 23 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Youth Custody
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many 10 and 11 year olds received a custodial sentence in each of the past 10 years.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 02 August 2019

Custody should always be a last resort for children. The table below sets out the number of 10 and 11 year olds who have received a custodial sentence since 2009:

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total Immediate Custody

1

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

This is the latest annual data available from the ‘Criminal Justice Statistics quarterly: December 2018 – Outcomes by Offence data tool’:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-december-2018

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