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
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Digital Technology: Innovation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to incentivise more innovative digital projects in the UK.
A
Answered by: Baroness Barran
Answered on: 02 August 2019

The Industrial Strategy set out our commitment to becoming the world’s most innovative economy, ensuring the UK is the best place for researchers and innovators throughout Britain. We are already delivering record increases in public sector R&D investment — an extra £7bn committed by 2021/21 — with a target to reach 2.4% of GDP investment in R&D across the whole economy by 2027.

The government is supporting organisations that promote digital innovation. The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is incentivising innovation, including in digital projects, by bringing together world-class UK research with business investment to develop new technologies. The Digital Catapult, an advanced digital technology innovation centre, receives funding to drive the early adoption of digital technologies to make UK businesses more competitive. It provides physical and digital facilities for experimentation and brings small companies, corporates, researchers and investors together through innovation programmes.

We are also helping innovative companies to access funding to expand and develop new projects. This includes the £2.5 billion British Patient Capital programme, delivered through the British Business Bank, which will support innovative UK companies to access the long-term investment they need to grow and expand worldwide.

The Industrial Strategy also supports the development of projects in specific sectors through Sector Deals: long term partnerships between industry and the government. These have included commitments to develop several digital projects to improve productivity in sectors ranging from Rail to Creative Industries to Tourism.

Q
Asked on: 15 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what data prisons are required to collect on the purposes for which prisoners are Released on Temporary Licence.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 01 August 2019

It is not possible, except at disproportionate cost, to establish the number of prisoners who have been released on ROTL to allow access to higher and further education in each of the last three years.

There are four categories of ROTL: Resettlement Day Release (RDR), Resettlement Overnight Release (ROR), Special Purpose Licence (SPL) and Childcare Resettlement Licence (CRL). Prisons are required to record the reasons for each release on temporary licence choosing from the following options. They are not required to specify the level of education:

(RDR) Education or Training

(RDR) Paid Work - Retail and Wholesale

(RDR) Paid Work – Manufacturing

(RDR) Paid Work - Catering and hospitality

(RDR) Paid Work - Transportation and storage

(RDR) Paid Work - Construction and recycling

(RDR) Paid Work - IT and communication

(RDR) Paid Work - Agriculture and horticulture

(RDR) Paid Work - Other

(RDR) Unpaid Work - Retail and Wholesale

(RDR) Unpaid Work – Manufacturing

(RDR) Unpaid Work - Catering and hospitality

(RDR) Unpaid Work - Transportation and storage

(RDR) Unpaid Work - Construction and recycling

(RDR) Unpaid Work - IT and communication

(RDR) Unpaid Work - Agriculture and horticulture

(RDR) Unpaid Work - Other

(RDR) Prisoner Apprenticeships Pathway

(RDR) Maintain Family Ties

(RDR) Outside Prison Activities

(RDR) Accommodation Related

(RDR) Other RDR Linked to Sentence/Resettlement Plan

(ROR) Resettlement Overnight Release

(SPL) Funeral

(SPL) Visit Dying Relative

(SPL) Medical/Dental Inpatient Appointment

(SPL) Medical/Dental Outpatient Appointment

(SPL) Other Compassionate Reason

(SPL) Court/Legal/Police/Prison Transfer

(CRL) Childcare Resettlement Licence

Q
Asked on: 18 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Tourist Attractions: Disability
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent steps they have taken to improve the accessibility of tourist sites to wheelchair users and those with mobility impairments.
A
Answered by: Baroness Barran
Answered on: 01 August 2019

The recently published Tourism Sector Deal sets out Government’s support for improving tourism for visitors with accessibility requirements. Working with VisitBritain, we aim to improve the sharing of good practice across the sector, continue to provide excellent business support and promote our accessible tourism product.

Additionally, the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work has appointed a number of Sector Champions including Champions for Art and Culture, Hotels, Tourism and Countryside and Heritage. These champions use their influential status as leaders within their sectors to drive improvements to the accessibility and quality of services and facilities for disabled people. They also share good practice both widely within their sectors and with others.

Asked on: 23 July 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Housing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address the reduction in energy efficient upgrades to domestic housing since 2014.
A
Answered on: 01 August 2019

The Clean Growth Strategy set out the aspiration that as many homes as possible will be EPC Band C by 2035 where practical, cost-effective and affordable.

The current iteration of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO3) will upgrade around a million homes for low income and vulnerable households by March 2022, and we have committed to driving £6 billion into energy efficiency.

In April 2018, we introduced for the first time a minimum energy efficiency standard of EPC Bane E for private rented sector properties.

And, we have launched Simple Energy Advice, a new digital and phoneline service to provide homeowners with impartial and tailored advice on how to cut their energy bills and make their homes greener, as well as information on any available financial support.

Asked on: 23 July 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Housing: Insulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to establish a national fund to help low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households insulate their homes.
A
Answered on: 01 August 2019

We agree that increasing the energy efficiency of homes is the most sustainable long-term strategy to tackle fuel poverty.

That is why we have committed to driving £6 billion of investment in energy efficiency over the decade. Support for energy efficiency is available now through the Energy Company Obligation scheme, which requires energy companies to deliver heating and energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall insulation. The updated scheme, launched in late 2018 and running until March 2022, focuses entirely on providing support to low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households and is funded at £640m per year.

We have also introduced, from 1 April 2018, Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards which require landlords to invest up to £3,500 in energy efficiency improvements such as insulation to improve their rented properties to Energy Performance Certificate rating Band E.

We are consulting on an update to the Fuel Poverty Strategy for England. In this consultation, we seek views from stakeholders on what policies might be included in a policy plan to improve energy efficiency for households in fuel poverty.

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: 01 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Electronic Tagging
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of people released on Home Detention Curfew in each year since 2010 were serving sentences relating to (a) criminal damage and arson, (b) drug offences, (c) fraud, (d) miscellaneous crimes against society, (e) possession of weapons, (f) public order, (g) robbery, (h) sexual offences, (i) summary motoring, (j) summary non-motoring, (k) theft and (l) violence against the person.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 31 July 2019

HDC is a robust scheme which allows suitable, risk assessed, prisoners to work towards rehabilitation in the community, while remaining subject to strict monitoring and other conditions. If they breach these, they can be returned to custody. HDC allows reintegration back into the community in a controlled and supervised way, which research suggests may help to reduce the risk of further offending.

The attached table shows the number and proportion of offenders released on Home Detention Curfew, in each year since 2010 by offence group.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 18.42 KB)
Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 03 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people were convicted but did not receive an immediate custodial sentence who had (a) zero, (b) between one and four, (c) between five and nine, (d) between 10 and 15, (e) between 16 and 25, (f) between 26 and 50, (g) between 51 and 75, (h) between 76 and 100 and (i) 101 or more previous convictions for (i) violence against the person, (ii) theft, (iii) drug offences, (iv) robbery, (v) common assault and battery, (vi) burglary in a dwelling, (vi) production, supply and possession with intent to supply a controlled drug - Class A, (vii) possession of an article with a blade or point and (viii) assaulting, resisting or obstructing a constable or designated officer in execution of duty in each of the last 10 years.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 31 July 2019

The number of people who were convicted but did not receive an immediate custodial sentence who had (a) zero, (b) between one and four, (c) between five and nine, (d) between 10 and 15, (e) between 16 and 25, (f) between 26 and 50, (g) between 51 and 75, (h) between 76 and 100 and (i) 101 or more previous convictions for (i) violence against the person, (ii) theft, (iii) drug offences, (iv) robbery, (v) common assault and battery, (vi) burglary in a dwelling, (vi) production, supply and possession with intent to supply a controlled drug - Class A, (vii) possession of an article with a blade or point and (viii) assaulting, resisting or obstructing a constable or designated officer in execution of duty in each of the last 10 years can be viewed in the table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 17.88 KB)
Q
(Peterborough)
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Dangerous Driving: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans the Government has to introduce tougher sentences for people convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 31 July 2019

We will bring forward proposals for changes in the law as soon as possible. These proposals will take account of other government proposals for safer roads.

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: 09 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Assaults On Police: Convictions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people were convicted of assault of a police officer in each year since 2007 who had (a) 26 to 50, (b) 51 to 75, (c) 76 to 100 and (d) over 100 previous convictions or cautions; how many people in each of those categories received a (i) custodial and (ii) non custodial sentence, and what the average length of custodial sentence was.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 31 July 2019

The number of people convicted of an assault of a police officer, in each year since 2007, with more than 26 convictions, and the number of people who received a non-custodial or custodial sentence, and the average length of custodial sentences, can be found in the tables 1 and 2.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 23.72 KB)
Asked on: 09 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Sexual Offences
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to (1) introduce tougher sentences for sex offenders, and (2) stop sex offenders being granted parole.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 31 July 2019

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides for a range of sexual offences which rightly carry robust penalties to deal with this serious offending – including some which carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Since 2010, the average length of a custodial sentence for sex offenders has increased by more than 25 per cent. Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for the independent judiciary, who take into account the full facts of each case. The courts are required to follow any guidelines produced by the independent Sentencing Council relevant to the case before them, including the definitive guideline on Sexual Offences.

For those who receive a life sentence, they must serve the minimum term in prison required by the sentencing court, following which they will only be released by the independent Parole Board if the Board is satisfied they no longer need to be detained for the protection of the public. Other sex offenders may receive an Extended Determinate Sentence (EDS) if the court considers they could pose an ongoing risk. In those cases, the offender must serve at least two-thirds of the custodial term in prison and will only be released before the end of the full custodial term if the Parole Board is satisfied it would be safe to do so


The Government has no current plans to abolish the possibility of parole for offenders serving these types of sentences. Offenders should rightly be punished for their offences, but once they have served their punishment they should only continue to be held in prison if their risk remains too high for them to be released.

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.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 31 July 2019

The number of 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 the number 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 can be viewed in the table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 15.73 KB)
Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 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.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 31 July 2019

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

  • The number of offenders with a specified number of previous convictions and cautions for any offence, who were sentenced to immediate custody for the first time for a specified offence.
  • The average number of previous convictions for any offence, and the average number of previous cautions for any offence, for offenders who were sentenced to immediate custody for the first time for a specified offence.

This data is not regularly published or held in an easily accessible format. The information supplied has been sourced from a number of complicated retrievals from the Police National Computer database.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 25.47 KB)
Grouped Questions: 275835
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.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 31 July 2019

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

  • The number of offenders with a specified number of previous convictions and cautions for any offence, who were sentenced to immediate custody for the first time for a specified offence.
  • The average number of previous convictions for any offence, and the average number of previous cautions for any offence, for offenders who were sentenced to immediate custody for the first time for a specified offence.

This data is not regularly published or held in an easily accessible format. The information supplied has been sourced from a number of complicated retrievals from the Police National Computer database.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 25.47 KB)
Grouped Questions: 275834
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.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 31 July 2019

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 can be viewed in the table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 10.31 KB)
Q
Asked by Neil O'Brien
(Harborough)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 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.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 31 July 2019

This data is not regularly published or held in an easily accessible format. The information supplied in the table attached has been sourced from several complicated retrievals from the Police National Computer database.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 14.23 KB)
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: 19 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fly-tipping
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what funding his Department has allocated to (a) Barnsley local authority and (b) local authorities in England to encourage them to search and seize vehicles of suspected fly-tippers.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 31 July 2019

We are taking strong action to tackle waste crime. We have created a Joint Unit on Waste Crime. The Environment Agency has received an extra £60m to tackle waste crime since 2014. We have updated legislation regulating waste. These include increasing the powers for the Environment Agency to tackle problem waste sites, enhanced technical competence requirements for permitted waste sites, and introducing new penalties for breaches of the duty of care for household waste. We will further reform the legislative framework for the waste duty of care and carriers, brokers and dealers, mandating the digital tracking of waste (subject to consultation), tackling the waste exemptions most often linked to criminal activity and enhancing operator competence.

We are developing a toolkit for local authorities and others to tackle fly-tipping, including specific guidance on strengthening evidence for prosecution cases. We will work with magistrates and the Judicial Office to raise awareness for magistrates of the prevalence and importance of tackling waste crime, including fly-tipping, and offer training in the environmental offences sentencing guideline.

The Government has provided local authorities with over £200 billion for this spending period. While councils make their own spending decisions, we would expect councils to prioritise these to deliver what their residents want to see, including investing in tackling fly-tipping.

Q
Asked by Dan Carden
(Liverpool, Walton)
[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
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Pakistan: Capital Punishment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Counter Terrorism Associated Prosecutory Reforms initiative monitors the number of death sentences handed down by the civilian anti-terror court in Pakistan.
A
Answered by: Dr Andrew Murrison
Answered on: 31 July 2019

The Counter Terrorism Associated Prosecutorial Reform Initiative programme does not manage cases through the Anti-Terrorism Courts in Pakistan. The programme supports the reform of the criminal justice system and the Government is confident it has been delivered in a way that is consistent with our opposition to the death penalty.

All our capacity building work is carefully considered using our Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) Guidance, which ensures the assistance being provided is properly assessed against a comprehensive range of human rights risks, including possible indirect outcomes of our activity and what mitigations are being put in place.

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: 22 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Reoffenders: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the largest number of previous convictions received by a person sentenced to immediate custody for the first time was in each year since 2007.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 31 July 2019

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

  • The highest number of previous convictions of offenders convicted and sentenced to immediate custody for the first time.
  • The highest number of previous convictions of offenders convicted and not sentenced to immediate custody.
Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 11.04 KB)
Grouped Questions: 280390
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: 22 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Reoffenders: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the largest number of previous convictions received by a person convicted but not sentenced to an immediate custodial sentence was in each year since 2007.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 31 July 2019

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

  • The highest number of previous convictions of offenders convicted and sentenced to immediate custody for the first time.
  • The highest number of previous convictions of offenders convicted and not sentenced to immediate custody.
Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 11.04 KB)
Grouped Questions: 280388
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: 22 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the (a) average length of sentence for and (b) the number of people convicted of (i) violence against the person, (ii) sexual offences, (iii) robbery, (iv) theft offences, (v) criminal damage and arson, (vi) drug offences, (vii) possession of weapons and (viii) public order offences for offenders for which this was their (A) first, (B) second, (C) third, (D) fourth, (E) fifth, (F) sixth, (G) seventh and (H) eighth or more conviction for that type of offence in each of the last five years; and what estimate he has made of the proportion of those offenders who were not given an immediate custodial sentence.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 31 July 2019

The requested information cannot be obtained without incurring disproportionate cost.

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